Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are commonly prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation in conditions such as arthritis and fever. However, the relief comes at the expense of some serious downside. It is well known that long-term use and overuse of NSAIDs can damage the gastrointestinal system – leading to the formation of ulcers and internal bleeding.
How NSAIDs cause ulcers?
The purpose of NSAIDs is to douse inflammation and pain. Obviously, these drugs interfere with the pathways that promote inflammation in the body. Let’s start at the beginning.
Contrary to popular perception, inflammation is not all bad. It is a critical part of how our body responds to stressful situations, for example during infections and injuries. When this happens, our immune system launches a cascade of chemical reactions that helps the body to repair, heal and fix itself. As a part of this process, the immune system signals various chemical messengers – a mix of proteins, hormones and white blood cells – to arrive at the site of injury and begin the process of healing. This causes pain, fever and swelling – hallmark symptoms of acute inflammation that typically lasts as long as the body is fighting with this trigger.
Prostaglandins are hormones that act as chemical messengers and mediate many processes in the inflammatory and healing phase. (We can say prostaglandins play an extremely important role in kick-starting inflammation.) Now, these chemicals are produced by an enzyme called cyclooxygenase 1 or COX-1. And NSAIDs target this enzyme. How?
NSAIDs are designed to deactivate COX-1 and in doing so these drugs stop the production of prostaglandins, chemicals that we just learned help in promoting inflammation. The result is reduced signs of inflammation including fever, pain, redness and swelling – and relief. However, there is a catch. Among their many functions, prostaglandins are actively involved in maintaining health and integrity of gastric mucosa. Prostaglandins increases the secretion of gastric mucosa, thus protecting the stomach lining from a harsh acidic environment; and stimulates the blood flow to the stomach, sparking the repair process in case of any injury.
What happens without the protective prostaglandins? The stomach lining becomes more vulnerable to the digestive juices and that leads to gastric ulcers and bleeding.
Enter BPC 157…
BPC 157 is a pathbreaking peptide known for its tremendous anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and wound healing characteristics. BPC 157 has been found extremely helpful in managing inflammatory bowel disease, especially in conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and esophagitis. We covered the role of BPC 157 in gastric health in one of our previous blogs.
When we are talking about damage caused by NSAIDs, the peptide’s ability to prevent and heal damage to the gastric mucosa is of utmost relevance here.
BPC 157: Antidote to NSAIDs?
Studies show that BPC 157 can be used as an effective therapy to beat NSAID-induced toxicity . People, who have been relying on these drugs to get relief from arthritis pain and other inflammatory conditions, can benefit from BPC 157’s anti-ulcer and pro gastric mucosal properties.
This 2013 study published in ‘Current Pharmaceutical Design’ reported that BPC 157 can not only heal gastric ulcers but also has positive effects on the NSAIDs induced injury and abrasions in liver and brain . The study noted that the “variety of the beneficial effects portrayed by BPC 157 may well be a foundation for establishing BPC 157 as a NSAIDs antidote since no other single agent has portrayed a similar array of effects.” And one can safely use BPC 157 as there are no known side effects.
- P Sikiric et al. Toxicity by NSAIDs. Counteraction by stable gastric pentadecapeptide BPC 157. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22950504. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2013