Bovine pituitary extract, or BPE, is a filtered, water-based extract of fresh pituitary glands from cattle. As a source of growth factors and hormones, BPE is used in tissue culture research to support various cell lines, such as skin, breast, lung and prostate. You might consider taking BPE to address any number of issues, including thyroid, growth, reproductive or adrenal problems. However, the evidence of benefit from such use is limited, and you could risk exposure to infectious agents, including those that cause “mad cow disease.”
Your pituitary gland — and those of all mammals — produces a variety of hormones with wide-reaching physiologic effects. Your thyroid gland, adrenal glands, bones, muscles, breasts, kidneys and gonads are all directly influenced by pituitary hormones. Growth, reproduction, body temperature, fluid and electrolyte balance, blood pressure, stress response, milk production and general metabolic rate are governed by your pituitary. It isn’t clear if all pituitary hormones from one species exert beneficial effects in another, particularly when they are introduced through your gastrointestinal tract. However, it is clear that diseases can be spread between species through consumption of brain tissue.