When our body encounters foreign pathogens or any other kind of external injury, it directs our body’s immune cells to reach the site of origin to work against the causative agent. These cells then release substances to help fight the pathogen and, in the process of doing so – cause inflammation.
Inflammation may be an essential step to recovery, however, prolonged inflammation can trigger your immune system to attack healthy tissues and organs.
For this purpose, anti-inflammatory peptides such as Pentosan play a massive role in your healing process and significantly elevate your quality of life.
In this article, I aim to discuss the efficacy and effectiveness of Pentosan as an anti-inflammatory and therapeutic peptide using all the available scientific and anecdotal evidence to help you determine if this peptide suits you or not!
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- Pentosan is extracted from beach trees and is advocated as one of the highly potent treatment options for interstitial cystitis.
- It is just like other NSAIDS, relieving joint pain as well as improving mobility and flexibility.
- It acts as a blood thinner, thus keeping you at bay from any risk of cardiovascular complications, including thrombosis.
- It may delay the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
What is Pentosan?
Pentosan is a polysaccharide compound of pentose sugar and is derived from five-carbon sugars such as xylose. It is naturally found in various materials such as barley, sugarcane bagasse, pinewood, and peanut shells.
A semi-synthetic polysulfated form of Pentosan, namely Pentosan polysulfate sodium, is sold and thus used as a drug for pain relief purposes. It is mainly isolated from beech trees through sulfate esterification. The average molecular weight of Pentosan polysulfate is around 5700 Da (1).
How Does Pentosan Work?
Pentosan functions as a pain-mediating substance and has been proven to affect several other mechanisms of the human body.
While these mechanisms may sound complex initially, I will try to make them simple for you!
Pentosan is also called a weak heparinoid, which means that it acts as an anticoagulant. It does so by inactivating thrombin, primarily responsible for blood clotting in the body. This prevents the formation of thrombus in the blood vessels and thus also acts as a blood thinner.
Chondroitin-4-sulfate is an important component of cartilages and joints which is broken down by the enzyme chondroitin-4-sulfatase. Pentosan can inhibit chondroitin-4-sulfatase, which then allows Chondroitin-4-sulfate to stimulate the production of new cartilage and act as an anti-inflammatory substance (2).
One of the studies done on animals showed that Pentosan not only promotes the formation of cartilage, it also stimulates the synthesis of proteoglycans by chondrocytes and makes them bind to connective tissue matrices. Proteoglycans are an essential component of the synovial fluid of joints, and it helps the joint withstand compressional forces (3).
Pentosan further stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, the chief component of hyaline cartilage, and is present in the joint as a lubricator. It also improves skin quality by reducing wrinkles and helps wounds to heal faster (4).
B-amyloid plaques are misfolded proteins that are present in the brain of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and these plaques have toxic effects on the endothelial cells of the brain. In such cases, Pentosan has been reported to modify the size and decrease the number of amyloid aggregates (5).
Pentosan also contributes to the development of molecules that protect the blood-brain barrier. Last but not least, some studies performed on mice show that Pentosan has also been effective in curbing prions disease (6).
Benefits of Pentosan
By acting as an anticoagulant, Pentosan works as a blood thinner and thus decreases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, which may be caused due to a clot in the blood vessels. This implies that Pentosan plays a critical role in improving your cardiovascular health.
Pentosan exerts anti-inflammatory properties and is thus said to be a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Administering this peptide alleviates pain and slows down the progression of disease in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, where inflammation and painful swelling in joints is a big causes of discomfort (7).
A very important role of Pentosan is thus seen in interstitial cystitis. In this disease, patients experience bladder pain due to inflammation. Pentosan restores the inner surface of the bladder and protects it from irritation (8).
It is also a crucial peptide for athletes and bodybuilders who are involved in activities concerning the maximum use of their joints. By stimulating the production of new cartilage and lubricating substances, it allows for a speedy recovery from any joint-related injury, which is quite common among athletes and bodybuilders.
Increased hyaluronic acid production increases joints’ mobility and acts as an anti-aging substance by reducing wrinkles.
In patients with neurodegenerative disorders, Pentosan can slow down the onset as well as the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and prion disease. It also maintains the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, thereby protecting the brain from any further complications.
Is Pentosan Legal?
Clinical trials performed so far to assess the efficacy of Pentosan have mostly been done on animal subjects, thus, its applicability in real-life scenarios is still ambiguous.
However, Pentosan polysulfate sodium has been specifically approved by the FDA for patients diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis to help relieve painful symptoms.
Who Should Use Pentosan?
Pentosan is mainly prescribed to patients suffering from Interstitial Cystitis. It also majorly helps people with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
It can further be used by athletes, bodybuilders, and people seeking to protect their joints’ functions by getting rid of stiffness.
Since it is one of the blood thinners, people at risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure can also safely consume it.
Note that it should not be used during breastfeeding (9).
Forms of Pentosan
Pentosan is accessible in different forms, unlike many other peptides, which are not readily available in multiple forms. Nonetheless, like most other peptides, the injectable version is the most potent form of taking Pentosan.
Good news for people who are scared of needles is that Pentosan is also available in the form of capsules.
Pentosan oral suspensions, which are oil-based, are also available with a wide variety of flavoring options. This is preferred by people who have difficulty ingesting capsules and can also serve as the most cost-effective method, thus catering to large audiences.
How To Use Pentosan?
The injectable form of Pentosan is administered intramuscularly or in intra-articular spaces.
The intake of capsules and oil-based suspensions of Pentosan is based on prescription and should be taken with water 1 or 2 hours after meals.
An injection of Pentosan mostly consists of 250 mg of solution.
In the case of interstitial cystitis, the recommended dosage for patients above 16 years of age is 100 mg.
Injections of 250 mg are administered 1-2 times per week in intra-articular spaces for patients with arthritis.
In typical cases of interstitial cystitis, recommended doses of 100 mg must be taken three times a day. This accounts for 300 mg of Pentosan every day. This is continued for about 1-6 months until patients report relief from bladder pain and discomfort.
Pentosan is specifically approved for conditions like interstitial cystitis and has been reported as a major alleviator of pain. Due to its specific and targeted therapeutic approach, it is often not stacked with other peptides.
However, some people seem to stack Pentosan with BPC-157 primarily because of its augmented healing effect on relieving joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Time to dig into some of the real-time insights by people who have used it to achieve medicinal and therapeutic effects.
One of the users said,
“Knee pain, couldn’t stand for longer than 2 minutes at a time. Pps helped a little bit”
Another user said,
“ I used it with great results once, so 8 know it works.”
One reviewer said,
“It is a really promising drug. Personally, I did about half of the current dosage protocol.”
Okay, so while these were the authentic user experiences I could hand-pick from different subreddits, what I majorly saw otherwise was everyone ranting about how difficult it is to source pentosan in the USA.
Pentosan Side Effects
Pentosan acts as an anticoagulant and blood thinner, due to which a major side effect of this peptide is linked with hemorrhage. These are most often observed during dental surgery, where gum bleeding is prolonged. Excessive bleeding during other surgeries is also a major risk factor.
Other side effects include stomach ulcers and nausea.
A potential side effect that has been reported is pigmentary maculopathy, which manifests as blurred vision and prolonged dark adaptation. This occurs due to Pentosan’s toxic effects on the eye’s macula (10).
Where Can I Buy Pentosan?
Frankly speaking, all the people ranting on Reddit about how difficult it is to get a hold of authentic and credible Pentosan were not really wrong!
I tried looking up some top-tier online stores that offer this peptide, and unfortunately, there are none!
What I would now recommend is that you just look for nearby trustworthy stores that offer pentosan and make your purchase.
Please beware of any scams and check the originality of the product before really buying it.
Pentosan vs. Other Peptides
Pentosan vs. Thymosin-Alpha 1
Both these peptides majorly function as anti-inflammatory substances and are thus most popularly used in diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis.
A no-brainer difference between Pentosan and Thymosin Alpha-1 is that the latter is an endogenous peptide, while Pentosan is isolated from beech trees and is then synthetically processed.
Besides, the effects of thymosin alpha-1 predominantly revolve around enhancing the immune system.
Importantly, thymosin alpha-1 is advocated as a safe peptide, while pentosan also has more side effects.
Is Pentosan Legit?
Considering the fact that patients with interstitial cystitis have reported pain relief within months of using Pentosan, it can be concluded that this peptide is definitely potent!
It also plays a crucial role in maintaining joint activity in athletes or in patients suffering from arthritis.
Even though clinical studies have established its efficacy in scientific literature, most studies have only been done on animal models, thus limiting its true practicality as well as long-term safety profile.
FAQs about Pentosan
Is pentosan a steroid?
The drug is neither an anabolic steroid nor an opioid-based pain reliever, so it is not considered to enhance performance.
Is pentosan used for humans?
Pentosan polysulfate sodium is used to treat bladder pain syndrome (interstitial cystitis) and is marketed in Australia under the brand name Elmiron.
Is pentosan an anti-inflammatory?
Pentosan is a potent anti-inflammatory and inhibitor of cartilage enzymatic breakdown. PPS has multiple mechanisms of action, one of which is to improve blood flow to the subchondral bone under the worn cartilage.
What class of drug is pentosan?
Pentosan polysulfate is similar to a class of medications called low molecular-weight heparins. It works by preventing irritation of the bladder walls.
Is pentosan the same as cartrophen?
Pentosan and Cartrophen are both pentosan polysulfate sodium [PPS], a synthetic polyglycan product derived from beechwood.