The body’s ability to heal itself is just shy of miraculous. Minor cuts, burns, and bruises disappear after just a few days. Broken bones generally heal in around six to 12 weeks. Stomach ulcers take about two to eight weeks to heal, after their cause is effectively addressed.
The liver is in a constant state of regeneration and can completely repair damaged areas within 30 days. In fact, you can have about two-thirds of your liver removed, and it’ll grow back within a few months. Even the brain can heal itself thanks to neuroplasticity.
However, many things can impair the body’s self-healing mechanisms, including age, diet, toxins, and lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking. Additionally, there are certain classes of medications that hinder healing, including immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and anticoagulants.
On the other hand, certain chemical compounds called peptides show promise in boosting the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Here at BioDesign Wellness Center, we’re excited about one peptide in particular — Body Protection Compound 157 or BPC-157 for short, which is the focus of this post.
What Are Peptides?
Peptides are naturally occurring chemical compounds — short chains of fewer than 50 amino acids — that serve as building blocks of proteins (much longer chains of amino acids) and as signaling molecules that call the body’s self-healing mechanisms into action.
They’re not drugs, but they’re commonly used as medications. More than 60 FDA-approved peptide medications are currently available, including insulin, which has been in use since the 1920s.
At BioDesign Wellness Center, we use peptides as a form of biological medicine — supporting and stimulating the body’s innate ability to heal itself. The great value in peptides is that they call into action the body’s natural metabolic and immunological pathways to heal and repair damage. Peptides prompt the body to repair tissue damage using its own built-in healing mechanisms.
This is quite different from medications that prevent the body doing something.
These would include, for example, antacid medications that inhibit the body’s production of stomach acid, anti-cholesterol medications that block the production of cholesterol, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that block the uptake of serotonin to treat depression.
In contrast, peptides activate certain healing pathways that respond safely and effectively.
Popular Peptide Supplements
Several natural and synthetic peptides are available over the counter as topical or oral supplements, including the following:
- Collagen peptides stimulate the production of collagen and elastin — proteins found in healthy skin, bone, and cartilage.
- Antimicrobial peptides can help the body fight infectious microbes (bacteria, viruses, and fungi), promote wound healing, increase the production of melanin (a natural sunscreen that protects the skin from sun damage), and whiten the skin (to help with hyperpigmentation or “age spots”).
- Creatin peptides (along with collagen peptides) improve muscle growth, strength, and repair.
What Is BPC-157?
BPC-157 is a 15-amino-acid sequence that’s present naturally in the stomach’s gastric juice, from which it is derived. It helps to protect and repair the lining of the stomach and intestines.
It’s stable in gastric juice, which degrades most other protein molecules for digestion and absorption, so it’s commonly used in the treatment of a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, including ulcers and Crohn’s disease.
Benefits of BPC-157
BPC-157 has a long list of potential benefits, including the following:
- Reduces inflammation.
- Restores tendons, muscles, intestinal tissue, bones, brain tissue, and cornea.
- Regulates growth hormone (GH) receptors.
- Mitigates the damage from cortisol injections, which negatively impacts muscles and soft tissue. BPC-157 has been shown to help tissues heal. Cortisone injections have become less in vogue medically due to their harmful side effects, including loss of muscle tissue, damage to ligaments and tendons, and bone loss. Many of these side effects can be reduced with the use of BPC-157.
- Increases fibroblast migration to improve healing. (Fibroblasts are collagen- and protein-producing cells that play an important role in healing. When tissue is injured, fibroblasts travel to the site of the injury to facilitate the healing process.)
- Increases VEGF 2, which improves angiogenesis (the formation of blood vessels) and neurological remodeling. This process assists the body in repairing a variety of tissues, including those of the stomach, intestines, skin, vasculature, nerve cells, and the brain.
- Improves survival under oxidative stress by increasing nitric oxide (NO) expression, thereby protecting the endothelial lining of the blood vessels from oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is found in inflammatory states, and it causes ischemic events — tissue damage caused by the deficient flow of oxygenating blood. Proper NO signaling in the body is imperative for maintaining homeostasis (healthy balance).
Conditions We Treat with BPC-157
As a functional medicine practice, our focus is to provide the body with what it needs to restore and maintain optimal health. Whenever a patient reports symptoms of illness, we use those as clues to solve the mystery of what’s causing those symptoms.
We treat the root cause or causes of the symptoms instead of merely trying to make the symptoms go away.
Our approach is often a two-step process. The first step is to identify and eliminate the root cause(s) of an illness. The second step involves repairing any resulting damage. This is where BPC-157 is especially useful.
We commonly use BPC-157 as part of our treatment for the following conditions:
- Chronic gastrointestinal (GI) issues, including colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel disease (IBD), gastritis, ulcers, and esophagitis. In a 2018 study published in Current Pharmaceutical Design, researchers compared the effectiveness of BPC-157 to that of various standard peptidergic angiogenic growth factors (EGF, FGF, and VEGF) and numerous carriers for treating gastrointestinal ulcer healing and tendon, ligament, muscle, and bone healing. They concluded, “Only BPC 157 was consistently effective in all of the models of acute/chronic injury of the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and lower gastrointestinal tract . . ..”
- Musculoskeletal issues include tendonitis, ligamentous injury, shoulder pain, knee pain, muscle soreness, and muscle recovery after workouts. In a 2019 study published in Cell Tissue Research, researchers noted, “…it is apparent that BPC 157 has huge potential and, following further development, has promise as a therapy to conservatively treat or aid recovery in hypovascular and hypocellular soft tissues such as tendon and ligaments.”
- Neurological conditions result in brain fog, memory loss, and concussion.
BPC-157 can be taken as a pill (because it remains stable in stomach acid) or via subcutaneous injection (just beneath the surface of the skin). It’s generally taken once or twice daily for 90 days.
You can purchase BPC-157 supplements over the counter in various forms, including nasal sprays, pills, and skin patches, but we discourage self-treatment with these or other supplements or medications.
Until you know the root cause of any illness, BPC-157 may help with healing, but underlying health issues may continue to cause damage. You want to fix the damage and address the underlying cause(s) of that damage.
We urge you to consult with a functional medicine practice to ensure that you’re receiving comprehensive treatment.
If you’re in or around Tampa, please feel free to contact us to schedule a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post about peptides and BPC-157 is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect current medical thinking or practices. No information contained in this post should be construed as medical advice from the medical staff at BioDesign Wellness Center, Inc., nor is this post intended to be a substitute for medical counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate medical advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed medical professional in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.