TB-500 vs BPC-157: Which is superior?
There are many peptides that have emerged in the last 20 years that possess the ability to promote the healing of various tissues in preclinical studies, but the most famous are Thymosin Beta-4 (TB-500) and BPC-157. Given the increased attention that these two peptides are getting, many researchers are interested in comparing and contrasting their functions.
Thymosin Beta-4 (TB-500)
The nature of “TB-500” is ambiguous because it is described in scientific literature as a peptide with a length of either 17 amino acids or 43 amino acids. The parent protein in humans is Thymosin Beta-4, which is 43 amino acids, and all of the clinical research has been done using the full sequence. Importantly, the version of TB-500 that is bioidentical in humans is 43 amino acids. Umbrella Labs TB-500 has the full 43 amino acid sequence because that is the only isoform backed by preclinical research.
The biological mechanisms by which TB-500 works are the following: reduces cellular senescence, reduces inflammation, protects cells from oxidative damage, promotes angiogenesis, promotes stem cell recruitment, and reduces scar formation. TB-500 has been the subject of over a dozen clinical trials that span 9 distinct tissue types. The unique ability of TB-500 to reduce fibrosis and scarring suggests broad activities in treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including liver fibrosis, kidney disease, and a number of other metabolic disorders associated with aging. Intriguingly, the levels of Thymosin Beta-4 in human tears and saliva decrease significantly with age, and preliminary experiments shown that TB-500 can reduce the early death of vascular cells. Multiple Phase II clinical trials have revealed that TB-500 is safe, well-tolerated and efficacious for dermal wound healing.
BPC-157 was first described in 1993 in the Journal of Physiology (Paris). It is a 15 amino acid fragment of a larger protein(s) whose identify still remains a mystery, although it bears the most sequence similarity to chromatin remodeling proteins called histone methyltransferases. This suggests that BPC157 works by broadly changing how genes are turned on or off (ie. epigenetics). Preclinical research has shown that BPC 157 is effective in the therapy of periodontitis and for gastrointestinal lesions. In addition, BPC-157 counteracts alcohol-induced and ibuprofen-mediated stomach lesions. BPC-157 can counteract and reverse arthritis, and it improves the integrity of intestinal wall layers after surgery. When applied topically in a cream, BPC-157 can also improve skin healing following fractional CO2 laser treatment. A clinical trial of BPC-157 began in 2015 but has not yet posted results.
Comparing & Contrasting
Although both TB-500 and BPC-157 have shown remarkable tissue healing properties, there is a difference in what types of tissue damage have been studied with each peptide. Both have shown remarkable effectiveness against muscle fiber damage, which is a highly vascularized tissue. However, there are differences when it comes to tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect muscle to bone, and only BPC-157 has shown the ability to enhance growth hormone (GH) receptor activity in tendon fibroblasts, which are the cells that direct tendon repair. In contrast, there is evidence that BPC-157 and TB-500 are both effective at healing ligaments, which are tissues that connect bone to bone.
There are also differences when it comes to peptide stability in the body. Peptides generally have a short half-life due to degradation by peptidases that are expressed throughout the body. However, BPC-157 is unusual since it is highly resistant to peptidases, even those that are present in gastric juice, which is the most inhospitable destination for peptides since that is where dietary proteins and peptides are enzymatically degraded to amino acids. BPC-157 has the rare ability to resist enzymatic degradation because its parent protein evolved to repair tissues in the GI tract, including the stomach and intestines. This unique stability also means it has a much longer half-life in the body compared to TB-500, so its effects are more widespread regardless of injection site.
When it comes to regulatory status, only TB-500 is banned by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). However, BPC-157 is not explicitly banned despite having similar form and function.
Although both peptides have been studied extensively and only TB-500 has clinical research data to support its use, there is no clear winner yet when it comes to overall tissue healing efficacy. For some indications, like tendon healing, it appears that BPC-157 may be the favorite. On the other hand, when it comes to cardioprotective ability, TB-500 appears be the best choice.