In the never-ending quest to identify silver-bullet compounds that increase recovery and enhance performance, much attention has been recently given to a group simply referred to as “peptides”.
Within this group, body protection compound, aka BPC-157, has garnered most of the limelight. In this review, we’ll have a look at what dietary supplement peptides are, why BPC-157 is unique, and our collective experiences using Infinite Age’s Body Protection Compound formula
Is BPC-157 a novel healing peptide or just unsubstantiated hype?
Let’s find out.
Conclusion: BPC-157 has potential to be a useful injury recovery agent, however research in humans is lacking.
Overview of Peptide Supplements for Performance
Peptides are chains of amino acids. And it is common knowledge that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. By default then, peptides are proteins. The body makes countless numbers of these chains using various combinations of the 20 amino acids found in the diet.
While we refer to peptides as chains, in reality, they are more like spaghetti noodles folded into an infinite number of shapes. What makes each peptide unique is the way it folds. Every combination/sequence of amino acids will result in a unique shape. And these shapes ultimately determine the function of the peptide.
As science continues to discover more and more of the body’s own peptides and the functions they serve, industry attempts to capitalize on these opportunities by replicating the peptides in a pill or injectable. This leads us to BPC-157.
Let's have a look at what’s inside the bottle:
Below I've reviewed the ingredients in BPC-157 - which only contains 1 ingredient:
Well that’s interesting, isn’t it?
Every supplement user out there is no stranger to long, unintelligible ingredient names but this one seems to take the cake.
The translation of this is actually pretty straightforward. BPC-157 is a peptide containing 15 amino acids and the sole ingredient on the product label is simply a list of the aminos and the order in which they are arranged in the peptide. Scientists abbreviate amino acids using 3 letter acronyms: Gly=glycine, Pro=proline, and so on.
This peptide is naturally created in the GI system and can be isolated from gastric juices. It also goes by the name “Bepecin” (1). Discovery of this peptide dates back to 1993 (2) where it has since been described to facilitate the healing of many tissues, including tendons, ligaments, muscle, and bones (3).
The most thorough scientific review on BPC-157 describes a handful of studies exploring the benefits of the peptide in various tissues (3). Impressive results in the realm of soft tissue healing have been published using various cellular assays and animal models.
The 2019 review publication cited above goes on to state: “...efficacy of BPC 157 is yet to be confirmed in human subjects.” (3).
Perhaps the most applicable research of interest to those pursuing performance enhancement and general well being is a study that explored the effect of BPC-157 injection and topical cream application on rats with induced skeletal muscle damage.
According to the study, the treatment significantly accelerated muscle recovery and repair over a 14 day period (4). If this mechanism of repair does in fact occur in humans, then this is likely the most useful aspect of BPC’s function. Athletes who suffer various muscular and/or tendon-related injuries could potentially turn to BPC-157 as an adjunct to their healing/recovery process.
If this section on the science of BPC-157 seems short, well, that’s because it is. Much of the popularity of this peptide is based on hype.
Despite the encouraging results from a handful of cellular and animal model studies, there just plain isn't much research out there describing the utility of this peptide in humans.
Verdict: While some studies have shown that BPC-157 supports healing in a variety of tissue types, no studies to date have shown positive outcomes in humans.
A few of us at alexfergus.com have experimented with BPC-157 with mixed results. I’ll share the anecdotal findings in the following section.
I'm Joe, a 42 YO male who’s diet & exercise program is geared towards health optimization and longevity.
I run 3-4 days per week, with most sessions being 4-mile jogs @ 7:30/mile pace. One session per week is high intensity sprinting: 8 “telephone pole” sprints at 95% maximal effort with plenty of rest between sprints. I’ve been running long distance for 25 years.
This running habit has been a fair amount of wear and tear on the joints and I’m starting to feel it in the knees. As such, I went into the BPC-157 trial wondering if there’d be any change in the residual soreness I experience from being a “dad runner”.
After completing the 30-day supply following the recommended dose, I did not notice any change in recovery soreness or any other physiological aspect of my existence. Granted, the research on this product suggests it may aid in soft tissue injury repair. I do not have a specific injury that requires recovery. Just trying to cope with normal wear and tear.
Another staff member at alexfergus.com experimented with two separate BPC-157 products, one of which was the Infinite Age product being reviewed here.
Similarly, this individual did not have any major health concerns. He also did not notice any effects from either product.
A third staff member aiming to suppress a fibromyalgia flare-up of aches and pains reported feeling amazing after 1.5 weeks of subcutaneous product use.
After 4 weeks, the individual reported “...felt like I hadn't had any pain ever in my life. All brain fog was lifted.”
Eventually, the product had to be stopped due to a histamine reaction, resulting in itching.
Transition from subcutaneous injections to oral capsules resulted in a similar histamine reaction and the product had to be discontinued. A third attempt to reintroduce the product caused the same pattern of events: both pain relief and the onset of some sort of histamine reaction.
One does not have to look very hard to find anecdotal cases where BPC-157 appears to have provided positive benefit in the realm of pain management and injury healing.
Even within the alexfergus.com staff, one of the three who have used the product experienced a positive response. It is important to note that much of the anecdotal evidence demonstrating positive responses are due to administering via subcutaneous injection rather than the more commonly utilized oral capsule.
It becomes harder to find solid examples of oral ingestion that lead to positive outcomes. It is quite possible that stomach/GI/liver metabolism breaks down the peptide such that a therapeutic dose is not achieved in target tissues.
Obviously subq injection bypasses all these barriers to active ingredient delivery.
This supplement appears to be more enigma than a go-to, reliable source for its proposed function.
I am encouraged by the scientific research demonstrating this peptide’s ability to facilitate soft tissue repair. As with most situations like these, much more research is necessary to really identify what function it serves and who may be the best candidates for its use.
At present, there’s no lab test to assess for deficiency/sufficiency of naturally occurring BPC-157. Nor are there other surrogate markers that may imply one is a candidate for this product. Adding more ambiguity to the situation is the fact that this product is considered a “research” supplement and has yet to be registered with the FDA as a dietary supplement.
On the plus side, there do not appear to be any significant adverse events consistently tied to the use of the product. However, long term use effects are presently unknown.
In summary, I believe that BPC-157 may have utility for soft tissue injuries, perhaps more so for those whom other interventions did not help. However, the only way to know if this product is for you is to try it and see for yourself.
This is a post by Joe Ailts. Joe has completed degrees in biotechnology (BS) and nutrition (MS) and is a science writer for Alexfergus. He has 14 years of experience in the clinical laboratory arena as well as in the dietary supplement industry.
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