The Lost Serrano Interview (Part 1)

I’ve posted two interviews with Dr. Eric Serrano in the past and not too long ago, I found a third one on my hard drive that had gone missing. It’s time to open the vault!

John Paul: Many people are looking for ways to naturally increase growth hormone (GH) levels. Any suggestions? Is there a benefit to taking GH injections or is the transient effect not worth the cost?

Dr. Serrano: Let me say something first about GH. Many people use GH for anti-aging purposes. Well, recent research on rats shows that GH increases mortality and actually decreases lifespan severely! And they also found out that GH can have 22 different isomers (or dimers) that have different effects on the body – one can cause weight loss, another results in enlargement of the heart, one may even activate cancer. So the question is, which one do you need and which one are you taking?

There was a nice study done showing that only 10 grams (a relatively small dose) of free-form amino acids taken half an hour before weight training will significantly increase GH levels. How significant? About 10 times higher!

Arginine will also increase GH levels. The arginine test is actually used to measure GH, 10-15 grams via IV should increase your levels. You can achieve this orally, but you need a high dose, a minimum of 8 grams in one shot on an empty stomach. Do this at night or early in the morning before working out, but keep in mind that it can cause nausea.

Glutamine has been implicated as an amino acid that will increase GH (and new studies show that it even protects brain tissue), but the problem is that the gut absorbs much of it. For instance, if you’re taking 5 grams, you may only get 1 gram into your system – the gut robs the rest. So to absorb 5 grams, you’ll need at least 10 grams or more. Glutamine peptides will deliver better health benefits than L-glutamine, but not necessarily higher GH levels.

You need to use GH injections for at least 6 weeks to see any results. It would be useful if you wanted to lose fat in a 3-month period, but the dosage must be appropriate (the dose depends on the size and age of the individual).

JP: How can you naturally decrease estrogen levels?

Dr. S: Humanofort is a product that will lower elevated cortisol and estrogen levels. Indole-3-carbinole will also lower estrogen levels and can even help prevent cervical cancer. The optimal dosage, however, will vary from as low as 300 mg to as much as 1.2 grams a day. DIM is another compound that lowers estrogen levels, but you need to take more than the recommended dose, 300-600 mg a day on average. Also, panax ginseng has shown some anti-estrogen activity.

JP: Can you discuss some of the problems with herbal supplements these days?

Dr. S: There’s a study where researchers examined two separate lots of 10 top weight loss products. Guess what they discovered? A huge difference between the lots. It’s unbelievable! So, here are some of the problems:

  • What are the lot-to-lot differences?
  • Are you getting the true active ingredient?
  • What process do they use to get to the end product?

JP: You’ve mentioned that a high amount of vitamin C taken intravenously has beneficial effects on the liver. I know that this is a very popular practice “behind the scenes” in athletics today. What else would you include in the cocktail to improve performance? How much vitamin C is really necessary on a daily basis? Taking a large dose daily may reduce cortisol levels, but won’t it also increase iron levels which could be detrimental to many males?

Dr. S: You can also use glutathione in an IV, but you can’t administer glutathione and vitamin C together (do the C first then squeeze the glutathione later). There’s something called the Myers’ cocktail that is useful. A high level of vitamin B’s, particularly thiamine, injected 4 weeks prior to an endurance event will improve performance.

This cocktail will help the average person who, for the most part, does not take good care of himself because it will help prevent future problems. For those that are eating well, taking their vitamins, and generally looking after their health, the slight improvement is not worth the cost.

1.5 to 3 grams of vitamin C is necessary on a daily basis. It’s true that taking vitamin C and iron together will increase iron absorption, so be aware of that if your iron levels are high.

JP: What’s your opinion of fluoride? Are we getting too much in our drinking water, toothpaste, bathing water, etc.? Should we use a non-fluoride toothpaste (and does that hold true for children as well), and do we need to get water filters to remove fluoride, chlorine, and other harmful chemicals from our drinking and bathwater?

Dr. S: Yes, it’s true that we’re getting too much fluoride from those sources you mention and we should strive to remove it. Use a non-fluoride toothpaste, even for children. Don’t believe the scare tactics, they’re a lie! Water filters like reverse osmosis are a good idea. Unless you have a swimming pool, the amount of chlorine is so small it’s not a real concern.

You don’t need to worry about distilled water leaching minerals from your body if you eat right. The body is smart – the kidneys control water. If distilled water leaches minerals, they must be dumped into the bloodstream. I don’t believe this occurs. If you’re eating well and you take a multivitamin/mineral supplement every day, what percentage of your minerals are you getting or removing because of water anyway?

In Part 2, we’ll discuss the concept of supplement periodization, how race can affect nutrition, and what Dr. Serrano thinks of coconut oil.

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