Introducing the world of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) Peptide: uses and benefits
In the realm of biochemistry and molecular biology, a remarkable class of molecules known as peptides has been captivating the scientific community for decades.
Among these peptides, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) stands out as a multifunctional neuropeptide with a wide range of physiological roles in the human body.
This article delves into the intricacies of VIP peptide, elucidating what it is, how it works, and the current state of research surrounding this intriguing compound.
Let’s get into it!
28-amino Acid Neuropeptide
What is it?
Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) is a 28-amino acid neuropeptide that belongs to the secretin-glucagon superfamily.
Delgado M and Ganea D. explains it best in an article vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP):
“The 28-amino acids vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) was initially isolated from the intestine (Said and Mutt 1970) and identified soon thereafter as a neuropeptide localised both in the central and peripheral nervous system (Said and Rosenberg 1976):
VIP belongs to a family of structurally related neuropeptides and hormones that include secretin, glucagon, growth hormone releasing factor, glucagon-like peptide-1 and -2, helodermin, gastric inhibitory peptide and the closely related pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP).
Presumably, the peptide superfamily resulted from an extensively diverged common ancestral gene. VIP is expressed by neurons in various brain areas, and stored and released from nerve fibres innervating numerous organs, including heart, lung, thyroid, kidney, urogenital and gastrointestinal tracts, and immune organs such as spleen, thymus, bone marrow and lymph nodes (Henning and Sawmiller 2001)
Although the neuronal source of VIP has been firmly established, immune and endocrine cells have been also reported to express and secrete VIP.
VIP is synthesised as preproVIP which contains the VIP sequence and the related peptide called PHM (peptide with N-terminal histidine and C-terminal methionine amide) in humans, or PHI (peptide with N-terminal histidine and C-terminal isoleucine amide) in other species [reviewed in (Fahrenkrug 2010)
The fact that VIP and PHI/PHM are not always found in the same cell suggests alternative RNA or differential protein processing. The secondary structure of mature VIP is characterised by two β-turns containing the initial N terminus eight-amino acid residues, followed by two helices (residues 7–15 and 19–27) connected by a region of undefined structure that presumably confers molecular flexibility (Fry et al. 1989)”
VIP is synthesised in the central and peripheral nervous systems and acts on cells through its interaction with the VPAC1 and VPAC2 receptors, both of which are G protein-coupled receptors. These receptors are widely distributed in various tissues, underscoring the pleiotropic effects of VIP. Furthermore, VIP is produced by immune cells, highlighting its importance in the neuroimmune axis.
How does it work?
VIP exerts its profound physiological effects through a complex and versatile mechanism of action.
It primarily acts as a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator in the nervous system, playing a key role in regulating various physiological processes.
Here are some of the key functions and mechanisms through which VIP exerts its influence:
- Neuronal Function: In the central and peripheral nervous systems, VIP acts as a neurotransmitter. It participates in the regulation of circadian rhythms, sleep patterns, and wakefulness. VIP-secreting neurons, known as VIPergic neurons, are abundant in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, a region crucial for maintaining the body’s internal clock.
- Gastrointestinal Regulation: VIP is abundant in the gastrointestinal tract, where it functions as a potent vasodilator and plays a role in regulating secretion, motility, and absorption. It is involved in the coordination of gastrointestinal functions and is crucial for maintaining the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic signalling in the gut.
- Immunomodulation: VIP has been identified as an essential player in the neuroimmune axis. It influences the immune response by inhibiting the production of proinflammatory cytokines and promoting the release of anti-inflammatory mediators. This immunomodulatory role is of particular interest in the context of autoimmune diseases and inflammation.
What are the benefits?
The myriad therapeutic possibilities associated with VIP peptide are a product of in-depth scientific exploration and investigation. These endeavours encompass a wide array of studies, including cell culture experiments, extensive animal trials, and a growing body of human clinical trials that delve into the multifaceted health advantages of VIP peptide.
A thorough examination of the research conducted thus far reveals that VIP’s potential extends far beyond a singular domain, encompassing various aspects of human physiology and well-being. While its role in injury healing and wound repair is well-documented, the therapeutic reach of VIP peptide extends into other vital areas as well.
Beyond its established roles in neurological health, gastrointestinal regulation, and immunomodulation, VIP peptide continues to be the focus of research for its potential in a range of other areas. This may include its utility in the treatment of cardiovascular conditions, wound healing, and even as an adjuvant in cancer therapy.
How does VIP reduce high blood pressure and improve oxygenation?
If you want to know how this peptide reduces high blood pressure and improves oxygenation, you have come to the right place!
VIP helps reduce high blood pressure and reduce oxygenation in many ways:
VIP is known to have potent vasodilatory properties.
This means it can relax and dilate blood vessels, which leads to a decrease in peripheral vascular resistance.
This, in turn, reduces the overall resistance that the heart must overcome to pump blood throughout the body.
The relaxation of blood vessels results in improved blood flow and reduced pressure within the circulatory system, contributing to lower blood pressure.
Nitric Oxide (NO) Release:
VIP can stimulate the release of nitric oxide (NO) from endothelial cells in blood vessels.
Nitric oxide is a well-known vasodilator and signaling molecule that helps regulate blood vessel tone. When released, NO causes smooth muscle cells in blood vessel walls to relax, leading to vasodilation and decreased blood pressure.
Anti-Inflammatory and Immune Modulation:
VIP has anti-inflammatory properties and can influence the immune response.
Chronic inflammation can contribute to high blood pressure. By inhibiting the production of proinflammatory cytokines and promoting the release of anti-inflammatory mediators, VIP may help reduce inflammation and contribute to improved vascular health and lower blood pressure.
Effects on Pulmonary Circulation:
VIP’s vasodilatory effects are not limited to systemic blood vessels; it can also dilate pulmonary blood vessels, enhancing oxygenation in the lungs.
By reducing pulmonary vascular resistance, VIP may help improve blood flow to the lungs and increase the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the alveoli, leading to better oxygenation of the blood.
VIP acts on the cardiovascular system as a neuromodulator and helps maintain homeostasis.
By influencing the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic signalling, VIP can regulate heart rate and blood pressure. It contributes to the autonomic nervous system’s intricate control of cardiovascular functions, which is crucial for maintaining blood pressure within a healthy range.
Cardiovascular research titled Vasoactive intestinal peptide: cardiovascular effects details:
“VIP also has a primary positive inotropic effect on cardiac muscle that is enhanced by its ability to facilitate ventricular–vascular coupling by reducing mean arterial pressure by 10–15%. In concentrations of 10−8–10−5 mol, VIP augments developed isometric force and increased atrial and ventricular contractility.
“….The presence and significant cardiovascular effects of VIP in the heart suggests that this peptide is important in the regulation of coronary blood flow, cardiac contraction, and heart rate.”
Does VIP aid in innate and adaptive immunity?
Short answer, yes!
Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) has been shown to play a significant role in both innate and adaptive immunity. It is involved in the complex network of interactions between the nervous and immune systems, contributing to various aspects of the body’s immune response. Here’s how VIP aids in both innate and adaptive immunity:
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects: VIP is recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). By dampening the inflammatory response, VIP helps to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of excessive inflammation during infection or injury.
- Immunoregulation: VIP acts as an immunoregulatory molecule that helps maintain immune homeostasis. It influences the balance between proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses, contributing to the overall health of the immune system. This balance is crucial for effective innate immune defence.
- Neuropeptide-Mediated Regulation: VIP is produced by neurons within the gut and nervous system, and it can communicate with immune cells through specific receptors, such as VPAC1 and VPAC2. This communication helps coordinate and modulate the activity of innate immune cells, such as macrophages, dendritic cells, and neutrophils.
- Promotion of Tolerance: VIP can promote immune tolerance by modulating the differentiation and function of T cells. It has been shown to induce regulatory T cells (Tregs) and influence the differentiation of helper T cells into anti-inflammatory phenotypes, such as Th2 cells. This shift towards immune regulation and tolerance is crucial for adaptive immune balance.
- Modulation of B Cell Function: VIP also has an impact on B cells, which are essential for antibody production. Studies have suggested that VIP may regulate B cell activation and antibody production, contributing to the adaptive immune response.
- Autoimmune and Inflammatory Conditions: Research has indicated that VIP may be involved in regulating autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory conditions by promoting an anti-inflammatory environment and suppressing autoimmunity. This makes VIP a target for potential therapeutic interventions in diseases characterised by dysregulated adaptive immune responses.
VIP peptide’s ability to modulate immune responses, suppress inflammation, and promote immune tolerance positions it as a crucial player in both innate and adaptive immunity. Its involvement in the neuroimmune axis demonstrates the intricate connection between the nervous system and the immune system, further underscoring the importance of VIP in maintaining immune balance and overall immune system health.
VIP and mould toxicity, the golden duo? (works well with mould toxicity)
While VIP has shown promise in addressing certain inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, its specific efficacy for mould toxicity or mycotoxin-related illnesses remains an area of ongoing research and debate.
Mould toxicity, also known as mycotoxin illness, is a complex condition resulting from exposure to mould spores and the mycotoxins they produce. The symptoms of mould toxicity can range from respiratory issues to neurological symptoms and are believed to result from the body’s immune response to mycotoxins.
Although research on the use of VIP for mould toxicity is relatively limited, the potential benefits of VIP in addressing mould toxicity may be related to its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.
Some proponents of VIP therapy suggest that it may help modulate the immune response and reduce inflammation associated with mould toxicity. VIP’s ability to inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines and promote the release of anti-inflammatory mediators could theoretically contribute to symptom relief in individuals exposed to mould toxins.
Research conducted by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker have demonstrated that VIP effectively rectifies aberrant gene activation patterns in individuals with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) resulting from exposure to water-damaged buildings:
“a landmark study showing existence and correction by VIP (after the antecedent steps in our protocol are completed) of a host of gene activation abnormalities seen in CIRS caused by exposure to the interior environment of water damaged buildings (CIRS-WDB)”.
Does VIP aid the respiratory system?
Imagine having a key ally in the battle for healthy lungs and easy breathing. VIP steps into the spotlight as a promising player in the respiratory realm. Here’s how VIP can aid the respiratory system:
- VIP has bronchodilatory properties, which means it can relax the smooth muscles in the airways. By dilating the bronchial passages, VIP helps to widen the airways, making it easier to breathe. This bronchodilatory effect can be particularly beneficial for individuals with conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), where bronchoconstriction is a common issue.
- IP has anti-inflammatory properties and can modulate immune responses. In respiratory conditions characterised by inflammation, such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, VIP may help reduce inflammation in the airways. It can inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines and promote the release of anti-inflammatory mediators, potentially leading to a reduction in airway inflammation.
- Of course, it helps with immune regulation. VIP’s involvement in immune regulation can be relevant in the context of respiratory infections and allergies. It may help maintain a balanced immune response, preventing excessive inflammation and immune-mediated damage to the respiratory tissues.
Dosage and how to take it
You can acquire any of our peptides by booking in a consultation with our Integrative and Functional Medicine practitioner, Jessica, who has years of experience working with Peptide Therapy.
These consultations are available for international clients, and are not subject to the UK only.
Myriad Therapeutic Possibilities
Nūūtro: Your trusted Path to Superior Peptide Therapy
In the vast realm of health and wellness trends, there’s no denying the prevalence of misinformation surrounding Peptide Therapy. With an abundance of misleading information circulating the internet, it can be challenging to discern the gold from the dross.
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