BPC-157 and MK-677: Performance Enhancement at an Unkown Cost

In this article, we will examine BPC 157 and MK 677, two peptide supplements with performance-enhancing properties and potential therapeutic applications. We will delve into how they enhance performance and their evidence of anti-inflammatory, healing, and recovery properties. We will weigh the evidence indicating their benefits against the absence of detailed human studies to indicate their safety. Are BPC-157 and MK-677 worth the hype?
Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the
University of Oxford.

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BPC-157 vs MK-677

BPC-157 and MK-677 are dietary supplements used for enhancing performance, but the FDA approves neither due to insufficient research on their long-term safety.

What is BPC-157?

BPC-157 stands for Body Protection Compound 157, a pentadecapeptide comprising 15 amino acids. It's a partial sequence of a body protection compound first discovered in human gastric juice [1].

BPC-157 has been shown to have extensive beneficial properties, including:

  • Healing: BPC-157 is a peptide that can speed up tendon healing and muscle recovery, bone, skin and ligament healing [2, 1].
  • Anti-inflammation [3]
  • Gastrointestinal tract benefits: BPC-157 has been used as an experimental therapy for peridontitis, oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, intestine, liver, and pancreas lesions [4]. BPC-157 can also protect the stomach against damage caused by alcohol or NSAID medication [5].
  • Cytoprotection: Protection against harmful pathogens, such as benefits from COVID-19 [5, 6].

Although the spectrum of therapeutical benefits of BPC-157 sounds highly appealing, most of the studies supporting the above benefits have been done in animals. Further research is essential.

What is MK-677?

MK-677, also known as Ibutamoren, is a synthetic drug miming the endogenous hunger hormone ghrelin. It can promote muscle growth, which makes MK-677 a popular supplement in the bodybuilding and performance-enhancing communities.

The stomach naturally produces ghrelin, regulates further food intake, and regulates energy allocation to anabolism.

  • MK-677 is designed to stimulate the secretion of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I). Critically, there have been few side effects from increasing GH and IGF-1 with taking MK-677, indicating it is safe to use in moderate quantities [7].
  • MK-677 is a promising supplement to reverse and prevent age-related lean mass loss. It can improve muscle growth and strengthen bones and tendons, especially in older adults. This is likely to rely on GH and IGF-1 stimulation, which, in 60-year-old adults, was found to be restored to similar levels in many young people [7].
  • MK-677 can counteract muscle wasting in extreme diets [8].

What are the side effects of MK-677?

As with any pharmacological pill, MK-677 also has side effects to accompany its benefits. Most notably, MK-677 increases hunger and appetite, but also blood sugar. This is the opposite of weight loss peptides, which block the activity of GLP-1, a related gastric peptide.

Another study found that MK-677 treatment increased serum leptin levels and the leptin/body fat ratio at two weeks of treatment and serum-free T3 after eight weeks. These results indicate that MK-677 treatment can affect circulating factors important for adipose tissue mass and fuel metabolism [9].

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It's important to note that while MK-677 has shown potential benefits in clinical trials, further research is needed to understand its long-term effects and safety profile fully. We discussed further side effects of MK-677 in our blogs about MK-677 and cancer and MK-677 and brain damage.

BPC-157 vs MK-677: Similarities and Differences

Similarities between BPC-157 vs MK-677

There are several similarities between BPC-157 and MK-677. Both BPC-157 and MK-677 are:

  • Supplements not approved for any specific medical use, and the FDA has warned against their marketing by specific supplement websites [10].
  • Supplements used for muscle growth
  • Helpful in tendon repair and anti-inflammation
  • Relevant to the digestive system: BPC-157 is derived from gastric peptide, and MK-677 mimics the function of gastric-derived ghrelin.

Differences between BPC-157 vs MK-677

There are several notable differences between BPC-157 and MK-677.

The most notable is how they can be used for muscle growth. By increasing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), BPC-157 improves anti-inflammation and promotes recovery. On the other hand, MK-677 stimulates the growth hormone directly, facilitating improvements in muscle mass and strength. This indicates that BPC-157 and MK-677 should be used in clinics and sports for different goals.

The second difference is the mode of administration. BPC-157 is more likely to be injected under the skin or into the muscle, whereas MK-677 is taken as a pill first thing in the morning [10].

The FDA approves neither BPC-157 nor MK-677, and they are on the controlled substance in sports list, with insufficient evidence about these supplements to be able to take them safely.

Therefore, it is not advised to take either BPC-157 or MK-677, regardless of what influencers or bodybuilding websites claim.

Summary: BPC-157 vs MK-677

To summarise, BPC-157 and MK-677 are performance enhancers focusing on performance aspects: improved regeneration or increased muscle mass, respectively.

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Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is a postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford. She has worked across a spectrum of hot topics in neuroscience, including her current project measuring reinforcement learning strategies in Parkinson’s disease. Previously, she studied the efficacy of psilocybin as a therapy for critical mental health conditions and examined molecular circadian rhythms of migraine disorders. She completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow and participated in a year abroad at the University of California, where she worked on a clinical trial for spinal cord injury.