Semax is a drug developed in Russia and promoted for its nootropic properties11https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/(SICI)1520-6769(199609)19:2%3C115::AID-NRC171%3E3.0.CO;2-B. Semax has profound effects on learning and has notable neuroprotective activity1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16996037. It’s been shown to significantly improve memory and attention in healthy people under extreme conditions, and improve brain circulation and resistance to oxygen deficiency (hypoxia)8https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/9173745.
Semax increases BDNF levels and the corresponding signaling receptor (trkB) in the hippocampus1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16996037. BDNF is brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a molecule produced in the brain that promotes the proliferation and survival of new neurons. Semax has also been shown to significantly increase levels of the serotonin metabolite 5-HIAA and enhance the release of striatal dopamine2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/150883893https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16362768.
Semax has demonstrated reliable antidepressant and anxiolytic effects4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/178500245https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/243851696https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18204410. It also reduces the neurological effects of chronic stress. All of these properties are due to its activation of the serotoninergic system and increased BDNF expression in the hippocampus.
Due to these properties, Semax is remarkably similar to Tianeptine, though the mechanism of action is different. Tianeptine shares the characteristics of increasing BDNF, reversing damage from stress, and antidepressant and anxiolytic activity. Also like Tianeptine, Semax shows a lot of promise for effectively treating different mental health conditions, most notably depression6https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18204410, and ADHD7https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16996699.
Semax is a synthetic analogue of ACTH 4-10 – an endogenous hormone produced from the pituitary gland. ACTH 4-10 acts as potent melanocortin receptor agonist, which improves memory and attention and provides neuroprotection (including ischemia-induced cardiac-injury)9https://www.abcam.com/acth-4-10-human-ab142255.html.
As an analogue of ACTH 4-10, Semax shares some key properties. Semax’s mechanism of action appears to come from modulation of melanocortin receptors. Like Selank, Semax has also been shown inhibit enzymes responsible for the breakdown of enkephalin10https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11443939 – a naturally-occuring opioid peptide in the body that can brighten mood and reduce stress.
Semax has not demonstrated any serious negative side-effects or complications and is non-addictive8https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/9173745. However, from various user reports there does appear to be some risk of acute hair loss due to the heightened BDNF levels. However, this effect is not permanent and users have reported their hairline returned to normal after cessation. For those if you who wish to try Semax but are wary of this potential side-effect, it would appear that supplementation of panax ginseng has actually been shown to prevent hair-loss induced from the heightened neurotrophin levels.12www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28966252/13www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28849028/14www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26820528/15www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28885585/16www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27158238/17www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25396716/
Overall, Semax is a very unique drug and is among the most promising solutions for treating depression effectively.
Where to Purchase Semax
Pharmacy-produced Russian Semax may be purchased at Cosmic Nootropic.
Semax is unregulated almost every country (including US and Canada), so if shipping overseas, there should not be any issues when passing through customs.
Like Selank, Semax is used as a nasal spray due to poor bioavailability. A standard dose is 100-150 mcg, taken up to 3x daily.