An Uncensored Conversation with Dr Eric Serrano

By: Roger Riedinger and Dr. Serrano
Winter 1999

Just got the latest analysis of Muscle Mass, one of our branched chain formulations, it came in at 102.8% label claim

Dr. Serrano has been a good friend of Sandy and me for a number of years. He is always there to help us whenever we call. He is also involved in our product development here at Beverly. Eric has worked with countless amateur and professional bodybuilding competitors, as well as professional athletes from all walks of life. Dr. Serrano received his medical degree from the University of Kansas and is Board Certified in Family Medicine.

Bodybuilder Larry Schweer
Larry Schweer has been using Beverly International products for more than 10 years. Here he holds the products he used for the 1999 Ohio – Mass, the highest nitrogen content amino hydrolysate on the market, Ultra 40 Liver Tablets, Muscularity, one of the BCAA’s Dr. Serrano has tested above 100% label claim, and Lean Out, a fat catalyst.

(Roger Riedinger) RR: Eric, would you mind if I interviewed you for the Beverly International strong>No Nonsense Magazine?

Eric: I would love it. Your company makes products that do what they say. You won't believe how many guys call up and want me to recommend their products. Before I’ll do that I have the product analyzed, if it’s good, I’ll talk to them, if it’s not, I won’t. Your guys’ products have come up good every single time I’ve tested them. And this goes all the way back for the past ten years.
Bodybuilder Tricky Jackson
Tricky Jackson is a big believer in pure Creatine Monohydrate and Muscle Provider

RR: Well, we’re really pleased to have your column in the No Nonsense Magazine again. We’re going to ask you a few questions, feel free to tell it exactly how it is.. Don’t just build up Beverly, our readers want to hear the truth, not some magazine hype. My first question is, "Why do you recommend the Beverly International line in your seminars and to your private clients?

Eric: First of all, after many, many, years of working in the industry, even helping some other companies put some supplements out, I’ve found out that a little bit of their money will go for quality ingredients and a lot of their money goes for the advertising to sell their product. What you end up with is not what you paid for. You’re paying for a cheaper product; you’re paying for a lot of advertising and for a product that’s not going to work. Then you try it and say, "oh, such and such doesn’t work. Well, how would you even know? You’re not paying for a supplement that even has a chance of working; you’re paying for a cheap imitation. Sometimes I have analyzed things that are even 99% off the label. I don’t want to talk about particular companies, but there’s two big companies out there that are making a lot of money and right now they sell a lot of whey, and their whey is nowhere near as good quality as what they say it is.

Like I said before, your products work because they are 100% the real thing. I have done an analysis on some of your products that have come up over 100% label claim! (Note: Just got the latest analysis of Muscle Mass, one of our branched chain formulations, it came in at 102.8% label claim.)

RR: Liver tablets have been getting a bad rap lately. Sandy and I always recommend our Ultra 40 liver tablets to our clients, how do you feel about liver tablets?

Eric: I will tell you what my opinion is on the liver tablets. First off, they are one of the best supplements anyone can take. I recommend every bodybuilder take them. Here’s why:

Number one: We have yet to identify all the important elements in nutrition. We think we know; but then every year we discover new micronutrients and new kinds of antioxidants in our food sources. So when you hear a company telling everybody, "Oh, if you take this meal replacement powder, you’ll get everything you need." That’s just not true. We don’t even know yet what everybody needs.

Here’s an example of an experiment they did with rats. They gave them a food powder, which we’ll call an MRP (meal replacement powder) for rats. Every rat got the same amount of calories and the same amount of protein, but some of them were given liver as part of their total protein source. Well those rats that were given liver survived 41 extra days than the rats who were given everything else the same, but not the liver. So, that alone shows you how much a difference your liver tablets can make.

And to make another point, to top that, Beverly International will go as far as Argentina in getting a top grade liver. People don’t know the grading of the liver; they don’t know what they’re getting. You might say, "Oh yeah, liver is liver." But, you don’t know. The liver you’re buying could have a very high fat content, or maybe it doesn’t have what it should. Also, liver can have DNA, RNA, and a lot of other substances that help build our bodies at the cellular level. So, we need to be very careful when we say, "Oh, if you take such and such supplement you’ll be okay." No, we also need to eat whole food all the time and liver tablets are actually a real meal substitute because they contain not only high doses of protein and B-Vitamins, but also all of the essential nutrients that it takes to maintain life.

Bodybuilder Andre Ewing
Dr. Serrano is a big believer in the benefits of liver tablets for bodybuilders, so is Andre Ewing. He stopped by after church to stock up with Ultra 40 during his streak of 3 consecutive overall contest wins last summer.

Roger: OK, so you would say a good liver tablet, like Ultra 40 should be a mainstay in everyone’s supplement program. What’s the latest research you’ve conducted using BCAA’s? Eric: It took me over 8 months of experimentation to come up with this. First, I started my clients with what most people recommend, 6 GMS a day. Well, I found out that dosage doesn’t give you any results, whatsoever. So, instead of giving up and saying branched chains don’t work, I tried increasing the dosage.

I found that when you go to .25 GMS/kg that this is where you get tremendous performance effects – more strength – less fat – reduced bodyfat percent and more stamina.

With branch chain amino acids, I can guarantee you that within a month, of your using .25 – .35 GMS/kg, you will see results. Another thing is you need to buy high quality branch chain amino acids. Are there good ones on the market? Well, the best ones I’ve seen are from these three companies: 1) Beverly International - I know that you sell Beverly International, but I’ve analyzed it, I know they’re real. 2) Carlson Labs 3) Joe Weider, believe it or not, and I know what most of your readers are going to say, but his branch chain amino acids, I’ve found to be good.

Bodybuilder Mark Storm
Mark Storm made tremendous gains this past year using the products Dr. Serrano recommends in his article: Mass, Ultra 40, and Muscle Provider. Mark had to go off the Beverly Creatine Monohydrate as his lean body mass got too high for his weight class.

Roger: I read a research article out of Italy on branch chain amino acids, and it said that if you take branch chain amino acids on an empty stomach, the body will look at it as your muscle protein breaking down and will immediately turn over and start burning fat for energy to preserve muscle. Have you ever used that theory?

Eric: Oh, yes. Let me tell you this. The American College of Sports Medicine puts out a yearbook related to research in the sports medicine field. In this yearbook you get a large amount of research packed into a few pages.

Research I’ve read there shows that when you feed branch chain amino acids to a person in higher dosages, they can be used as an energy source that will preserve muscle, because the body will burn the branch chain amino acids instead of your muscle tissue. Also your body recognizes the branch chain aminos being burned so it switches over and metabolizes more fat for its energy needs. So what happens is you’re gonna have increased energy, you’re gonna have increased muscularity, and you’re gonna have a decrease in fat.

Bodybuilder Brent Jones
Brent Jones continues to get harder and denser as he prepares for the North America. Mass aminos and the Super Pak are a staple in his off-season diet.

Roger: All right. I notice that you haven’t mentioned any of the new pro-hormones. What’s your feeling on androstene and its various derivatives?

Eric: Number one, 5-androdiol converts to estrogen in your body. Okay. How do I know? Here’s what you can do, "Take 500 milligrams of 5-androdiol and measure your estrogen levels a few hours later, call me and let me know, because I know it’s going to be higher.

Nor-Diol works better than Nor-Dione, but they have to be used scientifically. I don’t want to talk about a specific dosage right now because it depends on too many variables. What I will say is that you have to cycle it. Also, you have to combine it with a good diet. If you eat crappy, it won’t matter what you take; you’re not going to get anywhere.

Many people ask me if they work for females. Well, they do work for females but you have to take a lower dosage. Some people do get breast pains. These are mostly males. So you gotta watch for that. I would not use 5-androstenediol.

Roger: Okay, what supplements would you recommend for somebody that’s going to compete in a bodybuilding show say 6 months from today.

Eric’s recommendation:

  1. I would make good and sure that you’re taking the right amount of calories
  2. Make sure you’re taking the right amount and right kind of fats – and you have to include flaxseed oil or fish oil for sure. If you were over 35, I would include Omega 3 because the body’s enzymes do not work as good. But if you were under 35, I would use flaxseed oil
  3. Of course, I would use a good multi vitamin, and I recommend your Ultra 4 to everybody or Whole Food Base by Schiff, and there’s another company that makes a product called Catalan.
  4. If you were gaining mass, I would recommend creatine. I would not recommend creatine for females because they tend to hold water.
  5. I would recommend a good protein supplement based on whey, egg, or casein, and I will say this very clearly now, some people have allergies to different protein sources, so you need to find out what’s the best protein source for you.

Roger: What about at 3 months out when all of a sudden you’re done building mass and you want to keep as much mass as you can while cutting up?

Eric: Okay, most people don’t believe in amino acids, most people don’t believe in branch chain amino acids, most people don’t believe in glutamine. Well, I’ve got answers for you.

First of all, use glutamine .35 gm/kg, you will increase your strength within one workout, you can see it. You multiply .35 times your weight in kg that will give you the correct dosage. You will use that an hour before your workout and you will see results immediately, you will see it in your strength.

Next, I covered branched chain amino acids in an earlier question, but they are even more important as the contest gets closer. Remember take at least .25 grams per kg of bodyweight for best results.

Third, use a full spectrum amino acid product with a very high nitrogen content. How do I tell if it has a high nitrogen content? I analyzed over eleven products. Only BEVERLY INTERNATIONAL and one other company that we’re working with but not allowed to talk about yet, had a good nitrogen content. If you’re going to buy amino acids, if the tablet tastes semi-good, smells good ... it’s no good. If they smell like shit, they taste like shit, and if you break it in half – it’s so bitter and so bad tasting that it may even make you gag, then it’s probably good.

Finally for pre contest, I recommend the ephedrine, caffeine stack. I would not start this immediately like the dosage they tell you on the bottle. I would start with one in the morning, one at lunch. I’d do that for two days, then I’d increase it to two in the morning and one at lunch, do that until I get to two or three capsules, three times a day.

Roger: You and I both recommend a high fat diet. What happens when the progress stops on a high fat diet? Eric: First of all, I believe in the high fat diet, but I don’t think you should be using it all the time. You should cycle it. Your body is so good that it will adapt to anything within three to four months. If I’m going to be a body builder, I will use a high fat, high protein diet for a contest. But, in my off season, I would decrease my saturated fat and increase my carbohydrates. I use clean carbohydrates in the off season because they’re going to help me gain weight.

People often ask me, "What should my body fat percent be off season?" If you’re a bodybuilder, I’d say 12%, maximum. If you were a female, I would say 18 to 19 % off–season. An average off–season body fat percent for top body builders is, for example Mike Francios, 7 – 8 %.

Again, I would not use the same diet all the time, I would cycle it. I would never use the same one more than 4 months. I would change it because the body is going to adapt. I never, never, ever recommend the same diet all year round for anybody.

Roger: We’re on the same wavelength there too, I mean, I don’t recommend the same diet for the same person at the same point in their contest prep from one year to the next. You’ve answered everything I have on my paper here, but do you have anything that’s earth shattering or anything that you would like to share?

Eric: I will tell you guys, that there are a few new products that are gonna hit the market. I’m going to help Beverly International develop some new supplements. Beverly International is tops. A few other good supplement companies that I’ve tested are Twin Labs, Weider’s Metaform tested well, so did MetRx, also Champion and Pro Labs are good companies. You don’t hear as much about Beverly as some of these others because Beverly International doesn’t spend money on ads; they spend money on product development and on quality in their products, so I would stick with them.

Related articles:

Back to Dr. Serrano’s Q&A Forum

Gain 8 Pounds of Fat Free Mass
More about Mass Aminos , Branch Chain Aminos and Ultra 40 Liver Tabs

Winter 1999