BPC-157 is a peptide chain consisting of 15 amino acids. It is considered synthetic because this particular sequence does not exist in nature. It is derived from a protective protein found in the stomach.
Researchers have conducted numerous rodent studies on BPC-157 that show it has protective effects extending beyond the stomach and intestinal tract. BPC-157 has been shown to benefit ulcers in the stomach, intestinal damage such as fistulas and inflammatory disorders, bone and joint healing and growth rates, and organ damage. It also has some influences on the brain. Researchers have observed marked protective effects when BPC-157 is administered to rats alongside a research toxin or damaging surgical procedure.
More research is needed to clarify whether BPC-157 has multiple mechanisms of action, but current research suggests BPC-157 influences several growth factors usually involved in angiogenesis (the production of blood vessels) and other factors involved in regeneration following damage.
BPC-157 shows promise, but human studies are needed to demonstrate that these benefits extend beyond research animals.
The majority of studies on BPC-157 are done on rats given injections of the supplement. While BPC-157 is a stable peptide, peptides are a group of compounds that are normally poorly absorbed after oral supplementation, so researchers use injections in rodent studies instead. Furthermore, there is no human evidence for BPC-157 and the majority of the research has been conducted by a single research group. Due to its synthetic nature, there may be legal issues associated with the sale of this supplement in certain regions and it may be banned by some sport organizations.
BPC-157 is the term used to refer to a pentadecapeptide, a protein with 15 amino acids. BPC is an acronym for ‘Body Protection Compounds’ and refers to “peptides comprising 8-15 amino acids residues with a molecular weight of 900-1,600 daltons” according to the patent for BPC-157, although another study claims that BPC refers to a gastroprotective protein used to isolate BPC-157. This particular sequence does not share homology with other known gastric peptides, with at least one study noting that this sequence did not register in the Protein BLAST database (as of 2016). There are a few studies in which this peptide is also referred to as PL 14736, PL-10, and Bepecin.
When researchers tested BPC-157 in a CAM assay (chick embryo), it seemed to be capable of increasing the process of angiogenesis (blood vessel production) by 129+/-7% and 152+/-14% when administered in doses of 0.01 μg and 0.1 μg, respectively. This effect was later confirmed in HUVECs, where concentrations of 0.1 μg/mL and 1 μg/mL increased the formation of perfect tubes by 119+/-9% and 147+/-7% over 24 hours of incubation (with 1 μg/mL being determined to be the optimal concentration in HUVECs). This observation was confirmed in rats given limb damage as well. After a week of treatment with BPC-157, there appeared to be more blood vessels in the damaged limb than control. An increase in VEGFR2 expression was noted in the rats with an injured limb given BPC-157 compared to control, which was thought to underlie the increase in blood vessel production. When tested further, researchers discovered that VEGF-A is wholly unaffected at the concentration of 1 μg/mL, while VEGFR2 increased in a time-dependent manner within the cell and then proceeded to activate the VEGFR2-Akt-eNOS pathway (a pathway important to angiogenesis). When dynasore, a VEGFR2 inhibitor, was introduced, the entire pathway was no longer activated and tube formation no longer occurred in vitro.
BPC-157 has also been found to stimulate the mRNA of the growth factor EGR-1 in intestinal cells (Caco-2) at 10-100 μM, with most efficacy at 50 μM. A related protein, mRNA NAB2, was also increased shortly after. Both of these effects parallel the effects of PDGF-BB (an endogenous growth factor) although they require much higher concentrations. EGF-1 protein content also appeared to be increased.
There are numerous references, both online and in published scientific studies, to BPC 157 being safe and/or effective in clinical trials of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, results from such studies do not appear to have been published or peer-reviewed. Some studies in humans with titles suggesting they tested IBD – falsely cited even in the scientific literature – were in fact performed in healthy people.
In rats with injuries in their Achilles tendons, injections with BPC 157 helped the tendons to heal almost completely, whereas control rats didn’t make full recoveries. Similarly, peptide injections improved muscle healing for rats whose muscles had been cut or crushed. This effect even held true when rats were also treated with corticosteroids (steroid drugs like hydrocortisone), which can slow the healing process.
Keep in mind that BPC 157 is a practically unresearched substance. Due to the absence of clinical studies, its safety profile in humans is unknown. Talk to your doctor before supplementing with this peptide and report any side effects that you notice after taking it.
In one study, 32 healthy male volunteers were given BPC 157 enemas and reportedly had no notable adverse effects. However, important details like dosage aren’t readily available, and enemas are not the typical route of administration.
Additionally, these results appear to have only been presented at conferences and have not yet gone through peer review. As there aren’t many solid scientific studies in humans it’s unclear exactly what the side effects of BPC 157 are. Animal studies generally report no obvious adverse reactions, though that doesn’t exclude the possibility of unnoticed effects or different effects in people.
BPC 157 can be taken orally or via injection, either subcutaneous (under the skin) or intramuscular (directly into the muscle).
Of course, injections of any substance carry their own risks and require medical supervision. Anecdotally, several users report cycling BPC 157, while others use lower doses over extended periods of time (> 6 months).
Because there are no peer-reviewed clinical trials testing BPC 157, there is no proven dose. Additionally, the FDA has neither approved this drug for any conditions nor established an official dose. Users and supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses based on trial and error.
In rats and mice ingesting BPC 157 in their drinking water, the typical dosage ranged between 10 nanograms to 10 mcg (micrograms) per kg. The studied dosage for injections in rodents was within the same range. This is equivalent to a maximal dose of around 600 mcg for a 60 kg (132 lbs) adult human. However, doses often don’t scale between species. Some users report taking lower doses (~250 mcg/day) for pain relief. Remember that BPC 157 hasn’t been studied in humans. There is no way to know what the safe and effective dosage would be before clinical studies are carried out. Additionally, many of the animal experiments were done using injections directly into the abdominal cavity, rather than under the skin or into the muscle.