Cheating Death with Dr. Rand McClain: Rational Wellness Podcast 299

Dr. Rand McClain discusses How to Cheat Death with Dr. Ben Weitz.

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Podcast Highlights

3:15  Dr. McClain feels that there is a lot of science behind the DNA methylation tests to gauge the rate of biological aging and at this point is the best way to gauge our rate of aging.  He recalls doing a test like this prior to the recently commercialized TruAge version that cost as much as $10,000. Next best to DNA methylation is testing for telomere length.  Dr. McClain has developed an app, the death clock, that is a biological clock evaluation based on biomarkers. 

14:35  Dr. McClain had prostate cancer six years ago and was able to cure it with a natural approach by taking specific polyphenols, including green tea extract (EGCG) and cayenne pepper.  He also used Metformin to lower his sugar levels.  Dr. McClain pointed out that while this approach worked for him, he is not recommending it for others with cancer.

20:36  Rather than take NAD+ precursors like NR or NMN, as others in the longevity research space recommend, Dr. McClain feels that the best NAD+ stimulator is exercise.  He does recommend sustained release Beta-alanine, which improves your exercise capacity, as an anti-aging supplement.  Another supplement that Dr. McClain recommends is a form of Cat’s Claw herb, AC-11, in order to help repair our DNA.  He also personally takes Rapamycin once per week, which is an mTOR inhibitor for longevity purposes.  While he takes Rapamycin once per week, he will use a peptide that is a growth hormone secretagogue to try and balance out the GH suppressing effects of Rapamycin.



Dr. Rand McClain is a leader in alternative and regenerative medical treatments at his Regenerative and Sports Medicine Clinic in Santa Monica, California. Dr. McClain went to medical school late, at age 37, after a career as an accountant and a professional boxer in Argentina.  He utilizes various anti-aging therapies in his practice, including Bioidentical Hormones, stem cells, peptides, hyperbaric oxygen, cryotherapy, and nutritional supplements.  Dr. McClain has a new book Cheating Death, the new science of living longer and better, which was recently released.  His website is DrRandMcClain.com.

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for Functional Nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss and also athletic performance, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111. Dr. Weitz is also available for video or phone consultations.



Podcast Transcript

Dr. Weitz:                            Hey. This is Dr. Ben Weitz, host of the Rational Wellness Podcast. I talk to the leading health and nutrition experts and researchers in the field to bring you the latest in cutting edge health information. Subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast for weekly updates. And to learn more, check out my website, drweitz.com. Thanks for joining me, and let’s jump into the podcast.

                                                Hello, Rational Wellness podcasters. Today, we have an in interview with Dr. Rand McClain on cheating death. Dr. Rand McClain is a leader in alternative and regenerative medical treatments at his Regenerative & Sports Medicine clinic in Santa Monica, California, a close neighbor of mine, Dr. McClain, went to medical school late at age 37. After a career as an accountant and a professional boxer in Argentina, is there anything you haven’t done, Rand, he utilizes various anti-aging therapies in his practice, including bioidentical hormones, stem cells, peptides, hyperbaric oxygen, cryotherapy, nutritional supplements, and Dr. McClain has a new book, Cheating Death: The New Science of Living Longer and Better, which is due to be released on March 7th of this year. Rand, thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. McClain:                        No, sir. Thank you for having me. It’s my pleasure.

Dr. Weitz:                            So perhaps you can tell us a little bit about your own health history, which you share in the beginning of the book.

Dr. McClain:                        Yeah, I think it’s probably why, if you look in hindsight why I got into medicine, because I had so many issues myself, I figured might as well… I did so much research, might as well help other people with it too. And I got interested with it for selfish reasons, obviously.  But really, to be fair, before I ever got injured, one of the first books I ever pulled off the library that I had at my parents’ house, I say library, they had a bookshelf and they were kind enough to provide us as youngsters with a encyclopedia group and all that. But my mom was one of the early nutritionist before that was even really a phrase. And she had a book on nutrition from Adelle Davis, and I remember thinking, “Wow, this is pretty cool. You can affect your health with what you eat?” Which again, I’m 60 now, so at age 11, that wasn’t really thought of as anything that was real. So that sparked my interest. But then, yeah, I’ve had probably… I say I stopped counting at 30, and that’s true. I’m estimating I’m up to about 30 surgeries now. So I’ve had an-

Dr. Weitz:                            Oh my God.

Dr. McClain:                        … occasion to get into medicine for other reasons than just helping others.

Dr. Weitz:                            Hey, the only one I know who’s had almost as many surgeries is our friend, Phil Goglia.

Dr. McClain:                        He’s been through a few too, right?

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah. God. Especially some of the mishaps you described that happened, I’m surprised you wanted to go into medicine.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, part of it was there’s got to be a better way, but then you circle back and you realize it’s not all bad, what we call Western medicine, and it has its definite pros along with some of the cons.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. So your book, Cheating Death, is essentially about longevity and it can be helpful to measure our rate of aging, to know how well our longevity program is going. What do you think are the best tests for gauging our biological aging?

Dr. McClain:                        That’s a great question. We don’t have a consensus because I think the main reason is we haven’t lived long enough to be able to test our theory or assumptions. We can test them, though. And I’d say probably to answer your question with one caveat, I’d like to talk about… Well, it’s not a small difference, but we’ve been talking about longevity, but the new phrase is healthspan. It’s not a phrase, it’s a word, but it encompasses the idea of not just living longer, but living well healthily while you’re around, which all of us want to do. I bet in your practice, you’ve never met anybody who said, “Hey Doc, if I can trade you some quality of life, for give me 10 on the back end, let’s figure that one out.” No. No one wants that. It’s actually the opposite. But there’s a lot of science behind the DNA methylation tests, the whole methodology.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah. Have you used the TruAge version from TruDiagnostics?

Dr. McClain:                        Well, yeah. And they’re borrowing from his methodology. Yeah, they found it much cheaper way… When I first did this, it was 10,000 bucks and you’d buy a tray essentially. I think it’s either… I think it might have been a thousand bucks a spot, in other words, but it was a minimum tray of 10. And you got your friends to, “Hey, come on, find out what your biological age is with me here, so you can split the cost.” Now it’s down to, I think those guys you can just refer to, it’s down like 238 a run or something like that.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah, maybe a little more. I think it’s more like four, 500, but something like that. Yeah.

Dr. McClain:                        I mean, it’s certainly much better than it was, put it that way. Right?

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah.

Dr. McClain:                        And I’d say that’s probably the most accurate. Second to that would be maybe the telomere length. Although there’s caveats with that because you want to use a certain technology that doesn’t just give you the mean, but also what we refer to as the median, as opposed to just the average or the mean. And then it gets a little dicey too, because what we would normally consider great, having longer telomeres can actually be horrible because cancer can also show up with longer telomeres.   So that one requires maybe a little bit more interpretation. But a quick and easy one is DNA methylation. And I don’t know if you asked me that on purpose or not, but I developed what I call the death clock, a biological age evaluation, an app, and there’s all kinds of other pieces of information that we can use.   And using mathematics, regression analysis, basically, multivariate regression analysis, we can come up with a pretty good idea of what your biological age is.  And if I might say also, the purpose is not… I mean, it’d be great if we could come up with a very accurate means, but I say we’re a few lifetimes away from that, just practically speaking.  But from the standpoint of what’s valuable to us, you and I deciding, hey, what we’re doing now in our new regimen is that working to make us younger, precision is most important. So we can say, “It might not be that I’m 60, but I have the age of a 45-year-old or worse, a 65-year-old. Now that I did this, improved what I think is going to improve my health and lower my biological age, I went from 45 to 43, and I have a way to show that’s working in the right direction.”  That’s what we’re looking for. Yeah.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah, absolutely. That’s what I’ve been using it for.  But I know there’s some qualms about the DNA methylation test, is possibly being variable with short term changes and diet and stuff.  So not everybody accepts it, but I think it’s the best we have right now.

Dr. McClain:                        Yeah, I would agree.

Dr. Weitz:                            So what do you think are the most important mechanisms of aging?

Dr. McClain:                        That’s a tough one, man. The most important. Well, gosh. I don’t know how you would answer that fairly, to be honest. I mean, if you go through some of the mechanisms, you realize that they all make a difference. I don’t know there… And that’s another one we don’t have a consensus. What is the true source of aging? Is it simply something that is entropy, the breakdown of regularity into chaos in the universe?  I mean, is that the basis of all of it?  Is it cancer? Is it not?  Is it oxidation?  Is it free radicals?   I mean, I would say it’s all of them. To what degree one means more than the other I think is open to debate and individuality.  And I don’t think we’re going to have a consensus, really. I think down the line, we’re going to find, it’s going to be some sort of Star Trekking device that takes all these factors into account per the individual and says, “Hey, you need to focus… Your aging is driven more by this, X, versus Y, that.”

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah, I think it’s probably a combination of avoiding the big killers like heart disease and cancer and some of those.  If you can skirt by those or push those off till much later, and then you can start looking at some of the true biological markers of cell damage and et cetera.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, you hit on really what’s going on right now.  And that’s when we look at these centenarians, we call them, the superagers, that’s what we’re really finding is there’s nothing special about them, and that’s not fair to say, but in the sense that they get the same disease as we do, they just get them later in life, 10, 20 years, even 30 years later than we do.  And that’s different, I think, than what you’re asking originally, what is the real source of aging?  Because the theory is that if we figure that out, whether it’s 10, 20, 30, really it’s going to be never down the line that we felt because that’s what we’re looking for, right?

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. Yeah. No, there’s been all kinds of interesting experiments going on in trying to prolong longevity. I mean, I’m sure you probably heard about the David Sinclair group with that experiment using Naka Machi… What are they called? Naka Machi factors, Yamanaka factors, and reversing the aging of the mice.  And apparently that’s like the fourth or fifth experiment like that that’s been successful.

Dr. McClain:                        And then I am the ultimate optimist, so I’m easy to chime in with you do. So I’ll play the red team for a second and say, the problem we have with a lot of these is we find out, for example, with the caloric restriction, what works in an animal doesn’t work for a human necessarily either. And that’s the problem. So I’m hopeful. I hope he keeps going. I love David Sinclair because I think he’s also an eternal optimist.  And that alone, I side with him.  I hope he keeps going with his research and he gets some private funding and we’ll just keep finding more and more out.  But he’s not the only guy either.  Fortunately there’s more guys out there that are studying this sort of thing, and I think we’ll get more answers sooner now than we would’ve thought maybe 10 years ago.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah, I guess there’s still a lot of talk about caloric restriction, but Mr. Caloric restriction himself, Dr. Roy Walford, unfortunately, he died at I think 76 of ALS, so.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, he’s the one that was in the… And I’m terrible with names, I beg your pardon, but he was in the biosphere. He was-

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Dr. McClain:                        And you look at that, I mean, I would say that’s a perfect example of what-

Dr. Weitz:                            No, he came out of that looking horrible. Yeah.

Dr. McClain:                        He was looking horrible. I can’t believe he didn’t feel horrible. That’s one where you go, “Hey, that’s not worth the trade, man. Quality of life includes some fun and not feeling crappy.” But I use that as an example of where theory with animals doesn’t always come into play. And you could argue that with humans, you could argue that because of what went awry with that biosphere, it was a really unintentionally well-designed… Well, a lot of it was well-designed to begin with, but they weren’t supposed to be restricting that severely. They had some problems in biosphere, right?

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah. His argument was, it was the stress of that situation that probably shortened his life, but…

Dr. McClain:                        Well, again, that’s the problem with all these, these epidemiological studies. And even if you set them up as a prospective, how do you control all the factors that need to be controlled and bring it down to just one thing? And it goes back to your original question to my response, which we’re not going to be able to say it’s just one thing. There’s so many factors that we have to come into play. And I go back to that, and I’m not joking when I think of Star Trek and that the Doc would wave that tricorder or whatever the heck it was, that would pick up on supposedly everything you needed to pick up on. And I think ours will be a version of as much as we can observe combined with artificial intelligence, and it will be a very unique answer for everybody because there’s just too many factors involved.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. So how can we use nutrition to improve our biological aging?

Dr. McClain:                        Well, the easy answer is fitting the correct nutrition with our individual selves. And that’s why another way of making my point here is if anyone tells you there’s a one diet that fits all, run away, because you and I both know that that doesn’t work. Now, there’s ones that you can start with that might get you in the direction you’re heading, depending upon your goals, what your individual genetics are, et cetera. But throwing into the mix your age, your work life, are you working, or even within that? Are you working 9 to 5 Monday through Friday? And then on the weekends, you’re free to do two or even three-day workouts?    So the nutrition that you choose each day is going to be very different. And then the Chinese medicine doctors recognized this 5,000 years ago. That’s going to change also, not just with age, but the season of the year, the latitude at which you reside, all that kind of stuff.  So I don’t think you can say there’s one thing, but certainly… Well, Dean Ornish, right? H e came up with a pretty good strategy in terms of testing the diet.  So in terms of science with the Mediterranean diet or his version of it, sort of an adopted vegan diet, that might be one you could choose where you go, “Hey, I have plaque and arteries. This is a good one to at least start with.” Right?

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah. I don’t think he would agree that he recommends a Mediterranean diet.  He’s purely, clearly in the vegan camp.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, I thought his last one, he threw in some salmon or something with the last version.

Dr. Weitz:                            Really? Okay. Could be.

Dr. McClain:                        There have been 10 iterations to be fair to you. I just happened to pick up on the last one and he said, “Yeah, you can go throw in some salmon there. And I called that.” Now we switched it. In my mind, that’s a Mediterranean, but to your point, yeah, I think he still calls it a plant-based. Right?

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So let’s talk about the… Let’s see. In your book, you talk about the anti-cancer effects of polyphenols, like green tea extract and curcumin.  Maybe you can talk about this.  Do you take these polyphenols?

Dr. McClain:                        Well, this one’s a personal favorite of mine because I don’t know if I put it in the book or not, but I had prostate cancer.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. You did mention that.

Dr. McClain:                        I had a PI-Rads 2, which is very early stage, right. Confirmed with an MRI. Not only that, but with a, it’s called an ONCOblot which is not available in the United States anymore, but a test for ENOX2 proteins. And there’s some issues with that because we weren’t really… We’re not getting too far in the weeds. It looks like that’s not exactly what we’re looking for, but the result is the same. We’re getting a diagnosis that’s accurate. Anyway, with the use of the polyphenols in green tea extract, EGCG, and cayenne pepper, which we know the pepper family helps release some of these and increase the potency as it were for these things. I beat it, meaning with no surgical…

Dr. Weitz:                            Oh, you didn’t have surgery?

Dr. McClain:                        No surgery, no radiation, nothing but these polyphenol again from, and it was an encapsulated form that equates to each capsule is the equivalent about 16 cups of green tea and this cayenne pepper without the caffeine, of course, or a theophan or anything that was sympathomimetic. And they made a time release formulation. So you would take during the day, this capsule every four hours, then at night you would take a time release eight hour version. And yeah, I’ve been cancer-free for, I think it’s about six years now, per both the ONCOblot when it was still available. Now the Grail, which is not the best, I think we have about 38% sensitivity with the Grail, but also with an MRI.

Dr. Weitz:                            Did you have a biopsy?

Dr. McClain:                        Heck no. That’s kind of why… We’re trying to avoid that. Yeah, I mean that’s opening up a whole ‘nother can of worm. So I’ll stop because that’s another at least five minutes of a tirade if you want one, boy. There’s so many problems that can come with that. The idea is to try and avoid it, if possible.

Dr. Weitz:                            But I think that’s still considered the standard for diagnosis of prostate cancer?

Dr. McClain:                        Oh, I beg your pardon. If you’re going down that route, yeah, I mean you could argue that… Well, I mean between the ONCOblot and the MRI, I’d say that’s pretty good… I mean, the MRI can come… You can send it off to a place in Holland and get lesion as small as three millimeters identified. And I mean, PI-Rads 2, we had a lesion identified, and the ENOX2 is pretty dog gone accurate. Dr. Moray spent 38 years of his life proving that one.

Dr. Weitz:                            So you took this regimen of green tea extract and cayenne pepper, and you did it for how long?

Dr. McClain:                        90 days was all I needed. Now I have to be fair, that wasn’t the sole treatment. And when you see the C word on your report, cancer, it gets your attention really quick. So I also used metformin, which drives your sugars down, as you know.

Dr. Weitz:                            Okay.

Dr. McClain:                        There might be some other factors involved there with autophagy, et cetera. And before anyone goes any further listening to this and they have cancer jumping on the wagon, know that there are some cancers, not many, but there are some where metformin would actually assist the cancer, where you don’t want the autophagy to be kicked in. But for the most part, and in the case of mine, certainly with prostate cancer in general, that’s a good idea. And then there’s some things that I don’t want to even talk about until I retire, because as you probably well know, Doc, I mean we start talking about, oh, cancer cure, boy, talk about putting a target on your back.  And I’m not saying, guys, that everyone should do this, right?  I’m not recommending it.  I’m just saying what happened to me and what I think [inaudible 00:18:41], right?

Dr. Weitz:                            You got it. Okay. So let’s talk about nutritional supplements for longevity.

Dr. McClain:                         Well, kind of dovetailing off who we just talked about, there are proven properties of certain polyphenols to prevent cancer. I mean, one of the things that I write about in the book is the process by which this does work that’s been documented. And I mentioned my old professor, Doctor… He’s not old, but from the old days when Dr. Melikan who talked about the way it works, I call it chemotherapy light. So it is documented that these things can help us. And of course, you might attribute some of the longevity and the cultures that drink a lot of green tea tubes, some of these properties.

Dr. Weitz:                             What do you think about the Nad+ stimulators, like nicotinamide riboside and NMN?

Dr. McClain:                         Well, this is the only thing where I would pick on David Sinclair just a little bit because, not because he’s got a vested interest in any of this stuff. I don’t even know if he’s got any monetary interest in it. I know his mentor, Lenny Guarente is the one that does that product basis, that has the NAD?

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah, the nicotinamide riboside, right?

Dr. McClain:                         Oh yeah, he started it. And I think David actually-

Dr. Weitz:                            I think Sinclair might be involved, too.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, and I know he recommends NMN himself.

Dr. Weitz:                           He recommends NMN, okay, then it must be the NMN, okay.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, but anyway, the point is I wish he would be a little bit more clear about how often he uses it and why. Because I think you’ll understand what I’m saying at this way. It’s not clear to me anyway, how much he actually exercises. And he says, “Well, I take metformin and NAD,” certainly metformin on the days he doesn’t exercise. And I think it’s the same for the NAD. But my point is this, what’s the best source of NAD? Exercise.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. McClain:                        So for most of us in our world, Doc, I think people are exercising… To supplement NAD doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to make a lot of sense for those that either don’t want to or cannot exercise for whatever reason. So I’m definitely not poo-pooing NAD+. But in terms of your supplementation for at least most of the patients I see, I say, “Hey, spend your money on something else.” One of my favorites I think is should ban in the Olympics, for sure, if they’re going to ban all this other stuff, is beta-alanine. A sustained release version of beta-alanine, you’re getting that buffering and that leads to better exercise, which to me is again, your source of NAD+ plus exercise is a great equalizer for all the bad stuff we might do. Plus, you’re getting the L-carnitine, which not only is a buffer in that regard, but that’s an antioxidant in of itself and considered an anti-aging supplement. Yeah.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah. I mean, personally, I’m exercising pretty much every day and I’m taking some NR and NMN. I’m hedging my debts. I’m going all in, whatever I can do.

Dr. McClain:                        Oh, you’re fortunate. We’re both blessed that we can afford those. But for those that are trying to tear down-

Dr. Weitz:                            No. Yeah, all these supplements are expensive, there’s no doubt about it. What about some other clinical pearls, nutritional supplements besides beta-alanine? You mentioned in your book cat’s claw extract, AC-11.

Dr. McClain:                        Yeah. I mean, we know about [inaudible 00:22:13] now and booting out the, I use the analogy, the car that just can’t be tuned anymore and is polluting the air not only for the driver, but all those in cars around. That’s one of the great defenses the body has. And if it can be tuned, if we can repair the DNA, then all the better in some cases. So AC-11 has been proven to do that. Dr. Giampapa had some studies done over at least a two-year period where he showed… It was a very small group, but it was pretty well done and pretty clear that the AC-11 was working on as it was purported to do. And I mean, my favorite right now is rapamycin. And even the guys that are very conservative are admitting, “Well, I’m not necessarily recommending it to my patients, but I’m taking it too.”

Dr. Weitz:                            Are you taking it?

Dr. McClain:                        Heck yeah, man. I’m convinced by the evidence and the mechanism of action that we believe right now is the way it works that the problem is, and I do go into this probably too much so in the book for most people’s tastes, but with mTOR 1B, mTOR 2, the rapamycin is going to down-regulate mTOR 1, but also mTOR 2, and it seems to be dose related. So that’s why it looks like the once a week dosing is the way to go rather than consistently using the rapamycin. And I think we’re going to come up with a better drug that allows mTOR 2 to not be affected.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah, because the risk areas, you suppress the immune system.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, other… Yeah. I mean-

Dr. Weitz:                            Because rapamycin was originally used for organ transplants to suppress the immune system.

Dr. McClain:                        But what we find now is that in with further research, we’re not necessarily sure that’s exactly the mechanism by which that works, and certainly not with the dose we’re talking about now, it’s more.. Growth hormone is important, we find out, and if you suppress mTOR two for example, too much, that’s not going to work. And that’s one of the solutions that I have been experimenting with is, okay, take rapamycin every Monday, but for certain portions of the week, also take a GH secretagogue to try and balance out. If rapamycin is say, affecting mTOR one a thousand fold, okay, we’re definitely getting that effect. But if we throw GH in, well, we’re going to counter that and make it only 500 fold, but we’re not going to eliminate the effect of mTOR two and therefore rob Peter to pay Paul. And again, I’m probably going into the weeds too much and I try and explain a little bit more in the book.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah, so explain for everybody what a GH secretagogue is.

Dr. McClain:                        It’s something that tells your pituitary to make more growth hormone.

Dr. Weitz:                            So is this a peptide that you’re taking?

Dr. McClain:                        Most of them are peptides. There’s one that’s actually my favorite, which is what we call a peptidomimetic. And it’s my favorite for the reason that it tends to, in my experience in practice, create more growth hormone. And with the most recent study is about two months ago, a good size study, well-designed, got better results too. It’s called Ibutamoren. And it’s a capsule so you can ingest it, meaning you can travel with it better. These are practical, but very real considerations to consider when you’re talking about effectiveness, not just efficacy. Imagine a lot of people, end of the day, they’re morning people and “Oh my God, I got to get up. I didn’t take my GH secretagogue. I got to go downstairs, load a syringe. After I get this from the refrigerator, jab myself in the belly.”   No, you can leave this next to your bedside. “Oh, I forgot. Well, I have my water and my pill. I’m done. And I don’t have to explain it to any visitors come over, ‘Oh, that’s such a supplement.'” Said, “Hey, what’s this little vial in your refrigerator, pal?”

Dr. Weitz:                            How do you measure the growth hormone release? Are you measuring like IGF-1 levels?

Dr. McClain:                        Absolutely. We know the growth hormone’s only going to be around for about 30 minutes. And so once it hits the liver, your liver’s going to make IGF-1, insulin growth factor one, and that has a half-life somewhere between, depending on who you read, 12 to 16 hours. And therefore, we measure that as a surrogate. And we’re trying to hit… in my practice, I look at treatment failures, anything less than 300 nanograms per milliliter. That’s about what you were producing when you were 20, and that’s what we’re shooting for here. Now the controversy, of course is, well, what about all these people that are living longer that seem to have a lower IGF-1?

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. You know, Valter Longo is a prominent longevity expert who highly recommends that you want to have a lower IGF-1 level. I think he’s recommending under 175.

Dr. McClain:                        But that’s based on observation, which is how we do a lot of things. But I’m not convinced that… When you look deeper, we won’t find that that’s because most people today are writing a desk and not doing much more than sitting there fogging a mirror so that it’s like pouring sugar in a Petri dish full of bacteria. Actually, that’s a bad example, but nutrients for bacteria, it’s going to overwhelm the Petri dish. And too much growth hormone is like leaving a redheaded stepchild alone at home. He’s going to get in trouble. But for someone like you who works out every day, pushes himself and needs the regeneration benefit of a growth hormone, I would argue, no, actually you’re probably doing yourself more harm than good by trying to lower your IGF-1 and growth hormone release. My opinion.

Dr. Weitz:                            Well, interesting. I don’t know if you’ve seen the Fahe study, but that was the first study that was published that showed a reversal of epigenetic aging and the interventions were growth hormone, metformin, DHEA, vitamin D and zinc.

Dr. McClain:                        And again, I should probably state up front that none are convincing one way or the other. My argument versus the gentleman you just mentioned, the Prolon guy over at USC.

Dr. Weitz:                            Valter Longo.

Dr. McClain:                        Yeah, nothing. The studies are just, they’re just too poorly done. There are just too many other factors where you can definitely go, “Oh aha, this is the answer,” because it’s so multifactorial. We’re finding out more and more, and I’m not going to make any more references to the Star Trekking thing, but I think it applies. I think I’m taking it out of context to some degree, so is Longo. So is Fahy. I think we’re all in the game, and we all have our hearts in the right place, but I don’t think we can draw too many conclusions just yet. I think it all becomes individualized.

Dr. Weitz:                            I think to worry about higher growth hormone levels is that it might be associated with higher cancer rates.

Dr. McClain:                        Yes, but I could pick that one apart too. I won’t waste your time with it, but I mean, it sounds silly at first. I’ll just throw one thing out there, but it could be… Well, this is too far afield as a remark, but you have some cancers that are not responsive to many things and they’re slow growing. You may get more results by attacking it with chemo, which works better on fast-growing cancers because they’re replicating faster and throwing in some growth hormone. I know it sounds crazy, but to get that cancer replicating fast, to exaggerate that process where cancer’s growing faster than the normal cell, enough to make the chemo work. I know that sounds too esoteric, but we’ll move on to the next question. Sorry.

Dr. Weitz:                            Okay, no problem. On your section on supplements, I just wanted to comment on one thing that you mentioned, which was you like to use creatine for arthritis, which I thought was interesting.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, there’s some studies showing, and I guess this is important, some anecdotal reports where it works, it might just be because they like to use the word volumizes the cell. We’re putting water back into the cells. Just like with growth hormone, one of the things that I think we forget to take into account, people say, “Oh, it helps build muscle.” To some degree, yes. But particularly in the famous study where it was with older people where they got the 8.8% increase in muscle mass, how much of that was more sarcomeres versus just going from 50% water, which we end up relatively desiccated as we age to back to our original 70% water. It counts as muscle, but is it really new muscle?  Creatine is the same in the sense that we’re probably not replacing cartilage or making it new, but we’re hydrating what we have. It’s just, I don’t know if we have any MOAs identified yet, but it seems to work well. The one caveat, I go back to my favorite beta-alanine. In order to avoid problems with the excess acidity that can be created with what you can do with creatine, the extra three to five seconds of activity and you’re building up that lactic acid, it’s important to have the buffer there created with the beta-alanine use to prevent literal chemical damage to the cell. So I always recommend beta-alanine with creatine. Just a little-

Dr. Weitz:                            Interesting. Yeah, I’m more positive than ever about glucosamine sulfate because I know there’s studies showing that there’s some benefit for arthritis and joint pain, but recently there’ve been several studies showing as much as a 30% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease with glucosamine and conjoin sulfate. So I’m now recommending as part of the longevity program for that benefit as well as for joints.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, you got one I’m going to have to look up, Doc. I appreciate that. I thought you were going to go with the glycoaminoglycans and the fewer adhesions in the muscle, but I haven’t heard that. Do they know what the MOA is for that?

Dr. Weitz:                            I think it’s keeping the arteries flexible, but I’ll dig up some of the studies and send them to you. It’s pretty robust that there’s a number of pretty good studies showing decreased death from cardiovascular disease with glucosamine and chondroitin.

Dr. McClain:                        30%. Yeah, that’s a pretty big number.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah. Yeah. So what about stem cells? What’s the status of stem cells? Are you able to use them in your practice? I know they’re somewhat restricted by the FDA?

Dr. McClain:                        Great question. In the last, I’m terrible with time, but I’ll call it and say three months, the US district, I think it was Central District Court in California, came out with a findings of fact and resolution of law stating that the FDA’s position is no longer tenable. Dr. Berman was taking a lot of the arrows both in the front and the back regarding stem cells because the FDA’s position was anything that involves more than minimally manipulating the cells makes the result considered a drug.

                                                And of course, we’re all sitting here going, “Wait a minute, my stem cells, anybody’s stem cells are being called a drug?” First of all, they’re my stem cells. How can you turn around and call it a drug and then regulate it? Right? So anyway, it was written, in my opinion, and that of some of the lawyers I’ve shown it to, the findings of fact and rulings of law very eloquently. And I think the FDA agreed because they had 30 days to appeal and they did not, because I think they have… And look, I’m really, I mean this sincerely, it’s not just CYA, I think the FDA in this case anyway, has its heart in the right place in the sense that it wants to regulate this. I think they just chose the wrong way to do it, and it does need regulating. I think there’s a lot of… just like so many things.

                                                I mean, Doc, you’ve been around, there’s good and bad in every profession. There’s people that take advantage. This was just theoretically a bad way of regulating it. And anyway, unfortunately as a side note, Berman died of Covid earlier in the year before the judgment came out. Unfortunately, poor guy. But he did us all some good because now, and you think you hear more about it, it’s really more up to the state. For example, in California, we simply have to state that we are doling out, if you will, a substance that has not been FDA approved. As long as we do that, and of course don’t make any wild claims or anything like that, we can do it.

Dr. Weitz:                            Oh, okay. Interesting. So this is a new development in the last three months.

Dr. McClain:                        Yes, sir.

Dr. Weitz:                            Get your cutting edge information about medical research right here and FDA regulations. So how do you use stem cells in your practice?

Dr. McClain:                        Really for just about anything where we’re opposing degeneration because it’s a regenerative tool for sure. We’re not doing stem cell transplants here. That’s been around since the ’70s to fight leukemia and stuff like that. But like in your practice with sports injuries and stuff, right, it’s fantastic for reducing inflammation without using something like a corticosteroid, which I liken to rubbing compound. Yeah, the paint looks way better. Why? Because you just removed the top coating of it. There’s a pro and a con to the use of corticosteroids. You get the anti-inflammatory effect, but get some regeneration of that, to use the analogy, car paint rather than removal. You can also use it intravenously. And the beauty of this is a monkey could do it because the stem cells, they know where to go. They’re going to hone in on where there’s damage. This is what they’re programmed to do.

Dr. Weitz:                            And where do you get the stem cells from?

Dr. McClain:                        Hopefully, a place that is third party testing their cells. There’s a lot of hoops you should jump through, and you have to jump through to do it legally, to make sure that the stem cells are as risk-free as possible-

Dr. Weitz:                            You get them from a stem cell bank? Some procedures take the stem cells out of the patient’s iliac crest. There’s some people advocate taking it out of the fat cells.

Dr. McClain:                        Yeah. Well, and there’s pros and cons to each. I was just referring to umbilical cord tissue cells where they’re harvesting it from live births and someone, a mom has agreed to let the cord go. It’s all tested before and after, et cetera. But you’re right. Yeah, I mean to me the least favorite of those, least beneficial would be, you mentioned the bone tap, right? The pelvic bone. So you’re going into the marrow.

                                                The problem with that is it’ll feel like you fell off your bike pretty hard for about two weeks afterwards and you’re only going to get anywhere from maybe 10 to 20 million cells, and they’re all going to be a mix. So all three of the main ones we’d find in an aspir like that. The beauty of the fat collection, and you’re getting it from the perivasculature of the fat, it involves a liposuction, but we’re only getting one group called mesenchymal stem cells out.

                                                And we can take those to a lab and replicate them over and over and over again. So you get more bang for your buck that way. Plus, you’re getting your own cells. So the way we believe it works now is with somebody else’s cells, unless they quite by chance or down the road, will find their way to HLA match them, like you would for any procedure for the old stem cell transplants or current, unless we do that, the odds that those cells actually engrafting, taking the place and becoming the new cell pretty are pretty slim. With your own cells, they will take the place of that damaged heart muscle cell right away, for example. With someone else’s cells, again, let’s say match, they’re kind of like placeholders. In the meantime, a signal goes to your bone marrow if you’re the recipient and they immobilize the cells that are going to eventually replace that.

                                                The beauty of the umbilical cord tissue cells though is they tend to be younger. They’re about as brand new as they can get and they come with other factors, exosomes, which carry like RNA growth factors, which are much more potent than say, my 60-year-old cells. And that goes back to if you want to do your own cells, which I would argue is the more bang for the buck method, go ahead and bank them now. Get your liposuction now, so that you have them available for when you’re older and you’ve got the younger ones that are much more potent banked. Now [inaudible 00:39:04]-

Dr. Weitz:                            It’s little late for me to get the younger ones.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, but they still work very well. And you can always use a combination.

Dr. Weitz:                            I appreciate it. I’ll be on Medicare in July, so that tells you what my age is. So how many stem cells do you use per injection typically?

Dr. McClain:                        That’s tough to know and-

Dr. Weitz:                            Estimate. Do you use a way of determining it?

Dr. McClain:                        Again, it depends upon how you harvest them and you grow them. I’m not trying to dodge the question really, because I mean, I used to complain to the group that I use, American CryoStem in the early going, it was too dilute. So I was trying to stuff like 20 mls into some poor guy’s shoulder just to get the requisite number, 100, 150 million cells into his shoulder. So it depends on how they concentrate it. And then of course, unless you put it through cytometry with an umbilical cord tissue cell, you’re not going to know, and again, unless you actually count. But we’re shooting for, okay, anywhere from in a marrow aspir, I said 10 to 20 million to up to 150 million, whether it’s in a joint or intravenously. Typically intravenously, we’re going to go with a higher number.

Dr. Weitz:                            Okay, cool. And have you used it in organs? You mentioned heart.

Dr. McClain:                        No. There are some studies which have injected directly into either the heart muscle or really even the brain, like for Parkinson’s. Those are few and far between, obviously because of the risk. But that’s the beauty of, for example, for the heart because you don’t have to worry about the blood-brain barrier. You can inject them intravenously and they go where they’re needed.

                                                Now the one caveat to that is first stop tends to be the lungs. And it’s been shown in some cases that 90% of those cells will go to the lungs before they go elsewhere. But if there’s no damage there, it’ll go on and find the damaged muscle of the heart. And then the other cool thing about this is that you may inject, say, 150 million, but that’s not where it stops. Remember, these are going to replicate many times over to more and more daughter cells. Eventually, they run out and okay, the buck stops here, I’m not replicating anymore. And it becomes a heart muscle cell, for example. But in the meantime, you can have one turn into another genie, which gives you three more wishes that turns into another genie, which you follow? So it might end up with the equivalent of eight times that over the course of anywhere from four to eight weeks.

Dr. Weitz:                            Okay. I know you’re a believer in the use of bioidentical hormones when indicated. Maybe we could talk about that topic next.

Dr. McClain:                        Yeah. No, I’m just going to make fun of that word because yeah, this is science, this is not religion. We know that… Because remember when we were growing up, I mean you say you’re Medicare-bound, you’re older than I am then, but we were always told, “Oh, that’s baloney.” And normally they’re actually, to be fair, referring to anabolic steroids. But we know that the basis from which those are derived, the normally produced steroids like testosterone, have a fantastic effect on your wellbeing.

                                                Yeah. I’ll never forget coming into wrestling practice after the summer and the guy who I was dish ragging around the mat prior to summer comes in 30 pounds heavier and is dish ragging me. I said, “Yeah, tell me steroids don’t work, right, anabolic or otherwise.” But yeah, I’d say what I do most is for people who have what we call hypogonadism, whether it’s male or female, their gonads their ovaries or their testicles are not producing as much testosterone. I help get those levels back up to optimal levels and get back to living that healthspan we’re looking for.

Dr. Weitz:                            Now, if you get a man and he has lower testosterone levels, what are the kind of levels you see as low? And then do you do anything to try to bring their levels up naturally before you go to hormones?

Dr. McClain:                        That’s at least a two-prong question in that. First of all, in terms of levels, it can be kind of all over the board. There’s Abraham Morgentaler was one of the original docs that was working with this medicine. He was associated with Harvard, wrote a book called Testosterone for Life, which is great. Also was involved in an international consensus published in 2016, about 20 other urologists and him, nine resolutions, which I won’t bore you with him because I can’t remember them all night anyway, but kind of debunk a lot of the myths about the levels and what testosterone does and doesn’t do.

                                                But at one point, I didn’t like him because he drew the line at 450 nanograms per milliliter of total testosterone for a male. I was like, “How do you come up with a number? What if the guy’s at 449?What do you…” “Oh, sorry, you don’t qualify. Missed out by a point. Try again next year.” And finally this international consensus said, Hey, it’s not about the numbers, duh. It’s about the patient and the symptoms, right?

                                                Now, obviously a 20-year-old with super low testosterone is more rare than a 60-year-old. And so then you go into a differentiating a factor, which is it primary meaning that testicles themselves aren’t working or is it secondary, meaning here you got a 20-year-old’s testicles, for example. Is he not getting a message from the pituitary in the form of luteinizing hormone in the testicles, say, “Hey, let’s get to work here.”

                                                So two different treatments for two different types of hypogonadism. So in the 20-year-old, yeah, we can restore function in the sense that all we really have to do is get the testicles working again. For some reason, sometimes we call a pituitary macro adenoma, a little growth that blocks the signal of luteinizing hormone. We can have it removed or we can just override the system with something that acts like luteinizing hormone and bingo, someone’s natural production has been restored. Guys like you and me, the masters at athletes, the guys that are about to get Medicare, the testicles have long since said, “Hey, we’re done doing our job here and we have to just go to replacement therapy.”

Dr. Weitz:                            Well, not in my case, I just had my levels measured. They’re 900 all natural.

Dr. McClain:                        [inaudible 00:45:41]. And more importantly, really, I can’t say it enough, you treat people, not numbers. Even if you were 300 and you said, “Rand, I feel great, man. I’m not missing out on anything in life,” then why would we mess with it?

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. So what’s the safest, most effective way to administer testosterone, topically, injections, pellets?

Dr. McClain:                        Great question. So with the ladies, because the dosage roughly is about one-10th of a male’s, we can get away with the creams, gels, the topical applications, and they appear to be just as efficacious as well as effective. And that might be a gender thing because… And not to, oh god, at the risk of sounding sexist here. I always joke, I dropped my candy when I didn’t buy stock in Sephora because my wife anyway loves the creams and stuff like that.

                                                But I think most of us, I hate shaving. Applying a cream is just not worth it. So effectiveness can sometimes go out the window, but I would argue for males though, even in terms of efficacy, it’s just not as good. We need such a higher amount, and it fluctuates so greatly during the day that it becomes impractical and it’s just not as efficacious.

                                                So an injectable form, which essentially means it’s a time release form of an esterified form, works better for guys. You have the option either way with a gal. Pellets, the problem is, first of all, I think it’s fairly barbaric, but for those that say, “Hey, if beats have an inject once a week or apply the cream every day, I only have to do this once every three, maybe four months.” The problem is operator air, it takes a while to figure out the right dose for that individual. And the pellets themselves, I don’t think have been perfected until possibly recently where the slow release is perfected. So you’re not having over the course of three months a huge spike and a patient’s almost manic, and then a missing testosterone level for a month, and they’re begging their doctor for another round. I just think that’s one of the practical problems with the pellets.

Dr. Weitz:                            Do you use peptides in your practice?

Dr. McClain:                        Absolutely.

Dr. Weitz:                            So don’t talk to us about some of the most effective peptides and tides

Dr. McClain:                        They’re so cool because they’re like tinker toys. There’s so many different combinations you can make that each one, you just change one ligan and it might have a totally different feature to it. The beauty of peptides is they’re short-acting now and safe. They’re making them longer acting so they’re still safe and effective.

                                                The problem is we just, there’s so many possibilities. We’ve got a lot of research to do. But with the extent peptides, we can deal with things like, again, the masters athlete, we’ve got thymus and beta-4 for example, which helps with actin within the muscle fibers creation of more of that. We’ve got BPC-157 less human research on that, but anecdotally, fantastic for ligaments and tendons as well as GI repair. We already talked about the GH secretagogues as peptides. We’ve got things that work peptides that works as anxiolytics peptides that works as nootropics, helping with cognitive function. I think the sky is going to be the limit, and that’s a huge window of opportunity for us in the next 10 years or so with peptides. But yeah, it really depends upon… I could go on and on. Start with what your goal is or your complaint, and I’ll give you a peptide.

Dr. Weitz:                            What’s the best peptides for joints?

Dr. McClain:                        I always get this one confused because it’s an alphanumeric. I want to say AOE-109, I’m not going to remember this one, but we have a peptide for joints specifically. We also have all kinds of things besides PRP and stem cells that we can include in the joints. We’ve got the hyaluronans, of course, and-

Dr. Weitz:                            Then BPC, and some people even inject BPC.

Dr. McClain:                        I would argue that I wouldn’t use BPC-157 for a joint. I would sooner use, I’m trying to remember the name we used to use and it burned like there was no tomorrow.

Dr. Weitz:                            Oh AOD-9604. That’s from your book.

Dr. McClain:                        Well, didn’t Einstein say why commit to memory anything you can look up or something like that?  Yeah, I subscribe to the Henry Ford method of storing things, but yeah, thank you for that. But there are others too, which can be injected. I learned a lot from the world of the strong men competitors.

Dr. Weitz:                            Oh, really?

Dr. McClain:                        Anthony Giva was one of the guys that I remember turned me on to one of these peptides that you would inject. And it’s still out there. It’s just there are better ones that aren’t as painful, but we’ve had them around for a long time, ways to improve, not just the joints, the cartilage, but the tendons too. But I would stick with the ones that are very effective. I mean, there’s alternatives to the peptides. Like I said, the hyaluronic acid bases as well as the PRP and the stems. I think those are no-brainers.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. Okay. Any other topics you want to talk about on how to cheat death?

Dr. McClain:                        A lot of times, I’m asked, “Okay, what’s the best one or what are the best view?” And it’s oftentimes disappointing. So let me just get it out of the way. It still goes back to the three basics, and I’m as serious as you can get here when I say, no fluff, it’s proper nutrition. Diet makes a big part of your health and longevity. Exercise, I call it the great equalizer. You got to get some. It doesn’t have to be a professional athlete’s mix. As a matter of fact, even if you’re a professional athlete, you need to throw in some of those zone one or even zone zeros for those of us that are doing a lot of cardio where you’re just walking around in your garden or in the woods somewhere for not just physical health but mental health.

                                                And then one that probably gets eliminated more easily than the other two in modern life these days, as I see patients, sleep. People do not get enough sleep. It’s got to be… and Matthew Walker, the PhD we stole from UK, who’s now heading up the departments of Berkeley, he’s got a great book that pulls the research and aggregates it in this one place where you go, “Holy moly, sleep does that?” And it’ll convince a lot of people. “Wow, I’m not ditching that anymore.” Remember in the ’80s, we used to brag about how little sleep we used to get at that. That’s how studly I am now. True studs are the ones that boast of getting at least seven to nine hours, and it’s going to vary per person. And it’s got to be not just seven to nine, but seven to nine of quality sleep. That’s the other factor. People go around with sleep apnea.

                                                And so I’m a CPA before I’m a doctor, so I’m presumably honest and conservative. I tell you, at least one patient a day has sleep apnea that I see. And you don’t have to be overweight. Whether that means actually fat or just well-muscled, I see ladies as skinny as little Olive oil, the cartoon character that can still have sleep apnea and it goes overlooked because if you think about it, testosterone’s going down and that supports the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin, while age is going up, and you’re more likely to have sleep apnea. So you look at their hemoglobin hematocrit and you go, “Oh, you’re normal.”

                                                Well, no, you’re not. You’re suffering from severe sleep apnea sometimes. And this is the other thing I’ll throw in there too, and I promise I’ll shut up after this, but doctors will then look at someone on TRT and go, “Oh, it’s that dog gone testosterone that’s elevating your hemoglobin hematocrit red blood cells. That’s a bad thing.” No, the sleep apnea is, and just now that you have the testosterone back in the system, we’re becoming aware of the sleep apnea and its effect on the body. It’s not the testosterone itself, it’s just leveraging the problem.

Dr. Weitz:                            And for guys who are trying to get their testosterone levels up naturally, make sure you optimize your sleep. That can be a big factor.

Dr. McClain:                        Huge. Huge. Yes. Stress is one of the biggest factors for what I referred to earlier as secondary hypogonadism. And that’s part of how you fix it. Yeah. You say look, you’re 28, but you’re working three jobs and you’re over training, which is, I realize a comparative term, but you’re doing too much for too little repair. And that’s enough to make your testosterone levels, amongst other levels like thyroid included, spiral downward. Absolutely.

Dr. Weitz:                            And of course, during sleep is when growth hormone is released as well.

Dr. McClain:                        That’s the biggest dose you’re going to get during a 24-hour period, and especially that first hour when you’re deep sleep. So if you’re blowing that because you’re eating too late at night or you’re maybe drinking too much, or again, the quality’s not there because of sleep apnea or anything else, man, you’re blowing it big time in a natural way that mother nature provides for you to keep yourself as healthy as you can be.

Dr. Weitz:                            Sounds good. How can listeners and viewers contact you?

Dr. McClain:                        Well, I’ve got an office here in Santa Monica where I spend most of my time. I’m a Malibuian, so it’s only a 35-minute drive for me. We’ve got an office in Houston, an office in Florida, but you can contact all of them through the main line here. And we’ve got a website.

Dr. Weitz:                            What’s your phone number?

Dr. McClain:                        Phone number’s 310-452-3206.

Dr. Weitz:                            Okay. And your website?

Dr. McClain:                        Www.psrmed.com.

Dr. Weitz:                            Psrmed?

Dr. McClain:                        Dot com. Yep.

Dr. Weitz:                            Dot com. Okay. Sounds good. Thanks, Rand.

Dr. McClain:                        Yeah, no, thank you. I appreciate it. Been a pleasure. Thank you.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yes. And I’ll send you links after we publish it. Probably be about five weeks.

Dr. McClain:                        Got it. Thanks so much. Anytime.

Dr. Weitz:                            Excellent. Sounds good. Thanks, Rand.



Thank you for making it all the way through this episode of the Rational Wellness Podcast. For those of you who enjoy listening to the Rational Wellness Podcast, I would certainly appreciate it if you could go to Apple Podcasts or Spotify and give us a five star ratings and review. That way, more people will discover the Rational Wellness Podcast.  And I wanted to let everybody know that I do have some openings for new patients, so I can see you for a functional medicine consultation, for specific health issues like gut problems, autoimmune diseases, cardiometabolic conditions, or for an executive health screen, and to help you promote longevity and take a deeper dive into some of those factors that can lead to chronic diseases along the way. And that usually means we’re going to do some more detailed lab work, stool testing, sometimes urine testing, and we’re going to look at a lot more details to get a better picture of your overall health from a preventative functional medicine perspective.  So if you’re interested, please call my Santa Monica Weitz Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition office at 310-395-3111, and we can set you up for a new consultation for functional medicine. I’ll talk to everybody next week.


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