Imagine a car that maintains and repairs itself. All you need to do is fuel it up, change the oil and other fluids occasionally, and it remains in tip-top condition for decades. As parts wear down, they are rejuvenated within hours. If there’s an accident, it might take a couple of weeks for the dents to pop out, leaving your car looking like new.

That’s pretty much how a healthy human body reacts to proper care, and it’s amazing. Cut your finger, and within days, the tissue repairs itself. Properly set a broken bone, and within six to 12 weeks, it’s almost like new. Plagued by stomach ulcers? Identify and address the cause, and those ulcers heal in a matter of two to eight weeks. 

Given the right supports, the body may even be able to heal itself of certain cancers. And thanks to neuroplasticity, the brain can regrow neurons and build new neural networks.

reducing inflammation with peptides

Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that can impair and undermine the body’s self-healing mechanisms. These include age, nutritional deficiencies, toxins, stress, poor sleep, and insufficient physical activity. Some medications can also impede healing, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), immunosuppressants, anticoagulants, and corticosteroids. 

In contrast, chemical compounds called peptides show promise of enhancing the body’s natural ability to heal itself. They can trigger responses at the cellular level that kick the body’s healing mechanisms into high gear. I’m especially excited about one peptide in particular — Body Protection Compound 157 or BPC-157 for short — which is the focus of this post.

Dr. Lewis Recommends: For a detailed overview of peptides, please read The Healing and Rejuvenating Power of Therapeutic Peptides here on my blog. If you are already familiar with that post, feel free to skip the next section and jump directly down to What Is Body Protection Compound 157?

What Are Peptides?

Peptides are naturally occurring chemical compounds — short chains of fewer than 50 amino acids — that serve as building blocks of proteins that are significantly longer chains of amino acids. The also serve as powerful signaling molecules, commonly acting as hormones, growth factors, neurotransmitters, and anti-infective agents.

Interest in therapeutic peptides began with studies of human hormones, including insulin, oxytocin, vasopressin, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), along with how they impact the human body. Insulin was the first therapeutic peptide to be synthesized, in 1921. Since then, more than 80 peptide drugs have been approved for use in humans worldwide.

As a doctor who operates with a functional medicine approach to healthcare, I use peptides as a form of biological medicine — to support and stimulate the body’s built-in self-defense and healing mechanisms. What’s great about peptides is that they mobilize the body’s natural metabolic and immunological pathways to heal and repair damage.

This is far different from medications that inhibit the body from doing something. For example, anti-cholesterol medications block the production of cholesterol; antacid medications reduce the body’s production of stomach acid; and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) block the uptake of serotonin to treat depression. In contrast, peptides activate healing pathways. As a result, they generally have a better safety and effectiveness profile than medications that inhibit the body’s natural processes.

Benefits of Therapeutic Peptides

Therapeutic peptides have a long list of proven and potential health benefits, including the following:

  • Regulate blood pressure (including lowering high blood pressure)
  • Kill microbes, including pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and viruses
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Prevent the formation of blood clots
  • Improve immune function
  • Slow the aging process
  • Stimulate wound healing
  • Prevent age-related bone loss
  • Reduce pain
  • Restore healthy metabolic function and blood sugar regulation
  • Build strength and muscle mass
  • Enhance memory and cognition
  • Support weight loss
  • Protect the endothelial lining of blood vessels
  • Improve muscle and soft tissue recovery 

What Is Body Protection Compound 157?

Body Protection Compound 157 (BPC-157 for short) is a 15-amino-acid sequence that’s naturally present in the stomach’s gastric juice, from which it is derived. It helps to protect and repair the stomach lining and the intestines. BPC-157 is stable in gastric juice, which degrades most other protein molecules for digestion and absorption. As a result, it’s commonly used in the treatment of a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, including Crohn’s disease and ulcers. However, its health benefits extend far beyond the gastrointestinal tract.

The Benefits of BPC-157

BPC-157 has a long list of potential benefits, including the following:

  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Restores bones, brain tissue, tendons, intestinal tissue, muscles, and cornea.
  • Regulates growth hormone (GH) receptors.
  • Reduces damage from cortisol injections, which negatively impact bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Damage from cortisol injections can be reduced with the use of BPC-157, which has been shown to help tissues heal. 
  • Increases fibroblast migration to improve healing. (Fibroblasts are collagen- and protein-producing cells that play an important role in healing.)
  • Increases Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor 2 (VGEF 2), which improves angiogenesis (the formation of blood vessels) and neurological remodeling. 
  • Increases nitric oxide (NO) expression, thereby protecting the internal lining of the blood vessels from oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is found in inflammatory states, and it causes ischemic events — tissue damage caused by deficient flow of oxygenating blood.

Conditions Treated with BPC-157

As a functional medicine practitioner, I focus on providing the body what it needs to restore and maintain peak health. Whenever a patient reports symptom of illness, I use those as clues to solve the mystery of what’s causing those symptoms. I seek, discover, and treat the root cause or causes of the symptoms instead of merely trying to make the symptoms go away.

My approach often involves a multi-step process. The first step is to identify and eliminate the root cause(s) of an illness. The second step involves repairing any resulting damage. This is where BPC-157  makes its way into a personalized plan of care, especially for the following conditions:

  • Neurological conditions resulting in memory loss, brain fog, and concussion.
  • Chronic gastrointestinal (GI) issues, including colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel disease (IBD), gastritis, ulcers, leaky guy, and esophagitis. 
  • Musculoskeletal issues, including tendonitis, ligamentous injury, joint pain (knee, shoulder, elbow, etc.), muscle soreness, and muscle recovery after workouts. 

How to Take BPC-157

Body Protection Compound 157 can be taken via subcutaneous injection (just beneath the surface of the skin) or as a pill (because it remains stable in stomach acid). It’s generally taken once or twice each day for 90 days. 

While you can purchase BPC-157 supplements over the counter in various forms — including nasal sprays, pills, and skin patches — I discourage self-treatment with these or other supplements or medications. Until we know the root cause of any illness, BPC-157 may help with healing, but underlying health issues may continue to cause damage. You want to address the underlying cause of the damage, while at the same time reversing that damage. I urge you to consult with a functional medicine practice to ensure you’re receiving comprehensive treatment that addresses both the damage and what’s causing it.

If you’re in or around Tampa, you can schedule your initial consultation with me through my website. But it doesn’t matter where you live — I’m happy to consult with you remotely and collaborate with you and your local healthcare providers toward optimizing your health and fitness. Contact me for additional information or to schedule your consultation.

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About the Author: Dr. Matt Lewis, D.C., DACBN, CFMP®, specializes in diagnosing and treating the underlying causes of the symptoms related to chronic and unexplained illness through nutrition, lifestyle, chiropractic, and other natural approaches to whole-health healing in Tampa, Fla. Dr. Lewis has 20 years of experience practicing nutritional and holistic medicine. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Shenandoah University, his Doctorate in Chiropractic from Life University, his Diplomate status in Clinical Nutrition from the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, his CFMP® from Functional Medicine University, and his certification as a Digestive Health Specialist (DHS) through the Food Enzyme Institute. Dr. Lewis’ passion for health and wellness stems from his own personal experience. With a family history of autoimmune conditions and diabetes, and his own lab tests showing his genetic susceptibility to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid), Dr. Lewis has learned how to restore his own health and vigor to prevent the onset of these and other illnesses and live an incredibly active life. Through this process, he acquired a deeper understanding of health and wellness, which he now offers his patients in Tampa and elsewhere.