In this episode, I am speaking with Dr. Bob Harding—a peptide expert and innovative physician who focuses on personalized precision medicine—about the best peptides for weight loss and healing.
In this podcast, Dr. Harding will cover:
- The best peptides for weight loss
- How growth hormones work in the body
- Where can I get peptides? (Why you should be cautious when buying peptides)
- BPC-157—the best healing peptide
- The biggest downside of taking peptides
- Are there any side effects of taking peptides? (Should you take peptides if you have cancer?)
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The Best Peptides For Weight Loss with Dr. Bob Harding – Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hey everyone. Welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I’m your host, Ari Whitten, and today I have with me Dr. Bob Harding, who is an innovative physician who embarked on his journey of personalized precision medicine through years of study of integrative functional and age management medicine. He partners with clients to assist them in reaching their human potential. He’s a graduate of the University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship and has done advanced study of functional medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine and training in age management through synergetics. He has over a decade of experience as an emergency physician and vast leadership experience.
He’s also an expert on peptides and works with the Aperion Institute with Dr. Daniel Stickler, who I’ve also had on the podcast. I’m very excited about today’s show. We’re going to be talking all about peptides and specifically weight loss and healing-related peptides.
Welcome to the show, Dr. Harding. It’s such a pleasure to have you on.
Dr. Robert Harding: Hey, it’s great to be here. Thanks for having me on, and I’m excited to talk about healing people and people getting healthier. It’s going to be fun.
Ari Whitten: Excellent. So, I’ve done a couple of other podcasts now on this topic of peptides where we’ve given a broad intro of what peptides are and how they work and that sort of thing. So, I’m going to assume that everybody listening to this podcast already has that foundational knowledge of what peptides are. With that said, what we’re going to be talking about here is some of the fat-loss related peptides, healing peptides and growth hormone related peptides.
You mentioned something right before we started recording about your own personal weight loss journey. I’m curious if you could talk a bit about what you experienced.
Dr. Robert Harding: Sure. I’m trained as an emergency physician, and I got into emergency medicine all gung-ho, was working a lot of hours, and then went into a lot of administrative duties. I was working 15 to 17 shifts, days, nights, being on call for 24 hours every day for 10 years as a medical director. Sometimes, if someone got sick, I’d have to drop what I was doing and go work a shift, and I kind of helped grow my emergency medicine group to a bigger group. I was so involved with that that my health started to deteriorate; I ballooned up to 220 pounds. I’m 5’10”, so I was a pretty fat guy. I had trouble bending over to tie my own shoes and running around with my young kids.
Right before I turned 40, I started to think, “What am I going to do? Should I go for an MBA or should I maybe do something a little different that could help my own health?” I started the integrative medicine fellowship. It’s a two-year fellowship and is mostly online through the University of Arizona, and that changed my life. My wife’s also a physician. She did the fellowship too, and when I was at her graduation, it started off as wild talk. I said, “You know what, I’m going to do this.” I started doing that and actually got rid of my stressful jobs and just went to work as an emergency physician: that helped me a lot.
Ari Whitten: Sorry, did you say that you got rid of your stressful jobs and went to work as an emergency physician?
Dr. Robert Harding: Yeah! Imagine that!
Ari Whitten: I would think an emergency position in a very stressful job.
Dr. Robert Harding: There’s more stress being an emergency physician administrator over other physicians and working in hospital administration.
Ari Whitten: Interesting.
Dr. Robert Harding: It was amazing. Almost overnight, I lost 10 pounds, probably got down to 210, dropped those jobs, and my heartburn went away. I had horrible heartburn for 10 years; I was taking Dexilant, which is one of the strongest proton pump inhibitors out there, so it was amazing when the heartburn went away. Sometimes I think it’s related to having increased abdominal mass and visceral fat that causes a problem with the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach, and then a lot of it is psychosomatic too, especially with heartburn-related stuff. I got rid of those jobs, lost the 10 pounds, did a lot of intermittent fasting, hit the gym a little bit, and it was magical. 10 pounds then turned into 20 pounds. I hit the 199 mark. You can follow me on Facebook where you’ll see “Dr. Fat Bob to Dr. Fit Bob.” I have all these posts of me on my scale. There’s a little accountability when you do things like that.
Then, I finally went to the doctor. I had never had blood testing done and wasn’t one to follow up. I saw that I actually had hypothyroidism, low testosterone, a lot of inflammation, and then I really dialed things in. Now here I am at 178 pounds today. I’m trying to lose more weight, and I want to get a six pack, but I’m getting there.
Why Dr. Harding became interested in peptides
Ari Whitten: Awesome. How did you then get into the human potential stuff and the Aperion Institute? What prompted your interest in peptides specifically?
Dr. Robert Harding: So, there are different aspects of alternative, integrative medicine, and functional medicine, and a lot of that pertains to the sick population. I was looking to work with people that were like me: 40 pounds overweight and not necessarily sick but who just wanted to perform better. I actually made a comment on LinkedIn and then Dr. Stickler saw it, looked me up, and saw that I was in Austin. He said, “Hey, let’s meet for lunch. We have a lot of things in common.” At that time, I was working with my wife in her practice, and I was having a lot of trouble getting the right clients into the office. I would present everything—how I wanted to do things—and then I would tell them the price, and most of the men would say, “No, I’m not going pay that.” Those guys are still not doing well; I know them personally. So, I saw an opportunity where, regarding business aspects, I wouldn’t have to do as much. I also like the whole program. We really take a systemic approach to things. We look at human systems, stress, sleep, diet, body composition, brain function, and we bring in the peptides as an additional factor. So, it’s good to work with a whole team and the different coaches. We also look at genetics, which is something I didn’t really learn during my training. It’s a comprehensive approach. Plus, I have a beautiful office here on 4thand Congress in downtown Austin.
Ari Whitten: Nice. You’ve got an ocean view in Austin. [laughter] So, tell me a little bit about your experience with peptides specifically, either for yourself or for the patients or clients who you work with. I guess we have two categories of peptides that are not necessarily related. I’ll let you decide whether we go into more of the fat-loss-related stuff first or some of the healing peptides, but tell me a bit about your experience working with some of these and some of the effects that you’re seeing.
Dr. Robert Harding: So, I am a bio hacker. If you go to my house, you’ll see all these different supplements. The trajectory for me was getting the hormones optimized, DHEA, and my thyroid. I had hypothyroidism and I had low T. So, I got those pretty much optimized and then peptides were the next step to help decrease body fat. I tried Ipamorelin by itself, and I had a little benefit from that, then I did Ipamorelin and CJC, which is another very powerful combination for fat loss. Finally, I went for the big hefty one, what a lot of doctors say will “melt the fat away” is Tesamorelin.
A lot of times, we’ll do that for six weeks. You can do it once at night to help with the growth hormone spike that you get about one o’clock in the morning. I had a lot of benefits with Tesamorelin. I did it for eight weeks. A lot of times we’ll do four to six weeks, but I actually broke it up a little bit because of some traveling and sometimes I just don’t like getting shots and didn’t feel like doing it. As for the benefits, I’ve always had love handles, and they kind of melted away. This is called a Phoenix-5 watch. It’s a Garmin watch, and I use it with all my clients, or we use an Oura ring, but what I found was that I was getting deep sleep.
What I really like to do, for myself and for my clients, is get three hours of combined deep and REM sleep. Sometimes I can do that in six hours, which is important since I still work as an emergency physician. For example, just the other day I got home at 2:30, went to bed at 4:00, slept between 4:00 and 10:00 and still managed to get three hours of deep and REM sleep. I also had a shot of Tesamorelin. So, I think following that deep sleep and REM sleep right there, I definitely had better quality sleep over that eight-week period. I got to feeling generally a lot better. I also did my first Spartan Race. I’ve been training for a one-half 5K for about 10 years, so doing the Spartan Race was quite challenging, but utilizing peptides during and after that definitely helped with the recovery.
Tesamorelin contains amazing things. It improves brain function: you just feel sharper. Recovery is great. The fat loss is good. Sometimes you get a little hunger side effect. It’s not supposed to cause much hunger, but at times, I did feel that I was getting a little hungry.
What are peptides? – The best peptides for weight loss
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So, you mentioned several different compounds there. Let’s step back for a minute. Tell me about what these compounds are. For the listeners out there who have no idea about anything you just mentioned or what the heck these compounds are, and who are thinking, “Is he talking about nutritional supplements? What the heck is he talking about here, and what do these specific compounds do?”
Dr. Robert Harding: Tesamorelin is called a GHRH. It’s a growth hormone releasing hormone, and it works on the hypothalamus and on the pituitary gland, as well. It essentially tickles the pituitary gland to release more growth hormone. As we get older, a lot of people believe that we have a good amount of growth hormone, even as we age from the age of 20 to 100, you still have a decent amount of growth hormone. Releasing it is the challenge. It helps increase the release of growth hormone, and we tend to do it at night because your growth hormone level peaks nine times per day, but the greatest peak is at about one o’clock in the morning if you’re going to sleep at the right time. Plus, there’s a lot of other benefits; it’s a pleiotropic hormone that has receptors all around the body: in the heart, in the pancreas, in the muscles, in the brain. That’s why we see all these great effects the Tesamorelin in medicines, and from the release of the growth hormone from the pituitary gland. That’s where you get increased, overwhelming feelings of wellness, which is probably from the brain effect.
Ari Whitten: So, talk to me a bit more about what growth hormone is specifically doing in the body. We’ve kind of alluded to its role in fat loss, but you mentioned in passing a number of other effects on different systems. Maybe you could do a three- or five-minute summary of what the key roles of growth hormone in the human body are.
Dr. Robert Harding: Well, it helps with muscle building, so it has an anabolic effect and increases muscle synthesis. It also helps with bone effect, meaning it’s going to increase the strength of the bone by incorporating the right minerals into the bone. It has a positive effect on the blood vessels and can help smooth them out a bit, which decreases the chances of atherosclerosis—clot build up in the vessels. It can also make you sensitive to insulin. Now, if you’re taking too much growth hormone exogenously, where you’re injecting yourself every day like some bodybuilders do, then that can make you more diabetic. But we’re talking about low, physiological doses because we’re just helping the body increase that natural pulse and produce a natural effect.
It’s going to help make you more insulin sensitive. It can also help decrease your LDL cholesterol, or your bad cholesterol, which helps regulate blood pressure. It has a bunch of different effects all around the body. It can help decrease neuroinflammation, and that’s a big thing. With Alzheimer’s disease, everyone thinks, “Oh, you get Alzheimer’s disease at 80 years old,” but it really probably starts when you’re 50, when you start to experience some cognitive decline and a lot of neuroinflammation, so it can help decrease inflammation in the brain. It can help decrease leukotrienes and different inflammatory markers that are produced throughout the body.
I believe all diseases are caused by inflammation, so whatever you can do to decrease inflammation is good, whether with your diet, getting the right sleep, exercising enough, but not exercising too much—be careful of toxins in your food and your water. Tesamorelin is just another thing that you can use to help decrease inflammation.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Growth hormone declines as we age, growth hormone levels in the body decline as we age, but you’re saying our brain, our pituitary gland, retains the capacity to produce a lot, but it starts releasing less and less as we get older. Can you give an overview of what that decline typically looks like? What are the typical levels up through the ages of 20 or 25, and then what happens? Could you quantify the reduction over time?
Dr. Robert Harding: So, you have a growth hormone releasing hormone and the amount you’re making or how well it works decreases. You have something called somatostatin, which increases with age, and when you have increased Somatostatin, that decreases the amount of growth hormone that can be released from the pituitary gland. You have an almost 50% drop in the amount of growth hormone that’s released by the time you’re 70, and it’s about 30% by the time you’re 50, as opposed to a 20-year-old. It’s there, it’s just not being released as much, and that’s the way these GHRP’s and GHRHs help you release more of it.
Ari Whitten: Got it. Now, somebody coming from more of a naturalistic perspective might be inclined to say, “Maybe the body’s better off doing that. Maybe the body is supposed to do that, and we should leave it alone and let it be. If we toy with that system too much, maybe there’s negative effects from that.” Obviously, there’s a lot of s hubbub around the idea that growth hormone is going to impact IGF-1, and a lot of people are looking at IGF-1 as potentially promoting cancer now. What would you say to somebody who’s scared or skeptical of the idea that increasing growth hormone in older people is a good idea?
Dr. Robert Harding: Yeah, I know that’s a controversy. That’s what we’re all trying to figure out. All these people who live to a hundred years old have a lower IGF-1 level. So, right now we don’t live in a natural world. Most people don’t live in a natural world. We have all this light all around us. A lot of us are on electronics right before we sleep, and we’re not really sure how that affects everything. We have a lot of toxins in the environment. We have a lot of stress—checking your email 26 times a day causes stress that we don’t know about, right, because we get a dopamine release. So, I’m a believer in trying to mimic the hormone system and the body system of a younger person in order to prevent the aging disease process.
As far as I know, there haven’t been any studies showing that the use of peptides to help tickle the natural system, to enhance the release of growth hormone, causes cancer. This is a more natural way of doing it as opposed to injecting regular growth hormone every day at high doses. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been an association. Now, do I think you should use peptides like like Tesamorelin every day? No. A lot of times we try to do six to eight weeks, then take a break for two months. The same thing with CJC and Ipamorelin, if we’re going to use that too. So, I think doing it for a certain amount of time, then taking a break and doing it again is probably the best thing to do. You can desensitize some of the receptors, so it’s just hard to say. I think the benefits are good. We want to have increased muscle mass as we age, decreased chances of injury, decreased chances of cardiovascular disease, better blood pressure, and decreased inflammation of the blood vessels. Those are all positive effects, but you will get an increase IGF-1.
Ari Whitten: Interesting. So, let’s talk about these different sorts of compounds. You’ve mentioned a few like Ipamorelin, CJC and Tesamorelin, and I know there are a few others in this broad category of growth hormone secretagogues. GHRH-6: is it GHRH or GHRP-6 and -2?
Dr. Robert Harding: GHRP-6 and -2.
Ari Whitten: Then there’s the oral one, which doesn’t have to be injected, called MK-677. So, can you talk a bit about the pros and cons of these different compounds?
Dr. Robert Harding: Yeah. So, MK-677 is Ibutamoren and is a long-term actor to release growth hormone at a consistent level instead of doing the natural dips 6-9 times per day that you have that the natural, pulsatile release of hormones. There are concerns about the long-term effects of that, and I’m not really a big fan of it. I haven’t used it personally nor would I use it in my clients just because it’s not as natural. There are also concerns of it possibly increasing prolactin and things like that. Tesamorelin is a GHRH, and, again, that is what we think of a heavy hitter to release more of of the growth hormone from the pituitary. Al increases the IGF level the most out of all the GHRP’s and GHRH’s.
Ari Whitten: Tesamorelin does?
Dr. Robert Harding: Yeah.
Ari Whitten: Okay.
Dr. Robert Harding: Some studies show that, but there’s also a lot of good studies with Tesamorelin. It’s FDA approved for lipodystrophy and for men who have HIV who get lipodystrophy from some of the medicines that they take and that increases their visceral fat. And we all know that visceral fat is dangerous for the body, causing increased inflammation. A lot of times that’s why we use it Tesamorelin: we know that it works for decreasing fat. Ipamorelin, you can even use it with Tesamorelin. Ipamorelin is a GHRP, so it works a little bit differently, and sometimes you can use that together with Tesamorelin. It is a newer, third generation GHRP, so you first had Sermorelin, which doctors in the age management sphere have used. Some have had good success, but a lot of them didn’t have good success. GHRP-2 and GHRP-6 actually increase the hunger that people experience, so these are ghrelin mimetics and ghrelin is a hunger hormone that our stomach release, but it also helps release growth hormone. Those medicines can be beneficial, but you have to inject it and go to sleep right away or else you’re going to be starving and eat the whole house out.
Ari Whitten: I know that a lot of people avoid those, especially GHRP-6, because it increases appetite, but some of this is context dependent, right? If you’re working with somebody who’s underweight or whose goal is to build as much muscle as possible, they might want that increased hunger and that might actually be a good thing in that context, whereas if you’re working with somebody whose primary goal is fat loss, then you want to avoid those compounds that have the side effect of increased hunger. Is that accurate?
Dr. Robert Harding: That’s accurate. Sometimes you can experience some increased prolactin release, too, so that’s why a lot of people have moved to Ipamorelin; it’s the third generation. You don’t get the hunger side effect as much, and it seems to work well. A lot of times we combine it with CJC-1295, which is a GHRH, like Tesamorelin but not as strong.
Ari Whitten: So, what’s the difference between the CJC-1295 and the Tesamorelin. I know that the Tesamorelin is FDA approved, and that it’s marketed specifically for lipodystrophy and people with HIV., and CJC-1295 is not, but functionally, in terms of what they’re actually doing to the body, is there a big difference between them?
Dr. Robert Harding: Not really. I think, sometimes people combine it with something called DAC, and then you can take it once a week as opposed to once or twice a day, but again, that doesn’t go along with the natural pulsatile function of a tertiary gland. It’s not as strong as Tesamorelin, but I think in that combination of CJC and Ipamorelin, that’s a good combination for maybe a longer-term use as opposed to Tesamorelin.
Ari Whitten: Got it. What kind of results do you think could be expected with the use of these peptides for improving growth hormone and decreasing fat mass on the body? What are some typical things that people might see in using these?
Dr. Robert Harding: That all depends on lifestyle. It’s all about food, right? The number one thing to do is to really control your diet, and the best thing to do is to cook your own food and then you know what you’re eating. If you’ve got everything dialed in…there are a lot of synergistic effects when your testosterone level or your estrogen progesterone level is optimized, in addition to DHEA and thyroid. If you have all that dialed in, if you’re eating well, you’re sleeping your eight hours per night, I think you can see results within three weeks, especially with Tesamorelin, you could see some fat loss along with some muscle gain, and the same thing with the CJC and Ipamorelin, but it may take a little bit longer with that.
It just depends. We dose things differently, so with Ipamorelin, you might just take it at night, and when you take it, you don’t want to eat any carbohydrates or fats within two hours: you can eat pure protein if you want, but if you do that, you’re going to decrease the pulsatile release of the growth hormone at night, which typically occurs about one o’clock if you’re following a normal sleep schedule.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So, what is the optimal dosing regimen for somebody who’s looking to use these for fat loss?
Dr. Robert Harding: Well, the Tesamorelin can be a bit expensive, but if you want to really lose fat, you might want to do it once in the morning and once at night; it’s about one milligram subcutaneous, and then the Ipamorelin-CJC combination depends. Sometimes we’ll have it done it at night or in the morning and at night, and then you can do it in the morning, in the afternoon after a workout and then again at night if you really want to dial in. It’s just that it it’s a lot doing injections. It’s really a pain in the ass, to tell you the truth.
Ari Whitten: Got it. Okay, are there any other peptides on this topic of fat loss that are worth mentioning? I know there are a couple of other random ones I’ve seen such as Adipotide, but it sounds like maybe there’s a concern with the side effects of some of these.
Dr. Robert Harding: Yeah, Adipotide burns the fat away, so we don’t really use that. There were some concerns about that. There’s TTA, or tetradecylthioacetic acid. This is a PPAR alpha activator, so this helps people get into ketosis, which is great, and some people have problems getting ketosis because of a genetic variant, and it can really help you mobilize fat and turn that into ketones. Sometimes we’ll combine that pill with something called [inaudible]. This is a medicine that was used as anti-inflammatory for aphthous ulcers, like herpes simplex one and things like that. It has been shown to actually help reverse inflammation with obesity. It’s a peptide combination—it’s a pill sometimes prescribed along with some of the other peptides to help increase fat loss. It’s a pill, which is great: you don’t have to do an injection.
[Inaudible] is another medicine that we use. It’s a dopamine and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, so it can really decrease appetite. Those are some of the other things we’re using for fat loss. Even BPC-157 is great peptide we use for a lot of different things and sometimes we’ll put that in there too to help heal the gut and heal some muscle- skeletal issues and decrease some brain information, and whatever we can do to help with the brain and change the mindset can help too.
Ari Whitten:I want to talk to you more about that, but some of the compounds that you just mentioned with regards to fat loss, are these things that people can buy over the counter, are they pharmaceuticals that are prescription only, or are they owned by pharmaceutical companies? How would people go about acquiring these things, and what’s the legal aspect of all this?
Dr. Robert Harding: We really don’t recommend people getting things off the Internet with the different peptide companies out there because they’re not evaluated for purity and things like that. We use a couple of compounding pharmacies in the United States that test every single batch that they produce for quality, so that’s one of the recommendations. Now, you live in California. In California, I am part of this international peptides society, and I was at a meeting…I believe the physicians have limitations on what peptides they can prescribe there. I know they can prescribe Ipamorelin, CJC-1295, and I think BPC-I57, but depending on the state, you might not be able to prescribe every single one of these peptides.’
I just had one of my clients email me this morning; she wanted to know if she could get BPC at her local pharmacy. You can’t. there are only a couple of compounding pharmacies right now in the United States making thes. There’s a lot of research on peptides done on animals, and there’s some research done on humans, but not as much. The other medicines, the pills for weight loss I talked about, those are mostly going to be at the compounding pharmacies.
Ari Whitten: Okay. Are there any safety issues with any of those pills you mentioned?
Dr. Robert Harding: Well, not that I know of. [Inaudible], I’m always leery about a SSRI’s and antidepressant medicines because sometimes people take those for a long time, and it’s hard to get them off, and I think they lose their effectiveness for a while. A lot of times with that medicine we just do it for 30 days. A lot of times we’re doing these for short, short amount of time, and then giving the body a break. People can have a flushing reaction with Tesamorelin. We see that sometimes, and sometimes people will take Alka Seltzer before they take that. You’ll get a little burning reaction in the injection side Tesamorelin, and that’s pretty normal, but, otherwise, I don’t see too much of a danger with the medicines.
That’s one of the good things about peptides that we’re seeing. They don’t seem to be that dangerous in the body.
Do peptides cause cancer?
Ari Whitten: Last question on the fat-loss-related stuff and growth hormone related stuff. With any of these compounds, have you seen any research indicating any clear links with cancer or any other serious side effects?
Dr. Robert Harding: No. I was just looking up some stuff this morning. There was a study that looked at 8,000, people who were given a growth hormone releasing hormone and there was no more prevalence of cancer in that group than in the control group. So, as far as I know, we don’t really see that now. Would we use it in someone with cancer? I think you have to be a little bit careful, and that’s really a discussion of the risks and benefits with the client.
Ari Whitten: And the distinction there would be if there is an already preexisting cancer, then the use of some of these growth hormones and IGF-1 increasing compounds could theoretically increase the growth, but they wouldn’t sort of cause the generation of a new cancer? Is that accurate?
Dr. Robert Harding: That’s correct. I think we probably develop cancer cells all the time and our body’s immune system fights them off, so we have a way of getting rid of cancer cells unless something’s breaking down the system. we’ve got the Swiss cheese model: there are different ways of killing off those cancer cells. There are a lot of benefits with these peptides too, because you can increase muscle mass, bone strength, and overall sense of wellbeing, so I think there’s a lot of benefits to it, maybe even in cancer patients, but I think you do have to be careful. We just don’t know.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I commented on that because I was thinking about that possibility as well, that if you take somebody who’s very overweight, diabetic and who has metabolic syndrome, has chronically high blood sugar and health problems—metabolic problems—as a result of the excess body fat, then the use of some of these compounds, if they are effective in decreasing body fat, could actually improve metabolic health parameters in a way that is probably net anti-disease, net anti-cancer theoretically.
Dr. Robert Harding: Yeah. Because we know obesity definitely increases your chance of cancer, and that it affects immune function and causes inflammation. It’s all about inflammation and trying to decrease inflammation.
If we can get people on the right diet and utilize some of these different peptides…once you lose 20 pounds and your pants are looser, I think that’s a big motivator to keep going. It’s that first 20 pounds for a lot of people that can really make the difference.
The best peptides for healing
Ari Whitten: Absolutely. So, I want to talk now about the other big topic, which is healing peptides. You already mentioned in passing the BPC-157, but can you give me an overview of the healing-promoting peptides, cellular regeneration promoting peptides, and what they do and what sort of applications you use them for.
Dr. Robert Harding: Sure. BPC-157 is a gastric peptide that was found in the Mucosa and the gastric acid years ago, and it’s there to help heal. It’s a small peptide and it’s one of the peptides that we could take orally, which is great—you can get it in a pill form as opposed to injection. Now, there’s a lot of debate on if it’s as good if you do it by mouth as by subcutaneous injection, but it’s like everybody’s favorite peptide. Especially in the functional medicine field, where a lot of doctors are dealing with gut issues, it really hasn’t infiltrated yet in a lot of the functional medicine doctors, but a lot of the more progressive doctors utilizing peptides, it’s one of their favorite ones. We use it a lot for any kind of musculoskeletal injury, and I prefer the pill cause it’s just easier to take.
So, it’s great for any musculoskeletal issue and gut issues, too. It could help with people suffering from ulcers, and you want to get them off of PPI, a proton pump inhibitor, like Protonix or Nexium, you can utilize it for that. It can also be good for people with some brain fog. There are a lot of studies on mice that were addicted to methamphetamines; they give them BPC-157 and their addiction goes away. Even on myself, I like wine, and I got into the habit of always wanting to have a drink when I got home from work and did a round of the BPC-157, and that drive for the alcohol dissipated. I really limit the alcohol now, but I don’t know for sure if it’s related to that. I have a lot of things going on with trying to get healthy.
Ari Whitten: That’s interesting. Do you have any idea on what could be the anti-addiction effect?
Dr. Robert Harding: Yeah, that’s just my personal experience.
Ari Whitten: But you mentioned the animal studies, as well.
Dr. Robert Harding: There are animal studies on amphetamine and on alcohol, too. BPC can decrease the withdrawal from alcohol, and then it can decrease the intoxication effects from alcohol, too. There are mice studies on that, too. It can help with TBI, traumatic brain injuries. There are some studies on poor little rats and mice that get their brains bashed in, and they have shown some healing properties with that, as well as severe hemorrhage, or the extent of how much bleeding goes on in a brain. For transection of nerves on the rats, too, they ‘ve shown some healing properties on that.
Anxiety and depression are some others. They’ve shown some studies with rats and stuff that it can decrease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also promote the sensitization of growth hormone receptors in the body, so that’s kind of interesting. That’s why combining it with a Tesamorelin, Ipamorelin, or CJC might be a good thing to do. It’s this amazing peptide that’s out there to be utilized for a lot of different things.
Ari Whitten:I mean, it almost sounds like a cure-all when you list off all the benefits, and what’s interesting is everybody that I’ve talked to seems to say, “Well, we don’t really know that much about the mechanisms behind how it’s working, besides maybe increasing growth hormone receptors, but we know that it has all these amazing effects. We don’t know the exact physiological mechanisms or cellular mechanisms.” Other than the growth hormone receptor aspect, do you have any insight into that?
Dr. Robert Harding: Well, they say it has some pro-angiogenic effects. That means it can help increase the ability of blood vessel regeneration. You’ll see that with different tissue injuries. That’s one effect, and somehow it has this anti-inflammatory effect that, but it’s not quite known how that works. It’s just one of these compounds we’re still trying to figure out. I think it could benefit a lot of people though.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, and as a nice added bonus, as you said, it’s one of the few peptides that is orally bioavailable. It doesn’t have to be injected. Do you have any idea on how the dosing would compare via oral versus injectable?
Dr. Robert Harding: Orally, it comes in like a 500-microgram tablet, and then people inject up to 1,500 micrograms per day over three different injections. It’s kind of all over the place.
Ari Whitten: As a general rule of thumb, is the oral perhaps 30% or 50% as bioavailable, so you could adjust the doses by maybe doubling the dose of what you would take from an injectable?
Dr. Robert Harding: Well, I think a lot of people just do the 500 and see how they deal with it, and sometimes they’ll increase it. A lot of the doctors in this realm work closely with their clients; there’s a lot of communication and it’s not like you see a client once in May and then don’t seem again until September. There’s a lot of follow-up, and sometimes people will have to adjust things.
Ari Whitten: Got it. Are there any other peptides in this category of promoting healing that are worth mentioning?
Dr. Robert Harding: TB-4 is another one. TB-500. It’s a thymosin hormone, from the thymus gland, and that has a lot of the same benefits as BPC-157. So, it has these angiogenic properties, decreases inflammation, and it actually helps with hair. We have a hair protocol that I’m really wanting to use. I’m trying to get some of my clients to use it. I’m trying to probably do it on myself. But TB for is part of that. It helps increase hair growth on the scalp. It does a lot with the androgenic effects and cartilage injury and muscle injury. sometimes people use one or the other. Sometimes people use both at the same time.
How to use peptides for re-growing hair
Ari Whitten: Got it. Now, I’m curious about the hair regrowth. Is that something that you inject directly into the scalp or apply it topically or something like that? How does that work for hair regrowth?
Dr. Robert Harding: Regarding the hair regrowth protocol with peptides, people are using different stuff, but a lot of times there will be an injection, subcutaneous, of the TB-4, and then there’s CHKCU, which is another peptide that we’ll put into the hair to regenerate collagen and hair follicles. And there’s also, valproic acid that actually helps with hair follicle growth. there’s a couple of different peptides involved with that, but the TB-4 would be an injection. It’s not like you take it and you get hair on your back, though.
Ari Whitten: So, it’s not injected into the area? It’s injected into the belly or something? [Yeah.] Okay. Interesting. And it doesn’t cause her growth in any other place than the head?
Dr. Robert Harding: That’s what they’re saying. I haven’t done it yet, but they’re having a lot of good progress with this hair protocol. They actually do some PRP injections and then put on some topical peptides, TB-4 is part of that, and then you’ll do some hair rolling with a little roller a couple of times per week and put some more of the peptides in, and they’re having a lot of good outcomes.
Ari Whitten: Interesting. Very cool. Are there any other peptides worth mentioning as far as regeneration and healing are concerned? You mentioned this other one, what was it? CHKCU for collagen. Is that something that can be applied topically for skin anti-aging purposes?
Dr. Robert Harding: Yeah, CHKCU has copper in it. It’s in some high-quality cosmetic products. We get it compounded in a cream and use it once or twice a day, and it increases collagen synthesis. It can decrease inflammation, too. It also comes as an injection, you can inject it to heal musculoskeletal injuries, and just for systemic steps. It does a lot for the skin. A lot of people utilizing peptides for cosmetic and aesthetic practices use it. A lot of my clients like it. Especially the ladies.
Ari Whitten: So, it is absorbable into the skin topically. It’s not something that has to be injected?
Dr. Robert Harding: Correct. Which is a nice benefit. You just put it on at night, usually. Once or twice a day.
PT-141 – the peptide for sexual enhancement
Ari Whitten: Okay. Very cool. Any other peptides? I think we’re at the end of our time here, but are there any other peptides that are worth mentioning that you are excited about or that fall into any of these categories that you think are worth mentioning here?
Dr. Robert Harding: Well, there’s one, PT-141, which is a sexual enhancement peptide, which is always good. This a peptide that works in the brain, not like Viagra, which works on the blood vessels, on the penis. And the great thing about this is one study showed an increase in sexually satisfying experiences in women by 50% as opposed to 12% of placebo groups. There are not a lot of things out there for women as opposed to men. Both women and men can take it, and we’ve seen some pretty good experiences with it.
Ari Whitten: Is this coming to the market, like as a pharmaceutical? Are pharmaceutical companies looking at bringing this to market as a drug, since it seems to be, from what I’ve read, the most effective thing out there for that particular purpose of female sexual satisfaction? Do you know the status of that or if pharmaceutical companies are looking at bringing this to the market?
Dr. Robert Harding: I’m not totally sure. I’m not totally sure. I thought I heard something about that and one of my courses I took, but I’m not sure.
Ari Whitten: Got it. So, lots of fascinating stuff here. Great, great stuff. Thank you so much for all of this information. Everybody out there who’s listening to this, who is now probably thinking that some of these things sound pretty good, how do they go about getting this stuff? How do they go about working with you? Can you kind of give a broad overview of what this process looks like to acquire some of these things safely? I know you mentioned there are a lot of random websites out there, and I know that there are pretty big concerns over a lot of these peptides being sourced from China, potentially being contaminated, potentially not being what they say they are or even if they are what they say there are, maybe being heavily underdosed. How would somebody go about getting access to high-quality, pure peptides?
Dr. Robert Harding: Well, I think you have to work with a physician has some training and some knowledge about peptides. Sometimes that can be a little bit challenging to find. The Internet’s always a pretty good source. There’s an international peptide society that has a list of doctors that are in the training program, and that’s always a good source. I’m here in Austin. We have a great program. We are a pretty comprehensive program where we kind of look at the whole system. We have clients from all around the country that fly in, and it’s basically a two-day evaluation. We look at stress, your body composition, and even look at your breathing and your stress response to breathing. We do a QEEG to look at your brainwaves. We do a DEXA scan to look at body composition. We start with the genetics: we do a 76-page report on genetics, and these are all things that we can change with lifestyle factors. So, they can get in touch with us; www.apeironcenter.com is probably the best way. Or they can just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ari Whitten: Excellent. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Harding. It was really such a pleasure to have you on the show, and I thank you for your, and I look forward to doing this again.
Dr. Robert Harding: Yeah, I enjoyed it. Have a good day.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, you too.
Dr. Robert Harding: Take care.
The Best Peptides For Weight Loss with Dr. Bob Harding – Show Notes
Why Dr. Harding became interested in peptides (05:16)
What are peptides? – The best peptides for weight loss (10:19)
Do peptides cause cancer? (31:34)
The best peptides for healing (34:34)
How to use peptides for re-growing hair (42:57)
PT-141 – the peptide for sexual enhancement (45:06)