Cerebrolysin: A Peptide for the Brain

When someone is at the core of your being you might say, “it is in my DNA.” DNA is praised and criticized for all sorts of things- good and bad with us, but the most fundamental things our DNA does is gives the codes to make strings of amino acids. If those strings are long enough, we call them proteins. If they are shorter and specifically if they have a known signaling function we call those strings of amino acids- peptides.

We know about over 7,000 of these peptides that our body uses to function. About 70 have been made available for clinical use and since they are either natural to us or use the natural processes our bodies already use they are usually safer than most prescription drugs.

One such peptide that has been especially well researched is called Cerebrolysin, which can be obtained from a compounded pharmacy with a health practitioner’s prescription.

This peptide includes fragments that act as growth factors for the brain. These growth factors called by some “Miracle Grow for the Brain” include brain derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF), nerve growth factors (NGF) and glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). These are all natural peptide signals the body uses to support the brain and nervous system.

Studies support Cerebrolysin’s use to interrupt the pathways of Alzheimer’s by protecting the cholinergic (memory) neurons (1) and also by aiding glucose transport to the brain (2),which is known to decrease with aging. In a 4 week trial of Alzheimer’s patients, they got much better on an Alzheimer’s Assessment Scale (3) when it was given IV.

It has been shown to help with vascular dementia (3) and preliminary trials suggest it could help Parkinson’s (4).

More aggressive uses of it have been shown to help with stroke recovery (5, 6). It has been further used with success in head injuries (7).

Getting back the our original observation, the most famous medicine for Alzheimer’s, Aricept, acts by poisoning the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine a neurotransmitter that helps with memory. This peptide, Cerebrolysin, in contrast actually works using the natural neuro growth factors of your body. As Dale Bredeson, the author of “End of Alzheimer’s” tells us, there is not one magic bullet for Alzheimer’s but working with your body’s own natural systems does seem to be making a step in the right direction.

1 Alvarez; et al. A 24-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of three dosages of Cerebrolysin in patients with mild to moderate Alheimer’s disease. European Journal of Neurobiology 2008; 13: 43-54

2 Boado, R; Brain-derived peptides increase the expression of a blood-brain barrier GLUT1 glucose transporter reporter gene. Neuroscience Letters, Dec 1996, Vol. 220(1), 53-56.

3 Allegri, R.F.; Guekht, A.. Cerebrolysin improves symptoms and delays progression in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Drugs of Today 2012, 48 (Supplement A): 25-41. DOI: 10.1358/dot.2012.48(Suppl.A).1739721

4 Sharma, A; et al. Nanodelivery of cerebrolysin induces neuroprotection in Parkinson’s disease. Neurochem Neuropharm 2017, 3:2(Suppl). DOI: 10.4172/2469-9780-C1-005

5 Dafin F. Muresanu, MD, PhD et al Cerebrolysin and Recovery After Stroke (CARS) A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Multicenter Trial Stroke. 2016;47:151-159

6 Heiss, W. et al. Cerebrolysin in Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke in Asia Results of a Double-Blind, Placebo- Controlled Randomized Trial. Stroke Journal of the American Heart Association. 2012;43:630-636;

7 G. K. C. Wong, X. L. Zhu, and W. S. Poon Beneficial effect of cerebrolysin on moderate and severe head injury patients: result of a cohort study Acta Neurochir (2005) [Suppl] 95: 59–60