BPC-157: Improves Tendon Healing
Let's talk BPC-157 as it relates to tendon healing. According to Wikipedia, it has the amino acid sequence of Gly-Glu-Pro-Pro-Pro-Gly-Lys-Pro-Ala-Asp-Asp-Ala-Gly-Leu-Val. Incidentally, I dropped this into Google Translate and let Google determine the language… it guessed Czech.
BPC is proven effective via a number of delivery methods: intragastric, intramucosal intraperitoneal, and is effective via subq injection at the target area. Presumably effective when injected intramuscular since I see no reason why it wouldn’t be. Healing is reported in pancreas, liver, endothelium, heart pseudoarthrosis with no side effects or toxicity. The lack of side effects is key, and worth explaining in itself by understanding what BPC is. It’s a synthetic peptide (a term describing two or more amino acids linked in a chain), derived from 15 amino acids that are otherwise naturally found in the stomach, just not in this particular sequence. The lack of side effects then can be explained by the otherwise natural occurrence of the amino acids in the body.
It’s water soluble, resistant in gastric acid for 24 hours, prevents ulcers and is an anti-inflammatory, Given its solubility, it’s raw (white powder) is mixed using BAC (bacteriostatic) water for easy administration via subq.
Frankly, this is likely the best use for BPC given the debilitating nature of tendon injuries and the length of time spent in recovery / physical therapy - anything to improve recovery in this space is welcome. That’s what I am focussing on here. (I recognize that BPC may have other organ protecting attributes that will be beneficial for those on-cycle and I will cover it in a future write-up.)
BPC 157 was used in a study on rat tendons in which tendons were cultured with both BPC and without it. This is especially interesting given tendon injury is the most common issue self-reported by Olympic athletes who were PED users (42.7%).
This study examined cultured tendon fibroblasts (fancy name for cells). Interestingly, cultured tendons grow rapidly in culture, who knew? I didn’t. Anyway, they were treated with either control (0), 0.5, 1, and 2 ug/ml of BPC for 24 hours. In a dose dependent manner, the following was noted:
- Tenocyte number (fibroblasts… or tendon cells) doubled at 2ug/ml versus control (0).
- Spreading within the culture was increased at 2ug/ml versus control
- FAK (focal adhesion kinase) more than tripled. FAK tells cells how to stick to each other, important in healing.
- Paxillin increased 5x. Paxillin is necessary for recruitment of FAK (among other things)
This study indicates significant improvements in tendon healing at the target site of application.
A second study crushed achilles tendons of rats using 0.727Ns/cm2 of force. Presumably, this is enough to significantly damage the muscle. Markedly, BPC demonstrates short-term benefits, reducing water retention (edema) at the damage site and showed signs of regenerating myofibers and increased blood vessels with strong desmin immunoreactivity (early protein marker in muscle) within 2 hours, with the injury severity ranked as almost half of that of the control. Those rats treated with BPC had less scar formation and less inflammation, period, and this was true with rats with BPC carried via saline or 6a-MP intraperitoneal-ly, or via topical gel.
All of this can be compared with the control, which on day 14 of post-injury had significant atrophy and disorganized muscle fibers, and continued muscle impairment.
Lastly, 48 rats underwent rotator cuff detachment. One group was treated with 10ug/kg of BPC 157 intraperitoneally while the other got nada. Range of motion, muscle length, walk pattern, muscle strength were performed at 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks post-injury. Those treated with BPC 157 completely healed with no significant differences between them and healthy rats. The controls did not show full recovery by the end of the trial, and had reduced strength and range.
Application in Humans
There are no human trials using BPC 157 for tendon healing that I could find. Or for any use, for that matter. Lots of rat studies, and from what they tell us BPC-157 is not toxic and very safe. ‘No reported toxicity (LD1 could be not achieved) profile is reported for BPC 157’. Tbh, it surprises me that we have reports on BPC going back to the early 2000’s and late 90’s, yet only have rat studies to go by. Given that the compound is naturally occuring and can’t be patented, perhaps it should not be a surprise.
Still, the fact that this peptide is only being used by weight lifting bro’s, and not in those that truly need it, is a crying shame.
Accelerated healing is not well understood. This paper shows the large increase of collagen expression (~30% over control), a modest increase of reticulin, and rapid increase of fibroblasts (~50% in the first 2 days over control) that BPC causes. It seems plausible that the healing effect comes from its anti-inflammatory and protein increasing traits, though the ‘how’, or root cause, of these beneficial traits is open for further research.
There is so much this compound could be used for that I am yet to touch on: from a hangover cure/preventer (/u/nattyfuckface), reducing nsaid toxicity, ulcer treatment, helping irritable bowel syndrome etc. I suspect its usefulness comes about from its anti-inflammatory qualities, given inflammation is a cause of so many of our ills, but that’s just my speculation.
Brodotes suggest subq shots to the target area to be the best mechanism for delivery, though topical application is something to explore too if we can find a suitable carrier that doesn’t destroy a fragile peptide. Human doses seem to be about 75-250mcg twice daily, though this might be increased substantially depending on its use, scaling up 500mcg three times daily for a particularly severe injury (thank you /u/nattyfuckface for the protocol). Some irritation at the site of injection at this higher dose has been reported by multiple people.
All in all, a very useful peptide to keep handy and treat injury as it arises with little to no toxicity or known significant side effects.