So you hear from your gym buddy, coach or some enthusiastic internet personality about BPC-157, this magnificent natural peptide that is supposed to heal injuries rapidly.
A stubborn micro-injury in your shoulder, elbow or back has been bothering you for months so you Google BPC-157 and the first thing you see is…
“Research Chemical – Not for human consumption”
I don’t blame you being confused and perhaps a bit dissuaded from trying BPC-157 by this conspicuous statement. You question…
If it’s not for human consumption why are they selling it? Is this stuff even legal?
Here I’ll break down what it really means and provide some clarification about risk-taking in your biohacking…
First of all, I’m not recommending that you use BPC-157, I’m not a doctor or a scientist and I’m not qualified to recommend anything, much less a research chemical. I do however have an abundance of experience with them and can explain the evidence that motivates rigorous and informed self-experimenters to use them.
Wikipedia defines a “research chemical” as…
chemical substances used by scientists for medical and scientific research purposes. One characteristic of a research chemical is that it is for laboratory research use only; a research chemical is not intended for human or veterinary use.
For a research chemical to become a licensed pharmaceutical or dietary supplement it has to go through a lengthy and complicated series of human clinical trials pre-registered with the FDA demonstrating relative safety and effectiveness that outperforms a placebo. Until these human studies are funded and conducted by scientists it will linger in the “research chemical” category. If regulators and law enforcement get reports of overdoses and severe reactions they will “schedule” the chemical making it illegal and it will disappear from the digital store shelves of the internet.
So, importantly, buying and possessing research chemicals is legal, in a nerdy philosophical article, I explained that a research chemical, legally, is like a candle. You can buy and possess as many candles as you want, you can ship them across state lines, you could travel with them in your car, you could give them to friends and you could even eat a candle if you really wanted to. But if you ate a candle and then decided to sue the manufacturer because of an adverse reaction the judge would tell you “A candle is not for human consumption!” and hopefully scold you for frivolously wasting everyone’s time.
If you consume a research chemical, you have little to no legal recourse if something bad happens to you. In some ways, we live in a libertarian society that lets you do whatever the hell you want to your body and then experience the consequences.
You should really be a bit skeptical and do your research on all drugs that you might consume (a lot of the pharmaceuticals that a doctor might enthusiastically recommend to you are actually dangerous and toxic), but particularly with a research chemical, you should spend at least an hour reading up on everything that you can find about it online.
Research Chemicals are a spectrum, some you should absolutely stay away from, but some are benign and, for practical purposes, risk-free. From the abundant evidence available, we can see that BPC-157 is quite safe as far as research chemicals go.
- It’s a natural gastric Pentadecapeptide sequence that our bodies produce. Supplementing it just gives us more of it that our bodies can use for injury healing and optimizing the Gut-Brain axis.
- BPC-157 is very popular among bodybuilders, fitness geeks, and biohackers – these guys talk A LOT online about what works, what doesn’t and what causes nasty side effects. You can spend hours browsing the web and listening to what these guys (and one gal) report. In my sentiment analysis, I concluded that side effects and adverse reactions are rare and rather unconcerning. In comparison, anabolic bodybuilding steroids are another popular class of research chemicals and you can find online hundreds of cases of severe side effects and even deaths attributed to abuse and misuse – same thing for most popular pharmaceuticals.
- There are over a hundred published scientific papers and studies listed on Pubmed for BPC-157. Notably lacking in these studies are adverse reactions or concerning toxicity.
- A number of the studies are done by a group of Croatian researchers at Zagreb University. I’d like to see more research done around the world on BPC-157 but it’s an unpatented molecule – the Croatian group is not selling or manufacturing BPC-157, they don’t have a conflict of interest that might influence their published conclusions.
An important warning, the research chemical marketplace online is rife with fraud, trickery, toxin-tainted products, and straight-out fakeness. The majority of raw BPC-157 peptides that you can find for sale online are, unfortunately, manufactured in China. More often than not, Chinese peptides are fake, mislabeled, expired or tainted with heavy metals during the manufacturing process. Chinese manufacturers will often wholesale an initial supply to a US-based online store, the initial supply will be real, legit stuff but subsequent supplies will be bunk stuff. This purity issue is the real concern with BPC-157, the good news is that you can avoid bad peptides by demanding to see a credible certificate of analysis (COA) before purchasing anything. A credible COA…
- Done by an American or European lab, not a Chinese lab.
- An accredited lab will have a registered address and phone number.
- Bears the name and signature of the scientist who ran the spectroscopy. You can call the lab and ask to speak with the guy to verify.
- Less than 3 years old, ideally less than a year old.
Should you wait until BPC-157 passes human clinical trials and gets a stamp of approval from the regulators?
If you’re highly risk-averse, yes, you should wait. If your doctor gives you a good reason not to use BPC-157 then definitely don’t.
However, what makes BPC-157 highly affordable is the fact that it’s an unpatented, natural molecule. If it was invented big pharma they would pay millions in fees to the FDA to get it licensed, spend many millions more on marketing it, then manufacture it for $2 a pill and mark it up to $800 because that’s what the insurance companies would pay for a drug this effective.
As a biohacker, I try to take a holistic perspective with my risk exposure. I don’t know what kind of life was lived by every cow that ends up as a steak on my plate. I live in the center of a big city with a real pollution problem. The side effect risk from a natural gastric peptide which I would take for a limited time (2 weeks to a month, typically) is a drop in the risk bucket. Heck, I enjoy a cigar and a whiskey from time to time. But, I implement almost all of the preventative measures to mitigate risk and keep at bay the malicious black swans of health calamity.
If I was plagued with a persistent injury that I picked up in a gym, a dojo or hiking I would not hesitate to use BPC-157. It’s a very reasonable risk-reward tradeoff, especially considering how ineffective surgery often is and the fact that you don’t need to use BPC-157 for years for it to benefit you, often it makes a big difference after a short usage period.
That’s why it’s often called the Wolverine drug, but really it’s more like a benevolent pharmacological sheepdog.