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Epithalon is a tetrapeptide isolate derived from epithalamin, a crude polypeptide extract of bovine pineal glands. Developed in the 1980s by Professor Vladimir Khavinson, epithalon induces telomere elongation, thereby delaying aging of the reproductive and immune systems and increasing the lifespan of organisms. Used clinically in Russia, epithalon is heavily studied around the world for its demonstrated anti-aging, sleep-promoting, anti-cancer, and disease-fighting properties.

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    What is Epithalon?

    Epithalon is a synthetic version of epithalamin, a naturally occurring tetrapeptide found in the bovine pineal glands. Also known as epitalon or epithalone, it was discovered in the late 1980s by Prof. Vladimir Khavinson, who now heads the Saint Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology [1].

    Like epithalamin, epithalon is also a tetrapeptide that comprises four amino acids. It is believed to stimulate and elongate telomeres in human somatic cells, helping them maintain proper length. Epithalon’s ability to upregulate telomerase activity has numerous effects, including life extension, anti-aging properties, and inhibition of tumorigenesis [2, 3].

    Epithalon has been found to suppress the CCl11 and HMGB1 genes and increase the lifespan of cell cultures and animal test subjects [4]. Further, the peptide has also been found to exert antioxidant effects, while inhibiting carcinogenic receptor expression, giving it anti-tumor effects in breast and colorectal cancer [5, 6].

    Epithalon regulates biomolecules that play important roles in the inflammation process including cytokines and C-reactive protein. This suggests that it may be beneficial in treating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis [7].

    Lastly, epithalon plays a significant role in the endocrine system by increasing levels of endogenous hormones that naturally diminish with age, such as melatonin (which helps regulate the sleep cycle), and gonadotropic hormones (FSG, LG, prolactin), which play a role in reproductive functions [8].

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    Epithalon Benefits | Clinical Trials

    Epithalon is a research chemical and is therefore sold for in vitro testing and laboratory experimentation only. It is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration nor by any of its international regulatory counterparts. Researchers interested in studying epithalon may note that it has been observed to offer the following benefits in past studies and trials.

    Epithalon and anti-aging

    As telomeres shorten with age and epithalon induces telomerase activity and elongates telomeres, there is strong research interest in epithalon from an anti-aging standpoint:

    • A 2003 study by Khavinson et al. found that epithalon elongated telomeres and induced telomerase activity when introduced to telomerase-negative human fetal fibroblast cultures, with the authors concluding that epithalon may “prolong the lifespan of cell populations” [2].
    • A 2007 study conducted in Russia found that epithalon extended the lifespan of rats exposed to natural and constant illumination [9].
    • A 2003 study involving epithalamin (the substance from which synthetic epithalon is derived) found that epithalon has a “positive effect” on cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems, and may prolong the lifespan of elderly human test subjects [10].
    • A 12-year randomized clinical study involving epithalamin found that this peptide was associated with a “geroprotective effect” and increased the lifespan in elderly subjects with heart disease and accelerated aging of the cardiovascular system [11].
    • A 15-year follow-up study published in 2011 found that patients with a rapidly aging cardiovascular system who received epithalamin treatment for 2-3 years experienced a 1.6-1.8 fold decreased mortality rate compared with the control group [12].

    Epithalon and sleep enhancement

    As noted, epithalon can increase levels of melatonin, which is strongly involved in regulating the sleep cycle, thus leading to research interest in the sleep-promoting effect of epithalon [8].

    A 2007 clinical trial conducted in Russia found that epithalon can normalize the hormone circadian rhythm in elderly test subjects and increase nighttime levels of melatonin in subjects with pineal gland functional insufficiency [13]. These findings prompted researchers to conclude that epithalon may help increase the quality of life for elderly patients by improving sleep quality.

    Disease fighting, anti-cancer, and antioxidant effects

    Epithalon has antioxidant activity that helps regulate levels of cytokines and C-reactive protein [5, 7]. This has generated strong research interest in epithalon as a potential treatment for a variety of inflammatory ailments including arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

    Breast cancer and colorectal cancer studies have shown that epithalon exhibits strong anti-tumor effects and inhibits the expression of carcinogenic receptors [6]. A research paper published in 1997 found that epithalon treatment decreased the size of tumors in test subjects with ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancer while helping to restore cellular immunity [14].

    This brief summary of epithalon benefits should provide researchers with a useful starting point for identifying key areas where further research may be warranted.

    Epithalon Side Effects

    According to a 15-year follow-up study on patients who had received up to six courses of epithalamin treatment over a period of three years, researchers were not able to identify any major side effects or adverse events caused by the peptide [12]. This is consistent with the published epithalon research to date.

    As with the subcutaneous administration of any peptide, the subject may experience minor, injection-related side effects such as swelling and redness at the injection site. Mild nausea has also been reported in subjects who are administered doses in excess of 1mg.

    Is Epithalon Safe?

    Epithalon has not undergone any long-term safety studies, for which reason we cannot draw any definitive conclusions related to its safety. Researchers interested in investigating epithalon’s safety profile should note that the peptide has not been formally reviewed by the United States Food and Drug Administration, nor by any of its international regulatory counterparts.

    As noted, however, the peptide has exhibited minor to no side effects when administered to both animal subjects and humans, across a variety of research settings and dosages. Notably, based on the results of the above-cited 15-year follow-up study, concluded in 2011, epithalamin-treatment patients had “significantly lower mortality” compared to the control group [12].

    In summary, despite the lack of formal long-term safety data on epithalon, we do not note any safety issues associated with the peptide.

    Epithalon Dosage Calculator

    Epithalon is sold exclusively for research purposes and no dosing protocol has been universally agreed upon as safe and effective for test subjects. A number of dosage protocols appear in the epithalamin and epithalon studies and trials performed to date, the most notable of which has been the Khavinson protocol (or, “Russian protocol”) for anti-aging and longevity [1].

    The Khavinson protocol calls for a total course of 100mg of epithalon, administered as follows:

    • Daily Dosage: 10mg epithalon
    • Frequency: Administer one to two subcutaneous injections daily. For twice-daily injections, administer once in the AM and once in the PM.
    • Study Duration: 10 days
    • Repeat Course: 2 times/year. Each course should be followed by a pause of at least four months.
    • Notes: One 100mg course of epithalon requires two 50mg epithalon vials.

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    How to Reconstitute Epithalon

    Epithalon is reconstituted by injecting bacteriostatic water into the peptide vial and swilling the solution until the epithalon powder is fully dissolved.

    How is Epithalon Delivered?

    Epithalon is most commonly injected subcutaneously, approximately two inches to either side of the test subject’s belly button area.

    How to Take Epithalon

    Based on the Khavinson protocol, epithalon may be administered subcutaneously at a daily dose of 10mg for 10 days. This course may be administered twice annually, with at least a four month break in between courses.

    Bacteriostatic Water For Injection

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    Epithalon 2


    1. Medical Professional Monograph Epithalon. (2022). Retrieved 30 June 2022, from
    2. Khavinson VKh, Bondarev IE, Butyugov AA. Epithalon peptide induces telomerase activity and telomere elongation in human somatic cells. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2003 Jun;135(6):590-2. doi: 10.1023/a:1025493705728. PMID: 12937682.
    3. Khavinson V, Diomede F, Mironova E, Linkova N, Trofimova S, Trubiani O, Caputi S, Sinjari B. AEDG Peptide (Epitalon) Stimulates Gene Expression and Protein Synthesis during Neurogenesis: Possible Epigenetic Mechanism. Molecules. 2020 Jan 30;25(3):609. doi: 10.3390/molecules25030609. PMID: 32019204; PMCID: PMC7037223
    4. Khavinson VKh, Kuznik BI, Tarnovskaia SI, Lin'kova NS. [Peptides and CCL11 and HMGB1 as molecular markers of aging: literature review and own data]. Adv Gerontol. 2014;27(3):399-406. Russian. PMID: 25826983.
    5. Anisimov VN, Arutjunyan AV, Khavinson VK. Effects of pineal peptide preparation Epithalamin on free-radical processes in humans and animals. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2001;22(1):9-18. PMID: 11335874.
    6. Anisimov VN, Khavinson VK, Provinciali M, Alimova IN, Baturin DA, Popovich IG, Zabezhinski MA, Imyanitov EN, Mancini R, Franceschi C. Inhibitory effect of the peptide epitalon on the development of spontaneous mammary tumors in HER-2/neu transgenic mice. Int J Cancer. 2002 Sep 1;101(1):7-10. doi: 10.1002/ijc.10570. PMID: 12209581.
    7. Labunets IF, Butenko GM, Korkushko OV, Shatilo VB. Effect of epithalamin on the rhythm of immune and endocrine systems functioning in patients with chronic coronary disease. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2007 Apr;143(4):472-5. doi: 10.1007/s10517-007-0159-y. PMID: 18214303.
    8. Khavinson VKh, Morozov VG. Geroprotektornaia éffektivnost' timalina i épitalamina [Geroprotective effect of thymalin and epithalamin]. Adv Gerontol. 2002;10:74-84. Russian. PMID: 12577695.
    9. Vinogradova IA, Bukalev AV, Zabezhinski MA, Semenchenko AV, Khavinson VKh, Anisimov VN. Effect of Ala-Glu-Asp-Gly peptide on life span and development of spontaneous tumors in female rats exposed to different illumination regimes. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2007 Dec;144(6):825-30. doi: 10.1007/s10517-007-0441-z. PMID: 18856211.
    10. Khavinson VKh, Morozov VG. Peptides of pineal gland and thymus prolong human life. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2003 Jun-Aug;24(3-4):233-40. PMID: 14523363.
    11. Korkushko OV, Khavinson VKh, Shatilo VB, Antonyuk-Shcheglova IA. Geroprotective effect of epithalamine (pineal gland peptide preparation) in elderly subjects with accelerated aging. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2006 Sep;142(3):356-9. English, Russian. doi: 10.1007/s10517-006-0365-z. PMID: 17426848.
    12. Korkushko OV, Khavinson VKh, Shatilo VB, Antonyk-Sheglova IA. Peptide geroprotector from the pituitary gland inhibits rapid aging of elderly people: results of 15-year follow-up. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2011 Jul;151(3):366-9. English, Russian. doi: 10.1007/s10517-011-1332-x. PMID: 22451889.
    13. Korkushko OV, Lapin BA, Goncharova ND, Khavinson VKh, Shatilo VB, Vengerin AA, Antoniuk-Shcheglova IA, Magdich LV. [Normalizing effect of the pineal gland peptides on the daily melatonin rhythm in old monkeys and elderly people]. Adv Gerontol. 2007;20(1):74-85. Russian. PMID: 17969590.
    14. Morozov VG, Khavinson VKh. Dostizheniia i perspektivy razvitiia Sankt-Peterburgskogo Instituta Bioreguliatsii i Gerontologii SZO RAMN (k 10-letiiu so dnia osnovaniia) [Achievements and prospects in the development of the St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology of the Northwestern Branch of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences]. Adv Gerontol. 2002;10:11-7. Russian. PMID: 12577686.


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