MAXIMIZE YOUR FITNESS NOW WITH BEN'S FREE IPHONE & ANDROID PHONE APP  HOOK ME UP!

The Non-Pill, Natural Alternative To Viagra That Instantly Fixes Erectile Dysfunction, Boosts Libido In Men & Women, Enhances Orgasm & Much More.

Last month, I hopped on an airplane and flew down to Miami, Florida, where I underwent a special type of protocol that is technically called “extracorporeal shock wave therapy,” also known as “Audio Frequency Shockwave Therapy.”

Basically, although the physician on today’s podcast will be able to explain the nitty-gritty science behind it, this technique uses mild acoustical waves to “shock” a male or female’s genitals either A) back to life in the case of things like low libido, erectile dysfunction or small size or B) turn one into the equivalent of, pardon the expression, a sex machine with more blood flow, bigger size, better orgasms and much more.

Let’s just say I was pretty pleased with my own personal results, so pleased in fact, that I decided to get the doctor who oversaw my procedure onto a podcast. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, if you’re interested in enhancing your sex life, building new blood vessels, or fixing libido and sexual issues, this is a must listen.

Dr. Richard Gaines, MD, FAARM, ABAARM, is the Chief Medical Officer at an age management medical practice company called HealthGAINS. He is a leading practitioner of the rapidly evolving science of “physician-guided age management”, and has been administering bioidentical hormone therapy since 1993.

After a distinguished thirty-year career as a physician and health-care executive, Dr. Gaines became president and chief medical officer of the age management medical practice HealthGAINS, which he founded in 2005. He graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1981, completed his internship at Tufts University School of Medicine and his residency at Harvard Medical School and earned a fellowship in cardiac and obstetric anesthesia at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He subsequently served as a physician at Huntington Memorial Hospital and as an anesthesiologist at Harvard Community Health Plan and Sheridan Healthcorp.

Dr. Gaines is also a member of the following professional organizations:

-ACAM – The American College for Advancement in Medicine
-A4M – The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine
-IFM – The Institute for Functional Medicine
-AMMG – Age Management Medicine Group

His professional certifications include:

-Fellowship in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine (FAARM) from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.

-Board certification from the American Board of Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine (ABAARM).

-Certification as a Functional Medicine Practitioner with advanced training at The Institute for Functional Medicine.
Hormone Replacement Therapy

Dr. Gaines is a pioneer in the use of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT for both men and women. Before dedicating himself to helping men and women be healthier, happier, and more vital from their 30s to their 40s and beyond through HRT, Dr. Gaines worked as an anesthesiologist. For three decades he was a board certified anesthesiologist at some of the most well-known hospitals in the country, and he maintains that specialty to this day.

Most notably related to today’s podcast, Dr. Gaines is the creator of something called “Gaines Enhancement”, which is one of the only drug free, surgery free male enhancement procedures that not only provides effective treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), but that can also increase both the length and girth of the penis.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The shocking number of guys who take Viagra, Cialis or some other kind of ED med…[10:25]

-Aside from the exorbitant cost, are there any known deleterious side effects to Viagra…21:25[]

-The fascinating history of the use of sound wave therapy and pulse wave therapy in medicine…[25:45]

-How this same technique can be used to significantly decrease risk of heart attack…[31:40]

-Whether the GainsWave therapy is any different than a “pump” that many men use…[46:00]

-The “P-shot” and “O-shot” that Dr. Gaines injects into the genitals of men and women…[50:55]

-How what Dr. Gaines does is any different than a company like, say, Cenegenics does…[52:53]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

The GainsWave website (if you want to go to Miami, Florida and have the protocol done by Dr. Gaines, simply mention this podcast or “Ben Greenfield” to save 5% off your entire protocol and any follow-up procedures you decide to get done – from P-shots to sound wave therapy and beyond.)

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Dr. Gaines or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

WHOOP: The Performance Enhancing Wearable That Tells You When To Sleep, How To Exercise, Your Strain Levels & More!

My guest on today’s show – Will Ahmed – grew up loving sports and exercise. Many of his childhood heroes were athletes. He was recruited to Harvard and became Captain of the Men’s Varsity Squash Team. As a D1 athlete, he was amazed by how little he knew about his body. He would train for 3 or more hours a day with his teammates without knowing what gains he made. He was surrounded by athletes, himself included, who overtrained, misinterpreted fitness peaks, underestimated recovery and sleep, and got injured. Being prepared for game day often seemed…random.

So he became inspired by a simple idea: Humans, especially athletes, could optimize their daily performance. Optimizing performance was not a random sequence of events and decisions, but rather a systematic approach to understanding your body.

At Harvard, he met with cardiologists and physiologists. He read over 300 medical papers because he became obsessed with understanding the human body. What he learned was amazing: There are secrets that your body – your physiology – is trying to tell you. These secrets can help prevent overtraining and injury, they can detect fatigue and even sickness, and, sure enough, they can be used to optimize human performance. But few actually monitor those metrics.

He partnered with his co-founder John Capodilupo, who was studying math and statistics at Harvard before dropping out to found a self-quantification company called “WHOOP”, and also partnered with Aurelian Nicolae, a graduate from Harvard with a gift for mechanical prototyping and engineering. They then spent the past 4 years building a technology called “the WHOOP System”. They assembled a scientific and performance advisory board and now work alongside our team of 50 engineers, designers, and data scientists in a downtown Boston office overlooking Fenway Park.

They’ve been fortunate to work with many of the best athletes in the world. What they’ve discovered has amazed Will, and we talk about it all on today’s show. Self quantification can transform your life and induce effects like positive behavior change, fitness improvements, injury reduction.

Will believes that the data he’s collecting on athletes is unprecedented, both in its sophistication and scale, and that no physiological studies have ever occurred on this magnitude. WHOOP benefits from the fact that athletes also have tangible performance data (wins/losses, batting average, time trials, etc) across sports. They want to share this data: the unbelievable correlations between physiology and performance; the approach to health monitoring and the different ways to interpret or action your body’s feedback. Beyond building a product that people love, Will and the team at WHOOP hope to advance human knowledge with our discoveries.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The key defining characteristics that set WHOOP apart, including skin conductivity, accelerometer data, and continuous HRV monitoring…[13:25]

-Why WHOOP is the only company to measure the activity and fluctuations of the cardiac autonomic nervous system, particularly as it relates to recovery, training status, and training readiness…[13:57]

-The actual hard data being collected by the WHOOP, and HRV, pulse oximetry, temperature, respiration, etc.)…[15:30 & 24:30]

-Why the WHOOP uses a combination of PPG (photoplethysmography) sensors (4 LEDs and 1 Photodiode) along with 3-axis accelerometer, capacitive touch sensor, ambient temperature sensor…[18:17]

-How coaches and trainers can use WHOOP to monitor the sleep, training and recovery status of a large number of athletes and clients…[20:00, 30:00 , 35:50 & 47:50]

-Why the WHOOP has 90% sleep/wake accuracy compared to gold-standard sleep labs…[22:10]

-How the WHOOP sleep coach automatically calculates sleep needed based on your sleep baseline, any sleep debt that has accumulated over the last few nights, and any naps taken for that day…[39:15]

-The technology the WHOOP uses to tell you how much sleep you need and to give you a picture of when you should go to bed based on your habitual sleep efficiency and desired wake up time…[40:15]

-Why athletes like Lebron James and Michael Phelps are using the WHOOP…[59:15]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

WHOOP (use code GREENFIELD for $50 off at checkout)

How A Bear Attack Affects Your Sleep

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Will or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

The 9 Most Important Pages I Folded Over In Tim Ferriss’s New Book “Tools Of Titans”.

For the last two years, Tim Ferriss has interviewed more than 200 world-class performers, ranging from super celebs like Jamie Foxx and Arnold Schwarzenegger to professional athletes and icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, surfing and beyond, to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists.

For many of his guests, this is the first time they’ve agreed to a two-to-three-hour interview, and this unusual depth has helped him create a massive collection of tools, tactics, and ‘inside baseball’ you won’t find anywhere else. 

Anyways, just this week, Tim took his entire notebook of high-leverage tools that he has vetted, explored, and applied to his own life, and published it for the entire world to delve into – all in the form of a nearly 700 page book that could probably double as a self-defense weapon. The name of the book, entitled Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, delves into the dozens of personal health, wisdom and wealth strategies and philosophies Tim has picked up from his guests and used successfully in high-stakes negotiations, high-risk environments, and large business dealings, saving him millions of dollars and years of wasted effort and frustration.

On last Wednesday’s podcast, you got to to tune in as I put Tim in the hotseat and we not only discussed his new book Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, but also went far beyond and delved into difficult, deep questions about Tim’s life. 

However, as I am prone to do, in addition to interviewing Tim about his book, I have also dog-eared, highlighted, and generally abused Tools of Titans as I scoured through the pages looking for the tips and tricks I think you’ll find most enchanting, intriguing or useful. Below, in order of appearance within the book, are 9 of the best tips I discovered…


Page XX In Introduction: What Do *They* Have In Common?

I was fascinated by several of the patterns that Tim highlights as extremely common habits among his interviewees, including:

-More than 80% have some form of daily meditation or mindfulness practice.

-A surprising number of the males over 45 years old (not the females, interestingly) either skip breakfast or only consume the scantest of fare for breakfast. This could be why this technique doesn’t work so well for females.

-A large proportion of his guests use the “Chilipad” for cooling the body (this is a new under-the-mattress body cooling/heating toy I’ve recently picked up and found to have significantly increased deep sleep percentages and sleep latency).

-Many listen to single songs on repeat for focus, such as “Last Of The Mohicans” by free solo climbing phenom Alex Honnold or “Tonight Tonight” by obstacle course racer Amelia Boone. I have not ever done this and, being a guy who rarely watches the same movie twice or reads the same book twice, don’t find it an incredibly attractive idea compared to the use of binaural beats for focus. But will probably try it in the near future to see whether it does indeed enhance productivity or focus.

Anyways, there are plenty of other common threads among Tim’s guest, but those above are a few I found interesting or worth a try.


Page 14: Try Training Like A Gymnast

During our interview, I ask Tim if his body has changed dramatically in the past year, and his reply was an definitive “yes”. Specifically, Tim’s biceps strength and size, core stability, mobility and explosiveness all notably increased the past year via the use of a strategy called Gymnast Strong.

Fortunately, gymnastics rings, walls, railings, bars and all other manner of chimpanzee-like training equipment abound at the Greenfield home, so here are several photos of moves lifted from Tim’s book that I am going to attempt to perfect over the next month to see what happens to my own body. Who knows? I may wind up wearing a Team USA Men’s Unitard and attempting triple-handstand-360-degree-twisted-somersault-backflip-swings.

img_9776

img_9774  img_9773

img_9775


Page 83: Tim’s Six-Piece “Gym In A Bag”

Tim takes the following six items with him wherever he travels, and actually purchases several sets, which live in trunk stored at hotels in the most common locations he frequents, such as L.A. and New York City. They are, in no particular order of importance:

-“VooDoo Floss“: rubber ACE bandages for increasing joint hydration and range-of-motion (can also be used for many of the techniques I describe in this mobility article.

-Furniture Sliders: check out the strange bridging motion in the gymnast photos above – just one of the ways Tim highlights in the book for using a cheapo pair of furniture sliders

Rumble Roller: also one of own favorite workout tools, and available in both travel and full-size versions. Here’s a video of the mobility routine I perform ever Wednesday with my own Rumble Roller.

-Acupressure Mat: Tim swears by this as a healing modality for injuries, but I personally use mine for napping. How? Simply lay in a corpse-like pose with your back on this makeshift bed of nails for about 10 minutes, palms turned out and body completely relaxed. Then, chock full of the relaxing endorphins the acupressure spikes elicit your body to release, crawl into bed and collapse into a pile of your own drool for a power nap. Tim recommends the Nayoya Acupressure Mat.

-Goat Whey Protein: traveling with goat protein is based on a tip Tim picked up from his guest Charles Polliquin, based on the fact that goat whey protein (as I outline in my recent article on legal ways to increase growth hormone –  is highly anabolic and, due to the small protein size and lower levels of lactose, far more digestible than the milk from most other animals. To learn more, listen to my podcast with a Joe Stout, a nutrition science researcher and goat farm owner in Central Washington.

-Mini-Parallelettes: To enhance his gymnast training, Tim uses the Vita Vibe MP12 Ultra-Light mini-parallelette bars to do moves like L-sits, planche leans and parallette handstands

If I were to add one essential item to Tim’s gym-in-a-box, it would be one of the most potent portable forms of resistance training that exists: a basic suspension strap.


Page 102: A Psychedelic Dosing Schedule

For increasing everyday well-being, developing empathy, and intensively exploring your inner self, Tim outlines the following psychedelic microdosing schedule. I’m quite curious about all three compounds he describes below, and while I’ve personally discovered intense insights and vivid, lucid, remarkable experiences (mostly in nature, such as hikes and river rafting) via the use of psilocybin mushroom dosing, I haven’t yet tried the other two compounds Tim mentions below (ibogaine and ayahuasca). They are, however, on my “list” of compounds to responsibly experiment with during 2017.

img_9777


Page 248: James Altucher’s “Daily 10” Practice

James Altucher, an eccentric, big-haired, highly successful entrepreneur (who has written at least two books I highly recommend: “The Power Of No” and “Choose Yourself“), engages in a “Daily 10” practice to generate new ideas, to develop brain muscles, to get constant creativity on demand and to gain the ability to think far outside the box. Here are a few examples of Daily 10 lists James creates:

-10 ideas I can make new

-10 ridiculous things I would invent

-10 books I can write

-10 business ideas for Google/Amazon/Twitter

-1o people I can send ideas to

-1o podcast ideas or videos I can shoot

-10 industries where I can remove the middleman

-10 things I disagree with that everyone else assumes is religion

-10 ways to take old posts of mine and make books out of them 

-10 people I want to be friends with

-10 things I learned yesterday

-10 things I can do differently today

-10 ways I can save time

-10 things I learned from X (where X is someone he’s recently spoken with or read a book about)

-10 things I’m interested in getting better at

-10 things I was interested in as a kid that might be fun to explore now

-10 ways I might try to solve a problem I have

Oh what the heck, let’s give it a try, shall we? How about “10 books I can write”? Here’s my brain dump (and feel free to let me know which one you think I actually should write).

-The Jet Lag Cure

-The Longevity Code

-How To Raise Tiny Superhumans

-Beyond Fat Loss

-Why Every Diet Book Is Pure Bullsh#$

-The Biohacked Home

-The Invisible: Hidden Variables That Can Make You Superhuman

-The Look-Good-Naked Cookbook: 100 Fast, Go-To Recipes For A Sculpted Body

-The Dirty Kitchen: Fermenting Made Easy

-The Performance Manifesto: 40 Uncommon Training & Recovery Strategies To Destroy Your Competitors


Page 258: A Few Ninja Investing Tips From Tim Ferriss

As an influencer, Tim invested a very small amount in a few select startups, and did his best to deliver above and beyond the value of his investments. In other words, he wanted the founders to ask themselves, “Why the hell is this guy helping us so much for a ridiculously small amount of equity?”. By doing this, he established a reputation as a major value-add, not just a human checkbook.

Next, he began negotiating blended agreements with startups involving some financial investment, but additional advisory equity.

Finally, he made the jump to pure advising, meaning that by the end of the first year of this strategy, more than 70% of his startup “investments” were made with time rather than cash, allowing him to reduce the total amount of capital invested while ultimately producing better results for the startups he was helping.

When I read through these investment tips, it certainly gives me pause.

After all, I’ve invested in several companies: specifically Aurora medical marijuana clinics in Canada, Botanica Seattle, EAD Labs (the cannabidiol production that synthesizes the bioabsorbable CBD I use in my top selling product NatureCBD), Thrive grocery store , Kettle & Fire Bone Broth, and Falcon Fulfillment (the warehouse/shipping service I use for shipping all my products from GreenfieldFitnessSystems.com), to name a few.

As Tim recommends, I certainly use the products and services of these companies I invest in, but I’d never given much thought to focusing more on my ability to advise and be an influencer for companies like this in the health, nutrition, longevity, biohacking and fitness sectors as opposed to simply writing checks and giving money to these companies.

Equity in exchange for advising and expertise: it’s a concept I dig, since I feel I can give far greater value with my brain and education vs. my bank account.


Page 277: The Law Of Category

Once a week, I have a pop-up on my computer that displays to me a summary of a book called “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing“. In that book is a chapter entitled “The Law Of Category”, which is based around the following question:

“When you launch a new product, the first question to ask yourself is not “How is this new product better than the competition?” but “First what?” In other words, what category is this new product first in?

The Law of Category basically means that if you can’t be the first in a certain category then you can create a new category you can be first. For example, Charles Schwab didn’t open a better brokerage firm. He opened the first discount broker. Or Amelia Earheart: she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, but she was only the third person overall to fly the Atlantic (behind Lindberg and Hinkler). People do not remember her because she was the third person to fly the Atlantic, but they do remember her because she was the first woman to do it.

When I was reading Tools of Titans, I realized how much value successful guys like Tim place on this law, and how I should implement it more in my own business.

For example, cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most powerful substances I’ve used in the past decade. When added to or combined with just about any other compounds (such as turmeric, adaptogenic herbs, sleep supplements, etc.) it seems to vastly improve the effectiveness of those compounds, probably via stimulation of the endocannabinoid pathway and the multiple mechanism I discuss here.

So, following the “Law Of Category” exercise: what if every supplement I created were simply “insert product name here + CBD”.

Men’s testosterone enhancement with CBD?

Sleep and relaxation formula with CBD? (I’ve actually already done that one)

Pre-workout booster with CBD?

Smart drug with CBD?

You get the idea. All those supplements are existing categories, but I could, for example, invent a new subcategory niche in those category by including cannabidiol. I would be first in that new category.First, that is, until everybody in the supplements industry reads this blog post.

Of course, other options could include things like a nootropic or smart drug compound…for hunters. Or a five-fingered, minimalist shoe…for cycling. Or a health club franchise…for airports.

Fun though experiment, eh?


Page 449: The Dickens Process

The “Dickens Process” is actually based on Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”, in which Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Using the Dickens Process, you examine your own limiting, handicapping beliefs by answering the following questions:

-What has each belief cost you in the past, and what has it cost people you’ve loved in the past?

-What is each costing you and the people you care about in the present?

-What will each cost you and the people you care about 1, 3, 5 and 10 years from now?

Then, after you feel the pain of your own handicapping beliefs, you formulate one, two to three replacement beliefs to use moving forward.

This could be uncomfortable, but I’m going to dive headfirst into this process and say something I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about in my blog or on the podcast…

…and that is this: I’ve always struggled with the notion that I’m judged primarily by how my body looks. From being a skinny teenager in my basement hoisting 10 pound dumbbells so that I could impress the girls at the pool to being a massive bodybuilder trying to outflex the other silly-looking, gold-flaked behemoths on stage to getting into the tightest pair of cycling spandex possible for an Ironman triathlon, much of my physical drive has been fueled by – as shallow as this may seem – the desire to look good naked.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with caring for your body, being functionally strong and fit, and even taking pride in your body being a temple-like display of what the human physique is truly capable of.

But taken to extremes, this constant body self-improvement quest can cost you dearly.

In the past, I’ve skipped important family time, social events, experiences, concerts, parties and even scrumptious meals because they didn’t fit in with my gym time or body fat goals. That has cost me precious hours of my life spent with my parents, friends, family, wife and children that I’ll never get back.

In the present, I’ve dug myself into a hole of becoming stressed, self-judgemental, worried and anxious should I ever miss a workout of not hit my allotted exercise time, often thinking about a workout while I’m, say, eating breakfast or talking on the phone. This continues to cost me not only in terms of time spent with loved ones, but also simply inhibits my ability to be mindful, present and happy to simply be “where I’m at”.

In the future, if this habit continues, I will be that father who skips his childrens’ basketball games and tennis matches so that I can squeeze in my precious sauna or trail running time, that husband who doesn’t have time for a Friday night date because I decided to hit the gym after a day of work, or that washed-up ex-athlete racked with joint pain from always pushing and never resting.

So what is a replacement belief?

I am more than my body. I am my mind. My personality. My creativity. My value to this world is not based on my abs or my muscle striations or how fast I can swim or how much weight I can deadlift: it is based on my God-given ability to be able to inspire others to greatness, to educate, to teach, to write, to learn, to read, and even to entertain with talents such as music and writing fiction.

As Tim says in this section of Tools of Titans, it’s incredible what can happen when you stop driving with the emergency brake on.


Page 594: The 17 Questions That Could Change Your Life

In what I found to be one of the most impactful parts of the book, Tim highlights the following 17 questions that have dramatically changed his life (we dwell upon question #15 quite a bit in the podcast I recorded with Tim).

#1: What if I did the opposite for 48 hours (e.g. make sales calls only from 708:30am and 6-7:30pm instead of 9am to 5pm)

#2: What do I spend a silly amount of money on and how might I scratch my own itch (e.g. I spend a lot of money on supplements and could start a supplement company)

#3: What would I do/have/be if I had $10 million and what’s my real Target Monthly Income (TMI)?

#4: What are the worst things that could happen? Could I get back here to where I am if they did happen?

#5: If I could only work 2 hours per week on my business, what would I do?

#6: What if I let them make decisions up to $100? $500? $1000? (e.g. telling his team ‘from this point forward, please don’t contact me with questions about A, B or C. I trust you. If it involves less than $100, please make the decision yourself and take a note in one document so we can review and adjust each week. Just focus on making our customers happy.’)

#7: What’s the least crowded channel? (Tim started a podcast because it was underutilized communication medium)

#8: What if I couldn’t pitch my product directly (e.g. to help with a book on fat loss, write a whole bunch of useful blog posts on fat loss rather than a bunch of big fat loss book sales letters)

#9: What if I created my own real world MBA (Tim gets into this in detail in book – focusing on real world experiences instead of formal university education)

#10: Do I need to make it back the way I lost it? (last week, I personally lost $1600 writing a check to a fake Polish company in this very trademark scam. I could try to sue them and get the money back the same way I lost it, or I could figure out a new, creative way to make $1600 which actually helps people, such as by writing a new e-book)

#11: What if I could only subtract to solve problems (what can you simplify? what can you put on your not to-do list?)

#12: What might I put into place to allow me to go off the grid for 4-8 weeks, with no phone or email?

#13: Am I hunting antelope or field mice? (based on this anecdote from a Newt Gingrich speech)

#14: Could it be that everything is fine and complete as is?

#15: What would this look like if it were easy?

#16: How can I throw money at this problem? Can I “waste money” to improve my quality of life? (e.g. forking over the cash for business class on a flight so you can arrive to where you are going well rested and able to enjoy the experience)

#17: No hurry, no pause. (you don’t need to go through life huffing and puffing and red-faced, and you can get 95% of the results you want by calmly putting one foot in front of the other)

Similar to my practice of having a synopsis of the “22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing” pop up on my computer every Monday morning, reading Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man In The Arena” on my coffee mug each morning, and dwelling on Heinlein’s “Competent Man” quote written on the whiteboard in my office, I plan on having these 17 questions greet me at some point during each week, probably by simply having them pop up on my computer (I use the Expersis software IMOnTime for this).


Summary

Want more?

First, read Tim’s new book: Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.

Second, should you be a glutton for massive, multi-hundred page literary works, you can also feel free to check out The 4-Hour Body Book Review: Why Tim Ferriss’s Book Could Be A Huge Waste Of Your Time, But Might Change Your Life.

Third, you can follow these links to listen to my first podcast with Tim “Tim Ferriss Cold Thermogenesis Special Episode” or my second podcast with Tim “Behind The Scenes Of The Tim Ferriss Experiment: 15 Pounds Of Muscle, Turmeric Tea, Urban Evasion & More!“.

Finally, if you have questions, thoughts or feedback about Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, or your own tips to share that you learned from the book, leave your comments below and I’ll reply!

How To Defend Yourself Against Cell Phone Radiation (& Keep Your Laptop From Frying Your Body.)

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

My guest on today’s podcast is an internationally recognized and influential expert in shielding electronic emissions and Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) protection, with particular focus on the effect of exposure from mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and cell phones.

His name is Daniel De Baun, and his concern regarding the health impact of electronic radiation emissions grew from over 30 years of engineering experience in the telecommunications industry where he held a variety of leadership and executive positions at SAIC, Telcordia, AT&T and Bell Labs.

Through the course of his career, Daniel has created requirements for large telecommunication systems, led technical divisions responsible for establishing industry standards and formed analysis adherence testing for next-generation digital transmission systems. Daniel also oversaw laboratories which analyzed electromagnetic radiation (EMF) interference, electrical signals and digital formats. He and the teams he led were looked upon as industry authorities.

Daniel is the inventor of DefenderShield®, the most effective EMF radiation protection technology for mobile devices ever developed. In addition to his work with DefenderShield®, Daniel is a highly-regarded industry consultant, writer, and speaker as well as frequent guest national radio and television programs discussing EMF heath issues.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Why your smartphone actually isn’t that much different than a microwave…[8:15]

-The four types of radiation your phone produces…[10:00]

-Exactly where to find concrete evidence that phones are harmful…[12:50]

The shocking evidence of DNA damage that can affect kids that haven’t even been born yet…[22:50 & 46:30]

-How you can protect your ears and brain by using a non-Bluetooth headset, and which headsets are best…[31:20]

-The best type of phone case for blocking radiation from your phone…[41:50]

-Whether things like cell phone chips, diodes, holographic stickers, the bracelets, pendants, the plug in harmonizers, USB resonators, etc. work to actually block radiation…[50:15]

-Why tablets, e-readers and computers have similar issues and what you can do about it…[55:12]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

The Environmental Health Trust website

Bioinitiative.org

The ethernet to firewire cable Ben uses

Click here and use code BEN to get 15% off any DefenderShield product!

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Daniel or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Cool New Research On Cold Thermogenesis.

If you read “A Day In The Life Of The Ultimate Fat Burning Weapon Inventor“, then you may be familiar with this guy named Eric Grove. One could say that Eric is mildly obsessed with the use of cold exposure to burn massive amounts of calories and in that fat burning weapon article, Eric describes a vest he invented call the “Cool Fat Burner” vest, then goes on to describe in great detail the results of his groundbreaking indirect calorimetry experiment, which shows that high intensity cold stress can boost your metabolism by over 300%.

Since then, Eric has also shown that wearing a Cool Fat Burner vest can boost adiponectin (a protein involved in regulating glucose levels as well as fatty acid breakdown) by 60%, and keep brown fat active for hours after removing the cooling vest. I also reported on the impressive research behind body cooling gear in my own article at T-Nation entitled “Cold Temps For A Hot Body“.

So how does this vest work, exactly?

You simply place the vest (which is filled with cold packs) over your shoulders, where your body carries the majority of your rapid calorie burning brown adipose tissue, and then you just sit there.

So anyways, you may be scratching your head, you may think all this is woo-woo, you may already know about “cold thermogenesis” but you’re not quite sure how practically to do it, you don’t like getting wet in cold showers or jumping into frigid lakes, or you may simply want an easy way to nudge any extra holiday calories off your waistline and instead use them to generate pure, clean body heat.

Either way, keep reading, because Eric is today’s guest author, and he’s going to give you a glimpse inside the nefarious, shivering mind of the ultimate fat burning weapon inventor, and a very interesting group experiment he just conducted on the Cool Fat Burner combined with the newest addition to his line-up: the Cool Gut Buster…*

…specifically, you’re going to learn about recent randomized group experiment that once again confirms the ability of the cold thermogenesis “gear” to cause a huge boost to metabolism and calorie burning, as well as positively effect hormones related to health and longevity.

*There is special a discount coupon code on any of the Cool Fat Burner products for the 2016 holiday season at the bottom of this article.


A Cold Thermogenesis Refresher

Cold thermogenesis is the practice of intentionally exposing parts of the body to specific levels of cold stress. Years of research now shows this can cause significant increases in metabolism and calorie burning, can increase insulin sensitivity and help control blood glucose levels, reduce systemic inflammation, help with sleep and recovery, and potentially fight certain types of cancer as well as promote overall longevity.

How can cold thermogenesis do all this?  

Think about it this way: human beings are probably not meant to be in environments constantly at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, our average modern temperature in which we live, work, play and exercise.  Constant temperature control is a modern, technological contrivance. Whether it was an asteroid that blocked out the sun and wiped out the dinosaurs, to reports of a flood that left the planet underwater, our ancestors at some point experienced a dark, cold world, some form of an ice age, and a very likely necessity to evolve and even thrive in cold temperatures.  Some researchers have even correlated the increase and control of indoor heating to the rise in obesity (and yes, you must keep in mind, correlations should be taken with a grain of salt)

The point here is that we’re arguably not meant to be at a constant, comfortable temperature, and that true, optimal health requires at least occasional cold thermogenesis practices.


The Problem With Cold Thermogenesis

The problem with cold thermogenesis is that most people will not stick to ice baths as a regular practice, cold showers only last for a few minutes, and simply having a cooler room, office or house has little significant impact on metabolism.

That’s why I’m a fan of making long-term, habitual cold thermogenesis quick, easy, and hassle-free, and that’s why I’ve run a series of independent third party experiments showing the following:

Metabolic Boost & Calorie Burning Effect

There was the original groundbreaking indirect calorimetry experiment, where CFB inventor Eric Grove was shown to reach a 300% boost to metabolism, burning 500 calories in two hours, tested at the University of CA, San Diego.  This had never been done before, not in this manner, nor recorded for all to see. Check out the video below.

Activation of Brown Fat

Then there was the unprecedented PET scan experiment – showing “brown adipose tissue” (BAT) activity from the Cool Fat Burner:

  1. BAT still active for hours after removing the vest, in a 70’F room
  2. High BAT levels even at the end of summer; most people otherwise lose their BAT during summer
  3. High intensity cold thermogenesis does not turn off BAT, contrary to what others had claimed

Remember – brown fat or “brown adipose tissue” (BAT) is good.  It’s a metabolically active fat. BAT is found around major vessels so that it can help to heat the blood.  BAT turns on and burns calories when you get cold.  If a person is subjected to cold on a regular basis, they will increase their levels of brown fat.  BAT is also inversely correlated to obesity, meaning the fatter you are, the less BAT you tend to have.  Most mammals have high amounts of BAT to keep them warm. For example, farmers know that cold exposure is a major factor in animals losing weight, so they have to increase their feed over winter to keep their weight up.

BAT doesn’t store calories, it burns them.  Human babies are born with plenty of BAT to help keep them warm, but humans tend to lose our brown fat as we get older.  Seasonal workers have been shown to have increased BAT levels during the winter, but then lose that brown fat as summer rolls around.

Now compare this energy-burning BAT to regular subcutaneous white adipose tissue, which is what most people typically think of as fat (the fat on their stomachs, hips, and legs) that stores calories and is the result of obesity and related to metabolic disorder and all manner of disease.

So brown fat, or BAT, burns calories and is good.  Regular white fat (white adipose tissue, or WAT) that makes up the subcutaneous fat is not completely bad, but can be bad, especially when it grows to the point that one becomes obese. Interestingly, brown fat can burn white fat when we get cold.  Thus it can help with weight loss.

The image of the Cool Fat Burner vest below shows how the vest covers major areas of BAT on the upper body.*

4-cfb-bat-coverage

*Note: researchers have recently identified “beige” fat, which starts out as regular white fat, but that is somewhat converted to have properties of brown fat, meaning that it can burn more calories than regular white fat.  So there is white fat, beige fat, and full brown fat. Beige has properties of both. Why is this important? The hormone irisin, released during high intensity cold thermogenesis, is involved in the browning of white fat.  Merely holding cold packs against the skin above the fat can alter the white fat underneath the packs, causing the white fat to transform into beige fat, and causing your body to burn far more calories than usual.

Increased Insulin Sensitivity

We’d also seen that the Cool Fat Burner could massively increase insulin sensitivity, drastically lowering blood glucose levels in a manner comparable to running, and this is after a single session of wearing the vet.  Keep in mind that chronically elevated blood glucose levels are tied to diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and obesity in general.  Anything that can help lower and control blood glucose levels can probably help combat those disorders.

Spot Reduction of Stomach Fat

While not endorsed for this use, we even showed that the Cool Gut Buster could replicate the conditions necessary to induce fat cell apoptosis, allowing for the spot-reduction of stomach fat, similar to the expensive surgical process of “cool sculpting”. Currently, targeted cold exposure is the only known way to significantly spot reduce fat.

Apoptosis is the intentional, programmed death of a cell.  It happens all the time in the body when a cell is supposed to die and be replaced by another newer cell.  It has been shown that when the skin is held at a specific cold temperature that apoptosis occurs in the fat cells underneath.  But unlike fat loss from exercise (in which fat cells shrink or are replaced), when those fat cells are gone, they are not automatically replaced.  They’re gone for good (admittedly, if a person undergoes a period of over-eating, they could theoretically create new fat cells over time.)

Increased Adiponectin

As you can see in the video below, we have also demonstrated a 60% boost to the hormone adiponectin after a 2 hour CFB & CGB session.

Adiponectin is being studied for its role in insulin sensitivity and diabetes, cardiovascular and heart health, its ability to kill certain types of cancer, and its role in longevity.

 

The Synergistic Effect

Once you put all these biochemical variables that occur as response to cold thermogenesis, you experience the same type of synergistic fat-burning effect I demonstrate in the video below*:

*The full plan I use for this video can be found at www.CoolFatBurnerGuides.com, and is free to all CoolFatBurner vest owners.


A Few Practical Ways To Make Cold Thermogenesis Pleasant

But wait…isn’t cold thermogenesis unpleasant?  

Don’t most folks hate teeth-chattering, skin-burning cold?

No, and there are several reasons why.

First, when you do cold thermogenesis properly, only your torso (where all that BAT is) needs to be cold.  You can keep your fingers, toes, ears, and nose warm.  Since these areas have a high percentage of cold-sensors, you can make yourself feel warm by keeping them warm.  Ever get too hot lying in bed, then you stick your feet out from under the covers, and it cools you off?  That’s the same concept, in reverse.

So keeping your fingers, toes, ears, and nose warm makes you feel warm, even as your torso is cooling.

Second, wearing gear that has ice packs in it allows you to move around or engage in other activities while you wear it. Television, typing at the computer, working around the house, whatever.  I’ve had quite a few users report back that they wear their vests in their morning driving commutes to work.

 

Third, there is the obvious phenomenon of “cold adaptation.” As your physiology transforms, you get more efficient at cold thermogenesis.  You’ll be comfortable at temperatures that you used to feel cold in, and be burning far more calories per session than you used to. Cold temps often won’t even cause goosebumps in a cold-adapted person.  They’re burning so many calories, they’re like an efficient heat-generating human furnace.


The Randomized University Group Experiment

So up to this point, all Cool Fat Burner experiments have been done on a few individuals.  This newest experiment was to be the first time ever that a cooling vest was tested in this manner on both metabolic calorie burning and also on the hormonal response of cold thermogenesis.

Let’s delve into what we planned to study.

There would be 16 subjects, 8 male, 8 female. All subjects were non-smokers with a BMI between 25-35kg/m2 and confirmed to be classified as overweight. None were cold adapted and none had experience with cold exposure. All testing was done in the mornings, in a fasted state, and the subjects would wear the Cool Fat Burner and Cool Gut Buster for 90 minutes total.

The first 30 minutes would be at low intensity cold thermogenesis (CT), meaning not approaching shivering.  The last 60 minutes would be higher intensity CT, approaching or even entering shivering level intensity. Subjects were allowed to drink ice water between the low and higher intensity portions, to help push up the CT intensity.

Blood samples would be taken before putting on the cooling vests, then again at the 30 minute mark (between low and higher intensity cold thermogenesis) and again at the end, after the 60 minutes of high intensity CT, thus yielding 3 total blood samples per subject.  Indirect calorimetry would be used on the subjects to monitor calorie burning and metabolic boost. The blood samples would each be tested in triplicate (3 tests per each blood draw, then take the average), for each of adiponectin and irisin.  This gives 9 total tests per each of the two hormones per the 16 subjects.

1-ucsd-group-experiment

So what happened?

All subjects experienced a small metabolic boost during non-shivering thermogenesis, and around a 200% boost during higher intensity cold thermogenesis.   That level would yield nearly 300 calories burned in a two hours session at their average body composition!

However, this 200% boost is lower than the previous tests we’ve run, which have shown a 280% and a 300% boost in earlier subjects. So the subjects did not go to as high an intensity as previous trials on the Cool Fat Burner.  There are several possible reasons why this could be:

  1. The subjects simply didn’t try to go as hard with cold thermogenesis because they weren’t as motivated as previous experiments with cold-adapted individuals.
  2. Since subjects were new, unpracticed, and not yet cold-adapted, it’s established that more experience with cold thermogenesis would allow them to reach higher calorie burning numbers
  3. The subjects carried much more white fat than previous subjects and their fat may have acted as “insulation” against the cold.

In this respect, I suppose using cold thermogenesis as a fat loss strategy can be likened to going to the gym. If you’re overweight, out of shape, and are going to the gym or to exercise for the very first time, your workout will not yet be very productive when it comes to actually increasing fitness parameters like lactate threshold or maximum oxygen utilization. But as you put in the time exercising, building muscle, losing fat, increasing conditioning and even simply learning how to properly do the exercises, your workouts can get better and more productive and yield better results over time when it comes to increasing fitness.

Thus a new, overweight and out-of-shape person should not judge exercise based off their first workout, and this concept is exactly the same for cold thermogenesis.

If someone starts out overweight and carrying some fat, it may be tricky to induce the highest intensity levels on the very first cold thermogenesis session. Like all things, cold training takes practice.  One has to learn about their own tolerance levels, slowly increase cold adaptation and build up brown fat, learn how to relax during sessions, and so on.  As they lose fat (and ideally, build muscle) it gets easier to get better results during sessions.

Let’s now take a look at what happened not just to calorie burn in these subjects, but also to fatty acid and blood sugar regulating adiponectin levels.

Half the subjects saw around a 10% boost in adiponectin levels from the beginning to the end of the session.  The other half saw minimal changes.  Compare this to a previous study that showed that after 10 weeks of a lycopene-rich diet (tomatoes), women subjects saw a 9% increase.

So the Cool Fat Burner reproduced in 90 minutes what it took those other subjects 9 weeks to do.

It’s been shown over the last few years that adiponectin levels can vary for different demographics and populations.  Not everyone starts at the same levels, nor responds to activities such as diet, exercise, and cold thermogenesis in the same way. For example, a recent published study showed that when testing children, different ethnicities have different adiponectin levels, and those levels can often predict how well they will respond to diabetes treatments (remember, adiponectin is involved in – amongst other things – insulin sensitivity and metabolism).

Also, bear in mind that adiponectin is inversely related to obesity, meaning that the more obese you are, the lower your adiponectin levels tend to be.  So already half of the subjects (all of which were already classified as overweight) saw an increase during the session, and it is reasonable to assume as they lose weight and get in shape, their adiponectin levels will increase across the board for all subjects.

Next there’s irisin, which can help with the “browning” of white fat, can help build muscle, can probably kill certain types of cancer, and may promote longevity.  Unfortunately, the irisin results were problematic.  One third of the subjects saw increases, but others did not.  But the problem here is certainly due to the testing method.

During the initial stages of our experiment setup, a controversy arose over the testing accuracy of irisin.  Some critics were saying all testing methods were flawed, and doubted humans could even produce the irisin hormone.  The debate went back and forth, and eventually they used “mass spectrometry” to prove that humans do in fact product irisin.  However, it was then acknowledged that many of the methods used to test irisin may be flawed and inaccurate.

So at the last minute, we changed testing methods, and used one that was supposed to be “up to date” with the new findings.  However the lab reported to us that the first testing kit was not working right, so none of the findings were valid.  They purchased several more kits, and re-tested everything and those were the results we were eventually given.

Then another problem was revealed with the irisin testing. It has been postulated that freezing blood samples can damage the irisin in the sample.  What’s more, the longer it stays frozen, the lower the irisin scores.  All of our samples were frozen, and most were frozen for months and months before testing even began!

So at this point, I’m not real confident about the irisin results.  The reality is that all subjects surely had an increase in irisin, and all were larger than the tests showed.

But we already know high intensity cold exposure can increase irisin.  For example, a mere 15 minutes at high intensity cold thermogenesis (shivering) increases irisin as much as an hour of HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercise.  However as mentioned above, in regards to the metabolic boost and calorie burning, there’s a good chance the test subjects simply weren’t motivated to reach a higher level of intensity (evidenced by their huge, but still lower overall metabolic boost).  That may also have contributed to lower irisin levels, which is released during high intensity exercise and cold thermogenesis.


Summary

So that’s it folks!  Despite handicapping ourselves with a few of the tests, we still got great results. Huge calorie burning, an extremely significant hormonal response, and proof that yet again the Cool Fat Burner can work as well (but with more convenience) as jumping into an icy cold lake or taking a very long cold shower.

And please bear in mind that this test was performed on a randomized group of slightly obese subjects in a tightly controlled university exercise lab.  This is just further proof of the benefits of the Cool Fat Burner and cold thermogenesis!

In celebration of these test results, I am giving any Ben Greenfield Fitness reader a 12% Cool Fat Burner discount code on the vest or the gut burner (or you can get both). It’s good until New Year’s Day 2017, so it’s perfect timing for buying a Christmas gift or simply giving yourself the ability to decimate holiday fat fast.

The code is Ben12CFB and you can click here to use it now. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll also get full access to my Cool Fat Burner guide download along with your cold thermogenesis gear. Happy holidays, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below.

What Is The Best Workout To Rock A Man’s Suit With Style & Confidence?

I’ll admit it: until recently, I had the impression that a suit is a suit. Sportcoat, pants, maybe a special vest. Some shiny shoes. And a tie if things get really monumental. You get the idea.

Then I discovered the difference between any random suit from an off-the-rack sale at your local department store and an actual real suit that fits like a glove and looks like a million bucks thanks to NASA inspired technology and salespeople and tailors who know their product inside and out.

Fact is, if you’re serious about showing up confident to a wedding, a job interview, a hot date or any other situation where you could literally be judged by the clothes on your back, then you better know not only how to wear a suit, but you also better know which workout routines will give you a body that cuts an impressive figure in a suit, which suit fabric will make or break your luck, and how to ensure a suit doesn’t turn into a giant, stinky, sweaty full-body sauna.

You’re about to discover exactly how to rock your suit in style and confidence. Let’s jump right in.


Suit Confidence Tip #1: Mind Your Back

Back when I was a bodybuilder posing on stage, it was tempting to simply pay attention the front of my body: the shoulders, the chest, the abs, and the front of the arms. These areas don’t involve rocket science to tackle with efficacy. But I quickly learned that to look good, you also need to pay attention to your backside, which can be a tougher nut to crack.

When you’re wearing a suit, the most important part of your back to target is the part that literally gives you “wings” under each armpit: your lattissumus dorsi, AKA your “lats”. Two of my favorite exercises for the lats that spark an enormous amount of muscle fiber recruitment in your back include:

Deadlifts: Most people know how to pick a heavy object like a barbell off the ground, and that movement, called a deadlift, is great for the butt and hamstrings (your primary hip extensors). But to really get your lats involved, you must squeeze the shoulder blades back and do a slight “mini-shrug” at the top of each deadlift.

Pull-ups: Do copious amounts. Seriously. I have a pull-up bar installed in the door of my office and follow a special rule that I must perform 3-5 pull-ups every time I walk under it. The best style of pull-up for your lats is thumbs-off, wide grip, fingernails facing forward.


Suit Confidence Tip #2: Work On Your “V”

Even if your lats are suit ready, you simply won’t look good in a suit if it’s not hugging your waistline nicely, if you are sporting muffin tops or a beer belly, or if you aren’t working your full spectrum of stomach muscles.

If you really want a tighter tummy, you need to incorporate exercises that create a “belt” of muscle that encompasses your entire mid-section. This belt serves to draw in the waist, keep the stomach flat, and keep your stomach looking good in suit.

To work on all the stomach muscles, you need to include the following four movements:

  • Abdominal flexion, which will tighten the “rectus abdomonis”, or sheet of muscle tissue that is directly on the front of your stomach.
  • Rotation, which will work the internal and external oblique muscles that are on the sides of your stomach
  • Waist extension,which will incorporate the low back muscles to improve posture and allow you to keep your stomach sucked in
  • A planking exercise, which will allow you to tone each of the muscles listed above in one all-encompassing exercise.

For a stomach workout that suits a suit, try to put together exercises from each category as a circuit that you repeat 3-4x through with minimal rest, such as a crunch variation to a twisting variation to a low back extension to a plank, with 10-30 repetitions for each.


Suit Confidence Tip #3: Target Your Traps

Even if the rest of your body looks good, it can still be unflattering and asymmetric if you have a skinny neck that sticks up out of your suit. But if you have a skinny neck, the trick to get a muscular defined neck is not to work the neck muscles, but rather to target your trapezius, or “traps”. The traps are primarily responsible for “shrugging the shoulders”, so you’ll want to include exercises such as dumbbell shoulder shrugs, dumbbell or barbell deadliftsfarmer’s walks, or walking lunges. When you perform these exercises, make sure that you are allowing your shoulders to drop, but instead imagine the tops of your shoulders touching the bottom of your ear lobes, which will help you to keep your traps contracted.


Suit Confidence Tip #4: Squeeze Your Shoulders

If your shoulders are slouched or slumped forward, you might look just fine from the front, but a side shot of you in your suit may look more like a hunchback. If you sit at your computer for long periods of time, ride a bicycle in a hunched over position, swim frequently, or have a combination of tight chest muscles and weak shoulder muscles, then you probably already have at least a slight upper back hump, also known as “kyphosis”.

To address this issue, you need to include exercises that make you squeeze your shoulders back, such as seated rowsstanding rowspull-upspull-downs, and super-slow pushups (drop down for a 1-2-3 count, then push-up for a 1-2-3 count).

When you perform these exercises focus on keeping the shoulder blades aligned and the shoulder blade muscles contracted, the abs tight and “sucked in”, and the back straight. You can also improve posture by breathing in as you do the weight lifting portion of the exercise and then breathing out as you return the weight to the starting position.


Suit Confidence Tip #5: Fix Your Posture

This is a biggie. No one wants to look like Quasimodo in a fancy suit. Curious if your posture sucks? Try this 30 second wall test to check your posture:

-Stand with your feet flat on the ground, with your heels about 6 inches away from the wall.

Put your back flat against the wall.

-Then place your head against the wall as well, and tuck in your chin.

-Raise your arms out to shoulder height and bend your elbows. The tips of your fingers will be pointing forward, and your elbows will be straight out from your shoulders.

-Now rotate your arms upward at the elbows, keeping them bent, and try to touch the back of your wrists to the wall.

-If your back arches, or you can’t get your wrists to touch the wall, that indicates poor posture.

OK, so let’s say you discover you have poor posture. What can you do about it?

First, in the excellent book Deskbound, CrossFit San Francisco Founder Kelly Starrett teaches how quickly get into good posture while on your smartphone or computer. This is accomplished by extending your arms to the sides and then rotating your palms upward. This rolls your shoulders back. Then you can bend your elbows to type at the keyboard or hold your phone up in front of your face. When you’re sitting, pull in your abs to about 20 percent of full strength, so that sitting becomes an active activity, apparently.

Second, start doing 5-10 minutes of “Foundation Training” every morning. This form of training, which I describe in detail in my article “How To Turn On Your Butt, Activate Deep Breathing & Decompress Your Spine (And Why I’ve Completely Changed My Morning Routine).” helps improve posture, alleviate back pain, and enhance biomechanics by engaging the major muscle chains in your body and helping you identify and utilize proper movement patterns that pull you out of poor posture or slouching. I swear by my daily Foundation practice.

Finally, to put the icing on the posture cake, learn a special form of myofascial stretching called “ELDOA”. ELDOA normalizes disc bulges, reduces scoliosis, delays disc degeneration, increases disc hydration, relieves chronic neck and back pain and tension, and massively improves head, neck, back and full body posture. ELDOA myofascial stretches are very specific and complex techniques that require strong attention to form and correct progressions, and you will likely need to learn from a certified ELDOA instructor. Once you learn it, you can squeeze in throughout your workday quick myofascial full body stretches that 30 seconds to 5 minutes. You’ll instantly feel half a foot taller, and also feel proud, tall and confident in any suit. Want to see what ELDOA looks like? Here a recent Instagram post showcasing me learning the ropes from an ELDOA instructor.


Suit Confidence Tip #6: Get The Right Suit

The final key to looking good in a suit is to choose a style of suit that actually looks good on you and that breathes and moves the way it should. Most people wear suits that are either too large, or made of material that doesn’t breathe, and that leaves you instead pitting sweat out the pits and emanating some serious body odor after a day in your suit.

If you want to get the right suit, I’d highly recommend the new Kenneth Cole AWEAR-TECH garment technology, which is available exclusively at Men’s Wearhouse stores or online at menswearhouse.com

So why do I like the AWEAR-TECH technology so much? In a nutshell, the patented “37.5” fabric maintains an optimum microclimate for your body, and removes moisture at the vapor stage, before sweat can form. It acts like a thermostat by removing moisture when you’re hot and retaining warmth when you’re cold, it absorbs and traps odor molecules that are washed away when cleaned, and, from liner to mesh to exterior, it easily layers with other 37.5 pieces to work as a system that allows for movement and comfort.

So basically, the fabric in this suit has the same stuff that’s used in athletic gear, which means it can help control your core temperature and sweat. I recently started wearing this new fabric in a suit from Men’s Wearhouse, and trust me, it makes a night and day difference in suit comfort when your suit breathes and moves the right way (even when you’re swinging a yellow kettlebell in your front driveway).

Plus, 1% contribution from every single one of these suits purchased is donated to Hire Heroes USA, which helps veterans find jobs, and Help USA, an organization that supplies housing to those in need. So you can look good and feel good about looking good. 


Summary

So that’s it…

…mind your back, work on your “V” shape, target your traps, squeeze your shoulders, you’re your posture and choose the right suit, and you’re guaranteed to rock your suit with style and confidence.

As for the tie? Well, that’s your choice. Just remember: the fact that your favorite aunt gifted you with a Christmas elf tie does not require you to add it to your suit setup.

But perhaps that’s a topic for a future post. In the meantime, check out the AWEAR-TECH technology and to learn more about the Kenneth Cole suit garment technology, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below.

Ben Greenfield’s 2016 Cyber Monday Specials – All The Deals, All In One Place.

Happy Cyber Monday. I figured I’d slap a few of my favorite keyboard-slobbering deals up for you.

Enjoy.

Actually, some of these deals are quite significant. Deep down inside, I think some businesses simply put items on a huge sale because of societal pressure to have big, fat, slightly insane discounts on Cyber Monday. Of course, this wipes out margins and profits for a business, but it does get them a new customer and it makes you happy. So either way, it’s a win for them and a win for you.

Anyways, have fun shopping, and I’ll try add more deals as I they get sent my way. ;)


Greenfield Fitness Systems

gfs

Cyber Monday would not be complete with a sale at Greenfield Fitness Systems – my personal collection of all that enhances your brain and body. Use discount code CYBER20 at check out to get 20% off supplements and books. Click here to start shopping now.


Delta Sleeper SR1

delta2

Read this “A Tiny, 1/2 Ounce Piece Of Game-Changing Sleep Technology (And How To Use PEMF For Sleep)” and then you tell me if you could benefit from the SR1 for a killer night’s sleep. Until midnight Monday only you can enjoy  30% ($150.00) off the price of the SR1 sleep device, and yes, that’s only for Cyber Monday. Click here and discount code greenfit10 at checkout.


Keto//OS

keto

Have you been thinking of trying an exogenous ketones supplement? Well, thanks to this sale available from Pruvit, you can get 25% off any one-time product purchase using coupon code PROMO1041 at checkout when you visit. Promo is still good for Monday! Not sure how this can help you? Then check this out, and then you can order your own personal supply of ketones here.


Oura Ring

oura-ring

Get 20% off, plus free shipping, on the mighty ŌURA ring when you use code: “BlackFriday” at checkout. This deal ends Monday at midnight. Click here to get yours now. Want to learn more about the ring and why I swear by this ring as the best self-quantification device that exists? Read my post here.


Examine.com Research Digest

heresexacly-image

Looking for the all the science in one place? There is simply no better resource than Examine Research Digest – my go to source for the best unbiased supplement and fitness research on the face of the planet. Here are the slammin’ deals they have going until midnight Cyber Monday:

Supplement Goals Reference Guide – $29.99 (instead of $49.99)
Supplement Stack Guides – $119 (instead of $149) // $35 Each (instead of $49)
Monthly Examine Research Digest (ERD) – $24.99
Yearly ERD – $249.90
Lifetime ERD – $599


Have questions about how I use any of the resources above? Leave your comments below and I’ll reply!

Decoding The Science Behind The Best Tasting Bone Broth On The Face Of The Planet.

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

There’s much more to bone broth than meets the eye.

Take the bones for example. Killer bones make killer bone broth, but not all bones are created equal. Knuckle, patella, femur, and feet bones actually make the best broth, because these bones have been proven to contain the highest concentration of white and red stem-cell marrow, as well as the highest levels of collagen – one of the major benefits of drinking bone broth.

The ingredients matter too. For example, you can achieve one of the most nourishing bone broths on the face of the planet when you combine marrow bones like those listed above (from pasture raised, grass-fed cows) with organic carrots, organic onions, organic celery, organic bay leaves, organic parsley, apple cider vinegar, a pinch of black peppercorn, sea salt, thyme and rosemary extract.

Bone broth packaging matters too. Most bone broth companies aren’t USDA approved and require their bone broth to be frozen. This makes shipping a hassle (not to mention expensive!) makes the bone broth hard to store, and requires the heavy addition of preservatives, nasty additives and extra sodium or worse yet, packaging that is chock full of pathogens and germs.

But this kind of information flies under the radar, so in today’s podcast, my guest Justin Mares and I pull back the curtain on all things bone broth.  Justin is the founder of Kettle & Fire bone broth, the first ever fresh, never frozen organic bone broth company, and during our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Why bone broth is supposed to form a gelatin when it’s in your fridge, and why you shouldn’t eat it if it doesn’t “gel”…[9:52]

-Whether there’s any actual research on bone broth, or just on the individual components of it, like glycine or glucosamine or collagen…[14:50]

-Which is the best type of broth: cow, chicken or fish…[22:37]

What the best kind of bones are for bone broth…[29:45]

-The difference between red-cell marrow and white-cell marrow, and which you should consume…[31:45]

-Why Kettle & Fire adds to their bone broth 100% grass-fed cows, organic carrots, organic celery, organic onions, organic bay leaves, organic apple cider vinegar, and reverse osmosis purified water…[34:10]

-The best temperature for bone broth to keep nutrients from degrading…[36:50]

-How can you actually get a packaged and shipped bone broth sent to your house without having a bunch of preservatives and artificial crap in it…[39:18]

-Why you should stay far away from any grocery store bone broths…[43:00]

-How bone broth can be used to lose weight, stay in ketosis, heal a leaky gut, fix constipation, and much more…[46:55]

Resources from this episode:

Kettle & Fire Bone Broth (that link gets you $10 off any order, and additional discounts if you add more bone broth cartons to your cart).

The study Justin mentioned about glycine attenuating the insulin spike that comes with glucose ingestion.

Ben’s bark tea recipe

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Justin or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Does A “God Pill” Exist?

Veins on both biceps bulging like pythons, the ripped kid in the t-shirt extended one arm towards me. He opened his clenched fist to reveal a tiny black ziplock bag. He grinned, displaying a perfect set of ivory white teeth and nodded, “Go ahead. Try it!”

I stepped back and raised an eyebrow. This guy had just finished completely destroying my “REALFit” test score at the ever-popular PaleoFX conference. The conference, a global gathering of biohackers, foodies, physicians, exercise freaks and bacon-and-egg-infused-coffee chugging Crossfitters, features the annual REALFit test to discover the fittest person alive. The fittest person alive at their conference, that is.

Anyways, I thought I had achieved a pretty respectable score on a host of tests including a forearm-destroying two minute maximum pull-ups test, deadlifting body weight as many times as possible in two minutes test (try that one sometime and just try to beat at least sixty, I dare you),  a shuttle run, a medicine ball hurl, a vertical leap: you get the idea. This wasn’t any walk in the park.

But this guy had just blown my score out of the water, and he now seemed to be extending to me some semblance of a peace offering. That or he was attempting to pull off an illegal drug deal at a health conference.

“What…is it?” I leaned forward and peered into his hand. Emblazoned in tiny gold foiling on the front of black bag was a logo: Neurohacker Collective.

nhc_logo_gld

“It’s basically like a God Pill.”

“A God Pill?” Somewhere deep in the back of my self-quantifying, self-experimentation obsessed lizard brain, I felt a twinge of interest. Now don’t get me wrong – as a Christian, I would never believe that a mere man or woman can truly possess the superpowers of God. But at this point – just two days into the conference and after having been offered copious amounts of kombucha, kefir and other little-known fermented beverages, cannabidiol-infused dark chocolates, bacon-flavored mints, kale-powdered beef jerky and all other manner of potentially explosive diarrhea inducing samples – the mention of a supplement that could potentially transform one into even a fraction of a deity was a proposition I hadn’t yet heard.

I kept staring at the bag. “Um…what does it do?”

“Dude, just try it.” He reached forward, grabbed my forearm with a vice-like gorilla grip, and shoved the black bag into the palm of my hand. As if driven by an invisible, curious-infused force, my fingers closed hard around the tiny bag as though it were a handful of precious diamonds.

The guy grinned ear-to-ear one more time, winked at me, and as he sauntered away, seemingly unfazed by having just thrown down a shuttle run time that made me look like a arthritic sloth, he stopped and looked back over his shoulder. “Oh, and follow the instructions very, very carefully. Enjoy the experience, man.”

Oh geez. Enjoy the experience? What had I gotten into? This was supposed to be a freaking health conference. Not an MDMA-infused rave. And now I was about to potentially go on a full public display of a crazy drug-infused mind-trip.

I looked around. Nobody seemed to be watching. I carefully opened the bag, only to find two additional bags.

I took Bag #1 out and held it up to the fluorescent indoor lights. There were perhaps half-a-dozen capsules inside. On the front, in tiny letters, was written, “Step 1: Upon Waking, Take Three On Empty Stomach.

Before I read the front of the Bag #2, I suspected what it would say. After all, I’m a nutritionist, a self-professed guinea pig, and an adviser to a host of companies in the supplement industry. This means I basically design and consume pills for a living.

I’ll betcha this will be the fat-soluble, take-it-with-food component.

Bingo. I was right. Bag #2 read: “Step 2: Take Six With Breakfast.”

I shoved Bag #2 into my pocket. Then I studied Bag #1 again. I hadn’t just woken. I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. But my stomach was indeed empty.

So what the heck?

I glanced nervously towards my twin boys, who, oblivious to my suspicious dealings, were giggling and twirling around on a giant, elephant-sized Bulletproof Coffee mug. I looked at watch. I had two hours before I needed to be on stage as one of the keynote speakers for the event. I looked back at Bag#1, silently hoping that I wasn’t about to turn into an embarrassing father who inexplicably begins climbing into the rafters at a Paleo health conference or a raging carbaholic who is suddenly struck by intense cravings for gluten-powdered baguettes. Then I tipped back my head and swallowed half the contents of Bag #1.

The next 120 minutes were a blur. Like gears gradually grinding into faster and faster motion, my thoughts and word recall and verbal fluency seemed to double in speed within about twenty minutes, and kept getting comfortably faster. As I chased my two eight year old boys through the expanse of the PaleoFX expo, colors became more vibrant, sounds and light more intense. Allow me to point out that I have indeed micro-dosed with LSD, psilocybin and MDMA – all of which produced comparable effects. But not at a response time near as fast. Or with as “clean” of a thought pattern.

What the heck was this stuff?

Two hours later, with a belly full of bacon-flavored truffles, beet-powder-infused salmon jerky and raw camel’s milk, I looked down at my hand. My fingers were wrapped around Bag #2. I opened it, dumped six capsules into my mouth and swallowed. Then I clenched and unclenched my fists, took one deep breath, and stepped onto the massive PaleoFX stage to speak, ironically, about how to safely and effectively hack one’s brain.


Limitless & Lucy

Perhaps it was the combination of eighteen different primal fuels and kombucha fermenting in my stomach, perhaps it was the edgy death-like, I-hope-I-zipped-my-fly fear that accompanies stepping onto stage in front of hundreds of people, or perhaps it was Bag #2 kicking into action, but the effects became even more magnified the moment I stepped on stage.

Whatever it was, I didn’t complain. I just held on tight for the ride on stage as my mouth worked to catch up to my rapidly firing brain. My lucidity and clarity of thought became unparalleled. I wondered if someone had slipped a No-Doz caffeine pill into my camel’s milk, but realized I had none of the agitation or nervousness that accompanies copious such amounts of caffeine. I wondered if this was how Bradley Cooper’s character felt in the movie Limitless.

No, scratch that. Probably more like the way Scarlet Johansson’s character in the movie Lucy felt when Asian terrorists sewed a leaky bag full of smart drugs into her gut lining, but without any scalpels involved.

I had to find out where this stuff came from.

I had to hunt down this mysterious “Neurohacker Collective“.

So I did. And in this article you’ll discover exactly what I found about the most potent neurohacking compound I’ve ever used, and the actual ingredients packed into Bag #1 and Bag #2..


What Is “Neurohacker Collective”?

As you may have heard on the podcast that I just released two days ago entitled “42 Different Ways To Build A Better Brain, The Problem With Modern Smart Drugs, Hacking Your Neurons & More.”, I did indeed eventually connect with the brilliant minds at Neurohacker Collective – specifically a man named Daniel Schmachtenberger.

During that podcast episode, Daniel describes how he began seriously studying health and neurology when he became afflicted with neurological and autoimmune illnesses that had no known solutions in either allopathic or complementary medicine. The insights that lead to his healing came from developing a new model for understanding physiology and pathology, which he then applied to helping many people address various forms of complex illness and optimize their capabilities beyond their previous healthy baselines.

As he worked to create Neurohacker Collective, Daniel was simultaneously the academic dean for a college of mind-body medicine and consulted for a host of functional, integrative physicians and medical clinics to help find novel solutions for complex cases. He created and ran a think tank developing complex systems solutions for environmental and social issues, and directed a transdisciplinary group of scholars on a philosophy of mind project addressing core questions of mind-brain interface and what he calls “an axiomatic reformulation for the epistemology of neuroscience”.

And he’s guinea-pigged extensively with psychedelics, nootropics, meditation, depth psychology, and a plethora of other tools for evolving states and stages of consciousness and evolving the human experience.

Ultimately, Daniel focuses on bringing together scientific research on each individual mechanism and pathway supporting cognitive development, and integrating them into a whole systems view, a complex framework of integrative neuroscience that focused for many years on creating one of the most comprehensive nootropic smart-drug like stacks ever made.

During our podcast, Daniel describes how many “smart drugs” work by artificially increasing one chemical in the brain by overriding its natural function. Problem is, this can cause depletion or neglect of other things, causing imbalances and negative consequences like dependency or a post smart-drug “crash” (Modafinil, anyone?).

This is because cognitive capacity is a nuanced relationship that involves many variables. Optimizing for one variable of cognitive function at the expense of other critical ones doesn’t really bestow comprehensive enhancement of human capability. For instance, having cognitive drive without the ability to focus well could result in you leaping into your office in a post-smart-drug infused craze and churning out a hundred tiny multi-tasks like a keyboarded berserker…without actually accomplishing anything deep or meaningful or truly productive.

Or you could develop steely willpower without emotional resilience, resulting in you being the smartest guy or girl at the office who treats your co-workers like complete crap because you’ve suddenly become a robot-like, hard charging, high achiever with a complete loss of empathy. For that reason, Daniel’s goal was to design a formula that deliberately balances subjective effects to give meaningful enhancement in a comprehensive way – what he describes as “a whole system upgrade”.

In other words, as he designed the capsules that I swallowed in Bag #1 and Bag #2, Daniel’s goal was to support the body’s endogenous neurochemical production and regulatory processes, rather than creating fake, temporary, exogenous brain overrides.

Take IQ, for example – also known as “Intelligence Quotient”. Recent research suggests that notion of a single intelligence quotient vastly oversimplifies intelligence, which is in fact composed of various aspects of what are called “multiple intelligences”, such as verbal intelligence, problem solving, spatial reasoning, etc.

The studies on IQ were led by Adrian Owen of the Brain and Mind Institute at Western, and his studies included more than 100,000 participants from around the globe asking them to complete 12 cognitive tests looking at their memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities. These findings were published in an article, “Fractioning Human Intelligence, in the Journal Neuron in December 2012, and a couple follow-up articles appeared on Science Daily: “Scientists debunk the IQ myth: Notion of measuring one’s intelligence quotient by singular, standardized test is highly misleading” and Western University: Canada: “Debunking the IQ myth“.

This is all based on a theory proposed by Howard Gardner, which states that intelligence is not unified, but rather multiple, consisting of a set of relatively independent intelligences including linguistic intelligence, mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, musical intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, naturalist intelligence, and even based on more recent research, the addition of spiritual intelligence and emotional intelligence. According to this theory, different intelligences can develop at different rates in individuals, and thus a single measure like IQ neglects within person variability across multiple kinds of intelligence.

So basically, if a smart drug or nootropic promises to increase IQ, you must ask yourself if it is increasing multiple intelligences, or just one factor of IQ, such as your ability to blast through multiplication tables, or progress through your Suzuki violin manual at lightning speed.

It’s an interesting theory indeed.

And a glance at the Neurohacker Collective website promises that they have fully researched this complex problem for years, and as a result have designed the most comprehensive, effective cognitive enhancement nootropic in the world today, contaning “42 scientifically researched ingredients” designed to amplify all the aspects that matter most for optimal cognitive and nervous system functioning.

Yep, that’s quite a claim.

But it’s one thing to wax flowery biohacking poetic on a website and quite another to produce a product that actually works. So leading up to my podcast interview with Daniel, and courtesy of Neurohacker Collective, I was able to get my hands on two full bottles of Bag #1 and Bag #2. which turned out to be Daniel’s creation, a super-special formulation he calls “Qualia“.

fullsizerender

It was time to find out whether my experience at PaleoFX was an isolated fluke, or if this Qualia stuff actually works when used with longer term dosage in one’s comfortable, familiar home and office environment. Let’s delve into my own experience, shall we?


How I Took Qualia

Morning one of Qualia experiment.

I wake up, groggy-eyed, and stumble down the wooden stairs of our home, deep in the forest of Spokane, Washington.

Barefoot and still shivering from the morning chill, I flip on the lights to the pantry. I take the bottle of Qualia Step One off the shelf, turn it around and inspect the label, which reads as follows:

qualiastep1

I swallow three capsules with a giant glass of water.

I delve into my admittedly elaborate morning routine of Core Foundation exercises, infrared sauna, a cryotherapy dip into the icy cold pool hidden in the trees behind my house, and thirty minutes of my latest cognitive hack, EEG neurofeedback training while I write in my work of fiction.

Morning routine complete and brain already humming, I go about making my enormous morning smoothie, which I describe in teeth-gritting detail – Pau d’ Arco bark tea, cacao nibs, ceylon cinnamon, Aztec salt and all – at “6 Crazy, Exotic Superfood Cocktails, Shakes & Mind-Bending Recipes.

Just before downing the smoothie, I grab the bottle of Qualia Step Two. I glance at the label:

qualiastep2

According to the Neurohacker Collective website, Qualia is to be taken in two steps as a total of nine pills – three pills from Step One bottle and six pills from the Step Two bottle, always maintaining a 1:2 ratio. So I dump six of the tablets into my hand and swallow.

Then I sit back and wait for the fireworks.


My Experience With Qualia

Now, I’m not going to kick a nootropic, smart-drug infused horse to death and dwell upon what you are probably already aware of when it comes to the claims behind these trendy cognitive enhancing compounds.

Sure, on my first morning (and for the next four days leading up to my podcast with Daniel), I certainly experienced a manifestation of all these claims.

Better focus.

Increased cognitive drive.

Faster reaction time.

Less distractibility.

Enhanced verbal fluency and memory recall.

Frankly, as I describe in my article on How To Make Your Own Smart Drugs, I’ve experimented with just about every nootropic that exists, and many psychedelic compounds and smart drugs to boot. I certainly get some semblance of the effects stated above with many, many of these supplements. So it would be unfair to claim that Qualia is isolated in it’s ability to deliver these type of effects.

But with Qualia – and I realize this is a bit nebulous – these effects seemed to just happen faster and cleaner. And in addition to increases in focus, drive and emotional resilience, I noticed a host of other subtle, less-expected, positive experiences.

Take procrastination, for example. Like most people I know, I tend to have a history of procrastinating on everything from doing my taxes to cleaning out my desk drawer to organizing the ever-growing collection of random tools in the garage. But by the end of my first day on Qualia, I had somehow discovered the willpower, focus and drive to organize my entire biohacking gym corner-to-corner, neatly placing kettlebells, monster bands, maces, stability training balls, balance pads, foam rollers, vibration therapy tools, electrostimulation devices and all other manner of other fitness geekery in tightly systematized sequences.

Hooray for me, and perhaps more importantly, the bonus points scored with my wife.

Next came the dreams. Seriously. I dreamt like crazy.

Perhaps part of this was my recent foray into red light therapy on my gonads to increase testosterone production, but it began with mostly sex dreams. Not bad, horny-clowns-chasing-me-down sex dreams but instead intense, lucid and very pleasant dreams that at one point had me waking up my wife at 2am for a very, very early morning “workout”. I also experienced the sensation of flying through the air like an NBA player dunking a basketball (every time I took a step in my dream), soaring through space like Superman, driving a car extremely high speeds with extreme precision, and simply staring off the edge of a cliff while watching wisps of clouds below and seeing the whole of planet Earth, as if I were some kind of – well – deity.

Daniel informed me later that within the first week of taking the product, many people do indeed report a reregulation of their sleep cycles – sometimes needing less sleep, and sometimes sleeping at different times. They notice they remember their dreams more, there’s more lucidity to them, and that they feel more meaningful. Since science suggests that dreaming is associated with memory consolidation and psychological processing of events, I’ll take this as a good sign.

The next phenomenon was one I didn’t notice until after four days. On my fourth morning of taking Qualia, I began to wake up in the morning with an almost lazy feeling that I possessed an “affluence of time”, which may seem ironic considering that a nootropic should actually speed up cognitive processing speed and task achievement. But despite experiencing an enormous boost in cognition, I still felt more patient, settled and relaxed as I connected my heart rate monitor and began my daily HRV measurement. I spent more time writing in my gratitude journal. I dwelt more heavily on the truth in my OurDailyBread devotions. Life seemed less hectic, less fast-paced.

On the fifth day I noticed something that Daniel mentioned during our podcast: the ability of a full-spectrum nootropic to allow one to respond gracefully to difficult things – specifically an increased sense of empowerment in how one deals with the difficult challenges that arise in life. Instead of going into overwhelm or hopelessness or devastation, Daniel describes that a Qualia user may feel capable of doing what needs to be done in the presence of challenge.

Now mind you, I hadn’t yet spoken to Daniel about this effect, and I didn’t notice this until after five days, but on that fifth day, when I finally turned on my computer to work and the e-mails came flying out of my inbox like a rabid chihuahua wielding a bullet-slinging uzi, I simply sat there, took a deep breath, and experienced an overwhelming wash of relief and a sensation that everything was going to be just fine.

In other words, the normal morning stress did not faze me. This was getting interesting.

Since recording the podcast with Daniel, I’ve noticed two more interesting phenomenon while continuing to take Qualia. First, I’m experiencing less internal emotion and drama, including feeling less concern about what other people think or about proving something to the world.

This manifested itself physically too. My voice has become just slightly more monotone, and a little bit more robotic, especially during business dealings. This had been a tendency for me already, as you may know if you listened to the podcast entitled “I Am A 98% Angry, No-Nonsense, Perfectionistic, Extremely Unconventional, Rule-Breaking, Fearless Assassin-Sniper“. But it became more pronounced, in a good way. meaning that I thought more quickly, had better verbal fluency, experienced superior memory recall, and became more like a well-oiled Ferrari engine, but without an actual loss of empathy for others.

The best way I can describe this is that I spoke and argued and debated and podcasted and had phone calls with far fewer vocal “ups and downs”. Sure, I suppose this could be a bad thing if I were, say, an opera singer, but pretty good for getting business done like a well-sharpened sushi knife – cutting straight through the flesh of a conversation or problem like butter.

The final unpredictable sensation I’m now experiencing while taking Qualia is that of epiphany, which I’d describe as a sense of “aha” or revelation about things that involve though synthesis. This was a pretty cool hidden gem that has led to breakthroughs in business and personal areas that I was originally stuck. I’ve actually been forced to begin carrying my Moleskin notebook around more religiously because thoughts and epiphanies have begun to strike me at any moment. Brainstorms. Big picture business insights. Sudden plot breakthroughs for my work of fiction. You get the idea. All good things.

So…

…dang.

What on earth is in this stuff? Let’s find out.


Ingredients and How This Stuff Works

Each ingredient included in Qualia is based on a whole system design methodology. This means that Daniel and his team have taken singular care to understand the specific effects of 42 different ingredients and how they combine with each other to effect the mind, brain and body interface.

They pulled this off by engaging in a rigorous examination of something called “neuropsychopharmacology“, an interdisciplinary science that combines psychopharmacology (which is the study of how chemicals affect the mind) and neuroscience (which is the study of the neural mechanisms that chemicals act upon to influence behavior).

The team at Neurohacker Collective performed a comprehensive analysis of neuroscience research to determine the underlying regulatory hardware responsible for mediating the desired subjective and performative effects they wanted to get out of a pill. Along the way, their goal stayed constant: to magnify all normal and healthy physiologic pathways and processes, with the goal of evolving a more robust and complex neural network and regulatory system functioning.

The end result was 42 different ingredients split into 7 different categories, and below you will find a full list of Qualia’s ingredients and categories. You can click here for very intense, nitty-gritty details about why they included these specific compounds in this stack and to read more of the research behind the formulation.

Category 1: Nootropic Compounds.

These are psychoactive and neuroactive chemicals that play key roles in modulating receptor sites, synaptic enzymes, membrane structures, cerebral perfusion, biogenic processes, neuroendocrine regulation and more.

Noopept (very similar to Racetam)
Huperzine A
Phenylethylamine
Uridine Monophosphate
Phosphatidylserine
Hordenine HCI
Vinpocetine
Theobromine
DHEA
Pure Energy (Pterostilbene bound to Caffeine)

Category 2: Choline Donors.

These are active forms of choline donors that work through different pathways in the peripheral and central nervous system to support acetylcholine levels, along with the other synergistically stacked cholinergics (acetyl donors, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, racetamic compounds, etc.)

Centrophenoxine
Citicoline (CDP Choline)
Alpha GPC

Category 3: Amino Acids

These are the building blocks for key neurotransmitters and hormones, and agents that are part of the processes of cellular energy production, osmoregulation, signaling, antioxidation, neurogenesis, and neuroprotection.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine
N-Acetyl Tyrosine
DL-Phenylalanine
Taurine
L-Theanine

Category 4: Neuro-Vitamins

These are key limiting factor vitamins in specific activated forms required for major neuroregulatory and neurodevelopmental processes.

Vit B1 as Benfotiamine
Vit B3 as Niacinamide
Vit B5 as Calcium Pantothenate
Vit B6 as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P-5-P)
Vit B12 as Methylcobalamin
Vit C as Ascorbic Acid
Vit D3 as Microencapsulated Cholecalciferol

Category 5: Adaptogen Extracts

These herbal adaptogens are concentrating active compounds while maintaining complex synergistic co-factors – supporting Adrenal/ HPA regulation, Long Term Potentiation, AMPK activation, neurogenesis, catecholamine production, tissue regeneration, and many regulatory functions.

Bacopa Monnieri: 55% Bacosides
Mucuna Pruriens: 98% L-Dopa
Ginkgo Biloba: 24% glycosides, 6% terpene lactones
Coleus Forskohlii: 20% Forskolin
Artichoke Extract: 5% Cynarin
Rhodiola Rosea: 3% Rosavins, 1% Salidrosides
Lion’s Mane: 30% polysaccharides
ActivAMP Gynostemma

Category 6: Neuro-Minerals

These are limiting factor minerals required for major neurochemical regulatory processes in forms that are bioavailable and can cross the blood brain barrier.

Lithium Orotate
Magnesium Threonate
Zinc Picolinate

Category 7: Neuro-Anti-inflammatories and Antioxidants

These are synergist compounds that support nutrient transport and utilization, cytokine and eicosanoid modulation, neurotrophin factors, redox reactions, cholesterol regulation, and much more.

BioPQQ
Quercetin
Curcumin
Algal DHA
Green Tea Extract: 98% polyphenols, 45% EGCG
Bioperine

Whew.

And lest you think these raw ingredients are sourced from out-dated, giant wooden bins in China where they’re getting sprayed with ethylene oxide and other preservatives, then take heart.

These folks are using, for lack of a better phrase, high quality s&*t.

For example, all the Qualia ingredients are chosen based on the strong empirical basis of their safety and efficacy. They take into account several kinds of research: Phase II & III university and clinical trials, quantified self-research data, and over 40+ years international research on nootropic stack formulation.

All the ingredients are tested for heavy metals, mycotoxins, pesticides, and other forms of environmental toxin, and ensured to be at levels far lower than FDA GMPs requirements. No silica, magnesium stearate, animal, or toxic binders or fillers are used.

They use only high quality raw ingredients, many of which come from patented sources and are considered “best in class” in the supplements industry. (e.g. BioPerine piperine, pTeroPure pterostilbene, etc.)

They concentrate each ingredient to the highest potency and bioavailability currently commercially possible, and all their herbs and botanicals are standardized for potency and purity of active ingredients. Every single ingredient that Neurohacker Collective uses arrives from a supplier with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) ensuring its purity and potency. Then they go a step further and batch test every ingredient coming in by using the most chromatography and spectrometry and the same spendy kind of lab analysis techniques I talked about in this behind-the-scenes supplement interview with the lead physician at Thorne, including, in addition to batch testing raw materials coming in, pulling bottles of market-ready product and verifying the formulation inside each capsule.

All their nutraceuticals are in the most biologically active form for the purpose intended (i.e. methylated, acetylated, phosphorylated, L-form, D-form, etc). The form of the nutrient makes orders of magnitude difference to its effectiveness (that’s why the $30,000 bottle of ketones I chugged in a recent Snapchat video beats the pants off other forms of ketone salts – because it’s in a certain molecular configuration I talk about here).

In addition to Neurohacker Collective‘s manufacturing lab, they also have a research & development lab where they produce and test dozens of iterations of their nootropic formulations. They have had over 2 years of internal testing demonstrating safety and efficacy, and have consulted dozens of doctors, researchers, and formulators in the development of Qualia.

Yes, it’s vegan.

And gluten-free, lest you not want bread with your smart drugs.

Non-GMO? Check.

No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners.

Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC) vegetarian capsules. Fancy word for fiber, basically.

And here, in all its glory, is what Step One and Step Two actually look like, should you be concerned about branding and aesthetics and color.

shop_bottles1-400x400


Summary

If you’ve seen the surreal smart-drug movies I mentioned earlier (“Limitless” or “Lucy“) you probably have a sense of what may one day be possible, at least if you your friend gives you a secret drug while you’re facing unemployment and a girlfriend’s rejection, or you’re being captured by Japanese terrorists. Qualia isn’t quite like what you see in these thrilling movies, but it’s the closest thing to a “magic pill” movie experience that’s out there. Which is especially impressive considering that it is legal. And readily purchaseable.

A God pill?

Mmm…that’s a bit too potentially blasphemous and offensive for me to continue to label it as such.

But a “magic” pill?

I’ll take it.

And now you can too.

If you want to play it safe and just try a month’s supply, which is a single bottle of Step One and a single bottle of Step Two, then just click here and use 15% discount code ben15.

If you’re all in and ready to spring for a monthly subscription (which can be cancelled at any time) click here and use 15% discount code BEN15r (“r” as in “repeating” – and that code will only work for a repeating order which, by the way, is already discounted 20%. So you’re getting a pretty slammin’ deal).

Finally, should you be a soccer mom or college student or bartender scratching your head about whether this is something that no folks other than professional athletes or hard-charging CEO’s or insane biohackers would ever take, then please know that Qualia is not just some “natural” Modafinil or Adderall alternative for fringe rich people or self-quantifying guinea pigs. Scientists, artists, creators, entrepreneurs, activists, parents, and students of every kind are now using this stuff. Qualia is designed for anyone who wants to do meaningful things with their life, have deep and profound experiences, and fully optimize their capability towards those goals, even if it means lucid dreaming, late night sex sessions, and achieving zero e-mails in your inbox at an unfair rate of speed.

Anyways, if you have questions, thoughts or feedback about Qualia, about the concept of “neurohacking” in general, about nootropics, smart drugs, or anything else related to enhancing cognitive performance via nutrition, then leave your comments below and I will reply!

You can also click here to listen to my podcast with Qualia creator Daniel Schmachtenberger, and again, if you want to get your hands on this stuff now, just use code “BEN15” at the Neurohacker Collective website for a single order or code “BEN15r” for any recurring order.  And as that dude in the beginning of this story told me, enjoy the experience. ;)

42 Different Ways To Build A Better Brain, The Problem With Modern Smart Drugs, Hacking Your Neurons & More.

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

My guest on today’s podcast believes there’s a big problem in the field of nootropics, smart drugs and cognitive enhancement: namely that the entire movement has followed some pretty extreme reductionist tendencies.

When it comes to popping pills and using biohacks and self-quantification to make your body and brain smarter, research has indeed proliferated. There is a dizzying plethora of scientific findings focused on individual neurotransmitters, mechanisms, parts of the neurotransmission cycle, cell walls, receptor sites, brain/blood flow, and hundreds of other isolated variables.

In other words, there are lots of parts and plenty of “findings” and “mechanisms.” But to date, there exists no prevailing meta-theory of the complex interactions that make up the whole of cognitive enhancement. Many various disconnected insights have so far fallen short of addressing the complex dynamics of all the interacting parts. For this reason, most nootropic, smart drug and brain biohacking products are developed to narrowly optimize one aspect of cognitive capability, only to have unexpected drawbacks, deleterious side effects and impacts on other areas.

By performing a principled meta-analysis and synthesis of existing research, we can better understand the complex dynamics and emergent homeostatic relationships within the brain and from these kinds of insights we can yield a truly advanced complex meta-theory of cognitive enhancement. Daniel Schmachtenberger, my guest on this podcast, wants to do just this.

Daniel began seriously studying health and neurology when he became afflicted with neurological and autoimmune illnesses that had no known solutions in either allopathic or complementary medicine. The insights that lead to his healing came from developing a new model for understanding physiology and pathology, which he then applied to helping many people address various forms of complex illness and optimize their capabilities beyond their previous healthy baselines.

Daniel was the academic dean for a college of mind-body medicine and has consulted for many cutting edge integrative doctors and medical clinics to help find novel solutions for complex cases. He created and ran a cutting edge think tank developing complex systems solutions for environmental and social issues, and has directed a transdisciplinary group of scholars on a philosophy of mind project addressing core questions of mind / brain interface and developed what he calls “an axiomatic reformulation for the epistemology of neuroscience”. He has a significant background with and love for psychedelics, nootropics, meditation, depth psychology, and all effective tools for evolving states and stages of consciousness and evolving the human experience.

Daniel focuses in bringing together the best scientific research on each individual mechanism and pathway supporting cognitive development, and integrating them into a whole systems view, a complex framework of integrative neuroscience and one of the most comprehensive nootropic stacks ever made called “Qualia“.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-What a “dream nootropic” would look like if it were to target every single component of cognitive enhancement…[16:55 & 68:45]

-How nootropics can go beyond an acute effect and actually chronically change your brain structure or “wiring”, including neuron and synapse development, increased mitochondrial ATP, healthier cell structures and increased neural complexity…[21:00 & 49:30]

-How you can actually induce the creation of new brain stem cells to heal things like traumatic brain injury, excitotoxicity and oxidative damage to the brain…[24:54]

-Two easy ways to test how your central nervous system and memory recall is responding to certain compounds you consume…[27:45]

-My personal experience with the “God pill” that Daniel developed…[42:45]

-What makes something a “nootropic” compound vs. just a nutrient or a vitamin or a smart drug…[47:00 & 59:35]

-The little-known substance know as the “love drug” that can increase euphoria and empathy…[50:18]

-A compound that can be bound to caffeine to cause caffeine to last longer without a crash…[52:20]

-The little-known effects a nootropic can have that you may not know about, such as decreased tendency to procrastinate, increased stress resilience, lucid dreaming, and beyond…[55:20 ]

-How Vitamin D delivered in a form called “Microencapsulated Cholecalciferol” can act on specific brain targets…[61:25]

-Which form of magnesium is best for neural targeting…[74:55]

-Why it’s absolutely crucial that you include something called “choline donors” when you consume a nootropic…[78:00]

-The actual clinical research behind the Qualia formulation that Daniel helped to develop, and why it must be taken as a 1-2 combo…[82:25]

-Whether this stuff safe to take if you compete in sports sanctioned by organization such as WADA, USADA, the Olympics, etc…[86:35]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Qualia Nootropic Supplement

(use code ‘BEN15’ for 15% off any single purchase or code ‘BEN15r’ for 15% off any monthly subscription – and note that the subscriptions are already discounted 20%, so you get an additional 15% off if you spring for the subscription option!)

NeuroStem stem cell drugs

The Vielight Neuro device

The Muse meditation headband

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Daniel or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

How *Not* To Microwave Yourself In A Sauna, Cooking Turkeys With Infrared Rays, Low EMF Saunas, Heat Detox Protocols & More!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with heat therapy, infrared sauna, heat shock proteins, infrared and just about anything that has to do with sitting in a sauna…

For example, in the article “Ben Greenfield’s Sauna Workout (The Exact Sauna Workout I Do Every Morning)“, I describe my elaborate morning routine that I perform each day in my sauna.

In “Ten Scientifically Proven Reasons I Am Addicted To A Daily Sauna“, I delve into the nitty-gritty science behind sauna use for everything from increasing growth hormone to maintaining muscle to enhancing skin health and more.

Then, in “Three Ways To Biohack A Sauna For More Heat, A Better Detox & Enhanced Fitness“, I show you how I biohacked my own home sauna to maximize the effects of daily sauna.

My first guest in today’s podcast, Dr. Raleigh Duncan, is a Chiropractor who recognized the health benefits of infrared saunas early on when he was using them with excellent results with his patients. In 1996, he decided to dedicate his efforts to designing, manufacturing and distributing infrared saunas, as a way to help people heal and live healthier lives. Dr. Duncan is recognized as an early pioneer in the infrared sauna industry and has numerous patents and patents pending for his unique sauna technologies. Prior to becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Duncan spent 20 years as a manufacturing consultant. He’s actively involved in the day-to-day operations of Sauna Works and Clearlight Saunas and he’s always discovering better ways to heal the human body through the power of infrared.

Andy Kaps is also on this show. He is the President / COO of Sauna Works, and has spent the last 25 years building and implementing management systems, networking and Internet systems to streamline businesses. Andy joined the Sauna Works team in 2004 and has worked closely with Raleigh to develop the new technologies and innovations used in Clearlight Saunas.

Together Raleigh and Andy have collaborated to take the infrared sauna to new heights of functionality and therapeutic value. Some of their firsts include combining carbon and ceramic into one ultra-powerful hybrid infrared heater, eliminating EMF and ELF exposure in the sauna, utilizing powerful 500 watt Full Spectrum heaters, and creating the world’s 1st full spectrum yoga sauna.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How to cut through the confusion between near-infrared, mid-infrared and far-infrared…[11:20 & 17:55]

-Why your body produces infrared wavelengths…[14:45 & 16:05]

-How you can “lower EMF” in a sauna, and what happens to your body if you don’t do that…[20:55 & 23:00]

-Why you keep sweating for a long time after you get out of an infrared sauna…[26:48]

-Two easy ways to accelerate the detoxification effect that occurs in a sauna…[35:30]

-How you can use a sauna to maintain muscle mass…[43:50]

-How the use of a sauna can increase heart rate variability (HRV)…[46:40]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-For more information on getting yourself a Clearlight sauna, call 800.317.5070 or go to HealwithHeat.com. Use discount code “BEN” to get $450 off the regular Clearlight sauna prices for any sauna and a “Gift with Purchase” of a very cool ergonomic backrest.

Ben Greenfield’s Sauna Workout (The Exact Sauna Workout I Do Every Morning)

Ten Scientifically Proven Reasons I Am Addicted To A Daily Sauna.

Three Ways To Biohack A Sauna For More Heat, A Better Detox & Enhanced Fitness

Infrared turkey fryer

The YoungLiving Essential Oils Ben uses in his sauna (try the blend “Clarity”!)

The BenGreenfieldFitness Clearlight Sauna giveaway

Niasafe by Thorne as a non-flushing form of niacin

The Trace Liquid Minerals Ben uses in a sauna

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Raleigh, Andy or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

5 Recent Health Discoveries From Near & Far: Is Fermented Cod Liver Oil Is A Scam? The Finnish Super Smoothie, Kettlebell Walks, Infrared Brain Therapy & Fascial Reboots.

I’m constantly tweaking, guinea-pigging, experimenting with, quantifying and designing new biohacks, tips, tricks, tools and toys that can make your life better.

But honestly, I only get a chance to talk about perhaps 25% of what I actually mess around with and discover in my constant quest to learn techniques for a better body, brain and spirit.

So in today’s short and sweet article, I’m going to give you the skinny on five recent health discoveries from near and far, including the fermented cod liver oil scam, a Finnish super smoothie, kettlebell walks, infrared brain therapy and how to reboot your fascia. If you like these kind of quick tips, let me know in the comments section below and I’ll keep ’em coming!


The Finnish Super-Smoothie

Remember Veli-Jussi Jalkanen, known by his nickname “Vessi”? I interviewed this eccentric Finnish businessman, biohacker and health advocate in the episode “An Anti-Aging Chat With A 65-Year-Old Finnish Businessman Who Plays Tennis Left & Right Handed, Defies Modern “Unhealthy” Clothing Fashion & Invented The Most Unique Chair In The World.

I’m always fascinated by the personal habits and daily protocols of healthy old people like Vessi, so much so that tomorrow I will be flying to the Finland Biohackers’ Summit and tacking on a two day trip to Vessi’s farm near Helsinki. Anyways, I was overjoyed when he e-mailed me after our podcast with three detailed spreadsheets that spelled out his entire daily protocol for his “Super Smoothie”, his extensive record-keeping of every herb and spice he’s experimented with, and his detailed supplement protocol. Now the files are yours for free download. Enjoy.

-Vessi’s full “Super Smoothie” recipe: click here to download full recipe in Excel format. My favorite part of this is his footnote (read all his entertaining footnotes, by the way) which reads: “…most noticeable impact is that your intestyne starts to empthy itself 2-3 times a day which is very sound. The peristaltic motion shall activate. You also get huge amounts of nutrients…”

-Vessi’s extremely detailed spices and herb effects chart: click here to download. Pay close attention to the ones he has marked “S”, which means “Strong Effect”.

-Vessi’s full supplement routine with detailed notes: click here to download. From his daily protocol for everything from parasites to psychopharmacology, it’s all there. I find it quite interesting that most of the very robust, long-living, anti-aging enthusiasts who I know, from Mark Sisson to Laird Hamilton to Dave Asprey, take copious amounts of supplements each day, and one could argue our healthy ancestors, in the absence of encapsulation and tablet technologies, did the same thing, albeit from teas, oils, tinctures, powders and extracts.

A huge thanks to Vessi for supplying us with these. Vessi was also a significant contributor and source of knowledge for the Biohackers’ Handbook on Nutrition, so if you like these tips, then go read my review of that groundbreaking book at “21 Unfamiliar Nutrition Tricks I Discovered In The Biohackers’ Handbook.


Kettlebell Walk

This is a new invention of mine, sparked by an evening on which I was stressed from a long day of work, hadn’t yet done a workout, and, wanting a dose of fresh air, didn’t really feel like an indoor workout at a gym.

So I shouted at my wife that I was going to head out for a walk, and on my way out the door, I noticed the kettlebell sitting by the garage door.

Then I thought, “What the heck?”, and I grabbed the 1 pood (~36 pound) kettlebell – with a plan to warm-up for my walk with a few kettlebell swings, carry the kettlebell for the first few minutes of my walk and then set it down at the end of the driveway.

An hour later, I found myself dripping in sweat with very activated glutes, an exhausted core, and bulging veins on both arms from an intensive grip workout. So what exactly did I do on my “kettlebell walk”?

-Walk 100 steps with the kettlebell in the right hand.

-Walk 100 steps with the kettlebell in the left hand.

Stop and do 30 kettlebell swings.

-Walk 100 steps with the kettlebell held to your chest.

-Stop and do 30 kettlebell rows for each arm.

-Walk 100 steps with the kettlebell held overhead.

-Stop and do 30 kettlebell squats.

-Repeat this sequence for entire length of walk (I recommend shooting for 60 minutes).

Finally, follow this simple rule: never, never, ever set the kettlebell down. No matter what. Your neighbors are going to give you funny looks, but screw ’em – try this workout out and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

If you want crazy, one-of-a-kind kettlebell carved with images of things like zombies and chimps, I’d recommend you grab akettlebell or two using my Onnit discount code, which gives you 5% off of any piece of fitness gear. Just click here and the discount will automatically apply.


Full Head Infrared Therapy

Last week, I released the podcast “Probiotic Enemas, Digestive Enzyme Myths, Breathing 10 Kilograms of Oxygen, Low-Protein Diets & More!“. During that episode, my crazy smart guest Matt Gallant made me feel like a complete slacker when he informed me that intranasal light therapy I’ve been using to shut down inflammation in neural tissue and to stimulate my brain into alpha-brain wave production was inferior.

It’s such a first world problem to find out that the light you’ve been sticking up your nose is indeed not the ultimate brain biohack. Instead, Matt described to me the “Vielight Neuro”, which is a transcranial-intranasal near infrared (NIR) headset, engineered for domestic use. It delivers a hefty dose of intranasal light therapy along with transcranial photobiomodulation for whole-brain stimulation and targeting of the brain’s “Default Mode Network (DMN)”, which translates to better sleep, more relaxation, more focused brain wave production and according to the podcast I recorded with the inventor (How To Use Low Level Light Therapy and Intranasal Light Therapy For Athletic Performance, Cognitive Enhancement & More.) significantly reduced risk of cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

So (no surprise here, and please don’t tell my wife), I ponied up the one-thousand-dollar-plus investment and bought one. I’ve been experimenting with it for focus by using it in the morning for 20 minutes, and also experimenting with it for sleep by using it in the evening for 20 minutes (not on the same day, because excessive stimulation of mitochondria with infrared light can cause too much free radical production).

Holy moly. The thing works. I’ll admit it’s a spendy biohack but in my opinion, if you want your brain to keep up with your body for the long haul, or just want memory and verbal fluency that makes you as sharp as a tack, it’s well worth it. And if you’re wearing a white lab coat sitting in your mom’s basement stroking your neck beard and curious about the biochemistry behind this, here, in all it’s glory, is the explanation from researcher Lew Lim at Vielight:

“The current widely accepted proposal is that low level visible red to near infrared light energy is absorbed by mitochondria and converted into ATP for cellular use. In addition, the process creates mild oxidants (ROS) that leads to gene transcription and then to cellular repair and healing. The process also unclogs the chain that has been clogged by nitric oxide (NO).[1] The nitric oxide is then released back into the system. Nitric oxide is a molecule that our body produces to help its 50 trillion cells communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body. Additionally, nitric oxide helps to dilate the blood vessels and improve blood circulation…

Near-infrared light stimulates mitochondrial respiration in neurons by donating photons that are absorbed by cytochrome oxidase, a bioenergetics process called photoneuromodulation in nervous tissue.[5]The absorption of luminous energy by the enzyme results in increased brain cytochrome oxidase enzymatic activity and oxygen consumption. Since the enzymatic reaction catalyzed by cytochrome oxidase is the reduction of oxygen to water, acceleration of cytochrome oxidase catalytic activity directly causes an increase in cellular oxygen consumption. [6]Increased oxygen consumption by nerve cells is coupled to oxidative phosphorylation, ATP production increases as a consequence of the metabolic action of near-infrared light. This type of luminous energy can enter brain mitochondria transcranially, and—independently of the electrons derived from food substrates—it can directly photostimulate cytochrome oxidase activity…

…[1] – “Biphasic Dose Response in Low Level Light Therapy”; Sulbha K. Sharma (PhD), Ying-Ying Huang (MD), James Carroll, Michael R. Hamblin (PhD)

[2, 3, 4] – “Is light-emitting diode phototherapy (LED-LLLT) really effective?”; Won-Serk Kim (PhD, MD), R Glen Calderhead (PhD)

[5, 6, 7] – “Augmentation of cognitive brain functions with transcranial infrared light”; Francisco Gonzalez-Lima (PhD), Douglas W Barrett (MD)

So…basically it’s like Viagra for your brain.

You can check the Neuro out at Vielight and I’ve negotiated a 10% discount code for you: “GREENFIELD”. And yes, you will get even more strange looks from your neighbors.


Fascial Rebooting

I recently had a young man fly all the way from Alabama to Washington state, knock on my front door, and train me for a solid eight hours in a special form of myofascial release called “ELDOA”. His name is not-yet-to-be-released – as he’s one of those brilliant practitioners who flies under the radar – but I’m trying to wrangle him down for a podcast that I promise to release soon.

In the meantime, I must admit that this was one of the best (and most difficult) forms of stretching I’ve ever found. You can learn more and find an instructor (recommended to take a course) at ELDOAMethod.com, but in a nutshell, doing just a few minutes of these stretches each day is one of the best ways to eliminate low back pain, heal the spine, hydrate tissue and joints, and get a full body myofascial stretch.

But don’t have to hire a private instructor.  Just watch the videos below, which my instructor informed me was the “80/20” (the 20% of ELDOA that will yield 80% of the results) and then find a time every day to hold each of the following stretches for sixty seconds to 120 seconds. Hold each stretch as hard as you can with as extreme an attention to form and deep breathing as possible.

ELDOA T6-T7 video

ELDOA T8-T9 video

ELDOA L5-S1 video

The videos above are ones that I simply found via YouTube searches and I don’t necessarily endorse the perfection of the instructors, but they give you a very, very good idea of the basic moves.

You do not need to do these all at once, and can break them up throughout day, but I guarantee that if you learn these and make them a daily “movement snack”, you’re going to feel about two inches taller, and any back or joint pain will significantly diminish. They’re especially effective after car rides, airplane trips, meetings or any other situation in which you’ve been sitting for extended periods of time.


Is Fermented Cod Liver Oil A Scam?

In last week’s podcast, in response to a listener question about whether kids should use nootropics or smart drugs, I mentioned that one supplement my twin eight year old boys take on a nightly basis is Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. And I am currently at the Weston A. Price conference, where fermented cod liver oil is getting handed out like candy (and where I shot the featured image for this blog post). But after releasing that podcast, I received a notice from my friend Dr. Mercola informing me about a shocking expose of cod liver oil authored by “Naughty Nutritionist” Kaalya Daniels and entitled “Hook, Line & Stinker: The Truth About Cod Liver Oil“. Here’s an anecdote from the report:

“Lab tests indicate the Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil is rancid; putrid; low in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K; apparently diluted with a trans-fat containing vegetable oil — and not even from cod. We have reliable reports that the X-Factor Gold Butter Oil comes from Argentina, not the Great Plains, and it tests rancid as well. And contrary to Green Pasture’s advertising, Dr. Weston A. Price’s own words make it clear that these are not products he would ever have endorsed.”

Yikes.

Anyways, you can click here to download and read the full, free .pdf report, but suffice it to say, I have decided that until I see concrete evidence proving that fermented cod liver oil is indeed safe, I am going to play it prudent and put a pause on feeding fermented cod liver oil to my kids. As a replacement, I’m shifting to organic, grass-fed ghee, which costs substantially less, but is just as high (or higher) in fat soluble vitamins, without these potential concerns associated with fermented cod liver oil.*

As far as ghee goes, I’m honestly not to picky on ghee brands, but here are a few of the better organic options from Amazon (or if you have a membership to Thrive Market, you can find really good, organic stuff for up to 50% off).

*After writing this statement, I had dinner with Chris Masterjohn, who informed me he wrote this extensive blog post addressing the fermented cod liver oil concern. The following morning, I had brunch with Sally Fallon, who informed me of this nuclear magnetic resonance testing and an extensive rebuttal regarding fermented cod liver oil.

This all happened over the weekend. Egads. Now I’m confused. Ah…first world problems.

So, currently, I am still planning to err on the safe side and don’t plan on fermented cod liver oil retaining a hallowed place in my refrigerator until I have done pre-and-post blood and biomarker testing on myself after supplementing with it for one to two months. I’ll particularly look at my lipid panel, cholesterol particles, inflammatory markers, glucose, insulin and omega fatty-acid ratios. So stay tuned.


Summary

So that’s it.

Short and sweet, I know, but if you dig these type of quick reviews, just let me know in the comments section below and I’ll keep publishing them!

And leave your questions, comments and feedback about cod liver oil, kettlebell walks, Finnish super smoothies, infrared brain therapy, and fascial reboots below, and I promise to reply.

An Anti-Aging Chat With A 65-Year-Old Finnish Businessman Who Plays Tennis Left & Right Handed, Defies Modern “Unhealthy” Clothing Fashion & Invented The Most Unique Chair In The World.

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

At last year’s Biohackers’ Summit in London, I met an intriguing 65 year old man named Veli-Jussi Jalkanen.

This guy goes by the nickname “Vessi”, and he is one of the most physically talented older men I’ve ever met in my life. He competes in several sports on a national and competitive level, including shooting, military 3-skill sport, diving and sprinting. He also rides horses, plays tennis both left-handed and right-handed, swims, skis, skin-dives, walks extremely long distances and swing dances. The guy can crank out 25 pullups, speaks multiple languages, owns several multinational corporations and looks like he’s about 40 years old.

Vessi’s primary business is the Finnish company “Salli Systems” which develops ergonomically friendly furniture based on some very unique sitting concepts, like his “Salli Saddle Chair” (a unique seat modeled after horse-riding techniques) and electrically adjustable tables with elbow and wrist support.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Why Vessi only spends about 10% of his day in a standing position, and what he does the rest of the time…[7:45]

-How a desk can automatically detect whether you’re typing or reading…[8:50]

-How a saddle chair allows you to sit but “fools” your body into thinking you are standing…[10:50]

-Why clothing is an unfriendly nuisance to your body (and the sitting-friendly clothing that Vessi uses)…[16:30]

-How Vessi gets away with not wearing underwear all day long…[18:45]

-Why you really don’t need a backrest behind your chair…[23:10]

-How Vessi taught himself to play tennis with both his right and left hands…[27:20]

-The 6 toys that Vessi keeps in his office to stay fit…[35:30]

-Why Vessi eats so many berries, and only one specific type of grain…[43:00]

-How Vessi healed himself of osteoarthritis…[50:25]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

-Salli’s website BackDesigns.com (use code BGF2016)

-The November 18 Biohackers’ Summit in Helsinki, Finland (use 10% discount code BEN)

-The Luxe Bidet Ben uses

-The JOOVV light Ben now uses to “shine on his balls” for testosterone

-The MOGO Upright stool Ben mentions

-The JABRA 930 headset

Vessi Super Smoothie

Health Spices Effects

Vessi Supplements

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Veli or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

The Weekly Roundup: Your Go-To Guide For Everything You May Have Missed This Week & More!

Welcome to my new Weekly Roundup!

In one convenient post, you’re about to discover the most important things I’ve noticed this week, including the latest news from the fronts of fitness, nutrition, health, wellness, biohacking and anti-aging research, the top photos, videos and stories from this week, upcoming events and speaking appearances, giveaways, specials and a host of other things you may have missed.

Let’s do this!


Podcasts I Recorded This Week:

Futuristic Inventions That Could Save Your Life, The Best Way To Purify Your Water, How To Fight Food Cravings & More!

podcast-351-image

Blood Oxygenation Tips, Negative Calorie Foods, Self-Testing Your Adrenals & More: Yuri Elkaim’s 7 Commandments Of Energy

yuri-podcast

Podcasts I Was On This Week:

The Total Human Optimization Podcast #115: Ben Greenfield. On this live streamed Total Human Optimization podcast episode, brought to you by the Onnit Academy, Aubrey Marcus and I discuss the cognitive and recovery benefits of creatine, bcaas, digestion, and what I use to optimize my own health.

Obstacle Dominator #67: The Best World’s Toughest Mudder Wetsuits, How To Stretch Your Fascia, Top Obstacle Tackling Tips & Much More! In this episode of the Obstacle Dominator podcast, Hunter and I discuss how he has been training for the World’s Toughest Mudder, his full clothing kit for racing, the new Obstacle Dominator 2.0 program, the ELDOA training method, and much more!

Wise Traditions “Fuel For Athletes” podcast. On this Weston A. Price Wise Traditions podcast episode, I contrast popular sports drinks, gels, and bars with real fuel, discuss the science of how various proteins, fats, and carbs work in our bodies, and reveal my own sweet spot of carb, protein, and fat percentages.

Articles I Published This Week:

Do Training Masks Really Work?

How To Turn Yourself Into A Complete Beast Who Is Prepared To Take On Any Challenge Life Throws At You.

Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 2: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.

New Chapter In My Work Of Fiction:

Yep, I write fiction, and my entire work of fantasy adventure fiction is now free to read online using a very handy, free, interactive website/app called “Wattpad”. Click here to check out the latest chapter of my book “The Forest” on Wattpad...and if you like the story, you can even vote, leave messages, etc.

The-Forest

This Week’s Inner Circle News:

-Inside the Ben Greenfield Fitness Inner Circle, my private forum for personal interaction with me and my family, my amazing wife, Jessa Greenfield, releases her Inner Circle Healthy Home Workshop every month. Check out the cover below to see the topics, and click here to learn how to live a more creative, natural, and simplified life!

oct-2016-hhw

Upcoming Events:

November’s calendar is filling up quick, and here’s a snapshot of what’s to come:

-Meet me this weekend for the Las Vegas Tough Mudder meetup. I’ll be running the race with Matthew Oliphant and hosting a sushi meetup that you won’t want to miss. You can click here to RSVP and join me on October 29th.

Join me at the Weston A. Price Foundation’s annual conference in Montgomery, Alabama from November 11-13.

I’m one of the keynote speakers at the Biohacker Summit – November 18, Helsinki, Finland.

-I’ll also be speaking at Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine’s “The Unbeatable Mind Retreat” -December 2-4, Carlsbad, California.

Finally, you can click here to view the full Ben Greenfield Fitness calendar and all the events I will be at, including where you can join me for fun meetups, future events, conferences, races and more!

This Week’s Most Popular Instagram Pic:

-Get to know the ELDOA method…

This Week’s Most Popular Tweet:

This Week’s Most Popular Facebook Post:

This Week’s Most Popular Snapchat Story:

I gave you a sneak peek into what my daily neurofeedback based brain training looks like these days…but, as you may know, Snapchat deletes stories after 24 hours of going live – so you will have to follow me on Snapchat to get these goodies.

This Week’s Most Popular Pin from Pinterest:

This guy drags firetrucks with his hair. Not kidding. Check it out.

 

Cool New Products:

-The world’s top obstacle course racer, Hunter McIntyre, and me launched our new Obstacle Dominator – Obstacle Racing and Spartan Race Training Plan 2.0 (Full Digital Package).

“This is the groundbreaking, done-for-you obstacle training program designed by Greenfield Fitness Systems head coach Ben Greenfield and top Spartan athlete Hunter McIntyre. You can click here to go to the official page for this training package, or you can simply keep reading below to get details on all nine components of this complete obstacle racing and Spartan race training plan!”

…and, we’re running a $20 discount – the $97 Full Digital Package is only $77 until Oct 31st.

od-ig-product-full
Click here for everything else I have created, including supplements, books, gear, and more.

And…This Week’s Big Giveaway:

We’re still giving away a sauna. Yep, a full-on, giant infrared sauna…

…and you can click here to enter to win a Clearlight Saunctuary Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna!

Only Clearlight Saunas have no EMF or ELF exposure, a 100% Lifetime Warranty and 500w Full Spectrum heaters with near, mid and far infrared.

Free shipping to the Grand Prize Winner is included! (total value $5995) Winner will be announced on Ben’s mid-November upcoming sauna podcast.

Leave any questions, comments, or feedback below – or any news of the week that you think I should have added – and I will be sure to reply.

Cheers,

Ben

What Big Pharma Doesn’t Want You To Know About An Ancient Oil Invented By Four Robbers (And 10 Modern Ways To Use It).

Essential Oils

Check out this clip from a new film about essential oils…

The film, called “Ancient Secrets of Essential Oils“, delves into the world of essential oils and the fascinating history of where they come from, from ancient Egypt to the times of Christ to how they were used during the World Wars and how their resurgence is changing the way people view healthcare.

You learn how peppermint oil can be used to increase tolerance to lactic acid, to how frankincense can destroy cancer cells to why essential oils can never be classified as a drug by the FDA to why big pharma is definitely not a fan of these natural oils and much more.

As a matter of fact, even before this film came out, I myself have become a bit of an essential oil freak. Each day, without fail, I use at least three different essential oils (usually relaxing lavender, rose or bergamot in my bedroom and awakening peppermint, pine or rosemary in my office) and I always (and I mean always) have one particular “blend” of essentials oil in my travel bag which I’ll talk about later in this article.

When it comes to essential oils, I consider Dr. Sarah LoBisco – a naturopathic medical practitioner certified in functional medicine – to be my go-to source for all things essential oil related. When she was on my podcast episode “Everything You Need To Know About Essential Oils For Fat Loss, Performance, Smart Drugs, Scar Healing, Detoxing And More” she discussed the scientific principles and research behind the anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that specific essential oils have, and how these oils can be used to treat various conditions such as inflammation and immune system disorders, and also improve physical and cognitive performance.

Dr. Sarah knows more about how to intelligently use essential oils than any other person I know. And because of this ability to tap into natural plant-based extracts, she’s able to pull off healing for patients, huge improvements in immune function, and even a competitive edge in athletes without turning to big pharma drugs.

In her practice, she uses specific essential oil blends to balance the body and mind of all her clients and patients. From Sarah’s point of view, every person (extreme athlete to soccer mom to CEO) who wants to dial-in focus, amp the mind up for competitive edge, or even experience the crazy phenomenon that happens with something as simple as sniffing peppermint oil should be using essential oils as part of their daily routine.

During our last conversation, Dr. Sarah explained to me 10 ways I could practically use one specific essential oils blends and gave me the entire how-to guide on everything related to this oil – from the science (and what the heck essential oils are), to the ancient history of this one particular oil, to why I should always keep it around the house, in my car and travel with to keep me from being susceptible to any viruses, bugs, or funky airport flus – whether used orally, topically or diffused into the air.

In this article, you’re going to learn exactly what Dr. Sarah has to say on the matter. Enjoy, leave your questions, comments and feedback in the comments section below and either Dr. Sarah or I will reply. If you click here, you can take a look at the actual brand and type of essential oils I use every day (there are many good brands out there, but I use one called “Young Living”).

———————–

What Are Essential Oils?

What if you were a science-geek aspiring to become a medical practitioner or pharmacist and got side-tracked by what you initially thought was “airy-fairy snack oil?” Not soon after, you found yourself in naturopathic medical school and becoming certified in functional medicine. You’d need to swallow a little bit of humble pie, right? Welcome to my world.

I started using essential oils over fifteen years ago. Even with my skepticism, these volatile constituents surprisingly produced results. I was impressed, I waived my acceptance letters into the conventional healthcare world and headed to the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine. I wanted to learn the science beyond natural medicine while still embracing the strengths of mainstream medicine. In other words, I wanted to feed my brain all there was to know about the pharmacology and phytochemistry of herbal plants as therapeutic agents.

Since graduating, essential oils have been one of my most powerful health tools in my practice to balance the body, mind, and spirit. They also offer a competitive edge in athletes, not just in their ability to enhance focus and performance, but because they can keep someone in peak health.

Ben and I have been working together with essential oils for a few years. He’s asked me to share about one of our favorite essential oils blends to demonstrate the power and versatility that can be found in one 15ml bottle. So, let’s get to it…

After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of:

  • The science of essential oils
  • Their ancient history- turned modern vindication
  • 10 powerful ways one essential oils blend can become your best biohacking tool

A little disclaimer before I get started. The FDA has not smiled about correlating specific brands to independent research on individual oils. To keep the Feds happy, this overview will describe a formulation Ben and I use based on ancient tradition, references found in peer-reviewed journal, and my clinical experience.

——————————-

The Science: Introduction to Essential Oils and Their Biochemistry

So what exactly are essential oils?

Essential oils are volatile secondary plant metabolites extracted from aromatic plant material by steam distillation or mechanical expression.1-10 Oils which are produced with the use of chemical solvents are not considered true essential oils due to the resulting alteration of chemical constituents from the solvent residues.1,10

These powerful compounds are produced by plants in order to provide defense from infestations, modulate immune function, and to stimulate various molecular pathways need for thriving.1-10 Their constituents can interact with cellular pathways to alter biochemical responses and optimize physiological function.1-14 Essential oils have been demonstrated to: inhibit microbe growth,3-5, 8-10 act as antioxidants,4-5, 8,10,13 support hormones,8,10 and calm inflammation. 2-6, 8,10,14

These plant substances not only exert modulation of molecular pathways and cellular receptor interaction,1-14 but also provide a profound impact on our bodies and mind through their aromatic qualities alone.15-24 For example, it has been demonstrated that odor can act as a stimulus producing changes in physiology independent of, and in connection to, psychological and memory-based associations of the smell.15-18, 21-25 These effects include modulation of skin conduction, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and regional cerebral blood flow.20-24 Furthermore, the psychological and memory-enhanced associations with odor can impact mood, stress, and emotional state.15-25

Essential oils are absorbed easily into our system through skin application, inhalation, or ingestion and excreted quickly, mostly through the kidneys.8,10,26-29 They have a low toxicity profile, when used in their proper, pure form.8,10

Finally, let’s delive into a bit of essential oils biochemistry 101, shall we? As Ben would say, “get your propeller hats on.” Here goes…

The major chemical constituents of essential oils include terpenes, esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols, and oxides. 2,10,14 These secondary metabolites can be classified on the basis of their structure (terpenes, terpenoids, phenylpropenes, or degradation products), solubility, or synthesis. One common way to group the volatile components is to organize them as either terpenoids or phenylpropanoids, or alternatively, into hydrocarbons and oxygenated compounds. 10

Different plants exhibit varying amounts of each of these compounds providing a unique fragrance and physical signature of each species. Furthermore, the secondary metabolites produced within each species will vary based on raw materials, harvesting methods, location and climate, manufacturing, and distillation techniques.1,10,30-32 (I did a pretty comprehensive review of standardization and quality in previous blogs if you want to learn more details.)

Alrighty, now that your propeller hats are all warmed up as far as the science of essential oils, let’s get to the history of essential oils in general and regarding the formulation of this little known ancient remedy.

 —————————–

History of Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Let’s start at the beginning…

The history of the use of aromatics dates back thousands of years. A search through the literature, desk references, and the internet details various applications of the use of volatile plant medicines across cultures all throughout ancient times. The general consensus of the birth of aromatherapy is estimated to be between 6,000-3,500 years ago. According to some of the more cited websites, references, and authorities, essential oils used for various treatments has been recorded in early civilizations of Mesopotamia, China, India, Persia and ancient Egypt.10, 30-45 China may have been the first to use odorants for well-being.33 I have found several references stating their applications are found in translations of The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine.35-37 Still, other texts and blogs believe that usage began with Egypt civilizations.10,41,43

The modern technological advances that allow us to enjoy the more concentrated and precise distillation of essential oil’s medicinal and therapeutic constituents obviously did not exist in these times; however elemental techniques for isolating the fragrant and volatile components were employed. For instance, ancient Egypt is credited for extracting oils by infusion using rudimentary distillation techniques. Others believe distillation originates within Persia and India’s earliest history. Later on the Greeks, Romans, and Islamic extraction and distillation techniques refined crude methods.10,33 10, 30-42 The “Smell Report” from the Social Issues Research Centre states:

The process by which a flower’s scent is extracted and preserved using alcohol distillation is believed to have been discovered by Avicenna, the 11th century Arabian alchemist and physician, who stumbled on it while trying to isolate for Islam the soul of its holy rose. Before this, perfumes consisted only of thick resins and gums and gooey unguents.37

Perhaps the most quoted use of ancient times is during the Roman Empire within the New Testament. Hundreds of citations exist in the Holy Text of frankincense, cedarwood, hyssop, fir, and spikenard to heal physical ailments and enhance spiritual communion. The gifts to the Christ Child of gold, frankincense, and myrrh highlight the prized value of fragrance at the time.38-40

During the Renaissance period, Europeans continued the task.30-45 Recently, science has been able to study and document the composition of natural plants with the resurgence of modern usage dating to 1910 by Dr. Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist. He discovered lavender’s skin-regenerating properties when his severely-burned arm healed without a scar after he immersed it in a pure lavender oil, thinking it was water. As a result of his lab discovery, lavender is still listed in the British Pharmacopoeia for its healing properties in the skin.44-45

Now, onto the story beyond this specific Thieves blend

——————————-

It Starts with Ancient Wisdom: The Story Behind Thieves

“Four thieves” remedy is based on an ancient herbal formulation originating somewhere-in Europe with time spanning from 1413-1722. Due to its touted protective benefits, herbalists have passed along its recipe for hundreds of years.46-49

The legend states that a combination of various herbs, most often cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, clove, and lemon as protecting four robbers from contracting the plague in France while rummaging through the houses of the infected sufferers. Their freedom was won by revealing to the King that the herbal vinegar, which they drank and sprinkled on themselves every two hours, had been their saving grace.46,49

There have been several variations of this formulation passed down through the years. Thomas Jefferson was said to have fancied a version that consisted of vinegar spiked with lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue, mint, garlic to keep his Presidential body infection free.47

The Scientific American Encyclopedia of Formulas: partly based upon the 28th ed. of Scientific American cyclopedia of receipts, notes and queries cites the formula of this herbal preparation as follows:

  • 4 oz dried rosemary tops
  • 4 oz dried sage
  • 2 oz dried lavender
  • 5 oz fresh rue
  • 1 oz camphor dissolved in vinegar
  • ¼ oz sliced garlic
  • 1 dr bruised cloves
  • 1 gallon strongly distilled wine vinegar

“Digest for 7 or 8 days, with occasional agitation: pour off liquor: press out the remainder, and filter the mixed liquids.”48

As stated in the Smell Report, the value of a wide range of aromatics for keeping the body healthy was widely utilized:

The plague was not the only malady to be treated with fragrances. In the 17th, 18th and even into the 19th century, perfumes were widely used as remedies for almost any physical or mental disorder – including hysteria, amenorrhea, melancholia, hypochondria, headaches and the common cold-37

I don’t know about you, but I like the ease of one bottle, pre-blended, and easily packed for on-the-go. Furthermore, I love the science beyond the individual essential oils and the synergism.

So, now, it’s time for the main event…the unveiling of the power of a blend of some of the most common aromatics found in “Four Thieves Vinegar.”

——————————

10 Modern Day Applications of Ancient Wisdom

  1. Diffusing- Cleaning the Air of Germs and Molds

An experiment was done to see if the aerosol use of essential oils could alleviate some of the microbial causes of sick-building syndrome. The researchers used the actual proprietary blend that Ben and I use of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary. The method employed for measurement was deposition sampling. It was found that this blend did exhibit inhibition of certain microbes at various percentages. Reductions in critters initially increased with time of diffusion, though after certain time frames for specific bugs, the decreased level remained constant. The abstract states:

Thieves, a commercial blend of five essential oils, was tested for its antibacterial activity against Micrococcus luteus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus bioaerosols. An aerosol suspension of each bacterial culture was sprayed into a 0.4 m3 enclosed fume hood previously sterilized by ultraviolet light. Thieves essential oil blend was then diffused into the hood for a given time. Depositional sampling results showed a significant reduction (P<0.0001) in the aerosol-borne bacterial load after diffusion of the oil blend. Controls showed no inhibitory effect of oil that may have settled on the exposed plate surfaces during bacterial depositional sampling. Inhibition levels appear to be organism specific. There was an 82% reduction in M. luteus bioaerosol, a 96% reduction in the P. aeruginosa bioaerosol, and a 44% reduction in the S. aureus bioaerosol following 10 min of exposure. Results for the time exposure threshold of diffused oil showed that after only six min a 90% reduction in M. luteus viability occurred. Diffusion of the oil blend, Thieves, can significantly reduce the number of aerosol-borne bacteria and may have application in treating air for enclosed environments and preventing transmission of aerosol-borne bacterial pathogens.50

Here’s a link to the full study that explains the three parts of the experiment, the results, and the conclusion.50 This is a link to explain deposition sampling, which as mentioned, was used to measure results.51

A 2005 field study was with Dr. Close also found diffusing this same blend of essential oils decreased “black mold.”52  (If you’re interested in learning how essential oils can affect mold exposure, I wrote a blog about it here with scientific references.)

Though not found in this Thieves blend essential oil, another study with thyme oil demonstrated its use against moulds formation in damp dwellings. The authors concluded:

The thyme essential oil possesses a wide range spectrum of fungicidal activity. The vaporous phase of the oil exhibited long-lasting suppressive activity on moulds from damp dwellings.53

Bottom line: This blend can help to inhibit microbes in your surrounding environment.

  1. Respiratory Support

You’ve got to get oxygen to perform, right?

A key ingredient in Thieves, Eucalyptus Oil (EO), is well known for its respiratory support via inhalation or oral route. A review article in Alternative Medicine Review states:

Application by either vapor inhalation or oral route provides benefit for both purulent and non-purulent respiratory problems, such as bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There is a long history of folk usage with a good safety record. More recently, the biochemical details behind these effects have been clarified. Although other plant oils may be more microbiologically active, the safety of moderate doses of EO and its broad-spectrum antimicrobial action make it an attractive alternative to pharmaceuticals. 54

In another study, another species of eucalyptus, eucalyptus globulus was tested for cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity against common pathogens linked to respiratory infections. The study demonstrated that that the following bacteria were most susceptible to EO: H. influenza, parinfluenzae, and S. maltophila followed by S. puneumonia. Eucalyptus globulus also had a mild inhibitory activity against a strain of the mumps virus. Researchers used clinical specimens of patients with upper respiratory infections to determine these results:

The activity of Eucalyptus globulus essential oil was determined for 120 isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes, 20 isolates of S. pneumoniae, 40 isolates of S. agalactiae, 20 isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, 40 isolates of Haemophilus influenzae, 30 isolates of H. parainfluenzae, 10 isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae, 10 isolates of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and two viruses, a strain of adenovirus and a strain of mumps virus, all obtained from clinical specimens of patients with respiratory tract infections. The cytotoxicity was evaluated on VERO cells by the MTT test. The antibacterial activity was evaluated by the Kirby Bauer paper method, minimum inhibitory concentration, and minimum bactericidal concentration. H. influenzae, parainfluenzae, and S. maltophilia were the most susceptible, followed by S. pneumoniae. The antiviral activity, assessed by means of virus yield experiments titered by the end-point dilution method for adenovirus, and by plaque reduction assay for mumps virus, disclosed only a mild activity on mumps virus.55

1,8-cineole, a monoterpene found in EO species56 is known for supporting the respiratory tract. This recent abstract reported on its potential use in those with respiratory issues beyond even killing bugs- through inhibiting inflammation and due to its antioxidant properties:

1,8-cineole is a natural monoterpene, also known as eucalyptol. It is a major compound of many plant essential oils, mainly extracted from Eucalyptus globulus oil. As an isolated compound, 1,8-cineole is known for its mucolytic and spasmolytic action on the respiratory tract, with proven clinical efficacy. 1,8-cineole has also shown therapeutic benefits in inflammatory airway diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This clinical evidence refers to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant mode of action, which has been proven in numerous pre-clinical studies. In vitro studies found strong evidence that 1,8-cineole controls inflammatory processes and mediator production of infection- or inflammation-induced mucus hypersecretion by its action as anti-inflammatory modifier rather than a simple mucolytic agent. The aim of this review is to present these preclinical studies performed with the pure monoterpene, and to summarize the current knowledge on the mode of action of 1,8-cineole. The actual understanding of the pure 1,8-cineole compared to mixtures of natural volatile oils containing 1,8-cineole as a major compound and to mixtures of natural terpenes, known as essential oils, will be discussed. Based on the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, recent clinical trials with 1,8-cineole have shown first evidence for the beneficial use of 1,8-cineole as long-term therapy in the prevention of COPD-exacerbations and to improve asthma control.57

Cinnamon bark oil, has also been shown to inhibit gram positive and gram negative bacteria associated with various infections58-62 as well “fungitoxic” to various fungi related to respiratory tract mycoses. The abstract on cinnamon reads:

 Cinnamic aldehyde has been identified as the active fungitoxic constituent of cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) bark oil. The fungitoxic properties of the vapours of the oil/active constituent against fungi involved in respiratory tract mycoses, i.e., Aspergillus niger, A. fumigatus, A. nidulans A. flavus, Candida albicans, C. tropicalis, C. pseudotropicalis, and Histoplasma capsulatum, were determined in vitro as minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), minimum lethal concentration (MLC), inoculum density sustained, and exposure duration for fungicidal action at MIC and higher doses, as well as effect of incubation temperatures on fungitoxicity. It is concluded that these inhalable vapours appear to approach the ideal chemotherapy for respiratory tract mycoses.59

Bottom line: This blend contains single oils that support the respiratory system and inhibit unwanted bugs in your own body.

3 and 4. Food Spoilage and Cooking

No one likes it when the power goes out for many reasons. One is the stress that their recent grocery shop trip with its good packed tightly in the warming fridge could become a financial wash. Essential oils, including clove and cinnamon, have been tested for and used to prevent common food spoilage of various pathogens.63-66 The Food and Drug Administration has an exhaustive list of essential oils listed generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for ingestion here. 67 Essential oils can be used in cooking as flavorings with more powerful benefits than herbs due to their concentration.

Still make sure you are using essential oil that safe for ingestion. Many reports of toxicity are due to improper use, overdose, media hype, and nontherapeutic or toxic oils. If the bottle says “do not ingest,” do not ingest. that should not be ingested. Therefore, be sure to be an educated consumer and remember that one drop will do ya.’

Bottom line: A drop of Thieves blend on questionable food or taken internally (with a teaspoon of coconut oil) may help prevent symptoms from contaminated foods. It can also be a great addition to a winter recipe of your favorite warm drink. (Tastes like spicy cinnamon)

  1. Stopping Unwanted Microbes and Superbugs

Probably one of the most famous uses, besides their aromatic applications, are essential oils ability to work against microbes. Essential oils antimicrobial effects are vast.68-74 The Journal of Biological Chemistry explain one mechanism of the toxicity of cyclic hydrocarbons such as aromatics, terpenes, and alicyclics on bugs. The authors report, “The impairment of microbial activity by the cyclic hydrocarbons most likely results from hydrophobic interaction with the membrane, which affects the functioning of the membrane and membrane-embedded proteins.”68

It has been stated that the vast constituents and resultant actions found within one oil, and the synergism of blends, may be key components to why they are effective against multiple “resistant” microorganisms.77-82 In fact, some believe they have the potential to be a welcome alternative to medications which have potential toxic side effects on patients.

In simple terms, essential oils may be able outsmart “resistant” organisms with more than one mechanism of action. For instance, several studies have demonstrated oregano’s potential to prevent resistance by inhibiting biofilms.

For example, one study tested the antimicrobial activity of the essential oils from clove (Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. et Perry) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) alone and in combination. The authors reported the results as follows:

Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) against three Gram-positive bacteria, three Gram-negative bacteria and two fungi were determined for the essential oils and their mixtures. Furthermore, time-kill dynamic processes of clove and rosemary essential oils against Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans were tested. Both essential oils possessed significant antimicrobial effects against all microorganisms tested. The MICs of clove oil ranged from 0.062% to 0.500% (v/v), while the MICs of rosemary oil ranged from 0.125% to 1.000% (v/v). The antimicrobial activity of combinations of the two essential oils indicated their additive, synergistic or antagonistic effects against individual microorganism tests. The time-kill curves of clove and rosemary essential oils towards three strains showed clearly bactericidal and fungicidal processes of (1)/(2) x MIC, MIC, MBC and 2 x MIC.83

An another in vitro study that tested the anti-bacterial activity of twenty-one selected essential oils against six bacterial species (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Bacillus subtilis, and Staphylococcus aureus), the authors found that 19 of the oils showed antibacterial activity against one or more strains of the microbes tested. They reported:

Cinnamon, clove, geranium, lemon, lime, orange and rosemary oils exhibited significant inhibitory effect. Cinnamon oil showed promising inhibitory activity even at low concentration, whereas aniseed, eucalyptus and camphor oils were least active against the tested bacteria. In general, B. subtilis was the most susceptible. On the other hand, K. pneumoniae exhibited low degree of sensitivity.84

There are a few caveats to this study. The oils were deemed “pure” but methods weren’t given. Furthermore, the authors reported only analyzing cinnamon oil with the GC/MS analysis. Interesting, right? When the quality was verified, that essential oil was deemed one of the most powerful. (Just sayin.’)

Some essential oils may also have an additive effect with certain antibiotics. An in vitro study using Cinnamon and lemon explored their antimicrobial activity against Acinetobacter, which has been linked to serious infections and antimicrobial resistance. The authors found:

Results of combining antibiotics and essential oils had shown us a synergistic effect with both essential oils/amikacin combinations. An additive effect was observed with the combinations of both essential oils and gentamicin. The results of this study suggest that essential oil of C. limon and C. zeylanicum may suppress the growth of Acinetobacter species and could be a source of metabolites with antibacterial modifying activity.85

Bottom Line: Essential oils in this blend are potent microbe inhibitors for a variety of critters. They may also have a synergistic effect when used with other immune support measures. Still, be smart and know there are potential oil-medication interactions.

  1. Antioxidant

Several studies have demonstrated essential oils ability to act as antioxidants. 4-5, 8,10,13,86 Importantly, these secondary metabolites act to stimulate our own endogenous antioxidants. One in vivo study with rats explored how rosemary essential oil (REO) protected their livers from oxidative damage and reported:

In summary, the present results demonstrate that administration of REO, exhibiting free radical scavenging activity determined by DPPH assay, exerts beneficial effects on preventing CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity in rats by limiting the extent of lipid peroxidation and hence cell membranes injuries. Considering the significant impact on activities of examined antioxidant enzymes, it is clear that REO mediates its hepatoprotective effects not only through scavenging of harmful free radicals, but also through activation of physiological defense mechanisms. It should be emphasized that there have been considerable variations in the chemical composition of essential oils obtained from rosemary, and for this reason, the use of REO in preventing and/or treatment of various liver diseases requires the identification of active ingredients and further investigations on their mechanisms of action.86

Here’s a blog I wrote on some studies with the cognitive benefits of antioxidant protection using lavender and rosemary.

Bottom Line: Essential oils can modulate oxidative stress, a big problem with excess exercise. This can be through modulating our own production of antioxidants as well as supplying secondary metabolites that protect cells from injury.

  1. Oral Health

One of the most famous oils for dental health is clove.87-88 I have actually experienced personally an application of straight clove or Thieves oil for preventing cavities. Interestingly, one in vitro study showed clove may in fact prevent decalcification caused by apple juice.88

You can read more about essential oils for applications in dental health here and how they can be used with oil pulling here.

Bottom Line: Due to the downstream and harmful systemic effects of an unbalanced oral microbiome, I instruct most of my clients to put a drop of Thieves oil on their toothbrush a few times a week.

  1. Digestion

This article gives a comprehensive overview of essential oils for digestion. A 2012 review article provided support that essential oils can work in synergism with probiotics to have “complementary antimicrobial effects with practically no side effects.”89

Bottom Line: The oils in the Thieves blend have been shown in many studies to prevent microbial infections of the gut and there is evidence that disturbance of the microbiome is unlikely due to their immune modulating effects.

  1. Discomfort

In a systematic review of essential oils, the authors analyzed ten common essential oils were for their actions, based on their constituents and the whole oils. The following oils were reported by the authors to modulate pain that are found in Thieves:

  • Eucalyptus- regulation of the nervous system relating to neuralgia, headache, and debility, treatment for joint and muscle pains (rheumatoid arthritis), and for muscle and joint pains and aches90-91
  • Lemon- may help with labor pain, nausea, vomiting, and ulcers90-92
  • Rosemary- soothes menstrual cramps, contains the anti-inflammatory constituent 1-8 cineole

In regards to direct pain management, the authors listed the following oils:

  • Eucalyptus smithii (gully gum)
  • Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)
  • Matricaria recutita (German chamomile)
  • Leptospermum scoparium (manuka)
  • Origanum majorana (sweet marjoram)
  • Pinus mugo pumilio (dwarf pine)
  • Rosmarinus officinalis camphor (rosemary)
  • Zingiber officinale (ginger)90 

Bottom line: Well, one to two drops of Thieves applied with a carrier oil on the bottom of your feet or on location of discomfort could produce a cooling, comforting relief.

  1. The Aroma- More Than a Smell

Besides all the powerful benefits above based on essential oils composition, their aroma alone can combine to produce powerful emotional and physiological effects. You can read more about this here.

—————————-

Conclusion

Phew, see why this blend, and essential oils in general, are the most underused and ancient biohack around? To get the benefits of this essential oil, you can apply one drop to the bottom of your feet daily with a carrier oil or take a drop internally if you feel the sniffles coming on. The possibilities are endless.

To learn more about applications and uses of essential oils, listen to the podcast Ben and I did a few years back. You can also access my reviews of essential oils single, the science, and clinical uses of these powerful secondary metabolites on my Essential Oils Database here.

Here’s the link to order the Thieves blend Ben and I use.

Happy oiling!

————————

Summary From Ben

Big pharma tends to patent chemicals and turn them into expensive drugs.

As you’ve just learned, essential oils – particularly Thieves – can achieve the same effects, but are natural derivates of plants that can’t be patented. So they get underplayed by modern medicine, and fly under the radar.

But if you open my bathroom cabinet (or the kitchen and bathroom cabinets of some of the smartest physicians, healers and athletes I know), the shelves are not lined with drugs and prescriptions. They’re lined with herbs, natural supplements and – you guessed it – essential oils.

To learn more about the applications and uses of essential oils, listen to this podcast I recorded with Dr. Sarah. You can also access her reviews of essential oils, the science, and clinical uses of these powerful secondary metabolites on her Essential Oils Database by clicking here.

Finally, because you are now a relative master of all things essential oils, start using them. Grab a few and play around. On this page, you can find the top oils that I personally use and recommend. Unlike many other “science-y” wellness tools or biohacks, essential oils are easy to apply to your routine and are relatively inexpensive.

I recommend you start by getting your hands on a few bottles of Four Thieves. Click here to get the Young Living Thieves blend that I personally use, and stash a few bottles around the house, in the car, and in your travel bag. You can use Thieves orally (especially when diluted with coconut oil), use it topically, or just diffuse in your house in whichever room you want. If you were to start with just one oil, Thieves would be the one I’d recommend.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Dr. Sarah or me about any of these essential oil tips and tricks? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

—————————-

References

  1. PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (PDQ®). PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet]: Health Professional Version. April 21, 2016. Created October 24, 2005. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0032645/
  2. Wang, D. Secondary Metabolites from Plants. Department of Forestry, NCHU. Available at: http://web.nchu.edu.tw/pweb/users/taiwanfir/lesson/1146.pdf. Accessed July 2, 2016.
  3. Iason, G. Symposium on ‘Plants as animal foods: a case of catch 22?’: Antimicrobial properties of plant secondary metabolites. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2004; 63: 621–629.
  4. Korkina L, Kostyuk V, De Luca C, Pastore S. Plant phenylpropanoids as emerging anti-inflammatory agents. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011; 11(10):823-35.
  5. Demain AL, Fang A. The natural functions of secondary metabolites. Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2000;69:1-39
  6. List of constituents: Russo EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2011;163(7):1344-1364. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x.
  7. Figueired AC, Barroso JG, Pedro LG, J. C. Scheffer J. Factors affecting secondary metabolite production in plants: volatile components and essential oils. Flavour Fragr. J. 2008; 23: 213–226.
  8. Ali B, Al-Wabel NA, Sham S, Ahamad A, Khan SA, Anwar F. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. August 2015; 5(8): 601-611. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033.
  9. Nazzaro F, Fratianni, F, De Martino L, Coppola R, De Feo V. Effect of Essential Oils on Pathogenic Bacteria. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2013; 6:1451-1474. doi:10.3390/ph6121451
  10. Djilani, A & Dicko, A. The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils, Nutrition, Well- Being and Health. Dr. Jaouad Bouayed ed. 2012: 157. Chapter 7 available at: http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/29979.pdf. Accessed July 2, 2016.
  11. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Dienel A, Schläfke S.Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of ‘subsyndromal’ anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010 Sep;25(5):277-87. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e32833b3242.
  12. Conrad P, Adams C. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman – a pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 Aug;18(3):164-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 Jun 27.
  13. Hancianu M, Gionca O, Mihasan M, Hritcu L. Neuroprotective effects of inhaled lavender oil on scopolamine-induced dementia via anti-oxidative activities in rats. Phytomedicine. March 2013, 20(5): 446–452.
  14. Siddiqui Z. Boswellia Serrata, A Potential Antiinflammatory Agent: An Overview. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011 May-Jun; 73(3): 255–261. doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.93507
  15. Yirka B. Initial research into ‘Proust Phenomenon’ reveals link between memories and smells. Medical Xpress website. January 30, 2012. Available at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-01-proust-phenomenon-reveals-link-memories.html. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  16. Toffoloa MBJ, Smeetsa MAM, van den Houta A. Proust revisited: Odours as triggers of aversive memories [abstract]. Cognition & Emotion [online]. 2012; 26(1): 86-92. Available at: DOI:10.1080/02699931.2011.555475. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  17. Matsunaga M, Isowa T, Yamakawa K, Kawanishi Y, Tsuboi H, Kaneko H, et al. Psychological and physiological responses to odor-evoked autobiographic memory. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011;32(6):774-80. Available at: http://www.rediviva.sav.sk/53i3/114.pdf
  18. Smith SM, Vale WW. The role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in neuroendocrine responses to stress. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2006;8(4):383-395.
  19. Berretta S. Cortico-amygdala circuits: role in the conditioned stress response [abstract]. Stress [online]. 2005 Dec;8(4):221-32. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16423711. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  20. Shin LM, Liberzon I. The Neurocircuitry of Fear, Stress, and Anxiety Disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010;35(1):169-191. doi:10.1038/npp.2009.83.
  21. Matsunaga M, Isowa T, Yamakawa K, Kawanishi Y, Tsuboi H, Kaneko H, et al. Psychological and physiological responses to odor-evoked autobiographic memory. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011;32(6):774-80. Available at: http://www.rediviva.sav.sk/53i3/114.pdf
  22. Herz RS, Cupchik GC. An experimental characterization of odor-evoked memories in humans. Chem Senses. 1992;17:519-528.
  23. Masaoka Y, Sugiyama H, Katayama A, Kashiwagi M, Homma I. Slow breathing and emotions associated with odor-induced autobiographical memories. Chem Senses. 2012 May;37(4):379-88. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjr120.
  24. Kadohisa M. Effects of odor on emotion, with implications. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 2013;7:66. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2013.00066. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnsys.2013.00066/full
  25. Vermetten E, Schmahl C, Southwick SM, Bremner JD. A Positron Tomographic Emission Study of Olfactory Induced Emotional Recall in Veterans with and without Combat-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Psychopharmacology bulletin. 2007;40(1):8-30.
  26. Miller, T. Dermal Absorption of Essential Oils. NDNR. June 2015.
  27. Jager W, Buchbauer G, Jirovetz L, Fritzer M. Percutaneous absorption of lavender oil from a massage oil. J Soc Cosmet Chem. 1992;43(1):49-54.
  28. Cal, K. Skin penetration of terpenes from essential oils and topical vehicles. Planta Med. 2006 Mar;72(4):311-6.
  29. Abdullah D, Ping QN, Liu GJ. Enhancing effect of essential oils on the penetration of 5-fluorouracil through rat skin.Yao Xue Xue Bao. 1996;31(3):214-21.
  30. Essential Science Publishing (compilation). Essential Oils Desk Reference 4th ed. USA: Essential Science Publishing; 2007.
  31. Young G. Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide 2nd ed. Canandaigua, NY: Life Sciences Press; April 1, 2003.
  32. Balz, R. The Healing Power of Essential Oils. 1st ed. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Light Productions; 1996
  33. Aroma Web. History of Aromatherapy. http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/history.asp
  34. University of Maryland Medical Center. Aromatherapy. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/aromatherapy
  35. Rodgers A. The History, Medicinal Uses & Science Behind The Use Of Essential Oils. Collective Evolution. May 18, 2015.
  36. Wessen N. Aromatherapy. In: Enhancing Fertility Naturally: Holistic Therapies for a Successful Pregnancy. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press. 1997.
  37. Fox K. The Smell Report: An Overview of Facts and Findings. Social Issues Research Centre. http://www.sirc.org/publik/smell_human.html   37. History of Essential Oils. Healing Scents. https://healingscents.net/blogs/learn/18685859-history-of-essential-oils
  38. 37.  Essential Oils in the Ancient World, pt. I, 2, 3. Young Living. April 13, 2015
  39. King James Bible. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 2010.
  40. New American Bible, revised edition ©. Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. 2010.
  41. Alliance of International Aromatherapists. Brief History of Essential Oils. https://www.alliance-aromatherapists.org/aromatherapy/brief-history-of-aromatherapy/
  42. Esoteric Oils. The History of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. http://www.essentialoils.co.za/history-essential-oils.htm
  43. Benefits of Aromatherapy. Organic Facts. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/benefits-of-aromatherapy.html
  44. Zabirunnisa M, Gadagi JS, Gadde P, et al. Dental patient anxiety: possible deal with Lavender fragrance. Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice. 2014;3(3):100-103.
  45. Alanko K. Aromatherapists. In: Kanerva L, Wahlberg JE, Elsner P, Maibach HI, eds. Handbook of Occupational Dermatology. Heidelberg, NY. Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2000: 811-813.
  46. Douglas, E. Thieves Essential Oil Benefits. Livestrong. January 27, 2015. http://www.livestrong.com/article/129905-thieves-essential-oil-benefits/
  47. Helps and Hints for Ohio Farm Women: Spice o’ Life. In: Trucksis W, Taggart EK, Sheppard W. eds., Ohio Farm Bureau News. 28(1): 1948. https://books.google.com/books?id=rZ5KAAAAYAAJ&lpg=RA5-PA19&ots=rapRlDZRRX&dq=vinegar%20of%20the%20four%20thieves%20president%20thomas%20jefferson’s%20recipe&pg=RA5-PA19#v=onepage&q=vinegar%20of%20four%20thieves&f=false
  48. Albert Allis Hopkins. Chapter XXV: Toilet Preparations and Perfumes. In: Hopkins AA, ed. The Scientific American Encyclopedia of Formulas: partly based upon the 28th ed. of Scientific American cyclopedia of receipts, notes and queries. Munns & Co., Inc.; 1910. https://books.google.com/books?id=ECxRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA878#v=onepage&q=thieves&f=false
  49. Four thieves vinegar. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_thieves_vinegar
  50. Chao SC, Young G, Oberg CJ. Effect of a Diffused Essential Oil Blend on Bacterial Bioaerosols. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 1998;10:5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10412905.1998.9700958
  51. Pepper IL, Rensing C, Gerba CP. Chapter 14 Environmental Microbial Properties and Processes: Strategies and Methods for Air Sampling. In: Pepper IL, Rensing C, Gerba CP. eds. Environmental Monitoring and Characterization. Burlington, MA: Elsevier, 2004.
  52. Close, J. GET RID OF MOLD NATURALLY using THIEVES ESSENTIAL OIL. http://www.naturesmoldrx.com/
  53. Šegvic Klaric M., Kosalec I, Mastelic J., Piecková E, Pepeljnak S. Antifungal activity of thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) essential oil and thymol against moulds from damp dwellings. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 2007; 44: 36–42. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2006.02032.x
  54. Sadlon, AE, Lamson, DW. Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. Altern Med Rev. 2010 Apr;15(1):33-47. PMID: 20359267
  55. Cermelli C, Fabio A, Fabio G, Quaglio P. Effect of eucalyptus essential oil on respiratory bacteria and viruses. Curr Microbiol. 2008 Jan;56(1):89-92. Epub 2007 Oct 31.
  56. Juan LW, Lucia A, Zerba EN, Harrand L, Marco M, Masuh HM. Chemical composition and fumigant toxicity of the essential oils from 16 species of Eucalyptus against Haematobia irritans (Diptera: Muscidae) adults [abstract]. J Econ Entomol. 2011 Jun;104(3):1087-92.
  57. Juergens UR. Anti-inflammatory properties of monoterpene 1.8-cineole: Current evidence for co-medication in inflammatory airway disease (abstract). Drug Res. 2014.
  58. Urbaniak A, Głowacka A, Kowalczyk E, Lysakowska M, Sienkiewicz M. [The antibacterial activity of cinnamon oil on the selected gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria]. [Article in Polish] [abstract]. Med Dosw Mikrobiol. 2014;66(2):131-41.
  59. Cinnamon bark oil, a potent fungitoxicant against fungi causing respiratory tract mycoses. Allergy. 1995 Dec;50(12):995-9.
  60. Cinnamon bark oil has also been demonstrated in vitro to inhibit biofilms in toxin production and cultures of different forms of candida.
  61. Cinnamon bark oil and its components inhibit biofilm formation and toxin production. Int J Food Microbiol. 2015 Feb 16;195:30-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.11.028.
  62. Anticandidal efficacy of cinnamon oil against planktonic and biofilm cultures of Candida parapsilosis and Candida orthopsilosis. Mycopathologia. 2011 Dec;172(6):453-64. doi: 10.1007/s11046-011-9448-0. Epub 2011 Jul 15.
  63. New Cinnamon-Based Active Paper Packaging against Rhizopusstolonifer Food Spoilage. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf800699q
  64. Cava R, Nowak E, Taboada A, Marin-Iniesta F. Antimicrobial activity of clove and cinnamon essential oils against Listeria monocytogenes in pasteurized milk. J Food Prot. 2007 Dec;70(12):2757-63.
  65. Screening for Antifungal Activity of Some Essential Oils Against Common Spoilage Fungi of Bakery Products. Food Science and Technology International. February 2005; 11(1): 25-32. doi: 10.1177/1082013205050901
  66. Sarbhoy AK, Varshney JL, Maheshwari ML, Saxena. Efficacy of some essential oils and their constituents on few ubiquitous molds. Zentralbl Bakteriol Naturwiss. 1978;133(7-8):723-5.
  67. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. April 1, 2015. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.20
  68. Sikkema J, de Bont JA, Poolman B.Interactions of cyclic hydrocarbons with biological membranes. J Biol Chem. 1994 Mar 18;269(11):8022-8. http://www.jbc.org/content/269/11/8022.full.pdf
  69. Gordon, A. Can Cinnamon Oil Fight this winter’s Microbial Assault? GreenMedInfo.com. Newsletter. February 5, 2012. Available at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/can-cinnamon-oil-fight-winters-microbial-assault?utm_source=GreenMedInfo+Weekly&utm_campaign=5ddc55292b-Greenmedinfo&utm_medium=email. Accessed April 11, 2013.
  70. H Jazani, M Zartoshti, H Babazadeh, N Ali-daiee, S Zarrin, & S Hosseini. Antibacterial effects of Iranian fennel essential oil on isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii [abstract]. Pak J Biol Sci [online]. 2009; 12(9):738-41. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19634482. Accessed April 10, 2013.
  71. Al-Bayati FA. Synergistic antibacterial activity between Thymus vulgaris and Pimpinella anisum essential oils and methanol extracts [abstract]. J Ethnopharmacol [online]. 2008; 116(3):403-6. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18226481. Accessed July 22, 2013.
  72. F. D. D’Auria, M. Tecca, V. Strippoli, G. Salvatore, L. Battinelli & G. Mazzanti. Antifungal activity of Lavandula angustifolia essential oil against Candida albicans yeast and mycelial form. Informa Helathcare. Medical Mycology [online]. 2005; 43(5):391-396. Available at: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13693780400004810. Accessed April 13, 2013
  73. Wang W, Li N, Luo M, Zu Y, Efferth T. Antibacterial activity and anticancer activity of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil compared to that of its main components. Molecules. 2012 Mar 5;17(3):2704-13.
  74. Santoyo S, Cavero S, Jaime L, Ibañez E, Señoráns FJ, Reglero G. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil obtained via supercritical fluid extraction. J Food Prot. 2005 Apr;68(4):790-5.
  75. Elaissi A Ae, Rouis Z Zr, Abid NB Na, Mabrouk S Sm, Ben Salem Y Ybs, Bel Haj Salah K Kb, Aouni M Ma, Farhat F Ff, Chemli R Rc, Harzallah-Skhiri F Fhs, Khouja ML Mlk. Chemical Composition of 8 Eucalyptus species’ Essential Oils and the Evaluation of Their Antibacterial, Antifungal and Antiviral activities. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Jun 28;12(1):81. [Epub ahead of print]
  76. Kavanaugh NL, Ribbeck K. Selected Antimicrobial Essential Oils Eradicate Pseudomonas spp. and Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2012;78(11):4057-4061. doi:10.1128/AEM.07499-11.
  77. Essential Oils and Future Antibiotics: New Weapons against Emerging ‘Superbugs’? J Anc Dis Prev Rem. 2013;1: 105. doi:10.4172/2329-8731.1000105
  78. Yap PS, Lim SH, Hu CP, Yiap BC. Combination of essential oils and antibiotics reduce antibiotic resistance in plasmid-conferred multidrug resistant bacteria. Phytomedicine. June 2013;15;20(8-9):710-3. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2013.02.013.
  79. Sue Chao S, Young G, Oberg, C, Nakoka K. Inhibition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by essential oils. Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 2008; 23: 444-449. DOI: 10.1002/ffj.1904
  80. Nelson, J. Selection of resistance to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia in Staphylococcus aureus. J. Antimicrob Chemother. 2000; 45 (4): 549-550. doi: 10.1093/jac/45.4.549
  81. Boire NA, Riedel S, Parrish NM. Essential Oils and Future Antibiotics: New Weapons against Emerging ‘Superbugs’? J Anc Dis Prev Rem. 2013;1: 105. doi:10.4172/2329-8731.1000105
  82. Becerril R, Nerín C, Gómez-Lus R. Evaluation of bacterial resistance to essential oils and antibiotics after exposure to oregano and cinnamon essential oils. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2012; 9(8):699-705. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2011.1097. Epub 2012 Jul 24
  83. Fu Y, Zu Y, Chen L, Shi X, Wang Z, Sun S, Efferth T. Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination. Phytother Res. 2007 Oct;21(10):989-94. http://sci-hub.bz/10.1080/10412905.1998.9700958
  84. Prabuseenivasan S, Jayakumar M, Ignacimuthu S. In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2006;6:39. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-39.
  85. Guerra FQ, Mendes JM, Sousa JP, Morais-Braga MF, Santos BH, Melo Coutinho HD, Lima ED. Increasing antibiotic activity against a multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter spp by essential oils of Citrus limon and Cinnamomum zeylanicum. Nat Prod Res. 2011 Dec 23. [Epub ahead of print]
  86. Rašković A, Milanović I, Pavlović N, Ćebović T, Vukmirović S, Mikov M. Antioxidant activity of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essential oil and its hepatoprotective potential. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;14:225. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-225.
  87. Dagli N, Dagli R, Mahmoud RS, Baroudi K. Essential oils, their therapeutic properties, and implication in dentistry: A review. Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry. 2015;5(5):335-340. doi:10.4103/2231-0762.165933.
  88. Moon SE, Kim HY, Cha JD.Svynergistic effect between clove oil and its major compounds and antibiotics against oral bacteria. Arch Oral Biol. 2011 Sep;56(9):907-16. doi: 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2011.02.005.
  89. Shipradeep, Karmakar S, Sahay Khare R, Ojha S, Kundu K, Kundu S. Development of Probiotic Candidate in Combination with Essential Oils from Medicinal Plant and Their Effect on Enteric Pathogens: A Review. Gastroenterology Research and Practice. 2012;2012:457150. doi:10.1155/2012/457150
  90. Ali B, Al-Wabel NA, Sham S, Ahamad A, Khan SA, Anwar F. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. August 2015; 5(8): 601-611. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033.
  91. Jun YS, Kang P, Min SS, Lee J-M, Kim H-K, Seol GH. Effect of Eucalyptus Oil Inhalation on Pain and Inflammatory Responses after Total Knee Replacement: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2013;2013:502727. doi:10.1155/2013/502727.
  92. Yavari PK, Safajou F, Shahnazi M, Nazemiyeh H. The effect of lemon inhalation aromatherapy on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014; 16(3).e14360. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4005434/. Accessed July 20, 2016.

A “Healthy Soda” Super-Special: Is Diet Soda Good For You, Stevia DeMystified, Sugar Alcohols, Natural Flavors & More.

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

If you happened to watch the most recent Crossfit Games, you may have noticed they were brought to you by…soda.

That’s right: a soda company was sponsor of the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games, the worldwide competition to find the Fittest On Earth. Not exactly something you’d associate with Coke or Pepsi or Mountain Dew (or my all-time favorite Dr. Pepper), is it?

The name of the soda company is “Zevia“, and my guest on today’s show is Paddy Spence, who is a 23-year veteran of the natural and organic foods industry – a guy who completely cut sugar out from his diet 14 years ago, and a guy who then purchased Zevia, a line of stevia-sweetened sodas that is now the world’s top-selling zero-calorie, natural diet soda.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters and is an avid athlete, having completed over 40 triathlons and trained in martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, Shotokan Karate and boxing.

During our discussion, you’ll discover: 

-How one can make the argument that “caveman drank soda”, and the fascinating history of fermented beverages and soda-like compounds…[12:00]

-How did the name Zevia come to be…[17:30]

-What causes “keto flu” and how to avoid getting it…[21:50]

-Why stevia tastes bitter to some people…[28:05]

-Why Coke’s “TruVia” and Pepsi’s “PureVia” can actually be very bad for you (and why not all stevia is created equal)…[32:30]

-How sugar alcohols are processed by your body, and the one form of sugar alcohol that won’t make you fart…[40:15]

-The little-known fruit grown in the foothills of China that actually does not spike your blood sugar…[42:25]

-Why many natural flavors come from pretty nasty sources, including the anal gland of a beaver…[50:00]

-The big reason you need to avoid anything that lists “caramel color”…[56:45]

-My own personal vodka cocktail mix I use with Creme Soda flavored Zevia, and how my kids make Root Beer Floats with Root Beer flavored Zevia…[59:00]

-Paddy’s amazing recipe for a Zevia custard dessert…[61:10]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Zevia soda

Simply Gum

-Here’s the recipe for Banana Swirl, created by Paddy’s amazing wife Jerra Spence: 2 frozen bananas, a pinch of cinnamon, and a couple of splashes of Zevia Cream Soda. Combine all of these in a high-powered blender and mix until the bananas are smooth & creamy. Place in freezer for 30-60 minutes. Serve in a dish, possibly with some stevia-sweetened chocolate chips on top!

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Paddy or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

A Simple Method To Trick Your Body Into Flawless Barefoot Running Form (Even If You’ve Never Run Barefoot).

Our ancestors ran in bare feet or very thin shoes with little padding. It’s undeniable, it’s been proven over and over again in historical research, and probably the best guy on the face of the planet to give insight into this fact is Dr. Daniel Lieberman from Harvard (with whom I had the pleasure of running 8 miles barefoot through Boston a couple years ago).

In today’s article, you’re going to learn why you need to learn to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes (if you’re not already), how train your feet to withstand the rigors of barefoot running, and a simple method to trick your body into flawless barefoot running form, even if you’ve never run barefoot.


What The Research Says About Barefoot or Minimalist Shoe Running

It wasn’t until the 1970’s when conventional running shoes with thick cushioning soles became widely available.  It was thought that the cushioning effect of the padded heel would decrease loading on the legs and therefore prevent injury while at the same time increasing efficiency. But since then, there has been a big shift in thinking for many runners, and many are now removing their shoes in order to return to what they believe is a more natural gait.

Why?

Cushioned running shoes promote a rear-foot strike (RFS) running pattern in which the heel touches down first, then the foot rolls forward for toe off.   Habitually barefoot runners, on the other hand, tend to land on the forefoot or mid-foot.  These differences in stride mechanics drastically affect injuries, as well as running efficiency.

For the purposes of this article – and to make me sound much smarter than I am – when I refer to running in cushioned shoes, I will use the term “shod” (this is also a great word to impress any runners at cocktail parties). Furthermore, when I refer to barefoot running, this would also include running in shoes such as Vibrams or extremely minimalist, relatively uncushioned shoes. 

Oh yeah, one other thing: if your eyes glaze over from research and nitty-gritty science, or if reading time is tight for you, feel free to skip this section and scroll down to the next section. 

There are many mechanical differences seen during barefoot running when compared to shod running – the most obvious being foot strike position.  When shod, runners tend to land on their heel in a rear-foot strike (RFS).  Without shoes, the foot is in a much different environment and this same heel landing can be painful and damaging to the foot and leg. For this reason, barefoot runners often adopt a forefoot strike (FFS), in which the front of the foot contacts the ground first and the supporting soft tissue of the foot and lower leg absorb some of the impact force before the heel even touches down.  A mid-foot strike is also seen in many barefoot runners, in which the foot lands relatively flat on the ground.  This change in foot strike pattern is absolutely correlated with a lower impact force upon foot strike.

In the article “Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners“, Daniel Lieberman studied impact forces and stride mechanics of habitually barefoot and shod runners running in both bare feet and shoes.  The purpose was to see how the shoe directly affected impact forces and stride, and also to see how habitual shoe use changes running patterns and get an idea of how man ran before the advent of the cushioned shoe.

There were five test groups in this study:

(1) Kenyan competitive runners who grew up barefoot and recently started wearing running shoes.

(2) habitually shod American adults.

(3) American adults who grew up wearing shoes but are now habitually barefoot runners.

(4) habitually shod Kenyan children.

(5) barefoot Kenyan children. 

Foot strike kinematics were assessed using video analysis as test subjects ran at an endurance running pace (4-6 m/s) on a short track.  All the adults sampled ran at least 20 km per week.  It was found that American habitually shod runners ran exclusively with a rear foot strike while wearing shoes and nearly all (87%) ran with a rear foot strike when barefoot.

During the barefoot test, the subjects in this group, while still landing with a RFS, had less dorsiflexion (7-10%) upon ground contact (meaning their forefoot was closer to the ground).  The recently shod Kenyan competitive runners (1) had a 91% rate of FFS when running barefoot and 54% while wearing shoes, many who didn’t FFS were landing with a MFS.

The last group of adults tested was Americans, who grew up shod but switched to and are now habitually barefoot runners (3) in which 75% FFS when barefoot, but when shod 50% ran with a RFS.  They also tested Kenyan children who were habitually shod (4) and who have never worn shoes (5).  The children’s running habits were consistent with what was found for adults, mainly that the use of running shoes significantly changes the gait pattern both immediately and also habitually.

The study also analyzed strike force characteristics, comparing habitually barefoot and shod adults from the US in both shoes and bare feet.  It was shown that RFS causes a large impact force transient upon ground contact in both the shod and barefoot condition, but it was even larger when barefoot.  FFS on the other hand showed a steady force loading with no impact transient.  The barefoot FFS runners had a lower vertical force magnitude during impact, as well as a lower loading rate – which was very significant when compared with barefoot RFS runners.

In sum…wearing cushioned running shoes automatically causes you (even if you’re used to running barefoot) to engage in a high impact heel strike. 

There are a few reasons why running shoes promote this type of RFS.  First, they have a thick heel padding that orients the sole of the foot to have about 5o less dorsiflexion than the outsole of the shoe, encouraging RFS.  This means that in order to FFS while wearing a thick heeled shoe, you would have to plantar flex (point) the foot significantly. The shoe also affects foot strike, due to the cushioning properties which help absorb the impact force from running. Finally, shoes actually decrease neural sensory stimulation that promote a softer FFS.

The study above shows that habitual running patterns are influenced by footwear use, but just how these adaptations occur and their effect on injuries is unclear from the study.  However, the article “Running Related Injury Prevention through Barefoot Adaption” looks into the foot musculature and how it responds to barefoot conditions.  The authors of the article state that many people believe the high injury rates involved with running are because the foot is fragile and cannot take the strain that activities such as running puts on it without injury, and therefore that foot needs protective support.

Problem is, this theory not only goes against natural selection, but also has been proven wrong based on the lower running injury rate seen among barefoot populations.

In countries where both barefoot and shod population live, such as Haiti, high rates of lower extremity injuries are only seen in the shod population. Likewise, in countries where people go barefoot part or all of the year, such as the West Indies, and sections of Europe and Asia, there is shockingly little report or evidence of impact related lower leg injuries.

Because of this, Robbins and Hanna, authors of the article above, hypothesize that the weak arch and foot musculature seen in habitually shod feet can be strengthened given the right conditions.  The human foot has a large arch in the middle that can act as a spring which absorbs and restitutes mechanical energy.  The arch is supported by the plantar fascia and several ligaments and muscles.  The arch works almost like a bowstring, and if it is shorter in the longitudinal length of the foot, it will be higher and able to absorb more energy.  These muscles controlling the arch are not stimulated properly in shoes, but can be strengthened by barefoot activity, therefore increasing the arch height.

To test this hypothesis, Robbins and Hanna recruited recreational runners and examined the length of their medial longitudinal arch with x-ray analysis and a foot imprint during weight bearing, monthly over the four month test period. Subjects gave a detailed running history that included footwear, injuries, and previous barefoot weight bearing activities. During the experiment, subjects kept a detailed training log that recorded all barefoot weight bearing activity – including running, walking, and standing, as well as the surface it was performed on –  and they were instructed to perform as much barefoot activity as possible.

The study reported a positive change as a 1mm shortening of the medial longitudinal arch length.  It was found that of the 18 subjects in the barefoot group, 13 had a positive result, 2 had no change, and 3 had a negative result, with an average arch shortening (meaning a stronger arch) of 4.7mm.  In the control group that continued normal activity, 1 changed positively and 10 negatively with an average arch lengthening (meaning a weaker arch) of 4.9mm.  The results had no correlation with the starting height of the arch. The positive result on the arch of the barefoot group can be explained by an increase in the supporting musculature, which clearly shows that adaptive abilities of the foot to change and strengthen to accompany its environment.  Strengthening of the arch and shortening of its length could also reduce injuries like plantar fasciitis, which is common in shod populations. This is because the plantar fascia would be stretched and therefore stressed less, as some of the load would be diverted to the musculature.

It was found that the best arch change results happened with high total weight bearing activity (i.e. standing), walking outside barefoot, and running outside barefoot. It makes sense for results to show this with an increase in total load bearing activity because the muscles simply got more use.  The reason outdoor (compared to indoor) barefoot activity had a positive effect is because of the irregular surface, which would increase plantar sensory feedback.  Interestingly, the skin on the top of the arch has a much lower pain threshold than that of the heel or toe area and if this area is stimulated, the arch muscles could contract to make barefoot running (or other activity) more comfortable, while at the same time activating the foot’s shock absorbing system.

The skin on the plantar surface of the foot has one of the highest density of neuroreceptors in the body.  The receptors respond to small discrete displacements, shear forces, and vibrations, all of which are reduced by footwear, specifically running shoes.  Running shoes block the transition of sensory information to the foot which tells the runner to lower ground impact forces by flexing the arch muscles and changing stride mechanics.  This would not be a problem if the shoe reduced the injury producing ground impact forces as much as it reduced plantar sensation, but that is not the case as shown by the Lieberman, and the increased running injuries seen in the shod populations compared to barefoot.

So far, we’ve seen that research shows barefoot or minimalist shoe running causes some pretty useful adaptations in terms of foot strike pattern, “feel for the ground”, and reduced risk of lower extremity injuries.

And there’s plenty more…especially when it comes to reduced injury risk from the avoidance of cushioned shoes. study called “The effect of running shoe on lower extremity joint torque” examined the effects that shoes have on the leg joints when compared to running barefoot.  The subjects in this study were 68 young healthy adults who ran at least 15 miles per week.  Markers were placed on various spots on the subjects’ legs, and data was collect by 3 dimensional video analyses, as well as a force place on the treadmill they were asked to run on.

For shod running, there was a 54% increase in hip internal rotation torque, 36% increase in knee flexion torque (which acts on the main bending motion of the knee), and a 38% increase in knee varus torque (which is a lateral bending force at the knee). The relevance of this data is how it relates to joint degeneration and osteoarthritis risk, as well as overuse.  Osteoarthritis is joint cartilage degeneration and ossification and is correlated with long term excessive loading.  It has been shown that competitive running may increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the hip, therefore producing over 50% more load on the joint with each stride.  The increase in knee flexion torque would increase the load on the quadriceps, thus increasing strain on the patellar tendon and pressure on the patellofemoral joint, which can lead to overuse injuries of all these structures.  The increase in varus torque on the knee would increase the compressive force on the medial tibiofemoral compartment, which is more prone to degeneration than the lateral compartment.  Similar yet less dramatic increase in knee loading were seen when comparing women’s dress high heeled shoes when walking with barefoot walking.  Because of the higher rate of knee osteoarthritis in women and the fact that loading is much higher during running than walking, this increase in knee force could easily lead to osteoarthritis.  The increased loads were thought to be due to the elevated heel and material under the medial aspect of the foot, which changed running mechanics.  These increases in loading seen in shod running could all over time contribute to the onset of osteoarthritis.

Yep, as ironic as it may seem, wearing giant pillows around your feet actually increases your risk of things like arthritis later in life.

Along with reducing injuries, barefoot running is also thought to be a more metabolically efficient way to run, and the very recent study “Barefoot Running Reduces the Submaximal Oxygen Cost in Female Distance Runners” definitely backs this up. It has also been shown that an increase in of 100g of mass per foot increase metabolic cost by 1%.  This mass effect can be an especially big factor in racing, because if a typical 250g shoe was worn, it would add 5% to the metabolic cost, therefore slowing a runner by 5%.  This means a 4 hour marathon could see a change of around 12 minutes just from the weight of footwear.  It is clear that mass has a large effect on energy use while running, but it is theorized that the elastic properties of the arch and lower leg musculature also have an effect.

The article “Barefoot-Shod Running Differences: Shoe or Mass Effect?”  looked to determine if it was just the weight of wearing a shoe that made it less efficient, or if it was the shoe itself and the effects on stride mechanics. In this article, 12 healthy adult males with competitive running experience ran on a treadmill barefoot, in 50g, 150g, and 350g socks, as well as 150g and 350g shoes for 4 minutes at 13 km/h.  The mass on the sock was distributed in the same manner as that of the comparable weight shoe.  It was found that the bare sock (50g) produced no significant difference in running pattern compared to fully barefoot, showing that the results will not be altered by the effect of the material of the sock.  The treadmill had a force plate to measure vertical and anterior-posterior ground reaction force.  During the trials, the subjects exhaled gas was collected to determine the volume of oxygen (VO2) consumption relative to total mass, which tells how hard their body was working to maintain their running pace.

While un-shod, 9 of the 12 runners switched to a forefoot strike pattern.  It was found that VO2 consumption increased as shoe mass increased, but was not affected by the mechanical properties of the shoe.  It was also shown that total work increased in the barefoot condition.  As a result of the increased work, but no increase in VO2 consumption, it was concluded that the net mechanical efficiency of barefoot running was greater than shod running.  This agrees with the hypothesis that barefoot running, and subsequent FFS, allows the foot and leg to use their natural elastic properties to absorb and restitute mechanical energy from ground contact.

The previous study had two variables – shoe padding and foot strike – which made it difficult to interpret the results.  To account for this, the study “Metabolic cost of running barefoot versus shod: Is lighter better?”  was similar, but it controlled foot strike pattern as well as weight, so that the cushioned shoe was the only variable.  The test subjects were 12 runners with extensive barefoot experience who had a mid-foot strike not only when running barefoot, but also when shod.  The subjects all ran at least 25 km/week, with at least 8km barefoot or in minimalist footwear.  The participants ran on a treadmill with a force plate at 3.35 m/s.  Oxygen consumption (VO2) data was collected.  The shoes used only added cushioning and had no arch support.

It was found that in both shod and barefoot conditions, oxygen consumption increased by 1% per 100g added per foot.  Also, on average a 3-4% increase in VO2 consumption was found during barefoot running compared to shod running of equal weight and foot strike pattern.  This shows that factors other than shoe mass play an important role in the metabolic power used during barefoot versus shod running.  This difference can be due to shock absorbing characteristics of the shoe and a difference in stride length, which was found to be 3.3% greater during shod running.  It was estimated that the 3.3% increase in stride length would only account for less than 0.4% increase in metabolic savings. Because of this, the researchers concluded that of equal mass, the cushioning properties of the shoe account for the majority of difference in VO2 consumption.  This is because during barefoot running, all the cushioning is done by the action of the leg, which is accomplished through muscle contraction, thus expending energy.  By wearing a cushioned shoe but not changing general stride mechanics, the runner was essentially running on a softer surface while keeping the beneficial forefoot stride, which turned out to easier on the leg muscles and more efficient for the body.  The study also found that a light weight (about 130g) cushioned shoe is equally as efficient as fully barefoot running when stride is constant, which means minimalist running shoes could be a good alternative for barefoot runner while running on very hard surfaces or during a long race.

Yeah, that’s a mouthful, but basically it means that a minimalist shoe, or some other method of causing one to engage in a front foot strike, could be just as good as running barefoot when it comes to running efficiency and economy.

Overall, it’s very obvious that barefoot running seems to be beneficial in many aspects of running. The majority of benefits of barefoot running come with adopting a better running stride, which is characterized by a forefoot strike.  This reduces the load and loading rate during foot impact, which can lead to many running injuries, including plantar fasciitis, patellofemoral joint pain syndrome and osteoarthritis.  But the benefits of switching to barefoot running are not all immediate.  The muscles of the foot and lower leg become very weak from underuse when constantly shod, and it takes time for them to regain their strength, as well as for the body to change running technique.

However, once the transition is made, the stride will become more efficient with a reduced risk of injury. With regards to running efficiency, the cushioning from the shoe is beneficial, as well as the elastic properties of the forefoot strike. For best efficiency, a runner would want to become proficient with barefoot running, which will improve forefoot strike and cause a strengthened arch, and then wear a very lightweight moderately cushioned shoe for a race.

Although barefoot running has been shown to reduce injuries, injuries are also very common among new barefoot runners.  People hear about the benefits of barefoot running, then jump into barefoot or minimalist running much too quickly, without proper adaption.  As shown from the studies above, the muscles and soft tissue take months to strengthen, so increasing volume too fast is very likely to cause a problem.  Also, even though the loading is lower during barefoot running, metatarsal stress fractures are common. Because the bones in the foot don’t get the same loading pattern during shod rear-foot strike, they will take time to adapt to this new running style as well.

Finally, there are reports of injuries from barefoot and minimalist runner who do not adopt a forefoot strike.  As discussed above, rear-foot strike without a cushioned shoe causes very high force loading rates of the foot and leg, which could quickly result in injury.  In conclusion, more research still need to be done on the topic, but it seems clear that there are a multitude of benefits to barefoot running, and they should not be ignored.

————————–

Heel Striking Isn’t Always Bad

Even though an RFS (remember, that’s a “rear foot strike) and a heel striking motion is associated with higher risk of injury, if you’re landing softly (as barefoot running trains you to do) even heel striking motion that isn’t necessarily always a bad thing.

A New York Times article from a couple months ago entitled “Why We Get Running Injuries (and How to Prevent Them)” delves into this idea in greater detail. Among other clues that the human body was meant to run minimalist, the article states that…

“…The never-injured runners, as a group, landed far more lightly than those who had been seriously hurt, the scientists found, even when the researchers controlled for running mileage, body weight and other variables. That finding refutes the widely held belief that a runner cannot land lightly on her heels.”

The article goes on to describe one of the runners studied, a woman who has run multiple marathons and never been hurt, showing some of the lowest rates of foot loading the researchers had ever seen, pounding far less than many runners who land near the front of their feet, with a beautiful running motion that was like seeing “an insect running across water”.

It’s important to note that this woman was running with a heel strike but she was running softly even with that heel strike, which she was able to do because she had trained minimalist and trained barefoot, which teaches your body how to (even if you’re not engaged in a mid to front foot strike) run with far less impact to any part of the foot that hits the ground.

In other words, once you swear off the cushioned shoes, you run more softly and with reduced risk of injury, even if a fancy high-speed video camera shows your running form doesn’t significantly change with regards to a front vs. mid vs. rear foot strike.

—————————-

How To Train Your Body To Run Barefoot

Convinced that you may want to start moving away from cushioned shoes and ready to start training to run barefoot?

In the article, “How To Start Running Barefoot“, I get into the nitty-gritty details of how both my wife and I transitioned to minimalist shoes and barefoot running. Some of the biggest takeaways from that article – aside from not simply rushing out and beginning to run oodles of miles in a brand new set of Vibrams – include the following five tips:

  1. Do Drills. As part of the short runs that you start doing barefoot, also train your body how to run with good form by including running form drills, such as playground style skipping, the toe-up drill or the lean drill. These drills will help ensure that you’re running efficiently and striking the ground properly as you learn barefoot running, and are a good idea to incorporate whether or not you’re running barefoot. Here is an overview of even more drills from my friend and Australian running guru Graeme Turner.
  2. Feel The Ground. If you’ve been wearing big, bulky, protective shoes for a long time, then your foot may have difficulty properly sensing the ground when you run barefoot. So try incorporating “feel-for-the-ground” activities like standing on one leg when you’re brushing your teeth, standing on one leg while on a balance disc or balance pillow at the gym, standing on one leg for exercises like overhead presses, or even bouncing on one leg on a mini-trampoline a few times a week.
  3. Get Flexible. One of the most common complaints among people who transition to barefoot or minimalist running is that their calf muscles and Achilles tendon feel tight or painful, and that was certainly the case when I made the transition to barefoot running. So as you make the transition to barefoot running, also work on the flexibility of the back of your legs by doing calf stretches and foam rolling for the back of your legs.
  4. Get Strong Feet. If you’re worn shoes your whole life, it’s likely that you have weak feet muscles, since one of the primary functions of a shoe is to provide your foot with extra “muscle”, or support. While some of the balance activities mentioned earlier will help to strengthen your foot, I also recommend standing on one leg and practicing rolling your entire body weight from the outside of your foot to the inside of the foot and back, until your foot is tired. When at the gym, it can also be helpful to do cable kick forwards and cable kick back exercises while standing on one foot. If your tiny foot muscles start to burn and fatigue with these movements, you’ll know you’re conditioning your foot muscles.
  5. Include Plyometrics. Your feet need to be conditioned to withstand the impact of the ground, since the cushioning of a normal shoe provides significant impact reduction benefits. Plyometrics are explosive exercises in which hop, bound or skip with one leg or two legs, and good choices for barefoot running preparation are side-to-side hops and single leg jumps onto a box.

For more details, you can click here to read that article in full.

—————————-

The Best Barefoot Running Orthotic & A Simple Method To Teach Yourself How To Have Flawless Barefoot Running Form

Lately, I’ve been using a new method to get “the best of both worlds”: meaning getting the front to mid foot strike that I automatically shift to when barefoot running, while still getting the protection afforded by actually wearing shoes, which comes in handy when I’m doing Spartan races, TrainToHunt competitions, triathlons or other events where I actually do need protection for my feet.

The method is something called a “ShoeCue”.

The Cue inserts into your shoe just like an orthotic, and it uses a textured, thermoplastic heel-plate that reconnects your feet to the ground. With vibration and texture, it “wakes up” the soles of your feet and reconnects them to your brain. Closing this neural loop allows for enhanced control and understanding of how you are connected to the world, and in real-time it improve self awareness and proprioception, whether you’re walking or running.

Here are a couple videos that show how the ShoeCue works (and yeah, that’s Brian Mackenzie in the first video, the guy I interviewed here about advanced breathing techniques):

 

Basically, the Cue restores sensory feedback to your foot, which you’ve learned is usually diminished when you wear your shoes. The soles of your feet are one of the most sensitive areas in your body, and your brain relies on the sensory perception to control everything about about the way you move. By increasing sensation to your feet with these Cues in your shoes you will:

-Be more aware of your running technique and run with a softer foot-strike.
-Have greater positional awareness while lifting and exercising.
-Walk and stand with better posture.

The nerve receptors in skin on the soles of the feet pick up sensation in three main ways:

-Indentation
-Shearing force
-Vibration

All of these mechanics your body relies on to feel the ground are blocked by a traditional shoe when compared to being barefoot, but ShoeCue is able to restore this sensation, in virtually any shoe.

So what should you expect to feel when wearing these things?

You will certainly notice the Cue, but it is in no way painful. It feels like a gentle massage on the bottom of your foot. The goal is not to create pain when you are moving poorly. The goal of the Cue is to simply increase your bodies positional awareness and subtly encourage better biomechanics over time. When you put them in your shoes, you’ll notice an immediate reduction in over-striding and heavy heel strike (which you now know are major contributors to running injury and joint wear). Every time I run in these, my stride feels softer, smoother, and more efficient. Also, as fatigue sets in on a hard run, I’m a bit more aware of any breakdown in running form and able to self correct in real-time.

And these are definitely a bit different than traditional arch support orthotics. Arch support works to lift your arch and hold it in a static position. This may be better than walking around with collapsed arches and flat feet, but it does not address the underlying strength and motor control issues, which are the root cause of the problem. By increasing sensation to your feet, ShoeCue encourages the small muscles in your feet and ankles to be active, just like when you run barefoot, and when your arch does collapse, you will feel it and be able to consciously turn on those muscles and move better.

I’ll warn you that ShoeCue encourages you to favor the ball of your foot as opposed to the heel. When this happens, you will be stressing muscles and tissues in the lower leg that have been underused, and you may experience soreness after your first few runs – so start with shorter runs, give it time, and progress slowly, but in my opinion, it’s well worth it to add these to your running, walking and standing repertoire as a very cool biohack to get you to begin running with the same flawless form you’d develop from barefoot running, but with the actual protection of shoes.

You can try these new running orthotics here, and use 10% discount code Greenfield10. I’ve got a set in all my own running shoes now, and it’s a perfect way to start running “barefoot”, without actually running barefoot.


Summary

So what do you think?

Do you run barefoot or in minimalist shoes, or do you have yet to be convinced of the benefits?

Do you have questions about “barefoot running orthotics” like the ShoeCue?

Do you think I’m completely wrong and that big, built up cushioned shoes are the way to go?

Leave your comments, thoughts and feedback below and I’ll reply! Finally, you can click here to get yourself a set of ShoeCues, and use 10% discount code “Greenfield10”.

shoecue