In this episode, I am speaking with Jean-François Tremblay, a world-leading expert in peptides, about the amazing health benefits of peptides and how they can help improve gut health, energy, anti-aging and more.
In this podcast, Jean-François Tremblay will cover:
- What are peptides? How do peptides work in our body?
- The best peptides for anti-aging
- What are the side effects of peptides? Can some peptides cause cancer? (And the common causes of negative reactions)
- The unique power of BPC-157 for healing injuries and why it may be the most powerful gut healing agent known to man
- For men – the peptide that helps with erectile function (It could even replace Viagra)
- The compounds that show potential for boosting mitochondria
- What are the benefits of growth hormone, and growth hormone secretagogue peptides (peptides that stimulate your body to produce more growth hormone)?
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The Amazing Benefits of Peptides For Anti-Aging, Fat Loss, Energy, Gut Healing, and More with Jean-François Tremblay (What Are Peptides? How Do Peptides Work?) – Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I’m your host Ari Whitten and today I have a Podcast guest that I’m very excited about and a subject matter that I’m very excited about. This is something that I’ve never talked about before and never had a guest on that has talked about before and something that I’ve just started to learn about relatively recently. And really delve into the science myself on.
My guest today is Jean-Francois Tremblay and he has studied exercise physiology, biochemistry and has a master’s degree in pharmacology. He is a student and researcher at the University of Quebec in Montreal and he has been researching in theory and in practice peptides and something called SARMs since the 1990s and is widely regarded as one of the world’s top experts on this rapidly growing science of peptides, which is the subject of today’s podcast. So welcome to the show, Jean-Francois.
Jean-François Tremblay: Thank you. And thank you for having me.
What are peptides?
Ari Whitten: Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you for coming on the show. So, first of all, you know, as I said to you just before we started recording here, probably 99.9% of the people listening to this podcast don’t know much of anything about peptides. And you know, there’s this whole sort of world, it’s kind of an underground, it’s sort of gray market world because there’s these, there’s a lot of websites selling these compounds. And they are sort of very well regarded and they are, you know, a lot of attention is coming to them especially within anti-aging medicine communities, functional medicine communities.
So, there is a sort of growing awareness of them, but they are still in this sort of gray market category of, you know, they are chemicals sold for research purposes only. But you have all these people sort of buying and experimenting with these compounds and there is, you know, simultaneously there is all these, you know, pharmaceutical companies that are working on developing some of these compounds. And yet, you know, even though there’s a lot of science on some of these things that has been around for 20 plus years, most regular people have never heard of these things and have no idea about them. So, kind of give me a broad overview of what peptides are to help people understand this topic more broadly.
Jean-François Tremblay: Okay. Well, peptides are very small. When you have a protein, if you break it down it will break down eventually into peptides. And if you break it down one more step, it’s going to end up into amino acids. So basically, a peptide is a chain of amino acids. It can start at two amino acids up to, growth hormone is a peptide made of 191 amino acids. I don’t know of any peptides much bigger than that because at that point you start to have ramifications of chains of peptides. And at that point you would call them small proteins. So, but most peptides are like 10, 12, 15, 40, 50, 60 linked amino acids.
That’s very simple. And the human body is full of them. Actually, so far there was a paper that came out and we discovered over 7,000 already known peptides in the human body. If I know myself 100 and some of those, I consider myself lucky. So that’s why they call it the new frontier because it’s really a new science. They are everywhere in the body. Each one is very specific to what it does. And, it’s, well, it’s all in all, it’s pretty amazing. Every day almost they find a new one. Oh, this one does this, this one does that. They don’t have all positive effects. Some are not good to have too much. But many, yes. And those are the ones I work with.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Now hormones in the body are basically chains of amino acids as well. And they are, are they technically peptides or how does that break down?
Jean-François Tremblay: Not all of them. As soon as you add something to that chain or that compound that is not an amino acid then it’s not a peptide anymore. So that’s why not all hormones are. But, yes, like insulin, a growth hormone comes to mind right away. Basically, see, I wouldn’t stay in the realm of hormones because compared to the amount of peptides we have in the body, the few that are hormones, it’s like a few, very few compared to all the peptides that are there. So, some peptides, too, are not hormones, but they act on hormones. I’m thinking of the growth hormone secretagogue. So, it’s a little peptide that acts on the pituitary gland to make it secrete growth hormone. So, it’s part of that circle of things that makes growth hormone secretions.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Now peptides, I think more broadly, it sounds like you could say they are basically messenger molecules. They are signaling molecules that are…
Jean-François Tremblay: In many cases, yes. Signaling, that would be a better word to use.
Ari Whitten: Okay. Excellent. So, another broad question for you. You know, I know a lot of these compounds, some of these growth hormones, secretagogues we are going to talk about later, have been around for over 20 years now in some cases. And there are a lot of other compounds that have been around for a while. There is also, some of these have gone through clinical trials, have been even FDA approved in some cases like Tesamorelin, you know, for helping people lose visceral fat with HIV.
And there are several other ones that are, have either gone, have been FDA approved or are undergoing FDA approval. So, given that some of these things have been around for quite a long time, why is it that they are just coming into the spotlight now? And why, you know, why doesn’t everyone already know about peptides?
Jean-François Tremblay: Well, they came in… It is basically the era of Internet. So, what was very underground before is not so underground anymore. It’s like that biohacking movement, anti-aging movement. That is not new as a movement. It’s new to the public because, you know, you have all those forums now, those groups on the Internet. So basically, that is thanks to the Internet. I bought my first book on anti-aging. I was 19 back in ‘82 when it was published. It was called “Life Extension,” a very thick book. And, I still wonder how I got my hands on it, you know, no Internet. I bought it, I don’t know where, but you know, I found out about the book and I bought it and I’ve been myself experimenting. I was kind of biohacking back then without knowing it. Plus, you know, a lot of those… I could call it the pre-biohacking era.
And it was actually the bodybuilding era. They were always looking, bodybuilders, back in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, looking for better ways to gain muscle mass. Of course, they came about anabolic steroids. That was an easy one. But always looking for options or better things or to push further. And being in that way, in extreme sport and extreme results, I mean, it’s not normal to have so much muscle mass. Then they would try all kinds of things. So, they brought up a lot of things that are mainstream now and one of them are peptides, actually. You know, the growth hormone secretagogue was first used from the gray market by bodybuilders. Even the tanning peptide Melanotan. You know, they all basically, often without knowing because they want muscle, but they look into things and it works for muscle, but it’s works for other things and it’s good for everybody.
Ari Whitten: So, bodybuilders have been using this for a decade or two now.
Jean-François Tremblay: The growth hormones secretagogue, yes. Since it was discovered I think it didn’t take a year before they started to use it.
I don’t know how they did it, but those groups, like down in California, there were a few people like just searching and looking at that. There was that guy, Dan Duchaine, and he was kind of a visionary. He was trying… He was the kind of guy who loved body building but didn’t have the genetics. So that pushed him to look for things, you know, and he would come up with things that nobody knew about and that now are mainstream in the biohacking. Listen, one supplement that came out of bodybuilding because it’s great to gain muscle mass is creatinine. And now today it is one of the bodybuilding supplements that I recommend to everybody, even if they don’t train because it’s great for neuro protection.
But you know, it’s hard for me to see products mainstream now. I’m not talking about the new products, but that were not at least investigated by bodybuilders. Or they tried it, they say, “Okay, it’s not good for muscle mass, but wait a minute, it’s good for…” Even nootropics, you know, that they would tweak with them to see if they would get the better concentration, better jerk, for the training. So, they helped pioneer a lot of things.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Bodybuilders were sort of the original biohackers decades before there was a term biohacking.
Jean-François Tremblay: I believe so, yeah.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, they were injecting themselves with all kinds of stuff.
Jean-François Tremblay: All kinds of things and, you know, trying stuff and see what… I’ve done it myself. You know, I was one of those guys, not competitive bodybuilding, but yeah, I was training to gain muscle mass. And, you know, back then in the ’80s, ’90s, you say “Let’s try this. Let’s see if this works. What does it do?” And it served me good actually. You know, I’ve never had bad experiences.
How do peptides work?
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Now having said that, you know, bodybuilders were sort of instrumental in bringing peptides more into the public eye. There are many, many categories of peptides that are either on the market or coming to the market. And to give people an overview of that, there are peptides for anti-aging purposes and longevity. There are peptides for tissue healing, injury healing. There are peptides for growth hormone as you mentioned before. There are peptides involved in immune health and, you know, anticancer peptides. There are peptides for promoting brain health, neurotropic peptides, and probably others that I’m leaving out of this. But I think, you know, that’s probably a nice overview of the major categories. Would you like to add any…?
Jean-François Tremblay: No, that’s a pretty good lay out. I would add, there is one category that they are bio-regulators. They are from Russia. There is maybe 25 known, used now. And it seems they found another 50 or so that now they are investigating which ones are positive, their results, and which ones are not, or useless. So, in the next few years more will come up. But, yeah, basically that’s a nice view of it. And, well there is one small part, too. There are cosmetic peptides, like the tanning one, you know, it’s purely used cosmetic to get a tan. Or some peptides are really good at repairing the skin, you know, in creams. So that’s cosmetic, but sure.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Oh, and then there’s also the ones for like sexual dysfunction. I know like PT-…
Jean-François Tremblay: Oh yeah, that’s a tanning one. And PT-141 which is a, it’s a variant of, that doesn’t have the tanning but does have the erectile function. And it works so good, actually a company at one point wanted to put… Well, they patented Melanotan on the market to compete with Viagra because in many experience, it’s much better. Much less side effects and overall better effect. It doesn’t work locally with the nitric oxide system. It works in the brain. So, it’s more than just the erection, it’s the drive. That comes back.
The best peptides for anti-aging
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So, let’s maybe start with, I think the anti-aging peptides would be really interesting to a lot of people. Can we talk about things like Epitalon and I think there’s also one called [unintelligible] and I’m sure you’re aware of some other ones that fall in this anti-aging category?
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah. Those are actually part of those Russian bio-regulators. There was that medical doctor in Russia that was working with the army. And, of course, you know, the Cold War and all that. So Russian, they say, “Okay, you find something that makes our soldiers better.” So, he started to investigate. He went in to investigate peptides. That’s almost 50 years ago. So, the first one he found was Epitalon. So maybe not so good for the soldiers, but he found amazing affect first testing with dogs and mice and all that. And, oh, they live longer, they have better health.
So, a year passes, a test on humans and it turns out then, yes, people using them, they did long studies up to 15 years, groups of older people. And they found that, in term of actually living longer, that wasn’t measured. After 15 years they stopped the study. But they found that 67% of those using the Epitalon, or sorry, the mortality rate was 67% lower in the group using Epitalon. So, a lot more survived while a lot died in the group that wasn’t using it. So, they say, “Okay, well it seems it works to live longer.”
Plus, a bunch of other effects that are, not only it would help to live you longer, but it would help to live better, those years. They had an increase in the short-term memory for example, or an increase in bone density, or a decrease in the flu rates, you know, a bunch of positive effects that indicates better health overall over that time period. And, the numbers he came up with actually by extrapolation is he believes, and I tend to believe too, that you could add 20 to 30 years to somebody’s life by using those peptides.
Ari Whitten: Wow.
Jean-François Tremblay: And, which makes sense because it seems that the normal, like the very like 100% healthy human being without, not affected by contamination, like in a perfect setting and it’s even biblical.
It’s 120 years. And we start to see that with centenarians, they tend to approach 120, rarely pass it. So, it seems that the limit for natural, if you’re able to push it, is around 120. So now it’s a bit over 80, at 30…110, 120. Yeah. You know, it’s about right in term of numbers…
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Now what’s the actual mechanism of how Epitalon works to produce longevity?
Jean-François Tremblay: Well, that’s really amazing, actually. When I found that out, I was really impressed. The, what you would call the receptor of, it’s a very small peptide, four amino acids. But its actual receptor is the DNA chain. It means that the peptide introduce itself within a specific section of the DNA and it stays there. It doesn’t, it’s not the touch and go thing like a hormone. It stays there and it makes the chain to dilate locally in that area.
And that dilatation increases the expression of the genes in that area. Positive expression that brings about better health.
Ari Whitten: Interesting. I know there is some sort of bit of controversy around what it does with telomerase and telomeres. Like there’s some studies saying it lengthens telomeres and other studies that didn’t find that affect.
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah. There is one study right now being done, it’s not over, that they released preliminary data, but let’s wait until it’s finished. But the preliminary doesn’t look good actually. So, let’s wait at the end. They did it with mice. But the thing is that the way they measure telomeres back then, I’m talking 10, 20 years ago, I’m not very sure it was precise. So, I, you know, I wouldn’t take that as written in stone because, you know, they came up with numbers like over 15 years it increased average the length of the telomere by roughly 15%, which would be great. But, you know, the way they measure that and the technology back then, even today, it’s not like that great either. So, I wouldn’t, take it as it is. But nevertheless talking, even if it doesn’t do that, even if it doesn’t add years to your life, what has been shown and experimented by a lot of people, it does increase, your health and wellbeing overall, over those years. That has been seen by so many people. So, if it’s just for that, it still makes it a very, very worthwhile peptide to use.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Now you mentioned the study that’s going on now. I know you said let’s wait for the data to be completed, but just, when you say it doesn’t look good, can you be specific about what…?
Jean-François Tremblay: Oh yeah, it seems that instead of living longer, they die younger. It doesn’t look good. That’s why I’m still pro Epitalon but with, okay, let’s wait to see what happens at the end of the study. And that’s one study. It’s a bit depressing actually to see the way it’s going, but let’s see what happens.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Okay. So, any other promising anti-aging peptides or longevity promoting peptides?
Jean-François Tremblay: Okay, well there is a few, actually. One, okay, this one is pretty cool. It’s called FOXO4 DRI and the…
Ari Whitten: And, you know, real quick I will just mention for everybody listening, this is a whole, the whole peptide topic is a whole other language you guys are going to have to have to get used to.
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah, those names and all that.
Ari Whitten: Just be prepared for the rest of this Podcast he is going to be saying things like PT151 and MK677 and Examorelin and Ipamorelin. Like this is a whole other language of all the names of these things and a lot of them just go by numbers and letters and so just be aware of that and we will try to simplify things as much as possible. But those are the only names for these substances. So, go ahead [crosstalk]…
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah. The first study that made “Cell Magazine,” I think, showed that… They used it with aging mice and 3-month therapy, and they took aging markers. And actually, they were black mice that they were old already. So, they had gray hair and all that. So visually after 3 months, the gray hair turned back black. And they extrapolated that in human years, they basically turned back the clock almost 20 years. They made the mice younger physiologically, but to the point where gray hair turned back black and they showed pictures and it’s pretty amazing. So that peptide, actually we made a few grams of it already. It’s not finished. The only drawback of that one, it’s amazingly expensive. You are talking about $10,000 a month therapy. Because if you know a bit about amino acids, you have the “L” form that occurs naturally in nature and the “D” form, which is an isomer that doesn’t occur normally in nature.
So, if you take methionine, for example, if you buy a gram of it for lab purposes, it’s going to cost you $5 a gram. If you buy the “D” form, it’s going to cost you $5,000. So, it’s expensive, it’s, again, it’s not out of greed. It is just that the raw material you need is expensive to start with because it doesn’t occur in nature. So, it has to be made and it’s really not easy to make the “D” form. So, it makes the whole, its 43 amino acids, all of the “D” forms, so it turns out to be very expensive. Hopefully people are working on, okay, let’s say we throw in some “L” form of peptides, it still works. Probably they’re trying all kinds of variants right now to bring the price down.
Ari Whitten: Now, are there, do you know the mechanism behind this substance and what was the name of this one again?
Jean-François Tremblay: FOXO4-DRI. FOXO4, well it’s a gene I believe. I’m not so sure about it at this point. I have too many things in my head, but it works into cleaning. It does autophagy in the cells. So, you increase the expression of that gene by using that peptide. So, the autophagy would be increased, which is a good thing. And if it is pushed to the limit well you have all brand-new cells, clean cells.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Any other anti-aging peptides worth mentioning here?
Jean-François Tremblay: Two promising one are the MOTS-c peptide works and the humanin. They are two mitochondrial peptides. And studies have shown in animals, at least, yes, it does increase their lifespan. That is for the life extension part plus working to improve mitochondrial functions. Of course, it will increase the energy level, so to say of people, or wellness, yes.
Ari Whitten: Which is of particular interest to everybody listening to this Podcast. So, what’s the mechanism there? You are saying it’s acting on the mitochondria. Is it stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis or mitophagy or something like that?
Jean-François Tremblay: A bit of everything. I think they are very special because they are signaling through the own mitochondria’s DNA. Not the cell DNA, but the mitochondria one. So, they are so specific to the mitochondrial function in that sense. And, I know for sure the MOTS-c works a bit, like it increases the mitochondrial activity and I believe it increases the number of mitochondria, you know, increase in numbers. So, by itself you have more, so more energy.
Ari Whitten: And do those also have any, you know, I would imagine if they have any performance enhancing characteristics, probably athletes have already been using them for years. Is that the case…?
Jean-François Tremblay: Not those ones in particular because there are compounds that are much cheaper that does that already. To increase the number of mitochondria, the activity, increase vascularity in the muscles. It’s the famous GW-501516…
Ari Whitten: Right. And then there is the one SR9009 as well.
Peptides that can help in cancer treatment
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah. It works more down the stream, but the end result is the same. So, if you have… People are going to read about mostly the GW-501516. One of the first thing that’s going to pop out on the Google is the cancer thing. Okay. That’s all from one study.
Ari Whitten: Cancer. Yeah. Now, just to interrupt, we are now broaching into a bit of a digression, which is like these two compounds are not technically peptides, correct? I know they’re often lumped with SARMs, but they’re also not technically SARMs.
Jean-François Tremblay: No, no. They are not SARMs either. They are PPAR-alpha and the other one is something better. Again, you don’t get any gold.
Ari Whitten: I looked into this, the GW-, I forget the rest of the letters, but it was, it’s also called Cardarine.
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah, it’s a PPAR-alpha activator.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. And it looks, I mean, some of the mechanisms look amazing to me. It’s very appealing. But then I did see that link with cancer and I’m like, nope.
Jean-François Tremblay: But you have to look at it this way. The study was done, it’s one study that was done in mice and it was to find out what kind of cancer you may have if you took that product. But when they do that, first they took mice that were predisposed to cancer. So, you know, they wouldn’t have to wait too long to see what pops out. They gave them a lot of it. Not like some people say like a thousand times, they just didn’t convert to human doses. Maybe 20 times what is suggested usually, dosages. And they gave it to them for two years, adult life of the mice who lives three years. So, it’s like if a human was taking it for 50 years, 20 times the normal dose and was predisposed to cancer. So, I think a lot of compounds would have done the same thing.
And even then, you say, okay, yes. But you have to keep in mind that that is a drug. Basically, it’s not a peptide, it’s a medication, it’s a drug. All drugs, many times work through various pathways. So, one of the various pathways that drug works with is positive pathways, increase mitochondrial activity, increase everything we said. And through other pathways, it may, it does induce cancer. But it’s always a question of ratios. So, because subsequent studies shown that at lower dosages it can be cancer preventive. So now you’re telling me, well, does it give cancer, or does it prevent cancer? Well, the poison is in the dose. Because all those activities are enzyme controlled. So, let’s say that you take just a number, 20 milligrams. So, the anticancer pathways will be stronger than the cancer pathways, so net effect, it’s preventive. Now you increase the dose to 50.
So, the anticancer dose may be limited due to the enzyme limitation to a certain rate of activity that it won’t be more active than that to prevent cancer. But let’s say the anticancer, the limiting ceiling is higher. So, as you increase the dose, the anticancer activity compared to the pro cancer activity, the balance shifts. And at one point the pro cancer side will win. And, yes, it becomes, it will give cancer because it is… You understand what’s happening? So, it’s all a question of dosages. If you keep the dosage kind of low, then the anticancer pathway will win over the pro cancer. But if you go too high, then you give a chance for the pro cancer to take over and then, yes, it may give you a cancer.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, it’s interesting. I hadn’t seen any of the research showing potential anti-cancer…
Jean-François Tremblay: Because they were not conclusive. That’s not what they were looking for. But they observed that, “Oh, it seems like it’s cancer protecting.” They couldn’t conclude it because they didn’t have all the parameters to back it up. But, we say, “Well, there is a tendency to, it needs further investigation.”
BPC157 and TB500– tissue healing peptides
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Okay. So, I want to switch, as fascinating as those topics are, I want to switch to some of the tissue regenerative, tissue healing peptides. Things like BPC-157 and TB-500. And I believe also Thymosin Beta-4 falls into this category as well. But I’m personally particularly interested in BPC-157. There seems to be some amazing research, especially in animal studies showing, you know, amazing things as far as ligament healing after ligament injuries and tendon injuries. I personally know many people who have healed from tendinitis with this after nothing else could heal them. And, in addition to that, this is also one of the few orally active peptides. A lot of the others, we have not mentioned this much, but a lot of the others need to be injected.
Jean-François Tremblay: Most of them need, yeah.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. And BPC-157 is orally active. It’s also something that is produced naturally in our bodies. And what is of particular interest to I think people listening to this podcast, in addition to any physical injuries they may have, is the potential for gut healing that BPC may have. So, can you talk a bit about, you know, BPC-157?
Jean-François Tremblay: Yes. Actually, it’s a peptide that so far… You know, when I began working with it and more so when we started to produce it, I would be asked, “Do you think it would be good for this?” You know, I don’t know what, the kidney. And I say, “Well, I don’t know, try it.” And, but it was good for the kidney or for the liver or for this or for that. And it seems basically it heals everything to different degrees. But, yeah, it is a very potent and overall healing peptide. As you said, it’s naturally occurring. And if I may open a parenthesis, is that most of the peptides, one of the good things I like working with them. There are two reasons. One, they don’t have any side effects or very few.
Ari Whitten: Now is that peptides in general or specifically BPC?
Jean-François Tremblay: In general, you know, with exception. If you take too much of a growth hormone secretagogue you won’t get side effect from the peptide itself. You will have side effects from the effect of the peptide, which is secretion of growth hormone. And if you secrete too much for too long, you may have the carpal tunnel syndrome or IGF1 going way too high. You don’t want that.
So, but it’s not the peptide itself that would give you a side effect, like, I don’t know, a headache or this or that. They’re practically devoid of side effects and the biggest majority of them, you cannot overdose on them. So, you cannot take too much by mistake and something bad will happen. Talking about the BPC or repairing peptide or TB-500 or Thymosin Beta-4, it’s actually dose related.
The more you take, the more it’s going to work. And talking of that to another parenthesis, some people they’re going to tell you, “Yeah, but you increase cell division. So, you may increase risk of cancer, you know, a bad cell division.” But that’s a false argument because if you have an injury or any type of repair happening in the body, the extra cell division will happen anyway. So, what you do, you just change the parameters. So, let’s say it will take three months to heal naturally, you’re going to have x amount of cell divisions for that to happen. If you take a product like BPC-157, it’s going to heal in one month. Maybe you’re going to have three times the cell division, but in three time less than normal. So, the total cell division in both cases will be roughly the same.
Ari Whitten: But it’s just speeding up the rate at which cell division…
Jean-François Tremblay: The process that would happen anyway. So, you’re not increasing the total number of cell divisions.
Ari Whitten: Okay, so there is no risk of that stimulating cancer growth in any way.
Jean-François Tremblay: I don’t see it. So, yeah, no, listen, there are much worse thing that you, not that you could do, that you do that could give you cancer. Breathing the air outside. You may be as careful as you want about your food, there’s still contaminants. It wouldn’t be the first of my worries cancer wise. If you worry about cancer, look into other things before pointing that product or that class of product.
Ari Whitten: Okay. So, talk to me about some of the positive research around BPC. What is it actually doing in the body?
Jean-François Tremblay: Well, the actual mechanism is not quite sure yet. They don’t know. They know very well the results. They are starting to investigate at the cell level what may be happening, but they’re not so sure yet. But basically, it accelerates the repair process. And BPC has that particularity that it is very potent to repair the gut, the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the other end. It’s very potent for like stomach ulcer, intestinal ulcer, intestinal permeability up to actually, I’ve seen myself, remission of Crohn’s disease with BPC. Higher dosage for longer, but the longest took three months and it was an actual remission of Crohn’s disease. So, it’s that potent.
Ari Whitten: Wow. From what I’ve seen, comparing it to some of the other research on other compounds for promoting gut healing, I would, you know, from what I’ve seen, I would probably bet money that BPC would be proven to be the single most powerful gut healing agent that maybe is known.
Jean-François Tremblay: I believe so, yeah. It’s, you know, when I talk about that product, I feel like those people who were selling snake oil, you know, a hundred years ago and said it’s good for everything. Well, this one is good for everything, but it does work. So, yeah, for the gut it’s amazingly good. And for tendon/ligament repair, tissue in general, it’s even good for the brain repairs. They did one study with mice where they cut the spinal cord, making them paraplegic and under BPC, after a few weeks the little mice were starting to kick again, with motion in their feet. So, it did repair at that moment partially the spinal cord. So, with sufficiency of time and peptides you could eventually, I believe, heal them, which is very amazing.
Ari Whitten: Now, there’s another one in this category, TB-500. Do you want to say any quick words on that? And then I want to transition to…
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah, it’s a very potent repairing peptide. For reasons I won’t go into, it’s more a question of dosages and all that, but, it’s the one you get the more immediate effect for tendon and ligaments and bones and all that. You know, if you have something that’s really bothering, I would go with this one to get more of an immediate relief. Not so good on the gastrointestinal tract, but very, very potent. And, you talked about Thymosin Beta-4, the real actual TB-500… Thymosin Beta-4 is a fraction of the big, big protein that is called Thymosin. It branches out and one branch is Thymosin Beta-4, which is 43 amino acids. And the actual TB-500 is I think seven peptides that come out of that chain. So, most of, so they’re mixed up, you know, like not a mistake. But like, when I was selling it, I was advertising TB-500 when it was actually Thymosin Beta-4. Now we’re going to start to make the TB- 500 and the Thymosin. They basically have the same effect, it’s the repairing thing. But some people will tell you TB, the actual TB-500 is more potent. Of course, it is. So, if it’s seven amino acids instead of 43, so per milligrams, you get more molecule of the small one than the big one. So, you have more molecules doing that healing affect. So yes. So, milligram per milligram, the TB-500 would be more potent for that reason and that’s why we’re going to start to make it.
Ari Whitten: Got you. Now one thing, I did see some concerning research on was Thymosin Beta-4. I did see, when I looked up that and cancer, I did see quite a few studies suggesting it expressed in tumor cells and maybe promotes metastasis and tumor growth.
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah. The earlier studies showed that, but now the question is, is it expressed…? Okay, what came first? Is it the expression of the Thymosin Beta-4 that helped the cancer or is it there to fight the cancer? So now the tendency is to believe no, it’s showing up because it’s actually helping and fighting against the cancer not promoting it.
Ari Whitten: Got you. Interesting. Yeah. From what I saw it just said, sort of it is expressed in tumor cells or is found, is associated with tumors. They weren’t necessarily saying that it is causing the tumor or anything like that.
Jean-François Tremblay: Exactly. So, it seems like that actually it’s there to help to put a stop to the tumor cells.
Ari Whitten: So, one more question on the healing peptides and then I want to transition to the growth hormone related stuff. So, one distinction here is TB-500 is not orally active. It has to be injected, whereas BPC is orally active.
Jean-François Tremblay: Okay. Very important.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. And then one other question I have for you related to this is I know there is at least one company, Dr. William Seeds Company, that’s making a compound called just BPC, not BPC-157 and I guess it’s sort of the mother peptide or something like that.
Jean-François Tremblay: No, no, just a marketing thing. They call it [unintelligible] because they got some patent on it, but, because they say they found a way to stabilize it. Okay. It is active orally, but being basically a small protein, you will digest some of it anyway. So, you lose more than half of it through digestion. So, it is active orally, but it’s not cost effective. You need to at least double and some the dosages. So, if you were to use half a milligram injected, then if you choose to do orally, probably you’ll need to do 1 to 1.2 milligrams to have the equivalent effect. So, if you have all the money to spend and you don’t want to shoot… Come on, blast yourself. But it’s not cost effective. So, any peptide, it’s always most affective if injected, including BPC. But I understand. Some people they have that fear of injections or I don’t know what. So, if you want to do it orally, that particular one can be taken orally.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, I will say that I’m one of those people that has a fear of injections. I’ve never injected anything in myself. I mean, I see some of the very positive research around some of these compounds and they look great and they look like they have benefits, but I’m still like, “Oh, I really don’t want to inject myself with anything.”
Jean-François Tremblay: Okay. But just keep in mind, diabetics, they do it a few times a day and you know, they don’t have a choice. So, they do it and by the end of the day, they are fine. After their first injection they say, “Oh, that’s it. It’s really no big deal.” But yeah, there is that line that sometimes is hard to cross.
The importance of growth hormone
Ari Whitten: Okay. So, next category, I know there are several other categories we could potentially talk about. But I want to make sure we talk about growth hormone related secretagogues. Now, more broadly before we get into the specifics of these different compounds and what they do, why would somebody even be interested in growth hormone secretagogues? What is growth hormone good for and what kinds of benefits do people get from these compounds?
Jean-François Tremblay: Okay, well that’s the million-dollar question. As we grow older, most of our hormones level go down. Testosterone, growth hormone, melatonin for sleep, most of them they go down. So, the question is do they go down because we grow old or we grow old because they go down? But the point is they do go down. And the main tendency with anti-aging therapists is, “Okay, let’s bring them back to youthful levels.” So that’s why now you have TRT, testosterone replacement therapy that is becoming very big and helping really a lot of men. We have it with women with post-menopausal, keep taking hormones. And then you have growth hormone, which is a building hormone for tissue repair. It’s very good for the skin. There are people interested in that. So basically, it’s a growth hormone replacement therapy, except that in that case, the pituitary gland that secretes growth hormone never loses its capacity to secrete growth hormone.
Jean-François Tremblay: What diminishes is the stimuli to secrete it. So basically, when you take a growth hormone secretagogue you procure that stimuli. So, bang, the pituitary start to produce, again, youthful levels of growth hormone. When I’m talking youthful, I’m talking normal levels, not bodybuilder levels. You know, you’re not trying to gain 30 pounds of muscle. You just bring back your levels of growth hormone to what they were when you were 25.
So basically, that’s what you want to do. And, for one reason because if your growth hormone levels are too high per se it’s not that bad, but you will have one byproduct of growth hormone, which is IGF1.
And it has been shown that if, okay, if you don’t have enough IGF1, you’ll be more prone to cardiovascular disease. If you have too much, you’ll be prone to cancer. So, you want to keep that, remain in that normal range. So, when you, either you take actual growth hormone or growth hormone secretagogues, what has to remain in check are the IGF 1 levels. That’s what should be checked regularly. And you adjust your dosages according to your response of IGF 1 levels. And keeping it in range then, yes, it’s very healthy for metabolic processes in the body. Yeah.
Ari Whitten: Okay. Now, some people are taking these things with the explicit intention to boost IGF 1 like for bodybuilding purposes.
Jean-François Tremblay: Yes.
Ari Whitten: Now, knowing that maybe they in the long term, with chronic use of that, they might put themselves at greater risk for cancer. Is that accurate?
Jean-François Tremblay: Yes and no. Nature is funny in that way. You know what you can do when you are young, turns against you when you are old like that. Meaning we are designed to die, basically. Our whole biochemistry is rounded up around eventually killing us because we’re designed to die.
So, what is good when you’re young is not so good when you are old. Or actually if you promote a process that is positive when you are young, promoting that same process when you’re old, you’re just accelerating that killing part of yourself. So that’s why like for the IGF1, when you’re young, that’s when you need it for growth. It may not be so cancer promoting as when you are old. So maybe they don’t need to worry so much. I would still worry because, you know, that’s just an assumption I’m making. It’s not proven but it makes sense to me.
So, when you’re less than say 35, I wouldn’t worry so much about it, about cancer and all that. But that’s a big mistake. You know, I’ve seen bodybuilders body build all their life, use drugs. Now they’re 50, 60, they’re still big, muscular. They still use high dosages. And because they look good, they think they are healthy. First thing you know they die of a heart attack or things like that. Well, they don’t because they’re dead, but wonder what happened. Well, because what was good. then…
Ari Whitten: If there is an afterlife then they wonder what happened.
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah, so but you understand my point. We are built for that and all. But so, if you want to live longer than intended, you have to tweak with that biochemistry because the biochemistry you have, I have, eventually it’s there to kill us.
Ari Whitten: Now with that in mind, the frame you just presented now, are you of the opinion that let’s say testosterone replacement therapy or growth hormone secretagogues which are often, you know, it’s often presented in the context of anti-aging, do you think that those things are promoting accelerated aging and death?
Jean-François Tremblay: They might. I’m not saying they are; I’m not saying they are not. They might. But at this point you have to choose. That’s a personal decision. Even if they were, it’s a tradeoff. You know, there is no free lunch in nature. Keep that in mind. So maybe you’re trading off a little, but you are trading for better wellbeing. You know, do you want to reach 70 with full health or do you want to reach 80 and not even be able to stand up for example, or be crippled or sick or, that’s what we see now. They slowly extend the life expectancy, but they don’t extend the health expectancy years, which is around 69, 70. So that’s why me, I’m not so much of a life extension promoter anymore. I’m more of a health extension promoter.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. The health span versus lifespan. That distinction of how old you are while still having a very functional brain and body and being energetic and so on.
Jean-François Tremblay: Exactly. It does, raise that question, you know, sociologists, they looked at it if I may divert a bit. They looked into that and they asked people, rich people, poor people, “Hey, do you want to live longer?” So, the poor people, they say, “What for? You want to extend my misery, basically.” And the rich people, surprisingly, a lot of them were not too crazy about living longer. Why? Because they were rich most of their lives. So, they had it all, they have done it all and they just wonder, “What else is there for me to experiment. I’ve done pretty much everything that could be done. I’ve traveled everywhere. I have this, I’ve been there.”
So basically, you know what I found out? The most, the people want to live the longest and that are those people who don’t have strong beliefs.
They are scared to death to die, basically. Those people they… And you have the trans humanitarian that are basically atheists. So, they believe there is nothing after that. So, they don’t want to die because it’s over. So, they try to extend it and they are the ones talking about merging computers with brains and stuff. So, but the strength of your belief has a lot to do with that.
Ari Whitten: Interesting. So, going back to the growth hormone secretagogue. So, these things are going to have some beneficial effects as far as promoting healing.
Jean-François Tremblay: Oh, yeah, and useful things happening. Like more energy, better skin, yes.
Ari Whitten: Better body composition, muscle gain, fat loss, things like that.
Jean-François Tremblay: That’s right.
Ari Whitten: Now there’s several different compounds in this category that we could talk about. So, there is GHRP-2 and -6, I believe, and then there’s something called ipamorelin, sermorelin, tesamorelin.
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah, because there were generations. The first generation are the -2 and -6 you mentioned. Because basically they are derivates of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which has an effect on growth hormone. So, they found out that, oh, if we modify it the effect will be more potent on the growth hormone secretion, but they couldn’t take away the hunger aspect of it. So, when you use those you are hungry like crazy. Which is not, most of the time, not a good thing. So, a second generation came, then a third generation in which all the hunger affect was taken away. So, they are modified. They are not exactly like the one we produce naturally, but they’re pretty close.
Ari Whitten: Interesting. So…sorry, go ahead.
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah, so basically the third generation took away the hunger aspects. So, it doesn’t bring about hunger. And I know for sure, ipamorelin, because all of those secretagogues would raise cortisol and prolactin levels. So, the latest generations don’t. They specifically promote growth hormone secretions, so that is why you see a lot of them. But you know me, I say, “Well, use the best, you know, the latest generation.” And no prolactin, no cortisol, no hunger. So, ipamorelin is one of them.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, now a lot of people are using ipamorelin. But there’s also a lot of people who are combining it with something else or saying that, “Hey, ipamorelin by itself, you’re not really going to notice much of an effect from, but you need to combine it with something like this other compound called CJC-1295.” Or it’s also called ModGRF.
Jean-François Tremblay: That’s right. Okay. That’s a funny distinction between the two groups because the CJC, because it crosses over in their action. I mean if you take ipamorelin you will have a burst of growth hormone and an increase in that burst. And the same thing with the other one. But the first group will be stronger at promoting the actual secretion of growth hormone. And the second group will be stronger at promoting the quantity or the peak of growth hormone that will show up in the blood.
So, now, what they found out is that it’s one of those cases when you combine them, you get one plus one equal three or four or five in some cases. So with much smaller dosages of each, you get much higher results overall. So that’s why when you combine them, you don’t need to take so much, and you get the maximum secretion at that moment.
Ari Whitten: Interesting. Okay. Now there’s also, there is this CJC-1295 and with DAC on it which, from what I read, stays in the body a very long time and sort of promotes higher baseline levels of growth hormone. Now, my question there is since growth hormone is meant to be sort of more of a pulsatile nature, like you’re meant to have spikes at certain times during the day and night and then go back down to, you know, very little growth hormone, is it problematic? I mean, I would think, I would suspect side effects are more likely if you’re sort of creating that sort of constant base line level.
Jean-François Tremblay: No, because even if it’s there all the time, you still have pulses of growth hormone. You won’t secrete all the time, growth hormones. You are going to get a pulse, and maybe two hours after, another pulse.
But the problem with that one in particular, and I know it from the guy who synthesized the first CJC-1295 molecule because It was invented here in Montreal. Actually, the biochemist I work with was in the group, was working at the University in the group that invented that molecule. And yes, they did an experiment with mice with CJC-1295. And he remembers the mice who were given the DAC version getting bad cases of cancer, blood cancer. Because the DAC make the molecule bind to one albumin in the blood. And they didn’t investigate the how and why, but basically it provoked cancer in that albumin that turns into blood cancer, basically. So, he always tells me, he says, “No, no. Don’t choose this one.”
Ari Whitten: Don’t do the CJC with the DAC molecule.
Jean-François Tremblay: Don’t do it with DAC. Long-term it’s bad news.
Ari Whitten: Okay. Now do you think the one without the DAC, the ModGRF is relatively safe? Do you think…?
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah, it’s very safe because there is no albumin binding done so it doesn’t affect that level.
Ari Whitten: Okay. Do you think there’s any concern, I mean saying what you said before about, you know, the potential link between higher levels of IGF1 and higher risk of cancer? Is there a link between, you know, somebody’s doing cycles of using these growth hormone secretagogues and increasing the risk of cancer as a result of it?
Jean-François Tremblay: Yes and no. It depends. It depends on the IGF, actual IGF1 levels you reach. That’s why you need to monitor that and adjust thereafter the dosages of growth hormone secretion. Because some people actually will have raised growth hormone but very little IGF1 because that is dependent, too, on your glucose level at the time. If you have high glucose levels at the time of intake, the synthesis of IGF1 by the liver won’t happen or not so well, so a lot less will be produced. That is why, usually, it’s a good practice not to eat at least an hour before and not eat like half an hour after so blood glucose levels are in check. It will have a better effect on IGF1.
Ari Whitten: It will have more of an affect, it will raise IGF1 more?
Jean-François Tremblay: Yeah, much more. Yeah.
Ari Whitten: If you take it in a fasted state away from meals.
Jean-François Tremblay: That’s right. That’s why for that purpose, the two best times would be right when you wake up and, or right before you go to bed, assuming that you don’t, that you didn’t eat hopefully a couple of hours before you go to bed. So that would be a perfect time. Or when you wake up and you wait at least a half an hour before you eat anything. Those would be the two best times to dose.
Ari Whitten: Okay. Now, if somebody was going to get into experimenting with some of these growth hormone secretagogues, would the best choices in your opinion be ipamorelin and ModGRF, or…?
Jean-François Tremblay: Yes. That is why that is the only one my company sells. I came to the conclusion that is the best combination you can have so why bother with the other ones?
Ari Whitten: Okay, Got you, Now is there any potential for intranasal application of these?
Jean-FrançoisTremblay: That is a good question. Intranasal is… I’m sure there is some absorption of it. I don’t know the percentage of. So, I don’t know if it is absorbed at 10% or at 90%. But I know that some peptides are very efficient intranasally. But those in particular, I know they’re sold as, but I don’t know how efficient they are. I would have to look into it if there are any studies on that.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I did find one on ipamorelin intranasally. They said bioavailability was 20%.
Jean-François Tremblay: Okay. There you go.
Ari Whitten: And so, it would probably be less cost effective. But essentially…
Jean-François Tremblay: Again, for somebody like you, then that would be an option.
Ari Whitten: Somebody who wants to avoid injections.
Jean-François Tremblay: There you go. I think it has to do with the size of the peptide because those that showed high bioavailability were very small peptides. Well, not only size, structure, you know, a bunch of factors.
Ari Whitten: Got you. Well, I know we’ve gone a little bit over time here. I thank you for spending a little extra time with me. I know, I want to mention on a final note, you have a company that you’ve mentioned a few times in passing called, I believe it’s called CanLab.
Jean-François Tremblay: CanLab.
Ari Whitten: And it’s CanLab.net. Is that correct?
Jean-François Tremblay: That’s the web store. But the best way, if you want to read, I’m not much of a writer, actually, but I have a Facebook page for CanLab. So just look up CanLab on Facebook and that, if you’re interested, would link you to the store. And I write little articles. Sometimes they’re on the products. Not much, I should write more.
Ari Whitten: And on this note, I want to mention, you know, this is a gray market area. And these chemicals are sold, I believe they are technically labeled as, “For research purposes only, not for human use.”
Jean-François Tremblay: That’s right.
Ari Whitten: And also, I want to mention that from what I’ve read, there are a lot of companies out there selling these peptides online. Like someone could do a search for any of the things that we’ve just mentioned in this Podcast and there’ll be 20 companies that come up selling these peptides. But from what I’ve seen, there is a real concern over the, a lot of what these companies are selling is not actually legitimate and not what they say they are. And there’s a lot of fake substances going around. Do you have a comment on that?
Jean-François Tremblay: Fake or under dosed or poor quality or… Most of them come from China. Listen, they did one study on one in particular and they found bacteria in the vials. So that was after the Chinese flu there. But I’m sure nobody wants Chinese bacteria in their shots, you know, it is not a good thing, anywhere where they come from. So, you know, sometimes… And another study was done in Scandinavia where they show that, they bought 15 vials from different Internet resellers and they systematically, they were all selling the product at 10 milligrams and they all had 5 milligrams.
So basically, you are not getting what you are paying for. So that’s the thing. And that’s actually the main reason I started the company. I never thought it would grow so big. It was mostly for myself to have peptides that I knew what I was taking. And when it’s actually made in a “for research only” setting like ours, it is an actual research peptide producing lab. So, we don’t buy the products from anywhere else. The quality is at least as good as pharmaceutical because when you do research there is one thing you don’t want to change or vary, you don’t want it as a variable, is the product itself you are testing. So, the protocol to make them, the quality of the product has to be up there.
Ari Whitten: And, so you’re synthesizing these compounds in your own lab.
Jean-François Tremblay: In Montreal. Well, actually it’s within the University. There is kind of a symbiosis where the University rents space and in exchange the lab do things for the University. So, you know, it is a symbiosis thing. So, it’s done. But most all the compounds that are synthesized in that lab are for actual research purposes, for real research. Like there is this professor and medical doctor. He is leading research in the anticancer peptides used as vectors so they can bring across the brain-blood barrier any drugs that normally wouldn’t go. So, it’s a breakthrough for brain cancers. It’s top quality basically.
Ari Whitten: Okay. Excellent. So, on a final note, if somebody is interested in using some of these compounds, obviously make sure to get them from a trusted source. I will also say, personally, I have no vested interest here. I don’t have any financial alliances. I don’t make any commission. If you buy from Jean-Francois or anything like that, I just want to make sure you don’t get fake stuff or dangerous stuff if you do try to use this stuff. On a final note, I know you recommended your Facebook page, is there any other trusted resource that you have for reading on this stuff? Because I know there’s a lot of misinformation out there.
Jean-François Tremblay: No, but if you keep up with my page on CanLab, I’m working… Because again, there are sources, some are better than others, but not 100%. There is still something, I say, “No, no, no, that’s not good.” So, I have a hard time referring to those pages because eventually it’s not 100%. So, it’s not that reliable. The best source is PubMed. And, you know, go into deep research if you have the time and everything, but it’s very time consuming.
Ari Whitten: Okay. And once again, your website where they can, where you manufacture and sell these compounds is CanLab, c-a-n-l-a-b.net.
Jean-François Tremblay: That’s right, dot net. And it’s more of a web store. No pictures, no description, no nothing. When you go there, that’s because you know what you want. It is not informative at all.
Ari Whitten: Okay. Well thank you so much Jean-Francois, this has been absolutely fascinating. This is a topic that I’m fascinated with, and this was a wonderful conversation. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with my audience. I appreciate it.
Jean-François Tremblay: Well, you’re very welcome and thanks to you.
Ari Whitten: Yeah.
The Amazing Benefits of Peptides For Anti-Aging, Fat Loss, Energy, Gut Healing, and More with Jean-François Tremblay (What Are Peptides? How Do Peptides Work?) – Show Notes
What are peptides? (1:13)
How do peptides work? (12:00)
The best peptides for anti-aging (14:36)
Peptides that can help in cancer treatment (28:20)
BPC157 and TB500– tissue healing peptides (33:52)
The importance of growth hormone (48:00)