Jean: There is a lot of good information, a lot of not so good, so may I try to demystify some myth that exists with peptides. They’re amazingly malicious. What they’re lacking compared to North America is the ethic, meaning that sometimes they will do things that wouldn’t be approved by ethic committee here.
Ben: I have a master’s degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I’ve spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world’s toughest mudder, the 13 Ironman triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world’s top experts in performance, fat loss, recovery, hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
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Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield, and I get a ton of questions about peptides and also SARMs, things like how do peptides work, and what are the side effects of peptides, what are the best anti-aging peptides, the best fat loss and muscle gain peptides, the best recovery peptides, what peptides work for cognition or neural enhancement, how do you properly mix and administer them, are they legal, do they need to be cycled. And I get a lot of the same questions about SARMs.
You may recall that I interviewed a really great regenerative medicine physician named Dr. Matthew Cook several months ago. He told me about Dr. Jean-Francois Tremblay as one of the world’s leading experts on this wonderful world of peptides and SARMs. So, I managed to hunt this guy down. Actually, Dr. Cook made the introduction and hunt him down and do anything. I just sat there and read my email. But anyways, Dr. Tremblay, he and I have emailed back and forth a few times. We talked a couple of times, and he really is one smart cat when it comes to this stuff. He studied exercise, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology at a collegiate level, and he’s been investigating peptides and SARMs since the ’90s, a long time ago. And he now makes peptides his primary research subject. So, he has a wealth of expertise on the use of them for sports performance, for anti-aging, for health and a lot of different uses.
So, Dr. Tremblay, welcome to the show, man.
Jean: Hey. Thank you very much and thank you for the opportunity. But please, I don’t know have a doctorate, I’m not a doctor–master’s degree.
Ben: Oh, master. I don’t know why I thought you’re a doctor. You fooled me. Geez.
Jean: Well, some people nicknamed me doctor, but no, I’m not.
Ben: All right. Well man, your CV reads like one. Well, anyways, where I want to start is the science of peptides and how peptides actually work. Basically, what is a peptide and how does it work in the body. And you can take as deep a dive as you want. We have a lot of smart cookies listening.
Jean: Okay. Well, basically, at this point, everybody knows there is small diffraction of proteins you can see. They’re basically amino acids linked together. So, as soon as you have two amino acids linked together, bang, you have a peptide. The upper limit to still be called a peptide, you know what, I’m not sure about that. Growth hormone is a peptide of 191 amino acids. So, you can go pretty high. Biochemically, it’s very simple. Amino acids link together. It becomes a protein when different peptides hook up, like they become side chain of another one and they grow as a big, big molecule, then it becomes a protein.
Ben: Okay. So, proteins and peptides are pretty similar, and that there are a bunch of amino acids held together by these peptide bonds, or as I learned in biochemistry, these amide bonds. But peptides are just smaller than proteins. From what I understand, peptides are usually like 50 amino acid sequences or less. Yeah?
Jean: Usually, but again, you have growth hormone that is almost 200 amino acids and it’s still classified as–or we can make it as we make a peptide. It’s a bit more complex. If you want me to open a parenthesis, what I do a lot is demystify. I don’t invent things. Most people who listen to this podcast or do research on peptides, they go on the internet. There is a lot of information, a lot of good information, a lot of not so good, so may I try to demystify some myth that exists with peptides. Well, for example, I was thinking about–
Ben: Yeah. I was going to ask you, what are some of those myths?
Jean: Well, one is what you read all the time. You have to keep them in the fridge, and when you add the water, you have to be very careful. That is true for some peptides. Those myths, usually, they come from the anabolic steroids-used culture.
Ben: Which is the same culture that made peptides popular, like the underground bodybuilding industry and some of those biohackers.
Jean: Exactly, which is not a bad thing–or even with SARMs, there are myths that come from that culture. But with peptides–growth hormone, yes, you have to be careful because it’s a long chain of amino acid, and the chain itself is very stable. But then that long chain is folded on itself three times. And to all those folds, there is a methionine-bound that holds them, and those bounds are weak.
Ben: What kind of bounds did you call them?
Jean: It’s methionine, the amino acid that bounds.
Ben: Okay. Oh, methionine.
Jean: Yeah, sorry. Do excuse my accent.
Ben: That’s all right.
Jean: So, it’s folded on itself, and those bounds are weak. So, yes, if you shake too much, it can break. If you expose it to the light, it can break. But most other peptides, they’re just long chain, not folded on themselves, so they’re pretty, pretty stable even at room temperature. Actually, they are more sensitive to light than heat.
Jean: So, let’s say you forget a vial on the counter, if it degrades, it’s going to be because of the light mostly, not the room temperature.
Ben: That’s good to know. Usually, people tell you got to keep these things in the refrigerator and the freezer also and just toast.
Jean: Well, it’s good practice.
Jean: But if you forget it on the counter for a day, nothing happens.
Jean: Unless you live in Arizona, it’s in the sunlight in your kitchen, yeah, maybe a little. But overall, most of them, they’re pretty stable structures.
Ben: What are some other myths about peptides?
Jean: You’re going to like this one. It’s the local effect mostly with BPC-157 and TB-500.
Ben: The ones that you would normally inject subcutaneously around a joint for a local joint healing effect?
Jean: Just common sense. Even if you inject close to the injury, just imagine all the tissues in between the injection site and the injury; the fascia, the other tendons or ligaments. The peptide will not cross those tissues to go to the injury. The bloodstream is going to snatch the peptide, and within a minute, it’s going to bring it back to the injury site. Basically, when you have an injury, there are protein factors that are secreted locally. Those peptides, they recognize those factors and they concentrate there. But yes, there is a local effect if you would inject within the injury. But again, you would need to be precise. Most often, you would need the ultrasound machine to be sure you go to the right place.
Ben: Interesting. So, are you saying that if I have a knee injury, for example, and I wanted to use BPC-157 on a knee injury that there’d really be no difference between injecting it near the knee versus say like injecting subcutaneously via the abs or maybe using one of these oral forms of BPC-157? You’re saying that either way, it’s going to wind up getting delivered systemically, wind its way into the knee eventually. But that the very, very best way to do it would be like a physician using digital imaging like an ultrasound to very, very precisely inject it into the area of inflammation?
Jean: That’s right.
Ben: Okay. Interesting.
Jean: And when you say eventually, just the time it takes for the blood to circulate, it’s like a few minutes and it went everywhere, basically. So, it’s very fast.
Ben: Is that the same with all peptides? Pretty much any of them, if you inject like near the abdomen, for example, which is a popular place, they’ll just wind up systemically going where they need to go?
Jean: Yeah. The only exception would be IGF-1, not the derivate, not the LR3 and those ones, the pure IGF-1. Actually, at the university, not me but the biochemist I work with to synthesize them, a few years back, they did some tests or experiments and they would inject locally. And after a couple of weeks, there would be a little hole where they would inject because there would be a very local effect on the fat mobilization. So, where they would inject, there would be less fat, so it would create little holes, but that would be the only thing. The other extreme, you have the tanning peptide, the melanotan. You checked it everywhere, but you get the tan systemic.
Ben: Yeah. You get a tan and you get a very, very annoying boner with that one that lasts for a really long time, which sounds like it’d be great. I’ve used that peptide before and it’s super annoying.
Jean: Yeah. You’re too young yet to appreciate it.
Ben: I guess so, I guess so. I just can’t even sleep that thing.
Jean: A company, actually, wanted to market it to replace Viagra.
Ben: Yeah. Oh, I believe it.
Jean: The only reason it didn’t hit the market, and overall why it never hit the market, is that if you have a tendency to high blood pressure, it will raise your blood pressure. There were too many people that know that the percentage to be a not safe drug, then it’s not allowed in the market. That’s the only reason.
Ben: Got you. That makes sense. Now, not to rabbit hole too much but regarding this idea of systemic delivery, some of these peptides are now being administered intranasally. Like there’s a very popular one called Semax right now that perhaps you could fill us in on a little bit, but it’s used for cognition. I have some. I’ve used it intranasally. I’ve also used injections of it. But from what I understand, intranasal delivery is far more targeted to neural tissue. What about in a situation like that where we’re talking about the delivery method being an injectable versus an intranasal versus, not to make this too complex, say like an oral?
Jean: When you go intranasal, the absorption itself is not 100%. It’s maybe 50%. That’s the con of it. The pro of it is that you have that membrane that separates the inside the nose from the brain cavity. That’s 50% that will cross to the brain. So, if you target the brain, I would say yes, go for intranasal.
Ben: Okay. Got you.
Jean: That would be a nice route, but always keep in mind you have to increase the dosages that you would if you would inject, the same thing as aroF. BPC is one of the few that you can take orally, but you have at least to double the dosage to get the same effect as injected.
Ben: Okay. Got you. So, if you’re using intranasal, or if using oral, you would need to dose with approximately roughly double the amount that you’d use if you were going to use an injectable, but you can get better delivery. Like, if I were to use intranasal semax peptide for the nootropic or cognition-enhancing effect, intranasal would be better. I just need to use more. Or if I were to use like–there’s one popular oral BPC-157 called Dr. Seeds, if I were to take that orally and my normal BPC dosage via injection is say 250 micrograms, I need to use something closer to 500 if I were to use the oral.
Jean: That’s right.
Ben: Okay. That makes sense. And by the way, just so we don’t leave it behind because I know people are going to be interested in this. I already mentioned Semax. We might as well make that the first peptide that we talk specifically about. What is Semax and how would that work exactly?
Jean: Back in the Cold War time, Russia, USA, a lot of amazingly good research and products came out of Russia or stayed in Russia at that time. There was an intellectual embargo part of the propaganda that Russia is not good, blah, blah, blah. You know, the whole shebang. But I personally met a Russian researcher, PhD, doing their postdoc here in at Montreal at McGill University. I would say in terms of research strictness, they’re at the level even more. They’re amazingly malicious. They measure everything. What they’re lacking compared to North America is the ethic, meaning that sometimes they will do things that wouldn’t be approved by an ethic committee here.
Ben: Yeah. I saw the documentary Icarus. I’m including some of the stuff that happens–
Jean: Okay. BPC-517. At the university, there was a professor working there that I became very good friend with him. He’s an expert on ghrelin, the hunger hormones. He did his doctorate and postdoc in Italy with the leader of that peptide, and Italy is next to Croatia. You’ll see where I’m going. BPC, if you go in PubMed, 98% of the studies were done by a group of Croatian researchers. He didn’t know about that peptide. I told him to go on PubMed, he looked, and he’s the one who pointed it out. And then he started to laugh. He says, “Yeah. I’m going to tell you what they did.” They did the research on humans first, and the site was working. And then they realized that they couldn’t publish that because there were no previous animal studies done. Then they did the animal studies and that’s what they published.
But he told me be sure that if they publish, that’s because they tested on human, they know it works, and they just now duplicate everything with animals, and then they will redo because they cannot come with data that are pre-data. So, that’s the ethic thing I’m talking about. Not like in the Nazi time where they would do horrific things on people.
Jean: But they’re not afraid or they go a bit further. In the biohacking world, that’s great for us because basically, that’s what we think, too.
Ben: Yeah. Okay. So, with something like Semax, that was that was used, from what I understand, mostly in Russia and Ukraine and still is for its nootropic and neuroprotective and neurorestorative properties. I know a lot of people will mix it with like a racetam, for example, for some pretty potent cognitive effects. But is that one that’s safe? Is it that you’ve used before, done any research on, or what do you know about Semax?
Jean: Okay. If you want to talk about peptide safety–
Jean: And that’s one thing I like about peptides to work with is that–except again, if you work with the growth hormone secretagogue–if you work with a peptide that modulate hormones, then you may have the side effects of the increased hormone itself, not from the peptide itself. But as I tell people, the worst case scenario of somebody using peptides are using too much, overdosing or whatever, the worst case scenario is the person is going to tell you it didn’t work. That’s the worst. Bad side effect, I would say no, because they all are already naturally occurring in the body. You just throw in a bit more.
Ben: Are you saying that for all peptides, there’s complete safety and no side effects, or are you saying just for Semax?
Jean: For most, yes.
Jean: But again, now, you’re talking about–
Ben: I mean, I would imagine that if you didn’t dose correctly, there’d be some side effects, yeah.
Jean: Yeah. Well, not physiological side effect. But when you talk about nootropics, that’s a slippery road you’re taking because you’re playing with the brain chemistry, which is amazingly complex. I’ve known one friend who is dead now. He would take 5-Htp which usually is really good for the moods, serotonin increase and all that. It would almost turn him into a serial killer. His brain chemistry was set up in such a way that 5-Htp was really bad or any dosage. So, yeah, those are not side effects. They are effects.
Ben: Yeah. But what about like melanotan, for example? You said that would increase blood pressure, wouldn’t that be a side effect?
Jean: That’s what I’m saying. There are some side effects. Most, no, but a few like that.
Ben: Okay. Well, kind of like methylene blue as a nootropic because I looked into Semax before I began using it, and it appears that in normal dosages, it has a pretty potent antioxidant effect in neural tissue, but an actual prooxidant effect if you take it at higher dosages. Do you know anything about that?
Jean: Okay. If you want to open a new parenthesis on one, not on SARM but GW501516, which increases performance of mitochondrial activity and vascularization of the muscles. So, endurance athletes, they love it. So, when it came out, one of the first study that was popped out, even here in Health Canada, they published and communicates saying no, it’s cancer. It was debunked because okay, all the mice they used in the study were genetically prone to cancer. They gave them much higher dosages, and they gave it to the mice for two years. A mouse lives three years at the most, so it’s a long time if you compare it to like 50/60 years if you compare it to a human lifespan.
And after, other studies showed that it might be, because it’s not proven yet, but there is a tendency that it might prevent cancer. My point is when you take a product like that, not the peptides, a product like that, it works on different pathways. And yes, when pathway is pro-cancer and the other one is anti-cancer. Depending on the dosage, one pathway, if you keep increasing the dosage, maybe the–okay, the anti-cancer pathway has a limit because of the enzymes that limit the pathway. So, once you reach 100% of that pathway efficiency, then that’s it. The anti-cancer effect won’t increase. But maybe the pathway for pro-cancer has a higher limit. So, if you take higher dosage, yes, the pro-cancer will come out.
Ben: Okay. Yeah. Look, I think to simplify things here, probably the best way to describe this would be that, and this is what I’ve seen from my investigation, that for just about any peptide, excessive dosage is really the main issue. I don’t know if that could be deemed a side effect as much as an overdosage, but I think that the biggest message to send to people is don’t just administer these things willy-nilly without knowing the exact dosage because you can do some damage and it can cause things like pro-oxidation or risk for cancer if they’re used excessively or in too high of a dosage.
Jean: Right. And again, if they would do it long-term, if they made a mistake and they do it for a week, the long-term effect, I don’t see it to be of such an importance. Let’s say that pro-oxidation, okay, if you are oxidizing too much for years, yes, you’ll see bad effects out of it. For example, people they say, “Okay. BPC-157 and TB-500, it increases the rate of cellular division.” So, they say you increase risk of bad cell division that would bring about cancer. Well, yes and no, because if you have an injury that increased cell division will occur. That’s a natural process of repair. So, if you have an injury that would take two months to repair, you have X amount of extra cell divisions to produce the repair. You take BPC-157 and everything is repaired in one month. So, your cell division will be increased during one month, but then the other month it’s going to be normal.
So, the total cell division, either you take or don’t take BPC, will be about the same. It’s just that with the BPC, you’re going to have even more cell division but for a shorter time. So, that argument that it may be pro-cancer, because of that, it doesn’t stand, because the total at the end will be roughly the same of extra cell divisions.
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I want to make sure that we have time to delve into specific peptides that could be used for specific purposes. But before we do, one more question–actually, a few more kind of logistical questions before we start to delve into peptides beyond like the Semax and the BPC-157 that we already talked about. One is legality because I know that physicians are prescribing them. They were a huge topic at a forum this year. There are companies that I’m familiar with like Tailor Made Compounding down in Kentucky, for example, that a lot of physicians are getting high-quality peptides from. But at the same time, there are all these peptide websites selling bottles that aren’t meant for human consumption. I even need to be careful on my end with certain recommendations in terms of sending people to certain websites because these things aren’t sold for human consumption.
When it comes to sourcing a peptide, what’s kind of the current state of the industry as far as how people can use peptides safely?
Jean: Okay. From what you see on the internet, 99% come from China. Because in the U.S., by law, just the fact that you label the vials, which is the last step of production, I think that legally, you can say it was made in the U.S. because one part of the production was U.S. That’s why you see most of those sites they sell the same products at the same milligrams per vial. It’s so consistent across all those sites. And for the prices they sell, it’s obviously from China.
Ben: Are you saying the stuff from China isn’t any good?
Jean: No. You don’t know. Chinese, they have been known to be very sneaky. A few years ago, they came up with a growth hormone, I don’t remember the name, and it was about the best you can get on the market. It was the right dosage, high quality, and it was sold for about six months. And then after, they started to replace the growth hormone with another product, much cheaper, that would do nothing. It was not a growth hormone secretagogue or anything, but it would give you, after a few weeks, that carpal tunnel inflammation. So, people would take it. They would get the inflammation and would think, “Hey, that’s good because I get that information,” which you get when you take too much growth hormone. So, they do things like that.
But then people would do blood tests and they would say, “No, well, my growth hormone,” and bang. It was blown out of the water. There is that study that was done in a Scandinavian country. They did on melanotan. They ordered from 15 different company, and they checked for the purity and dosage in each vial. Each vial was sold as containing 10 milligrams. All of them contained 5 milligrams. Purity wasn’t bad. But people were paying for 10, and we’re getting 5. But what happened, it was melanotan. Eventually, they would get a tan. And if they would talk to a friend who bought from another company, they’ll say, “Yeah, I got the tan in about the same time.” And you know what they say, if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. So, that became the standard and everybody was happy, and they get a tan, but everybody was getting 5 milligrams.
China, they’re in compartments. It’s all government regulated. It’s by zone. Anybody who has been to China, they know there is a zone for clothes, a zone for electronics, and a zone for chemicals. And then the government comes and they say, “You, you’re going to make this. You, you’re going to make this.” As a Chinese, they’ll say, “Okay. Tomorrow, I’m going to start to make peptides.” No. There are already maybe two or three companies that make them. And when you go on the Alibaba and all those sites, you deal with resellers that present themselves as company whatever. It’s the internet. You can do what you want. But basically, they all buy from the same companies that make them, and they resell.
Let’s say they have a batch of 10,000 vials of BPC. They called their resellers. There are 50 resellers, and they say how much you want for you, and they distribute; and those people, they sell. So, there aren’t that many companies. There aren’t 50 companies in China that make them, maybe two, I would think.
Ben: Okay. So, all these companies, when we look at all these different websites like Peptides Warehouse and Peptide Sciences, and all these places you can go and buy these peptides that aren’t necessarily advertised as being used for human consumption, but that’s, let’s face it, what people are ordering them for, they’re pretty much all coming for the most part from just a couple different sources in China. But what you’re saying is regardless of that, they may actually be efficacious peptides?
Jean: Yeah, sometimes. But again, that’s why people–sometimes–from the same company, some people will vouch for them and another one says, “No, it doesn’t work,” because they got different batches. Even if they would, and they don’t, because they will present you HPLC results, but they will present you the results they got from China, and they send them what they want. Most people don’t have access to that because that’s the most expensive equipment. When you make peptide, it’s the HPLC machine to see the quality, plus to detect the quality. It’s more complicated because now, you have the peptide mixed with powder. That’s sugar they used to make–
Ben: Now, does that mean that if you order your peptide, because I’ve heard this before, and you reconstitute it with the bacteriostatic water that it comes with or that you add into it, and it’s cloudy and not clear, is that a sign that it’s not a good peptide because of the addition of these excess compounds like a form of sugar or something like that?
Jean: No, no, no. If you’re thinking about the AOD-9604, there is a fragment of the growth hormone that when you reconstitute, it’s cloudy. But that’s the only one I know about. Yeah, if it’s cloudy, that’s not a good sign usually except for those peptides. But BPC, TB-500, the main ones, those that everybody knows about, it should be crystal clear after a minute or so.
Ben: Okay. Is there much of a difference between those and something that, for example, many physicians are getting them from compounding pharmacies? Is there a difference between what you’re getting from a website versus what you’re getting from a compounding pharmacy?
Jean: Well, when you get from a compounding pharmacy, I would assume that–well, I saw–you had a podcast a few weeks ago with one guy, and then I went to see his podcast on peptides, and three people on the podcast and one of them, I don’t remember the name, he owned the compounding pharmacy.
Ben: I’m blanking on who that would have been. Did I have multiple guests?
Jean: No. Your podcast, there was one. He has his own podcast, and he had three people.
Jean: And it was a video podcast, so you could see behind. I think I saw HPLC thing and all that. So, basically, I would assume that when it’s compound, their pharmacy gets the raw material, not mixed with anything, so they can do all the testing to check for it first if it’s the right product and the percentage of purity. So, that’s what you would get, and basically, that’s why you pay more. To start, let’s say you tell me you want to start to make peptides tomorrow, you just want to start a company, you want to make them. Well, it’s at least half a million dollars of equipment. I don’t know anybody who would invest half a million dollars U.S. to make melanotan.
It’s going to take quite a time before they recuperate their investments. Plus, it’s not only that. You need people that know how to use that equipment, you need to pay. Plus, they break down. HPLC is a very fragile equipment. Ours broke down like a month ago. It was a $16,000 repair. That happened a couple of times a year. It’s a very expensive thing to do. So, if you have a company like compounding pharmacies that sell it more expensively, there is a reason for it. It’s not out of greed. It’s really because it is more expensive.
Ben: Right. And they’re actually using equipment like HPLC machines or liquid chromatography machines to actually ensure quality. I’ve used peptides that I’ve purchased from websites way back when I first started to look into peptides. I’d order things like BPC-157 and TB-500. I’ve since shifted to working with personal physicians who order this stuff for me, and this could be mental because I think it’s higher quality, but it just seems to work better any of these when I’m getting them from a high-quality compounding pharmacist and working with the physician. I think you just have far less risk as well in terms of the shipping, the delivery, the quality. I mean, to me, that seems like a safer way to go with many of these things.
Jean: It is, it is.
Ben: Yeah. Okay.
Jean: Again, because there was another study that showed that on one particular peptide, they analyzed, and they found bacteria in the peptide. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Chinese bacteria.
Ben: Yeah, me neither. I don’t want that to get injected into my knee. One other question I have about peptides before we jump into a few specific peptides that you might recommend for specific purposes like say anti-aging or fat loss or muscle gain or recovery. When you’re using a peptide for a specific reason, let’s say you’re using Semax for cognition, is there any need to cycle this kind of similar to like hormones, for example? Do you develop tolerance? Do you need to go like eight weeks on, four weeks off or if you’re using BPC-157 for your gut orally, is it something you’d take for a little bit of time, and then you need to stop? Or can you like, let’s say, fish oil, just take something like this every day?
Jean: Yeah, unless you overdose and saturate in a ridiculous manner, the receptors. But no, usually, no. You can take it for a long, long time. The effect will still be there, and yeah, no problem.
Ben: Okay. Now though, what about if you didn’t want to be in a state of constant anabolism or you didn’t want to inhibit cellular autophagy or you wanted more of a longevity effect and you were using something like–I think probably the guy you’ve heard me interview was Jay Campbell. He and I were talking about tesamorelin or a lot of these IGF type of compounds. Wouldn’t you want to cycle something like that so you aren’t just in a state of constant growth year-round just for longevity purposes?
Jean: Yeah. It’s funny. After that podcast, I’ve been asked if we could sell it, but actually, the biochemist I work with is under contract with the company that patented and makes tesamorelin. So, that’s the only peptide my company cannot make because of that.
Ben: So, your company makes peptides as well?
Jean: Of course.
Ben: What’s the name of your company?
Jean: Yeah, that’s the webstore, but it’s CanLab Research.
Ben: Okay. CanLab Research. I’m keeping shownotes, by the way. For those of you listening in, just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/peptidepodcast. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/peptidepodcast, and I’ll link to a lot of the stuff that we’re talking about today. Okay. So, some of these would need to be cycled, but some of them, like say BPC-157 or some of the ones that aren’t necessarily super growth-promoting, those could be used on a daily basis, for example.
Jean: Yeah. Even BPC, depending how many times a day, because the effect lasts about six hours. So, if you inject only once a day, well, you have your cycling there because you have six hours, you get the effect, and 18 hours, you don’t. So, you have a daily cycle of the BPC. TB-500, the effect lasts between 10 and 15 days. Now, I’m not talking about the life of the peptide. You have enzymes in the blood that break down peptides, even TB-500 that the metabolic cascade it creates for repair continues for 10 to 15. It’s like training. You train for an hour, but you build muscle. The mTOR goes on for hours and days. So, it’s the same thing with peptides. I don’t know if I can say that on the podcast, but they say TB-500 is tested by some sports federations.
But basically, bits of information here, after 12 hours, you cannot detect TB-500. It’s all gone. The effect will continue though. And you don’t need to inject because of that every day. You would need to be very unlucky to be tested within 10 to 12 hours of using it.
Ben: Yeah. Not that we would endorse cheating or breaking the in-season competition regulations.
Jean: Not at all.
Ben: From what I understand, many peptides are banned by the World Anti-Doping Association and you saw in a lot of these governing sports bodies. But some, I believe, still are legal such as, correct me if I’m wrong, but like BPC-157, for example.
Jean: If you read well the directives, they include without naming it, BPC-500. I think it goes like any peptide that increase repair, blah, blah, blah. So, they don’t name it but if you were taking it and if they would test for it and see it, yeah, that’s going to disqualify you.
Ben: Yeah. Okay. I do know a lot of the growth hormone ones like ipamorelin and tesamorelin, and GHRP and many others. They’re definitely banned. But I was under the impression that there were still some that were not. So, I guess, probably the best step and I’ll tell you what I use a lot of times with my athletes and myself is you just go to globaldro.com. That’s just like it sounds globalD-R-O.com, and you can do a search for which type of compounds or supplements that you’re taking would be legal versus not. I’ll link to that one in the shownotes.
Now, I want to be sure that we address certain peptides that you like for certain things. And I guess one of the big areas, and this was where I was kind of first turned on to peptides on even deeper level was anti-aging. I attended a forum in the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine Conference in Vegas and peptides seem to be just like the darling of the expo there, and a lot of physicians were talking about them and going to separate and breakout sessions on them. There are certain peptides that I’m aware of like epitalon and MOTS-c and humanin, for example, that a lot of people now are turning to as mitochondrial enhancers or even anti-aging compounds. I’m curious what your take is on a lot of these and which anti-aging or longevity enhancing peptides you’ve actually noted to be efficacious or that you might recommend?
Jean: I would recommend all of them. They’re very right on their effect. But don’t expect like, let’s say, you take epitalon for 10 or 20 days and you do a telomere length test before and after. The studies that were done on humans in Russia on Epitalon and it was mixed with Timalin and/or Vilon, which are two thymus peptides. They measured the telomeres before and after 12 and 15 years, not one month or one year. So, it’s a slow effect that compounds over the years. But with that mix of Epitalon and Timalin, there’s an increase in telomere length of about 15%, when normally, you should have seen a decrease. So, yearly, you may see, first, it would stop the shortening. Yearly, maybe an increase of 1% in the length. So, it’s a bit of the leap of faith.
That’s why I tell my clients, I say, “Take this, take this.” Well, I don’t tell them to take this because I’m not a physician. But I tell them that if I was them, I would take this, this and this. And then in 15 years or 20 years, when you compare to other people your age, you will see the difference. When you’ll go for blood tests, you’ll see the difference.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, a lot of these like Epitalon, for example, that acts as a telomerase activator, I believe, so it would decrease the rate at which telomeres shorten. And you might be aware of this. I don’t recall the details of the actual study, but I believe in a human study several weeks of Epitalon administration resulted in a pretty significant increase and a lot of markers related to lifespan. Are you familiar of any studies on Epitalon?
Jean: Well, those from Russia, that one maybe I’ve seen. I’m not sure. If you don’t mind, I’ll talk about those Russian peptides classified as bioregulator. Peptide is the most known of. But there is right now 25 about that are known. I know that institute in Saint Petersburg, they came about 50 more that are under investigation to see what they do, if they have a positive effect or not. We’ll know the result maybe in a year or two. But right now, there are 25. And the general trend of those peptides, it’s bioregulation. It’s a bit like an adaptogen. If something is too high, it’s going to bring it down. If it’s too low, it’s going to bring it up at the organ level and its function. And Epitalon is known for the anti-aging. But overall, it’s the hormonal system peptide.
So, if you have something very depressed, then yes, you may see an immediate effect. You see that with other people with Epitalon. Their melatonin levels are very low that comes with age. They take epitalon, and very fast they recuperate their sleep. I’ve seen Epitalon work great with competitive woman. Before a competition, they train harder, body fat percentage, decrease the stress, everything. After the competition, they’re a wreck. They would go on epitalon and bang. It will bring everything back together very fast. And the most comment I get from those people, they say, “Well, I’ve been sleeping like 13 hours for a few days.” It would really bring back everything and provoke sleep for repair. An anecdote my doctor who is like kind of a black sheep here in that part of Canada because there is a big, big restriction from the doctor association and order, they cannot do anything, he’s very strong on prescribing for the thyroid. You know that extract? Is it Armour?
Ben: Yeah, Thyroid Armour. Yeah.
Jean: Yeah. And you know, every time I go see him, we spend like three hours talking and this and that. He was telling me something. He said it’s funny though. I said I’ve noticed people put on Armour that after a certain time, maybe a year, you start to see an improvement in their thyroid function. It’s coming back. I told him. I said I know why, because in the extract, you’ll find some of the bioregulator peptide, and maybe you don’t get much, maybe not much is absorbed, but over time, the quantity will be there. And yes, the thyroid function will be improved. So, it does work like that, too. But it’s a slow process. It’s not like, okay, you have an injury. You take a few shots of TB-500 and bang, you know it worked. That class of peptide, it’s more slow but it does work. And sometimes too, yes, you see a more immediate effect.
Jean: I was at that thing in Toronto in September where you gave a conference.
Ben: Oh, you were at that biohacking conference? I didn’t know that.
Jean: Yeah. We didn’t talk, but yeah, I was there.
Ben: Small world.
Jean: And you mentioned humanin, and it’s funny because nobody knew about it. You couldn’t read about it. But we had made a batch like the year before, and MOTS-c too, we have a couple of grand sitting there. They’re very good, of course. Actually, I’m working a formula because working with Dr. Cook, I came to realize it’s okay. After we met, he sent me all the main peptides you have. I sent him a bunch of vials, and then I get phone calls almost every day. Jeff, how much water do I put in this one? How much in this one? How much this, how much that? And I realized the crowd of anti-aging people or performance people, mostly anti-aging people did, they are not into mixing like five vials different and measuring every day. So, now, I’m working on a few formulas where it’s all going to be mixed together.
Ben: You mean like you’d have Epitalon with humanin with MOTS-c together?
Jean: In the same vial. I have like eight.
Ben: And those peptides aren’t going to interact with one another and form different peptide bonds?
Jean: So, you ease up the [00:58:16] _______.
Ben: Yeah. I think that’s a great idea to use more of a shotgun formula whether it’s a mix of TB-500 and BPC-157 because those act on different pathways.
Ben: TB on the fiber pathway, and BPC on the inflammatory pathway. So, I think that that’s a great opportunity there is to create stacks, for example, in those specific areas. Now, what about for fat loss? Are there any peptides that seem to be particularly efficacious for fat loss?
Jean: Yes and no. People, they always look for the magic pill. I don’t know if you know this. I don’t want to be talked bad about the whole thing, but when I went to that thing, the biohacking conference in Toronto, I saw a lot of fat people even from the presenters. I came to talk, I say, “There are steps to take.” It’s like if you’re a smoker and you take a bunch of antioxidants, it won’t work. Your risk of cancer is still there.
Ben: Or if you want to compete in the Olympics, you can’t breathe structured water and stand on a vibration platform.
Jean: You understand? So, there are things that have to be done first. For me, number one, exercise, diet. That has to be not perfect but come on. If you’re overweight, try to lose weight.
Ben: Yeah. I get what you’re saying, but at the same time, some people like to use kind of a multi-modal approach. They like to exercise, eat well, hit the sauna, do some cold sessions and maybe they want to throw some kind of a peptide in the mix or are there any out there for body composition?
Jean: Yes. Once that is done to help those processes, the cheapest one would be a growth hormone secretagogue to increase a bit growth hormone levels, not crazy, but that will help.
Ben: That would be like ipamorelin or tesamorelin?
Jean: Yeah, and CJC-1295. Not the long lasting one. CJC-1295 was invented at the university I’m at, and the biochemist I work with made the first molecule of that peptide. They did a bunch of research, and every time I talked to him about CJC-1295, that they call the one that bind to globulin in the blood that makes it last four days. He said no. All the rats we tested with that product, they all died of a horrible death. It’s long-term. It’s not a good product. The old parenthesis goes for the short-acting one.
Ben: What would be the short-acting one?
Jean: Well, a different name. It’s CJC-1295 NO DAC, some people call it, or it’s modified something I29. There is a bunch of tweaks. Right now, they have one that is like a thousand more potent than the normal ipamorelin and all that.
Ben: Yeah. So, to clarify, CJC-1295 is a growth hormone. And you could get that as the, what’s called the DAC version versus the NO DAC version. And you’d recommend the NO DAC version to get some of the better effects without the side effects?
Jean: Exactly. Plus, there is another reason. If you take the DAC version, you’ll get growth hormone peaks. We don’t decide when you get them. And if you get them when your blood sugar is high, then it won’t convert to IGF-1, so you lose those peaks.
Ben: That make sense. DAC, by the way, for those of you listening, it stands for drug affinity complex. It controls the release over time when administered and what Francois was saying is that you wouldn’t want to control the release over time, correct?
Ben: Yeah. Okay. Got you. What about muscle gain? Are there any peptides out there that you think would be efficacious for muscle gain or they also would be the same kind of growth hormone type of peptides?
Jean: In terms of peptides, no. Nothing impressive. There is a few, but the mechanical growth factor peptide–it has such a local effect. Let’s say you would want the bicep; you would need to inject like 10 spots within the biceps after a training. It’s okay for extreme people, yeah, maybe. But 90% of the population, they’ll do it for a week and they’ll give up. They say, “Well, that’s too many injections.” They get sick of it. And again, it’s a marginal effect. It’s the next step. Okay. You’re competing. The muscle mass is important for you. You add that. Yes, you’ll get an extra effect. But I don’t see it as major, no. For muscle gain, nothing great for now.
Ben: Okay. Got you. Now, let’s say you were to start on a peptide protocol, which I know a lot of people in the anti-aging industry or physicians in the anti-aging industry, someone will come to them and they’ll walk out the door with a prescription. One of my friends recently went to their physician and they left with a recommendation for an eight-week cycle of ipamorelin, and then CJC-1275 as a muscle builder and fat burner, and then another one called AOD-906 as an energy enhancer, DSIP to enhance sleep and deep sleep, and then BPC-157 for healing. It’s like a peptide stack. I’m not necessarily saying like that’s the ideal stack, but that’s kind of the prescription that they left with. Now, in your case, do you think or could you say that there’s like a certain stack or series of stacks that you found to be pretty efficacious if somebody just wants the best of the best, they want to gain muscle, lose fat, think better, sleep better, et cetera, are there certain peptide stacks that you recommend?
Jean: Okay. Easy. I’m going to tell you what I think on a regular basis. Epitalon, that’s number one, long-term effect, two or three times a year. That’s good. Another thing, some people may wonder why Epitalon, Timalin, those bioregulators, why don’t you take them year around? Because they have the particularity that their receptor site is the actual DNA chain. So, they bind a specific spot in the DNA, and they stay there. They make the DNA dilate in that position which increases the expression of the genes in that area. And in those cases, it’s a positive expression, but they stay there.
So, you do 100 milligrams of Epitalon. You have it all over the body in all the genes that are receptive to that molecule, and after you stop, it’s going to continue working for months. You do it again after six months to replenish, because yes, you have cells that die. So, new cells, they don’t have Epitalon, so you replenish a couple of times a year. So, that’s the reason why.
Ben: So, if you’re going to cycle it, how many weeks are you cycling it for?
Jean: Well, the standard total dosage is 100 milligrams. And initially, in the studies, it was done either 10 milligrams per day for 10 days or 10 milligrams per day. They have different protocol, but usually, the total is 50 or 100 milligrams. But I found out that for immediate effect like on sleep and everything, if you spread it out a bit more like over 20 days or 30 days, that 100 milligrams, you get a bit of a better effect.
Ben: Okay. Got it. What else do you use?
Jean: DSIP I use once in a while. DSIP is a funny one. First, I got caught in that a few years ago. I thought you would take it before you go to sleep, and it would knock you out. It doesn’t. Because it’s not a sleep-inducing peptide.
Ben: But that’s what it stands for, delta sleep-inducing peptide, DSIP.
Jean: There you go. It induces the delta sleep phase of sleep, not the old sleep itself.
Ben: Or sleep onset, for example.
Jean: Yes. So, it won’t affect the alpha phase, the REM phase. It will make your deep sleep deeper and longer.
Ben: If you can get past the initial sleep onset, you’re saying if you use that, you could see increase in percentage of deep sleep.
Jean: Exactly. But I made that mistake thinking–no, it doesn’t put you to sleep at all. And actually, it turns out it works better if you take it at least two hours before you go to sleep. And the effect, either you use it every day or every second day, it’s going to work the same. It’s a funny peptide because of that. Now, they’re starting. But for many years, they knew it existed, they knew it was produced in the human body, but they had no clue where it came from, which plant or system would produce it. And the way it works, it’s still in the funny zone. So, they have different protocol, but it does work big time.
Jean: So, this one I use once in a while again because it doesn’t need to be taken every day, so maybe three shots a week and I’m happy with that. TB-500, I use maybe once a month just for preventive because sometimes you have little injuries that start to develop. You don’t even feel them, so you kill the bird in the egg.
Ben: This would be like post-workout or after a difficult training?
Jean: No. Anytime.
Ben: The same time, okay. Got you. So, that would be something that an athlete would use to enhance recovery.
Jean: Yeah. Maybe once every two months, BPC, 10 milligrams for intestinal permeability repair. Almost everybody has a problem with that, so once in a while, repair it and then go on.
Jean: Okay. With the Epitalon, I would take a thymus peptide either Timalin or Vilon.
Ben: Timalin, or what was the other one that you mentioned as your thymus peptide?
Jean: Vilon, V-I-L-O-N.
Ben: Okay. Got you. Now, for those, would you primarily do those to stave off the immune system degradation?
Jean: Yeah, yeah, and for longevity. If you think about it, if you have a strong immune system, less disease, you live longer. That’s degradation.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Are there any others that you’re using? Like Semax or anything like that?
Jean: CJC-1295, on and off. Yeah. I have access to all of those, but it’s like at one point, I don’t know. Semax, [01:10:59] _______, when I use it, yeah. I mix them. One shot in the morning and maybe for a month, then stop. Not because I don’t feel the effect anymore, but I get tired of injecting every day or on a routine–
Ben: By the way, the Timalin or the Vilon, are you using those daily or cycling them like the Epitalon?
Jean: The bioregulators like the Epitalon, a couple of time a year.
Ben: Okay. So, you’re using those a couple of times a year very similarly?
Ben: Okay. Are those a 10-milligram a day cycle or are those different dosages?
Jean: No. Again, I would go for a lower dosage for maybe over 20 days or 30 days. Yeah.
Ben: Okay. Got you, got you. But a similar dosage for 20 days like 5 milligrams a day?
Jean: That’s right.
Ben: Okay. Got you. Very interesting, very interesting. I could talk to you forever about this stuff, but obviously, our time is limited. Where’s the best place for people to find out more about you or to communicate with you?
Jean: Okay. Well, actually, on Facebook, CanLab page. They look for CanLab, and I write some articles, I post. I’m not a big writer, actually, but once in a while, I answer questions. So, yeah, CanLab on Facebook. That’s my go-to place right now.
Ben: Okay. Awesome. I’ll find you on there and I’ll try to put a link in the shownotes here. Sometimes, actually, we have to be careful with what links I put in shownotes for some of the stuff that’s not sold for human consumption. But anything I can link to and that the folks who protect me on this stuff, I am allowed to link to, I’ll link to. So, hopefully, we can get a link to your Facebook page there. I’ll also link to my first and second podcast with Dr. Matthew Cook who initially turned me on to Jean Francois, and we talked about peptides in both of those shows. And I’ll also link to my podcast with Jay Campbell in which we talked about some of these things like tesamorelin and some of these growth hormone-based peptides. I’ll put all of those over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/peptidepodcast. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/peptidepodcast.
Jean-Francois, thanks so much for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us, man. It’s fascinating.
Jean: Well, no, it was my pleasure, Ben.
Ben: Awesome, awesome. All right, folks. Well, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Jean-Francois Tremblay signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today’s show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I’ve ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
I receive plenty of questions about peptides and SARMs, including:
-How do peptides work?
-What is the safety/side effects of peptides?
-What are the best anti-aging peptides?
-What are the best fat loss and muscle gain peptides?
-What are the best recovery peptides?
-What peptides work for cognition and neural enhancement?
-How do you properly mix and administer peptides?
-Do peptides need to be “cycled”?
My guest on today’s show, Jean-François Tremblay, comes highly recommended by former podcast guest and regenerative medicine physician Dr. Matt Cook as one of the world’s leading experts on the wonderful world of peptides and SARMs.
Dr. Tremblay studied exercise physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology. He has been investigating (in theory and in practice) peptides and SARMs since the 1990s and now makes peptides his main research subject. He has developed a wealth of expertise on peptides and SARMs and their practical applications in sports performance, anti-aging, and health in general.
During my discussion with Jean-François Tremblay, you’ll discover:
-The science of peptides and how they work…5:55
- Amino acids linked together
- Human growth hormone contains 191 amino acids
- When enough peptides link together, it becomes a protein
- Demystifying some of the myths surrounding peptides:
- They must be refrigerated at all times (only for certain peptides)
- Methionine bonds
- Most peptides are long chain, stable at room temp,
- More sensitive to light than heat (degradation more likely result of overexposure to light than heat)
- The “local effect” (BPC 157 and TB 500)
-The pros and cons of various means of injecting peptides…15:15
- Intra-nasal absorption is not 100%; however, what is injected has a better chance of reaching the brain
- Originally researched in USSR during the Cold War
- Russians are meticulous in their research; however, lacking in ethics
- Icarus documentary
- Researched on humans before other animals; published only after testing on animals
-Peptide safety and side effects of use…21:30
- Worst-case scenario of “overdosing” on peptides is that it simply doesn’t work; no notable negative side effects
- Not the case with nootropics; you’re messing with the brain’s chemistry
- Bottom line: Don’t throw caution to the wind. Be aware of proper dosages and administer correctly to the best of your knowledge
-Legality and sourcing issues with peptides…32:15
- 99% of them come from China (even if the label says “Made in the USA”)
- Chinese government dictates who produces what, such as peptides
- Chinese company released a growth hormone which was very effective, then replaced it with another (under the same name) that had negative side effects
- Scandinavian company was dishonest about dosage of melanotan (5 mg when advertised as 10 mg)
- There are only a couple of sources, albeit distributed by many different brands
- The bacteriostatic water included with the peptide should be crystal clear when it’s added
- There’s a reason for the high cost: equipment, repairs, etc.
-Whether peptides need to be “cycled” in their use…44:00
- Some, yes. It depends on the peptide
- Effect of BPC-157 lasts around 6 hours
- Effect of TB-500 lasts 10-15 days, but it’s out of your system in 12 hours
-Recommended anti-aging peptides…49:30
-The best peptides for fat loss…58:38
- There is no “magic pill”
- Take care of the low hanging fruit: exercise, diet, etc.
- Tesamorelin (Egrifta)
- CJC-1295 (no dac version)
-Recommended peptides for muscle gain…1:02:45
- Nothing for non-competitive use
- Requires strict discipline and patience; marginal results at best
-Jean-François’ peptide regimen…1:04:51
- DSIP (affects the delta phase of sleep only)
- TB-500 (once a month)
- BPC-157 (once every couple of months)
- Thymus (timalin or vilon) twice a year
- Semax very occasionally
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
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