Illustration of the gut brain connection

Could this be the greatest brain compound ever discovered? BPC-157 Peptide Therapy for healing the gut-brain connection

BPC stands for Body Protective Compound, and that should tell you something about how great this peptide is! It is one of the most exciting peptide therapies to come along and may have tremendous potential for treating serious conditions in the future including stroke, alcohol and drug overdoses, and schizophrenia (Vukojević, et al, 2022). This peptide originates in the gut and is thought to have a healing effect in both the upper and lower GI tract as well. Its role in the gut is to initiate and support the repair and maintenance of the intestinal tract and stomach by regenerating cells in the walls of the intestines and endothelium and helping the body prevent ulcers. It also supports the microbiome and helps maintain the health of arteries and veins. 

This peptide engages the Nitric Oxide (NO) pathway by assisting with the formation of new blood vessels through angiogenic repair. This is important for wound recovery since the NO pathway delivers oxygen to injuries and wounds to speed recovery.

BPC 157 is responsible for stimulating the production of cytokines like VEGF, TGF-b, and FGF. It upregulates the Anti-Inflammatory Gene Transcription Factor, and Human Growth Hormone receptors, all leading to better systemic repair response. BPC 157 also stimulates the formation of collagen, which benefits your skin, bones, and connective tissue. Because of its origin in the GI tract, it’s thought to stimulate healing for a variety of conditions relating to the gut. It is one of the most impressive of the peptides available for injection.

So what’s this about brain health? In an animal study, BPC 157 was found to heal spinal cord injuries, reverse the effects on the brain of both alcohol overdose and long-term usage, reverse the brain effects of methamphetamine and opioid use, largely heal the effects of stroke, and show tremendous progress in treating schizophrenia. In fact, the authors of this study ((Vukojević, et al, 2022, cited above), concluded that 

Researchers have consistently demonstrated that BPC 157 exerts a myriad of beneficial effects throughout the body. There is no reason to indicate that the benefits of BPC 157 are limited by the validity of the utilized models and/or methodology limitations. Indeed, we can argue that the effectiveness, easy applicability, safe clinical profile and mechanism of BPC 157 (i.eBPC 157/dopamine/glutamate/NO system) represent an alternative, likely successful, future therapeutic direction for neurological conditions.”

Additional studies have shown that BPC 157 can offer tendon, ligament, and skeletal muscle healing (Gwyer, et al, 2019) “…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. Moreover, skeletal muscle injury models have suggested a beneficial effect not only for disturbances that occur as a result of direct trauma but also for systemic insults including hyperkalemia and hypermagnesia. Promisingly, there are few studies reporting any adverse reactions to the administration of BPC 157…”

Since it derives from the gut, it’s not surprising that it has shown promise in helping to close gut permeability (leaky gut), and by strengthening cells. It’s particularly effective at protecting against all sorts of toxic assaults on the body, particularly those absorbed through the gut: “The stable gastric pentadecapeptide BPC 157 protects stomach cells, maintains gastric integrity against various noxious agents such as alcohol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and exerts cytoprotection/ adaptive cytoprotection/organoprotection in other epithelia, that is, skin, liver, pancreas, heart, and brain.” (Park, et al, 2020). Another study in 1999 (Jelovac, et al) found the compound effective in healing stomach ulcers. Sikiric, et al, demonstrated its possible use to heal distended stomachs and noted that it has been used safely and with some effect in trials for irritable bowel disease.

The peptide has also been found to be effective in treating wounds. One study (by Huang, et al, in 2015) found it effective in treating chemical burns- which are remarkably hard to heal. A study in rats in 2019 (Perovic, et al) found BPC 157 effective in promoting spinal cord injuries in rats. In fact, the study concluded that all of the rats treated showed significant improvement in being able to move their tails after paralysis. Many of these studies mention that it is effective in treating various wounds. One animal study (Stupnisik, et al, 2015) even found that it reduced bleeding after amputation in rats that had been treated with blood thinners! Importantly, it also seems to improve granulation collagen during wound healing, meaning not only is there an acceleration of the healing itself, but that perhaps there is a likelihood of less scarring when healing (Tkalcević, et al 2007).

Recent studies have also found promise for the compound in studies evaluating it for MS, various drug-induced cell damage, and traumatic brain injuries. It really does seem to have a wide range of healing functions and mechanisms. What’s the takeaway from all of these studies? Well, more studies in humans should be done, but all signs seem to point to BPC-157 as being a peptide that has vast potential in healing and decreasing inflammation- in wounds, muscles, the gut, and the brain. The second takeaway is that this underscores a point that we make frequently in these blogs- that there is a real link between the gut and the brain, and that injury or dysbiosis in one can lead to problems with the other. If you want to heal your brain, then the gut is of paramount importance. The fact that a peptide isolated from gastric juices seems to have such a profound impact on the brain bolsters this claim. Here is a summary of the potential benefits of  BPC-157. 

  • Accelerates healing of ligaments, bones, joints, and tendons
  • Can reduce inflammation caused by autoimmune conditions 
  • Protects against the formation of scar tissue
  • Improves brain health & mood
  • Blocks long-term effects of corticosteroid injections
  • Protects the cardiovascular system 
  • Helps with injury and wound healing