Can BPC-157 Treat Arthritis?

In this article, we will take a close look at BPC-157, a pentadecapeptide isolated from human gastric juice, and its extensive healing effects. We will also delve into the medical condition known as arthritis, characterised by inflammation and pain in the joints. The potential role of BPC-157 in treating arthritis will also be discussed.
Natasha Puttick

Natasha Puttick

Graduate medical student at Barts and London.

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What is BPC-157?

BPC-157, also known as Body Protection Compound 157, is a pentadecapeptide, meaning it consists of 15 amino acids. It is a partial sequence of a body protection compound that is discovered in and isolated from human gastric juice. BPC-157 has been suggested to have extensive healing effects and has been used in clinical trials for conditions such as ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis [1, 2].

BPC-157 has been shown to contribute to angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, and has been associated with the activation and up-regulation of VEGFR2, a key receptor involved in angiogenesis [3]. It has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory, cytoprotective, and endothelial-protective effects in different organ systems in different species [4].

In addition, BPC-157 has been shown to accelerate the healing of various types of wounds, including transected rat Achilles tendon and muscle crush injuries [5, 6]. It has also been found to be effective in healing gastrointestinal tract lesions and fistulas [1, 7].

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a medical condition characterised by inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the joints. It's not a single disease, but a general term referring to joint pain or joint diseases. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, each with different manifestations and symptoms [8, 9].

Arthritis can affect people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, and it's one of the most common joint disorders, affecting millions of people worldwide [10, 11].

Two of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). OA is often related to ageing or injury and affects the cartilage between joints, causing it to break down and become rough [12, 13]. RA, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system attacks its own tissues, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints [14].

Can BPC-157 treat arthritis?

BPC-157, a pentadecapeptide, has been studied for its potential therapeutic effects on various conditions, including arthritis. This peptide has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and has been suggested to contribute to angiogenesis, the process of forming new blood vessels, which is crucial for healing and recovery.

In a study on rats, BPC-157 was found to have a positive effect on adjuvant arthritis, a model of rheumatoid arthritis. The peptide was administered either as a single application or in a once-daily regimen. The study found that the development of lesions was considerably reduced after a single application of BPC-157, and even more so in rats treated daily with the peptide. Furthermore, the therapeutic effect of BPC-157 on already established adjuvant arthritis was observed after two weeks of medication and was still evident after one year of application [9].

BPC-157 has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which could be beneficial in managing arthritis, a condition characterised by inflammation of the joints. In a study on rats with ligature-induced periodontitis, a chronic inflammatory disease, systemic application of BPC-157 significantly reduced inflammation and bone resorption [8].

BPC-157 and Pain Management

In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, BPC-157 may also have analgesic or pain-relieving effects. A retrospective study on patients with knee pain, a common symptom of arthritis, found that intra-articular injection of BPC-157 led to significant improvement in knee pain in 91.6% of patients who received only BPC-157 [15].

In conclusion, while the studies cited here suggest that BPC-157 could potentially be used to treat arthritis, it's important to note that most of these studies were conducted on animal models. Further research, particularly clinical trials in humans, is needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of BPC-157 in the treatment of arthritis.

What are the risks associated with BPC-157?

In the studies provided, BPC-157 has been shown to be safe in various animal models, with no toxicity reported [16]. In clinical trials for inflammatory bowel disease and wound healing, BPC-157 has also been proven to be safe [16].

Despite these promising results, it's crucial to remember that these findings are based on animal studies and early-phase human trials. More extensive clinical trials in humans are needed to fully understand the safety profile of BPC-157.

As with any medication or supplement, potential risks and side effects may exist, and individual responses can vary. Therefore, it's always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment. Check out one of our other blogs on BPC-157.

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Natasha Puttick

Natasha Puttick

Natasha is a medical student at Barts and the London school of Medicine and Dentistry, with an interest in the social determinants of health. She graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in Human Sciences and has obtained two publications. Her most recent work investigating clinical vaccine trials has been published in BMJ Public Health.