Medically reviewed by Leann Poston, M.D. on 9/28/20
If you’re like most people, before you consider taking a drug, supplement, or treatment – whether prescribed or available over-the-counter – you want to get a sense of what kind of side effects might happen. Understanding potential side effects, their frequency in testing, and any contraindications or conditions which would advise against you taking the drug is key to feeling comfortable with your decision. Whether you evaluate that information on your own, or in consultation with your doctor or healthcare provider, it often forms the basis of people’s concerns and decision-making surrounding medical treatments.
The world of peptide supplements is no different. These amino acid chains are extremely popular fast becoming the go-to for everything from weight loss to increased energy metabolism, anti-aging to better skin, and even improved healing and injury recovery. With regards to that last category, a peptide formula known as BPC-157 is the current king. But information on BPC-157 side effects can be hard to find, especially when compared to a traditional chemical medication or drug. There are several reasons for this, as we’ll explore in more detail in this guide.
To help make it easier for potential patients to evaluate BPC-157 and determine if it is suitable for them, we’ve put together this brief guide to BPC-157 side effects. It’s based on numerous published, peer-reviewed animal studies on BPC-157, as well as patient-reported/anecdotal reports of BPC-157 side effects. As always, you should seek out information from your trusted sources and discuss any concerns with your prescriber. We hope this guide serves as a foundation for starting that conversation or research and helping you decide on whether or not BPC-157 might be right for you.
In This Article
Before we get into specifics regarding BPC-157 side effects, it’s useful to provide a brief overview or recap of what BPC-157 is, how it works, and so on. We’ve covered this more extensively in other articles, and you can find out more on the product information page for BPC-157 on our site as well, so we’ll stick to the basics here.
BPC-157 is what is known as a peptide – a chain of amino acids. It is manufactured synthetically but is derived from a protein naturally in the digestive juices secreted in the human body. Its purpose in the body is believed to relate to healing the stomach and intestinal linings from the damage caused by acid and other digestive juices, as well as wear and tear, ulcerations, and so that may be caused by more exotic phenomena.
However, there are a number of ways in which the BPC-157 peptide is believed to work, with various mechanisms of action. We’ll discuss these in a bit more detail in the next section. Available as a supplement, it can be taken in a number of different formats, including oral tablets or pills, intramuscular injections, sublingual (under the tongue) or gumline patches, dermal patches, and even as an additive to water or other beverages. The most commonly-supplied formats are oral tablets or intramuscular injections, with injections being preferred in terms of efficacy as more of the BPC-157 is readily absorbed by the body through this route.
There are numerous reasons why people consider taking BPC-157. The most common relate to injury and tissue healing, joint health, and gut health. Many others have less scientific evidence or studies behind them as compared to these “big 3” reasons or benefits of the peptide. Though you should beware that all studies done on BPC-157 are animal studies. Human studies have not been completed.
On the healing front, animal studies demonstrate that BPC-157 promotes wound repair, tissue and injury healing, and cellular regrowth. This is accomplished through a variety of mechanisms of action or pathways, including being attracted to certain chemical signals put out by injured tissues, boosting growth hormone receptors in those tissues, increasing collagen production, and stimulating angiogenesis, or the growth of blood vessels (Gwyer et al., 2019).
Similarly, by repairing and healing soft tissue structures such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons – especially those that may be degraded due to strain, overuse, or aging processes – BPC-157 can help to stabilized joints, thus promoting joint health. Soft tissue healing can be impaired naturally through corticosteroids, both native to the body and administered as medical treatment. Animal studies have shown that BPC-157 can reverse this impairment, allowing for the repair to these critical structures that link the muscles to the skeletal system in the body (Pevec et al., 2010).
Finally, BPC-157, which is, after all, naturally found in digestive juices, has been shown to treat all manner of digestive conditions in animal models. It can reverse damage caused by the overuse of over-the-counter painkillers, commonly known as NSAIDs. NSAIDs can, over time, cause ulcers or damage to the stomach and intestines. BPC-157 can help repair that damage. It has also been shown to help improve overall gut health, though the exact mechanisms of action in each case are not entirely understood.
It should be noted before we talk further about specific BPC-157 side effects that many of the studies that have been conducted on BPC-157 have been confined to lab animals or small-scale human studies. Unlike a regulated drug, BPC-157 is somewhere in a legal grey area between drugs and supplements. As a result, the body of evidence for its benefits and BPC-157 side effects is somewhat limited by comparison. This is an issue with almost all peptides since this area of medical treatment is relatively new and has not been fully explored and codified in the regulations.
What this means in terms of BPC-157 side effects is much of the evidence for short-term and long-term side effects, or concerns is somewhat limited. Therefore, we also rely on anecdotal evidence from those who have taken BPC-157, under a doctor’s supervision, for both successful benefits and potential side effects. If you have any concerns about side effects or worries about drug interactions with medications you take, you should absolutely discuss them with your doctor, healthcare provider, or prescriber before beginning a BPC-157 treatment regimen.
There are virtually no reported BPC-157 side effects in the literature and studies, though, again, as stated above, human studies and experience with the peptide supplement are limited. The most common BPC-157 side effects fall into two categories: 1) those related to the administration format of the supplement, and 2) side effects from the supplement itself.
In the first category, side effects related to administration are typically the result of the administration format, rather than anything to do with the medication itself. For example, most injection-based medications may cause redness, swelling, itching, irritation, bruising, or other skin reactions at the injection site. These tend to be mild. As an injection is the most common format for BPC-157, these format-related side effects should be kept in mind. Other dosing formats, such as transdermal patches, may cause other skin complaints. Oral pills tend to have higher reported side effects related to digestive issues.
The second category of side effects are those caused by the supplement itself, through the mechanisms of action as it goes to work in the body. The most common BPC-157 side effects in this category are related to the gastrointestinal system, and include:
These tend to be mild and intermittent. Other BPC-157 side effects may include:
There are also a few rare or purely theoretical BPC-157 side effects that haven’t shown up in anecdotal reports or studies to date. These are possible given the mechanisms of action or pathways by which the supplement works, however, and are therefore worth noting – even if they may never materialize in wider-scale or long-term studies. Likewise, as with any medication or treatment, it’s always advisable to heed the dosing guidelines from your prescriber and use the lowest effective dose required to achieve your desired results. Higher dosages tend to be correlated to an increased risk of side effects, without necessarily having an increased effect.
These BPC-157 side effects may include:
Again, it is important to stress that these side effects are extremely rare, or purely theoretical, with few or no reports in any studies – animal or human – to date. The potential for them exists, however, and therefore it’s prudent to consider and include in this guide to BPC-157 side effects, out of an abundance of caution.
There are more than a dozen mechanisms of action believed to exist with BPC-157, consistent with the different benefits and systems that it can affect in the body. The most common related to injury healing and recovery include increased collagen production, growth hormone receptor stimulation, angiogenesis via the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway, and an attraction to a certain enzyme that is released by injured soft tissues. Other pathways related to other benefits and functions are numerous, though less well-established than that related to healing.
BPC-157 exists in a grey area between medication and supplements. It is not as studied or formally regulated as a chemical drug, and therefore not as widely tested or used. It is also only available with a prescription. Many general practitioners don’t prescribe or utilize peptides in their practice, as this is still an emerging area of medicine. These factors combine to keep BPC-157 and other peptides a bit on the fringes of use right now, and therefore there are fewer sources, and it is harder to find as a consumer.
BPC-157 can be taken through several different routes, with different preparations and strengths or dosages based on the administration route. The two most common formats are oral tablets/pills and intramuscular injections. Intramuscular injections are most common since it is believed that more of the BPC-157 is readily absorbed in this manner than through the digestive process, which can be highly variable for absorbing any medications or supplements, including BPC-157.
If you’re interested in learning more or trying BPC-157 for your own healing, injury recovery, joint health, gut health, or other needs, you’re not alone. One of the best ways to minimize potential BPC-157 side effects is to ensure you get your BPC-157 from a trusted source so that it is pure, free of contamination, and as safe as possible. Invigor Medical is a trusted telemedicine provider, based in the US, with US-licensed medical professionals who provide online consultations and prescriptions. These prescriptions are then filled via our associated, US-based (state of Florida) pharmacy and delivered discreetly to your home. You can set up an appointment through Invigor’s website and enjoy the convenience and benefits that telemedicine has to offer.
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.