A Novel Therapy: Kisspeptin (The Reproductive Peptide) can Help with Fertility and other Reproductive Issues

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This Peptide Can Improve Fertility & Reproduction. Learn: 

  • How Kisspeptin is critical for the entire process of successful reproduction
  • How Kisspeptin is important for sexual attraction & mate selection all the way through to the health of the placenta and giving birth
  • How Kisspeptin can help with infertility in both men and women
  • How Kisspeptin may prevent the spread of cancer by making cancer cells less aggressive

Do your clients suffer from infertility? Do they have issues such as infertility, PCOS, amenorrhea or low testosterone? Then meet a peptide called Kisspeptin that can help! Like other peptides, it can provide a novel remedy to health issues. Kisspeptin is especially great for reproductive health. Please read on for the details!  

Do you get stuck clinically knowing how to spot and reverse reproductive issues with your patients?  Would you like to have a larger impact on working with infertility? Learn how to test for the root causes of hormonal imbalances and reproductive problems. Learn how to treat them in our functional medicine school (mindbodyfunctionalmedicine.com), allowing you to have a greater impact on improving your client’s lives.

** Please note: If you want the short summary version of this article, then please click here **

We have recently written many blogs about peptides. To recap, a peptide is a small protein, made up of a chain of amino acids. They can be used therapeutically to help with different health conditions. Click on the links to see our articles on peptide therapyHGHCJC 1295/IpamorelinBPC 157PT 141Ta1VIPThymosin Beta 4KPVTrioSS-31, DSIP and Selank and Dihexa.

Kisspeptins are a group of peptides produced in the hypothalamus (Nejad SZ, 2017). Kisspeptin (KP) is important for successful reproduction and survival of the species (Comninos AN, 2018).

Kisspeptin triggers cellular communications and the release of various hormones (Nejad SZ, 2017). It stimulates the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), causing lutenizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to be released from the pituitary gland. These hormones are involved with other reproductive hormones, such as testosterone and estradiol (Nejad SZ, 2017).

KP has other effects on human behavior: it dampens fear and anxiety and has antidepressant-like effects (Comninos AN, 2018). It facilitates memory and learning (Mills EGA, 2019) and transmits information about the body's energy stores (Skorupskaite K, 2014).

Infertility is a growing problem:

  • 15% of couples today have trouble conceiving (UCLA Health, 2020)
  • 12% of women aged 15 to 44 years in the US have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term (CDC, 2021)
  • 9% of men aged 25 to 44 years in the US saw a doctor for infertility (CDC, 2021)
  • Reproductive problems in men are increasing by 1% per year in Western countries. This includes declining sperm counts, decreasing testosterone levels, increasing rates of testicular cancer and a rise in erectile dysfunction (Swan SH, 2021)
  • Sperm counts declined by 50% in just 40 years, from 1973 – 2011 (Levine H, 2017)
  • In women, miscarriage rates are increasing by 1% per year in the US (Swan SH, 2021)
  • The total fertility rate worldwide has dropped by 1% per year from 1960 to 2018 (Swan SH, 2021)
  • This is more than 10% per decade and more than 50% over 50 years (Swan SH, 2021)

Clearly, infertility is an issue today and will become even more challenging going forward. Fortunately, functional medicine has solutions. Kisspeptin can help, especially with infertility issues related to hormonal imbalances. As a practitioner, this knowledge can only enhance your practice and your success with clients. Learn more about peptides and the latest research in our online functional medicine school at mindbodyfunctionalmedicine.com

The Key Benefits of Actions of Kisspeptin are:

Reproductive Health

KP helps to regulate reproduction (Skorupskaite K, 2014). Successful reproduction depends on balanced hormone levels and responses. Kisspeptin is important for signaling related to behavioral, emotional and cognitive control (Comninos AN, 2018). It is involved in areas such as sexual attraction, suitable partner selection, copulatory acts, associated emotional, behavioral and cognitive processes and in influencing mood and emotions (Mills EGA, 2019).

It can transmit information about energy stores in the body. This can help to restore reproduction in conditions of negative energy balance, such as anorexia nervosa, amenorrhea due to inadequate calorie intake and in hormonal imbalances as in PCOS, low testosterone, infertility and type 2 diabetes (Skorupskaite K, 2014). It may also help with IVF techniques and regulating reproductive hormones like LH (Skorupskaite K, 2014).

Puberty & Fertility

Kisspeptin helps with puberty development and the regulation of sex hormones (Cao Y, 2019). By coordinating GnRH secretion, Kisspeptin mediates and controls the onset of puberty (Skorupskaite K, 2014). In fact, puberty will not occur without Kisspeptin (Nejad SZ, 2017).

Timing of puberty onset is determined by genetic and environmental factors and can vary between girls and boys (Nejad SZ, 2017). The start of puberty is associated with higher KP levels and increased sensitivity to Kisspeptin (Nejad SZ, 2017).

Low Kisspeptin levels can cause fertility problems. In men, KP is involved in the control of testosterone, FSH and LH levels (Comninos AN, 2018). There is a significant decrease in serum Kisspeptin in infertile men and in those with low sperm count. In fertile men, serum Kisspeptin levels are significantly higher. KP can be used to enhance natural testosterone production in men (Comninos AN, 2018).

In women, low KP can prevent menstruation, causing hormone dysfunction and ovulation issues. One injection of Kisspeptin can trigger ovulation. Gonadotropin injections (LH and FSH) is the classic treatment for infertility in females. Kisspeptin injections, which stimulate secretion of GnRH, lead to increased secretion of LH and FSH. This could be a new treatment for medically assisted reproduction in women to increase fertility. This more physiological stimulation of LH/FSH via KP might reduce the risk of overstimulating the ovaries which can happen with excessive injections of LH and FSH. Adjusting Kisspeptin signaling may be used in the treatment of reproductive disorders in both men and women.

Female Reproduction

Kisspeptin is involved in normal reproductive function, female puberty, ovarian function, fertility, pregnancy and lactation (Nejad SZ, 2017). It is found in ovaries in women. Kisspeptin likely performs multiple functions at different stages in the ovary. It is involved in follicle development and stimulates other hormones such as gonadotrophins (LH, FSH, HcG) and progesterone (Cao Y, 2019). Kisspeptin signalling may act downstream of estrogen to stimulate uterine development and is beneficial for promoting embryo implantation and the body’s preparation for, and during, pregnancy (Cao Y, 2019).

In rats, the placenta produces large quantities of Kisspeptin during pregnancy (Cao Y, 2019). Low Kisspeptin levels during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. Plasma Kisspeptin levels are a potential biomarker for miscarriage in the first and third trimesters. Other functions of KP include the regulation of placenta and fetal development (Cao Y, 2019). KP increases in concentration in human plasma during pregnancy.

An age-related decline in reproduction may result, in part, from changes in circadian signaling to the Kisspeptin system (Nejad SZ, 2017).

Adjusting Kisspeptin signaling may help to treat fertility disorders characterized by low or high reproductive hormones. KP can help with issues such as IHH (due to deficiency in or insensitivity to GnRH), hypothalamic amenorrhea (when menstruation stops due to a problem with the hypothalamus), PCOS (which is characterized by hyperandrogenism and ovulatory dysfunction) and anovulation characterized by hormone imbalances (Nejad SZ, 2017).

PCOS

Changes in Kisspeptin signaling may contribute to PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome (Nejad SZ, 2017). Serum Kisspeptin levels are significantly higher in women with PCOS, which is characterized by hyperandrogenism and ovulatory dysfunction (Cao Y, 2019). In PCOS, increased frequency of GnRH and therefore LH pulsatile secretion occurs. Kisspeptin can slow GnRH and normalize relative LH over-secretion often seen in PCOS. Normalizing LH in PCOS may promote development and maturation of ovarian follicles and ovulation, and resolve PCOS (Skorupskaite K, 2014).

In hypothalamic amenorrhea, menstruation stops for several months. It is characterized by low serum LH and FSH levels. Kisspeptin increases LH and FSH in women with hypothalamic amenorrhea and stimulates reproductive hormone release (Jayasena CN, 2010).

Male Reproduction

Testicular Kisspeptin is important for spermatogenesis, the production and development of male sperm (Cao Y, 2019). Kisspeptin can induce human sperm motility changes (Cao Y, 2019). There is a positive association between Kisspeptin concentration in seminal plasma and semen quality (Cao Y, 2019). Importantly, KP increases testosterone in men (Skorupskaite K, 2014).

Men with type 2 diabetes often have low testosterone concentrations (Skorupskaite K, 2014). Kisspeptin can increase LH with an associated increase in testosterone (Skorupskaite K, 2014) .

Sexual Attraction

The attraction pathway in humans is activated by Kisspeptin (Yang L, 2020). Key brain regions that govern sexual behavior and perception of beauty are activated with KP (Yang L, 2020). It enhances brain activity in response to smell and visual cues of attraction in healthy men, helping to process these cues in relation to sexual arousal (Yang L, 2020).

For example, the perfume Chanel No. 5 was used as a feminine scent to assess Kisspeptin’s effects on the male brain (Yang L, 2020). Results show that Kisspeptin enhances brain responses to the feminine scent in several parts of the brain that are involved in processing smells, evaluation of smell stimuli and sexual arousal networks (Yang L, 2020). In reaction to visual stimuli, Kisspeptin significantly enhanced activity in the brain regions that govern the visual perception of beauty (Yang L, 2020).

In female rodents, mate preference and receptivity to mating depends heavily on smell stimuli in the brain (Hellier V, 2019). Kisspeptin neurons in the brain are activated by male smells in female mice. In female mice with no KP, mate preferences and willingness to mate are impaired (Hellier V, 2019). They can be reinstated by a single injection of Kisspeptin. Likewise, removal of the brain area with Kisspeptin neurons in adult females impaired mate preference and desire to mate. Activation of these neurons re-triggered mating behavior (Hellier V, 2019).

Kisspeptin signaling may be a new therapy for reproductive and psychosexual disorders (Yang L, 2020). The behavioral effects induced by Kisspeptin can help in managing psychosexual disorders, as well as common reproductive disorders (Yang L, 2020).

Cancer

Kisspeptin is able to prevent the spread, or metastasis, of cancer (Cao Y, 2019). It suppresses metastasis in many cancers, including gastric, esophageal carcinoma, pancreatic, ovarian, bladder and prostate cancers (Ciaramella V, 2018). Treatment with Kisspeptin reduces cancer cell aggressiveness and metastatic abilities, making the cancer less likely to spread (Ciaramella V, Antitumor efficacy of Kisspeptin in human malignant mesothelioma cells, 2018).

KP could play a key role in inhibiting the proliferation, invasion and migration of cancer cells (Ciaramella V, 2018). Its anti-tumor effect is associated with inhibiting the very small blood vessels within a tumor which give the tumor a blood supply. (Ciaramella V, 2018). Preventing a blood supply for a tumor is key to stopping its progression.

Does Kisspeptin have Side Effects?

Peptides typically have no side effects and are effective in low concentrations (Khavinson V, 2020). No adverse effects from Kisspeptin have been seen (Jayasena CN, 2010).

**  Please stay tuned for our next blog on more Peptide Therapy!  **

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