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


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!

Killing Fat Cells, Fixing Mitochondria, Growing Superfoods & More: The Official, Much-Anticipated, Mind-Blowing, Geeked-Out Podcast With Dr. Mercola.


There are very few people who I consider to be personal mentors, extremely trustworthy individuals in my life who I can look to for fitness, health and longevity advice, or people who I think put out truly “cutting-edge” health information.

Dr. Joseph Mercola is one of those people.

Dr. Mercola is a board certified family physician who had seen tens of thousands of patients before transitioning to a full time internet journalist, as he felt he could help far more people than he could in private practice.

It turns out he was right…because every month he has ten million unique visitors and 80 million unique visitors each year. has been the most visited natural health site for the last 12 years and is now translated into six different languages.

Dr. Mercola’s passion is optimizing mitochondrial health, and during today’s discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Dr. Mercola built into one of the most popular health websites in the world…[14:00]

-Dr. Mercola’s unique system that allows him to digest dozens of books each month while taking a quarter billion+ steps over his lifetime…[19:15]

-Why you should wear blue light blocking glasses during the day, not just at night…[24:30]

-How to ground your computer and keep your laptop and monitor from destroying your health…[26:35 & 35:20]

-Why Dr. Mercola eats both seafood and one surprising compound found in seafood every day of the week…[29:20]

-The little-known biohacks Dr. Mercola uses to maximize his mitochondrial density…[36:50]

-Why scrambled eggs are very bad for you, and what you can do about it…[41:30]

-The myth about iron levels and a crucial test you must take to keep iron from “rusting out” your body…[53:55]

-The best book Dr. Mercola has ever read on strength training, and how he combines it with a special hack called “EWOT”…[20:20 & 79:10]

-Dr. Mercola’s take on whether or not quantification devices like rings and wristbands are good or bad for you, and what he personally uses…[60:45]

-Why Dr. Mercola limits protein intake, and how he strikes a balance between anti-aging effects of muscle and aging effects of too much protein…[67:30]

-How to make your own “anti-aging” cocktail…[72:30]

-A unique one-two combo you can use prior to saunas to maximize your detoxification, fat burn and fat cell death…[75:10]

-Two ingredients Dr. Mercola sprinkles on his garden soil to get 10x+ production of cherries, organic produce and more…[87:40]

-The liquid dropper that Dr. Mercola takes on every airplane ride…[94:10]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Tripping Over The Truth

My interview with Dr. Minkoff “Why You’ve Been Lied To About Cancer”

My podcast with Dr. Mercola’s girlfriend Erin Elizabeth on Lyme disease

-The book “Deskbound” by Kelly Starrett

Negative ion generator

Eizo computer monitor

Iristech software for reducing blue light on monitors

Swannies stylish blue light blocking glasses

Laptop grounding cable

Organic fish roe

Induction burner for cooking foods at low heat

DIY Exercise With Oxygen Therapy

HARAPad anti-radiation laptop pad

Whole House Charcoal Water Filter structured water filter (use 15% discount code “friendofben”)

Tank-free reverse osmosis filter with remineralization

Neobdyium magnet

Ionic ocean minerals

Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Gerald Pollack’s book “The 4th Phase Of Water”

Dumping Iron: How to Ditch This Secret Killer and Reclaim Your Health

DeltaSleeper SR1 Device

Oura ring

Magnetico sleep pad

Ben’s article on strength training and anti-aging

Ben’s article on using NAD+ and pau d’ arco bark tea for anti-aging

-This one-two combination of d-Ribose and niacin pre-sauna

Ben’s article on “hacking your sauna”.

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe

Quicksilver Scientific IMD Intestinal Cleanse


Clearmind NI focus unit

Ben’s podcast on the Quantlet 

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


Addendum: Ben’s notes on the DeltaSleeper/PEMF discussion:

The info below regarding the “Ramazzini Team” study on PEMF and cancer does not take a genius to figure out. The Ramazzini team followed what is commonly known as an initiation-promotion protocol. Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed in their mothers’ wombs and then for the rest of their lives to 50 Hz magnetic fields at an intensity of either 20μT or 1,000μT (200 mG or 10 G). At the age of six weeks, they each received a single 0.1Gy dose of gamma radiation, a known cancer agent.

So let’s take a look at what we have here.

1. The six week old rats were given a single 0.1 Gy dose of Gamma radiation. A KNOWN cancer agent. Gamma rays are classified as ionizing. This means they have the power to cause permanent cellular damage. See Below: Primer on Electromagnetic Fields.

2. They were exposed continuously for the rest of their lives to 50Hz magnetic fields at either 200 milliGauss or 10 Gauss fields. This is completely unnatural. The Earth’s magnetic field is 3-6 milliGaus (0.3-0.6 Gauss). The SR1 creates a field exactly within this natural range. I don’t believe the 50Hz magnetic pulse itself would cause any damage however the SR1 device provides a much lower frequency pattern.

So basically, these rats did not stand a chance of not developing cancer.

Further into the report we find the following from Fiorella Belpoggi, the Scientific Director of the Institute who notes that:

“No Cancer Seen with EMFs Alone”

In an interview, Belpoggi said that they are planning to publish the results of a concurrent experiment in which rats were exposed to power-frequency EMFs, without any other treatment. “In our preliminary data, ELF EMFs alone didn’t appear to show an increase of cancer in experimental animals so far,” she disclosed. “The main result of our experiment,” she said, is that “ELF EMFs have a synergistic effect: They are able to enhance the effects of a well-known carcinogen at low doses that was negative at those doses in the same experimental model.”

It’s important to understand the difference between EMF’s in something like a DeltaSleeper and EMF’s from higher power devices, so keep reading…

EMFs are classified as ionizing or non-ionizing according to their frequency.  Ionizing fields have very short wavelengths and frequencies between 1016 Hz. and 1023 Hz. These fields are above visible light on the electromagnetic spectrum (1015 Hz.) and include cosmic rays, gamma rays and X-rays which have the power to knock electrons off their nuclear orbits and cause permanent cellular damage.

Non-ionizing fields have longer wavelengths and frequencies below 1014 Hz.  Although they have less power than ionizing fields they are still capable of having biologic effects.

Important EMF modalities in medicine today are non-thermal applications of non-ionizing radiation. Medical applications of non-thermal, non-ionizing EM fields include non-union fracture bone repair, neuronal stimulation, nerve stimulation, tissue regeneration, immune system stimulation, osteoarthritis therapy, wound healing etc.

Non-ionizing fields are classified as thermal, which means in biological terms, causes gross tissue heating, or non-thermal, indicating no gross tissue heating is involved.

And the SR1 Device is a non-ionizing, non-thermal device. Furthermore, is switched on for just 22 minutes per use.

The Earth’s magnetic field ranges from 0.3 Gauss – 0.6 Gauss. The SR1 Device field strength falls within this range. They are in effect “Copying Nature” with that technology.


Is He The Most Self-Quantified Man On The Planet? Tracking Telomeres, Heart Rate, Electrostimulation & More With Quantified Bob.

bob troia

Meet Bob.

“Quantified Bob”.

Quantified Bob has tracks his life tirelessly, and has reams of data and insight on how the human body responds to everything from varying amounts of starch intake, to electrostimulation, to artificial light to different diets to cognitive performance training and beyond.

Bob Troia is a serial entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of digital innovation and emerging technologies for nearly two decades. A left- and right-brain thinker who is equal parts technical, creative, and analytical, Bob is as comfortable talking about business strategy, marketing, and product development as he is discussing programming, design, AI, hardware, and human physiology.

He is actively involved in the quantified self and biohacking movements, focusing his passion on the intersection of self-tracking and personal analytics, health and wellness, behavior design, technology, and life optimization, documenting his personal efforts under the moniker “Quantified Bob”.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Quantified Bob got his name…[11:35]

-How you can account for all the different potentially confounding variables when you’re testing and tracking data…[13:00]

-Why Bob hacked and tracked his glucose, and what he found…[17:10] 

-How you can self-test your water quality, and what Bob found by comparing tap water to filtered water…[31:10]

-The best way to monitor air quality in your home or office…[45:15]

-The most surprising thing you can change in your bedroom that may give you a better night’s sleep…[50:00]

-How to track your “rate of aging”…[54:10]

-The unique form of neuromuscular electrostimulation that Bob uses…[62:30]

-The craziest or most intriguing self-quantification experiment Bob has planned…[67:50]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

23andme genetic testing


MyBasis watch

The Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitor


Ketonix Breath Ketone monitor


Home water testing kit

Trace liquid minerals

Foobot indoor air quality monitor

Allerair central air filter

The new Molekule air purification system

Titanovo telomere testing kits

D-minder Vitamin D testing

My podcast with Jay Schroeder on ARPWave

ARPWave practitioners

Periodic fasting diet study

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

Episode #358 – Full Transcript

Podcast from

[0:00] Introduction

[1:13] The Dream Herb

[3:53] News Flashes/“Why Do You Race Faster Than You Train?”

[8:42] Gene Splicing

[13:08] The Growing Global Epidemic Called Myopia

[18:22] Special Announcements/Organifi Green Juice

[21:49] Four Sigmatic Coffee

[24:16] Harry’s Shaving Plan

[25:38] Where Ben Will Be In The Next Few Months

[28:05] Listener Q & A/Dealing With Elevation Sickness

[44:04] Muscle Cramping

[1:00:32] Calorie And Carb Cycling

[1:12:49] Five Books for Power and Strength

[1:20:44] iTunes Review Concerns

[1:21:32] iTunes Review

[1:24:38] End of Podcast

Introduction:  In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast:  Everything That You Need To Know About Muscle Cramping, Calorie And Carb Cycling, Gene Splicing, Fixing Altitude Sickness, and much more.

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.

Ben:  Rachel, I’m very excited right now.

Rachel:  Why are you excited?

Ben:  Well, I just ordered the Dream Herb.

Rachel:  The Dream Herb, Ben.  It’s called a herb.

Ben:  The Dream Herb.  I actually, typically when I wake up in the morning, I have half a dozen to a dozen or more text messages on my phone from all manner of physicians, and biohackers, and friends in the fitness and nutrition industry.  And one of my friends, Olly, he’s a doctor over in Finland, he sent me this brand new article on something called Calea Zacatechichi.

Rachel:  That is quite a mouthful.

Ben:  I don’t even know if I’m pronouncing this correctly.  It’s also known as Calea Z.  So this is also called the dream herb, not herb, which promotes meaningful vivid dreams and potential for lucid dreams.  So, I dug into this thing and I did just order the tea leaves on Amazon, you can get these tea leaves on Amazon, and you’re supposed to drink this tea before bed.  The claims here are it has little or no effect on waking consciousness, so you don’t feel anything if you’re awake.

However, it intensifies and prolongs your dreams on an epic level, creates vivid dreams, even those who never remember, while not increasing the likelihood of sleep paralysis as some other things, such as high dose cannabidiol or something like that would do when it comes to getting you into a lucid dream state.  So if you’re someone who wants to dream vividly, apparently this stuff works.  And I have no personal experience, all I know is that right before we got on the podcast today, I pressed the order button on Amazon.  So I have some coming my way.

Rachel:  And what’s your dream state like currently?  Do you have lucid dream, or remember your dreams, or anything?

Ben:  I do, but I don’t use dream tea.  And this dream tea off of Amazon, I mean it literally, on the cover of the label, right, it comes in this little brown bag and it says: “Medicated tea.  Dream lucid dreaming.  Soothing and calming composition of rain forest botanicals known to hold properties which enhance deep dreaming and lucidity in the mind.”

Rachel:  Fascinating.  I’m gonna try some too.

Ben:  Yeah.  So, we’ll see what happens.  What’s that movie about dreaming?

Rachel:  Inception.  I love that film.  Let’s do it.

News Flashes:

Ben:  So, speaking of hardcore science, and this is the part of the show where we talk all about science.  There was a new study that I thought was kinda interesting for me, personally, ’cause I’m out there competing in races quite often, and I always wonder when I’m out there in a race, why is it that I push myself so much harder when I’m racing than I do when I’m training, even when I’m training with other people sometimes.  And they actually did a study where they looked into this, and I’ll link to this article.  It’s called “Why Do You Race Faster Than You Train?”

Rachel:  Brilliant study.

Ben:  Brilliant.  So, it involves cyclists.  They had these cyclists do a pair of 4 kilometer time trials, which is just a total pain cave effort.  And they did it once by themselves, and then they did it again with a virtual competitor.  So I suppose this is one of those computer programs where you have another virtual cyclist kinda like in front of you that you’re trying to keep up with or beat.  And not surprisingly, all the cyclists were able to go faster when they were pitted against a virtual competitor.  So they completed the time trial in an average of 6 minutes and 22 seconds when they had a competitor they were going to against versus 6 minutes and 33 seconds when they weren’t, which doesn’t sound like much but it is.

Rachel:  So what’s the deal with that?  Why are they doing that?  Is it just an ego thing?

Ben:  Okay.  So, here’s what they did.  It’s much more science-y than that, Rachel.  Much more science-y than ego.  So what they did was before and after each of these efforts, they had the cyclists do what’s called a maximum voluntary contraction of their leg muscles.  And then, during that maximum voluntary contraction, they used electrical muscle stimulation to see how much extra force they could basically shock out of the muscle.

And what this allowed them to do was to calculate what’s called peripheral fatigue, which is how much weaker the muscle was after the time trial, and central fatigue, which is how much weaker the signal from the brain to the muscle was after the time trial, ’cause there’s a difference between your muscle getting tired from lactic acid build-up, and neuronal fatigue, and all these issues versus central fatigue, which is just basically your brain telling your muscles, “Hey, I’m crapped out.  Please stop.  We’re gonna die.”

So, what they showed was that in both of these trials, whether you were working by yourself or whether you were working against a virtual competitor, the central fatigue was the same, meaning that the message that the brain sends to the muscles to shut down before you die or have a heart attack, is the same whether you’re racing as a competitor or whether you’re just out there on your own.

What they found was that peripheral fatigue was much, much higher, meaning, somehow, when we are competing against other people, all those things that build up in our muscles, like lactic acid and hydrogen ions, which create acidity in the muscle, and like depletion of ATP, your body’s energy currency, we somehow have the ability to be able to tolerate much much higher levels of that, which is basically just pain during exercise.  When you’re competing against someone versus when we’re just out there by ourselves, we’re actually able to tolerate more, what would be called, localized muscle pain.

Rachel:  Well, it makes sense doesn’t it?  Everyone always races better on race day.

Ben:  It makes sense and of course, the takeaway message like, “Okay.  That’s great.  What do we do about it?”  The takeaway message for me is that, “Okay.  So, if peripheral fatigue is something that we’re able to tolerate higher and higher amounts of when we’re out there competing in events, what are things that we could do to our bodies to help to elevate that peripheral fatigue ceiling even higher?”  Can we, and this is where we turn to better living through science, could we take something that helps to buffer lactic acid, like sodium bicarbonate or baking soda?  Could we use ATP?  Could be used things that help to shuttle things out of tissue more quickly?  Things we talked about on the podcast before like oxaloacetate to convert lactic acid and into glucose more quickly.  But the idea here is that it turns out it’s more peripheral fatigue than central fatigue.  And if you’re a geek and you wanna read the article, we’ll link to it in the news flashes.  Where can we find the news flashes, Rachel?


Ben:  358.  Cool.  I wasn’t quite sure of our number.  We have so freaking many podcasts.

Rachel:  So many.

Ben:  The numbers are just dizzying.

Rachel:  Alright.  What else we got?

Ben:  Okay.  So, here’s another interesting one.  Crispr Technology.  I was just speaking at the Ancestral Health Symposium, also known as AHS, and if you wanna go see my talk, by the way, which was about striking a balance between natural living and biohacking, you can find that video if you just were to, you know, we’ll put a link to it in the show notes.  Just go to  Rachel, jot that down.

Rachel:  Jotted down.

Ben:  We’ll put a link to that video in the show notes.  But I was there, and I was having dinner with this girl who works as a gene researcher.  I don’t know if she’s listening in, but she was such a geek on gene research that the earrings that she was wearing were DNA earrings.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  Yeah.  Actual DNA strands.

Rachel:  I love it.

Ben:  So she was into it, and she was telling me, she’s like, “Well, did you know that the Chinese are gene splicing themselves to be resistant to HIV?”  I’m like, “What?”  She said, “Yes.”  So there’s this thing called Crispr, and Crispr, a lot of people probably heard of this, but Crispr is a technology that allows you to actually edit cells, to edit your genes.

Rachel:  That’s so mind blowing.

Ben:  And apparently, the Chinese scientists are altering the gene’s susceptibility to HIV.  But what this article that I just read, it just came out last week, is that they’re actually editing what are called T cells.  So T cells are your immune system cells, and what they’re doing is they’re removing T cells from your blood, so you take the T cell out of the blood, and then they’re using this Crispr technology, which is gene editing technology, and they’re deleting a gene for a molecule called PD1.

And the reason that’s important is because a lot of tumors produce molecules that slip into PD1 and turn off the T cell that basically make you susceptible to cancer, or to HIV, or to anything that that T cell would normally allow you to fight against.  And so, what they’re doing is they’re taking the PD1 gene out of the T cell, and that would cause the T cell to, rather than ignore a tumor, to actually attack a tumor.  And this is one of the first cases in which they’re actually not taking DNA and altering it, they’re editing the human genome.

Rachel:  Wow.

Ben:  Apparently, and this article also goes into this, for those of you who wanna go on and read it, for those of you who are conspiracy theorists, apparently over in China, they’re already doing this type of genome editing technology not just on blood, but like in human embryos, and sperm, and eggs, and they’re actually trying to create designer babies.

Rachel:  I’m not surprised.

Ben:  They could be really racking up the gold medals in the Olympics. I would say like 12 years from now.

Rachel:  Every American’s worst nightmare.

Ben:  When all these gene edited babies come along.  But really fascinating because we talk a lot on this show about getting your genes tested, and for example, finding out if you have a lot of fast twitch versus a lot of slow twitch muscle so that you know if you’re a power responder when it comes to exercise versus an endurance responder.  Or taking your genetic data from something like 23andMe and exporting it to a website, like Promethease is a popular one, and you can actually figure out whether you respond better to a low carb/high fat diet or a high carb/low fat diet.  But it’s turning out that if all this gene editing technology takes off, that might not even matter.  You could be like, “Okay.  Well, I really enjoy rice, so turn me into a high carber, baby.”

Rachel:  What do you think about it being the ultimate of better living through science?

Ben:  It could be.  It could also just create a bunch of genetic freaks.  And then there’s that ethical question, or happiness question too.  It’s like can you be happy with who you are and how you were born versus just like going in, and changing your body, and altering your genes?  And of course, for me, I wanna see a lot of people do this, and lot of rodents do this, and a lot of fruit flies do it before I would jump into doing this myself.  I think playing with your DNA could be dangerous.

Rachel:  Definitely.

Ben:  Kids, don’t do this at home.  And then something else that’s really interesting, the growing global epidemic of something called myopia.  Have you seen?

Rachel:  I have.  I have.  It’s crazy.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s this idea that half the planet is going to need glasses by 2050 because of screens.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  And it’s this global prevalence of something called myopia, which is basically short sightedness, and this article goes into the fact that they have traced this directly to the fact that most of our time during the day is spent focusing on objects that are anywhere from 6 inches to about 2 feet ahead of us.  And this is obviously not rocket science when it comes to you figuring out what to do about it.

The article itself just verifies what I personally, and you probably, and I would imagine many of our listeners, Rachel, have suspected, that maybe looking at screens all day isn’t good for us.  But the myth is that, or the misunderstanding, or whatever you call it, is when you’re focusing on something far off in the distance, that you’re straining your eyes.  It’s the opposite.  Your eye muscles actually strain and contract when you’re looking at something close.  When you look at something far, the way that the eye works is the muscles around the eye actually relax when you’re looking at something far off in the distance.

So the key here, and this is something that I’m very careful to do when I have a giant picture window in front of me right now that, as you and I are talking, I’m not looking at my computer.  I’m looking way off into the forest, and I’m looking at trees that are 10 feet away, and mountains that are a mile away, and rocks that are, I’d say about the 50 yards or so away.  But the idea is that you want to, I mean you could use the Pomodoro Technique or any other technique that you want for eye brakes, but you want to focus your eyes on objects far off in the distance frequently throughout the day.  All the more so if you’re a typist, or a blogger, or an author, or somebody on the computer all day.

Rachel:  So what are people gonna do if they don’t have a beautiful big window looking out into the mountains?

Ben:  It’s not rocket science, is it.  Go outside and look at a bus that’s driving away.  Yeah.  Look at a skyscraper often.  Anything that allows you take your eyes off your screen.

There’s a guy I’m actually getting on the podcast.  As a matter of fact, he runs a website called IrisTech.  So I’ve really been geeking out on monitors, like the backlighting of monitors.  For example, the monitor that I use is called an EIZO, E-I-Z-O, and the backlighting of that monitor was actually designed to be more compatible with the human eyes.  It’s less harsh.  But that monitor also has the ability to do things like decrease the power, change up the color frequencies, do all these things that make it more natural.

But then this guy at IrisTech, who again, I’m gonna be interviewing him very soon, he’s developed technology that not only adjusts the lighting and the resolution of that monitor throughout the day based on where the sun is setting or rising, depending on what area of the world that you’re in, but then he’s also got little tweaks that will change the font of a website that you’re looking at to turn it from a serif-based font into an arial-based font, so it’s easier on the eyes to read.

Rachel:  That’s awesome.

Ben:  Or he’s got a little feature were every 25 minutes or every 55 minutes, it’ll pop up on the computer and tell you: “take your eyes off the screen,” “look away off into the distance.”  So stay tuned for a podcast with him.  But yeah, it’s really interesting that they’re saying how many people in the world are gonna need glasses at some point in the future because of these screens.

Rachel:  Yeah.  It’s crazy.  It’s currently apparently at 34% of the population and it’s going to double in 30 years.

Ben:  Have you heard of Vision Gym?

Rachel:  I haven’t.  No.

Ben:  I interviewed the folks from a website called Z-Health in the past and we talked about this thing called Vision Gym that they created.  It’s basically just a series of eye exercises that you do. I’m writing a note to myself and I will put a link to this Vision Gym program.  I have it.  I bought it for my wife who, bless her heart, never did it because the shoemaker’s wife wears no shoes.  But it’s a series of exercises designed to retrain the eyes and to wean you off of things like contact lenses and glasses.  And a lot of it does involve diversion and conversion, meaning focusing on objects far off in the distance and gradually objects closer to you, and it’s this whole kinda like done-for-you program that you go to, but we’ll link to that one too in the show notes.

Rachel:  Good.  I’m gonna do that one.

Ben:  Do that one.

Rachel:  I definitely have recently been diagnosed with short sightedness.

Ben:  Yes.  Okay.  I’ll send you a link to this Vision Gym too, or find the podcast that we did on it ’cause we’ve interviewed them.  So check out that and everything else, along with the herb for lucid dreaming, over at

Special Announcements: 

Ben:  Rachel, do you like horseradish?

Rachel:  I love horseradish so much.  I, when I go and eat sushi…

Ben:  I know you’re a vegetarian and you don’t put on prime rib…

Rachel:  No.  I put it like…

Ben:  But you do like it?

Rachel:  Well, wasabi is a form of horseradish.  And I wanna like blow my face off every time I eat sushi.  I love it.

Ben:  You want to blow your face…

Rachel:  Yeah.  I just gotta keep adding wasabi until my ears start to pound, and my noise starts to pound and sting, and my eyes start watering.  It’s ridiculous.

Ben:  I’ll have to add “blow my face off” to my vernacular.

Rachel: Yeah.

Ben:  It just sounds…

Rachel:  So, yes.  I love horseradish.  Moral of the story.

Ben:  Well, Moringa is the actual term given to this tree called a horseradish tree.  Moringa, M-O-R-I-N-G-A.  And it’s really high in protein, and calcium, and vitamin C, and potassium.  Moringa is an extremely nutrient-dense tree. You harvest the leaves, I believe, from this moringa tree, and it’s also called the horseradish tree.  It’s been shown to lower blood sugar levels, to reduce inflammation, to increase your levels of HDL, even to protect against arsenic toxicity, if that’s something that is concerning to you, which actually believe it or not, brown rice is a very high source of arsenic in people’s diets.  So there’s something to that.

Anyways though, the reason I’m telling you all this is because we have mentioned a few times before about how one of our sponsors for the show is this green juice, this Organifi Green Juice.  And whenever I go through the list of things that it has in it, like wheat grass, and spiruina, and chlorella, and coconut extract, and red beet, when I get to horseradish, it just always sounds funny that horseradish is in there.  But that’s what it is, it’s a horseradish tree leaf from this moringa plant that’s extremely nutrient dense.

Rachel:  I have heard so much about moringa recently, and I really did a quick Google to see if you had talked about it before, and you’ve only mentioned it a little bit.  But I’ve heard it might be, and I know how we all feel about the marketing of superfoods, but it’s supposed to be pretty up there with incredible plants.

Ben:  Yeah.  And it’s also a detoxifier for water, meaning that you can steep water in these moringa leaves, and there’s some kind of a protein in the seed that binds to impurities in water so that they’re clustered up and they can get separated from the water.

Rachel:  And I heard it’s one of those plants that, when you plant it in a garden with other vegetables that take nutrients from the soil, it actually adds nutrients to the soil.  So it’s a good tree to plant with vegetables and things.

Ben:  Wow.  That’s amazing.

Rachel:  It just is a super plant.  I’m really excited about the plant.  I definitely wanna more about it, and I just found out it’s in Fitlife Organifi Green Juice.

Ben:  Yup!  Cures cancer.  Makes you fly.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  Removes all wrinkles from your face.

Rachel:  I’m buying it.

Ben:  Yeah.  So anyways though, it is in this Fitlife stuff.  Really good green juice.  And everybody who’s listening in gets a discount on this green juice.  At 20%, which is actually pretty good.  Go to and use discount code Ben, and you can get 20% off some of the tastiest horseradish on the face of the planet.

Also, speaking of tasty, this podcast is brought to you by premium instant coffee.  Instant, meaning it’s a powder that you just add water to.  This is the coffee that I travel with.  We’ve talked about Kimera Koffee before, how it has nootropics added to it, but there’s also there’s also this stuff called mushroom coffee.  So, the mushroom coffee has chaga in it, which is a very alkalinic, immune boosting mushroom.  And then it has cordyceps in it, which is really good for your adrenal glands, and it also activates lung tissue, which is, I think we have a question later on today about altitude sickness and altitude training, and cordyceps is really good for that as well.

But basically this coffee, it’s about 2,000 milligrams of Arabica coffee, like an organic Arabica coffee, combined with wild crafted Siberian chaga mushroom, and then a cordyceps mushroom that’s been dual extracted, meaning that they extract it in water, and then they extract it in alcohol so you get both the water soluble, and then the fat soluble components of the cordyceps.  It’s made by a company called Four Sigmatic Foods Mushroom Coffee with cordyceps and chaga.  And whenever I travel, my method is I count on my fingers the number of days that I’m traveling, and I put one to two packets of mushroom coffee extract for each day that I’m traveling.  And then when I get into my hotel room, I run the little coffee maker in the hotel room without the coffee.  I just run it so I get the hot water, and then I add two packets of this mushroom coffee to it.

Rachel:  I read a really interesting post by these guys the other day, Four Sigmatic, and they mentioned that, and I agree there is a perception of instant coffee as being kinda terrible, but apparently that’s largely because it’s just terribly made.  And this stuff is very, very well made.

Ben:  Yes.  This is not Folgers.

Rachel:  This is definitely not Folgers.

Ben:  This is not the best part of waking up.  So you can go to, here’s the URL  That’s just a frickin’ mouthful.  Nobody’s gonna remember that.  I mean do people actually remember this stuff when you’re out there?  I don’t know.

Rachel:  They do!

Ben:  I would just go to the show notes at  But anyways, the coupon code is Ben Greenfield and that gets you 15% off the instant coffee.

Rachel:  Awesome!

Ben:  So, or anything else on their mushroom site.

And then finally, this podcast is brought to you by Harry’s.  And Harry’s has a shaving plan.  What the shaving plan is is you get the Harry’s ergonomic designed razor, the foaming shave gel, all the blades that you need, but then they basically will just ship the blades to you each month, and you just keep on saving on your blades with these ongoing shipments of not three, not four, but, count ’em, five blades, the foaming shave gel with the aloe vera.  Really, really great company when it comes to cutting out the middleman and giving you a luxurious Cadillac-like shave…

Rachel:  Men go through five blades a month shaving?

Ben:  Mhmm.  Well, I’m manly.  I’ve got a lot of testosterone.

Rachel:  You’ve got so much hair, Ben.

Ben:  My chest, everywhere.  My eye, my unibrow, my Greek unibrow.

Rachel:  You’ve got a baby face.

Rachel:  You basically have half-Asian genes.  You’re gonna look like you’re 16 until you’re 60.

Ben:  That’s right.  I’ve got reverse Benjamin Button syndrome.  So, you can get $5 off the Harry’s Shaving Plan or anything else from Harry’s.  You go to, that’s H-A-R-R-Y-S dot com, and you enter code Ben at check out to get 5 bucks off your Harry’s Razor.  And I recommend you try out that shave plan, so it’s just all outsourced and done for you.  No decision making fatigue at all.

And then, finally, for those of you who always wanna wonder where I’m at in the world, or any get-togethers, we just had some great get-togethers in Boulder, Colorado where I was out for the Ancestral Health Symposium.  But two things I would look forward to coming up in November, because frankly I’m gonna be mostly hunting in August and September.  And unless you wanna join along with me and follow me through the woods hunting, there’s not gonna be many meet ups and travel happening in August or September because I’m gonna be out filling my refrigerator with meat/freezer with meat, but the Finland Biohacking Conference is coming up on November 18th, and we’ll put a link to that in the show notes because if you like to travel and you like better living through science and biohacking, this is one of the best conferences on the face of the planet, in my opinion, in terms of good food, awesome biohacks, cool science, great speakers, and so on.  And Finland.  You can’t go wrong, Finland.

Rachel:  Finland?

Ben:  There’s rumor on the streets that Rachel might go.

Rachel:  I might go.  I really want to.

Ben:  And then also the Weston A. Price Foundation, I will be speaking at the Weston A. Price Conference, and for those of you who are really wanting to learn more about ancestral nutrition, eat really, really good food, and lots of really good free food, and food samples of awesome things like bone broth, and pemmican, and all these things that our ancestors stuff their faces with, the Weston A. Price Conference is actually right before that Finland conference.  I believe the 14th through the 16th is the Weston A. Price Foundation Conference.  You could even, if you wanna pull a Ben Greenfield, ’cause I like to talk about myself in the third person, you could go to the Weston A. Price Conference, which is somewhere in the south, I don’t even remember.

Rachel:  Alabama.

Ben:  Yeah, Alabama.  And then just fly straight over to Helsinki, Finland with me. For an awesome one-two combo.  So check out both of those events.  Those are coming in November if you want a fun November and haven’t had it planned out yet.  So check all that out.  We’ll put links to that in the show notes over at

Listener Q & A:

Jenny:  Hey, Ben.  This is Jenny from Indianapolis.  I’m a fit and active 52 year old woman who lives and works about 500 feet above sea level.  My husband and I are planning a backpacking trip through Yellowstone this fall, and we’ll be hiking about 6,000 to 8,000 thousand feet above sea level.  My concern is elevation sickness.  We’ve snow skied out west before and I’ve experienced that horrible headache nausea feeling that comes with it.  And I was wondering if you have any tips on how to avoid acclimating and getting used to working out at elevation.  Thanks again.

Ben:  A topic near and dear to my heart.  You know why?

Rachel:  Well, I would say you live at altitude, but you don’t.

Ben:  I don’t.  No.  I was just hacking up a lung competing in the Train To Hunt National Championships over in Park City, Utah.

Rachel:  Hacking up a lung?

Ben:  I think we were at about 8,300 feet.  It was one of those competitions where I got about halfway through, I mean day one, we were out orienteering and GPS wayfinding at 11 PM at night.  So, they basically wanted to start the thing off with just four hours of orienteering and wayfinding.  And then you wake up the next morning and you’ve got five hours of shooting competition.  And then, after that, a 4 mile race with, depending on which division you’re in, anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds on your pack, and then you hit the sack, you collapse, you wake up the next morning, and you have obstacle racing with weapons for the next several hours.  So it’s a brutal event.  I literally just flew back from it last night.  So I’m just now in the land of oxygen once again.  So, I always ask myself though, “Why did I not do more altitude training?”

Rachel:  Right.  And if you were gonna do altitude training, what would you do?

Ben:  Well, we’ve actually, to be frank, we’ve talked about altitude training a lot before on the show, but what we haven’t talked about is this whole concept of like altitude sickness, elevation sickness.  A lot of the things that can be done for elevation sickness can also be done for altitude training.  I mean, if you go to, you do a search for altitude training, we have actually two really good podcasts and articles on it.  But when it comes at altitude sickness, there’s this pathological effect of high altitude on humans caused by that acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen, and it’s similar to how you’d feel if you had the flu, or carbon monoxide poisoning, or a hangover for example.  And the reason for this is of course the lack of oxygen in the air, and different people have different susceptibilities to it, but it generally doesn’t start to happen until you get to about a little over 6,000 feet, about 6,500 feet or so above sea level.

And interestingly, by the way, for those of you wonder if you should altitude train for an event or not, you don’t really need to unless it is indeed above 6,000 feet.  That’s like the magic mark at which not only altitude sickness sets in, but also the magic mark, where if you’re gonna compete at altitude, you need to be doing altitude training if you’re gonna be above 6,000 feet.  And you don’t want to, like me, hack up a lung during competition, or get blue lips.  So, you’ll get headache fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, sleep disturbances, all these different issues.

And the typical allopathic response of this, the modern medical response, is there are certain medications that they’ll prescribe.  One common one is called Diamox.  That’s the trade name for this supplement.  It’s called acetazolamide is the approximate name for it, but they’ll give this to folks who are, for example, at Everest base camp and who are climbing.  And the reason for this is that’s a diuretic.  It stimulates your kidneys to secrete more bicarbonate and that actually acidifies your blood.  And it’s really interesting.

When you acidify the blood, that change in pH will increase the depth of respiration, and the frequency of respiration, and it speeds up the natural acclimatization process.  It’s really interesting.  You can actually acidify your blood.  And it works, it’s not that healthy, it’s processed by the liver.  I think that there are other more natural things that you can do that we’ll talk about in a second, but I think it’s really interesting how blood acidification is actually how medicine pulls off eliminating altitude sickness.  And I suppose if it were a last ditch effort and you were climbing Everest, this would work.  The interesting thing is the other pharmaceutical that can work for this is Sildenafil.  Do you know what Sildenafil is?

Rachel:  No idea.

Ben:  That’s the active ingredient in Viagra.

Rachel:  Oh.  Wow.

Ben:  You can take your boner pills up to the mountains and…

Rachel:  Help you with altitude sickness.

Ben:  That may also be a little bit.  Completely aside, that’s banned by USADA and the World Anti-Doping Association, et cetera.  So don’t do that if you’re, for example, gonna be competing in the Spartan World Championships in Lake Tahoe, or something like that.  But anyway, it’s interesting.  Now if you look at the indigenous peoples of South America, this is really interesting, one of the things that they did quite a bit, and still do, is they chew Coca leaves to alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness.  Have you ever chewed Coca?

Rachel:  I haven’t.

Ben:  Okay.  You can get some forms of Coca leaves, for example, on Amazon, and I’ll link to that in the show notes.  I personally, I’m not gonna pretend I’ve used them because I haven’t.  I have actually not ever used cocoa leaves.  They’re one of those things that I hear are a great pick-me-up.  On my list of things to experiment with, but that’s one thing is the chewing of Coca leaves to alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness.  So that would be one more natural method.  Now if you look at Asia, a really popular therapy over in Asia is Rhodiola, which is a Chinese adaptogenic herb, and that’s actually one that’s a little bit easier to get your hands on.  What I use when I go to altitude and I’m spending long periods of time at altitude, and I actually didn’t take it with me to this Train To Hunt National Championships because, well, I guess I’ll just tell you the long story.

So I usually use the stuff called TianChi.  So TianChi is this a blend of some of the most potent adaptogenic herbs on the face of the planet.  So Rhodiola is one of the ones that’s in there, and it’s considered to be one of the most treasured herbs in Chinese medicine.  It’s good for blood purifying, it’s good for cognitive function, it’s good for oxygenation, and it’s good for altitude.  There’s a bunch of other stuff in there that also works really well at altitude, cordyceps, and ashwagandha, reishi mushroom, and something called schisandra, which is really good for the lungs.  It’s potent stuff.  Anyways though, my wife used all my TianChi.

Rachel:  Oh.  She did? I didn’t even know she took TianChi

Ben:  She did that iridology exam, and it turns out that she needed some help with blood purification.  So I said, “Here’s my box of TianChi.  Take this every day.”  And she did.  I know I just said the shoemaker wears no shoes a little bit ago, but this was a case where she actually took my advice, and took my TianChi, and also screwed me over completely because I didn’t have any.  But that stuff, it has a really, really good form of Rhodiola in it.  And Rhodiola in general would be good, but that TianChi stuff, it has rhodiola and then some.

Rachel:  Do these work similar to the pharmaceuticals?  Or do they work in a completely different way?

Ben:  Completely different way.  They work similar to coca leaves or rhodiola.  They don’t acidify the blood.

Rachel:  What do they do?

Ben:  So Rhodiola, for example, actually it causes what’s called adrenal activation of lung tissue.  It works in your adrenal glands and increases stimulus to your lungs via your adrenal glands is the way that would work.  It also increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.  But that one’s like a cocktail, ’cause there’s like 40 different herbs in TianChi.  It’s like 99 bucks for a box.  There’s 30 packets in a box.  You’re paying 3 bucks a serving really.  But in my opinion, it’s worth it.  It’s like you can use it as a smart drug, you can use it’s a pre-performance aid, et cetera.  Yes.  Stress relief, you name it.  So anyways, there’s that.  That would be another one.  So Rhodiola and coca leaves.  And Viagra, of course.

And then there are some other good natural fixes for altitude sickness.  Ginkgo Biloba, they’ve done some good studies.  One really good study at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center, which is a great research center, and they found that ginkgo could absolutely and significantly decrease the intensity of altitude illness.  So that’s one.  Ginger is another.  So just a basic ginger extract, ginger root, ginger tea, very, very good, of course, for digestion and for nausea.  But it also works for altitude sickness.  So that would be another one that you could bring with you to altitude.  Anything that thins the blood can help.  Now most of us know that fish oil can thin the blood.  So that one would certainly fall in there.  But two other things that can thin the blood, one that I actually eat copious amounts of.

So I had the worst airplane meal ever yesterday.  I stopped off at Whole Foods on my way to the airport and I made myself a little salad that I could bring on to the airport in my little paper bag.  My salad was full of cruciferous vegetables because cruciferous vegetables are really full of sulfur-based antioxidants.  And you actually get exposed to a lot of radiation and oxidation when you’re flying, and things like broccoli, and cauliflower, and stinky things like garlic and eggs, those can help out a lot with jet lag and with the damage that can accrue in your body from frequent flying.  So my salad that I apologized to the person who was sitting next to me on the plane, if you’re a podcast listener…

Rachel:  ‘Cause it got really stinky.

Ben:  It was basically roasted vegetables.  I went to, I love going to the salad bar at Whole Foods and getting all those roast, like they roast eggplant, and zucchini, and red peppers, and green peppers, and I’ll put a bunch of those over a bed of kale.  And then I put some salt and pepper on that, but then I threw cruciferous vegetables on top.

Rachel:  And then were they in your backpack the whole afternoon?

Ben:  No.  I had broccoli, I had cauliflower, and I had, I swear, eight tablespoons of that roasted garlic that they have at Whole Foods.  I love that stuff.  And so the problem with the Whole Foods salad bars, there’s not really good sources of protein.  Most of the proteins are cooked in canola oil, so I try to avoid those at the hot food bar at Whole Foods.  Instead, I migrate over to the Asian section and then grab myself a can of either Wild Planet or Bella sardines, both of which are sardines from really good sustainable wild-caught sources.  And then I open the can of sardines and I put that on my salad.  So I basically had sardines and garlic on the plane.

And that’s just the worst plane meal ever, but it was really tasty.  Anyways, garlic thins the blood.  So garlic can work for altitude sickness.  Cloves work very similarly.  So garlic and cloves.  Just don’t be mean and eat it on the plane.  Wait until you get to the mountains.  But garlic and cloves, and interestingly, sardines, because they are source of fish oil, would also be fine.  So eat a very stinky salad is what I’m saying.

And then there’s also essential oils. Lavender is a very good herbal treatment that can help with sleep, and it has a good sedative, relaxing property.  But it also is really, really good at decreasing the symptoms of altitude sickness.  Smearing lavender on your upper lip, or on your chest, or anywhere where you’re gonna smell it.  That can work out quite well also.  So that would be another one.

And then the final two that I would throw at you, one would be water.  Really good water, and I’ve said this before in the podcast, whenever I land anywhere, whether it’s altitude or not, one of the first things I do is I go to the grocery store, it doesn’t have to be a Whole Paycheck, Whole Foods, it can be just a regular old grocery store, and find yourself glass bottled water.  Glass bottled water doesn’t have a lot of the plastics floating around in it.  It tends to be higher in minerals.  It tends to be a little bit cleaner source of water, and get really well hydrated with good glass bottled water because you’ll find, when you get to altitude, you start peeing yellow and even like orange-ish yellow, drinking as much water as you normally drink at non-altitude or sea level.  And so lots of water, that’s another one, and good water.

And then, finally, this is something a lot of people don’t know, but I think that the listeners who are listening in who are doing ketosis, and low carb diets, and all that jazz, your body shifts from fatty acid utilization to more carbohydrate utilization.  This value called your respiratory quotient, your RQ, goes up when you are at altitude.  And when your RQ goes up, that means that you are generating more carbon dioxide because you’re burning more carbohydrates as a fuel.  So, you may actually need to tweak your carbohydrate intake up just slightly because your blood sugar levels are going to fall more quickly because you’re burning carbohydrate more readily at altitude and burning fats less readily.  So you may also need to increase your carbohydrate intake a little bit.  So get yourself over to an Italian restaurant and some pasta and pizza into your system.

Rachel:  And is there anything that people can do prior to actually getting up there to avoid altitude sickness? 

Ben:  Well, I mean, altitude training.  You could do anything from sauna to increase your blood volume and your production of erythropoietin, or red blood cell precursors.  They have some good studies showing that sauna can help out quite a bit with altitude acclimation.  They make, and this refers back to the podcast that we’ve done on altitude training, companies like Hypoxico make altitude generators that you can put next to a treadmill or a bicycle, and you put the mask on your face and you work out, and it decreases the partial pressure of oxygen in the air while you’re exercising.  So that’s another example.  You can even use things like static apnea tables.  There are apps that you can download to your phone that have you hold your breath for a certain amount of time, and then breathe, and hold your breath.  And they’ll put you through intervals or you gradually increase your ability to be able to tolerate carbon dioxide.

So, yeah.  There’s lots of things that you can do leading up to actually heading to altitude.  And what I’d recommend that you do for that is just go to, and do a search for altitude training because, while this is probably one of the few times we’ve talked about altitude sickness, specifically on the show, we have some pretty good shows that we’ve done on all these different biohacks that are out there for altitude training.  So, go check those out.  And, yeah.  And that would be it.

And by the way, last thing would be if you were listening in and you have experimented much with coca leaves, let us know in the comments section because that’s actually something that I’m looking for a good source for, and that I want to try myself.  And I’m sure some listeners want to try that too.  So if you’ve got a good source for coca leaves, let us know in the podcast because that’s something that I’m certainly interested in.  I know, Rachel, you probably are too, right?

Rachel:  Absolutely.

Ben:  Coca, baby.  Alright.  There you have it.

Rachel:  Hi, Ben and Rachel.  Another Rachel here from Sydney, Australia.  First off, I love listening to your podcasts and reading new material.  So, thank you very much from over here.  My question relates to muscle cramps.  My husband gets terrible cramps and they can occur at any time, typically at night time though.  Also runs during runs over 12k, during the day, but as I said, mostly at night time and they can be anywhere on the body.  He takes magnesium and camp bark formula in tablet form, two a day, and magnesium forte.  We’ve tried so many things, but nothing seems to work.  He rolls, stretches, he doesn’t relax.  His mom had this issue and they both have blue feet.  It’s really annoying for him and me.  I’m may well have missed something that you’ve already posted regarding this, but I haven’t found it.  So, sorry in advance, but thank you also in advance.  Thanks!  Bye!

Ben:  A Rachel from Australia.

Rachel:  Yeah, but she’s from Sydney.

Ben:  Why do you say it like that?

Rachel:  We’re very different people.  No!  I’m just kidding, Rachel!  I’m just kidding!

Ben:  Wait.  What’s the deal with Sydney?

Rachel:  No.  There’s nothing wrong with Sydney.  It’s just I’m from Melbourne, but I lived in Melbourne and Sydney, and Melbourne I kinda liked.  They’re kinda like America and Canada in a way.

Ben:  Is that like saying like when somebody calls in from Hawaii, and you say they’re American but they’re Hawaiian?

Rachel:  Right.  No.  I mean, similar, but different.  Same same, but different.

Ben:  Interesting, as I insult everybody from Hawaii.  Interesting.  Okay.  So, cramps.  Cramps.  Cramps.  Cramps.  We’ve talked about this a little bit before on the show, but there are some things that I definitely want to go over here when it comes to cramping, because I know it’s a topic near and dear to many people’s hearts.  So first of all, a lot of people think that of course crapping is due to electrolyte or water loss, with the common explanation or argument being when you exercise, you sweat, you release water and electrolytes like sodium, and potassium, and magnesium, and calcium, and chloride, and as you lose more and more of that, your body gets depleted and, because electrolytes help to conduct nerve impulses through your body, which causes your muscles to contract, when you lose enough water or you lose enough electrolytes, the nerve impulses from your brain to your muscles get all deranged and that makes your muscles cramp.  That is how companies like Gatorade have made a lot of money, ’cause of that argument.

The problem with that, and the reason why losing electrolytes and losing water probably doesn’t cause, or at least isn’t the primary cause of muscle cramps, is because, first of all, sweat contains more water than it does electrolytes.  When you get dehydrated, your blood levels of electrolytes, and they actually studied this, they actually go up or they stay about the same.  We don’t see a big drop in plasma electrolytes, unless someone has been exercising for more than 24 hours.  So unless we’re talking about a multi-day adventure race, the whole electrolyte argument really doesn’t hold up that well.  They’ve also done studies in which they’ve looked to athletes who get muscle cramps and they have about the same level of electrolytes and the same level of dehydration as athletes who don’t cramp.  And so no studies have found a relation between athletes’ electrolyte levels and their risk of cramping.  And by the way, one of those same studies from a drinking Gatorade did not prevent people from cramping at all.

Rachel:  Well, I was thinking that would probably be an easy fix because you’d just drink more water and intake more electrolytes, and then it would either fix the cramping or it wouldn’t.  But there’s lots of people that write in saying that it hasn’t helped.  So it makes sense.

Ben:  Well, the other thing is if cramps are caused by losing too many electrolytes, then all, or most of your muscles, should cramp, not just some of them.  Okay.  So when people get a real electrolyte deficiency, when you actually look at blood electrolyte levels, virtually all of the muscles going to spasms.  So we’re talking about, “Oh, my leg!  My elbow!  My jaw!  Everything is cramping!”  That’s a true electrolyte deficiency.  In most cases, if it’s just your calves, or if it’s just your biceps, or something like that, that’s not a true electrolyte deficiency.  And the other thing is that if it is an electrolyte deficiency, then taking electrolytes should make the cramp go away.  Like swallowing electrolytes should make the cramp go away, drinking a bunch of water should make the cramp go away, and that doesn’t actually happen.

So when we look at what really causes muscle cramps, the most scientifically supported theory is that muscle cramps are caused by premature fatigue.  Basically, you get tired, your muscles reflex control gets dysfunctional, and instead of contracting and relaxing like it’s supposed to, the muscle simply keeps on firing.  It’s twitchy.  It can’t stop contracting.  And that theory is actually supported by many lines of evidence.

So for example, the muscles that you use most during your workouts are the ones that usually cramp.  And the muscles that cross multiple joints are more likely to cramp than other muscles because those muscles generally have more activity.  You’re more likely to cramp during competition or during a race than you are in training when you’re pushing that muscle harder than you would normally even at the same level of hydration and the same level of electrolyte status.  And then finally, we’ve seen that athletes who have more muscle damage, who are less tapered going into a race or competition, they actually tend to cramp more because that muscle becomes more susceptible to fatigue.

So based on this, the number one thing that you can do if you’re someone who gets cramping during exercises such as races or very hard workouts, is (a) begin to push that muscle just as hard during training sessions as you plan on doing during races, which is one big mistake that people make.  They simply don’t push as hard in training as they’re gonna push in a race.  It sounds simple and stupid, but it’s true.  Number two would be foam roll and do deep tissue work a ton before a race or an event in which you are susceptible to cramping.  So if your calves cramp a lot, or your biceps cramp a lot, you wanna do like lacrosse ball, foam rolling, deep tissue work, massage as much as you can to actually decrease that muscle’s susceptibility to cramp, to become tight, and to fatigue.  And then finally, you would of course, want to taper going into an event in which cramping has been an issue for you in the past.  You wanna take those muscles that are susceptible to fatigue and follow that rule that it’s better to take them into an event 10% under trained versus 1% over trained, if that makes sense. 

Rachel:  Yes. 

Ben:  So that’s one really important consideration here when it comes to cramping that I wanted to point out is that the electrolyte and the hydration status is not as important as the soft tissue integrity, and the training status of the muscle, and the relaxation of the muscle. 

Rachel:  So he’s cramping at night time and he’s already doing all of those things.  What else could it be? 

Ben:  I wanna get into this issue with night cramps in a second.  But before I do, I should also point out two other things to folks.  There was a recent study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that looked into the best predictions of calf cramping.  And they found that when it comes to calf cramping, which is probably one of the more common forms of cramping that people experience, again, hydration was not a predicting factor.  Electrolytes were not a predicting factor.  The two predicting factors for propensity to cramp, especially in the calves during exercise were,( drum roll please) low back pain and age.  Now, in the case of the former, low back pain, it’s probably because low back pain is heavily correlated with poor mobility, poor muscle tone, and muscular imbalances.  Okay.  People who have low back pain tend to have poor biomechanics.  So that’s probably why that is.

And then when it comes to age, we know that aging can result in more muscle adhesions, more scar tissue, and less quality of muscle fiber, which we could work on with deep tissue work, like foam rolling, and massage therapy, and some of those things I was talking about earlier.  But it’s really interesting.  If you can get rid of low back pain and you can get rid of muscle adhesions and scar tissue, and poor movement capacity of a muscle, then once again, you’re putting yourself into a status where you’re far less likely to cramp.  So I thought that was really interesting was that recent study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Rachel:  Very interesting.

Ben:  And then the other thing I was gonna mention was I also have about an hour long podcast that I did called “Beyond Dehydration: Why Cramping Really Happens and What You Can Do About It.”  And in that particular podcast, we geeked out on cramping at an extremely deep level when it comes to the neurological reason that cramps occur.  So go listen to that podcast.  And if you go to, I’ll link to that in the show notes.  So now we get to this issue with this night cramp thing.  Now another name for this can be Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS.  Have you heard of this before, Rachel?

Rachel:  I have.  Yup.

Ben:  It’s a neurological disorder and they estimate that about 12 Million people in America have it.  It happens when you’re lying in bed at night and you get this tingling, or aching, or itching, or cramping, or tugging kinda like deep below the skin of your legs, and sometimes it happens in the thighs, and the feet, and the hands, and the arms too.  And there are a variety of things that they’ve looked into that can actually help with this type of issue at night.  One that they found is cutting out any stimulants starting from noon on.  Caffeine, nicotine, anything that would be considered a stimulant.  Crack cocaine and hookers, like anything that’s getting you excited before bed time, get rid of it.  Okay?  Substitute decaffeinated varieties, use white teas instead of coffees, things like that.  So that’s another one that they found can actually increase susceptibility to night cramps.

They have found that stress can actually cause it, and including simple techniques like breathing, and meditation, and yoga, and simply not working too close to bedtime can even help out quite a bit with these night cramps too.  It sounds simple and stupid, but it can actually work.  In many cases, calcium-magnesium imbalances, and the use of topical, like transdermal magnesium, like smearing magnesium on those tissues that are susceptible to cramping, especially if this is a night time leg cramp issue, that can help out quite a bit as well.  That’s another one thing that they found can help.  Compression socks, wearing compression gear, compression tights, compression leggings, compression socks, maybe not the sexiest thing to wear to bed, but that can actually help out quite a bit as well.  Unfortunately, that flies in the face of something we talked about, I dunno if you remember this Rachel, when we talked about how they found that when your feet are cold at night when you’re sleeping, you sleep more deeply.

Rachel:  I do remember that.  Yes.

Ben:  And you can stick your feet out from underneath the covers, or even get one of these, what do they call ’em, the Chilly Pad devices that allow your bed to be more cool.

Rachel:  It was because it decreased your core body temperature, right?  So you could technically wear the compression socks and then sleep in like a super cold room, and it’s gonna be the same thing.

Ben:  Right.  Exactly.  Sleep naked just wearing compression socks.  It’s a sexy, sexy look.  Trust me.

Rachel:  It’s gonna be a great look.

Ben:  Yeah.  So that’s another one.  Acupuncture, they found that acupuncture can actually help quite a bit with Restless Leg Syndrome.  And so that would be another one you could look into is the use of acupuncture.  Obviously that’s a little bit less convenient ’cause you have to go to a practitioner to do it.  And then, finally, there is this concept that the taste of something extremely, like a gag reflex type of bitter-salty can actually decrease what’s called the alpha motor neuron reflex that causes your body to go in a protective spasm.  This is one of the reasons why if I’m in a long race, like I’m gonna to be racing the Ultra Beast in Lake Tahoe in October, and that’s like the Spartan Beast, the 13 mile Spartan Beast, except times two.  Meaning you get to the finish line and, unfortunately, take a loving long glance at the finish line, and then run right past it and keep going to do laps. 

Rachel: Sounds like hell.

Ben:  It is gonna be hell.

Rachel:  But you’re gonna drink something that stimulates your gag reflex, and that’s gonna stop you from getting muscle cramps, right?

Ben:  I’m doing it because doing something that you’re fearful of, or that’s scary, or that’s uncomfortable is one of the most character building things that you can do.  Plus it allows me to help inspire our listeners to keep on pushing themselves.  Plus I learn a lot about nutrition, and biohacking, and training, and stuff when I’m out doing the, like if I was just sitting in my mom’s basement answering questions on a podcast, I don’t think that these podcasts would be very well informed.  Or at least they’d be full of a lot more BS rather than in the trenches advice.

Rachel:  Absolutely.

Ben:  We digress.  So the idea is, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this, like there’s this new, have you heard about this stuff called Hotshot?

Rachel:  No.

Ben:  Okay.  So this company developed this, they call “the proprietary formulation of organic spice extracts.”  But, basically, it’s lime juice concentrate, and cayenne, and they’ve got some stevia in there, and a whole bunch of little things that are like salty/bitter.  And the reason for that is when you even taste this stuff, you don’t even need to swallow it, you just taste it.  It hits your tongue, and it causes that alpha motor neuron to relax.  Now, a lot of people have asked me about Hotshot, and if anybody from Hotshot is listening in, my apologies, but it’s basically like expensive pickle juice.

Rachel:  Expensive stuff you can make at home?

Ben:  Expensive cayenne pepper.  What I tell people is, if you’re going to race stop in at the truck stop on your way and grab a few mustard packets from the hotdog stand, and you can just open those, and dump them in your mouth, and that will reverse a cramp when it happens, when you’re not racing.  What I…

Rachel:  Have you tried this?  Have you ever gotten muscle cramps?

Ben:  Yeah.  It happened to me at the Spartan World Championships last year.  And so, and this is what I was talking about when I was starting to talk about that Ultra Beast is I carry a little Ziploc bag with electrolyte capsules in it.  I’m not brand specific.  Just like any salt capsule.  However, I don’t swallow the capsule because they’ve, again like I mentioned earlier, your electrolyte status isn’t gonna affect your cramping unless you’re severely electrolyte depleted.  Instead, I break open the capsule, and I dump it on my tongue, and it’s an extremely salty, horrible taste. But within a second, that cramp goes away and it’s not anywhere near enough time for those salts to actually make their way into muscle tissue.  It’s because the taste of something salty, or the taste of something extremely spicy, or the taste of something pickle juicy, all of that actually stimulate sensory nerves that will get rid of that motor neuron reflex, that protective reflex that the muscle goes into.

 And that’s another thing that you can do is if you get night cramps, just keep a mustard packet, or some pickle juice, or something extremely salty, even a little salt lick next to your bed stand, and that taste, that bitter/salty/spicy taste can actually decrease the cramping. Anyways though, also go listen to this podcast though, that big, long podcast that I did on muscle cramping.  That might help too.  And we’ll put a link to that.  Just go to and I’ll link to that one in the show notes also.

Jeff:  Hey, Ben.  This is Jeff.  Quick question about fat burn and calorie deficit.  I generally stay in fat burn and eat pretty healthy, and I was wondering if we workout every day and we’re anywhere between 500 and 1,000 calorie deficit, is that safe and okay to do?  How long of a time period can you go that way?  I only have maybe 5, 10 more pounds to lose, but really working on endurance, muscle strength, and so forth.  So I’d love to hear what you think.  Thanks.

Ben:  Rachel, are you familiar with this concept of cycling calories or cycling carbohydrates?

Rachel:  No.  I just eat food.

Ben:  Okay.  You just eat food.

Rachel:  Did I fail?  Was that a big cross next to my name?

Ben:  No.  I like your food.  For those of you who have not tuned into, what is it,, Rachel and I actually had a wonderful food…

Rachel:  Experience.

Ben:  We actually had a great, we know how to party.

Rachel:  We do, don’t we?

Ben:  I was over in Seattle.  No, I was over in Portland for the Spartan Race.  I did the 4 hour Hurricane Heat, and then the Portland Spartan Sprint, and Rachel and I met up afterwards ’cause she was over in Portland and we did 60 minutes of hot-cold contrast at the Russian sauna, and then we did ginger shots and a giant bowl full of like kale and seaweed.

Rachel:  Yup.  Lots of good stuff.

Ben:  All of this superfoods.  Yeah.  We party in style.  So, I do like Rachel’s palate even though I have to add tasty meat…

Rachel:  You do have to add tasty meat.  You need tasty meat.  And also, I spent most of my time just kinda sitting on the bench reading while you did the crazy hot-cold stuff.

Ben:  I saw that.  I was taking a 5 minute cold shower while you were reading a book.

Rachel:  And I was kind of shying away.

Ben:  Lazy.  Okay. So, carb cycling.  Let’s start here because what we’re really talking about is this idea that if you stayed at caloric deficit for too long, you could potentially develop, it’s an overused term, but this whole concept of starvation syndrome, or downregulation of thyroid hormone production from being at a consistent calorie deficit, even downregulation of a lot of fertility-based hormones because our bodies, from an evolutionary/ancestral standpoint don’t want us to make babies when food is not present in adequate quantities.  We don’t want to have little babies that starve and die.  It’s a morbid thought, but it’s an ancestral mechanism.

So in its most basic format, carb cycling, and this is related to calorie cycling too, which I’ll get into, not just carb cycling, but it’s a planned alteration of your carbohydrate intake to prevent a fat loss plateau and also to prevent a drop in metabolism when you are restricting calories or when you are restricting carbohydrates.  So the idea here is the body actually handles short-term deprivation of calories, or short-term deprivation of carbohydrates, very, very well, and brief and relatively infrequent periods of fasting, like 24 hour plus fast, or a carbohydrate restriction can be really advantageous for losing fat, and for health and longevity in general.

There was one study in The American Journal of Cardiology that noted that bouts of fasting spread throughout the year actually improve markers of cardiovascular disease, and these are 24 hour fasts.  This is one reason why my wife does a 24 hour fast almost every week.  I do one just about once a month.  I train so much that it’s harder for me to do a full-on fast.  A guy who I was just staying with down in Park City, a really good, kinda like anti-aging and health doc who I interviewed for next week’s podcast, when I was there his daughter was doing a five day fast because she was about to head off to college, and she just wanted to do like a full on detox of her body.  So she was just doing a five day water fast.

The thing is though, restricting calories or carbohydrates for really long periods of time can have some negative metabolic effects because of what’s called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal access, your body’s kinda like mission control for hormones.  That can actually, in response to long-term calorie restriction or long-term carbohydrate restriction, cause things like reduced metabolic rate, and reduced thyroid hormone output, and reduced sympathetic fight and flight nervous system activity.

So a Crossfit workout or a high intensity training session becomes more difficult.  It can result in lower amounts of the appetite regulating hormone leptin.  It can result in lower amounts of reproductive hormone output, which I referred to earlier.  And this has been shown over and over again in studies.  It can bring fat loss to a standstill and also lower the metabolic rate.  It’s a metabolic response to extreme carbohydrate restriction or extreme calorie restriction.  This has been proven over and over again in studies, how long term energy reduction can come back and bite you in the butt if you’re not careful.  So this is where planned manipulation and planned variation of your calorie intake and your carbohydrate intake can come in very handy.

Rachel:  Right.  So what’s a good number?

Ben:  Well, let’s get into that.  So, basically, what they found in multiple studies is that in a state of a negative energy balance, negative calorie intake, having certain days in which you increase carbohydrate intake and/or increase calorie intake actually increases thyroid output, and controls hunger, and can keep a lot of these reproductive hormones elevated.  In addition, when you have planned refeeds of carbohydrate, whether it’s dinners or meals throughout the week, you get an insulin release which a lot of people freak out about because high levels of chronically elevated insulin can keep fat cells from mobilizing fatty acids in to tissue, but insulin is very anabolic as well.  So you’re trying to gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously, having certain periods of time where you actually experience an insulin surge can help out quite a bit with that whole “gain muscle, lose fat” type of approach.

So a refeed, which is what you’d wanna do is basically a planned increase in calorie intake, or a planned increase in carbohydrate intake that is typically either one meal for a full 8 to 12 hour day, and typically consists of a big increase in carbohydrates, or a big increase in calories, or both.  So an example of this would be you’re following a strict diet of, let’s say, 1,500 calories five days a week, let’s say each of the weekdays, and then on the weekend you’re doing 500 to 1,000 calories more than that, like 2,500 calories of slightly more carbohydrates and slightly increased calories. That would be one approach, would be that five days of dieting, two days of not, I wouldn’t say cheating, but just know higher calorie or higher carbohydrate intake.

Another example, because they’ve looked at a lot of different examples in literature, one would be simply having one day of higher carbohydrate intake about every two weeks.  And the reasoning behind that is that it takes about four weeks for the metabolism to really begin to downregulate things like thyroid hormone and reproductive hormone output when you are restricting calories or restricting carbohydrates.  So you nip that in the bud by having that one Saturday every two weeks where you’re just basically eating ad libitum, or eating a higher amount of calories or a higher amount of carbohydrates.  In very active people, and this would include myself, you can even do a carbohydrate or a calorie feed once a day.  And what I mean by that is I will go the entire day eating almost zero carbohydrates and at the very end of the day, after I’ve worked out, when my muscles are very receptive to taking in that carbohydrate and storing it away as muscle glycogen, or the liver to store it away as liver glycogen, that’s when I’ll eat anywhere from 100 to 200 grams of carbohydrates.

So a lot of different refeed cycles out there, but ultimately the idea, to answer Jeff’s question specifically, is that if you’re at a 500 to a 1,000 calorie deficit you can, on paper go for weeks at a daily deficit of that level without doing metabolic damage.  For long term muscle gain and fat loss, it is prudent though to do a refeed one to two days of the week, and then have your other five days be lower calorie.  Or if you’re really wanting to be restrictive, once every two weeks do a refeed.  And when I say refeed, generally, the best way to go about that is you figure out what your metabolic rate is, and there’s a lot of different equations out there for metabolic rate.

I have a website called, and on that website at, I have a bunch of metabolic rate calculators that allow you to figure out your metabolic rate, like how many calories that you’re burning throughout the day.  And what you do is you actually figure out how many calories that you’re burning, you figure out what your metabolic rate is, and you over and above that by about 500 to 1,000 calories.  So if it turns out that you’re burning naturally 2,500 calories a day, you have that one day of the week where you eat 3,500, or that one day every two weeks where you eat 3,500 calories.  And furthermore, if you’re normally eating, let’s say, 20% carbohydrate intake, like restricting carbohydrates, on that day you might up your carb intake to 30 or 40%.

Again, in literature, there are so many different variations of a calorie refeeding, or a calorie cycling, or a carbohydrate cycling diet I can’t say that there’s one way that’s best.  But for very active people, I like once a day having that carbohydrate refeed, and then once a week having a day of the week preferably your most active day of the week, where you just eat ad libitum, or even slightly more than what your body needs.  And then for less active people, just once every two weeks, or once every four weeks, have that refeed day or that big refeed cheat meal where you go to, whatever.  I don’t know why Olive Garden comes my head ’cause I freaking hate the Olive Garden.  It’s the fakest Italian food on the planet, but you go to Whole Foods and you make yourself a nice big-ass salad, and you put a sardine on there, can of sardines on there. There you go.

Rachel:  So does a calorie deficit, or cycling carbs or calories impact women and men differently?

Ben:  That’s a good question.  Women respond more deleteriously to long term calorie restriction or fasting, we’ve talked about this on the podcast, due to the hormone called kisspeptin.  It’ll get decreased in response to long-term calorie restriction or carbohydrate restriction in women.  And when that happens, you begin to stop producing the luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone.  So you start to lose your period, and drop bone density, and you’ll lose some of your libido, et cetera.  Women seem to do better with higher amounts of fat intake, higher amounts of fat storage, and less frequent fasting than men do.  But I haven’t seen any studies that have shown men versus women in a calorie cycling comparison.  But I would say, if anything, women benefit from more frequent refeeds, or at least less calorie restriction or less frequent fasting then men do.

Rachel:  Right.  Good to know.

Ben:  Yeah.  So anyways, Jeff, my recommendation is look into the wide wonderful world of calorie cycling and carbohydrate cycling.  That’s where I’d start, man.

Jason:  Hey, Ben.  Love your show.  Listen to it all the time.  Just a quick question.  I’m a police officer here in Albury, New South Wales, Australia.  I’m looking to start reading some more books on strength and functional strength for policing to get my power and strength going a bit more.  Just wondering what books you would suggest for that.  Love the podcast.  Listen to it all the time.

Ben:  Alright.  So I’m going to start this off by saying, even though I just mentioned it, if you’re not following me on Snapchat, I am constantly reading books. I have a giant stack.  It annoys the heck out of my wife because there are seven books stacked high next to my bed stand that I read each night.  There’s another four here in my office.

Rachel:  Seven different books that you read at the same time?

Ben:  There’s five, I’m going through my Kindle right now, but I try to take photos of the most notable sections as I go through them and I’ve been posting those to Snapchat.  So, for example, this morning I posted a comparison of what they call a lion versus a dolphin versus a bear versus a wolf, and how these different personality types respond to circadian timing differently.  Like sleep timing, sex timing, meal timing, et cetera.  Fascinating book.  I actually was sitting, having dinner with my family, when I got back from Park City last night, and we were all taking the survey in the book to figure out which animal we are like.  My wife is a bear.

Rachel:  I’m definitely a lion or a wolf.

Ben:  I’m a lion.  Have you read this book?

Rachel:  No.  I just know it.

Ben:  It’s called “The Power of When.”  You just know it.

Rachel:  I just know it.  Women’s intuition.

Ben:  Alright.  So, in response to Jason’s question, the best books for power and strength, let me give you five. How’s that sound good?  That enough to get you started?

Rachel:  Five is good.  It’s a good number.  It’s a whole number.

Ben:  Okay.  So, first of all, “Starting Strength” by Mark Rippetoe.  I think that everyone who’s trying to build strength should know how to move a barbell with proper biomechanics, and “Starting Strength” by Mark Rippetoe is a perfect way to learn how to do things like a barbell deadlift or a barbell squat with very good form.  And it’s simply one of the best tools, the barbell, for building mass very efficiently.  But you can hurt yourself if you don’t do it right, kids.  So “Starting Strength” by Mark Rippetoe.  That’ll be number one.  Fantastic book.

The next one would be “Mass Made Simple” by Dan John, who has been a guest on this podcast, who is quite the ninja when it comes to getting swole, and who has an excellent program in that book for developing mass that I’ve done typically in what I would call the off season.  Like the period of time, kinda like the winter when you’re eating more food, when it’s kinda of fun to put on mass anyways, and turning all of the Thanksgiving turkey, and the holiday cookies into muscle.  This “Mass Made Simple” book is really good.  It’s the same workout over and over and over again, but it works like gangbusters for putting on muscle.  Ignore all the nutritional advice in that book because it’s basically based on eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and whey protein shakes.  But for the actual exercises, that book is really good.  “Mass Made Simple” by Dan John.  So that would be number two.

The next book would be one that I’ve talked about recently on the show before, that I really like, that all you need to do it, the only equipment you need for the book would be a kettlebell, two kettlebells actually, and your body weight, and that one’s called “Neuromass” by Jon Bruney.  And Neuromass is a program in which you do super slow, what they call a grinding exercise, followed by a very quick and explosive power exercise, followed by an isometric exercise for one specific body part, like the quads, or your hamstrings, or your shoulders.  Then you move on to the next body part.  That is a good program if you want to build both neuromuscular strength, and musculoskeletal strength, and mass simultaneously.  So that one’s called “Neuromass.”  That would be number three.

Number four would be a book by Pavel Tsatsouline, and Pavel Tsatsouline is a guy I followed for quite some time.  This is one of the first exercise books I ever purchased actually.  It’s called “The Naked Warrior: Master The Secrets of The Super-Strong — Using Bodyweight Exercises Only.”

Rachel:  That one sounds fun.

Ben:  Yeah.  And this book is basically everything from the philosophies of Greek wrestling, to Chinese kung-fu, to modern special ops.  Basically all these different strategies that are used by people to put on muscle and to gain strength, but just using bodyweight.  You learn how to do things like pistols, and single-arm push-ups, and Pavel has a lot of other books, but this one in particular is a great one to start with, I would say.  It’s called “The Naked Warrior.”  Naked Warrior.  So, that would be number four.

Rachel:  And the final one?

Ben:  And then the final one isn’t a book.  It’s a magazine and I subscribe to it.  I actually have it right here on my desk, the latest Summer 2016 edition of this magazine.  And the magazine is called MILO, M-I-L-O.  It’s put out by Dragon Door Publications and Dragon Door has a lot of really good books for building mass and strength.  But, for example, some of the features in this particular book are how to build grip strength like wrist and grip strength, an interview with the German superpower Josef Mengele, review of the Los Angeles Fit Expo, and something called grip strength excellence, an article called “The Sum of All Strength: Tendons and Ligaments,” drills for strength training technique, all sorts of really, really good reviews of gear that can be used for training, like hip belt squats that you, like weight training belts that you can attach plates to do squats with, to Captains of Crush grip strength training devices.

The book is just full of giant men from Finland and women, with thighs that are larger than my torso, lifting.  And if thumbing through this magazine doesn’t make you want to go lift something heavy, or flip a tire, then something’s wrong with you.  So it’s called MILO, M-I-L-O strength.  And both this, The Naked Warrior, Neuromass, Mass Made Simple, and Starting Strength, that’s where I’ll go.  I mean, my library is huge.  I have literally thousands of books down here in my basement.  Have you ever been in my basement, Rachel?

Rachel:  I’ve seen your library and it is humongous.

Ben:  Yeah.  So, I’m just surrounded by books.  My wife is always on me to throw my T-shirts and throw my books, but I just won’t.

Rachel:  Oh.  You shouldn’t throw out books.

Ben:  No.  Never.  So anyways, Jason, that is where I would start.  And if you are listening in, anybody out there and you have something that you would add, go over to the to the show note at, and let us know what your favorite strength training books are.  But those are mine, and we’ll link to those, along with everything else that I discussed in this podcast, from the altitude training supplements that I recommend, to some of those cool studies on gene splicing, and why you race faster than you train, to herbs for lucid dreaming, and oh so much more over at  And this is, I suppose, a perfect time to give away some swag.  What do you think?

Rachel:  It’s always a good time to give away some swag.

Ben:  Alright.  So, here’s the deal.  First of all, I noticed we haven’t had many iTunes reviews lately and it’s probably because I’ve done a very poor job reminding you.  So if you haven’t yet left an iTunes review and you’re out there listening, then you are using us.  You’re using us.  You’re not creating good karma.  You gotta believe that.

Rachel:  Is this guilting?  By guilting you into leaving us a good review.

Ben:  I’m guilting you.  Five star reveiw.

Rachel:  We’re shamelessly doing it.  We’re quite happy about it.

Ben:  Yeah.  If you leave a five star review, and we read your view on the show, and you hear your review read on the show, and, not done yet, you e-mail [email protected], that’s G-E-A-R at, we’ll send you some gear.  Include your T-shirt size, but we’ll send you a cool tech T-shirt, water bottle, beanie, everything.  So it looks like we actually have a fantastic review left by Ahliv called “My Workout Companion.”  She left five stars and, or he, yeah.  I dunno why I assumed Ahliv was a girl, but you wanna take this one away, Rachel.

Rachel:  Yes.  Alright.  “Thank you, Ben.  I’ve been listening to you since January.  You’ve been my workout companion.  I’ve lost 55 pounds since January 1st.  I’m also stronger than I was last year, even though I’m smaller.  I have to give you credit for the inspiration and motivation.  Many times I’ve wanted to stop my workout early, but you’ve kept me going.  I’ve learned so much from you and look forward to your podcasts every day/week.  I’ve changed my life for the better listening to you and I know I’m not the only one.  You’re the best.”

Ben:  Smaller but stronger.  Lost 55 pounds.  That’s pretty good.

Rachel:  Incredible.  Good job.

Ben:  That’s incredible.  Nice work.  Nice work, awesome review, and we’re all about helping people get stronger and smaller.  So, if you too want to get stronger and smaller, listen to the show.  Leave us a review.

We also, last thing I wanna mention if you’re listening in, you may have heard that we’re going to start transitioning to once per week podcast that are going to be the long-form podcasts, and as we approach September and October of 2016, you’re gonna to start to notice the frequency of the podcast decreases, but the quality just goes through the freaking roof.  So, this weekend we will have a Saturday podcast for you.  Next week, Rachel and I will not be back, but you will get to hear me interview the great Dan Pompa, whose house I just left yesterday, and we’re gonna be talking about some pretty mind-blowing detoxification strategies that I had personally never heard of before.  So, stay tuned for that.  Visit, follow my little book Underlyings over at, and have yourself a healthy week.  What do you think, Rachel?

Rachel:  See you later.

Ben:  Alright.  Later.

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.



August 10, 2016 Podcast: 358: Muscle Cramping, Calorie & Carb Cycling, Gene Splicing, Fixing Altitude Sickness & More!

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar of events.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


News Flashes:

You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on and Google+.


Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by:

FitLife: Use discount code BEN for 20% off anything!

FourSigmatic Foods: use coupon “bengreenfield” for 15% off any mushroom blends.

Harrys.comUse $5 discount code BEN on anything at Harrys Shaving.

Click here to follow Ben on Snapchat, and get ready for some epic stories on his morning, daily and evening routine! What did you miss this week? A clay mask, a park workout, a morning routine change-up, an epic post-race salad and more.

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar.

Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now at a 40% discount.

Nov 11-14, 2016: Ben is speaking at this year’s Wise Traditions on real food to enhance physical and mental performance. If you’re an athlete, this is the talk for you! Click here to sign up.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Dr Chutkan? It was a must-listen – titled “The Gut Super Special: Eating Camel Poop, Weird Constipation Causes, Pig Whipworms & More: How to Banish Bloat, Fix Your Microbiome & Reboot Your Gut”. Click here to listen now or download for later!

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!


Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the Podcast Sidekick.

Natural Remedies For Altitude Sickness

Jenny says: She’s from Indiana. She’s a fit and active 52 year old woman that lives 500ft above sea level. Her husband and her are planning a backpacking trip to Yellowstone this fall and she’ll be hiking at 6000ft – 8000. Her concern is elevation sickness. She’s snow skied out west before and she’s experienced that horrible that headache and nausea feeling that comes with it and she’s wondering if you have any tips for how to avoid altitude sickness and get used to working out?

In my response, I recommend:
Garlic/lavender/clove essential oils
Gingko Biloba
tianchi-chinese-adaptogenic-herb-complex/” target=”_blank”>TianChi
Coca leaves

Everything You Need To Know About Muscle Cramping

Rachel says: She’s from Sydney and she loves the podcast and thanks for everything you do. Her question relates to muscle cramps. Her husband gets terrible cramps and they can occur at any time, like during runs over 12K and during the day, but they mostly occur at night.  He takes magnesium and camp bark formula two times per day and magnesium forte. They’ve tried so many things but nothing seems to work. He rolls, stretches, doesn’t relax etc, his mum had this issue and they both have blue feet. She may well have missed something you’ve already written about it but she can’t find it.

In my response, I recommend:
This podcast on muscle cramping

How To Cycle Your Calories & Carbs

Jeff says: Question about fat burn and calories deficit. He generally stays in fat burn and eats pretty healthy. He’s wondering if he works out everyday and he’s anywhere between 500-1000 cal deficit is that safe and OK to do, how long of a time period can he go that way? He only has 5-10 pounds to lose but he’s really working on endurance, muscle strength and so forth.

In my response, I recommend:

The 5 Best Books For Power & Strength

Jason says: He’s a police officer in Albury and he’s looking to start reading books on function strength for policing, he’s looking to gain power and strength. What books would you recommend for that?

In my response, I recommend:
Starting Strength
Mass Made Simple
Naked Warrior
MILO Strength




358: Muscle Cramping, Calorie & Carb Cycling, Gene Splicing, Fixing Altitude Sickness & More!

podcast 358

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

August 10, 2016 Podcast: 358: Muscle Cramping, Calorie & Carb Cycling, Gene Splicing, Fixing Altitude Sickness & More!

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar of events.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


News Flashes:

You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on,, and Google+.


Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by:

FitLife: Use discount code BEN for 20% off anything!

FourSigmatic Foods: use coupon “bengreenfield” for 15% off any mushroom blends.

Harrys.comUse $5 discount code BEN on anything at Harrys Shaving.

Click here to follow Ben on Snapchat, and get ready for some epic stories on his morning, daily and evening routine! What did you miss this week? A clay mask, a park workout, a morning routine change-up, an epic post-race salad and more.

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar.

Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now at a 40% discount.

Nov 11-14, 2016: Ben is speaking at this year’s Wise Traditions on real food to enhance physical and mental performance. If you’re an athlete, this is the talk for you! Click here to sign up.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Dr Chutkan? It was a must-listen – titled “The Gut Super Special: Eating Camel Poop, Weird Constipation Causes, Pig Whipworms & More: How to Banish Bloat, Fix Your Microbiome & Reboot Your Gut”. Click here to listen now or download for later!

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!



Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the Podcast Sidekick.

Natural Remedies For Altitude Sickness

Jenny says: She’s from Indiana. She’s a fit and active 52 year old woman that lives 500ft above sea level. Her husband and her are planning a backpacking trip to Yellowstone this fall and she’ll be hiking at 6000ft – 8000. Her concern is elevation sickness. She’s snow skied out west before and she’s experienced that horrible that headache and nausea feeling that comes with it and she’s wondering if you have any tips for how to avoid altitude sickness and get used to working out?

Everything You Need To Know About Muscle Cramping

Rachel says: She’s from Sydney and she loves the podcast and thanks for everything you do. Her question relates to muscle cramps. Her husband gets terrible cramps and they can occur at any time, like during runs over 12K and during the day, but they mostly occur at night.  He takes magnesium and camp bark formula two times per day and magnesium forte. They’ve tried so many things but nothing seems to work. He rolls, stretches, doesn’t relax etc, his mum had this issue and they both have blue feet. She may well have missed something you’ve already written about it but she can’t find it.

In my response, I recommend:
This podcast on muscle cramping

How To Cycle Your Calories & Carbs

Jeff says: Question about fat burn and calories deficit. He generally stays in fat burn and eats pretty healthy. He’s wondering if he works out everyday and he’s anywhere between 500-1000 cal deficit is that safe and OK to do, how long of a time period can he go that way? He only has 5-10 pounds to lose but he’s really working on endurance, muscle strength and so forth.

In my response, I recommend:

The 5 Best Books For Power & Strength

Jason says: He’s a police officer in Albury and he’s looking to start reading books on function strength for policing, he’s looking to gain power and strength. What books would you recommend for that?

In my response, I recommend:
Starting Strength
Mass Made Simple
Naked Warrior
MILO Strength


Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!

Ask Your Question

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Dirty Secrets Of The Supplement Industry, Lucid Dreaming, Smart Drugs, Hurricane Training & More: The Ryan Munsey Podcast.


My guest on today’s podcast, Ryan Munsey, is a former fitness model and gym-owner-turned writer, speaker, and biohacker.

He’s a mental and physical performance specialist with a degree in Food Science & Human Nutrition from Clemson University, and a wealth of knowledge on topics such as smart drugs, lucid dreaming, unconventional strength training and cardiovascular training techniques, and dirty secrets in the supplement industry. Ryan is also the Chief Optimizer at Natural Stacks and host of the Optimal Performance Podcast.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Why Ryan thinks most people shouldn’t eat breakfast…[6:10]

-The strange and shocking history of corn flakes…[20:50]

-How to “hack” yourself into a state of lucid dreaming…[22:20]

-How Ryan uses resistance bands to get strength breakthrough…[31:00]

-The concept of something called “Hurricane training” for a huge boost in cardiovascular fitness…[39:24]

-How Ryan stays lean when he can’t workout… [45:45]

-Ryan’s unique personal “smart drug” stack that he uses…[53:00]

-Why you should use caution when you see the word “proprietary” on a supplement label (and other dirty secrets of the supplements industry)…[62:10]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Ryan’s article on why he skips breakfastr

The strange and shocking history of why corn flakes were invented

Ryan’s podcast interview on lucid dreaming

Galantamine for lucid dreaming

CBD oil vs. Rick Simpson’s oil

Rogue monster resistance bands

Ryan’s article on Hurricane Training

Martin Rooney’s Cardio Workouts for Warriors book

Bulletproof Instamix

The Longecity forum

How To Make Your Own Smart Drugs

Top 10 dirty secrets of the supplement industry

Natural Stacks (for CILTEP, etc.) (use 15% discount code BEN15 on anything)

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

[Transcript] – The Gut Super-Special: Eating Camel Poop, Weird Constipation Causes, Pig Whipworms & More: How To Banish Bloat, Fix Your Microbiome & Reboot Your Gut.

Podcast from

[0:17] The New Podcast Format

[1:13] Blue Apron

[3:39] Harry’s Razors

[4:46] Onnit Emulsified MCT Oil

[6:07] Michael Phelps and Cupping

[10:05] A Study and The New Supplement Stack – HMB and ATP

[11:58] Introduction/ About Dr. Robynne Chutkan

[14:17] Books: The Microbiome Solution and The Bloat Cure

[16:25] How Dr. Chutkan can “smell” gut issues

[20:18] Two kinds of sweat glands/ why sweat smells funky

[24:41] What pig whipworms and hookworms have to do with getting a healthier gut

[33:40] Why the Bedouin tribe eats camel feces when they have gut issues

[36:05] Fecal Mirobiota Transplantation and Clostridium Difficile Infection

[37:32] How Do You Know If You Had The C. Diff? What Causes C. Diff?

[46:49] Do People’s Personalities Change When They Get a Stool Transplant?

[52:32] What about Poop Pills?

[55:28] Which Common Musculoskeletal Imbalance can cause Constipation

[58:14] What is Anismus?

[1:02:21] Colonic Dysmotility and Other Causes of Constipation

[1:07:46] Is Wine Good or Bad for your Microbiome?

[1:09:34] The Best Time of the Day to Take Probiotics If You are Also Taking Antibiotics

[1:12:45] A Tip to Make Beans More Digestible

Ben:  Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show!  Not just any show but today, a show about pooping.  If you wanna fix your gut, fix constipation, optimize your digestion, (I’m gonna trademark that term) optimize your digestion, you do wanna keep listening.

And a few other things: first of all, we are switching the podcast format up a little bit in case you didn’t hear.  Meaning, in case you aren’t stalking Ben Greenfield fitness on Facebook.  Basically, we’re gonna do one kinda like slightly longer interview every Wednesday, and then also alternate that with our normal Q and A super specials every other Wednesday.  That will be something that we slowly, gradually roll in to here going into whatever it is, the fall of 2016 or as all my cool business friends say, the next quarter.  This also means that when I release this longer, slightly more detailed interviews for you, I will have a chance to go over a few things prior to giving you the actual interview.

And I promise, this will be super quick but I have been getting some questions specifically about Michael Phelps and cupping.  That is the question number one I’m getting a lot of a feedback on.  And then the other thing I’ve been asked about is this new study about something called HMB and ATP for getting 20 to 25% gains in power and strength, and lean muscle.

So we’ll talk about that in just a second but before we do that, I wanna ask you a question about Succotash.  Succotash.  I grew up when I was a kid watching Looney Tunes cartoons, and I always remember that I used to say “Suffered Succotash”, “Suffered Succotash”.  And I never knew what Succotash was.  I knew what Succotash is now because Blue Apron, our sponsor for today’s podcast on this week menu sent Seared Cod and Summer Succotash with fairy tale eggplant.  I didn’t even know fairy tale eggplant existed but it does.  And pickled grapes.  These are the type of things that I get sent to my house as a member of Blue Apron.

Basically, what they do is they send all the ingredients to use.  Now, like a pre-cooked meals, you don’t feel like a lazy ass in there eatin’ these meals somebody dropped off for ‘ya.  No, no, no.  They send you the ingredients and you get to learn a ton about cooking by making it yourself, but these are healthy and delicious meals that wind up costing you less than 10 bucks a meal and all the ingredients are fresh and high quality, and artisanal, artisanal – whatever that means.  And they’re wild caught, they’re heirloom.  Heirloom and artisanal, two words that I throw around that I have not a clue what they mean.  Anyways, you can get Blue Apron and you can try it out for free.  How do you do that?  How do you check out this week’s menu and get your first two meals free?  You go to  It’s just like it sounds b-l-u- e,  They call it a better way to cook and actually they do great.  It’s really cool.

The other day I was travelling and that’s what I am getting ready to do right now, I’m headed down to the Ancestral Health Symposium, literally in a couple of hours, I’m hopping out a flight to Boulder for the Ancestral Health Symposium.  Google it if you don’t know what it is.  And then after that I am off to Salt Lake City to compete in the Train To Hunt National Championships where I’ll be shooting giant foam elk and running around in the mountains with a weapon crawling in the barb wire for a couple of days.

Anyways though, on my last travel I forgot my razor and I had actually get one from The Holiday and Express, bless your heart Holiday and Express, I had to get one there.  Little like front desk razors, and it reminded me how much shaving sucks when you don’t have a good 5-blade ergonomic flex hinged lubricating strip razor which is what I usually shave with.  It is the Cadillac of razors.  I get it from this company called Harry’s, and what they do is they cut up the middleman like the drugstore or the hotel front desk, and they send you a razor straight to your door or whatever it is that is in the front of your house.  You go to, if you go to and you use code Ben at check out, you’re gonna get 5 dollars off, and here’s what I would recommend, you get their Truman.  It’s 15 bucks, you’ll get the razor handle, (did I mention it’s ergonomic and heirloom), moisturizing shave cream, and 3 of their 5-blade German engineered razors.  So and then enter code Ben at check out.

And then finally, should you listen to today’s episode on pooping and you need something that would help you poop even more, that would literally blow up your pants if you drink the whole bottle.  Get yourself some MCT Oil.  No, I’m just kidding, don’t drink the whole bottle, you will have a diaper moment if you do that.  But there is this company called Onnit and they’re making an Emulsified MCT Oil.  I’m getting to throw around all sorts of big words today.  Emulsified, what does that mean?  It means that they’ve made it so you don’t have to blend it with stuff like coffee and tea when you add it because it’s emulsified.  All that means is you just put it in there and it mixes it.  It emulsifikize, emulsificates, emulsifies every time you add it to anything: smoothies or shakes or teas or coffee.  MCT Oils are great for you.  It upregulates your production of ketone bodies which can result in enhanced cognitive performance, enhanced energy for endurance, et cetera, but they’ve got some really good flavors.  They’ve got strawberry, coconut, vanilla, heirloom tomato, (no I’m just kidding), they don’t have heirloom tomato.  But you get 10% off of it.  You go to  That’s onnit  o-n-n-i-t dot com slash Ben10 to get 10% off.  All their supplements in there, they’re functional foods.

Okay, couple other things.  You guys and girls, people on Twitter really, I don’t know.  People in their mom’s basement on Twitter.  I’ve been getting lots of questions about Michael Phelps.  You may have noticed in the Olympics, you get to listen to this at the time of the Olympics that he had weird purple circles covering his right shoulder.  And there’s a bunch of other folks competing in the Olympics where you see these circles especially on Team USA.

Well, those are not giant hickeys from the Olympic village which are for just one big wild sex party.  No.  They are indeed purple blotches leftover from the practice of cupping.  Now, I’ve had cupping done to me before.  I’ve had it for low back pain, I’ve had it for IT Band friction syndrome, and what you do is you actually place a cup over the section of the body, and that cup which is usually like this little glass cup is then heated or they’re sometimes use like a vacuum-based suction.  It dries the skin upward so it creates the vacuum inside that cup over the target area of your skin.  And if you remember when you’re a little kid, you’re like suck on a cup and make your lips like pursed out if you suck for a cup for long enough.  Maybe I was the only kid who is a cup sucker.

Anyways, so what happens is it pulls all that skin out and when it pulls the skin out, the idea is it will improve blood flow to different areas.  There is even a form of cupping that results in bleeding, like you cup for so long that you bleed to get a detoxification effect.  They’ve got this really cool one called Fire Cupping, I’ve heard that done to me before, and that’s where they actually have the flaming cotton ball that’s lit. and when you light that ball and then you put inside of the cup, it create a bunch of suction from the air cooling down and contracting.  And so, the idea here is there are variety of muscular skeletal conditions: tendonitis, lack of blood flow, things like that that they try to use cupping for.

But what does the research say?  What about the research here on the show.  There was one systematic review of cupping done in June 2010.  A systematic review of all the different randomized clinical trials out there on cupping.  And what that trial reported after they looked at over 921 participants on cupping for everything from hematoma and pain management, and compared it to a conventional drug, and other care.  The conclusion was there’s a potential positive short term effect of cupping therapy on reducing pain intensity.  So, there’s that if you are in pain in a certain joint, it may temporarily reduce the pain in that joint.

Another clinical research kinda like a literature review also looked into cupping.  And this one was done in 2010, looked at 550 different clinical studies.  And what they found in that one was not only potential benefits on pain conditions but also on (drumroll please) herpes, coughing, and asthma.  So, I’m not quite sure how the cupping for herpes actually goes.  I don’t know if you put it over the area where you have a herpes wart or what, but anyways, there’s that.

There’s another update review on the efficacy of cupping therapy in 2012 in which they went through a 135 different research trials on cupping, and they found kinda the same thing that it could be effective for herpes, and possibly for pain management.  So, there you go.  If you have herpes, or if a joint hurts, it turns out that cupping may actually help you.  If you want to win a gold medal in the Olympics swimming the butterfly, there may be better things to do like swim say, or shoot illegal performance enhancing drugs into your right butt check if you are Russian because we all found out that they can do that and still compete, but ultimately, cupping.  That’s my take on cupping.  I look at the literature and if something hurts, I don’t wanna fix it temporarily and if I come down with herpes, it will be the first place I go.

And then finally, I was asked about this new supplement stack I’ve talked about on Twitter, Facebook a little bit.  I’ll be brief here.  There was a study in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research that found 20-25% increases over the course of 12 weeks of training, and we’re talking about strength, power, gain of lean muscle, when people supplemented with 2 different components at the same time.  One was called HMB which stands for beta hydroxy beta methylbutyrate which is yes, a much longer word than heirloom, and adenosine triphosphate which you may know better as ATP.

So, HMB and ATP, they took 3 grams of HMB, they took 400 mgs of ATP and they had these huge breakthroughs in lean body mass and strength and power like unfair stuff.  This is stuff that just like blows creatine, fish oil, anything out of the water.  So, here’s the deal.  I talked to my friend Matt from Millennium Sports because I know that he has in his repertoire of supplements both ATP and HMB.  I told him if I announce this on the podcast if he could give us all discounts, he said yes and he’s giving us all a 50% discount on this one-two combo of HMB and ATP.  I’ve been taking it for about a week and a half, and I feel unstoppable especially when I’m lifting.  So, I would recommend you give it a go and at 50% off, you cannot go wrong.  Well, you can.  You’re still gonna spend money but it’s 50% off.  So, how do you get it?  You go to, that’s and the special secret code that you use is Ben50.  Ben50, so Ben50, you get the HMB and the ATP.

Alright, let’s jump it to today’s show with Dr. Robynne Chutkan on pooping.  Enjoy!

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“More importantly, you gotta change what you eat.  So, I see a lot of people coming in who want to talk about stool transplant because they’ve struggled way too long, they can’t seem to keep wait off, and it is very clear that this whole calorie-in calorie-out thing, it is severely lacking in terms of explaining lots of things”.  “If you take a map at the developing world and you look at it even today, you see in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, there’s very low rates of these autoimmune kind of modern diseases and very high rates in North America, and Western Europe, and so on.  And part of this has to do with this hygiene hypothesis.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance.  Whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there!  When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben:  Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield.  Everybody knows that I’m a fan of poop.  And talking about poop, and so we’re gonna talk about poop and a lot more today because when it comes to healing your gut, or getting rid of bloat and constipation, or changing your gastrointestinal bacteria, a.k.a. your microbiome or really any other digestive topic, my guest today Dr. Robynne Chutkan is probably one of the smartest women and physicians on the face of the planet when it comes to this stuff.

She’s not only on a faculty of Georgetown University and founder of the Digestive Center for Women, but she’s also written not one, not two, but three different books that focus on healing the body from the inside out starting with the gut.  And I’ve actually read two of her books: The Microbiome Solution and The Bloat Cure.  And yes, she really does love talking about poop.  Like in The Microbiome Solution, she gets into the tiny microbes in your gut but also talks about little things that can help to keep you happy and healthy like fixing things like household cleaners and air conditioning for your gut.

And she talks about eating poop (chuckles), we will talk about that today, timing your probiotics, getting a dog to lick your face, eating dirt and a host of interesting things you don’t hear traditional doctors tell you about your gut.  And then she also got this other book called The Bloat Cure, and in that book she looks at more of like the science behind what happens when your belly gets bloated, and she gets into everything from not just bad Chinese food but also things like coding and cough syrup, and dehydration and birth control pills, and GMOs, and all these other issues that might be causing you to have embarrassing bloating or gas or constipation, all those other issues that many folks including myself in the past have dealt with but find embarrassing to talk about.  She’s not embarrass to talk about ‘em, and so we’re gonna talk about these stuff today.  Robynne, welcome to the show.

Robynne:  Thank you, Ben.  It’s always such a pleasure for me to talk poop with you.  So thank you for havin’ me back.

Ben:  Always.

Robynne:  I’m ecstatic.

Ben:  Well, I have and I guess my first question for you because I’ve got your microbiome solution books sitting here on my desk and in it you talk about how you can actually smell gut issues with your patients.  Assuming it’s not because they’ve cropped their pants but there’s something else that you can smell.  So, I’m curious about this because I have had conversations in which my face is really close to somebody else’s face, and I wonder because of like this sulfurous almost like halitosis breath type of thing if they have candida or yeast or fungus or something like that.  That I can smell something just strange on their breath.  What do you mean when you say that you can smell gut issues?

Robynne:  You’re right on ‘em here.  So, let’s talk about the gut first and then we’ll talk about all the rest of the body odors ‘cause I’m obsessed.  I wanna like to start a specialty about body odor and do some research on that, but let’s talk about the gut.  So, when I do colonoscopy where I take a long tube with a flexible light on the end and I inserted it to the rectum, and I look up people’s colon looking mostly for inflammation and polyps and cancer.  A lot of the patients I see have a type of disease called ulcerative colitis which a type of autoimmune gut disease that causes inflammation in the colon.  And I’ve been telling the wonderful nurses in the endoscopy suite at Georgetown where I’ve been doing this for about 19 years that I can tell whether a patient has colitis or just a disease Crohn’s without looking.  Now, I actually do look when I’m doing colonoscopy.  I can’t do it with my eyes closed, but I’ve been seeing for years that I can smell the inflammation and then the nurses have been saying, “You’re crazy.  You’ve done too many colonoscopies”,  and then there was actually…

Ben:  What do you mean you can… like, okay so, I don’t wanna be too crucial but like when they’ve got their pants down and they’re naked on the colonoscopy table and you’re shovin’ the tube up their butt, are you saying you smell then or you…

Robynne:  Ben, I am surely not shoving the tube up there, but I am very strategically and carefully advancing the colonoscope up the colon.

Ben:  Yes, that is exactly what I meant.

Robynne:  Oh yes, so my point is that you know, we detect inflammation by looking at it so this tube has a fibre optical light source and a very sophisticated camera, and we’re looking at the lining and we’re looking and we’re seeing all sores and redness and other evidence of inflammation.  And then of course, we take biopsies and the pathologist looks at it very carefully under the microscope and looks for inflammation, looks for white cells and so on, but my point is that even without looking at it.  When I put the scope in, the odor is different and what we realized now, there was a study from Japan looking at gas chromatography and basically the different gases that different bacteria produce, and they were able to identify a signature gas chromatography pattern which basically is a kind of smell when you sort of get right down to it based on the different bacteria presence.

So with patients with crohn’s and ulcerative colitis that have decreased microbial diversity meaning, they have fewer species and strains and they have over representation of some bacteria and under representation of others.  And because of this change in a microbiome, the different gases that are produced are different, and when they use this instrument, this gas chromatograph to check the different levels of gases, they could tell, they could predict to have crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and I can predict, well, I mean I’ve never actually done a scientific study, but the point is when I put the scope in and the smell changes, I can smell the difference and even what’s really interesting is even in patients for example who have had trouble as diarrhea were they don’t actually have inflammation, that you can see with the naked eye.

But I will say to the nurses, this person’s colon smells off.  I never really like to use the word bad because that’s very subjective, right.  I mean, everybody thinks that their poop doesn’t smell bad but it has a very different odor, and healthy stool has one particular odor and unhealthy stool has another, and the same thing.  So, when you put the scope up and you’re essentially kind of sniffing the colon if you will, ideally you would not allow the stool in it if the patient has done their job and done the bowel prep but the remnants of the stool are there.  But I think what I’m really detecting is a bacterial signature of the stool in different people, and so it was really sort of a treat for me when I saw this article and I kinda come racing into the hospital and I’m like, “look at this!  This is what I’ve been telling you all along”.

So we really can, and what you smell in terms of smelling people’s face and so on, the thing with BO is just fascinating.  So there are two kinds of sweat glands and Ben, you sweat a lot ‘cause you’re always running around, standing, climbing rope, jumping, so…

Ben:  Always.  I actually sweat… ever since I started doing a sauna, when people do sauna you actually upregulate a number of capillaries to help you to cool, but you also get more active sweat glands.  Like I’ve been doing sauna as a daily or near daily practice for a couple of years, and now like I sweat…

Robynne:  You sweat even more.

Ben:  … at a drop of a hat.  It’s crazy.  ‘Cause my sweating mechanism are so good for better or worse.

Robynne:  You’re the Ironman of sweat now not just like an Ironman.

So, we have these two different kinds of glands.  We have eccrine glands which are kind of all over our body, and they release the typical sweat which is just a little bit of salty water that when it evaporates, it must get to help to cool us, and then we have another kind of gland called apocrine glands and these are kind of in our moist area as in our hairy bits.  Like underarm, and our groin, and they release when we’re stressed a milky white substance that doesn’t essentially smell bad, but when it mixes with bacteria in these moist areas, it gives you BO which is why I can go out and run 8 or 9 miles later today in DC where it’s hot, and I’ll come back and I’ll will be sweaty but I will not smell particularly bad but if I know that I have a deadline tomorrow, and I have a document that I’m working on that I’m not finish which is off on the case, and I have to stay up all night, or if I’m about to do like a live TV appearance, and I’ll get that kind of sweaty in the groin and under the arm thing, I’ll be funky.  I will smell bad.

I will have BO, and that’s because the difference between the eccrine glands which is just water absorbing from being absorbed from your body and cooling your body down with the evaporation vs. the bacteria acting on these apocrine secretions.  And it’s really unbelievable how quickly that can happen if you are in this kind of stress state, fight or flight, and your sympathetic system is firing.  Smell under your pits, you’ll noticed a really big difference.  So, the whole odor thing, and that’s all bacteria, I mean, funky feet is a different bacteria, it’s all the food that we eat.  So, meat eaters, typically smell different from people who are primarily plant-based and you can smell it.  As you said, you can smell it on the skin, I see patients who have yeast overgrowth, they have often and you can see the fungal growth in their hairs, it kinda have a red scaly rash in their hairs, and sometimes on their scalp, and you can smell that.

Ben:  Yeah.

Robynne:  You smell it often enough.  Yeah.

Ben:  It’s crazy.  And again, I think our listeners now fully realized that there’s a great deal of talking about stool on the show.

And by the way, the show notes for today are at, that’s for those of you who wanna check out Robynne’s books and the other things that we talked about in today’s show.

One thing I’ve even noticed is that since I started doing things like sauna and I do like a metal detox every year, and I don’t really eat processed and commercial foods, at the risk of sounding orthorexic, really almost at all anymore, but not only does my sweat not seem to stink much at all unless I’m stressed out like you just talked about.  Like if it’s more like a sympathetic fight and flight type of sweat, but I also have noticed that the bathroom smells different after I finish taking a dump.  It smells like vegetables almost or that’s the best way I can describe it vs. like this intense nasty sulfurous smell that you get when you walk in say, like the bathroom at an airport where there’s a whole bunch of people just like pooping toxic crap.

Robynne:  Exactly.  That they’ve been eating at the airport.  (chuckles)

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.  So you get into obviously how to fix some of those colonic bacterial issues in your book.  But also get into some other really interesting things.  Some things that we haven’t talked about on the show before for example, one thing is you mentioned both pig whipworms and also hookworms in your book.  What the heck that those have to do with your gut and maintaining a healthy gut?

Robynne:  So, there’s something called the hygiene hypothesis, Ben, which actually refers to the fact that as countries get more industrialized and more developed, we see higher rates of autoimmune type diseases like MS and asthma, allergies and crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis and so on, and if you take a map of the developing world and you look at it even today, you see in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are very low rates of these autoimmune kind of modern diseases and very high rates in North America and Western Europe and so on, and part of this has to do with this hygiene hypothesis which was described in post-industrial London in the 1950s.  They saw skyrocketing rates of eczema and hay fever in kids when everybody had left the farm for the factory.  And it refers to the fact that as we become cleaner and too clean one could argue, we kill off all these important sort of founding germs if you will, that are important for training our immune systems so that our immune system doesn’t overreact to bacteria which is really what autoimmune diseases are is an over-reaction of the immune system.

And so, the hygiene hypothesis says that we need exposure to dirt and germs and combination.  All these are in fact to develop our immune system.  So if we think about our ancestors, they will probably completely infested with parasites, elements like different kinds of worms and so on, and their immune system peacefully co-existed and then in fact this infestation kind of tap their immune system from overreacting.

And so, researchers in the past couple of decades actually have looked at particularly in Crohn’s disease, which again is this autoimmune gut disease, they looked at different ways to dump down the immune system without the risk of infection that drugs dump the immune system like steroids and other immune suppressing drugs.  Those drugs can work great for disease like Crohn’s but unfortunately they can also cause severe infection and cancer, and other not so great things.  So they looked at this novel-type of therapy of inoculating people with parasites with the fairly being that if you can cause just a limited kind of control to infection with a fairly benign element like worm, you can restore the bodies’ autoimmune system to more balance state, and make it less over reactive.

Now, hookworm therapy is problematic because hookworms can be symptomatic.  They can cause anemia, and itching and diarrhea, and infection can sort of get out of control.  So, the initial studies are done with hookworm but they’ve also looked at using pig whipworm.  The advantage of that is that the whipworms cannot multiply inside the human host.  So, you give a small inoculum and see how people do, and then once you think they’ve died off, you give some more as opposed to the hookworm which can reproduce within the body.  And there’s been some good trials.

One trial with about 50 people with ulcerative colitis, they looked at giving sort of re-administering the eggs every few weeks and after 6 months of therapy, 80% of the patients had significantly reduced disease activity, and almost 3 quarters of them had gotten to complete remission.  So again, I don’t wanna suggest to people that they go out and they infect themselves, but from a theoretical point of view, this is fascinating and we are not quite there.  I am not using hookworm or pig whipworm therapy in my office.  I’m doing mostly nutritional therapy for these diseases, but we are definitely on to something here with this idea that we have become too clean and we need our microbiome in order to restore our immune system, our overall body into a more balance state of health.  We need to really re-think our relationship with nature, and with bacteria and viruses and worms and all these other things, and this sort of mischaracterization of all drugs as being bad has made us pretty sick.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s fascinating and when it comes to like hookworms and pig whipworms, correct me if I’m wrong here, but the idea here is if you have gut inflammation or some kind of like, we’ve talked about autoimmune issues on the show before like people who perhaps are really sensitive to wheat or milk or eggs or something like that and then eating them for a long periods of time.  So they’ve got infection or not really infection but more like inflammation or leaky gut or something like that, when you eat the eggs of a pig whipworm or a hookworm or something like that, what you’re essentially doing is shutting down that inflammatory response by triggering some kind of an immune response against that whipworm or that hookworm?

Robynne:  Yeah.  You know, what it is is that when your body is dealing with chronic, let’s not say infection but say co-existence with something like a whipworm or a hookworm, it realizes after a while like – “okay, I don’t have to sort of mount to big reaction to this.  There’s this worm living with me and we’re gonna figure out a way to get along.  Kinda peaceful co-existence.  And so, I’m not gonna freak out.”  And so, the idea is then it dampens your immune system down so that it doesn’t freak out in other ways.  So with diseases like Crohn’s which mostly involved in overreaction to the body’s own gut flora, the body’s own bacteria that it will take that same kind of chill attitude and say – “oh, I’m not gonna overreact to the bacteria and the gut either and cause ulceration and strictures and bleeding.’  So it kind of dampens down the immune system in general but not in a pharmaceutical way where you increase the risk for overwhelming infections.

Ben:  That’s interesting.  So for something like pig whipworm therapy for somebody who has severe gut issues or an autoimmune disease, or something like that because the eggs can’t multiply.  This is just like a treatment that you take every few weeks?

Robynne:  Exactly.  As this can multiply and then you could actually end up with quite severe hookworm infection if you’re not careful.  But you know, this idea to going back to early childhood, so we’ve always been a little bit into the benign neglect form of parenting where we don’t get too disturbed if like when our daughter’s eleven but if she eat something off the floor, it was like – okay, that’s fine.  It doesn’t look hideously dirty.  And it turns out that that is actually really an important thing, and this whole hygiene hypothesis when David Strachan who was this professor of Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene was tasked with figuring out why they were seeing this skyrocketing rates of eczema and hay fever in post-industrial London.

He made two really important observations that formed the background and the backbone for the hygiene hypothesis.  The first is that kids who came from large families had very low rates of hay fever and eczema.  Why?  Because they had a tiny siblings who were sneezing on them, coughing on them, giving them measles, mumps, whatever, making them sick.  And those illnesses which were kind of low risk illnesses that one thing people are dying from were strengthening their immune system.

And the other startling observation was that kids who came from affluent families that had higher levels of hygiene.  I mean again, this is like 1950s in London.  So, this is like a household of 10 people with 1 bathroom.  So, people who are in more affluent households who had better access to more hygienic practices had higher rates of hay fever and eczema.  So it was good to have lots of siblings and it was good to be relatively poor in terms of your immune system back then.  And we still see this trance today and so we still see that these kids have higher rates allergies and asthma.

Ben:  Right, yeah.  It’s something that we’ve certainly talked about a little bit on the show before and that you touched in the book like everything from getting out and gardening, and even like licking the dirt off your hands which sounds nasty but there’s actually something to it to letting your dog lick your face and not being afraid of the germs that you might get exposed to from your pet.  And even me honestly, Robynne, I used to be a little bit of a germ freak especially when I travel, and I would do things like really high dose of oil of oregano and thieves essential oil, and all these different things when I was in crowded places and buses and airports, and I quit doing that for a little while just to test this idea that perhaps I do just need to make sure that I got expose to wide variety of germs and bacteria.

And frankly, unless there’s some kind of issue going around like bird flu or unless I know, or swine flu or unless I know that I am literally sitting next to a kid that has the sniffles who just cough all over the place, I’ve been a little more reticent to be so much of a germ freak.  I still of course wash my hands when I go to the bathroom at an airport or something like that but yeah, it’s been less and less of a concern for me these days.

But you also get into your book, you kinda go above and beyond just like pig whipworms and hookworms, and you talked about this Bedouin tribe that actually eats camel feces, and you also pointed out about how we have all these other animals in nature that will eat each other and other animals stool.  I’m curious at how what this is have to do with the gut in terms of something like the Bedouin tribe eating camel feces because I was always on the impression that you really increase your risk of getting exposed to things like giardia, or amoeba or nasty things when you begin eating the poop of some other creatures.  So can you kinda delve into this for us?

Robynne:  I sure can.  So let’s be clear though.  You’re only as healthy as the stool you’re eating.  (laughs) But I’ll just start it off with that.  So, this concept of coprophagia, of eating stool is not new.  It start…

Ben:  What’d you call it?  Coprophagia?

Robynne:  Coprophagia.  Right.  So we think of it more like, you know, there’s different forms of, I don’t know how to put this diplomatically, but there’s a term for it called scat sex, scatological sex that involves different sex acts and then involve eating stools.  I’m not talking about that or I’m not talking about people who are mentally ill and sometimes in just to, I’m talking about this from a more sort of medical point of view.

Ben:  Right.  We’ll say the ki-ki stuff for another show.

Robynne:  Will say that for another show.  I’m not sure I’m quite qualified to be on that show.  (laughs) I’m happy to say.  But we’ve known historically that certain Bedouin tribes would eat camel feces when they have dysentery.  So when they get a very bad diarrhea and vomiting, and clearly have something infectious, that they would eat small amounts of camel feces from healthy camels, and that’s to reintroduce healthy gut bacteria, and veterinarians have done this for decades that if there is diarrheal type of illness in the herd, they’ll take stool from healthy cow and they’ll give it to the other cows to eat.  And it’s basically just sort of nature’s probiotic, right?  So when we’re talking about cows eating other cow poop or the bad one eating a little bit of camel feces from animals that have been under their control and that they’re very aware of their health, that’s different from people just going in sort of randomly having someone stool.

But we’re in this era of FMT, Fecal Mirobiota Transplantation as a technical term, and it is turned out to be this unbelievable cure for a very difficult problem that we’re seeing with the rising incidents in the United States and that’s clostridium difficile infection.  So clostridium difficile or C. diff as we like to call it, is a very hearty bacteria that a lot of us are colonized with at birth.  If you’re born in a hospital, 3 or 4% of us are colonized with it.  But people get it after taking antibiotics because it kills off so much of the healthy bacteria that small levels of C. diff can proliferate, or if you’ve been on antibiotic recently and then within the hospital setting where there’s plenty of C. diff, the C. diff now proliferates out of control because all of the healthy kind of gatekeeper bacteria that would normally keep things suppressed are not around, the C. diff proliferates and has been very resistant to antibiotics.

A few years ago about 4 or 5 years ago now, an article is published in the New England Journal of Medicine which is a sort of gold standard medical journal about FMT fecal transplant as an alternative to antibiotic therapy, and in fact in the seminal study the FMT was so successful.  They had to stop the study and they said ethically they cannot even continue to use antibiotics for these refractory cases.  Not as for first line therapy, then people would refract C. diff and C. diff kills about 15 or 20,000 people in US every year.

Ben:  How do you know if you had the C. diff?

Robynne:  Well, if you were having what we call a piece soup diarrhea, watery, severe diarrhea and you’ve been on antibiotic recently like in the last month or two before it developed, it is absolutely essential that you get a stool test for C. diff.  There’s a toxin that it makes and the stool test is very easy to do and all the commercial labs do it.

Ben:  Will this be like a poop panel like the 3 day gut test where you just like poop (chuckles) in a hotdog tray for a few days and…

Robynne:  No, it’s a little bit different.  No, it’s just a one-time specimen actually that you can send.  I mean, if we have a high index suspicion, we actually like to get 3 samples because the sensitivity really increases with 3 samples, but it’s just a small specimen and then they run it in the lab and they run it pretty quickly.  They can get a result back in 24 hours.  The C. diff talks, and once we identify that, so the mainstay of therapy for C. diff had been antibiotics primarily one called metronidazole and another one called vancomycin.

But when you think about it, what causes C. diff?  C. diff is cause by antibiotic use.  So it kind of make sense that giving more antibiotic is not necessarily the best way to treat it, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen.  We’ve seen a ton of refractory C. diff and not responsive to those antibiotic.  So FMT is something that people started using, and it is now the goal standard for refractory C. diff.  But as you can imagine, Ben, there are lots of problems with ingesting.  It’s usually done at colonoscopy given through the rectum, we can do what is capsules that people ingest, we can drop NG tubes which is the gastric tube down to the stomach and give the stool that way.  There are lots of ways to do.

Ben:  And you obviously not using that person’s own stool.  You’re using the stool from someone else.

Robynne:  From a healthy person.  Either a healthy relative or friend sort of intimate contact is ideal.  There are stool banks now.  There’s one called Open Biome based in Boston where they provide, they do very extensive testing and screening of the stool, and they have robust donors who have healthy stool, and we get frozen stool from them and we thaw it out and we use it.  And so, a lot of hospitals we use Open Biome at Georgetown doing that if somebody doesn’t have a good donor because as you pointed out when we started talking about this, it’s not all fun and games in terms of stool transplant because stool is also a waste matter and it contains toxins and it can contain infectious things.

So we have to test for psifillis and HIV and hepatitis, and a lot of things in the donor stool and you’re getting not just the good healthy microbes in the stool, you also potentially getting DNA from not so good microbes and viruses, and any infectious things and there’s a lot that we can test for and in my book, I have a whole section on everything you wanted to know about stool transplants or you are free to ask including all the testing that we do.

And it’s a lot but there’s also lots of things we can’t test for because we don’t know about them yet.  We don’t know how to test for them and so, the things that can be spread through stool, you can spread C. diff, you can spread crypto, E-coli, giardias, (you mentioned) hepatitis, neuro-virus, poliomyelitis, rotavirus, shigella, tapeworms, typhoid fever, vibrio, lots of things.  But the real list is probably 3 or 4 times as long with the things that we haven’t even discovered yet, and we can’t test for.

And so, a couple of things with stool transplant like, you have to make sure if you’re doing it, you’re getting it done for something whether it’s actually been a clinical trial showing it works, so that there’s some risk benefit calculation that’s going on.  So, if you have refractory C. diff and you’ve been treated with a couple of antibiotics and you’re not getting better, you’re probably a great candidate for fecal transplant and probably just one stool transplant is gonna fix your problem.

Ben:  Wow.

Robynne:  If you have a condition like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis or some forms of irritable bowel syndrome, there’s some clinical trials but you should be doing this in the setting of a clinical trial where they are actually looking at this parameters and so on.  And again, there’s a lot of optimism and there’s a lot of hopeful data but it’s important for people to remember that for some of these autoimmune diseases, it’s not a one shot deal like the C. diff, you have to probably be doing stool transplant a couple of times a week for several months maybe, even years, maybe even lifelong trying to reverse the damage.  So those are situations where you’re dealing with much more microbial discord than just overgrowth of one troublesome bacteria, you’re dealing with people who have a genetic predisposition for these diseases and have significant changes in their microbiome that you’re trying to undo.

I spend more time in my office talking out of stool transplants than convincing them that they need one because people feel like – oh, this is a fantasy, right? I have microbial discord and that’s why I’m fatigue and my hair is falling out, and I’m bloated and I don’t feel good, and it may be but we don’t have evidence that doing a stool transplant is going to fix those things.

Ben:  Right.  So, this would be not for people who just like have a tummy ache or who are constipated every once in a while.

Robynne:  Fairly not.

Ben:  This should be for someone who has like C. difficile, they’ve been tested, they get diarrhea a lot, but about like irritable bowel syndrome?  Irritable bowel where you just like really touchy gut, you have gut issues, is this something that is worth I guess trying or will this really be last resort for C. difficile, my butt is exploding with diarrhea type of thing?

Robynne:  It can.  There’s a lot of really interesting data that show 4 people who have what we called diarrhea predominant IBS, IBSD that in a lot of those people there is some infectious antecedent event that kind of creates the damage.  And so there’s studies that show in a sub-set of these people with IBS, they actually can have significant improvement.  But again, it really needs to be in the setting of a study where they’re looking at your disease and they’re seeing if you’re on this diarrhea predominant sub-tight and you meet the criteria, and so on.  And the results are definitely not as dramatic as for C. diff, there’s a small study from New York, from Montefiore Medical Center, and I think the FMT result were improved symptoms in about 70% of patient with a refractory IBS and improved quality of life in almost half but again, you have to carefully and you wanna make sure that your IBS is not because you’re gluten sensitive and didn’t realized it or you’re lactose intolerance.

That’s why it’s so important to do this in a center where they’re gonna carefully exclude other causes and not just say, sure I can stick some stool up there for you.  I mean, unfortunately there are lots of clinics that do that.  They charge a ton and they’re treating many, many different groups of patients, some who probably have a qualification but many who don’t, and are just kinda desperate and we all know, I mean, we’ve all been there probably in one form or another or where you’re desperate about something and you literally are willing to try anything.

After I had my daughter, she’s 11 and a half now, I had a lot of hair loss and sort of typical what they called the postpartum hair loss, a [44:44.8] ______ that develops, and I was desperate and I was trolling the aisles of the health foods store late at night looking for some miracle thing and I remember my husband saying to me who’s bald and shaves his head, and he was like – “honey, if that’s stuff work then have an afro, right?”  So… (laughs)

Ben:  That’s funny.

Robynne:  I think you just have to give it a little bit of time.  But I understand I mean, even with a medical background I was still like – oh, if I take enough biotin and iron or whatever, maybe I can make this comeback and hormonally things kind of settle down, and it was all fine but completely understand.  And there’s so much we don’t know in Medicine.  Convention medicine is lacking in so many ways and so it’s very, very kind of intoxicating to think about the idea that gosh, my microbiome… you know, I took a lot of antibiotics when I was young, I’ve been on steroids or acid suppressing drugs or antacids or other things that messed with my microbiome, and that’s probably why my hair is thinning, and I’m bloated and I feel tired.

And again, that may all be the case but what we have to look is the flipside of that is ingesting your friend’s stool, your husband’s stool, your girlfriend’s stool is that kinda make you better, we don’t know.  I mean, most people who were born and raised in America have probably kind of had similar experiences with being over-medicated and undernourished, and so, what I would say to most people, if you kinda do that, you should be getting stool from the Hazda Tribe in Tanzania or Amazonian brothers and sisters.  Because if you’re ingesting someone’s stool who’s been taking antibiotics and eating crappy food, it’s not gonna do you much good.

Ben:  Yeah, you want a stool of someone who poops like a baby.  Now, that actually leads me to two other quick questions that I have for you about fecal transplants, and I promise for those of you listening in where I can type and eating poop the whole time, but you talked about like getting the of poop of Hazda hunter-gatherer tribe, and then one of my buddies, Jeff Leach, he actually did that and he hung himself upside down and…

Robynne:  He’s terrific.  I follow him.  He’s fantastic.  Yeah.

Ben:  But my question about that is does it change?  Like we all know that the gut helps to create neurotransmitters, it has a great deal to do like if you don’t have enough bacteria, you can get depressed.  They’ve shown that probiotics can now be used as an anti- depression treatment, but my question is if you get a poop transplant or have you seen this in your clinic, do people’s personalities change like take on the characteristics of the person who just poop has been transplanted into your, like if you get a Hazda injected, you’ve become like a mighty warrior.  Well, what happens?

Robynne:  Well, most of the experiments we have is in people who are getting one stool transplant for C. diff, so things are not changing dramatically, but we did have a patient who received a donor stool from her daughter who was obese and she started to gain weight, and that’s something we can chat about in a minute.  But just to get back to how things change, we think that stool from again hunter-gatherers that have been eating a McDonald’s and taking antibiotics is better, and it probably is but there is also adaptation.  So you want stool that’s adapted for your particular environment.

We know that there this different enterotypes in terms of how we classify the ecosystem in the gut and it’s a way we kind of strategize people based on the representation of different species.  So about 5 or 6 year ago, we came up with this classification of different enterotypes, so type 1 has high levels of family bacteria called bacteroidetes and then type 2 has low bacteroidetes but lots of prevotella, and type 3 has high levels of [48:31] ______ different families.  And different entrotypes don’t seem to be influenced much by age, gender where you come from but they are very much affected by long term diet.

So if you are one enterotype in North America and you’re getting stool from another entrotype from somebody in sub-Saharan Africa, you probably not gonna see long lasting change in your microbiome because your microbiome is more defined by what you’ve been eating your whole life and by this one sort of introduction of stool.  So it’s not enough and then this gets back to the issues of, for autoimmune diseases where we’re really trying to create meaning change.  It’s gotta be on a regular basis and more importantly, you gotta change what you eat.  So, I see a lot of people coming in who wanna talk about stool transplant because of struggled way too long.  They can’t seem to keep their weight off, and it is very clear that this whole calorie in and calorie out thing is severely lacking in terms of explaining lots of things.

So, I see and you Ben, I’m sure you do too who are eating a very calorie restricted diet and are not losing weight.  So it’s more than just a calories in the food, and it’s more than even the percent of protein, fat, carbohydrate.  Different people metabolize differently and we know that a lot of that is a microbiome.  So microbes can actually do unbelievable things in the gut, Ben.  They can change the taste buds, they can make certain foods taste better like sweet vs. savory, they can affect the transit time, so they can speed up the transit time through the gut, so fewer calories are absorbed or they can slow it down.  They can themselves ingest and digest extra calories so that fewer stirred by fat, so microbes can really change what we called the energy harvest of food.  And we see it all the time where people are very calorie restricted, they’re still not losing weight.  Other people eat a ton of food, they don’t exercise that much, they don’t seem to have as much problems.

We know there’s one particular bacteria called [50:30.1] ______, you can say it 3 times fast, and that [50:35.2] ______ seem to be associated with leanness and there seems to be a genetic inheritance pattern and we’ve all seen families where like everybody is a string bean, right.  It’s this families where like it’s all ectoderm and they just never, everybody’s tall and skinny like a beanpole and never gains weight.  And so, there are some of these genetic tendencies.  So there’s been some really fascinating studies where they’ve taken microbes from obese mice and transplanted them to germ-free mice, and the germ-free mice start to gain weight without any change in the diet.  And they’ve even done it from humans to mice.

Researchers at Washu took identical twins where one was lean and other was obese, same genetic material transplanted the microbes into germ-free mice, and lo and behold, the mouse who received the microbes from the obese twin gained weight without any change in diet.  So we know even in a cross species this occurs, but at the end of the day, it’s still about what you eat because I can give you billions of microbes from somebody really lean unless you’re eating the right diet to nourish microbes, they’re not gonna recolonize, they’re not gonna repopulate your gut, and they’re not gonna have a lasting effect on your microbiome.

So this idea that all the pharmaceutical companies are kind of racing to come up with the microbial cure for obesity, there are probably different microbial strains, probiotics that people will be able to ingest that will help, but at the end of the day, it’s still boils down to you gotta eat more vegetables because there’s nothing you can take and then you can eat Doritos and drink soda and lose weight.  It’s just doesn’t exist and it’s not going to.

Ben:  Right.  You mean dirty vegetables especially.

Robynne:  Eat dirty vegetables.

Ben:  That’s my big thing.  I’ll take them dirty as I get them from my garden and not wash ‘em.  And obviously if you’re buying your vegetables which are not organic and from the grocery store, freaking wash them so you’re not getting glyphosates, and herbicides and pesticides into your system but yeah, vegetables plus dirt is a pretty good scenario for people’s gut.

One last thing on poop pills and then I want to talk about constipation a little bit.  Poop pills from what I understand based on the most recent news do not work compared to the actual I guess that you would call it ‘poop up the butt’ type of scenario like the fecal transplant.  It looks like there are a couple of pharmaceutical companies trying to develop a drug, and I know Buzz Feed just had an article about this, and they spend all this money developing this microbial transplant stool sample pills and apparently it didn’t really show much efficacy at all in this study on oral consumption of a poop pill.  Do you know anything about that?

Robynne:  I do.  So there are 2 different things that we can talk about here.  One is actually a Canadian study that took stool from a healthy donor and encapsulated it, and it was about 37 different pills you had to swallow of the actual stool.  And that study and a couple others like ‘em that have taken actual stool and just put it in like a little liner to protect from the acid in the stomach and have you swallow them, those worked and those seem to work as well as the stool up the butt.  If it’s actual stool, you’re talking about is probably series of the company that had these spores that they were using these bacterial spores that you would ingest for C. diff, yeah, and their data was very surprising to all of us ‘cause their primary data was very promising.  They did not work for the C. diff, and they’re kinda going back to the drawing board but that’s different ‘cause that was an actual stool.  Those were bacterial spores because nobody ingesting someone else’s even you know, my husband, I love them, I still don’t wanna eat his stool.  It’s still not, it’s sort of hmmmm, so they’re really looking at different things that they can do.  So for example, Ben, if you’ve got C. Diff could they take your stool and pull out the healthy strains and amplify them outside of your body, and then give them back to you.  Sounds like a great idea, right?

Ben:  Yeah!

Robynne:  Or your own stool but just taking out the good stuff and really amplifying it, can they do that?  Could they take again just the spores, could they take healthy bacteria and amplify them without all the other yuck stuff from the stool.  They haven’t really been able to do that well yet, but that’s definitely the goal is to able to not give the whole stool for a couple of reasons, the yuck factor as well as the fact that you’re transmitting toxins with the stool too potentially.

Ben:  Interesting, okay.  If you’re listening in, don’t go rush out and buy poop pills ‘cause they haven’t really been shown to work.

Robynne:  Go get some dirty vegetables ‘cause those actually work.

Ben:  Alright.  Let’s talk constipation.  I think we’ve kicked the FMT thing to death.  At least a little bit.  You’ve an entire chapter in your book, The Microbiome Solution that actually goes into like you mentioned, everything you’ll always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about fecal microbiota transplant.

Okay, so how about this, constipation.  I know a lot of people have constipation ‘cause I get questions about it all the time.  I don’t know if it’s because a lot of active people listening to the show who eat copious amounts of food and who are also type A personalities, I don’t know if it’s because of some of the issues that you talked about in Bloat Cure but there are a few things that I kinda folded over as far as pages in the Bloat Cure.  And possible causes of constipation that I hadn’t seen talked about too much.  One was musculoskeletal imbalances like pelvic floor disorders and something called anismus.

And the reason that I wanted to ask you about this was because I have noticed that if I am competing, lifting, et cetera, for long periods of time without deep tissue work, and specifically without doing things like, yoga tune up balls and roll all those tight areas in the butt checks around on the yoga tune up balls, and I will use this car buffer-type of massage device that kind of like rumbles just like a vibrator, and I will work the front of my abs in that like deep tissue areas in my abs that just like any other area of the body from doing a bunch of abdominal work tend to get really tight and adhesed, and you talked in your book about pelvic floor disorders and musculoskeletal issues related to constipation, I found that if I let all that stuff get tight, I don’t poop well even if I eat a healthy diet.  So, can you get into this idea behind as what you call, do you pronounce it anismus?

Robynne:  Anismus, yeah.  So constipation is actually one of my favorite things to treat because we have a very high success rate, and this is where I get to be a little bit of a medical detective and roll my sleeves up and start snooping around.  So, we remember that the GI tract is just one long muscle and it’s not that different from your biceps or your hamstring or your any other large muscle in the body, animus got some specialize features to it but if you’re not moving, neither are your bowels because you’ve kinda have to work them out and that doesn’t necessarily mean doing an Ironman, it could be walking around the block, it could be standing like as I talk to you now ‘cause I know you’re standing, Ben.

So, if you’re really sedentary and you’re sitting for long periods of time, chances are you’re gonna have sluggish bowels and the most sluggish bowels we see are people in nursing homes that are literally lying on their back for 20 to 23 hours a day.  But when you think about it, sitting is definitely the new smoking and many of us who are younger and not nursing home candidates are having that experience.  We’re sitting in chairs and doing nothing for hours and hours during the day and then we’re kind of jumping up and like – oh, let’s go to soul cycle for 45 minutes and unfortunately that’s not enough a lot of the time.  It’s really that sort of daily, hourly ‘what are you doing’.

So, number one, it’s a muscle and it needs to be exercised.  Let’s talk a little more specifically about anismus.  Anismus refers to essentially when you sit down or squat or how you’re having your bowel movement to try and push the stool out.  There’s a muscle that has to open this pelvic talus muscle angle has to change and allow the stool to clump.

Ben:  Oh yeah.  You’ve talked about that before when we’ve talked about squatting to poop in the squatty potty.

Robynne:  Yes!  Love the squatty potties.  So, or I’m pretty bending here like both, so I just put my heels up on the toilet sit and every now and again I tip over but unfortunately, it doesn’t happen too often.  (laughs)

Ben:  That’s what I do when I’m traveling actually ‘cause I do not travel with a full squatty potty. (chuckles)

Robynne:  (laughs) You don’t?  You don’t have it on your backpack?

Ben:  No.  I don’t think they make one.

Robynne:  Shame on you.  So, with anismus what happens is that that angle doesn’t open to allow the stool to come out in there.  The number of reasons that why that can happen in women it’s often something that happens from the time they’re young girls.  Girls in general tend to be more fastidious about the bathroom facilities.  So girls,

I mean, this is a huge generalization but girls in school will be like – oh, there’s a gap in the door and somebody can see through or people could hear, or it was dirty, and we tend to be become more aware of our surroundings like bathroom surroundings and so on, and be more embarrass by that at a younger age, and then boys.  Girls often develop this whole concept of shy bowel where, oh they don’t use the bathroom at school, they have to wait ‘till they get home, or if they’re traveling, they don’t wanna go on an airport.

It can happen to men too obviously.  But what that does is it totally confuses your bowel.  So now you get that urge to go, the stool is all lined up in the rectal vault ready to come out, and instead of you sitting down and opening of that angle by the most relaxing, instead you’re squeezing and you’re again confusing the bowels.  And they’re like – oh, well I thought it was supposed to open and I guess I supposed to close and hold it in.  And if you’ve ever had that experience where you have to go and then you’re like – ahhh, I’m gonna do something and come back.  Often it’s gone, right?  You’re done for the day.  It’s just not coming back.  And it’s because you’ve confused the bowels, so it’s so important that there’s such exquisite feedback with the enteric nervous system and the gut and your brain.  And so, you have to be so careful that you’re not un-training your bowels and that’s what happens to so many people like – oh, I’m not gonna use the bathroom at school, I’m not going to have bowel movement at work, I’m not gonna go on the train, which can be challenging.  And then, lo and behold when you’re finally ready, you’re bowel is like – oh no, you tell me to hold it.  So I’m holding it and I’m not letting it go.  And so we have to think about that too.

Well, there’s this woman who has a pelvic floor that descends as it, you know, everything kind of eventually descends and gravity takes over but particularly if you had kids, there’s something called rectocele which can be a big bulge between sort of GI tract and the vaginal vault, and still can get stuck in there.  Sometime women have to kind of put a finger in the perineum, in that space between the vagina and the rectum to press some things to get that pouch to empty.  The muscles can do the whole relationships between the muscle changes.  So, pelvic floor problems, anismus which can develop from holding.

In kids what can happen a lot is let’s say, you’re out, you’re kids are at summer camp and they’re not drinking enough water, and they’re not eating lots of fruits and vegetables, they get a little constipated, then they find that when they finally pushes the stool, that they might get a fissure or a little tear in the lining because the stool is really hard.  And then because of that fissure every time they go, they have pain.  So what do they do, they start holding it and we have kids coming through all the time in the emergency room who are impacted there literally, full of stool because they got a little fissure, it got painful and then they were like – oh, I’m not pushing this out.  It hurts too much.  And it happens with adults too.  So it’s so important to really have a dialogue with your bowels and to make sure that you’re doing all the right things.  I mean, things we know about like fiber and water, but also the movement, not holding it, hitting that signal when it comes is super important.

Ben:  Now, one of the other things that you talked about when it comes to constipation is this idea of dysmotility which I guess is like a sluggish bowel, is that pretty common and if so, are there things that you can do?  Like I’ve heard of prokinetics for example, like special capsules that have ginger and stuff in it that speed up the bowel function.  Is that how you fix something like this? What’s the deal with colonic dysmotility?

Robynne:  So colonic dysmotility is very much a real phenomena and unfortunately the causes often found in the medicine cabinet.  So, anti-depressant, narcotics are number one on the list, so pain medications definitely slow down the bowel, and so much so that there’s a whole term for it.  Now, opioid induced constipation and unfortunately a drug for it instead of like – oh, get out the opioids…

Ben:  That would be stuff like valium or ambien or stuff like that?

Robynne:  Oh, it would be more things like Percocet or Demerol, and things like that.  So, opioid containing narcotics which are so over prescribed in the US, and there are people who have real pain and who need real drugs but so often it’s somebody’s got in with something minor, a little muscle ache, and then we tend up prescribing them a serious narcotic, and not only does that potentially the problems with the addiction and dependence but it leads to serious bowel problems ‘cause it slows the bowel down.  So we see lots of people who are really constipated because of pain medication.

Ben:  So it’s not medications that would make you tired specifically opiates or opioids?

Robynne:  Well those are probably the most egregious in terms of having the most significant effect on the bowel but lots of the over-the-counter medications can do it too.  They can dry you out, like anti-histamines can do it, anti-hypertensive medications can do it, calcium can do it, iron supplements can do it.  There’s so many things that can cause minor constipation and then if you add to that a little bit of dehydration, a little bit of inactivity can lead to more severe dysmotility, but I really recommend the first thing you do is you look in your medicine cabinet, and you really investigate the effects on the bowel of drugs that you’re taking like prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, supplements that you’re taking.  That’s number 1.

And then, there are prescription prokinetic drugs on the market but they’re not great.  Most of them cross the blood brain barrier and have neurological side effects, so you kind of swapping one problem for another which is not so good, or they have other issues as one that can cause prolactin release and can cause you to start releasing milk from your nipples.  Not so great if you’re not nursing.  So they all have potential side effects that can be problematic.  There are some natural things that you mentioned that can help, but again, water, movement, more fiber, natural kind of pro-motility things that you can do.

An abdominal massage can help a lot.  In my first book, “Gutbliss”, I have this whole section on happy abs on how you can use light weight or even just your fist and move it in a clockwise direction kind of circumnavigating your belly button to kind of help move the products of digestion through your GI tract.  Twisting yoga poses are great…

Ben:  I swear by that.  Like, it’s really interesting you bring this stuff up because I actually have a special morning routine where I do some torso twist, and what are called these core foundation poses which actually kind of elongate a lot of the organs and the gut, and then I do that massage on the abdominals.  I have a whole system done.

I know were getting close to the end of the podcast and so, I wanted to rapid fire a few questions at you regarding the gut and some of the other things that you talked about in the book.  So we might go with faster answers to these questions as we delve into rapid fire.  But here is a quick overview of what I do to poop like a baby, and you tell me what do you think of this.

Robynne:  Alright.

Ben:  Okay.  So, the night before I always take a little bit of magnesium and water but then I do like a, I don’t know if this would be considered a prokinetic or what, but I do a blend of turkey rhubarb root and slippery elm bark and marshmallow root, fennel seed, fenugreek, in this stuff called Nature Cleanse.

Robynne:  Okay.

Ben:  I do that with a big glass of water and some magnesium.  That’s the night before.

Robynne:  Love it.  Magnesium is a really great gentle helper for constipation.  So love it.

Ben:  Yeah.  Magnesium seems to help when I combine it with this Nature Cleanse stuff.  It’s like a pawn one-two combo.  And then what I’ll do is I’ll get up in the morning and I have another big glass of water and I have a cup of coffee, and do those foundation poses to decompress the spine and open up the organs and then I finish with that left to right massage for about 5 minutes, then again the squatty potty and everything just like falls out.

Robynne:  I love it but…

Ben:  Good protocol, bad protocol, am I missing anything?

Robynne:  Great protocol but I think the part that you should mention is that you also eat a diet with lots of plants.  So…

Ben:  I do.

Robynne:  That’s great.  So that is not gonna work so well if it’s Doritos and soda all day long.  I mean, it help a little bit that you squeeze out of small hard Western stool but…

Ben:  And then as we know from earlier, it’s still gonna stink like Hell.

Robynne: (laughs) But it’s not gonna smell off.

Ben:  Okay.  Alright.  So, my Ben Greenfield pooping routine is Robynne checked and approved.

Robynne:  Okay.  Come and hang a shingle with me.  I could use your help actually.

Ben:  Okay, cool.  Number 2 – alcohol.  Good or bad especially like a nightly glass of wine which I know a lot of people including myself do.  God or bad for the microbiome?

Robynne:  In moderation is neutral.  So alcohol is metabolized to acetaldehyde which is kind of a first or second cousin of formaldehyde.  It’s a toxin in significant amounts but you can get away with a glass of wine.  Most people can, it kinda depends on what else is going on, what kind of shape your liver is in, what the rest of your diet looks like, but for most people a glass of wine can be neutral.  It’s when you get into higher amounts or again if you have any of these underlying problems.  But remember that before there was penicillin what was remain antiseptic, it was alcohol, right? That was they use to clean the operating rooms and wipe stuff down.  Even now when you get to get your blood drawn, that’s an alcohol swab that they use to clean the skin.  So, alcohol does kill microbes in concentrated amounts and then in various forms, so you do have to watch the intake.

Ben:  I know it also increases gut permeability.  So being super stressed out like at the end of the day when your gut permeability is already gonna go out from that, and then like maybe doing a hard exercise session that blow out some steam, and have some alcohol to wine down, I know that that’s actually pretty bad for the gut.  So using alcohol if you are already stressed can increase gut permeability.  Is that correct?

Robynne:  That’s true and actually what you said about intense exercise, we do this intestinal permeability testing in our practice where we use a small sugar and a large sugar, mix them together and we measure it in the urine.  An intense exercise can definitely increase intestinal permeability, so as you mentioned that order in which you do things is really important here.

Ben: So that’s why many athletes have leaky gut.  So, at the end of a hard day like that, smoke a joint, don’t drink a glass of alcohol. (laughs)

Robynne: (laughs)

Ben:  Okay so, you hear the rabbit fire questions.  Probiotics and antibiotics.  A lot of people take probiotics when they’re taking antibiotics to make sure that they just don’t completely lose all their gut bacteria, you talk a little bit in your book though about how the timing of this strategy is important.  Can you get into that a little bit?

Robynne:  The timing is important but it’s also magical thinking to believe that a probiotic is completely mitigating the damage and antibiotic is doing 5 days of a typical broad spectrum antibiotic will remove a third of your gut bacteria.  And it can take years to come back and when it does it typically comes back in a very patchy way.  You’re going to be missing microbes.

There is no probiotic on the planet, not now, not in the future that is going to change that.  So, you have to embrace the fact that you are doing damage to your microbiome that cannot be reversed with the probiotic.  And so, my first piece of advice is be very judicious in taking the antibiotics.  Make sure that there is no other way you can fix this problem other than an antibiotic.  And then when you are taking a probiotic, make sure it’s the most robust one.  You can get your hands on but it has enough colony forming units that it has the right strains, that it has the right mix ‘cause the bacterial competing for the same resources.  Make sure that the viability of strains has been verified but understand that this is not somehow like – oh, I take an antibiotic and I pop a probiotic and all is well.

In the book I described an antibiotic is taking a bath full of water and draining out all the water, and then taking a probiotic is pouring a cupful of water back in, and that’s probably about right in terms of the equations.  So, strict avoidance of antibiotics unless absolutely necessary is still a sort of number one, two and three thing to do if you have to take an antibiotic, then there’s a whole chapter in the book about choosing a probiotic and the timing is important, Ben, as you say.

So you wanna take the probiotic as far away from the antibiotic as possible.  So if you consider most antibiotics are gonna be twice a day, let’s say you’re taking it 8AM and 8PM, then you wanna take the probiotic at about 2 o’clock kind of right in the middle of those doses.  And you wanna take it during the antibiotic use and then after probably for at least a month then maybe at a double dosage depending on what the antibiotic you’ve been on is.

Ben:  Okay.  So you take the probiotic at a separate time as the antibiotic like a 2PM if you’re taking the antibiotic at 8AM, and at 8PM and then honestly like, folks if you’re listening in and you’re on antibiotics and you are plan on being, go into this book, The Bloat Cure, and I’ll link to that in the show notes over at because Robynne goes into everything from how you should be eating prebiotic foods to using shataki and mitake mushroom extracts, to using bentonite clay, drinking ginger tea.  She’s got a whole bunch of things that you can do to basically limit the damage of antibiotics.  I love that part of the book.  So be sure and read that section if you would like, it’s one of those things that I circle and underline.

Those of you who follow me on snapchat knows that I’m constantly posting underlined sections of books that I read to snapchat, and this is definitely one of those section I had underlined and taken some photos of.  So, I’d probably get sued by your publisher but it disappeared within 24 hours, so…

Okay.  Last question that I have for you.  Just a little fun one here.  So, I’m not Paleo, I eat beans, I eat legumes.  I don’t eat a lot of them but I do include them like I’m not anti-bean like I do natto, and I do lentils now and again.  You have a really interesting tip in your book to make beans more digestible and cause them to be less likely to get, people who are saying next to an airplane, pissed or anything else.  So, what’s your tip?  What’s the secret?

Robynne:  So you should know that beans are part of why they cause smelly gas and almost everyone is concern coz they contain a carbohydrate called raffinose that is not digestible by almost 2 months.  They don’t have the enzyme oligosaccharides to break it down.  So, if you use a sea vegetable like kombu, soak them overnight and cook them with the sea vegetable that really helps to break down the raffinose.  And of course, soak ‘em using dry beans as opposed to canned beans which tends to be much more gas producing.  Yeah, I’m a huge fan of legumes also.  I think if you can tolerate them, you should have them.

Ben:  And you talk about and you say something called kombu?

Robynne:  Uhmm, it’s a sea vegetable.  You can get it at wholesale food stores.

Ben:  Okay, so you just basically cook your beans, you cook them with the sea vegetable and that breaks down this raffinose enzyme.

Robynne:  Yes.

Ben:  And so, I am obviously soaking and sprouting, and fermenting beans as important because I know that they kinda like pre-digest and get rid of some of the enzyme inhibitors, but I never thought about cooking beans with sea vegetables.  That’s really interesting.  The next time you makes some chili, throw some sea vegetables in there.

Robynne:  It absolutely helps.

Ben:  Awesome.

Robynne:  And it adds to the flavor.

Ben:  I don’t think that the cowboys of the old West did that, but….

Robynne:  (laughs)

Ben:  They also had crappy coffee.  And probably lots of gut issues.  Well, there’s obviously a ton that we did not get in to that.  That’s in both these books, The Microbiome Solution and The Bloat Cure.  I read them both.  Obviously when I read a book and I like it, I try to get the author on the show.  So, I will vouch for both these books and not just full of crap that you read in other places.  They actually interesting and full of advice that seems to be somewhat practical in the trenches probably because Robynne helps people poop all the time.

Robynne:  Oh they’re full of good crap it’s what I think of it, Ben.  Thank you Ben.

Ben:  Yeah.  You’re not just sitting in your mom’s basement Googling ways to poop.  You’re actually out there practicing this stuff and smelling patient’s butts.

Robynne:  Manually disimpacting people and smelling their butts, right?

Ben:  That’s right.

Robynne:  it’s really good stuff.

Ben:  Well, Dr. Chutkan, thank you for coming on the show today, and for those of you listening in, again all the show notes, her books, everything that you need to poop like a champ, and much more, you can find over at, that’s, and Dr. Chutkan, thanks for comin’ on the show!

Robynne:  And thank you so much for having me, and for the record I think you’re probably one of the least bloated people I’ve ever met, so… keep on doing what you’re doing.

Ben:  You know what?  When I was a bodybuilder, I used to have horrible farts, horrible gas.  I have fixed so much overtime.  My wife just loves me now like when we wake up in the morning, and the room doesn’t smells just like night and day vs. the first 6 years we’re married, so yeah.  It’s big time happiness and your life loving relationships when you fix this stuff.  So, yeah!  That’s it folks.  Thanks for listening in and until next time.  I’m Ben Greenfield along with Dr. Robynne Chutkin signin’ out from, have a healthy week!

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.



In the beginning of this episode, I mention “Michael Phelps cupping” and what the research really says about whether cupping does or does not work, and also mention a new study on 20-25% gains in lean muscle gain, strength and power, and this HMB-ATP stack that uses exactly what they used in the study (use 50% discount code BEN50).

When it comes to healing your gut, getting rid of bloat and constipation, changing your gastrointestinal bacteria or any other digestive topic, I consider Dr. Robynne Chutkan to be one of the smartest women on the face of planet.

She is on faculty at Georgetown University and founder of the Digestive Center for Women, and she is author of not one, not two, but three books that focus on her primary philosophy: healing your body from the inside out.

So basically, she really loves talking about poop.

Her latest book, The Microbiome Solution, is a deep dive into how and why some of our modern day living is actually causing more problems than we realized to the tiny microbes that keep us happy and healthy– household cleaners, air conditioning, processed food. In that book, she talks about eating poop, timing your probiotics, getting a dog to lick your face, eating dirt and more.

In her other book, The Bloat Cure, she looks at less of the science and more at the practical nature of our bloated bellies, talking about how bloat isn’t just bad Chinese food, but also things like codeine in cough syrup and dehydration and birth control pills and GMOs.

During today’s episode, you’ll discover what I learned from reading both these books, and much more, including:

-How Dr. Chutkan can actually “smell” gut issues with her patients…[16:25]

-What it means if your sweat smells funky…[21:00]

-What pig whipworms and hookworms have to do with getting a healthier gut…[24:30]

-Why the Bedouin tribe eats camel feces when they have gut issues…[34:00]

-Why the “poop pills” everyone seems to be talking about don’t work…[52:50]

-Which common musculoskeletal imbalance can cause constipation, no matter how healthy you eat…[55:56]

-Why your medications and supplements may be making you constipated, and what you can do about it…[62:30]

-How wine can be either good or bad for your microbiome, depending on when you drink the wine…[67:45]

-The best time of day to take probiotics if you are also taking antibiotics…[69:30]

-Beans cause bloat for lots of people, you’ll discover one special ingredient you can add to them to keep this from happening…[72:55]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

The Microbiome Solution: A Radical New Way to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out

The Bloat Cure: 101 Natural Solutions for Real and Lasting Relief

3 day “poop panel” to test your gut

Openbiome for fecal transplants

“How To Poop The Right Way” article



The Gut Super-Special: Eating Camel Poop, Weird Constipation Causes, Pig Whipworms & More: How To Banish Bloat, Fix Your Microbiome & Reboot Your Gut.


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

In the beginning of this episode, I mention “Michael Phelps cupping” and what the research really says about whether cupping does or does not work, and also mention a new study on 20-25% gains in lean muscle gain, strength and power, and this HMB-ATP stack that uses exactly what they used in the study (use 50% discount code BEN50).

When it comes to healing your gut, getting rid of bloat and constipation, changing your gastrointestinal bacteria or any other digestive topic, I consider Dr. Robynne Chutkan to be one of the smartest women on the face of planet.

She is on faculty at Georgetown University and founder of the Digestive Center for Women, and she is author of not one, not two, but three books that focus on her primary philosophy: healing your body from the inside out.

So basically, she really loves talking about poop.

Her latest book, The Microbiome Solution, is a deep dive into how and why some of our modern day living is actually causing more problems than we realized to the tiny microbes that keep us happy and healthy– household cleaners, air conditioning, processed food. In that book, she talks about eating poop, timing your probiotics, getting a dog to lick your face, eating dirt and more.

In her other book, The Bloat Cure, she looks at less of the science and more at the practical nature of our bloated bellies, talking about how bloat isn’t just bad Chinese food, but also things like codeine in cough syrup and dehydration and birth control pills and GMOs.

During today’s episode, you’ll discover what I learned from reading both these books, and much more, including:

-How Dr. Chutkan can actually “smell” gut issues with her patients…[16:25]

-What it means if your sweat smells funky…[21:00]

-What pig whipworms and hookworms have to do with getting a healthier gut…[24:30]

-Why the Bedouin tribe eats camel feces when they have gut issues…[34:00]

-Why the “poop pills” everyone seems to be talking about don’t work…[52:50]

-Which common musculoskeletal imbalance can cause constipation, no matter how healthy you eat…[55:56]

-Why your medications and supplements may be making you constipated, and what you can do about it…[62:30]

-How wine can be either good or bad for your microbiome, depending on when you drink the wine…[67:45]

-The best time of day to take probiotics if you are also taking antibiotics…[69:30]

-Beans cause bloat for lots of people, you’ll discover one special ingredient you can add to them to keep this from happening…[72:55]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

The Microbiome Solution: A Radical New Way to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out

The Bloat Cure: 101 Natural Solutions for Real and Lasting Relief

3 day “poop panel” to test your gut

Openbiome for fecal transplants

“How To Poop The Right Way” article



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

[Transcript] – Ayahuasca 101, Tripping Out On Nutmeg, Magic Mushrooms & More With Dennis McKenna.

Podcast from

[1:20] Kimera Koffee

[3:05] Organifi Green Juice

[4:18] Introduction

[5:51] About Dennis McKenna

[7:41] How Dennis Grew Up

[12:39] What is DMT

[17:16] Does the body make much of its own DMT naturally?

[20:35] Sound Frequencies and DMT Production

[26:40] Low-level Electrical Frequencies

[28:35] How does Ayahuasca work

[34:36] Experimenting to Get The Effects of Ayahuasca

[37:34] Using Nutmeg

[45:45] Doing Ayahuasca in South America vs. In A Condo/Loft

[47:41] Website or Resource for Ayahuasca and the like

[49:53] LSD Microdosing

[55:05] Safety of Microdosing LSD

[57:22] Psilocybin’s Effects

[1:05:12] Concept of Tapping Movements

[1:08:20] How To Source These Compounds

[1:14:51] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey, what’s up, you guys?  It’s Ben Greenfield.  My voice feels dry to me.  My voice feels dry?  My throat.  I guess my mouth feels dry.  I just got out of the sauna, and despite having a giant glass of water, it was hot this morning.  I usually turn my sauna on to pre-heat for a little while, about 20 or 30 minutes before I get in, and I turned it on extra early this morning and it heated up for a long time.  I put a wine cork in the sauna to cover up the temperature sensor and it gets up to about 155.  And I also used a bunch of this Pink Panther insulation from the Home Depot store to insulate the sauna so it gets even hotter.  And despite me running out of the sauna flowing my arms and jumping in the cold pool afterwards, I still feel as though my throat is dry, and I had a joint glass of water.

Anyways.  I digress from today’s topic at hand, which is an interview with a guy who is relatively well-known in the psychedelic drug world, Dennis McKenna.  But fear not, because in today’s episode you’re going to learn about things like tapping, and lucid dreaming, and nutmeg, and things that don’t necessarily involve you needing to, say, foray to Peru to engage in an ayahuasca trip, but we talk a little bit about that too.

However, I want to tell you about a couple of things.  First of all, there is this compound called L-theanine, and they’ve actually studied it in combination with caffeine.  It’s very interesting.  For example, when you combine caffeine with L-theanine, one study showed improved performance in attention switching tasks and reduced susceptibility to distracting stimuli.  Another study showed that if caffeine raises your blood pressure, L-theanine actually blunts the effect.  They’ve shown that theanine inhibits the vasoconstrictive blood pressure increasing effects of coffee.  They’ve also shown that when you combine coffee with theanine, you get better word and sentence recall, faster reaction time, improved rapid visual information processing, and less mental fatigue.  Plus it keeps coffee from keeping you awake.

Well, theanine is just one ingredient in the nootropic-infused coffee called Kimera Koffee, which you actually get a big discount on.  So here’s how you can get this Kimera Koffee with the theanine and plenty more in it.  You go to K-i-m-e-r-a-k-o-f-f-e-e dot com ( and you use discount code Ben to get 10% off.  And by the way, they’re doing a massive giveaway of a ton of Kimera Koffee swag, and you can get in on that giveaway if you go to That’s where you can get 650 bucks worth of cameras, GoPro, titanium adventure mugs, tripods, and SANDMARC Armor roll-up bag, a ton of stuff.  So,, 10% discount code Ben, and also check out their giveaway at

This podcast is also brought to you by some of the best tasting superfood green juice on the face of the planet.  This stuff is made by Organifi, it’s called Organifi Green Juice, and the ingredients are quite comprehensive.  But one of the things that I really like about it is the flavor.  They use a coconut powder in it to increase electrolytes, which I probably need after today’s sauna session, and I probably will put in my morning smoothie.  I’ve been doing morning smoothies with lots of ice ’cause it’s very hot here right now.  But anyways, I’ll do the ice with the greens, throw a bit of vegetable in there, a little bit of coconut milk, some protein powder.  This stuff has wheat grass, it’s got horseradish tree, chlorella, matcha green tea, which also has theanine in it by the way, ashwagandha, red beet root, organic turmeric, a whole bunch of stuff.  So, anyways, try it out.  There’s a 100% money back guarantee on it and you get 20% off anyways when you go to and use discount code Ben.  That’s, and you use 20% discount code Ben.  Chock full of discounts on goodies for you today.

Alright.  That’s it.  Dennis McKenna.  Let’s do this.

In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“The nutmeg is psychotropic.  It was popular in prisons back in the 50’s and 60’s when prisoners couldn’t get anything else to get high off of.  I mean, they could always steal some nutmeg from the kitchen and take that.”  “You can use them recreationally some times.  I mean, people use mushrooms recreationally at low doses, never really suspecting if they were to up the dose just a little bit, they would discover a whole new aspect.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben:  Hey, folks.  It’s Ben Greenfield, and when it comes to plant-based medicine, my guest on today’s show is considered to be somewhat of a groundbreaking pioneer.  His name is Dennis McKenna, and Dennis’ research, which spans back to the 1970’s, has focused for a long time on things like Amazonian ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens.  During the early 1970’s, he actually developed a technique for cultivating psilocybin mushrooms with his brother Terence McKenna, and they published what they learned in a book called “Psilocybin: The Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide”.  And Dennis has actually conducted a bunch of ethnobotanical fieldwork all over the place, the Peruvian, the Colombian, the Brazilian, and the Amazonian areas.  And his doctoral research at the University of British Columbia focused on a couple of compounds you may have heard of before, at least one that I’m sure most people have heard of, ayahuasca.  Another one, and I don’t even know if I’m pronouncing it correctly, called oo-koo-he, which are tryptamine-based hallucinogens, which you’ll find used by indigenous peoples in places like South America.

He’s the founding board member of something called the Heffter Research Institute and is a key organizer and was a participant in something called the Hoasca Project, which was the first a biomedical investigation of ayahuasca, used by a Brazilian religious group.  He’s currently the assistant professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.  And today, we are gonna delve, not only into things like psilocybin and ayahuasca, but ibogaine, DMT, and other plant-based medicines and beyond.  So, Dennis, welcome to the show, man.

Dennis:  Thanks, Ben.  It’s a pleasure to be here.  Thank you for inviting me.

Ben:  Yeah.  And something I’m super curious about, ’cause, you know, it appears that both you and your brother have a keen interest in the psychedelic, and plant-based medicine, and things of the like, how’d you guys grow up?  I mean, were you surrounded by the paranormal and by psychedelics?  Or did you kinda discover this stuff later on in life, like in college where a lot of people tap into this stuff?

Dennis:  Our growing up was remarkably normal, and actually, we grew up in a small town in Paonia, Colorado.  Very small town.  Brings all the open-mindedness that small towns seem to be known for which is to say not very much.  And Terence and I were as teenagers and younger, we were kind of the odd ones, you know.  I mean, if they’d the word back in the day, they would have called us nerds.  We were interested in science, we were kinda intellectual, we were interested in books, football and girls were not our major preoccupation like most of our classmates.  So we were interested in what you might say the unexplained and just interesting things.  And a lot of that I have to credit my dad for some of that because he was a strange person in any way.

Ben:  Your dad was a strange person?

Dennis:  Yeah.  A strange person.  He was very invested in being just a normal guy, and we’d have conversations about, “I’m just an average guy,” he would say.  And I would say, “No, you’re not.  Because you’re actually a pretty interesting guy.”  And one of the things that he would do is he would travel most of the week for his job, but he would come back on the weekends and sometimes he’d bring the Fate Magazine with him, which is still around.  It’s one of those pulp magazines and it was all about the paranormal, flying saucers…

Ben:  It’s called Fate Magazine?

Dennis:  It’s called Fate Magazine.  Yeah.

Ben:  Interesting.  So your dad had an interest in the paranormal early on as you were growing up?

Dennis:  Yeah.  I think this was recreational reading for him.  But he’d bring these magazines around, and he would occasionally bring like pulp, science fiction magazines like monthly science fiction stories like Amazing Science Fiction and all these things you could buy on the stands back in the day.  Low quality, almost pamphlets but containing these science fiction stories.  So between, his, and he’d leave these things around, and Terence and I, being curious and being kind of enticed probably by something we’re sort  of look at, you know.  And I mean, that was true of the so-called girly magazines that he brought occasionally too which he tried to hide but we knew where they were.

But the science fiction magazines and this Fate magazine, which is still going, we would jump all over that.  And it would have stories about the abominable snowman, and UFOs, and just the paranormal, all this stuff.  So we were interested in that.  And I’d really have to sort of credit science fiction for being a big part of that.

Ben:  Interesting.

Dennis:  So when psychedelics came out in the mid-60’s, or when they began to sort of emerge in the mainstream medium we were already ready.

Ben:  Right.

Dennis:  We were primed for this.  In fact, it was like we thought, “Oh my God.  All this stuff about traveling in other dimensions, and contacting aliens, and all that, it’s not just fantasy.  You can actually do it!”

Ben:  Right.

Dennis:  And psychedelics were a doorway into that.  And so we were quite fascinated with psychedelics when they came out.  And that led us down the path that we’ve gone down ever since much to our parents chagrin.  I mean, our parents were really, like I say, extremely normal people, and they didn’t know why they had to have these two weird brothers.  I mean, kinda like their cross to bear.

Ben:  Normal, except your father’s Fate magazine infatuation, I suppose.

Dennis:  Right.  Right.  Exactly.

Ben:  Yeah.  Now, the word on the street, from what I understand, is that there’s this molecule, and I’d like to start with this one if you’re game, called DMT, and I’m curious if you could not only explain what DMT is, but I’m also curious because, from what I understand, you actually discovered DMT.  So is it true that you discovered DMT?  And if so, how?  And, of course, what is DMT?

Dennis:  Okay.  Yeah.  We can do the whole podcast on DMT and we can be happy with that, right.  Because there’s a lot to say about DMT.  In the first place, no, we didn’t discover DMT.  I don’t know how that meme got out into the internet because that’s not true.  We personally discovered DMT in the late 60’s when Terence was living in Berkeley and I was coming out there.  I was there in ’67 and there was not a lot of DMT around, but Terence was very good at working the matrix and he was able to find it.  What little there was, he had sources.  So we personally discovered DMT at that time.  But DMT was actually, you know, it has a history.  In fact, I can plug a book which is not my book, but people may be interested.

It was discovered in I think about 1931 by a Canadian chemist, Richard Manske, who synthesized this compound. He was working on compounds, he was working on the constituents, believe it or not, of strawberry roots.  He synthesized this compound because he needed a standard for his chromatography, for his analytical work.  He made DMT at the time it was not recognized that it was a natural compound, he thought it was synthetic, and it wasn’t recognized that it was psychoactive either.  He made this compound, he did his analytical work, he put it on a shelf and forgot it.  Ten years later, a Brazilian chemist isolated a compound from another hallucinogen, from something called Jurema, which is a beverage used in eastern Brazil, in ritual practices.  And it turns out he isolated a compound which he called Nigerin, and it turned out that was identical to DMT.  So that was the first inkling that maybe DMT was psychoactive.  And then, he didn’t confirm that either.  He didn’t take it himself.

So in the 1950’s, there was a guy, Hungarian psychopharmacologist named Stephen Szara, who was wanting to do clinical work with LSD.  But he lived in Budapest and he could not get, Sandoz would not send him LSD.  They were the purveyors of LSD at the time.  They wouldn’t send it to him because he was behind the Iron Curtain.  So he decided, “Well, I’ll just synthesize DMT.  That’s easy to do.  Let’s synthesize this thing and see if it’s actually psychedelic.”  And he did, and he administered it to himself, and that’s the first time that DMT was actually definitively shown to be a very potent psychedelic.

Ben:  Okay.  So what does DMT stand for?

Dennis:  Okay.  It stands for dimethyltryptamine.  So tryptamine’s, how do we explain this. Dimethyltryptamine, tryptamine comes from the amino acid tryptophan, which is in everything.  Tryptophan’s an essential amino acid.  In two trivial steps from tryptophan, one to remove the carboxyl group, the other to add the methyl groups to this molecule, and I don’t want to get people bogged down in chemistry, but if you take tryptophan, if you remove the acid group, you have tryptamine.  If you add two methyl groups, then you got dimethyltryptamine, and that’s what DMT is.

Ben:  Based on that, because I know that we’re able to generate some tryptophan endogenously, does the body make much of its own DMT naturally?

Dennis:  The body does make DMT.  It’s found in different tissues.  It’s found not as much, it is found in the brain.  But it’s mostly found in the lungs.  The lungs make quite a lot of DMT.  And that material, that DMT is translocated into the brain by active transport.  So it has some kind of a neurotransmitter-like function.

Ben:  Okay.

Dennis:  And, interestingly, it’s all tied up with the pineal.  It’s all tied up with the pineal gland and pineal chemistry.  The pineal, as you know, in myth and [0:18:09] ______ is associated with the third eye.  It’s an endocrine gland, but it has an eye-like structure and it’s actually sensitive to light.  It has photoreceptors in it.  And the main hormone that the pineal makes is melatonin.  Melatonin is the pineal hormone that regulates circadian rhythms that regulates our sleep-wake cycles, right.

Ben:  Right.

Dennis:  Melatonin is a tryptamine.  It’s very close to DMT.  Melatonin is 5-methoxy-n-acetyltryptamine, and it only occurs in the pineal.  And the pineal also makes DMT, but not all the time.  For a long time there was controversy whether it did make DMT.  I mean, we knew the enzymes weren’t there, we knew the precursors were there.  Nobody could actually nail down DMT and say, “Yes, the pineal does make it.”  But actually in the last few months, earlier this year that question has been resolved.  A brilliant pharmacologist by the name of Nicholas Cosi has shown that the pineal does have, it does contain DMT.  That raises a whole lot of questions because if the pineal contains DMT, and if you can stimulate the synthesis of DMT in the pineal through, say, yogic exercises, or breathing exercises, or so on, you can stimulate your own internal psychedelic trip essentially, you’re making your own drug.

Ben:  Well, I personally believe that’s quite possible because, for example, I’ve done holotropic breathwork, as one example, like a 90 minute holotropic breathwork session, and induced a deep hallucinogenic state.  I also have done kundalini yoga, in which you have your eyes closed and you’re focusing quite a bit on this third eye chakra, on this pineal gland, and also experienced a bit of a hallucinogenic state.  So it’s quite interesting that it would seem that you can, if you train yourself to really be in touch with your pineal gland, you can produce some amount of your own endogenous DMT, it would seem.

I wanna ask you in a second about the exogenous use of DMT via something like ayahuasca, but also, are you familiar with the use of like sound frequencies, for example, that different sound frequencies can activate different glands?  I actually just read a fascinating book called “The Sound of Healing,” and it goes into how sound frequencies at 900 and something Hertz, I believe is the frequency, but you can actually listen to what are called binaural beats or sounds, that also activate the pineal gland and endogenous DMT production.

Dennis:  Yes.  Yes.  I’m familiar with all of these things and this is actually a hot area right now.  There’s a lot of breakthroughs being made.  The yogic exercises that you referred to, the kundalini exercises?  Those are essentially exactly that.  They’re ways to raise your kundalini energy from your more base chakras into the third eye chakra and to stimulate the pineal.  But what you’re stimulating is actually DMT synthesis.  And holotropic breathwork, all of these sort of none-drug ways of inducing drug states is essentially you’re inducing your own brain to make the drug.

The sound stuff is very interesting.  This is another way to do it.  And just in the last month, I learned about a new technology.  I met a fellow, I was travelling in the UK recently, and I met a fellow named Guy Harriman.  And he used to be an Apple engineer.  He worked closely with Steve Jobs in Apple and also in NeXT.  Now he’s a Zen Monk in Chang Mai, Thailand.  But he’s created this light, he’s developed this technology called the Ajna Light, and he claims that it induces DMT.

Ben:  Did you say the Ajna?  Do you know how that’s spelled?

Dennis:  Yeah.  I put it in your text box.

Ben:  Okay. Yeah.  I’ll check it out, and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes.  By the way, for those of you who are listening in, the show notes are gonna be at  That’s  I see this, the Ajna Light, A-J-N-A Light.  And so, is this a light that you actually place over that area in between your eyes to activate the pineal gland?

Dennis:  It’s a light.  It looks like a tanning light sort of, in configuration, but it’s got these LEDs set in it, these white LEDs.  And what the machine itself is very simple.  What makes it go are the different programs that he’s written for it which will induce different states like delta state and deep theta activation, for example.  You know, he’s got various programs that he can put it through.  I tried it a couple of times.  I was actually at a retreat where we were doing other things.  We were doing ayahuasca and so on, but I got a chance to test this out a couple of times.  And normally I’m pretty skeptical about these things.  I’m like, “Yeah, sure.  It induces DMT.  Tell me something else.”  Actually, I’m pretty convinced.  I was in the zone after I went under this light.  It took about maybe two or three minutes, and I was basically in a state that, if not exactly like my experience with exogenous DMT, were very, very similar.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s interesting.  Actually, I believe you for a couple of reasons.  The first is, I know everybody knows about cones and rods that our eyes have like those different light receptors, but there are these cells called melanopsin cells, like these light-sensitive pigments that the eyes have.  And those send messages to a part of your hypothalamus, which influences sleep, and alertness, and hormones, there’s a section of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the SCN, and I know that that particular area, that SCN, can signal the pineal gland to produce a variety of hormones.  In most cases, melatonin is the one that’s been studied the most.  But I would hazard a guess that by stimulating that suprachiasmatic nucleus, you could probably also activate DMT to some extent.  The other interesting thing…

Dennis:  Yeah.  Exactly.  It’s like you’re kinda way ahead of me.  Or at least you’re right up there with me.  I was gonna mention, yes, this thing, this Ajna Light mediates its effects through this melanopsin system, which is still kind of being investigated.  But it appears that via melanopsin, it activates this process of DMT synthesis.  So I think this is possibly a tremendous breakthrough myself if this light actually does this.  Because then, we believe in our community that DMT in these medicine plants have a lot of therapeutic potential.

Ben:  Yeah.

Dennis:  And if you could get around with the whole drug thing and say, “Well, this is a way to train your body, train your brain to make your own drugs.  This is good!”

Ben:  Right.  Exactly.  The most natural method would be…

Dennis:  The FDA will have a hard time arresting you for this.

Ben:  Right.  Right.  You can’t be arrested for endogenously producing compounds your body would naturally make on its own.  The other interesting thing is, and I don’t know if you’ve heard of this before, low-level electrical frequencies.  It was actually just this morning that I was using this, I tweeted about it, but I often will sleep with a device that produces a very low-level electromagnetic frequency.  It’s called a pulsed electromagnetic frequency, or PEMF.  The one that I use is called a DeltaSleeper and it’s a very, very low frequency.  You’re supposed to put it over your collarbone because that’s where your brachial plexus is.  And so, when you put it on your collar bone, it causes the nerve signal to travel to your brain to cause you to produce delta brain waves.  But one thing that I’ll use it for, is for inducing a state of lucid dreaming, is I wear a sleep mask, and I actually put it right over that third eye, right up at the upper bridge of the nose, in between the eyes.  It places this frequency right over the pineal gland, and you go into this deep state of lucid dreaming.  And I actually track my deep sleep and my rapid eye movement sleep, and I get much, much higher amounts of both deep and rapid eye movement sleep when I’m using this frequency over the pineal gland.  So it’s very interesting how we can use technology to induce, what I suppose could be a DMT production.

Dennis:  Yeah.  Yeah.  I don’t know the technology that you’re talking about, but I’d like to learn more.  I mean, that sounds really quite, what did you call it?

Ben:  This one’s called a DeltaSleeper.  It’s just a very, very low-level cell phones, for example, make a pulsed electromagnetic field frequency that one would probably not want to place on their heads.  But these are like very, very low level frequencies, a little bit more biologically appropriate.  Similar to what you’d get if you were, say, like grounding or Earthing, right, like standing barefoot on Earth.

But when it comes to exogenous use of DMT, a lot of people, of course, have heard of ayahuasca.  Now, you mentioned that DMT is produced in the human lungs to a certain extent.  Is ayahuasca something that one would ideally vape?  Inject?  Consume?  How does ayahuasca work exactly for those people who are listening in who haven’t used it yet?

Dennis:  Well, you can, with synthetic DMT, you can vape it, if you have the freebase form.  And if you have the freebase form, you can vape it.  It produces a very rapid, very short, and quite overwhelming psychedelic experience.  It lasts maybe 10 to 20 minutes at the outside.  Extremely astonishing and amazing, but, you know, over quickly, right.  So, and that’s the basis of the snuffs.  DMT is very wide.  There are lots of things that contain DMT.  Ayahuasca though is kinda unique because it’s an orally active, it’s a bevarage.  And the thing is, with DMT, it is destroyed in the body by enzymes called monoamineoxidases.  And because it is a natural compound, the very, something that our bodies make, our bodies make it, but they also break it down very readily.  So this is why it’s been so hard to find DMT in the pineal ‘cause it does appear, but then it disappears as quickly.

So DMT by itself is not orally active, right.  If you eat DMT, nothing will happen.  If you take a plant containing DMT, nothing will happen because it’s broken down by the enzymes in your gut.  What’s amazing and interesting about ayahuasca is that they figured out to make it in, to put a DMT-containing plant in combination with another plant that contains alkaloids that inhibit those monoamineoxidases.  So this protects the DMT in the gut, allows it to be absorbed into the bloodstream in an active form, and then it’s orally active.  And then, instead of 10 or 15 minutes, it’s four, five, six, or seven hours.  So it’s kind of like, you change the whole pharmacokinetic profile.  It takes, it unfolds over a much longer time.  You sacrifice the intensity that you find in the short, when you smoke it, but what you get is a much richer content, you know.  It’s sort of like the difference between playing a video at fast forward.  I mean it goes by, you see it, you can’t make a lot of sense out of it versus playing it at normal speed that it makes much more sense.  So ayahuasca is the solution to the oral inactivity of the DMT.  It’s a way to make it orally active, essentially.

Ben:  Now this is something that’s always been a head-scratcher for me.  I understand people’s infatuation with wanting to perhaps use a spirit-based molecule like this, or a psychedelic medication in the traditional way that it would have been used, right, like for example, as one would use it in South America, drinking the beverage.  Why wouldn’t the folks simply bypass the oral use of DMT which presents these issues with the monoamineoxidase breakdown as you’ve alluded to and instead, for example, just inject or vape DMT?  Why is it that that’s not done more frequently?  Or why is that not more popular, at least doesn’t appear to be?

Dennis:  Well, it’s done, I mean in traditional medicine, you’re not dealing with pure compounds.  So it’s not practical to inject it or vape it, you know.  It’s not really practical to do that in South America.  What you get are snuffs.  There are several tribes that prepare various DMT plants as snuffs.  So they get around this oral inactivation problem that way.  And so you can do that if you have a more sort of prolonged exposure to that sort of being in that dimension, if you wanna characterize it that way.  You get more out of it, essentially.

Ben:  Okay.

Dennis:  This is why ayahuasca has a lot of therapeutic use.  DMT may too, but DMT is kind of a shock, you know.  You can’t really come back from it other than with a [0:33:35] ______ .  I was like, “Oh my god.  What happened?  What was that?”  That’s a great impression, but what is the therapeutic content, you know?  So experiencing it over a longer period of time for therapeutic use, you get more out of it.

Ben:  Okay.  That makes sense.

Dennis:  Just to complete sort of to complete the chemistry lesson in a way, I should mention that psilocybin is also an orally active form of DMT, basically.  So psilocybin, in the mushrooms, is chemically related to DMT, very closely related.  Psilocybin is converted to psilocin in the body.  Psilocin is the active form of psilocybin, and it’s really just one atom different than DMT, but it’s a critical difference.  It allows the, again, the DMT to be orally active.

Ben:  Interesting.

Dennis:  It doesn’t require an MAO inhibitor.

Ben:  Okay.  Now, I have a question for you.  Speaking of MAO inhibitors.  You know, that there are certain things that I’ve recommended to people before to help them fall asleep or relax when they wake up at night.  Examples would be like passion flower extract, or kava kava, for example.  Now I know that one of the ways that these work is they are indeed monoamineoxidase inhibitors and may allow for a little bit of endogenous production of DMT.  Have you experimented much with natural compounds like this in conjunction with some of things we talked about, like, holotropic breathwork, or pineal gland activation to see how close one could get to, for example, simulating an ayahuasca experience without the actual use of ayahuasca?

Dennis:  Well, yes and no.  I have worked with kava quite a lot and kava is many things.  It is an MAO inhibitor, but it’s also works like benzodiazepine.  It works mainly through the GABA system.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s great for sleep.

Dennis:  Oh, it’s great!  It’s a wonderful thing!  I mean it’s, again, one of these, you know, traditional medicines that’s far better than the pharmaceutical alternative for anxiety, sleep, muscle relaxants, all that.  And it is a weak MAO inhibitor, but I don’t think that has, that’s not that remain to its activity.  Now passionflower is kind of a different, it has some of these beta carboline alkaloids, the same ones, or similar to what you find in banisteriopsis, the vine component of ayahuasca.  It also contains some flavonoids that have a kind of, similar to a kava-like effect, if you will.  It works on the GABA receptors.

So, I have heard of people using passionflower in place of banisteriopsis to activate oral DMT.  I am not, I haven’t experimented with that myself.  I’ve heard that that can work.  There are other plants that people use in place of banisteriopsis.  For instance, syrian rue is not something you can buy on the internet.

Ben:  What’d you call that one?

Dennis:  It’s called, the scientific name is Peganum harmala.

Ben:  Okay.

Dennis:  And syrian rue is the common name.

Ben:  I gotcha.  I see that you’re typing those into me now in the Skype box.  I’ll put links to some of these in the show notes for folks.  Another one that I wanted to ask you about, and then I also have some questions for you about some of the other things I know you’ve worked with such psilocybin, and ibogaine, et cetera.  I’ve heard some people will actually get a little bit of a trip, a hallucinogenic trip through the use of nutmeg.  And from what I understand, nutmeg may also be some kind of an MAO inhibitor.  Are you familiar at all with people responding and almost going on trips when they use too much nutmeg, or nutmeg essential oil?

Dennis:  Oh, yes.  Yes.  This is a whole, nutmeg is psychotropic.  It can be, it was popular in prisons back in the 50’s and 60’s.

Ben:  Really?

Dennis:  Yeah.  When prisoners couldn’t get anything else to get high off of, you know.  I mean, they could always steal some nutmeg from the kitchen and take that.  It is psychotropic.  And it’s a whole different chemistry, actually.  The chemistry of nutmeg, the essential oils of nutmeg are things like myristicin. And these are, there’s a whole family of these essential oils, and they have ring substitutions that are similar to some of the compounds that Shulgin, Alexander Shulgin developed.  So these are really, they’re not indoles, they’re not tryptamines like DMT or psilocybin.  They’re phenylethylamines and actually resemble, their chemistry is closer to amphetamine or mescaline.  And they are hallucinogens, and the thinking is that myristicin or some of the components in nutmeg might be converted into some of these active compounds.  ‘Cause you can convert myristicin to something like MDMA or MMDA by simply adding an ammonia to the group, by adding the nitrogen to the group.  Easier said than done, but theoretically this could happen in the body.  Yeah, I mean what I tell people about myristicin or about nutmeg is, there are liver issues here.  These things are not that easy on the liver.  And the high is not worth it.

Ben:  Yeah.  The same can be said of kava as well, right?  Like a lot of the kavalactones I know can be, you may wanna test your liver enzymes if you’re frequently using a lot of these things because I know that they do get metabolized by the liver.  Any of these things that you’re not, for example vaping, and just sending into the bloodstream through the lungs, they get a liver pass, and so you need to be careful ’cause that’s a pretty important organ.

Dennis:  Yeah.  The liver is, I mean that’s a big part of its function is it metabolizes toxin.  The liver toxicity of kava is a complicated topic, and basically I’ll just say it’s overhyped.  It turns out it’s not as bad for the liver as we thought, or as the original reports were.  Myristicin, all of these things, I mean, for me the bottom line is, unless you’re really desperate, don’t bother with nutmeg.  There are much better things out there.  The quality of the experience is not really worth it.  There are better things.

Ben:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  And by the way, I know that there are a few people right now who have perhaps your eyebrow is raised because you’re wondering why you’d want to do things like hunt down ayahuasca, or nutmeg, or kava, or syrian rue oil, or anything else that Dennis and I are discussing.  I don’t know about you, Dennis, but for me personally, whether I’m looking for a personal breakthrough or a business breakthrough, I a lot of times find that I’m able to tap into higher amounts of creativity and personal insight when I’m using some of these type of compounds.  And full disclosure, I am a Christian.  I also engage in devotion, and prayer, and Bible reading, and I’m in touch spiritually as well with a higher power.  But I don’t deny that a higher power has also given us a lot of these plant-based medicines very similar to a glass of wine to be able to engage in specific behavioral patterns that help us to have breakthroughs.  And so, I don’t think that this is all about going to a party and having a good time necessarily, and I’m not endorsing that folks just go about getting high just for the sake of getting high.

Dennis:  No.  Right.  Exactly.  These things are really, their spiritual tools in a certain way, or they’re tools for exploring consciousness.  You can use them recreationally sometimes.  I mean people use mushrooms recreationally at low doses, never really suspecting if they were to up the dose just a little bit, they would discover a whole new aspect of the mushroom experience that’s much more profound and a chance for spiritual revelation, for actually the reason there’s revived interest in these compounds now is they can be used to treat things like depression, and PTSD, and a drug addiction, and this kind of thing.  We’re seeing whole new therapeutic paradigms being developed now for actually using these things, not in the way that psychopharmaceuticals, like antidepressants are used.  They don’t really solve the problem.  They just put a band aid over the problem.  Some of these psychedelics actually have the potential to actually cure these conditions.

So, which is one reason why big pharma is not really interested in these things.  They’re interested in drugs that you take four times a day for the rest of your life.  A drug that you might take two or three times in your whole life, there’s no revenue model for that as far as big pharma is concerned.  So these things, again if you look at a couple of great websites here which I mentioned before, is one, is another, these are two non-profits.  Heffter is kind of, Heffter’s the one I’m affiliated with.  MAPS is much bigger and more visible, but MAPS has kind of adopted MDMA in the same way that we’ve adopted psilocybin.  We’re trying to get regulatory approval.  There’s plenty of scientific evidence to show that these things have value, but then you’re up against a regulatory framework.  So MAPS is developing protocols to use MDMA, right, which is ecstacy on the street, or now it’s called Mollys sometimes.  Very good for treating PTSD, you know.  Extremely effective for that.  So they’re trying to get FDA approval, they’re trying to get the thing changed from Schedule I, which is the most restrictive.  Schedule II or III, that will make it easier for therapists to use it.  And we’re kind of doing the same thing with psilocybin.

Ben:  Got it.  I will link to those websites over at, M-C-K-E-N-N-A, for those of you who want to take a deeper dive into Heffter and MAPS.  So should someone not want to empty the entire bottle of nutmeg from Starbucks into their cup of coffee to experience a DMT release, Dennis?  Let’s say someone wants to have an ayahuasca experience.  I know that there are a lot of ayahuasca experiences popping up in places like New York and San Francisco lofts, where shamans [0:45:59] ______ and bring one through an ayahuasca ceremony.  Would you say that there is a difference between, say, traveling to rural South America or the Amazon to do ayahuasca versus just finding it at a safe place in say, like a condo or a loft somewhere with a bunch of friends to use it.

Dennis:  In New York.  Well, yeah.  There is a difference obviously.  If you do travel someplace for this experience, then you’re immersed in that different cultural context which can be useful but it’s not necessary really.  I mean you can, I tell people if you wanna go to the Amazon, if you want a tourist adventure, and wanna go down, and take ayahuasca, that’s fine.  Be aware that it’s the Wild West.  You have to pay attention to the quality because ayahuasca tourism is so prevalent.  If you go to the epicenter where this is happening, which has basically Iquitos, Peru, you kinda have to know the ropes a little bit, or you’re at risk for not having the best experience, or actually being mistakenly going someplace where they may not have your best interests at heart, right.  I mean, there’s a lot of dodgy shaman, there’s a lot of poor-quality brew, sexual abuse is kinda rampant in some of these situations.  So, it’s okay to go there, but you really have to, you should talk with someone who knows the ropes, who knows who not to go to and who to go to.

Ben:  Is there a website or a resource, or would you say that the best thing to do is simply ask around at this point for something like that.

Dennis:  Ask somebody that knows, that’s been there.  There are a couple of websites.  They are sort of like, there’s one called Aya Advisor, I think it’s dot org.  They’re kind of like, what’s the tourist one?

Ben:  Like a TripAdvisor for ayahuasca?

Dennis:  Yeah, exactly.  TripAdvisor for ayahuasca pilgrims.  But the question is, can you trust that information too?  But at least it gives you a handle on what’s out there.  There’s a couple others as well.  I can’t think of the other name.  I think it was, I can’t remember.  But, so there are a couple websites that rate them.

Ben:  Right.

Dennis:  And then in the States, people are bringing it up and there are, they tell me, in New York City on the any given weekend, there’s about a hundred ayahuasca ceremonies.

Ben:  Yeah.  I am personally invited to ceremonies all the time at different lofts and condos, and different people are bringing shamans in and that’s why I wanted to ask you, one of the world’s leading experts on this, what you would consider to be safe, and effective, and a good experience versus perhaps a risky experience.

Dennis:  I think you do not have to go to South America to have a rich, rewarding experience, you know.  But the same cautions apply, work through your trusted networks to find a good place to do it, and it can be a New York, it can be in [0:49:33] ______ .  It doesn’t really matter because the important thing is that it’s good medicine, and that you’re able to take it in a safe place, and people are there to support you and not exploit you.  That’s Common Sense 101, right?

Ben:  Yep.  Now Forbes, the magazine, they recently wrote an article and it was entitled “LSD Microdosing: The New Job Enhancer in Silicone Valley”.  I’m curious.  Can you educate us a little bit on why folks are beginning to utilize something like LSD microdosing as almost like a workplace smart drug?

Dennis:  Well, that’s it.  People are finding, I’m try to write down Jim Fadiman, he’s a psychopharmacologist and I think he’s with the [0:50:35] ______ Institute.  He’s kind of the go-to guy on LSD micro dosing and people find that low levels of LSD taken daily, and I’m talking really sub-psychoactive levels, 10 to 20 micrograms, that’s well below the level where you would have any kind of hallucinogenic effect.

Ben:  Right.  That would be considered about one-tenth of what a standard dose would be considered, correct?

Dennis:  Exactly.  Standard dose, a very solid standard dose would be between 100 and 200 micrograms.  A tenth of that, roughly?  I haven’t done it myself, but I know people that do it and they say it does definitely give them a certain cognitive edge.  They just think better, they’re more creative, and they think faster.  It kind of loosens up their thought processes a little bit and in their subjective sense makes them able to think better and  be more creative.

Ben:  Now did you say that the molecular mechanism behind the way that LSD works is similar to psilocybin?  Or were you saying that ayahuasca is what is similar to psilocybin?

Dennis:  No.  They’re all similar.  They all work well with some exceptions.  I mean this is science, right?  So there’s always exceptions.  But there is a class of drugs that I like to call, I like to lump them together and I call them the “true psychedelics.”  And they’re true in the sense that they share a mechanism of action, and they work on one of the subtypes of serotonin receptors.  And their serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain, also called 5-hydroxytryptamine, right.

So serotonin itself is a tryptamine.  It’s called 5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT, and there are about 14 subtypes of 5-HT receptors all through the body, not just in the brain.  There’s actually more serotonin in your gut than there is in the brain.  But these 5-HT2A receptors are the target for what I call the classical psychedelics, or the true psychedelics, and that would be DMT, psilocybin, LSD, mescaline, actually, which is not an indole, a whole other chemical class, but it essentially hits the 5-HT2A receptors.  So those are kind of the DMT.  So DMT orally or vaped is still DMT in terms of their receptors it’s targeting.

Ben:  Okay.  So in the case of something like LSD, what we’re talking about is essentially mimicking serotonin in the brain.  Meaning that you would technically prevent serotonin from binding to its receptors if you had something that was like serotonin hanging around in the synoptic cleft between nerves, right?

Dennis:  That’s exactly right.

Ben:  Okay.  So, basically, we’re getting a lot of those same like dopaminergic, and feel-good type of effects that we’d get from our own endogenous production of serotonin.  We’re just basically inducing those in micro doses when we use something like small, small amounts of this LSD?

Dennis:  Yes, yes.  But I have to slightly correct you here because you’re not getting dopaminergic effects.  You’re getting serotonergic effects, right.  Dopamine is a different neurotransmitter, and it’s the one that amphetamines, and cocaine, and your stimulants kind of hit.  And MDMA also hits dopamine as well as serotonin.  It’s kind of a bifacial kind of effect.

So that’s partly the reason that MDMA and some of these Shulgin-type compounds have this stimulative effect.  They’re like hallucinogens that on one side they have a serotonin effect and an amphetamine-like effect.

 Ben:  What do you know about the safety of something like LSD, especially when used in micro dosing amounts?

Dennis:  It’s not an issue, really.  I mean the safety of LSD, especially LSD, and some of these others, these are not toxic compounds.  They resemble our own neurotransmitters and so, one of the consequences of that is, like I say, we’ve got enzymes like monoamineoxidases, other types of enzymes that are quite capable of handling these compounds.  So from a toxicology level, there is no issue.  The issue, as far as safety is not toxicology, it’s psychology.  They can be, I mean they can, in a small number of people, if you have like a genetic proclivity to schizophrenia or something, they can cause what’s called persistent hallucinogen perceptual disorder.  In other words, people don’t quite make it back from some of these trips.  But most people do.  Most people, even from very high-dose, difficult trips, they may be terrifying, they may be very uncomfortable, but they’re not going to drive you crazy as a rule if you’re basically stable.

Ben:  Gotcha.

Dennis:  Yeah.  So that’s where the hazard comes in, and that’s where set and setting comes in, right.  These two important variables to use psychedelics are setting, it’s got to be an appropriate setting.  Like somebody’s looking after you and probably not in the stadium during the Twins game.  Maybe that’s not the most optimal setting.  And then set.  Set is what you bring to it, your whole mindset, your preparation, your experience, what you intend to get out of it.  So if you approach it respectfully, and thoughtfully, and in a good setting, it can be a very rich experience and beneficial.

Ben:  Yeah.  I have a few other questions for you about some compounds I know that you’ve studied.  Psilocybin, for example.  And I’ve personally used psilocybin in both microdoses as well as larger doses, and one of the effects that I’ve found with it is an intense connection with nature.  Like a stronger interest in everything from hiking, to gardening, to gathering wild plant extracts, to cooking, et cetera.  Do you know what it is about psilocybin that causes one to have like a deeper interest in nature?  Or have you experienced this yourself?

Dennis:  Yes.  Yes, I have.  And you also get that with ayahuasca, and some of these other things.  But ayahuasca and psilocybin both seem to have this effect.  And people, you know, it’s interesting, people go to South America to take ayahuasca, they might be going because they have personal issues that they’re working on, there are various personal things.  They can address those, but so often they come away and they say, “Oh, it was all about nature.  It was all about rediscovering nature and how important our relationship is to nature.”  And, you know, Ben, you’ve actually touched on one of my major shticks here.  It’s how these plants are co-evolutionary catalysts, and they are these molecules that these plants make, our messenger molecules.  And they’re messenger molecules directed primarily at us, at our species.  And the message that they’re trying to get us to hear is, wake up and basically re-understand that you’re not in control of nature, and it’s not there for you to exploit.  It’s there for, if anything, for you to co-evolve with and work with, and people come away with this sort of renewed commitment to really respect nature.  And I think that’s the shift in consciousness that we have to have.  I mean the plants, this is why they’re moving into this global stage because they’re getting a little bit hysterical.  They want us to listen.  If you go on YouTube and put my name in, this’ll come up so I don’t need to…

Ben:  Yeah.  Is there a molecular mechanism though that in terms of enhancement of things like noticing browns and greens more intensively, or smelling things a little bit more sensitively, do you know if when it comes to psilocybin, there’s something happening on a molecular basis?  And the reason I’m asking is similar to the reason that we were touching on like the pineal gland and DMT.  I’m just curious about what might be getting activated that we could potentially tap into via other mechanisms.

Dennis:  Well, yeah.  Yeah, there is exactly that and we understand this pretty well now.  And it has to do with what the neural physiologist, the neural scientists call the sensory gating.  And sensory gating is essentially the threshold for what gets in to what makes it into your perceptions from the outside world, right.  There are gates, a lot of what the brain does as far as processing information from out there, from the external reality out there, is to filter almost everything out.  Because of it all came in, it would just be confusing and you wouldn’t be able to make sense of it.  So these very elegant sensory gating mechanisms that you can train, essentially this is sort of, there’s no conscious training, but in terms of adapting to your environment, these gating levels can be set high or they can be set low.  And what psychedelics do is they temporarily lower the gating threshold.  So many more things come into your perception that would normally be in the background or they would be filtered out.

Ben:  I see.

Dennis:  I think that in a sense you could say they bring the background forward in a certain way.

Ben:  It’s interesting.  It’s also acting the opposite way that something like valium would work.  For example, valium kinda shuts down activity in the frontal cortex to where you become less aware of sensations, less aware of your environment, and it’s almost like taking a sledgehammer to your head to fall asleep.  You don’t go into a good sleep cycle, but you lose a lot of that sensory perception.  What you’re saying is that psilocybin actually specifically causes this sensory gating to where you become more tuned in to your environment.  And is there like a molecular mechanism behind that?  Do you know if it’s working on a specific gland or anything like that?

Dennis:  Well, no.  It’s this overall activation of these 5-HT2A receptors, which are all over the brain.  I mean, they’re in the cortex in the limbic system.  I mean, it’s basically through that, but it affects the signaling indirectly.  Through activating those receptors, it affects this gating mechanism.  Now interestingly, there’s interesting work going on here with respect to schizophrenia because leaving psychedelics aside for a minute, you know, we adapt to our environment, right.  And we learn to ignore stimuli that are not relevant to our immediate survival, and so we raise the gates for that in other words, I don’t really need to know this, raise the gate, keep it out of my attention ’cause it’s not relevant to what I’m doing right now.  Schizophrenics don’t enjoy that luxury, right.  They can have a stimulant, and usually the way it works in non-schizophrenics is you keep hitting those buttons, pretty soon the buttons don’t work anymore.  You just don’t respond.

But one of the aspects of the pathology of schizophrenia is they are unable to raise these threshold levels.  So their world is much more confusing.  They can’t turn off the noise is one way to put it, you know.  For us, it’s background noise.  They cannot do that.  So they’re perpetually in a state of stimulation and they’re trying to cope with all the stimuli.  And they get confused and disoriented.  So there was back in the 50’s, there was a thought that maybe schizophrenia was due to something like the DMT, some endogenous psychedelic compound like DMT.  Interesting theory, and there is some merit to it, but it’s not that simple, right.  Nothing in biology is ever that simple, but you can’t look at the cerebral spinal fluid of schizophrenics, for example, if they have higher levels of DMT than normal people.  I mean, some do, some don’t.  Normal people have high levels.  There’s no correlation, you know.  So it’s hard to work it out.

Ben:  You know the interesting thing when it comes to what you’re talking about with regards to sensory gating and activation of the prefrontal cortex with something like psilocybin is I listened to a fascinating radio interview, and I’ll link to it in the show notes for people listening in.  And it goes into this concept of tapping and how there’s been research since the 90’s, when it comes to activation of the frontal cortex through repetitive tapping movements, and there are entire books on how to tap.

And literally, I mean actually tapping with your fingers on, for example, from the eyebrows, side of the ears, below the chin.  There’s a specific sequence of tapping movements that supposedly induce a sensory gating effect, somewhat similar to psilocybin.  I’ve got a couple books on tapping actually in my bookshelf that I need to delve into after this podcast ’cause it’s reminded me about that, but kinda similar I suppose, to somehow activating the pineal gland and endogenous DMT production via stimulating the third eye chakra with breathing, or with light, or frequencies.  Actual repetitive tapping movements with the fingers seem to cause some type of frontal cortex activity.

Dennis:  Yeah.  Very possibly.  I mean this circles around to what we were talking about before about sound, right.  Sound is another one of these technologies and tapping is, I assume it, I’m relating it to sound because it’s about rhythm, it’s about frequencies.  There’s a wonderful colleague of mine that you may know, may have heard of, his name’s Alexandre Tannous, and he’s an ethnomusicologist and a brilliant guy.  He’s a scholar of sound in all its aspects.  So he’s got a website called, I put it up there in the list.  He would be a great person for you to interview actually. (chuckles)

Ben:  Yeah.

Dennis:  He is a very kind of a renaissance understanding of sound.  He knows the physics, the neurophysiology, the history, and of course the music and all that.

Ben:  Yeah.  I see that he has a video on YouTube called “Sound Meditation”.  I’ll link to that, for those of you listening in, in the show notes.  And then, I also, actually just yesterday, finished a fascinating interview with a guy who wrote a book I mentioned a little bit earlier called “The Sound of Healing” that goes into how specific sound frequencies affect different glands, different organs, and different areas of the brain.  And this particular fellow actually produces these CDs called Wholetones CDs that you play, whether in your car, I’ve actually been playing them while getting a massage, and while meditating, and while sitting in my sauna, and they actually activate specific organ functions.  It’s fascinating how sounds and frequencies, whether from music or elsewhere, can affect the body.

Dennis, we’ve only scratched the surface of some of things that I wanted to ask you about.  I know that you’ve done a ton of additional research on a variety of other compounds, including things like ibogaine and psilocybin, but one other question that I have for you, because I get this a lot from people.  People hear about micro dosing with LSD, and they hear about psilocybin, and MDMA, and some of these things, and at the risk of having you sound like a drug dealer…

Dennis: (laughs)

Ben:  I know that some people think, “Where the heck to even start like sourcing this type of thing in my community?”  Like if I wanna use LSD and I don’t wanna go stand out in front of a local high school and get arrested, or show up at a rave or something hunting down ecstasy, are there reputable places where people can actually find and experiment with these type of compounds?  Or is it just the Wild Wild West?

Dennis:  It’s pretty much unfortunately at this point, it’s pretty much the Wild Wild West because most of these things are still illegal, I mean they shouldn’t be, but that’s the reality.  And not only are they illegal, but they’re quite, and they’re under the strictest classification being the Schedule I.  So they’re right up there with heroin, the most dangerous drugs.  And the legal, the cost of getting caught is quite high.  And, I mean, that’s all changing.  There are places on the web where you can order these designer drugs.  You can order ingredients to make things like ayahuasca…

Ben:  Preferably using a browser blocker so that your IP address can be traced, right?

Dennis:  Preferably with that.  Yeah.  And then you don’t know if the quality of these things are real…

Ben:  Right.  It’s like ordering Viagra from India.

Dennis:  Yeah.  If you order it, you don’t know if what they say is in the bottle actually is what’s in the bottle.  I do want to plug another wonderful organization here,  If you know, have you ever used that or have you heard of that?

Ben:  I have not., no.

Dennis:  E-R-O-W-I-D, best online source of information on drugs that there is.  These guys, it’s actually a man and wife, Earth and Fire Erowid, they do this as a labor of love.  I mean, they need support and they do get it.  If I wanna know about a new drug or just something about how to use something.  I mean, it’s the first place I look online.  They devote a lot of effort to making sure that they’re accurate and they’re not pro or anti-drug, it’s just they’re pro-information.  And then it’s like, “Here’s the information.  We’ve done our best to verify.  It’s accurate.  It’s up to you to use it in however you think is appropriate.”  So it’s a great resource.  And actually, if people are interested in, they don’t sell drugs, well, they don’t actually sell anything.  It’s completely open access.  But they do have interesting sections on their website about these designer drugs and some of the problems of ensuring purity and all that.  They gave a talk, I was at a conference recently in Northern California where they talked, and man, I mean, the synthetic psychotropics market, it’s totally out of control.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah.  It seems to be the Wild Wild West.  And if you’re listening in and you want to pipe in with your own comments, your own questions, your own feedback based off of everything that Dennis and I have discussed, just go to  That’s  Not only there can you dive into the discussion in the comments section, and the discussions are always quite interesting after these podcast episodes, if you never get a chance to go read the comments, they’re typically just as good as the podcast when it comes to the talk that ensues afterwards.  But I’ll also link to everything from, to this erowid, the prefrontal cortex tapping, and LSD micro dosing, and links to everything that Dennis and I have discussed over there in the show notes at

Dennis, I wanna thank you for giving your time and for coming on the show today.

Dennis:  Aww.  I’m happy to do it.  Thank you.  You’re a great interviewer and we’ve barely touched the surface.

Ben:  I know.

Dennis:  That’s right.  I mean we can go on all afternoon, but I think we’d lose our audience.

Ben:  We probably could, but it’s a beautiful day outside.  And I have a bow and arrow I need to go shoot.

Dennis: (laughs) Okay.  Alright.  Let me know when you’re posted, so I can put on the Facebook page and if people send in comments that you want me to respond to, then pass those along and I’ll do my best.

Ben:  I will be sure to do that.  And again folks, you can leave your comments at  Until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Denis McKenna signing out from  Be safe, be responsible, and have a healthy week.

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.



When it comes to plant based medicine, my guest on today’s podcast is widely considered to be a groudbreaking pioneer.

His name is Dennis McKenna.

Dennis’s research – spanning back to the 1970’s – has focused on the interdisciplinary study of Amazonian ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. During the early 1970’s, he developed a technique for cultivating psilocybin mushrooms with his brother Terence McKenna and they later published what they had learned in a book entitledPsilocybin – Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide.

Dennis has conducted extensive ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brasilian Amazon. His doctoral research (University of British Columbia, 1984) focused on the ethnopharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, and was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca used by the UDV, a Brazilian religious group. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The strange magazine, still published, that Dennis’s father used to read –  a magazine that first got Dennis interested in the “paranormal” and psychedelics…

-How DMT works, and ways that you can induce the same psychedelic sensation that DMT induces without actually using something like ayahuasca…

-Ways that you can induce deep sleep without relying upon compounds such as valium or ambien…

-Why one common spice that you can find on the counter at Starbucks can send you on a hallucinogenic trip…

-The difference between an ayahuasca experience in rural South America vs. an urban New York loft…

-Why Silicone Valley is obsessed with LSD microdosing as a creativity-enhancing “smart drug”…

-How psilocybin works to enhance your connection with nature and how you may be able to activate this via other mechanisms…

-How one can safely “source” these kind of plant-based medicines in their local community…

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Fate magazine

Deltasleeper device

10 ways to activate the pineal gland

The ajna light

Passionflower extract

Nutmeg essential oil

Kava kava extract

Syrian rue extract and

LSD Microdosing: The New Job Enhancer In Silicon Valley And Beyond?

Pre-frontal cortex tapping for online drug information

Alexendra Tannous’s Sound Meditation video

The WholeTones Sound of Healing CD’s

Psilocybin – Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide

The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching

-The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss

-Botanical Medicines: The Desk Reference for Major Herbal Supplements
Read more






Ayahuasca 101, Tripping Out On Nutmeg, Magic Mushrooms & More With Dennis McKenna.

dennis mckenna

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

When it comes to plant based medicine, my guest on today’s podcast is widely considered to be a groudbreaking pioneer.

His name is Dennis McKenna.

Dennis’s research – spanning back to the 1970’s – has focused on the interdisciplinary study of Amazonian ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. During the early 1970’s, he developed a technique for cultivating psilocybin mushrooms with his brother Terence McKenna and they later published what they had learned in a book entitled Psilocybin – Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide.

Dennis has conducted extensive ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brasilian Amazon. His doctoral research (University of British Columbia, 1984) focused on the ethnopharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, and was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca used by the UDV, a Brazilian religious group. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The strange magazine, still published, that Dennis’s father used to read –  a magazine that first got Dennis interested in the “paranormal” and psychedelics…

-How DMT works, and ways that you can induce the same psychedelic sensation that DMT induces without actually using something like ayahuasca…

-Ways that you can induce deep sleep without relying upon compounds such as valium or ambien…

-Why one common spice that you can find on the counter at Starbucks can send you on a hallucinogenic trip…

-The difference between an ayahuasca experience in rural South America vs. an urban New York loft…

-Why Silicone Valley is obsessed with LSD microdosing as a creativity-enhancing “smart drug”…

-How psilocybin works to enhance your connection with nature and how you may be able to activate this via other mechanisms…

-How one can safely “source” these kind of plant-based medicines in their local community…

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Fate magazine

Deltasleeper device

10 ways to activate the pineal gland

The ajna light

Passionflower extract

Nutmeg essential oil

Kava kava extract

Syrian rue extract and

LSD Microdosing: The New Job Enhancer In Silicon Valley And Beyond?

Pre-frontal cortex tapping for online drug information

Alexendra Tannous’s Sound Meditation video

The WholeTones Sound of Healing CD’s

Psilocybin – Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide

The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching

-The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss

-Botanical Medicines: The Desk Reference for Major Herbal Supplements

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

357: The Great Olive Oil Hoax, Warrior vs. Worrier Gene, Maintaining Muscle During Endurance Exercise, The Ultimate Guide To Napping & More.


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

August 3, 2016 Podcast: 357:  The Great Olive Oil Hoax, Warrior vs. Worrier Gene, Maintaining Muscle During Endurance Exercise, The Ultimate Guide To Napping & More.

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar of events.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


News Flashes:

You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on,, and Google+.


Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by:

FitLife: Use discount code BEN for 20% off anything!

CasperGet $50 toward any mattress purchase by visiting and using promo code ‘BEN’. 

Click here to follow Ben on Snapchat, and get ready for some epic stories on his morning, daily and evening routine! What did you miss this week? A clay mask, a park workout, a morning routine change-up, an epic post-race salad and more.

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar.

August 6, 2016: Join Ben for the Portland Spartan Sprint and 4 hr Hurricane Heat. Click here to sign up!

August 11-13, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS) in Boulder, Colorado. AHS is a historic three-day event created to unite the ancestral health movement and to foster collaboration among scientists, health professionals, and laypersons who study and communicate about health from an evolutionary perspective to develop solutions to our health challenges. Click here to learn more or to register now.

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!



Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the Podcast Sidekick.

The Ultimate Guide To Napping

Grant says: He recently saw your Snapchat story on napping. You said you naturally wake up after a 20-30 minutes daily nap and its part of your ritual. He’s curious how your body naturally goes 20-40 minutes and wakes up by itself without an alarm? What does it mean if you nap longer, like 2-4 hours?

How Much Coffee Can You Drink If You’re Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Dalice says: She loves the podcast! After the recent podcast with Dr. Chopra, she has a question about coffee while breastfeeding. The studies showed that coffee consumption had little impact on the child when pregnant, is this still the case when breastfeeding? She has a 4.5 month old daughter and she wants to know if she can safely drink caffeinated coffee while breastfeeding.

In my response, I recommend:

How To Maintain Muscle During Long Endurance Exercise

Aleksi says: He loves the podcast and he’s been listening for many years. His question regards hiking. He’s going to Norway for a week-long hiking trip and he’s wondering how he can keep himself healthy and not lose too much muscle during the trip, with the least amount of weight to carry? And would that change if he were to hike a 2000m Appalachian trail instead of a week-long hike?

Warrior vs. Worrier Gene

Cathy says: She loves the podcast. She has a question about the COMT mutation, which she has. She knows it means you can have a hard time breaking down catecholamines. She has major insomnia issues, if she’s out late at night she just can’t wind down, she feels like she has adrenaline and cortisol issues going on, and its really difficult for her to fall asleep. She’s wondering if you have any advice for people with the COMT mutation and if there’s anything they can do to help breakdown the catecholamines that would help her get more into her parasympathetic nervous system?

In my response, I recommend:
Thorne multivitamin
Magnesium lotion
For Worrier: Brain Food


Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!

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Episode #357 – Full Transcript

Podcast from:

[0:14] Introduction

[2:21] Obstacle Dominator Podcast

[4:23] Giveaway on Snapchat

[5:16] News Flashes/Ketones and Ketosis

[9:38] Tour de France’s Chris Froome and Cutting Back on Carbs

[12:42] The Great Olive Oil Hoax

[16:58] How to have a Lean and Mean Baby

[20:28] Casper Mattresses

[22:38]  FitLife Organifi Green Juice

[24:49] Ben’s Calendar

[28:12] Grant’s question on what’s the ultimate guide to napping

[51:41] How much coffee to drink if pregnant or breastfeeding

[58:12] Maintaining muscle during a long endurance exercise

[1:18:07] What is a Warrior Gene vs. a Worrier Gene?

[1:29:00] Summary of Ben’s recommendations

[1:29:26] iTunes review of the week

[1:33:27] End of Podcast

Ben:  In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:  The Great Olive Oil Hoax, Warrior Genes vs. Worrier Genes, Maintaining Muscle During Endurance Exercise, The Ultimate Guide to Napping, and much more.   

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben:  Rachel, I feel free as a bird this morning.  

Rachel:  Really, why is that?  

Ben:  Free as a little bird because I’m not wearing my pirate patch on my eye anymore. 

Rachel: Why on earth were you wearing a pirate patch, Ben? 

Ben:  I had a pirate patch on all day yesterday.  And the reason I had a pirate patch on was because something scratched me in the eye at least, I think this is what happened.  My wife says I have seasonal allergies but considering that I woke up this feeling fine and dandy, I don’t think it’s seasonal allergies.  I think something scratched me in the eye while I was riding my dorky stand up elliptical bike around the neighborhood the other night because I woke up, and my eye was swollen and it was watery and red and tearing, and the only way I could function all day long was to put a pirate patch over the eye.          

Rachel:  I love that you have a pirate patch just hanging around your house. 

Ben:  (chuckles) It’s actually an eye patch, I just call it a pirate patch.  It’s not marketed as a pirate patch.  It’s just the eye patch from Walgreens pharmacy.  Anyways though, I actually have a whole video of me wearing the eye patch because Hunter McIntyre and I recorded an episode of my other podcast.  The one that’s I guess is highly offensive or at least slightly offensive.  It’s called the Obstacle Dominator, and you can listen to and watch Obstacle Dominator 62, what you do is you go to, click on 62 and it’s actually a very interesting episode.

We spent an hour talking about how genetic testing influences a supplement choice, fitness choice like what kinda workout that you’re gonna do and kinda looked at Hunter ‘coz he’s a freak of nature, he’s the top ranked Spartan athlete on the planet.  So we went over all his results and I was wearing the pirate patch and drinking my usual Kombucha vodka mix, and it’s quite entertaining.

Rachel:  We’re you feeling extra piratey?  

Ben:  Well, I do have a pirate joke for you.  Are you ready? 

Rachel:  I’m ready.  

Ben:  What did the pirate say on his eightieth birthday?  

Rachel:  What?         

Ben:  I’m eighty!

Rachel:  (laughs) That’s a good one, Ben.

Ben:  Yeah.  Thank you.

News Flashes:

Ben:  Hear this noise, Rachel? 

Rachel:  I can hear it.  What is it?  

Ben:  I’m turning the hand crank on my desk because it’s not the level I want.  I have one of these hand crank desks that goes up and down.  I opted to go for this instead of the push button because frankly, I…    

Rachel:  Extra muscle? 

Ben:  Yeah, I can get swole.  I can get swole while I’m working.  

Rachel:  Build those guns.    

Ben:  And then I also have this going right now, listen.  Do you hear that?  Li’l beep?   

Rachel:  Yes.  

Ben:  So I’ve got this peppermint oil diffuser and I can put it on intermittent mode where it will diffuse peppermint oil every ten seconds then turn off for ten seconds.  Or… 

Rachel:  I have had so many questions about your diffuser.  We need to put a link in the show notes to it.     

Ben:  We should.  We’ll put a link in the show notes.  I’ll do a story on it soon.  Perhaps, I’ll give because I’ve been giving away a lot of things on Snapchat.  So maybe I’ll give one away on Snapchat. 

Rachel:  Brilliant! 

Ben:   And a little bottle of essential oil.  That’s what I’ll do, ok?  So if you’re listening in go to where in the past 2 days I’ve given away blue light blocking glasses, Aztec sea salt and a whole box of mushroom coffee.  I’ll give away an essential oil diffuser if you happen to be a Snapchat person, if not you suck and you’re missing out on an essential oil diffuser, but I’ve got the peppermint oil going on this one and I’m gonna put it on full-on mode where it’s gonna diffuse the whole time we’re podcasting, so that I basically have the cognitive power of someone really smart.  I can’t think of a superhero who has cognitive powers.

Rachel:  It hasn’t kicked in yet, Ben, has it? (giggles)    

Ben:  No (chuckles), it hasn’t apparently.  We’ll wait on that.  Anyways though, so speaking of cognitive powers though, this is the portion of the show of course where we go over news flashes and the latest greatest things that have come to light in the past week. And one thing that a lot of people will swear by for cognitive performance because it can be used as a replacement for glucose in neural tissue is this concept of ketones and ketosis. And there was a brand new study in cell metabolism that finally reported on the testing done by DARPA which is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency which is the research branch of the United States Army.

So what happened here was and this is something I talked briefly about in a podcast episode with Dr. Veech about ketone drinks.  We talked about this ten million dollar request that the United States Army sent out to DARPA to have DARPA help develop an efficient food that soldiers could take into the battlefield.  When I interviewed Dr. Veech he talked about how he was involved with this research and had developed what is called ketone esters which are slightly different than what you’d typically find when it comes to these ketone powders that you can buy on the market and mix in the smoothies or a glass of water or whatever, ketone esters are very expensive, very difficult and time consuming to make.  But they have finally been able to test them and they did it in this new study and I’ll link to the study in the show notes if you go to

Ultimately, what they found was that when they took highly trained endurance athletes, it allowed them to clock up to an extra 400 meters distance to their workouts by switching their metabolism or their source of cellular energy from glucose to ketones.  And it’s very interesting because one of the other things that they found was that consuming the ketone esters would cost a very, very low amount of lactic acid which is a byproduct of glucose utilization by muscle cells to be present in these athletes, and so not only were they able to exercise at a much higher intensity but they were also able to be less sore post-workout.  So again these things are very expensive, very hard to get your hands on right now compared to the more popular ketone salts that you can find in the market, but this is the first study.

Rachel:  So what are the higher level of differences between the esters and the salts? 

Ben:  We go in to that a bit in the podcast if folks want to, let’s put a link in the show notes, Rachel because Dr. Veech and I geeked out on this a little bit.  Ultimately, here’s the story on this.  Ketone esters appear to be able to be utilized by the body a little bit more naturally than ketone salts.  However, I do not agree with what Dr. Veech said in the podcast which is that you would have to take copious amounts of salt at a very, very high level that could damage the body to be able to get all the benefits that you could get out of say like, a ketone ester.  I think that these ketone salts that are out there that people can use, and we’ll talk about them actually a little bit later because I think we’ve got a question from someone about hunting and hiking, and how to maintain energy levels during long periods of time and also maintain muscle.

We’ll talk about that later on but ultimately, what this comes down to is if you want the best of the best, you would have to get your hands on these ketone esters.  They’re not that available yet, but at the same time they have finally tested them and they have been shown to be extremely efficacious when it comes to both altering fuel preference in the body, and also enhancing in this case a 30 minute test.  The cyclists in the study were able to cover an extra 400 meters which is actually very, very significant.  And that is huge, that’s like illegal performance enhancing drugs and then some.           

Rachel:  Wow, that’s exciting stuff! 

Ben:  Yeah, so we’ll link to that in the show notes.  And speaking of illegal performance enhancing drugs, let’s talk about the Tour de France, shall we?    

Rachel:  Yes, let’s talk about it.

Ben:  So there was a very interesting article on Chris Froome who won the Tour de France.  We talked about Chris before, we actually talked about him when we discussed nasal breathing.  Chris is a guy who wears this thing called the turbine in his nose when he’s competing, and it allows him to basically breathe through his nose and more heavily oxygenate the air because that’s something that happens with deep nasal breathing.  It’s why using one of these Breathe Right, I think it’s called the Breathe Right.  It’s not those nasal strips, Rachel on my right… breathe right.

Rachel:  I’m not sure.  Breathe Right, I’m not sure, yeah.  I’ve not heard of them.

Ben:  They don’t have these in Australia? 

Rachel:  Not that I know of.   

Ben:  Just smear vegemite all over. 

Rachel:  They probably do.  Someone’s gonna comment and say: ‘Rachel, terrible.”  

Ben:  Yes, so he uses this thing called the turbine but this particular article that I’ll link to is more about his diet because you know, speaking of ketosis, I thought it was very interesting he commented, actually his wife who they interviewed, I believe it was his wife, yeah,  his wife they interviewed, she says, he’s got such a sweet tooth but he’s found out that if he does cut back on the carbs, the weight does come down a lot easier than it does in the past and cutting out foods like breakfast cereals and a lot of the wheat products and bread but still eating the right food, he is able to not feel hungry during the day.  He’s still lean but his muscles look a lot more defined.  And it goes…

Rachel:  So he’s not losing muscle. 

Ben:  It goes in to how unlike many cyclists, he’s kind of like sworn off starchy carbohydrates and he’s now basically eating primarily organic fruit, organic vegetables and meat.  So he’s adopted a little bit more of these kinda like ketotic approach.  He set up his fat intake, he’s doing more eggs and its interesting how professional athletes are beginning to kinda tap in to these concept as well including the winner of the Tour de France, although I’m sure at some point I would let, what do you think the prediction to be like in the next year we’ll find out there’s some crazy performance enhancing drugs ‘coz…

Rachel:  Let’s hope not.

Ben:  They always inevitably discover about these guys, there’s something getting injected into the right butt cheek that we didn’t know about, but that they weren’t able to hunt down until later after the fact.  But let’s keep our fingers crossed that he’s clean and that just comes down to either he’s sneaking in these ketone esters that we talked about or maybe it’s that as the article says, goodbye carbs.  So it’s nice to see some athletes are swearing off carbohydrates at least in a high amount from deleterious sources.

Rachel:  Right, yeah.

Ben:  Like breakfast cereals and things like that.  So read that article if you’re a cyclist if you’re interested in how athletes are limiting carbohydrates and still succeeding.  So speaking of fats, let’s continue down this road, my segues are awesome.                

Rachel:  Like yeah, that definitely is kickin’ in, isn’t it? 

Ben:  The olive oil.  The olive oil in your kitchen cupboard maybe an imposter and the headline of this article is most of us are blissfully ignorant about how much rancid olive oil that we use.  What the article goes into is how Congress assigned a job to the FDA to begin sampling imported olive oil to see whether it’s adulterated or fraudulently labeled.  And the idea here is that there’s this long history of scandal in the olive oil world in which in many cases low quality olive oil that is rancid has been masquerading and labeled as extra virgin olive oil when in fact it is not, and in many cases it’s mixed with other vegetable oils and doesn’t contain any of the antioxidants or the flavonols or the polyphenols or many of the other things that we tend to find in good olive oil.           

Rachel:  We’ve all become so used to meeting the local of these stuff that we can’t tell the difference anymore.

Ben:  Well, if you eat or if you drink, you can almost really eat, you can almost chew on a good olive oil.  You’ll find that it’s bitter that you get a lot of like, ten flavors in it very similar to drinking like a very good herbaceous wine like a Chianti and it messes with your taste buds in very cool ways.  It’s like an explosion of flavor in your mouth but those flavors include things like bitterness and sourness, and things like we’re not used to tasting in olive oil.

I’m actually a member of an olive oil club in which every quarter, 3 bottles of olive oil gets shipped to my house and I compare it to what I see at the grocery store.  There’s little green flakes floating around in it.  It’s like a little bit, ah well, it’s definitely non-transparent but it’s cloudy.  It’s greenish.  It’s yellow.  You pour it into a shot glass and I do this when the very first bottle comes, I’ll pour it into a shot glass and pass around the table for my wife and kids and me to taste.  Very similar again to wine and you can pick out all these really interesting flavors, and a big part of this is for example polyphenols they’re very, very bitter but they’re very, very good for you, right?  This is a big, big part of the antioxidants that you get in olive oil.  You get all these tastes that you don’t get in an olive oil that you get from the grocery store, and they’re stored in these glass bottles that are non-see through, non-transparent bottles.  That’s the way olive oil should be, but this article goes into how we have no idea especially here in the US where olive oil should really taste like.           

Rachel:  Yeah.  I can see that, definitely. 

Ben:  Or even look like. Yeah.

Rachel:  This probably a dumb question but I’m gonna ask it.  I’m curious what is so wrong about the olive oil going rancid and us eating it? 

Ben:  That’s such a dumb question. (chuckles)    

Rachel:  (laughs) 

Ben:  Basically oxidized fats.  So when you oxidize a fat and consume that fat, whether the fat has been oxidized from light exposure or storage problems or anything else, that fat has peroxides formed in it and those can cause the build-up of free radicals in your body which can lead to among other things DNA damage, increase risk for cancer and essentially something that’s supposed to be good for you, being bad for you when you consume it.  Plus it just tastes like crap…         

Rachel:  Yeah, we’ll that’s a bummer.  

Ben:  … versus a good olive oil. 

Rachel:  Unless you’re used to it tasting like crap, then it tastes totally normal.

Ben:  I think everybody should have a good olive oil and a good sea salt.  I’m gonna count on it, and it doesn’t have to be the same brand.  I’ll use olive oils from Chile, Spain, I’ll put a link in the show notes to this Olive Oil Club that I’m a member of in case anybody wants to join this little club where I get the 3 bottles sent to me, but I’ll also have black Hawaiian lava salt and Himalayan pink salt and Aztec rock salt and different forms of salt, different forms of olive oil around and geez, I mean, I’m not a great cook but I can make anything taste pretty damned good once I throw in a little bit of olive oil and some good salt.

Rachel:  Some good salt.  I agree.

Ben:  Yeah.  So one last little mention of an interesting article for those of you who are planning on having a baby or hang around with babies or get exposed to babies, and then you give ém point during the day.

Rachel:  I do love the babies around me at the moment.  I got a new nephew, I got a new nephew-in-law, it’s all happening.

Ben:  I don’t even know what a nephew-in-law is.

Rachel:  Well he’s not technically my biological nephew.

Ben:  I’ll do the math later. (chuckles)

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  This article appeared in the New York Times, and it talks about how we can stem obesity and having overweight kids by not only starting before birth but also taking advantage of some of the things that research has shown recently to act on obesity.  There’s 23 different genes that are known to increase the risk of a child becoming obese and many of them are triggered during infancy, during the time that a baby is inside mom and also shortly after a baby is born.  A lot of the article is not rocket science for example, when a woman consumes a lot of food as she’s pregnant and sugar goes up in her bloodstream that increases the chance that the child might be born with insulin resistance or increased risk of type 2 diabetes, or increased risk for being obese or overweight.

Rachel:  So don’t eat a lot of food. 

Ben:  Yeah, but there are other things like for example, things I didn’t realize in this article.  The father’s weight is important. Apparently, being heavy alters DNA in the father’s sperm and that changes gene expression and gets passed down to the next generation.  Meaning that if you’re a dad and you’re not taking care of your body and you’re shooting a little sperm around here and there, it turns out that that sperm is equipped to make fat people more than lean people which I guess unless you’re a Samoan is probably not advantageous for your child’s future.

Rachel:  It makes sense though, definitely.

Ben:  Yeah, so another interesting one is that a child’s preference for highly nutritious foods or the development of the sophistication of their palette is actually influenced by whether or not their mom when they’re getting breastfed, eats a large variety of nutritious foods because many of those slightly bitter compounds speaking of olive oil or sour compounds or some of the things that we tend to get exposed to, when say, we’re eating  wild plants and vegetables and a wide variety of everything from fish to grass-fed beef to eggs to all these highly nutrient dense foods, a child will tend to have a higher preference for these more nutritious foods if the mother is eating them while she is breastfeeding.

Rachel:  So she can eat a lot of food but she has to eat a lot of different types of food.

Ben:  Uhhmm, can’t eat a lot of sugar-spiking food.

Rachel:  Okay.

Ben:  That’s the one that tends to especially when the child is still in the womb that you’d want to be very careful with.  So interesting article, lots of things to think about and of course it goes in like antibiotics and gut health and all the usuals, but I thought that was interesting.  So if you dig babies especially lean babies and you wanna have more lean mean babies in the world.      

Rachel:  And you wanna have a fit baby.

Ben:  Check it out.  So we’ll link to this as well as all the other news flashes just got to

Special Announcements: 

Ben:  So speaking of having babies, this podcast is brought to you by a mattress.    

Rachel:  Casper mattresses.  Brilliant.  

Ben:  Casper mattresses.  Springy, latex supportive memory foam, perfect for making babies on.  But actually the Casper mattresses are kinda cool.  So they have these in-house team of engineers that works at Casper, and I like to imagine that they’re all wandering around in white lab coats jumping up and down on mattresses maybe bouncing having pillow fights.  Anyways, that’s just my personal fantasy, but they’ve got this very breathable design and so especially now in the summer months when it’s warm outside and nobody wants to be hot and clammy and sweaty when they wake up.  They have this breathable design built into their mattresses that actually helps you to sleep cold.  It helps to regulate your temperature during the night and that’s actually very, very important for increased neuronal repair as you sleep.

Your resting heart rate as you sleep will drop lower if your sleep temperature is cooler during the night, and mattresses that tend to store a lot of heat can disrupt these sleep cycles you as can hot rooms, as can sleeping in too much clothing but these Casper mattresses are breathable.  They make breathable pillows, they make breathable sheets but they also make these breathable mattresses, and everybody who’s listening in gets a discount on Casper not only that, but a hundred a night risk-free trial.  So there’s no reason not to try these cool mattresses.  So the way that you can do this is you go to, that’s casper dot com slash b-e-n and you use promo code Ben.  That gives you fifty dollars off of any mattress purchase from Casper.  By the way, Time magazine named it as one of the best inventions of 2015.            

Rachel:  That’s awesome.  What an accolade.  

Ben:  It’s the most awarded mattress of the decade.  

Rachel:  Wow!  That’s cool.  

Ben:  There you go.  And when you order it to your house, it comes with all those trophies.  

Rachel:  And when you go and you stay at Ben Greenfield’s house for the weekend in his spare room there’s a secret Casper mattress. 

Ben:  If you stay in my spare room there is a secret Casper.  It’s not secret, it’s right in the middle of the room.

Rachel:  (laughs) 

Ben:  This podcast is also brought to you by green juice.  And not just any green juice but the only green juice I’ve ever witnessed my wife actually consume because she likes the way it tastes, and that says something because she really is not a supplements person.  So Organifi Green Juice, this stuff is a gently dried super greens powder.  Would you like to know what is in it, Rachel? 

Rachel:  Tell me everything.

Ben:  Okay, so first of all they’ve got coconut water powder, ashwagandha root, red beet root, turmeric which is a great anti-inflammatory, and then they also throw in what’s called an alkaline greens blend in there which is wheat grass, horseradish tree so it goes great on primary [0:23:23.9] ______ , spirulina, chlorella and macha green tea.  So a whole host of components in there with very, very low amounts of sugars.  It’s sweetened with a monk fruit which is actually almost a negative glycemic index sweetener with a little bit of organic mint flavor, and a little bit of organic lemon and orange flavor in there.  So quite tasty.

Rachel:  Yeah, I’m curious what monk fruit tastes like, Ben.  Have you ever had it?

Ben:  The actual fruit monk fruit?

Rachel:  Yeah or even as a sweetener ‘coz I love FitLife green juice.

Ben:  I’ve had the sweetener.  It’s used now to sweeten many things because it doesn’t produce a pronounced insulinogenic response, so it’s used even in there’s another company called Zevia they make like sodas flavored with stevia and they use monk fruit extract in those as well.  I’ve never actually gotten my hands on an actual monk fruit though.

Rachel:  Interesting.

Ben:  I don’t profess to actually know what a monk fruit looks like.

Rachel:  Sounds like something from Southeast Asia.

Ben:  Possibly like a monk with a shaved head and a brown robe that looks like a brown fruit with little shaved head sticking at the top of it.

Rachel:  I think it might be from Southeast Asia and that it would make sense as to why it’s called monk fruit.

Ben:  Say I’m right.  But you can go to, and you get 20% off this stuff, just use discount code Ben.

And then finally just a few quick announcements for those of you who want a little fun and entertainment, I will be headed down to Portland this weekend.

Rachel:  Woohoo! 

Ben:  The weekend that the show comes out to race the Portland Spartan, and then later on that evening I’ll be doing the 4-hour Portland Hurricane Heat which just involves ungodly amounts of burpees and sandbag carries for 4 hours along with team building exercises.  They always send out like a secret video before the Hurricane Heat and for this particular I’m supposed to show up with 10 feet of manila rope, one inch manila rope with what is called a water knot tied in the middle of it.  So whenever you show up that you have some piece of equipment like the last Hurricane Heat that I did was 12 hours long and you show up with a kick ball and you had that kick ball on you during the entire race.   

Rachel:  Oh my goodness!

Ben:  The reason for the kick ball was we wound up with 50 pound packs on playing what’s the name of the game, dodgeball at midnight with the losers.  Every time they lost they have to do 50 burpees with the 50 pound packs on for midnight dodgeball.  And so, who knows.

Rachel:  That sounds fun and hard core at the same time.

Ben:  Yeah, who knows what the ropes will be for, but anyways, so Rachel lives in Portland, many of you may not know this.  So the day after that race we are going to do some live feeds for you probably on Snapchat without our phones and cameras.

Rachel:  Ben’s gonna let me plan his recovery day.

Ben:  And what do you have planned, Rachel?

Rachel:  It’s a secret.  You’ve got to follow us all day

Ben:  It’s a secret, but I know that it does involve Finnish saunas.

Rachel:  But you’re not allowed to know anything else.

Ben:  Stay tuned.  Also, for those of you in the Boulder or Denver, Colorado area, August 11-13, I’ll be there speaking at the Ancestral Health Symposium which is a fantastic collaboration of health and fitness and nutrition scientists along with lay people.  You don’t have to be a smart cookie with glasses and a lab coat to show up.  It is almost like I would say, like the Paleo f(x) for nerds.  It’s just health and fitness and nutrition fed through the fire house by a lot of really smart people except me.  I’m gonna be speaking about natural living versus biohacking and how to strike a balance between the 2.  So its 3 days long.  It’s an incredible event and you can still get in.  So I will link to that one in the show notes.

And then also directly after the Ancestral Healthy Symposium, I’ll be jetting over to Salt Lake City to compete in the National Championships for Train to Hunt.  And if you don’t know what Train to Hunt is, it’s essentially obstacle racing with weapons and it’s a ton of fun, a real hoot to go in and watch and cheer ahead if you want to and so that will be just outside of Salt Lake City, and you can go to the Train To Hunt website or go to and you’ll be able to check out all the details of that.  Just make sure if you show up to cheer that you do not get shot with an arrow because it’s probably one of the more dangerous spectator sports.

Rachel:  Bring some armor.

Ben:  Bring some armor.

Listener Q&A:

Grant:  Hey, Ben its Grant.  I saw a Snapchat story from you the other day and it pertained to napping in your daily schedule, but I saw that you said naturally you wake up about 20 to 40 usually 20 to 30 minute naps almost daily.  It’s part of your ritual and I was curious as to how you’re body naturally goes 20 minutes, 20-40 minutes, and wakes up by itself without an alarm.  And what it would mean if you go longer say 2 hours or 4 hour naps, 3 hours.  What that means.  If somethings’ wrong with your body or what that pertains to.  So thanks about the podcast.  Will follow you on social media and keep up all the great podcasts.        

Ben:  Rachel, do you nap?

Rachel:  I haven’t mastered the art of napping yet.  I nap, I fall asleep for 2 hours and then I ruin my sleep for the next night.  So tell me what I can do.

Ben:  When you nap you nap for 2 hours?

Rachel:  Yes isn’t that terrible?  I just can’t.  I’ve set to an alarm to wake up but then often I’ll sleep through that alarm so.   

Ben:  Interesting, but we’ll get in to why it is that when you nap depending in the timing of the nap and you’re sleep tonight before that you would fall asleep for 2 hours when you nap.  And by the way, actually it reminds me yesterday I did take a 2-hour nap because my eye was bothering me so much.  In the middle of the day I took CBD.  I took cannabidiol, you know the nature CBD that our company makes?     

Rachel:  Yeah, I love it.   

Ben:  I took 6 of those.

Rachel:  Six?!  (laughs)

Ben:  Sixteen milligrams of cannabidiol which is blended with lunch.

Rachel:  Oh my god!  Don’t try this at home, kids.

Ben:  Yeah, with lunch I did this.  Ashwagandha and lemon palm and magnesium took it and just crashed for 2 hours.  And of course, I always pay the price later on when I’m working late into the night because I slept for 2 hours in the afternoon.  But cannabidiol, if you do need to knock yourself out with a nap, will do the trick.

So anyways, napping.  It’s really interesting and if you listen in for the next, little bit you’re gonna know everything you need to know about how to take smart naps and why you should consider taking them.  So they’ve actually done electroencephalography measurements of people’s brains, and their brain waves and their brain activity when they nap versus when they do not nap.  And they have found that a midday siesta, a midday nap when timed properly, and I’ll tell how you how to time that properly, briefly.  Actually results in significantly increased EEG and brain activity better than exercise, better than caffeine when you take that nap.  So you almost get an extra day, it’s like a smart drug in a way.  Tony Robbins and I’m seeing Tony Robbins advertisements all over the place for his new documentary.

Rachel:  I’ve heard it’s brilliant.

Ben:  Yeah, I need to see it at some point.  But he says, not to nap.  He says, resist the nap urge by doing, I believe it’s push-ups is the thing that he recommends and you certainly do get an increase in blood circulation.  You get an increased level of what are called catecholamines when you do for example, exercise or slapping yourself in the face or caffeine or anything else as a replacement for a nap, but you don’t get this increase in alpha brain wave activity and EEG activity compared to what you get with the true neural boost of a nap.

So there’s something to be said for napping and when it comes to why that is, I think it’s quite fascinating to kinda think about the reasons why we might nap.  So for example, if you look at a lot of other animals that they have developed almost like a siesta habit in the mid-afternoon, and it’s to get around the midday heat.  Like people who hunt know what the worst time to be hunting, unless you’re doing some spot and stock and trying to catch an animal sleeping, which is actually how I shot my last deer was.  I was out in the middle of the afternoon and caught it while it was resting.

Rachel:  (laughs) Poor dear, I can’t help it.

Ben:  Yeah, I know what people are thinking now.  Ben, shot a sleeping deer, you know it’s more like this.  You can see the antlers, this was an axis deer.  So I caught the antlers from 30 yards and then you sit there waiting for the animal to move.  If you try to sneak up on it you’ll wake it up.  An animal will smell you and run.  But if you simply wait, it will eventually stir and then you can take your shot and try to take it down.

Anyways, though we digressed.  The idea here is that many animals have developed a siesta habit as a way of getting around the midday heat and we may have as humans have a little bit of this evolutionary or ancestral built-in mechanism for that.  There are also, when we look at lot of newborn babies as well as a lot of animals, we see them sleep at many times during the day.  And this appears to be somewhat advantageous for optimizing what are called memory circuits.  Meaning you can get enhanced short-term and long-term memory by engaging in some form of a sleep cycle at some point during the day.

Obviously, you get a huge amount of that at night, but you almost put a little bit of icing on the cake or a cherry on the cupcake, or whatever dessert analogy you wanna use to describe a dessert metaphor.  But the idea is that you increase the supply of neurotransmitters and the size of networks that are responsible for increasing your short and long term memory when you can get a nap in during the day.  And we’ve talked about this on previous podcasts, many animals do not get as deep a sleep as humans do when they sleep at night.  So you see animals like dogs are a perfect example, right lounging around during the day taking multiple what would be called polyphasic sleep cycles during the day.  Nap cycles that they put in various points throughout the day.  Humans don’t need that much to increase our memory or to increase neuronal repair because we sleep so well during the night.  But it appears that we do get a big memory boost and a big increase in that, again that EEG brain activity by napping at some point during the day.

Rachel:  So when is the best time to nap and how long should we nap for?

Ben:  (chuckles) Alright, so I will get in to that in just a second.  I’m gonna give you some rules for napping 101.  But there are a few cons and a few pros I would say to napping in case you’re still on the fence about it.  Now, when we get into the first pros, this is simply the cool people analogy.  You look at some very successful people like Winston Churchill, he would actually do a 2 to 3 hour naps in the afternoon.  Bill Clinton was a napper.  Napoleon was a napper, John F. Kennedy was a napper.  Thomas Edison was a napper.  Albert Einstein was a napper.  You get many successful politicians and world changers that seem to have this habit of locking themselves away at some point in the afternoon to nap.

I personally have the same habit around 1 to 2 pm in the afternoon and I’ll explain why I choose that time.  I simply disappear and anybody who’s in my house knows that they’re not gonna see me from anywhere from 2o to 60 minutes.  And I put in these binaural beats.  I use an app called a SleepStream and it plays binaural beats in each ear, and I put it in what’s called power nap mode and it lulls my body into sleep, and you can even put it into a mode where it will take you from stress called the stress to power nap mode where it will take you from various stressful binaural beats and pull you from these beta stressful brand waves down into your alpha brain waves, and then into delta brain waves as you engage in that nap.  First of all, cool people nap.  That’s number 1.  If that’s not…

Rachel:  Reason number 1 to nap, cool people.                                     

Ben:  If that’s not reason enough.  You know that you get the significant increase in brain wave and alertness, and this is especially useful if you have a creative profession in which you need to be creative in the afternoon or the early evening.  Because I do a fair amount of writing in the evenings, I find that it helps tremendously when I need to write or I need to play music such as work on my ukulele tunes in the evening.  So, as I mentioned also napping has been shown to increase what’s called memory consolidation especially when you nap and that takes place in the second half of the day.  It’s been shown to help combat sleep deprivation.

So we know that sleep deprivation can do things like decrease insulin sensitivity.  We know that it can increase the production of hunger hormones like ghrelin while decreasing the production of appetite regulating hormones like leptin.  Sleep deprivation can also vastly decrease your growth hormone production which is essential for muscle gain and fat loss, and you actually see less of a deleterious hormonal effect in nappers even when those nappers are sleep deprived, right even if they’re sleeping 3 to 4 hours a night you can reverse a lot of the hormonal issues associated with sleep deprivation when you nap.  And then they’ve also show in a couple of studies that napping can reduce blood pressure and can also increase cardiovascular health.  So, a few reasons.

Rachel:  That’s quite a list.

Ben:  Yes, but if you don’t time your nap properly, as you’ve alluded to, Rachel, can cause insomnia.  So proper timing mitigates this problem but napping can cause insomnia if you have a poorly timed nap.  It can also result in what’s called sleep inertia.  What this means is that we have sleep drive built in to our day where we get sleepier and sleepier as it gets closer to the evening.  And that’s part of our natural, normal circadian rhythm.  A poorly timed nap will shift that sleep inertia forward which is why yesterday I wasn’t tired until about 10:30 or 11:00pm.  I shifted my circadian rhythm forward.  And if I’m not careful a circadian rhythm that gets shifted forward can stick with you, right?  You can get to that point where you’re one of those people who just like, oh I can’t get to sleep until midnight that can among a ton of other issues like artificial light in the bedroom, not getting exposure to a lot of natural light in the morning etcetera, poorly timed naps can also cause that.

So anyways, how do you properly time a nap?

Rachel:  Yes, tell us.

Ben:  The very first this is that you need to measure the optimum length of the period between when you naturally awake and your nap to maximize the effectiveness of a nap.  So here is the key.  A nap should occur approximately 7 to 8 hours after you naturally wake.

Rachel:  So you say naturally wake which means not waking up to an alarm?

Ben:  No, I don’t recommend people wake up to an alarm anyways.  I recommend that people either use these phone apps that you set to say, I wanna wake at some point between 6 and 7 am.  The phone app detects when you are in your lightest stage of sleep between 6 and 7am.  Let’s say it occurs at 6:19am and it wakes you gently at 6:19am.  An even better approach would be to pair that with a natural light in the bedroom.  I believe withings and I will hunt this down and link to it in the show notes for you listening in.  I believe this is the Withings Aura if I remember properly.  It is a sleep sensor that produces light to wake you, and what that means is it doesn’t wake you with like a blaring alarm clock or rock music or something like that.  It’s just basically a very, very therapeutic or and therapeutic isn’t the right word.  It’s a very…

Rachel:  Gentle.

Ben:  Gentle.  Thank you, Rachel for supplying me with your Australian vernacular.  Gentle way to wake up.  So basically the whithings aura would be a perfect example of this.  The sunrise alarm clock would be another example but…

Rachel:  So I use the sunrise alarm clock, and so you then set it to sunrise and then the sun goes to level ten at its fullest, but then the alarm eventually goes off if you don’t wake up, but I found I never actually wake up to the sunrise part and always really wake up to the alarm.

Ben:  Hmmmm, yeah, so were you wearing a sleep mask or anything like that?

Rachel:  No, it’s just that the light didn’t seem bright enough to wake me up.

Ben:  Interesting.  You know, I would be interested to see your sleep cycles, see how much deep sleep you’re getting out if you ever track your sleep, but you may have some issues that are occurring during the night of sleep that are causing you to have what’s called oversleeping syndrome or need for more sleep.  I actually just wrote an article on this.  It hasn’t been published yet, it’s going to appear over at but it is about how one of the number one causes of a need to sleep no matter how much you sleep is sleep apnea.

Rachel:  Ooohh, interesting.

Ben:  Yeah, which can be fixed simply.  We have a few podcasts on it but it can be fixed with a mouth device that adjust your jaw while you sleep.  I would consider if I were you though looking into whether or not you have sleep apnea because if you have it, it can make you want to sleep more, sleep through alarms, feel groggy even if you’re getting 9 hours of sleep, etcetera.  So sleep apnea is something to look into.

Rachel:  Good, alright.  So 7 to 8 hours after waking up naturally is a great time for a nap.

Ben:  Exactly, that’s the perfect time for a nap.  So if you’re a 6am wake-time person, a perfect nap time for you would be 6am plus 7 hours to 8 hours.  You should be settled on for a nap between 1pm and 2pm.  Ok?

Rachel:  Yes.

Ben:  So once you exceed 8 hours, that’s where you start to shift your circadian rhythm forward and get more deleterious effects, etcetera.

The next thing is that a well scheduled nap, contrary to popular belief will not cause drowsiness later on in the day even if that nap is long, right?  You can take a sixty to ninety minute nap.  It’s not going to disrupt your circadian rhythm, to cause extreme grogginess for the rest of the day unless it’s a poorly timed nap.  As long as you’re napping 7 to 8 hours from the time that you wake up, then you’ll be fine in terms of that nap no matter how long it is not messing up your sleep inertia.

Rachel:  So 60 to 90 minutes.

Ben:  Uhmm, now some people will got through sleep cycles.  So sleep cycle would be like going from your phase 1 sleep down to your phase 4 sleep and back out.  So the recommendation is that you get in any given week about 35 of those sleep cycles, let’s say that you’re sleeping 7 hours a night, many people will go through 4 sleep cycles during the night.  Some people will go through 5, if you’re going through 4, it will definitely behoove you to get your 5th by taking a slightly longer nap in the afternoon.  If you’re getting 5 just fine during the night, 5 sleep cycles during the night, then you might just need a 10 to 20 minute power nap.  Does that make sense?

Rachel:  Yes it does, yeah.

Ben:  Ok cool.  So the next thing is you need to preferably time your least stressful activities to occur in that last hour before the nap, which is why you shouldn’t work hard during lunch.  I actually like to do lighter activities during lunch, any of my Facebooking or reading some Snapchat messages, or thumbing through a magazine that has come in the mail.  Something that doesn’t involve heavy and hard stressful activities for the hour before the nap.  You will have a better nap if you can do that.  And so, if you can program your day so that lunch is not stressful and lunch doesn’t involve a lot of heavy business meetings.  That’s best.

Rachel:  What about what we eat at lunch for the best nap?

Ben:  In terms of what you eat, that’s gonna be dependent on genetics.  It’s gonna be dependent on food tolerances etcetera.  I’ve found that extremely heavy meals cause me to become very groggy and almost a nap becomes a requirement more than an option.  I eat pretty light lunches.  I do things like miracle noodles which are a form of pasta but they’re made from shirataki, so it’s zero calories and zero glutinous.  So it’s just insoluble fiber and I’ll put those in a cast iron skillet with some tomato and some fennel seeds, a handful of olives and maybe about half of an avocado, some sea salt, some pepper, and I’ll just basically grill all that up very quickly and dump that into a bowl and eat it with a fork, or I’ll have just a bed of vegetables and sometimes I’ll put some sardines or some seeds or some nuts on there, but I don’t do big sandwiches or heavy soups or giant smoothies and things like that for lunch.  Lunch is pretty light for me.

Rachel:  And so if you were to eat a heavy meal and that was to make you require a nap, if you wanted to nap every day would that be a bad thing? Basically can food help you nap?

Ben:  The only thing I’d bear in mind is that if lunch is gonna be a very calorically dense meal, if especially staying lean is a priority for you that you realize you may need to go for a lighter breakfast, and/or lighter dinner, or if you decide lunch is gonna be that big meal.  Yeah, exactly.  And a meal before a nap is recommended.  It can help a little bit.  I just don’t like that meal to be super heavy.  I also don’t like to wake up burping up my meal because I feel like digestion shuts down a little bit when one sleeps which is true once you lie down.  So yeah, I’m careful.  I’m not super-duper heavy.

Rachel:  Okay.

Ben:  Tiniest amounts of caffeine in your system can interfere with the quality of that nap.  So you do wanna be careful.  Remember caffeine has a half-life of depending on the person whether you’re fast caffeine oxidizer vs. a slow caffeine oxidizer which you can determine via genetic testing.  Coffee can stick in your bloodstream for 3-6 hours which means that if you’re planning to take a nap around 1 or 2, you may need to have that morning cup of coffee or kind of done and dusted between 8 and 9am at the latest.  So, if you really want a good nap especially if you are a slow caffeine metabolizer or not a fast caffeine metabolizer which again you can test with genetics, consider not drinking mid-morning caffeinated beverages or late morning caffeinated beverages or ice tea with lunch or things along those lines.

So those are the main recommendations as far as napping goes but the biggest one, probably the biggest tip I can give folks is get that nap in about 7-8 hours after you’ve awoken and what I’ll do is, I’ll also, I’m writing a note to myself, I’ll link in the show notes to that Sleep Stream app that has the power nap function that I mentioned, and I’ll do a few other things when I settle down for a nap in the afternoon.  Like I will use a little bit of lavender for example, lavender essential oil on the upper lip to help with relaxation.  And I do nap with a sleep mask as well.

Rachel:  I’m also curious how devices like the SR1 impact napping.  Does that sort of have any effect?

Ben:  That’s a good question.

Rachel:  If you use SR1 the night before or something?

Ben:  For people who are listening in, the SR1 is a sleep device that emits what’s called a pulse electromagnetic field.  I actually put it on my body.  You’re supposed to wear it on your collar bone because that’s close to what’s called your brachial plexus which send a signal to your brain to produce more delta brain waves.  It induces a very, very deep sleep.  Some people find that they do wake groggy when they use that for a nap.  Some people find that if they can’t nap though, that actually allows them to nap quite well.  So, I don’t use it for a couple of reasons.  First, I find that I can nap just fine without it.  Second, I use it all night long, and part of me don’t want to become dependent on it for napping.  So I just don’t.  If I’m on a plane for example, I wanna take a nap on a plane, I’ll use it on a plane just ‘cause it’s small and portable, and frankly, anything I can do to get to sleep faster on a plane I’ll do, aside from Valium and copious amounts of alcohol which will cause you to go to sleep in San Francisco and wake up in Hong Kong because I’ve tried this.  Pretty easily, Valium and red wine is very potent combo.

Rachel:  It’s like time travel.

Ben:  You’re gonna feel like a million bucks afterwards but it can work, yes, like time travel.  So anyways, coming full circle, Grant basically says that I say, I naturally wake after a 20-30 minute daily nap and it’s part of my ritual, and he’s curious how my body naturally goes 20-40 minutes and wakes up by itself without an alarm, and what it means when I nap longer like 2-4 hours.  Basically, I answer to a lot of Grant’s questions in my explanation there but ultimately the body will wake naturally when it is ready, when it has consolidated the memories, when the brain has gotten the neural rest that it needs for the day.  And if I have slept 7-8 hours the night before, for me, that magic spot is 20-40 minutes.  That magic timeframe is 20-40 minutes.

If you nap longer, it can indicate like I mentioned to Rachel, that you have an underlying sleep condition like sleep apnea for example that is keeping you from getting enough high quality rest the night before, if you nap longer it could mean that you’re having too heavy of a lunch, if you nap longer it could mean you have an extremely cognitively stressful morning.  And finally, it could just mean you popped way too many cannabidiol capsules and knock yourself out into a coma.  So, it could be multi-factorial but ultimately, yeah, that is skinny on napping.

Rachel:  One quick last question.  If I would sleep track, would you recommend that I use the Oura?

Ben:  The Oura Ring for sleep tracking?

Rachel:  Yes, the Oura Ring.

Ben:  That’s good for looking at your sleep cycles but if you want to specifically see if you have sleep apnea and you don’t wanna order like professional sleep monitoring equipment that you stick up to your nose and all over your head while you sleep, best bet for you would just be a pulse oximeter.  You can get a pulse oximeter that will monitor whether or not your oxygen is falling at different times during the night.

So you can buy a pulse oximeter, and I’ll put a link in the show notes to the brands that will actually monitor what’s called your blood oxygenation levels all through the night, and what you’d want is to wake in the morning and see if there are specific periods during the night where your pulse oxygen starts to go from 98 and all of a sudden it’s down at 95, and 93, and 90, and if you see that that’s the case, it’s highly likely that you have sleep apnea, and highly likely that you should consider going to sleep professional to actually get a dental fitting for a mouth device that reduces the obstructive apnea while you sleep.  So, there you have it.

Rachel:  Okay.  Thank you.

Ben:  Yes.  And they’re quite attractive at parties too.

Rachel:  I was gonna say.

Ben:  Yeah.

Dalice:  Hi Ben, Dalice from Australia.  I love your podcast.  After your recent podcast with Dr. Chopra, I have a question about coffee when breastfeeding.  The study showed that coffee consumption had little impact on the child when pregnant.  Is this still the case when breastfeeding?  I have a 4.5 month old daughter, I want to know if I can safely drink caffeinated coffee when breastfeeding without affecting her.  We only drink good quality mold-free coffee.  Thank you, Dalice.

Rachel:  Well, I was really excited to listen to that podcast with Dr. Chopra because I love the idea of drinking 65 cups of coffee a day. (laughs)  It was so validating.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.  I think one small intestines would probably wear away and just drop out your butt if you did actually drink 65 cups of actual coffee per day.  I’m guessing that will tear a guy that we’ve talked about in that podcast episode who was perhaps sipping a half a shot of espresso or something like that.  But when it comes to pregnancy, we do know that caffeine can cross the placenta from the maternal to the fetal bloodstream, and that the fetus only has a very slow ability to be able to metabolize or breakdown caffeine.

The interesting thing is that when you’re pregnant, maternal metabolism of caffeine also slows down during pregnancies.  That means caffeine lingers in moms bloodstream for a longer period of time.  So, we know that when you consume caffeine during pregnancy that it enters fetal circulation.  The problem is that there’s almost like a myth out there that this will cause for example birth defects or miscarriages, and I think that we need to look into the research on both this and breastfeeding to really decide whether a mom can get away with drinking coffee.

Rachel:  So, what is the research say?

Ben:  Well, there’s one big review of caffeine safety in pregnancy that they did in 2013.  And this was like a big cohorts study and what they found was that when we look at miscarriages there’s really not a big link assuming that you’re under 200 mgs of caffeine per day.  And an average cup of coffee is 100 mgs per day.  That there’s really not a big risk for or incident of miscarriage when you are drinking coffee moderately.  Okay?  So 1 to 2 cups a day of just a basic black coffee, alright, not red bull, not monster energy drinks, not no-dose pills but just a cup of coffee.

Now, you tend to see a few compounded variables though.  For example, studies have shown that women who consumed more caffeine while they’re pregnant also tend to be more likely to be smokers, they tend to drink alcohol in pregnancy, they tend to be older, and so all of those factors could increase miscarriage risks.  So you need to make sure that you pay attention to some of these studies and see whether or not they’re actually taking into account the lifestyle of the type of mom who tend to drink caffeine and coffee, and you know, snort crack and hangout with hookers all the time she’s pregnant.  So, that’s one thing.

Rachel:  So, what about the risk of having just a caffeine jacked-up baby instead of miscarrying?

Ben:  So, to answer your question about the effects of caffeine on the actual child.  There have been some studies that I’ve looked at the baby’s behavior under the influence of caffeine.  So, there’s one study where they looked at heart rate and sleep times, and found that even though the infants absorbed caffeine just like I just described, I mean in this case the moms were drinking up to 5 cups of coffee per day while breastfeeding, they didn’t notice any difference in the baby’s heart rate or in the baby’s sleep times.  In another study that they did and this was in 2012 in the Journal of Pediatrics, they also compared maternal caffeine consumption and breastfeeding moms to moms that didn’t breastfeed with caffeine in their systems, and found no significant differences in the sleep patterns of the babies.

Rachel:  So, is it just that caffeine is not affecting the baby?

Ben:  It doesn’t appear to be affecting them when it comes to increased heart rate or trouble feeding or slower ability to gain weight ‘cause of some big bump up in metabolism or anything like that, although there was one study in which they looked at babies that were dose with caffeine to treat, speaking of the devil, apnea because some babies especially premature babies get sleep apnea, and that’s again that complete drop in breath pattern while asleep that causes a big drop of oxygen levels while asleep.  And what they found was that when the breastfed baby is absorbing a high amount of caffeine because mom is drinking a lot of coffee, and in this case we’re talking about 10 to 20 times the amount of caffeine that we would see in these other studies, they actually did show an increased heart rate in the babies, they did show a little bit of trouble feeding, they did show slower weight gain, they did produce apnea as well in these kids but this was with copious amounts of caffeine.  I mean, we’re talking about like that Voltaire-esque, this would be like 10+ cups of coffee a day.  In most cases, when you look at all these different studies on caffeine and breastfeeding in the case of pregnancy staying under 200 mgs per day appears to have no deleterious effect on birth weight, miscarriages, et cetera, and for breastfeeding staying under 300 mgs per day appears to be just fine, and once your child is 5 to 6 months old, it appears to be a non-issue period.

Rachel:  Wow.

Ben:  So ultimately…

Rachel:  Babies are resilient.

Ben:  Babies are resilient and we’ve been completely lied to by, I don’t know, who would have lied to us about caffeine.  Who would profit from lying to us about coffee and caffeine?  Who’s the scapegoat?

Rachel:  Somebody who doesn’t sell coffee or caffeine.  That one I should say…  The baby food industry.

Ben:  Gerber.  Gerber is trying to get us to feed our babies pee mash and sweet potato puree….

Rachel:  While all they need is a cup of coffee.

Ben:  All they need is a good frappuccino baby.

Aleksi:  Hello Ben, this is Aleksi.  I love the podcast that I have been listening for many years now.  My question is regarding hiking.  I’m going to Norway for a hiking trip and I was thinking how would I keep myself healthy without losing too much muscle during the trip with the least amount of weight to carry.  And would that change if I were to hike for example a 2,000 mile Appalachian trail instead of a week-long hike?  Thank you.

Ben:  So Aleksi wants to have his cake and eat it too.  He wants to go on his big long hiking trip but stay completely swole.

Rachel:  Yeah, I guess that’s having his cake and eating it too, isn’t it?

Ben:  Well, everybody wants to finish their hiking trip and be able to flex off, right?  Fit in to their ‘welcome to the gun show shirt’.

Rachel:  (chuckles) Right.  Yes.  I’m misgiving, that’s what happening.

Ben:  Yeah.  So, maintaining.  What this comes on to you from me?  Like when I think about this.  It’s for anybody.  Let’s say you’re not a week-long hiker, let’s say you’re not necessarily completely in the Appalachian trail but you are an endurance exerciser or let’s just say, you have a high calorie burn in general due to your lifestyle.  I don’t know, maybe you’re a roofer or a construction worker, or who else burns a lot of calories during the day? A nurse?

Rachel:  Personal trainer?

Ben:  Surgeon?  Personal trainer?

Rachel:  Or a surgeon…

Ben:  Yeah.  But you don’t want to necessarily eat copious amounts of calories, or carry copious amounts of calories, carry heavy amounts of food as Aleksi noted when you hike you wanna stay relatively lightweight and I supposed rib-eye steaks are probably not the best fit for putting into a lightweight backpacking or…

Rachel:  Seven days…

Ben:  Yeah, or ‘man-in-a –can’ giant canisters of protein powder.  So, there are some shall we say, kinda clandestine would be the right word but small, portable, little known things that can give you a step up when it comes to essentially anabolism, and especially anabolism while you are extremely physically active.  Some a little bit fringe, some not so fringe.  So for example, there’s one in particular, why don’t we start with the fringe right away.  There’s one that I’m writing an article on right now and it’s called a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator also a SARMs.  Rachel, I know you’re a complete nerd when it comes to SARMs.

Rachel:  I know everything about SARMs.  I just learned what the acronym meant.

Ben:  All the time, yeah.  So, these selective androgen receptor modulators actually contained what are called androgens.  And androgens are special kind of hormone that act as a ligand.  So I’m gonna add this to your vernacular.  What a ligand is, is all that is a molecule that’s link to another molecule.  A ligand – l-i-g-a-n-d.  And in this case, androgens connect to cellular androgen receptors.  Now, what that can do is it can replicate the effects of androgens which in the human body would cause things like muscle growth and anabolism, etc. but selective androgen receptor modulators are able to do this without causing a lot of the side effects that say, steroids can cause.  So, they can be taken orally, so you don’t need to inject them.  You don’t get a lot of the, again the deleterious side effects of taking steroids and the idea here is that they’re non-toxic, they don’t cause liver damage.

A lot of times when you’re taking testosterone or you’re taking steroids, you can get some bone loss and they’ve looked into SARMs and bone loss, and they don’t cause that.  A lot of times in men who are using testosterone replacement therapy or who are using steroids, they get prostate problems, they get (I’ll use the highly scientific term) ball shrinkage and you don’t get that when you use selective androgen receptor modulator.  It doesn’t interfere with what’s called your hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis.  This means that when you take testosterone (injectable testosterones, testosterone creams) via a negative feedback loop shut down your body’s own endogenous production of testosterone and should you ever stop that steroid or that testosterone replacement, you feel like crap for months afterwards.  You can’t get up, you have no libido, you’ve low motivation, low ability to put on muscle, low endogenous testosterone production.

You don’t get that when you use one of these selective androgen receptor modulators.  You also don’t get conversion of testosterone into estrogens or into something that can make you go bald which is dihydrotestosterone or DHT.  And you’ll see a lot of folks in the athletic or the body building industry using SARMs to prevent muscle loss and to assist with lean muscle development.  And you’ll even see these use for things like faster injury recovery, and increase power and better joint healing abilities, etc.

Rachel:  So, are there any cons to these?

Ben:  Cons to SARMs?  You can if you overdo it.  In women, you can get a little bit of a development of male characteristics.

Rachel:  Wow!  That’s kind of a big deal, Ben.  (laughs)

Ben:  Alright, big eyebrows, big …  So you’d wanna be careful.  In men who overdo SARMs, there is some risks for some of the same things we would get with a huge production of DHT which should be like acne, and baldness, and even a little bit of gynecomastia, but these would be high doses taken for a long period, okay?  So a typical SARMs cycle would be running it for just 4 weeks for example, like taking a SARMs orally and example of those should be like 10 milliliters for about 4 weeks.

And one that I’m writing an article about right now that I’ve really doing a lot of research on is one called LGD-4033.  That’s one that’s most used for things like building muscle and increasing libido, and simultaneously reducing body fat percentage without taking hormones or without taking steroids.  For all of you listening in especially those of you who don’t want to risk extreme public embarrassment because you compete in a sport that involves eager and testing, you can’t use this if you compete in a World Anti-Doping Association sanctioned sport even though a 10th of the world’s athletic population uses SARMs they’ve approximated.

So, a ton of pro-athletes use SARMs even though they’re not supposed to.  However, if you’re just hiking the Appalachian Trail and you wanna maintain skeletal muscle mass without deterioration of for example, type 2 muscle fibers, would be the big one.  This is going to assist with development of SARMs.  Taking something like LGD-4033, a little bottle out there on the trail and taking 1 dropper full which is about 10 milliliters under the tongue, on a daily basis could help out quite a bit with maintenance of lean muscle during endurance exercise along with exercise sessions.

Rachel:  Good.  So that’s number 1.

Ben:  So that’s one.  LGD-4033, SARMs.  Another one, I might as well just stay fringed.  BPC-157 – that is an injectable peptide.  This one is legal based on World Anti-Doping Association and you saw the regulations, and it’s simply a sequence of amino acids.  So, you’ve heard of perhaps branched chain amino acids or essential amino acids, this is like that on steroids.  They’ve done a huge number of studies and shown everything from enhanced repair of tendons and muscle, and intestines and teeth and bone.  I’ve got a big article on BPC-157 and I mean, you can take an insulin syringe and just spray it orally into your mouth to enhance repair of gut damage.  You can take any specific muscle group that is injured and poke it into the little bit of skin to the injury site and inject it and rub it in or massage it in and get extremely enhanced muscle repair.  I’m talking about like 10 times faster.  I’ve done with a hamstring injury for example and completely banish it within a few days.

The other thing that you can do is you can maintain muscle by either using, it’s systemic right, so you can orally, you can inject it anywhere and it’s gonna have full body systemic effects.

Rachel:  Wow.

Ben:  And so, you can literally use this while out on trail and just inject it anywhere or take it orally, and it help to maintain muscle mass or even to build muscle mass.  So, it’s somewhat fragile, you have to be careful with it getting jarred around, you have to reconstitute it.  So it comes as a powder and you mix water and I’ve got all the instructions on a link.  If you go to, I’ll put a link to the article that I wrote about it in the show notes.  But basically, it’s similar to SARMs in an extremely small bottle that is extremely potent.  Alright, as I’d say in Alladin, ‘phenomenal cosmic power’.

Rachel:  One question.  If I took it orally for an injury in my wrist, would it still have the same impact as injecting?

Ben:  Not the same.  Less but still an impact.

Rachel:  Okay.

Ben:  Yup.  If you just don’t like to shove needles into body parts.

Rachel:  Right.  So we have SARMs and BCP-157.  What’s next?

Ben:  So another one that I’d recommend would be something that we’d touched on earlier, and that would be use of exogenous ketones.  Because by utilizing ketones rather than your own muscle glycogen or rather than glucose, you can spare blood glucose, spare muscle glycogen, and keep yourself from having breakdown your own storage fuel as energy.  And the cool thing about ketones is that they’re very potent and can be carried in light amounts because that’s were talking about, things that are light, portable, easy to carry but that can maintain muscle mass similar to a rib-eye steak or a protein shake.

So, there are a lot of different types of ketones out there but because the consumption of what are called medium chain triglycerides or MCTs actually enhance the production of ketone bodies by the liver, I am a fan of a specific form of exogenous ketones.  Again, if you don’t want to spend $3,000 on that ketone ester developed by DARPA that I mentioned earlier but you want something a little bit more palatable for the pocket book.  A pretty good one would be for example, there’s a company called Keto-OS and that is ketone mineral salts that have been blended with a high fiber mediun chains triglyceride formation.

So you get the benefits of both exogenous ketones along with medium chains triglycerides.  The small packet relatively light, you would reconstitute in water and the ingredients are just MCT powder, beta hydroxybutyrate which is the ketone, and then Stevia and you can choose.  They’ve got one that’s caffeine-free and one that they called charged that has caffeine in it, but that’s it.  And the other thing that you should know is that ketones act as a natural diuretic, so you may need to make sure that you increase your electrolyte and your water intake when you start using something like this.  But that would certainly be something that if I were on a long trail hike I would definitely throw into the mix would be this Keto-OS blend of powdered MCTs with exogenous ketones in the form of beta hydroxybutyrate.

Rachel:  Yes! Good feel.

Ben:  So, yes!  And we’re increasing everybody’s vocabulary with all sorts of big words like LGD-4033 and SARMs and beta hydroxybutyrate.  Next, we would go for something very nutrient-dense.  So, I talked about how BPC-157 is an anabolic amino acid, one other thing that has a lot of anabolic amino acids in it including 18 of the 20 amino acids and all 8 of the essential amino acids that your body can’t produce making it a complete protein is spirulina.  Spirulina has got more beta carotene in carrots, it’s got more iron than spinach, it’s got more antioxidants than blueberries, it’s got more chlorophyll than any dark leafy green shake, and it has a nutritional profile that’s very, very similar to breast milk with is close to a perfect food.  You can get spirulina in like chewable tablet, you can get it in powder form, but considering the dense amount of amino acids in it, and this is especially use for vegans or vegetarians who can’t use an animal-based amino acid or a steak or chicken or things like that that are very anabolic, this is lightweight, it’s easy to carry and it acts like an oral full spectrum amino acid with the vegan twist and plus it turns your mouth green, so.

Rachel:  Definite out of benefit.

Ben:  You can be that person on the Appalachian trail with green stains all around your mouth ‘cause you just eaten, I don’t know, what green animal would be out in the forest that one would be chasing out in the forest and eating like a zombie…

Rachel:  A frog!  A frog.

Ben:  A frog, yes you’re like a frog eating Appalachian trail hiker.  So spirulina would be another one and of course along with spirulina for the similar amino acid effect just essential amino acids.  So, they’ve done a host of studies on stopping muscle breakdown with the use of branched chain amino acids.  The problem with branched chain amino acids is that while they can keep muscular catabolism from occurring during long term endurance exercise, they do not result in the same anabolic effect as essential amino acids ‘cause there’s only 3 of them in branched chain amino acids, whereas, an essential amino acid blend is gonna have 8 to 9 different amino acid in it.  And branched chain amino acid can also spike blood sugar levels and cause some other issues that I’m not a fan of.

And finally, they don’t lead to the staving off of central nervous system fatigue.  The same as essential amino acids do because essential amino acids will compete for tryptophan in the brain and keep tryptophan or ‘sleeping turkey thanksgiving molecule’ from crossing the blood brain barrier from interacting with the cellular receptors for tryptophan.  And so, ultimately an essential amino acids blend and I’ll put a link in the show notes to the one that I like called Nature Aminos would be another one to include.  So, where we at so far with what we have listed?

Rachel:  So we got spirulina, nature aminos, there’s one more that I think you wanna talk about.

Ben:  SARMs, BPC, uh colostrum.  Yeah.  Colostrum is huge.  I’m a big fan of that.  It’s such a potent, and what it is is what you’d find in breast milk in the fluid that comes out right before the breast milk comes out.  In like a goat, cow, mom, whatever.  I’m a big fan of a goat-based colostrum because a goat-based colostrum unless you have a pregnant woman producing breast milk, you can carry out there with you on the Appalachian trail, it’s very biocompatible with the human body, meaning that it’s a small protein that gets absorb very well compared to like a cow-based colostrum.  And colostrum has a huge number of growth factors in it that can do everything from heal the lining of a leaky gut which is what it does in an infant to cause actual growth of muscle tissue in adult humans.  And you can simply take this for example in the morning when you get up, 4 to 6 capsules of colostrum and it has some very potent boosting effects.  The only caution I’ll give you if you’re hiking with it, it is it can’t be heated.  You need to be careful when you heat it.  It enhanced with paring with probiotics.

So if you take it at the same time that you take probiotics, all the better but know that whether using that or probiotics, you just need to be careful that it doesn’t get heated up too much.  However, not only is it a big performance enhancing aid but colostrum has a very, very potent anabolic effects.  So, if you’re just trying to get swole as much clear as possible, you would be on colostrum, spirulina, aminos, some kind of exogenous ketones, some BPC-157, and then if you aren’t competing in a World Anti-Doping Association or you saw the sanction sport, something like SARMs, like LGD-4033, and you’ll get big.  As a matter of fact, Rachel, I don’t think I mention this on the show before, but aside from the SARMs agent, I’m actually using everything that I just talked about while lifting heavy.

Rachel:  Hmm, well, there you go.

Ben:  Because I got cast on a TV show that I’ve got to put on muscle for.

Rachel:  What TV show?

Ben:  The Broken Skull Challenge?

Rachel:  Oh wow!

Ben:  That’s on CMT, on Country Music Television but involves heavy… go watch if you’re listening in.  Just do a search for Broken Skull Challenge or actually we’ll put a link in the show notes.  The defending champion right now, speaking of the devil, we talked about him earlier is Hunter McIntyre, my partner in crime over at Obstacle Dominator.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  But you have to fight, you have to lift heavy objects, you have to basically…

Rachel:  You gonna fight Hunter?

Ben:  I don’t know if Hunter would be on the show when I’m on it but you have to be a meathead so, I am trying to put on some muscle to become a meathead so that in a few weeks I’ll be able to compete when I head down to firm the Broken Skull Challenge in LA.

Rachel:  That’s gonna be fun.  I can’t wait to see that.  So, that is basically how Aleksi can have his cake and eat it too.

Ben:  Boom!

Rachel:  Is it like out there in the world that people should drink breast milk?

Ben:  People?

Rachel:  Like why do we drink and eat colostrum and we don’t eat and drink like our own breast milk?

Ben:  So, my personal hypothesis on that because I don’t know the exact answer that a) we don’t drink the breast milk of our own species because we have access to things like goats and cows and camels and I don’t know whatever else can be milked as the line goes from the movie with Ben Stiller and Robert De Nero: I’m a Cat, Could you Milk Me Focker? You can milk if it has nipples, right?  So we’ve got access to the breast milk of other animals or we are smart enough to access that because let’s face it, mothers and mother’s breast milk that is something that would best be reserved for the growing baby population of our species.  And if all of us adults start drinking breast milk of our own species, we would probably risk babies not having enough.

Rachel:  Right.  I see.

Ben:  My personal hypothesis.

Rachel:  If there was a way for babies to have enough though, it would be better obviously to drink our own?  ‘Cause it’s made for humans not for…

Ben:  Yeah, and if you look at things that have nutrient-dense profile similar to breast milk like spirulina or liver or eggs, or any of these things that are high in fat-soluble vitamins, we certainly have access to things that will be a little bit of a parallel to breast milk in nature that we can take in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone at some point comes up with the way to do like breast milk from a lab or all the things that breast milk, colostrum, and growth factors, and probiotics and everything else, and maybe it comes in a breast shaped bottle that you buy from the grocery store (laughs)…

Rachel:  And then Freud is like rolling over in his grave.

Ben:  And Freud is freakin’ rollin’ over in his grave, yup.

Cathy:  Hey Rachel and Ben, thanks so much for an awesome podcast.  I’m learning so much.  It’s so awesome.  Please keep it up.  Today, I have a question about COMT genetic mutation of which I have and I know that that means that you can have a hard time breaking down catecholamines.  And I definitely have major insomnia issues if I’m out late at night, I just cannot wind down and just feel that I have all these adrenalin and cortisol going on and it’s really difficult for me to ever fall asleep before I’m out too late or if I’m just too amped up in the evening.  So, I was just wondering if you had any advice on this for those of us with the COMT mutation and if there’s anything that we can do to help break down those catecholamines that will help us get more into our parasympathetic nervous system.  So, thanks so much.  Looking forward to your answer.

Ben:  So, Rachel, just to F with you.  What’s this question about?

Rachel:  This question is about the warrior vs. the worrier gene.

Ben:  The what vs. the what?

Rachel:  The warrior… I just to say it like an American.  Warrior versus ….  Wa…  No, they still sound the same (laughs).

Ben:  I love an Australian.  Cannot say warrior vs. worrier.  It’s just nuts.  You’re not able to do it.  Your tongue doesn’t move that way.

Rachel:  Uhh, it doesn’t.  No, any.

Ben:  Yeah.  This is really, really interesting.  It’s this idea, I won’t geek out too much on the COMT gene but what it comes down to is that we have this specific gene called the COMT.  It stands for Catechol-O-methyltransferase, COMT.  And all that is put in simple terms, it’s an enzyme and it degrade things like dopamine and epinephrine and norepinephrine, and depending on which version of that gene you carry, you’re aren’t gonna break down things like dopamine and epinephrine and norepinephrine quickly or they’re gonna hang around for a long period of time in your system.  And that’s gonna influence your behavior and your personality.

So, we have this warrior profile.  The warrior has lower amounts of COMT and what is that mean? It means they break down their dopamine less quickly and they have higher amounts of dopamine.  And when you have higher amounts of dopamine, you get more pleasure out of life, but interestingly you also get, a lot of people don’t realize this more misery out of life.  You have bigger highs and also bigger lows when you’re a warrior.

So, what are the positives of that?  Well, you get more pleasure out of life like I mentioned and they’ve done studies where they’ve shown that people who have what’s called the double A gene for COMT have twice the amount of positive emotions towards the pleasant event than people who have the double G version of that gene.  You tend to be more creative because the dopamine in the prefrontal cortex of your brain promotes cognitive stability, and makes you more resistant to distractions.  So warriors tend to be able to focus on and be more creative.  You tend to have a higher IQ with the higher dopamine levels, you tend to have better working memory.

And they’ve actually done test and they’ve done one test called Enbac test for people with this low amount of COMT, high amount of dopamine.  These warrior genes, they’ve better reading comprehension and better working memory, and even more plasticity of the brain going to old age.  A warrior also when they’re not under stress, this is important, a warrior does better with attention and processing of information under stress, but a worrier has better cognitive function when they’re not under stress.  So, when in stress-free scenario a warrior does quite well a.k.a. computer programming vs. operating a radio on a battlefield.

So a few other things, you tend to have better fine motor skills and these are all things that they’ve tested and you tend to be able to focus more when you realized that you’ve made an error and people who have the warrior gene even have a better ability to be able to aim a weapon interestingly like a gun or a bow.  What are the bad things? Well, you don’t handle stress as well as a worrier does because of that high, high amount of dopamine.  So it can work for you and against you.  You tend to be more impulsive, you tend to have a higher risk for depression and anxiety, and you tend to be more neurotic.  They’ve even shown that there are some other issues in terms of like increase cocaine dependence and nicotine dependence, and things that you’d expect when you have a higher dopaminergic response to certain chemicals.

And then they’ve also found that there are certain medical conditions associated with having this warrior gene.  Primarily high amounts of ADHD and ADD, high amounts of like fibromyalgia which is like you know, ghost muscle pains and sensitivity to heat and pressure and things like that.  So, if you have these particular low COMT, high dopamine, there are some things that you can do if you have this warrior gene which should be what Cathy has.  It’s hard time breaking down catecholamines, insomnia issues, etc.

Some of the things that you can do:  first of all, you can ensure that you have adequate amounts of B vitamins like B6 and B12 and folate, and what’s called betaine and the reason for that is because high amounts of these B vitamin support the formation of something called Adenosyl methionine, and that prevents or at least partially inhibits this COMT activity and can assist with the dopamine break down a little bit more readily.  So, that’s one thing.  It’s getting a really good vitamin B complex even just a multivitamin you like.  I like the Thorne multivitamin because it has a lot of what’s called methyl tetrahydrofolate in it which is like a very bio-absorbable form of vitamin B.

Another one that seems to help with this is magnesium.  High amounts of magnesium citrate which is another co-factor for some of the enzymes that can help to breakdown dopamine when dopamine is high, that will be another one to make sure that you are including your diet an adequate magnesium.

Rachel:  Is that also in the Thorne multi?

Ben:  No.  That would be something that you could take like a natural calm magnesium or you could even use topical magnesium and rub it on your tummy.  That’s a perfect place to absorb topical magnesium interestingly, is the stomach where high amount of blood vessels and that’s where I put topical magnesium a lot of the time.  Be very careful with alcohol consumption because alcohol can cause a rapid release of dopamine especially in limbic areas of the brain that can not only increase your vulnerability to alcohol dependence but can also increase the instance of things like insomnia, et cetera.

You would want to avoid stimulants, any type of stimulants including caffeine honestly can cause a high, high amount of this dopaminergic activity and so you may want to consider using non-caffeinated beverages.  White teas, things like that as oppose to coffee.

Rachel:  What if you have the COMT mutation and you’re a fast caffeine metabolizer?  Does that even itself out?

Ben:  No.  I’d still be careful.  You’re still gonna have… like what’s you’re thinking but… antioxidants.  So, antioxidants are gonna be important because those prevent the oxidation of all these dopamine that you have hanging around and that can be pro-carcinogenic in high amounts in oxidized dopamine.  So, what you would want to do for example, like I mentioned that Thorne multivitamin, that’s got actually some really good antioxidants in it like vitamin C and vitamin E, and some of the things that can help out with this high amount of dopamine and prevent the actual oxidation of that dopamine.

There’s something called diindolylmethane, you’ll gonna find that in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, et cetera, you can also purchase it as a supplement called DIM and the reason for that is because if you have high estrogens, estrogens can actually inhibit COMT, and cause more of these dopamine to be hanging around in the bloodstream.  So, preventing excess estrogens both from your personal care products, phytoestrogens from plastics, things like that, but also considering use of this DIM or this diindolylmethane or things like broccoli and cauliflower, and things high in diindolylmethane can also help out quite a bit.  And I’ll list some of these recommendations in the show notes for you.

There’s also of course the worrier gene which is everything that I just said, the opposite of that, right, like really good under high stress scenarios, low amounts of dopamine, lower amounts of pleasure out of life, when you have this worrier gene.  In many cases, better performance under pressure, better performance under stress, but worse executive function sometimes worse fine motor skills, this is the classic meathead fighter, no offense, Navy Seal type of approach, and these people just don’t produce as much dopamine, and so there are things that you can take into consideration for this.  The biggest would be you’d want to get dopamine into your system.

There’s a lot of different ways to do that but if you happen to test and you can just use 23andme testing, you get this test out and figure it out.  For the worrier genes, probably the best thing you can do is there’s a supplement called Brain Food, and this is just a dopamine precursor made by Axon Lab and I’ve had the folks from them in the podcast before.  I’ll link to it in the show notes but it’s just a dopamine precursor that can help you.  It’s kinda cool if you take dopamine precursor prior to any pleasurable activity like sex or eating or anything, just like psilocybin mushrooms for example that makes everything a little brighter, more colorful.

Rachel:  What about if you have the COMT mutation and you take a dopamine precursor?  Is that like a quadruple pleasurable?

Ben:  Your head will explode.

Rachel: (laughs)

Ben:  I don’t think that would help out with Cathy’s insomnia but…

Rachel:  Don’t do that Cathy, it’s a bad idea.

Ben:  So, and I’ll put a link to the 23andme genetic testing if you wanna test this out as well as some other recommendations that I went into.  All of those over on the show notes at  So, hopefully that helps you out.  You can also grab everything over there from the olive oil that I recommends to some of those things for maintaining muscle during exercise, to this new ketone drink article from the Department of Defense, the Casper Mattresses, the Calendar, and much more.

But of course, we would be doing everyone a great disservice if we didn’t give something away.  Right, Rachel?

Rachel:  Correct.

Ben and Rachel:  So…

Ben:  This is the part of the show were we take the top iTunes review of the week and we give you something cool.  We’re gonna send you a BPA-free water bottle, we’re gonna send you a tech t-shirt that make your muscles look great whether or not you’re breastfeeding.  And we’re going to send you a hat, a toque, a Ben Greenfield beanie, and all you need to do is this: if you hear your review read on the show, just email [email protected], that’s [email protected] and if you’re a 5-star, your unique review gets read.  You get that pack just be sure that when you email the said address, you include your t-shirt size, and your mailing address.  So that being said, we’ve got a review left by Bobrvl, and Bobrvl says…. You wanna take this one away, Rachel?

Rachel:  Yes.  It’s called “Great podcast” and it’s 5 stars.  “I am a big fan of Dave Asprey and when I was introduced to Ben’s podcast the first thing I thought was this is the athletic Dave Asprey.  I can relate to Ben because I’m a Crossfit Coach and competitor.  I’m always looking for ways to hack my performance and nutrition!  Thanks for the great info and entertainment, and I like the woo woo stuff you air!”

Ben: (chuckles) Dave Asprey for those of you who don’t know, he’s the Bulletproof guy.

Rachel:  Of course, yes!

Ben:  He’s the guy who invented Bulletproof coffee, the Bulletproof Exec, not necessarily known for being an uber athlete per se but I wouldn’t in no way want this to indicate that Dave is a spaz because I have seen him do headstands on vibration platforms before at conferences and he’s not an athletic tard but…

Rachel:  But he’s not gonna run a Spartan and then a Hurricane this weekend, does he?

Ben:  I don’t know.

Rachel:  Maybe!

Ben:  He could be there. So anyways though, I like Dave Asprey.  He’s a friend of mine.  I didn’t want you to read this review because I don’t liked Dave, but I think it’s a good review.  And I will take it.  I will now go by the title The Athletic Dave Asprey.

Rachel:  Who airs woo woo stuff.

Ben:  (laughs)  Yes, who likes woo woo stuff.  So, that being said, you can access all the show notes at  You can watch Rachel and I doing a finesse sauna or whatever else we decide to do this weekend by going to, and you can also win stuff over there.  Plenty more coming down the pipeline.  A fantastic interview this weekend, I believe with the, speaking of woo woo, man himself Dennis McKenna about LSD and Psilocybin, Ayahuasca and all sort of interesting things.  So, that should be interesting, and in the meantime, thank you for listening, and Rachel…

Rachel:  Yes, Ben…

Ben:  Enjoy the rest of your day Pirate Patronaut!

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.



August 3, 2016 Podcast: 357:  The Great Olive Oil Hoax, Warrior vs. Worrier Gene, Maintaining Muscle During Endurance Exercise, The Ultimate Guide To Napping & More.

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar of events.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


News Flashes:

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Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by:

FitLife: Use discount code BEN for 20% off anything!

CasperGet $50 toward any mattress purchase by visiting and using promo code ‘BEN’. 

Click here to follow Ben on Snapchat, and get ready for some epic stories on his morning, daily and evening routine! What did you miss this week? A clay mask, a park workout, a morning routine change-up, an epic post-race salad and more.

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar.

August 6, 2016: Join Ben for the Portland Spartan Sprint and 4 hr Hurricane Heat. Click here to sign up!

August 11-13, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS) in Boulder, Colorado. AHS is a historic three-day event created to unite the ancestral health movement and to foster collaboration among scientists, health professionals, and laypersons who study and communicate about health from an evolutionary perspective to develop solutions to our health challenges. Click here to learn more or to register now.

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!


Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the Podcast Sidekick.

The Ultimate Guide To Napping

Grant says: He recently saw your Snapchat story on napping. You said you naturally wake up after a 20-30 minutes daily nap and its part of your ritual. He’s curious how your body naturally goes 20-40 minutes and wakes up by itself without an alarm? What does it mean if you nap longer, like 2-4 hours?

In my response, I recommend:
Supermemo napping article
Withing Aura
Sleepstream (use Powernap function)
Lavender essential oil
SR1 Deltasleeper
Masimo pulse oximeter

How Much Coffee Can You Drink If You’re Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Dalice says: She loves the podcast! After the recent podcast with Dr. Chopra, she has a question about coffee while breastfeeding. The studies showed that coffee consumption had little impact on the child when pregnant, is this still the case when breastfeeding? She has a 4.5 month old daughter and she wants to know if she can safely drink caffeinated coffee while breastfeeding.

In my response, I recommend:

How To Maintain Muscle During Long Endurance Exercise

Aleksi says: He loves the podcast and he’s been listening for many years. His question regards hiking. He’s going to Norway for a week-long hiking trip and he’s wondering how he can keep himself healthy and not lose too much muscle during the trip, with the least amount of weight to carry? And would that change if he were to hike a 2000m Appalachian trail instead of a week-long hike?

In my response, I recommend:
Algae article
Exogenous ketone + C8 & my article “How To Get Into Ketosis: The Ultimate Guide”
BPC-157 & SARMS like LGD-4033
Broken Skull Challenge

Warrior vs. Worrier Gene

Cathy says: She loves the podcast. She has a question about the COMT mutation, which she has. She knows it means you can have a hard time breaking down catecholamines. She has major insomnia issues, if she’s out late at night she just can’t wind down, she feels like she has adrenaline and cortisol issues going on, and its really difficult for her to fall asleep. She’s wondering if you have any advice for people with the COMT mutation and if there’s anything they can do to help breakdown the catecholamines that would help her get more into her parasympathetic nervous system?

In my response, I recommend:
Thorne multivitamin
Magnesium lotion
For Worrier: Brain Food

Read more

















[Transcript] – Getting Ripped With Yoga, Using Isometrics To Build Massive Athleticism, Five Things You Must Do Every Morning & More!

Podcast from:

[0:09] Marc Pro

[1:46] Exo Bars

[3:47] Facebook Poll about the Podcast

[4:53] Introduction

[7:10] All about Dean Pohlman

[9:44] Dean’s Morning Routine

[19:54] Core Foundation Routine – “True To Form”

[26:09] Dean’s Man Flow Yoga

[39:24] Developing Power and Brute Strength through Yoga

[45:43] Dean on the Spiritual Side of Yoga

[48:01] Ben’s take on the Spiritual Side of Yoga

[54:01] Why Yoga doesn’t Increase your Mobility

[56:03] KnotOut – Dean’s Mobility Tool

[57:50] Dean’s Self-Massage

[1:01:49] The Mobility Project of Dean

[1:10:16] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield, and I figured, I might as well just start this podcast episode off by talking about shocking yourself.  So you’ve probably heard me talking about E-stim before and about how it can be used for recovery.  This is literally just like it sounds like electric stimulation.  And some electric stimulation devices are really good for things like power and strength and others are good for recovery.  The one I want to tell you about right now is for recovery.  It’s called a Marc Pro. M-a-r-c Pro.  And it produces what is called a square wave form which means that it grabs your muscles when it electrically stimulates them in a very therapeutic manner that increase blood flow to an area but doesn’t damage muscles like a more intense form of electrical stimulation might.

So this Marc Pro simply comes with these electrodes and you surround the area that’s hurting and basically shock it into submission.  It doesn’t hurt at all it just delivers this mild electrical wave that does things like increase blood flow and keeps you from losing muscles when you’re injured etcetera.  So you actually get a discount on the Marc Pro and here’s how.  You go to that’s m-a-r-c pro dot com and you us promo code Ben to get 5% off.  You can literally take this on an airplane.  I tried TSA doesn’t mind and you can even shock yourself when you’re sitting for long periods of time on a plane in a car, you name it.  I probably shouldn’t say shock yourself, I should say therapeutically stimulate yourself, but either way if you haven’t yet tried out E-stim or added it to your protocol, you’re missing out on better living through science.  So, that’s m-a-r-c pro dot com and use 5% discount code Ben.

Speaking of better living through science, let’s talk a bit about a new form of eating through science.  Now there is a special form of protein that has 65% bio-available protein.  That’s compared to 33% beef jerky, 23% in chicken, 22% in salmon and just 12% in eggs.  This is a complete protein source that has all the essential amino acids, has 2.2 times more iron than spinach and doesn’t destroy our planets.  I’m talking about crickets.  Crickets produce a hundred times less greenhouse gases than cows.  Literally, close to zero amounts of waste, have very, very low water requirements and somebody figured out how to make a tasty bar out of cricket flour.

This company is called E-x-o.  Exo Bars.  They have barbeque bars, mango curry, Mediterranean, banana bread, coconut, apple cinnamon, blueberry vanilla, peanut butter and jelly sampler pack which I’ll tell you more about in just a second, and it’s all made paleo-friendly, no gluten, no grains, no soy, no dairy, you name it and it actually tastes good.  It’s the protein of the future! Future, future.  Hear that?  That was an echo.  I made that myself.  Anyways, here is how you get some bars and you can get a sampler pack with all their most popular flavors for less than 10 bucks with free shipping, that’s 33% off, thank you, I did the math for you.  You go to E-x-o protein dot com slash ben, that’s E-x-o slash ben and that’s it.  That’ll automatically give you a discount on this cricket bars.  There are small and nimble start-up just like a cricket and they sell ’em all the time.  So grab them while inventory lasts.

So check all that out.  The protein bars, the electrical stimulation.  And now on to today’s podcast episode.

Oh, I almost forgot one last thing.  We have a poll going.  I’m thinking about switching up the podcast to being a podcast that has 1 long Q&A and news flashes, and special announcements with me each week and then on alternating weeks, 1 big long high quality Q&A interview with a special guest.  That would be as opposed to the 2 times per week slightly shorter podcast that we currently put out.

So basically, we’re thinking about switching up to 1 time per week podcast format with long form podcast that really delve deep, deep, deep into the nitty-gritty life of the person that I’m interviewing and also that will allow more time for me to regularly put out to you the Q&A episodes with me which seems to be quite popular and which I’ve done for the past ten years now.  So anyways, you can grab that poll if you just go to and at  The poll and all its glory and beauty presides.

Okay, now we really are going on to today’s podcast.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:

“You can talk a lot more about technique just because the poses are lasting longer as well and then because the poses lasts longer, we’re also getting nearer to that point of muscle fatigue so you can actually build muscle and get stronger.  We just relate focus on the technique and the amount of benefits would come and if you notice that you are also getting a bit spiritual out of it, that great but we just don’t mention it.  I don’t need to mention it for it to happen.  Even when we’re doing postures, the emphasis is very much still on the breath and keeping your cool so to speak.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ben: Hey, what’s up?  It’s Ben Greenfield and I remember distinctly it was like 2 years ago that I was at this health and yoga e-conference, and this guy at the conference was just like a beast.  This big, huge like 6 foot, 6 dude basketball player, and I asked him what his training routine was and he said, I do yoga. I’m like, alright.  Well, that’s good for perhaps your flexibility and your blood pressure, and relaxation and breathing but what kind of strength training program do you do?  What kind of cardio program do you do and he said, I just do yoga and I play basketball.  This guy was literally, that huge.  So I remember walking away from that conversation thinking that he was a [0:07:09.1] ______.

And then I met another guy about a month later at the Paleo f(x) Conference and at Paleo f(x) Conference they have like this obstacle course set up where you’d blast through this high intensity powerful obstacle course in 2 minutes, and I remember getting my butt kicked by about, I think it was 10, 12 seconds, something significant for a 2 minute course by this guy.  This young bearded gentleman who was also ripped and I went up to talk to him afterwards, his name was Dean Pohlman, and it turns out that he too, primarily just does yoga.

And so, now I was incredibly intrigued so I talked with Dean and wound up getting him on a podcast episode.  You may have heard this podcast episode, it occurred about a year and a half ago and in that episode we talk about how Dean uses yoga to get ripped and powerful and athletic, and that’s most of what he does.  And he’s actually designed a special form of yoga.  So what Dean has if you listen to that podcast episode, and I’ll link to it in the show notes in this episode, and you can just go to to access the show notes for this episode.

But Dean creates yoga for people that as he puts it want the physical benefits of yoga without the lifestyle change of becoming a hippie pushing a giant grocery shopping cart full of kale through Whole Foods.  You hold the postures a lot longer, you place more emphasis on the technique instead of the spiritual.  The workouts are more catered to the physical needs of guys although his workouts are also accessible to women, and Dean was a former collegiate lacrosse player who decided that he wanted to use yoga to become a better athlete.  So he designed this crazy yoga program that actually develops athleticism not just say like, flexibility or relaxation or serene thoughts.

And so today we’re gonna talk a little bit about that form of yoga but also about, more about mobility ‘coz Dean’s got some pretty cool stuff he’s been doing lately with different mobility techniques, and he’s a very outside the box thinker which you may already know based on my introduction.  So get ready to learn more about how you can use yoga to get ripped, to get fit and also how to increase mobility in new ways.  Dean, welcome to the show, man.

Dean:  Wow!  That was quite the introduction.    

Ben: Wasn’t it? 

Dean:  Thanks for having me, Ben. 

Ben:  I practice. 

Dean:  That was good. (laughs) 

Ben:  I practice.  So anyways, man the first question I have for you, though just so folks can get to know you a little better get inside your head, a lot of yogis that I talked to, I mean, people in general but people who do yoga especially, they tend to have these elaborate morning routines, and I’m curious.  Are you just the guy who gets up, crushes some eggs and steak, man flow yoga style, and just jumps into the day or do you have a specific routine that you follow?

Dean:  Well, first up I think I’m gonna disappoint you because I’m not a terribly weird yoga guy.  I’m weird in my own terms, in my own regard but not terribly weird yoga style.  If I just got up and ate eggs and jumped into my routine or jumped into my day probably a pretty crappy day, but morning routines are something that I’ve worked on a lot for the last 2 years and actually just talked about this maybe a week ago or so, but I’ve tried almost everything for morning routines.  I’ve tried cold showers and going for runs, and doing intense workouts and doing regular yoga every morning for 60 minutes, and just a lot of miracle morning type of stuff.  I’m sure you’ve gotten sort of some of that.  And what’s really stuck…     

Ben:  But did you say miracle morning? 

Dean:  Yeah, the Miracle Morning.  This is more geared toward success and business people but I figured…

Ben:  What is the Miracle Morning?       

Dean: The Miracle Morning, and I’m not an expert on this I don’t think I even know the components but it involves affirmations, visualizations, 10 minutes of intense exercise and a few other things, but it’s nothing special in terms of morning routine but it’s geared more towards sales people as opposed to athletes.   

Ben:  Oh.  Interesting.    

Dean:  Yes.

Ben:  I don’t want any part of that thing.  I don’t need a morning routine for real estate agents.  I want something for athletes.  No, I’m just kidding.

Dean:  Yeah, it’s nowhere near weird stuff for you.

Ben: I’ve probably just insulted everybody who does miracle morning.  Anyways though, so you do something miracle morning-esque?

Dean:  Well, I’ve tried out all that stuff and some of it sticks but my morning routine wasn’t only based on this, but I’ve tried a lot of those aspects.  The 5 routines that have stuck with me and I’ve gotten into a nice even, well, a nice odd but memorable number have been things that I’ve done in the different variations of morning routines that I’ve done over the last couple of years, and the one that just kind of stick.  So I like to get outside when I wake up.  I make sure that I get outside and living in Texas makes it really easy ‘coz you can always go outside, it’s not too cold and I spend at least 15 minutes outside.  I’ve dogs so that makes it easy that I have to go outside.

Ben:  Can I interrupt you for a second?

Dean:  Absolutely.

Ben:  First of all, I think that anybody like I used to have that mindset that you couldn’t go outside in the winter or in the snow, and I started doing it like I started putting on boots and going outside in the snow.  I’d go outside in like my boxer shorts.  You’d be surprised at the amount of not just UVA and UVB radiation that can get through grey clouds, and they’ve actually done some research on this.  Like even when the sun isn’t directly hitting your skin, you get a decent amount of Vitamin D exposure and you also get a decent amount of kinda like that jumpstarting of your circadian rhythm when light hits the photoreceptors in your eyes, but I think everybody should go out of their way to just be comfortable trying to step outside.

Just try it for like 30 days no matter what the weather is like.  Just step outside no matter what it is outside, raining or snowing or sunny or whatever.  The concept of getting outside in the morning, Dean is fantastic.  I think too many people don’t get that burst of fresh air and sunlight, and negative ions and earthing and grounding, and all those benefits that you get in the morning, but I’d take it one step further and say, sun, rain, snow.  Just like the postal service, right? Step outside.

Dean:  Uhm.  Yeah, I mean 200 years ago we were living outside right? (laughs) We don’t need to go that far back when we were living outside.  You don’t have to be in 68 degrees to function.  So I think that we’d forget that a lot.  Your body was made to survive in winter.  We’ve got people living in Wisconsin right now and Washington so. (chuckles)

Ben:  Yeah.  Well some people’s bodies were made to survive in winter.  I guess it depends.  I know there are some folks who have done the genetic testing thing and come from say a Southeast Asian or a Sub-Saharan African population, and they might be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to trudging outside in the snow for a morning yoga routine but yeah, you’re right, people need environmental fluctuation.  So what’s number 2 man?

Dean:   Number 2 is solitude.  So it doesn’t have to necessarily be meditation.  It doesn’t have to be visualization or a mental process of some sort.  I just have to be by myself with my own thoughts with nobody talking to me.  So, I can spend a few minutes talking to people in the morning but as far as functioning during the day or that morning, I need to have at least 10 to 15 minutes by myself.  And I can meditate during that time, I can do visualizations.  I can run through my day.  I can journal but it just has to be me by myself without somebody else bugging me.

Ben:  Yeah.  I hear you on that and as a parent I can tell you right now, my best mornings are when I get up long before my kids are up.  If I get up and my wife is up and my kids are up, and this sounds super selfish but its true people are already socializing and impeding on my day, and I’m even horrible having house guests over who are up in the morning when I get up to make coffee, and they’re like, “hello Ben, how was your morning”, I am just like an arrogant, selfish bear in the morning like, I’m right there with you.  I need that solitude and that silence and that alone time, and a lot of times if people are already up my kids, my wife, whatever, I will find a quiet place in the house or in the yard, and just lock myself away.  I’m right there with you.  What’s number 3?

Dean:  Number 3 is I drink.  Well, this is out of order but I always have water.  So cold water mixed with sea salt, maybe some lime and then whatever supplements in the morning that I’m supposed to take before I eat right upon waking.  So right now, that’s been Ciltep for a long time.

Ben:  Ciltep?

Dean:  Yup.  The Natural Stacks nootropics.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s the one with the artichoke extract in it?

Dean:  Yup.

Ben:  Is that right?  I forget what else.  It’s not like a central nervous system stimulant, it’s more of acting in I believe like more of an adaptogenics sense if I’m correct.  It was like one of the first smart drugs out there that’s not like central nervous system based.      

Dean:  Yeah.  I know it’s unique from others, and I think I had to talk with the guy who developed it at the conference that you and I were at earlier this year but I was hyped up on all sorts what’s called caffeine, and a lot smarter than I usually am.  It made sense at that time and then I forgot what it meant later. (laughs)

Ben:  Yeah, its artichoke extract.  I’ve got the ingredients here in front of me.  Coleus Forskohlii is an interesting one.  I know it’s good for thyroid and it can also reduce LDL particle count to a certain extent, and apparently when combined with artichoke, that’s where you get a little bit of an enhancement of neural function.  It’s got Vitamin B6, L-Phenylalanine and Acetyl L-Carnitine.

I’ve used it before I remember distinctly I think it was last year that natural stacks and we’ll link to this in the show notes by the way, for those of you who would wanna check out Ciltep.  I remember you have to load with it for like 1 or 2 weeks before you begin to notice much of a change in function.  Have you noticed that?

Dean:  You know, I actually I think I noticed the benefits right away, and that could have been placebo but I think I remember using it for the first week and I noticed my week was a lot better afterwards.

Ben:  Interesting.  Okay, so we’ve got Ciltep and a morning glass of water.  Did you say cold or warm water?

Dean:  Cold water.

Ben:  Okay, cold water good for the vagus nerve and you’ve got getting outside, you got solitude.  What else?  Was that 4 or was that 5?

Dean:  That was 3.  So number 4 is movement.  So, getting outside is really nice having a dog because I can do all of these things with no excuses like well, I have to take the dog outside, I’m leaving.  So you know, I can go outside and I’ve been doing a lot of shoulder mobility and core exercises using a strap overhead lately, and this has been really nice, and I found that my shoulder mobility has really improved greatly from using this.  And so, I’ve been using my dog’s leash as my strap.  So whenever I get outside I do just some variations of lunges, some spinal flexion, and some just side stretching with a strap overhead.

Ben:  And you hold that strap almost like a PVC pipe, right?

Dean: Correct.

Ben:  Like for mobility, like overhead stretches?  Yeah, it’s kind of funny, you do the dog leash and I’ve a wooden dowel out on my porch.  And a lot of times when I’m out there doing my morning mobility, I alternate between a little bit of yoga, and I know we’ll talk about this in just a second like your form of yoga and your form of mobility, but I’ll alternate in one day I’ll do yoga and then another day I’ll do this thing called the core foundation routine, which is basically a program designed by a chiropractic doc that it kinda turns on your butt and decompresses your spine.  I wrote an article about it recently at

Dean:  Yeah, I read.  It looks awesome.

Ben:  Have you tried this before? 

Dean:  I’ve done a lot of reading.  I’ve read your article a few times but I haven’t clicked on any of the videos and looked at the movements involved yet.  But it looks pretty awesome.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s a book called “True To Form”, and this guy used to work with like a bunch of Tour de France cyclists and professional athletes to teach them how to like re-turn on their gluts, and breathe more deeply throughout the day and then also decompress the spine especially if like they sit a lot or they have a lumbar pain and dude, I swear by this program now.  And I do it almost every morning like you.  It’s kinda interesting we have parallels like I’m big time into solitude in the morning.  I have a morning routine, I drink my big glass of water, take my supplements, etcetera, but then I go out on the porch.  And this doesn’t count as my workout right, it’s just my little bit of movement for the day to gain, it’s almost if you do that 10 minutes or so of movement, you gain momentum into the rest of the day to perhaps be inspired to do your actual exercise routine, or anything else just like alright, I already moved for ten minutes now I can move a whole bunch more.  You kinda get that feeling?        

Dean:  Yeah, absolutely and the prospect of waking up and trying to do a 60 minute workout would just not be totally exciting, but after you do those just 5 or 10 minutes of stretching you’re like, okay, now I can do something.  So yeah, I get that.

Ben:  And what’s you fifth?

Dean:  Fifth is just having a good breakfast.  I know that I’ll probably get hungry within an hour or an hour and a half.  Probably it takes about 2 hours to get hungry, but I eat within an hour, an hour and a half of waking and I’ve a very consistent breakfast.  It’s pretty much the same every day.  It’s eggs, spinach, sauerkraut, avocado and sweet potato, a lot lately mixed with ghee.  And it’s the same every day and it’s delicious and yeah, I’m set for at least 5 hours to 6 hours after I have a giant plate of that.      

Ben:  That sounds very much like what my kids have for breakfast in the morning.  They get up and they do eggs and bacon and some vegetables.  I’m a smoothie guy.  I take out the giant Vitamix-esque, I use one called an Omni blender.  It’s kinda like a generic version of a Vitamix but typically I’m dumping everything from ice to prevent oxidation.

I don’t know if you saw I wrote an article on this, but if you put a little bit of lemon juice and a little bit of ice in with the smoothie in which you’re gonna like pulverize vegetables, it keeps the vegetables from getting warm and also from oxidizing as you blend.  So you get a little bit less heat-based damage to the vegetables when you’re using like a high-speed blender.  So you put a little bit of lemon juice and ice in first then you dump the rest of your ingredients on top of that, so usually for me that’s like coconut oil and vegetables, and avocado, some nut butter, some sea salt, some cinnamon and then I just blend that all up but the ice and the lemon juice work really, really well.  I’m not a big fry-up guy or an egg guy in the morning.  I’m more of the smoothie variety.

Dean:  That lemon juice hack sounds pretty cool.  I need to try that.  I was at Costco a few months ago and they had a ridiculous sale on the Vitamix, and I’ve been looking at this thing for 3 years now, just get it (chuckles), but I need to use that thing more.

Ben:  It’s worth owning.  You can do so many things.  We’ll do nut butters where you blend almonds then you strain them through a cheese cloth, and you’ve got almond milk coming out of the bottom, then you got almond pulp left over that you can make almond cheese with or you know, I recently wrote an article about this on where I’ll take a bark tea.  You can get this stuff called Pau D’ Arco bark tea and it’s like an anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, it’s a precursor to an anti-aging molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. 

And you can blend the bark with fats like MCT oil or you can blend it with liquid fish oil or coconut oil, or anything else, and it’s essentially a bio-absorbable fat-soluble form of this NAD molecule, and then you can use what you’ve created after you strain it as a mixture for smoothies where you can drink it straight or whatever.  It creates almost like this bark tea milk and dude, it’s kind of like up there with bone broth in terms of something that will “raise the dead”.  So it’s good stuff, man.  You’ll have to get your hands on some of these bark.  I’ll put a link in the show notes to the article I wrote about how to actually make this stuff.            

Dean:  Yeah.  What’s your MCT oil?  What do you use?    

Ben:  I use the form that is most efficacious for neurological function is primarily what would be called C8.  So coconut oil is a mix of C8 and C10 relatively diluted with things like lauric acid, etcetera, and then MCT oil is also a blend of C8 and C10 but a little bit more concentrated, and then there’s this stuff called Brain Octane oil.  I get it from Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Company, and that’s just basically pure C8 and that’s the stuff that really spins the dials in your brain, satiates the appetite, etcetera.  So I use this stuff called brain octane or C8 but…

Dean:  Yeah, I’m a BulletProof ambassador that’s why I know that thing ‘çoz I’ve tried out a few different ones, and I’ve got the brain octane and I use that.  I kinda alternate between that and this giant tub of refined coconut oil I found at [0:26:00.2] ______ a gallon of refined coconut oil.  It comes in a bucket (laughs).     

Ben:  Nice.  I like it.  I like it.  Alright, so let’s talk about your flavor of yoga, this Man Flow Yoga.  Now, I know that we did a podcast episode on it, and we talked a little bit about this but I still need to wrap my head a little bit more around what it is that makes it so unique in terms of building more fitness than other forms of yoga.  And I was wondering if you could kinda like walk me through a sample session and give me some examples, like in terms of the actual biomechanics or biochemistry of what’s going on during a Man Flow yoga session that allows it to build fitness, or build tolerance to lactic acid or power, or whatever else it is that you’re building when you do one of these sessions.

Dean:  Yeah, so when I was going to other yoga sessions I noticed that we moved out of the postures very quickly.  So if you’ve ever been to a Vinyasa class which is the most popular type of yoga, or even a Bikram class, in a Vinyasa class the poses last for maybe 15, 20 seconds, it’s kinda one or two breathes and then okay, next pose.  So when I was doing those classes I was super inflexible and I need way more time to work into the posture to actually develop flexibility, but also to make sure I was doing everything correctly.  So we make the postures last a lot longer in Man Flow Yoga whereas in typical yoga you might do 15, at most 30 seconds.  We’ll hold the posture for 60 or 90 seconds so a lot of isometric strength doing…        

Ben:  Which is a long time.

Dean:  Yeah.

Ben:  I mean, if you’ve tried to hold a pose like a lunge pose for 60 to 90 seconds vs. 3-5 breathes.  Sixty to ninety seconds doesn’t sound like long, but that’s a decent amount of time to actually be holding a pose correctly.

Dean:  Yeah.  So that really helps with endurance.  So first off, it helps with physically, it’s just gonna help with endurance a lot more, but it also helps with building flexibility because the longer we stay in a pose or holding the pose for more than thirty seconds, we’re actually giving our muscles a chance to open up, to lengthen, to get more flexibility for those muscles to release.  It can take up to ninety seconds for your muscles to relax and lengthen.  So the flexibility aspect is there as well.

And then because we’re spending more time in it we have more of an opportunity to really delve into the technique.  We can talk about breath, alright, make sure you’re using your breath to inhale to come up a little and exhale to go deeper.  And we can talk about making sure that you’re externally rotating your front hip.  Make sure that your arch is lifted and your ankles are externally rotated.  Make sure that your chest is lifted.  Make sure that you’re thinking of pulling your ribs away from your hips and tightening your core.  So, we can talk a lot more about the technique just because the poses are lasting longer as well, and then because the poses last longer, we’re also getting nearer to that point of muscle fatigue, so you can actually build muscle and get stronger.         

Ben:  You talk about muscle fatigue but I know that in some of the studies that they’ve done on isometric contractions, one of the things that they found is you get a significant amount of motor unit recruitment when you drop into a position and you hold it for a long period of time, like when you get to that point where the muscles are really burning.  You can actually train for increased motor unit recruitment and that actually staves off central nervous system fatigue.

So what I mean by that is like I’ll have some of the folks who I coach for running for example, I will begin their run and end their run with a long isometric contraction in a lunge position more like a 3-5 minute contraction in a lunge position to grab as many motor units as possible to prime the central nervous system or after the run is done to fatigue the central nervous system, and I’m a huge fan of these type of isometric contractions even thrown in during the day.  I don’t know if you’ve tried this before Dean, but a technique where for example, when you’re on a phone call you just drop into a wall squat or an isometric squat and you hold it for 3-5 minutes, and you’re actually training motor unit recruitment when you do that.

Dean:  Oh yeah.  I was gonna say that.

Ben:  The other thing, I learned this from Jay Schroeder.  Have you heard of his extreme iso routines?

Dean:  It sounds familiar.

Ben:  Yeah, this guy trains a lot of NFL athletes.

Dean:  Yeah, I’ve heard of this!

Ben:  Yeah, he’ll have them go through a range of motions but it’s extremely slow, right? Like you’ll do say, an overhead press or push-up and you’ll take like five minutes to do a push-up.  And one of the things that he talked about when I interviewed him, and I’ll link to that interview in the show notes for this episode.  Just go to

He talks about how you actually build up a lot of lactic acid in muscle tissue.  And normally your muscles would shuttle that lactic acid out of the tissue up towards the liver, and the lactic acid gets converted into glucose and then that glucose becomes an available energy source for you to use.  But when you do a very, very slow contraction you get much less of that milking action of lactic acid out of tissue and so you build up a bunch of hydrogen ions and a bunch of acidity in muscle tissue and you actually have to increase the density of the enzymes responsible for buffering lactic acid in tissue.  So by doing a very, very slow isometric contraction you not only increase motor unit recruitment but also your lactic acid threshold in that particular section of tissue that you’re training.

Dean: Wow.  Yeah.  That sounds awesome.  I mean, I’m just thinking of holding a 3-5 minute lunge after going for a 2 mile run or any run.

Ben:  Yeah.

Dean:  That sounds really difficult.

Ben:  It’s hard but it can be used as a finisher or an ender to any routine like a chest or an upper body routine, you can finish that up with an isometric push-up hold at the bottom of the push-up to failure, or you can finish up a squat routine with an isometric squat to failure, or you can start with that again to prime your motor unit recruitment.  It’s a cool technique to try if you’re listening in and you’re masochistic and you’re glut in for the burn.

So Dean, you’ve got this yoga routine and basically are you going through a typical half a yoga?  I know you did down dog and sun salutations and all your different lunge positions.  Are you pretty much as doing that and just holding each one for 60 to 90 seconds or are there other things thrown in?      

Dean:  There’s a lot more exercises thrown in and it’s different from a typical yoga session because we’ve kinda modified the postures.  The way that you would do let’s say, the bottom position of a squat in yoga, it’s not really an athletic squat.  You wouldn’t be focusing on keeping a slight arch to your back and keeping your chest lifted.  It’s more of a stretch.  So you’re kind of more relaxed.  Your elbows are inside your knees, so we incorporate a lot more what you would see in a body weight exercise or like calisthenics workout.

So we’re not afraid to incorporate things that aren’t considered yoga into the workout.  So I’ve heard it called yoga calisthenics a lot more from people who are familiar with it.  You can also call it a slow burn yoga type class, but we also have for it for in a gym and I have the use of throwing pull-ups or just get on a bar and hang just to make it, so that we’re getting in more recruitment of the muscles in the back of your body as opposed to what yoga tends to focus on.

Ben:  That’s one of the things I’ve noticed.  In yoga it’s very easy to get quite kinda like chest and shoulders centric where you’re doing a lot of these pushes from the ground and you almost create a muscular imbalance so to speak in terms of not getting a lot of those pulling type of exercises, and I don’t know about you, but I found a couple of moves that tend to help out quite a bit with that.  One is whenever you’re doing like a squat in yoga or even when you’re doing lunges, I will sometimes do isometric or very, very super slow rows with my upper body where you imagine that you’re holding on to a cable or rope apparatus, and pulling it very slowly into your body, and it’s just your own body weight that you’re using, but you’re contracting all your back and your scapular retraction muscles either from above your head and down or out in front of you and pulling in towards your body.  I feel like an idiot ‘coz I’m actually doing this in my office as I’m talking.

Dean:  (chuckles) I am too. 

Ben:  So you pull in.  Everybody listening in try it once you’re driving, and just use your stirring wheel which I also do.  But basically yeah, you pull and you’re essentially doing an isometric contraction for a lot of your pulling muscles, and you can do that in a lunge position or in a squat position like isometric super slow pulls in a lunge or a squat.  And then the other thing that I’ll do if I don’t, like you mentioned, have access to a pull up bar wherever I’m doing the yoga if especially I’m outside, I’ll use one of these kind of like TRX style suspension trainers.

I’ve got one called a MostFit which is kinda like a TRX except that it’s like a poor man’s version of TRX.  It packs a little bit better in my opinion as far as portability, but I’ll use this MostFit suspension strap and hang that from a tree or a bar or whatever happens to be nearby while I’m doing my yoga, and then you can throw in like really super slow rows and pulls and with the yoga routines you address like you mentioned, some of those muscular imbalances in terms of yoga not seeming towards the back or the upper back that much or the scapular retractors.         

Dean:  Yeah, so what I’ll do is I have people do goal post arms and kind of like you were saying before that also helps with the scapular engagement and that scapular muscle activation, but it also helps because most people who are just starting yoga or who don’t have a flexibility movement practice of any sort, they can’t lift their arms straight up overhead without arching their back.  So if we do goal post arms, number one, we’re actually stretching the pectorals, and also engaging the scapular stabilizers.  So it’s much more appropriate for someone who doesn’t have that flexibility, and also to help balance the workout.        

Ben:  Yeah, that’s one thing that I’ll also do.  And for people listening in, goal post arms and correct me if I’m wrong, Dean, but basically you bring your arms up as though you’re like a football referee indicating that someone just kicked a field goal and you’re likening the goal post arms with 90 degrees.

Dean:  Correct.  Yes.  Ninety degrees.

Ben:  Your palms are facing behind you and what you do is you basically squeeze your shoulders back as you make the goal post arms, right?   

Dean:  Uhm, yeah and your palms can face forward I think, palms forward, but yeah.     

Ben:  Yeah, fingernails facing behind you basically.

Dean:  Correct. 

Ben:  Fingernails is facing your back.  And one thing I found is that this one tends to be really effective if you do an isometric contraction either against the wall as you’re doing your goal post arms, or one of the better ones to really get a good chest stretch and this what I was actually doing this morning.  If you get on to a foam roller and you bring the foam roller up about to the level of your upper back, then you do goal post arms and you try to get the back of your hands to touch the floor behind you while you’re in that goal post arms position and you just press the back of your hands as hard as you can into the floor while using the foam roller as like leverage to stretch the upper back and open up the rhomboids and the traps and the levator, and a lot of those upper back muscles as you’re doing goal post arms, and if you have issues with like a shoulder hunch or a tight chest or any of those other issues that can pop up if you’re doing just yoga or just push-ups or you’re bench pressing a lot, this is in my opinion one of the best exercises to get rid of a lot of that kinda like chest tension.  So cool one to add into the routine.          

Dean:  That is not a relaxing exercise at all.  It is intense the whole way through. (chuckles) 

Ben:  Uhmm, yeah it is.  It’s like getting a sports massage.  It’s not like hands of serenity relaxing oil massage, like it’s teeth-grittingly good.  The other question that I have for you regarding yoga, actually I have a few questions for you about yoga, this concept of power. I mean, obviously and the folks who are into exercise physiology are probably trying to jump into the podcast screaming through their headsets that we’re not really developing much power or much brute strength.  If you don’t have an external load like a barbell or a dumbbell or kettlebell or stone or keg, or anything else, how are you going to develop much brute strength and also how do you develop power? Like you beat me on that obstacle course down at Paleo f(x), jumping over walls and flipping heavy tires.       

Dean:  Proudest moment of my life.

Ben:  Yeah, well yeah.  Proudest moment of your life.  You haven’t had kids yet obviously or getting married, right.  It’s just beating Ben in an obstacles course.  The power though and the brute strength.  How do you develop that?  What’s your response to that?  Are you including like explosive exercises in the Man Flow Yoga routine?  Are personally every once in a while getting out in dead lifting or doing heavy squats, or anything like that?  What’s your approach for power and for brute strength?    

Dean:  Yeah, so I used to be all yoga.  I used to be like 90% yoga and then some pull-ups to help balance, and then when I realized that yoga wasn’t all that I wanted to do, that I wanted to start playing lacrosse again and start doing athletic things, that’s when I started doing some other things.  So yeah, I lift not often, not regularly at all, maybe on average once per week, but I get my power movement in elsewhere.  Yoga is one aspect of fitness but to say that it would cover everything would just be a lie.

So I get a lot of the power ‘coz I do kettlebell swings, squat jumps, dead lifts, I get out and I do sprints.  I live right next to a park, so I put my quips on and I do a lot of explosive agility drills.  So I get enough stuff from my other workouts and I don’t really combine the two just to kinda make a differentiation, but as far as incorporating them into yoga workouts in the future, I think that’d be a cool idea as long as you’re down in a squat why not add in some squat jumps or why not use some other tools and combine it.  So, it’s definitely the ability to do it within a yoga workout.  I just haven’t done it yet.             

Ben:  Yeah, there’s a guy, I believe it might be Dan John, I could be wrong in that.  He has a kettlebell yoga program.

Dean:  Heard of that. 

Ben:  Where it’s an actual kettlebell yoga routine and you’re doing yoga with a kettlebell.  I’ve experimented with that one a little bit, and I’ll link to it in the show notes but I wanna say its Dan John but I’ve to re-research it and remember.  But the other thing that I’ve personally done, Dean, during yoga sessions and I’ve done some of these Man Flow-esque yoga type of stuff where I’ll hold these positions for a really long period of time and use some of the other strategies that we’ve talked about like goal post arms, like the use of a suspension trainer, but I will also sometimes set up my yoga mat, and I’ll take one of these big kettlebells and I’ll use for example one of the Onnit kettlebells like the monkey ones but the heavy ones like the gorilla, and rather than doing light kettlebell swings or some basic kettlebell rows, things like that during the movement, I will do after a series of say like, a sun salutation series.  I’ll grab the kettlebell and I’ll do ten heavy, heavy swings.  So you’re getting the strength and you’re getting the explosiveness.  The heart rate goes up and then you go back into the super slow yoga.

The other thing I’ve done like you mentioned, is you’ll occasionally throw in explosive sets.  So for example, if you’re doing like a lunge a yoga routine that involves a series of lunges, you’ll throw in a series of like 10 lunge jumps or t10 super explosive scissor jumps, or some type of clap push-up or something power based after you’ve done the slow stuff. And then, what you’re doing kind of returning what we talked about with motor unit recruitment is you’re recruiting a whole bunch of motor units with the super slow hold and then you are training those motor units to grab as many as possible in terms of your central nervous system grabbing as many motor units as possible creating the power, and then if you follow that up with an isometric hold, then you’re introducing a bunch of lactic acid in into the tissue and creating lactic tolerance in kinda more or less finishing off the muscle, and that gets into a strategy.  I don’t know if you’ve heard of Neuro Mass?  Have you read this book at all, the “Neuro Mass”?

Dean:  No, I haven’t.

Ben:  Okay there’s this book called “Neuro Mass”, there’s a guy I’m trying to get on the podcast who wrote it but that’s all what his program is.  You do a super slow grind and then you do a power movement, and then you finish it up with an isometric movement, and so you’re getting brute strength, the isometric training and the power all at the same time.  And it actually pairs really, really well with yoga like doing a yoga routine one day and doing something like this neuro mass routine another day.  So that one’s another kinda cool resource if you’re listening in and you want another program to try with just a kettlebell or with just bodyweight.

Dean:  Yeah, so I would actually not respond to that, the motor unit recruitment thing. So I do a lot of workouts where we focus on just priming your body.  So you know, you wanna avoid static stretching before you warm up, but there’s nothing wrong with doing static posture as your static isometric exercises before you warm up.  So I do a lot of stuff that focuses on glute engagement and hip opening and inner thigh engagement and core engagement with yoga.  So even if I’m not doing a full yoga workout, I’ll use yoga exercises before I go into a weight training session or before I play a lacrosse game or something like that and I recommend that to my clients too and in my videos as well.

Ben:  Right, and the other thing that I wanted to ask you about when it comes to your yoga practice is I guess this whole idea, ‘coz I know there’s probably some people wondering, why do you say so much that you aren’t into the spiritual, that you place more emphasis on the technique and that you’re more into the physical benefits without the, and I quote, “lifestyle changes” of being a yogi so to speak, why is that?    

Dean:  Yeah, so that the spiritual aspects of yoga really never made sense to me.  I find that a lot of people who do yoga weren’t athletes before.  They didn’t have a regular fitness program.  They weren’t working out regularly.  They start yoga as something else and then they also started at the same time they were also working out while they’re doing yoga but for them the spiritual aspect has always came first.  So for me, I was an athlete, the first time I did yoga I was 22.  The first time I did yoga I stepped into a studio as a lacrosse player and I had been working out my whole life, and for me to get into the mindset that yoga was a spiritual activity didn’t make any sense to me.

To draw a comparison it would be like me doing bench press with the spiritual aspect.  So it just never made sense to me.  And when I started talking with other people and trying to get other people to come to yoga classes they like, I don’t wanna do the spiritual thing, I’m like well, I don’t either I just ignore it and focus on the process.  I mean, since then I’ve somewhat evolved from a Neanderthal and started incorporating some spiritual practices in my life but you know, journaling and meditation and visualizations and all sorts of mental processes but as far as doing yoga in conjunction with spirituality, those are just separate activities.

Ben:  Isn’t that though like historically at the risk of you like blaspheming yoga or defiling the practice of yoga, I mean isn’t a big part of yoga historically is the breathe work, closing our eyes and activating the pineal gland by envisioning your third eye’s chakra, doing like the humming and the chanting to activate the vagus nerve, and to settle the central nervous system focusing on the deep breathing so that you get not just like the oxygenation benefits but also the parasympathetic nervous system activation.  I mean, do you ever wonder if you’re making yoga like, too fight and flight, too sympathetic nervous system based when you are perhaps neglecting or ignoring some of the spiritual aspects of it?

Dean: I get accused of that a lot.  And kind of my response to that has been well this is the kind of yoga that I wanna do and this is the kind of yoga that a lot of other people wanna do as well.  But as far as neglecting the sympathetic response system even when we’re doing postures, the emphasis is very much still on the breath and keeping your cool so to speak.  So we are never doing it and say, alright now pant, breath as fast as you can.  So we keep that fight or flight response to a minimum as much as possible.  We really do focus on keeping things slowed down so that there is that mental stillness and there is that aspect of calmness to it, so that number 1) that you can actually hold posture longer when you’re focusing on breathing slowly and keeping your body in control (inaudible) the posture longer which obviously brings more endurance, but you’re also going to be able to tell your muscles that they can relax and that you can build flexibility.

So we don’t neglect those aspects.  We just take out the kind of a life advice of the spiritual advice that you would typically encounter in a yoga class.  Kind of, somebody saying, alright now I want you to make the theme of today’s yoga class about forgiveness or whatever else they would say.  So for me, just really focus on the technique and those mental benefits, the mental benefits will come and if you’re also getting something spiritual out of it, then that’s’ great but we just don’t mention it.  I don’t need to mention it for it to happen.

Ben:  Yeah, since we did our podcast together last year I’ve talked to a lot of people who have done your Man Flow Yoga program, both guys and girls and they love the workout like they get an amazing workout with again just bodyweight.  And if you’re listening in, you wanna go try out any of these Man Flow Yoga workouts, I’ll link to some of Dean’s videos.

But you know Dean, I personally really like the spiritual aspect of it and I can go in and have an intention for practice, like I want to focus on gratitude or forgiveness where I wanna devote this morning’s yoga session or this morning’s movement session to whatever I’m feeling gratitude towards.  I wanna devote this towards the amazing sunshine that’s on my body right now, or the wind and the air that’s surrounding me, and the deep freshness of nature that I’m immersed in, and I can get kinda woo woo and still have an amazing workout.

I think I’ve found more of that since I started doing kundalini yoga.  And again, I don’t want to make it sound like there’s one form of yoga that you have to do like man flow yoga or kettlebell yoga or kundalini yoga.  I like to experiment with a whole bunch of different types, but since I started doing kundalini yoga and throwing that in on Wednesday mornings and Sunday mornings, and that has really helped me get a little bit, I guess like get in touch better with being able to close your eyes, focus on that third eye chakra, engage in deep breathing, engage in almost like aggressive quick powerful movements, get the heart rate up, do something like holotropic like Wim Hof style breath work, and kinda like roll it all into one and still get the spiritual aspect.

Not just like dedication and focus on the positive attributes of yoga but for me focusing more on God and prayer and what I may have read in the Bible that morning.  I’m not necessarily an Eastern mysticist, I’m a Christian.  I actually found that yoga is good for tapping into your spiritual side.  Maybe that’s just like the old wise man in me coming out.  But that’s my thought.  I like spiritual stuff.                      

Dean:  Yeah, I think for a lot of people that’s awesome, and I think that some people like even both.  And actually some people will really want like if your dad really want a spiritual workout or would I get a lot of people coming in to Man Flow yoga and they would say, ‘hey, I do a lot of yoga but I just wanna learn a little bit more about the postures and I’m not getting enough focus on that in the typical yoga that I’m going to’.  We get all types of people doing man flow yoga people that really like the spiritual, people that come here because they just don’t like the spirituality aspect at all, and then people who are kind of in the middle, like I appreciate both.  So I think yeah, yes, it’s just what kind of yoga do you want to do today?         

Ben:  Yeah, of course you could’ve just called a yoga for meatheads.  All good.    

Dean:  Am I mistaken?

Ben:  No spirituality. You should look that up.  Get that URL – No spirituality required just yoga, meathead yoga.

You know, speaking of yoga like a lot of people will do yoga for flexibility.  I think this is one of the prevailing myths out there that I think with some of the programs I see you’re developing now, you’re starting to bust but this idea of yoga making you mobile.  Can you go into why it is that yoga would not necessarily be the best thing to increase mobility versus say, flexibility?

Dean:  Yeah, so I don’t need to go through the whole analogy of a rope stretching ‘coz you guys have heard that and Ben specifically told me not to, but in terms of mobility, flexibility is just one aspect of it and you can stretch as much as you want, but the goal of when you’re working on flexibility, your goal is to increase mobility with flexibility with just being one aspect of that.  So to really work on what your overall goal is which is to improve your overall mobility, you need to do soft tissue work.  You need to get into the fascia, you need to work on restrictive muscle tissue and adhesions.  So you know, in order to really do that you have to incorporate some self-massage or some self-myofascia release into what you’re doing.  Let’s say yoga is level 1, let’s say there’s flexibility to be gained from yoga, of course, but if you really wanna increase overall mobility, you have to do soft tissue work.  I think that’s where the real significant dramatic increases in mobility come into place is when you start using mobility self-myofascia release techniques and you know, what I would like to do is I put them together so I’ll work soft tissue at a minimum using a foam roller but really getting into some harder mobility tools like I use the tool called the KnotOut which have peanuts but they also have really huge peanuts which are four balls across and about the size of a softball.               

Ben:  And what is a peanut?

Dean:  So the peanut is the 2 lacrosse balls taped together and there’s a lot of… 

Ben:  Okay.

Dean:  Kelly Starrett loved these.  He talks about them a lot in Mobility WOD.  Yeah, the one that I really like using is made by a company called the KnotOut so K-n-o-t-O-u-t.

Ben:  KnotOut, right.  Okay, K-n-o-t-O-u-t, KnotOut.  I’ve seen these.  I think I actually have one of these.  It’s kinda like a really hard version of 2 lacrosse balls taped together but it’s in like a whole bunch of different sizes, like one for the bottom of your feet, one for your spine, etcetera.    

Dean:  Exactly, yeah.  And so they have one where the balls are largest like soft balls that are huge and I use these.  I don’t even use a foam roller anymore, I just go straight to these things because they’re so much better at addressing restrictive tissue and really pinpointing where you wanna hit.  And so I’ll use these before a workout and this is what I do with all of my clients in all my workout programs now too.  We’ll do a minimum of 10 minutes of soft tissue work, and then we’ll go into postures and exercises that focus on lengthening, on stretching and on engaging that muscle that we just worked into with the soft tissue work.     

Ben:  Right, okay got it.  So starting off prior to doing something like a man flow yoga-esque routine by getting rid of muscle knots using like deep tissue work.  You also mentioned self-massage, what do you mean by that?    

Dean:  So self-massage, there are also some techniques that I do where you’re just grabbing onto restrictive tissue and squeezing.  I mean that’s a very brutal way of explaining it, but you can also use you know, one thing I like to do is I like to use my ulna. So I will lather up my forearm with lotion and then I will use that to massage my forearm, so I’ll just really dig into my forearm from my elbow down to my wrist and that’s another way to do self-massage.  So in self-massage I’m normally just referring to self-myofascia release but I can also talk about that as in just giving yourself a massage.   

Ben:  So you’ll use your elbow.  You’ll hit specific spots using these KnotOut tools.  What about areas that you can’t get yourself, do you work with a massage therapist at all to increase mobility to specific areas?  The reason I ask is I have had to start doing that maybe it’s again ‘coz I’m getting old and wise.  Can’t get old without getting wise, right? 

Dean:  Just say you’re getting wiser instead of older.  Sounds better.

Ben:  I’m getting wiser, yeah.  Anyways though, I’ve found that I have had to start working with a massage therapists more ‘coz there a little spots right like, the back upper part of my butt that I just have a really hard time getting at even with lacrosse balls and a foam roller and stuff like that, or like separating the soleus from the gastrocnemius down in the calf area.  And so about two times up to four times a month now I actually have a massage therapist come to my house and work on me and we get super-duper like, woo woo.  Like I lay on the Biomat.  We put the biomat on high and then I put in these Wholetones music frequencies now which are like healing music frequencies that vibrate the body, and we do like essential oils, and I have a special ayurvedic oil blend that’s specifically for my ayurvedic type and like totally geek out on.  I’m trying to get every aspect of the massage dialed in.  I’m curious if you’ve yet tapped in to the use of massage therapy much?          

Dean:  Man, I have not had a massage like that.  I mean, you were going all out to as far as making sure that your body is just a piece of putty, that’s awesome. But as far as…

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  I mean, why not right, if you’re gonna hire a massage therapist and they’re gonna come to your house to give you a massage, you’re in charge, right?  So I tell my massage therapist we’re gonna do the biomat and she’s totally on board with it, right?  The music frequencies, this oil a lot of times, and this is actually a tip I got from Aubrey Marcus from Onnit, if you use like hydro CBD for example prior to a massage, you do melt into the table.  I take about 5-6 of the Nature CBD capsules which are designed for relaxation at high dosage, but I almost mega dose on them before a massage and you just melt, and the massage therapist can get super-duper deep into the tissue if you’ve got a bunch of cannabidiol in your system when you get the massage.  For those of you listening in, this isn’t THC, it’s not the psychoactive stuff, not that I have anything against that, but its closer to I guess like a Rick Simpson oil or CBD oil, but it’s CBD capsules and you can take a bunch of that before a massage too.

Anyways though Dean, what were you saying before I… my bandwagon about cannabidiol?

Dean:  I was gonna say that I do get massages but I don’t get them at home.  So I don’t think I can try either, I have to drive home about twenty minutes after I get my massages. So I think if I did all that, I would probably cause multiple fatalities.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s why I get them at home and I get them at 8:30 at night.  I wanna finish up my massage and just basically go to bed.  Occasionally I’ll do a bath on epsom salt or magnesium salt and then go to bed.  But yeah, that’s one of the reasons I get home massage.

So, I know as far as like the routine that you personally use for mobility, you have put it together into almost like an actual routine that similar to your man flow yoga you have videos and stuff online that shows how you implement these techniques.  Can you tell me a little bit more about what you call The Mobility Project?

Dean:  Yeah, so I started doing these workouts which is the Mobility Project myself probably a year ago.  I started really working with these self-myofascia release techniques and I started blending them with yoga, and then I thought well, afterwards why don’t I just do some really deep stretching so that we really work on the flexibility and the soft tissue aspects.  And then I started doing these workouts because if people are doing them for yoga, they kind of want an authentic workout.

So I started doing this with a small group of people that I was training in a group online class.  We started doing these workouts that spent the first 20 or 30 minutes doing mobility techniques like these self-myofascial release techniques using a KnotOut, using lacrosse balls, using foam rollers and then we would go into isometric exercise or into yoga postures where we’re targeting the muscles where we had just done the mobility work on, and then finishing off the workouts with some really deep longer lasting stretches to just pull that tissue as much as we can and to create as much flexibility as possible.  So I realized well, we should probably put this into a workout program.  So I created the Mobility Project and I called it Mobility Project because I couldn’t think of a better name honestly, but it’s a total…

Ben:  It’s a good name.  Gets the point across. 

Dean:  Yeah.  Actually the most successful program we’ve ever had so far.

Ben:  Really?  

Dean:  Yeah.    

Ben:  What do you mean the most successful?

Dean:  Most successful as in most workout program sold.

Ben:  Okay, got yah.  So people like it.

Dean:  People really like it, yeah.

Ben:  And is it like a single workout that you do each day?  Is it kinda like your man flow yoga where it’s a series of mobility/yoga workouts or how does it go?    

Dean:  So it’s a series, we got 8 workouts in there and it’s separated by body parts.  So, it’s as much as a tutorial as it is a workout, the first couple of times you watch it you’ll have to learn the techniques and this is what the videos teach you, and the third time you do it, I got it, I got this.  So you understand.  So it includes mobility self-myofascia release techniques for your entire body.

So we have a head-neck section, we have an upper torso section, arms, we have 2 hip sections because there’s just too much going on down there to put in one workout, and then we have a lower leg section and then also a mid or lower torso section.  So there’s one, two, three, four, five, six yes, seven.  Seven workouts that they all saw that technique of first going through self-myofascia release using the mobility tools, yoga or body weight exercise and the wrapping up with deep stretching.

Ben:  Interesting.  I might have to try.  This looks like a pretty good morning routine like you’ve got 20 minutes up to about 70 minutes, so you can kinda choose your length of time?

Dean:  Yeah, one of them is that upper torso one is a beast of a possession.  It’s a long time but afterwards your shoulders is as steel.  Wow!  It’s different.

Ben:  You know, when I first got Kelly Starrett’s book, “Becoming a Supple Leopard” the first thing I did was the whole 30 day routine that he had at the back of that book to essentially just like have an entire month of deep tissue work.  It looks like for example, if I were to do this and go through each of these 7 workouts like for 4 week in a row, that’d be almost like to pick out a month of the year like, January to do a metal detox and a water fast and to just work on the body, push the reboot button.  I might bookmark this and actually use this for something like my January reboot the body type of routine ‘coz this actually looks kinda cool how you hit a certain body part or body section each week with mobility.  So I’m gonna bookmark this.  I’ll link to this in the show notes too.

Dean:  Yeah, that’s kinda the intention with this because most people who would do this program have been spending way too much time on building strength, I mean, it’s the typical guy who works out and showing there like, “ah I don’t wanna do flexibility, I just wanna work on strength”.  And then they get to the point where, “oh I can’t lift my arm overhead anymore”.  Like well, maybe you should have done some stretching.  So the Mobility Project is something that you can absolutely do intensively.  Something that I recommend like, “hey just take the next 3 weeks off just do this every day, give your body a break, let’s work on your mobility and then come back 3 weeks later and start incorporating these exercise into your routine and see how that feels”.

Ben:  Yeah, I love it, man.  I love it.  I’m gonna bookmark this and actually try out these workouts, and I’ll link to them in the show notes too.  It’s called the Mobility Project.  Dean, I know you made a discount code for people, right?

Dean:  Yes, it is Greenfield25.

Ben: Greenfield25, okay.  I’ll just put a link over at, but use the code that I’ll put over there too Greenfield25 to download.  You can just download the videos to your phone or your computer, or whatever?

Dean:  Yep, you can do it on your phone, on your tablet, on anything.

Ben:  Cool.  Cool.  I like it.  Well I will link to that in the show notes.  There’s a lot more you guys, listening that we could talk to when it comes to yoga and mobility and taking care of your body, but alas, we are out of time.  And so first of all, Dean I wanna thank you for coming on the show today and sharing this stuff with us.

Dean:  Ben, thank you for having me, it’s always exciting talking to you.    

Ben:  Awesome.  Cool of course, it’s exciting man especially when I’ve had my eight cups of morning coffee.  And then for those of you listening in again go to, and I’ll put a link to everything we talked about.  The Mobility Project, that discount code, Dean’s Man Flow Yoga program, the How to get Ripped with Yoga podcast I did with him last year, Ciltep, the Neuro Mass program, my kundalini routine, his KnotOut muscle adhesion tools, so much goodness.

So check all that out and then also if you have comments or questions for Dean or for me about anything we talked about when you go to, you can leave your questions, your comments, your feedback there and either Dean or I will reply.

So Dean, I will catch you later, man.

Dean:  Yup, I’ll see you later.  Have a good whatever. (laughs)

Ben:  Alright folks. (chuckles)  Have a good whatever.  It’s Ben Greenfield and Dean Pohlman signing out from  Have a healthy week.You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.


At a health conference, two years ago, I met a giant, 6’5″ basketball player – a beast of man – who swore that his entire fitness routine was comprised of yoga and basketball. I scoffed at this, swearing that the guy must be sneaking away to the gym to hoist a barbell or do explosive plyometrics…

…but then, just a few months later, I met another guy (a very ripped and athletic guy) at a different health conference, and this guy – named Dean Pohlman – completely destroyed me in an obstacle course competition, then informed me afterwards that his training primarily consisted of…

…you guessed it: yoga. 

So as you can imagine, I was somewhat intrigued with how one could use yoga to do things like maintain a very aesthetic body and build athleticism, and I had Dean on a podcast episode called “How To Get Ripped With Yoga“. That episode was so popular and helped so many people get fit with Dean’s special flavor of yoga, that I decided to get Dean back on today’s episode to talk yoga, mobility, athleticism, and much more!

Dean is the founder of Man Flow Yoga, a fitness-centric style of yoga dedicating to helping anybody who wants to get ripped with yoga to not just get ripped, but to also get massive increases in their flexibility, core strength, endurance, balance, and bodily awareness. It’s basically yoga for people that want the physical benefits without the lifestyle change of becoming a hippie. You hold the postures much longer, more emphasis is placed on technique (instead of the spiritual), and the workouts are more catered to the physical needs of guys (although his workouts are equally accessible to women).

Dean was a former collegiate-lacrosse player when he discovered the potential that yoga had to help improve physical fitness for athletes. He rejected the traditional approach to yoga, however, and in 2013 created a brand of yoga that catered to the more physical fitness-inclined individual. He is the author of the #1 bestselling Yoga Basics for Men eBook, and he has been featured in the Huffington Post, Fox 13 Tampa News, Austin KXAN News, Ben Greenfield Fitness (of course!), and many more top-ranked podcasts.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The five things Dean does every morning to create a perfect day…

-The one breakfast Dean has every morning, 365 days a year…

-What happens when you hold a pose in yoga for 60-90 seconds instead of the standard 10-30 seconds…

-Why yoga will create a muscular imbalance in your back and shoulders, and what you can do about it…

-How to develop power and brute strength with yoga…

-Why Dean doesn’t get into the spiritual side of yoga much, and my disagreement with Dean on this…

-Why yoga doesn’t increase your mobility, and what you can do about it…

-Dean’s top tool he uses to quickly remove muscle knots…

-How Dean uses his elbow and other body parts to massage himself prior to yoga…

-My crazy home massage routine that includes infrared, wholetones music, CBD, ayurvedic oils and more…

-Why you should push the “reboot” button on your body each year (and how to do it)…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

How To Get Ripped With Yoga podcast with Dean.

Dean’s ManFlowYoga program

Dean’s Mobility Project (use code “greenfield25” for 25% discount)

Miracle Morning


Ben’s new “Foundation” based morning routine

Brain Octane

Ben’s Pau d’ Arco bark tea article

Venom Suspension Straps for yoga

Neuromass book

The Kundalini yoga routine that Ben does twice per week

The KnotOut muscle adhesion tools

Ben’s metabolic mobility routine video

The BioMat


Wholetones music

Read more

Getting Ripped With Yoga, Using Isometrics To Build Massive Athleticism, Five Things You Must Do Every Morning & More!

dean p

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

At a health conference, two years ago, I met a giant, 6’5″ basketball player – a beast of man – who swore that his entire fitness routine was comprised of yoga and basketball. I scoffed at this, swearing that the guy must be sneaking away to the gym to hoist a barbell or do explosive plyometrics…

…but then, just a few months later, I met another guy (a very ripped and athletic guy) at a different health conference, and this guy – named Dean Pohlman – completely destroyed me in an obstacle course competition, then informed me afterwards that his training primarily consisted of…

…you guessed it: yoga. 

So as you can imagine, I was somewhat intrigued with how one could use yoga to do things like maintain a very aesthetic body and build athleticism, and I had Dean on a podcast episode called “How To Get Ripped With Yoga“. That episode was so popular and helped so many people get fit with Dean’s special flavor of yoga, that I decided to get Dean back on today’s episode to talk yoga, mobility, athleticism, and much more!

Dean is the founder of Man Flow Yoga, a fitness-centric style of yoga dedicating to helping anybody who wants to get ripped with yoga to not just get ripped, but to also get massive increases in their flexibility, core strength, endurance, balance, and bodily awareness. It’s basically yoga for people that want the physical benefits without the lifestyle change of becoming a hippie. You hold the postures much longer, more emphasis is placed on technique (instead of the spiritual), and the workouts are more catered to the physical needs of guys (although his workouts are equally accessible to women).

Dean was a former collegiate-lacrosse player when he discovered the potential that yoga had to help improve physical fitness for athletes. He rejected the traditional approach to yoga, however, and in 2013 created a brand of yoga that catered to the more physical fitness-inclined individual. He is the author of the #1 bestselling Yoga Basics for Men eBook, and he has been featured in the Huffington Post, Fox 13 Tampa News, Austin KXAN News, Ben Greenfield Fitness (of course!), and many more top-ranked podcasts.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The five things Dean does every morning to create a perfect day…

-The one breakfast Dean has every morning, 365 days a year…

-What happens when you hold a pose in yoga for 60-90 seconds instead of the standard 10-30 seconds…

-Why yoga will create a muscular imbalance in your back and shoulders, and what you can do about it…

-How to develop power and brute strength with yoga…

-Why Dean doesn’t get into the spiritual side of yoga much, and my disagreement with Dean on this…

-Why yoga doesn’t increase your mobility, and what you can do about it…

-Dean’s top tool he uses to quickly remove muscle knots…

-How Dean uses his elbow and other body parts to massage himself prior to yoga…

-My crazy home massage routine that includes infrared, wholetones music, CBD, ayurvedic oils and more…

-Why you should push the “reboot” button on your body each year (and how to do it)…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

How To Get Ripped With Yoga podcast with Dean.

Dean’s ManFlowYoga program

Dean’s Mobility Project (use code “greenfield25” for 25% discount)

Miracle Morning


Ben’s new “Foundation” based morning routine

Brain Octane

Ben’s Pau d’ Arco bark tea article

Venom Suspension Straps for yoga

Neuromass book

The Kundalini yoga routine that Ben does twice per week

The KnotOut muscle adhesion tools

Ben’s metabolic mobility routine video

The BioMat


Wholetones music

Yoga Start – Yoga For Beginners With Modifications For The Inflexible

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


[Transcript] – Unleashing The Phenomenon Of Using Sound & Music For Performance, Recovery, Healing & More.

Podcast from

[0:20] Surprise Gift Boxes

[0:58] Ben’s Carrot and Warrior Bar Snack/Onnit

[2:12] Cricket Protein Bars

[3:39] Harry’s Razors

[5:09] Introduction

[6:43] The book “The Sound of Healing”

[ 7:51] Wholetones Music

[10:44] Michael’s Background in Music

[13:56] When Michael Began To Delve Into Frequencies

[15:42] The Standard Vibrations Per Second

[18:56] Frequencies and Mind Control

[24:28] How Michael Realized 440 Hz was not the Ideal Frequency

[28:06] The Basis of the 444 Hz

[31:01] How Different Frequencies Affect Different Organ Function

[34:23] All about Chroma

[45:34] Analog vs. Digital

[54:09] Best Way To Use The Wholetones CDs

[57:47] Michael’s take on Tuning Forks

[1:06:06] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey.  What’s up?  It’s Ben Greenfield.  Today’s podcast is not our usual Wednesday Q&A podcast.  Instead, it is a podcast about one of my favorite little pet topics: how music, sound, and frequencies affect the human body and brain.  You’re gonna dig this one.

Now, I have a few quick special announcements.  The first is that I have eight surprise gift boxes that I’ve hand-picked a bunch of stuff for: biohacking gear, supplements, functional foods, you name it.  I put all this stuff in a box and I ship it straight to your front door.  There’s eight of those left and you can grab ’em over at  Just go to and do a search there for “gift box,” or it should be one of the first things that pops up anyways.  I don’t know.  I should know the internets that have my name on them, but I don’t.  Just go there.  You’ll find it.

I also wanted to tell you about something that I’ve been eating, don’t laugh, on top of carrots.  I have this new strange food fetish where I’ve been taking like these buffalo meat, cranberry, and pepper-blend meat bars.  I overlay them on top of a giant carrot stick, and I eat the meat through the carrot.  Yeah.  I just published the post over at where I talk about six crazy exotic super food cocktails that I make.  That is not one of them.  That is probably more like a crazy exotic carrot-buffalo energy bar.  Anyways, what I use for that are the Warrior Bars by Onnit.  They taste really good on top of a carrot, or by themselves too.  These are organic buffalo meat bars.  They’re called Tanka Bars, or Warrior Bars.  No antibiotics, no hormones, they’re gluten-free, there’s no added nitrites.  Nothing like that, just pure buffalo meat made by Native American Natural Foods.  So you can grab those at, and when you go there, you’ll get 10% off.  Just go, and that should automatically knock 10% off of any order over there.  If it doesn’t, something’s wrong with their website.

Speaking of nice, savory things that you can eat, there is another type of bar that comes in a variety of flavors including, get this, mango curry, barbecue, Mediterranean flavored, and a savory variety box.  But these bars are not made from buffalo.  Oh no, no.  They are made from something much, much freaking smaller than a buffalo.  Cricket, actually.  Cricket protein bars.  They do not have antennae in them.  No, they do not have legs in them.  I probably am not even supposed to be bringing those up because you don’t want to be thinking about crickets when you’re eating a cricket protein bar, right?  Anyways, these were developed by an award-winning, 3 Michelin starred chef, the former head of R&D at the Fat Duck, which was actually ranked the #1 restaurant in the world when he was there.  And they’re no gluten, no grains, no soy, no dairy.  Just really clean protein from crickets, which means that they are sustainable.  It’s the protein of the future, people.  Crickets.  Trust me.  Just watch.  Buffalo will go away, crickets will take over the globe.

Anyways, I should probably tell you how you can actually get a sampler pack with their most popular flavors for less than 10 bucks and free shipping.  That’s like 33% off.  You just go to  That’s E-X-O protein, like exoskeleton of a cricket,  And do it fast ’cause they’re a small and nimble startup, so they sell out of these cricket bars all the time.

And then I want to tell you about the Winston.  The Winston.  I cannot say Winston without an English accent.  It is a razor, but it’s not just a razor.  Turn me off if I’m annoying you, by the way.  It’s got five German blades, a flex hinge, a lubricating strip, a precision trimmer, everything you need for a close, comfortable, shave.  Actually, I just shaved.  I did, it’s me again, by the way.  It’s Ben, not Winston.  I did my morning clay mask, which I do every two weeks.  I just like basically put a clay mask on to restore youthful vitality to my face, and I do that after I shave.  And, yes, every time I shave I use the ergonomic Harry’s razor.  You can even get it engraved with your name on it, if you’re one of those people who likes to own nice things.

So check this thing out.  You go to, that’s H-a-r-r-y-s dot com, and when you go there, you can get a razor handle, moisturizing shave cream, their five blade German-engineered razors, you name it.  Just use discount code Ben at checkout, you’ll get $5 off any of that stuff.  So check that all out, and remember those surprise gift boxes over at  Sit back and keep your mind very open for today’s podcast because this stuff may seem fringe.  It may seem, here’s a word I overuse a lot, woo-woo, but I think you’ll like it.  Enjoy.

In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“She said, ‘Listen.  I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for 10 years.  I’m a nurse at Tampa General.  Somebody told me about your  So I went on there and I listened to a sample one time, went to bed, woke up in the morning.  I didn’t feel any pain in my body for the first time.  I thought it was a fluke that was two months ago.’  ‘My doctor,’ she said, ‘told me that I had no more rheumatoid arthritis.’  “There’s a Canadian man and his wife right now that have cleaned copious amounts of polluted water by using 528 with a frequency generator and 20,000 Watts of power.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.

Ben:  Hey, folks.  It’s Ben Greenfield, and I’ve got a quick question for you.  When was the last time you listened to music, or a podcast, or white noise, or binaural beats, or any other form of audio?  And I’m curious if you ever gave thought, any thought at all, to the frequency of the actual wavelengths of sound in that audio.  Because until recently, I really didn’t think too much about the actual frequency, or the vibration of sound, or anything like that?  I would just focus on the content of the sound itself and I didn’t really have any clue that frequencies of sound, frequencies of music, and things like.  The frequencies of the piano that my kids practice every day up on the balcony, or the guitar and the ukulele that I practice most days of the week can actually affect things like cognitive function, and heart health, and liver, and kidneys, and digestion, and libido, and mood, and a whole lot of other stuff.

So I was at a health summit a couple of months ago and someone gave me this book called “The Sound of Healing”, and it was written by this guy named Michael Tyrrell.  The person that gave me that book also gave me this handful of CDs that Michael recorded, and the CDs are called Wholetones CDs.  And on the CD cover, it’s actually described as music that heals, repairs, and protects against disease.  So I’m always skeptical when I see stuff like that, but I was curious.  So I sat down, it was actually on the airplane ride home, and I read this entire “Sound of Healing” book.  I dig music.  I love audio.  I grew up playing the violin.  I come from a very musical family, you know, my sister is a jazz musician, and all my siblings play in bands, and I played in a rock band until about six years ago.

So, I was really drawn to some of the information in this book.  And I also started listening to these CDs, these CDs called Wholetones CDs, while I was driving, and I convinced my massage therapist to put the massage table like right in the middle of two sets of speakers, and like blast my body with these CDs while I was getting a massage, and I started putting the music in my sauna.  And every time I’d finish one of these CDs, and each of the different CDs is targeted for like a specific body function, like stress, or liver health, or cardiovascular function, things like that.  Every time I’d finished listening one of the CDs, I had this feeling I don’t usually get when I listen to music, like elation, and satisfaction, and again at the risk of sounding really woo-woo, just like peace, basically.  So I even downloaded a digital tuning app just off of the iTunes App Store, and I retuned my guitar, and I retuned my ukulele to actually be at the frequencies described in this book, “The Sound of Healing.”  And it made a huge difference in the ability of a song that I was playing to make me feel uplifted and make me feel more full of positive energy.

So this stuff is super fascinating, and I wanted to get Michael, the guy who makes these CDs and the guy who wrote this book, on a podcast to talk about how sound affects your body, how music affects your body, and as how he goes into in his book, most of the music we listen to today is actually pretty messed up when it comes to the actual frequency that it’s played at.  So, Michael, welcome to the show.

Michael:  It’s an honor, Ben.  I’ve been really excited.  The good thing about you is that you’re very organized, and so I’ve had a of couple weeks to think about our time together.  So, thanks for having me on.

Ben:  That’s awesome.  Yeah, and I’m super excited to have you on ’cause I have a ton of questions that I want to ask you about on what you wrote in the book.  By the way, for those of you listening in, whenever I do a podcast like this, I don’t just like to tell you a bunch of stuff that you could just go by and read in Michael’s book.  I like to delve into some of the practical, nitty gritty applications as well.

So, Michael I wanted to start here though.  I really don’t know that much about your actual background in music.  I mean, I know you’ve produced some really fascinating CDs, and the music is amazing, and your CDs, for everyone to know, I play them and just loves them, but what is your background in music?  Are you like an ex-heavy metal rocker, or an ex-violinist?  What’s your background?

Michael:  Well, it’s pretty well-versed actually.  I started playing guitar as a primary instrument, but I was one of those bizarre humans that was born with their eyes open, which is a very small percentage of humanity that is actually born with their eyes open.  And so I’m one of the few that can actually say I remember being born and I saw the operating room when I came into the world, and the first thing that I heard were voices, but they were processed differently than we, ’cause with us, with voices now there’s understanding.  At that point there is no understanding.  And so, from an early age, I was mesmerized by frequencies especially musical frequencies, and my mom said that by the time I was one year old, that I could say all of the names of the instruments on the Lawrence Welk Show.  And so, it was kind of a no-brainer that I would be a musician, but I started playing guitar at age seven, and actually did quite well at it.  And by the time I was in high school, I was already making money playing in bands, and I was taking classical guitar lessons from a disciple of Andres Segovia, who was one of the greatest flamenco classical guitar players that ever lived.

Ben:  Now, I need to interrupt you for just a second.

Michael:  Sure!

Ben:  Because my kids seem interested on how to play a guitar, but a guitar is a pretty frickin’ huge instrument for a seven year old.  How did you play guitar when you were seven?

Michael:  Well, the good news is that back in the day, and they still have ’em available, they make three-quarter size instruments.  The Suzuki Kids [0:12:31] ______ them with violins, violas, there’s three-quarter sized instruments.  My first guitar was a very small guitar.  It was a three-quarter sized instrument, and so I got around on it pretty good.

Ben:  Okay.  Gotcha.  My kids, by the way, just a complete segue at the risk of losing all our listeners right off the bat, they’re actually upstairs right now, building ukuleles.  They have their own Build Your Own Ukulele kits.

Michael:  Oh my!

Ben:  They’re staining the wood and building their own ukuleles.  We’re gonna have three ukuleles around the house to annoy mom even more.  Anyways though, so you went from playing the guitar at age seven, and then you said you got into flamenco music?

Michael:  I did!  Like I said, I’ve always wanted to learn many genres of music, and so I actually studied five or six styles of music, and one that I was fascinated with was flamenco, or Spanish guitars.  So at the same time I was playing electric, I was also learning flamenco guitar.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  And so were you a professional musician at that point?

Michael:  I was a professional musician like out of high school actually.  And during high school, I used to play in bands that were well-known bands in town, and even this guy named Bertie Higgins that did this song called “Key Largo.”  And they had to sneak me in to play in bars ’cause I wasn’t old enough to get in, so I’d have to go around the back of the bar, and they’d bring me in the back door, and then I’d come out on stage.

Ben:  Nice.  So, you’re playing music, and it sounds like a lot of musicians, you started young, and you were in a band, and you were immersed in music.  When did you first begin to delve into frequencies?  Or when did you first begin to realize that, perhaps, the way that we currently experience music in our day and age might not be ideal, specifically when it comes to things like our physiology and our biology, and our health?

Michael:  Well, that’s kind of the pivotal question, Ben.  Actually, it was just one of those things, like sometimes you’ll ask yourself a question, and that question you ask yourself demands an answer.  And one day, I was just musing, I was thinking about some experiences when you go in a music store, and you buy your guitar, and then they want you to buy a chord book, and then they want to sell you a tuner.  And one day it just hit me.  Why are these tuners calibrated to this particular frequency range?  Why is the note A equivalent to 440 Hertz per second, or vibrations per second to make it simpler?

That question kind of opened the door for an unbelievable deep rabbit hole as both of us call it.  A discovery.  When I realized, on one of my first international dates, Ben, that I was tuned to our tuner, our supposedly standard tuning tuner.  And I went to play with the band in Columbia, and guess what?  They were in tune with their tuner too, and neither one of us were in tune with each other.  And that was the beginning of my understanding that there was no true standard tuning.  There was an attempt, however, to convert the entire world globally to one particular tuning, which again was what United States and Canada adheres to which is A, the note A, equals 440 Hertz of vibrations per second.

 Ben:  Okay.  So when you say that the U.S. and Canada, when we take a musical instrument, when we play the note A on that musical instrument, and the current status quo is to have that note A at 440 Hertz, what does that mean?  Like from a physics standpoint, what does this 440 Hertz refer to?

Michael:  Okay, that’s simple.  On the guitar, to make this very simple, the second, you know, there’s the fat strings and the skinny strings.  The fifth fat string is the A note, as we call it, as our guitars are tuned in frets, that note A means in order for it to sound that note in A, in the key of four, it’s gotta vibrate 440 times a second, Ben.  And so with that being said, if that would be the calibration, then that note would only be a true A if the tuner that it was checking was calibrated at 440 Hertz.  So if it was any other, if there was more vibrations, less vibrations, of course it would change that number.  And so that’s what we’re really saying is that the equivalent of the note A, in this supposed standard tuning of the U.S. and Canada, is equivalent to 440 vibrations per second.

Ben:  How did that become the standardized chosen vibration frequency?

Michael:  I had a feeling you’d ask that question.  It’s really interesting that during war time, a particular man named Joseph Goebbels found that he could disassociate himself from the war and propaganda, and being one of Hitler’s, him and Mengele…

Ben:  So when you’re saying war, you’re referring to World War II?

Michael:  That is correct.

Ben:  Okay.

Michael:  And with that being said, all of a sudden Joseph Goebbels decides it’s important to globalize a standard tuning for every nation knowing that, for example, Leningrad’s 444, most of Europe’s 432 Hertz.  You know, all around, every basic country has its own tuning center, if you will, and he was trying to globalize this, and went to great lengths to do it during wartime.  And that hit me like, “There’s something here that’s missing.”  And as I delved into the research, I found out later on that A equals 440 was first known as the German radio beat, and it was used for propaganda and mind control because it actually works negatively towards a circadian rhythm of the human body thus creating some semblance of chaos.

Ben:  Okay.  Slow down there for just a second ’cause you’re getting a lot of people all of a sudden whose alarm bells are going to go off with conspiracy theorists [0:18:24] ______ .  So back that up a second and explain to me what you just said.  So, I’ve heard of course that like fluoride in water, for example, is one way that someone’s resistance to authority can be tweaked, and that it may make us all more susceptible to governmental influences.  Whether or not there’s research behind that, I don’t think we need to get into that right now, although for those of you listening in, I do have a fascinating podcast on fluoride.  I’ll link to it in the show notes for this one.

However, when you talk about frequencies and their ability to allow us to be controlled, can you get into a little bit more detail on that?

Michael:  Well, absolutely.  I mean, everything has vibration.  Everything has frequency.  Everything has a resonant frequency.  I mean, in the room that you’re podcasting, in the room I’m podcasting which is my office.  If I was to use a frequency generator right now and I had the proper amplitude, I could make the walls of this room shake once I determine what that resonant frequency is.  In the same way, the human body on a cellular level operates much in the same way.  If you introduce a certain frequency to the body, it will accept it or reject it.  It will either do something positive for the body or something negative for the body.  And in the case of the German radio beater, they would broadcast their propagandist Nazi materials on this particular frequency range which is 440 Hertz knowing that it had a negative effect or a chaotic effect on the human body.

I understand what you’re saying about conspiracy theory and I’m good friends with Dr. Horowitz, but however, with that being said, this is actually just straight up, good old science.  This guy knew that if he could get everyone to use this particular tuning center and to calibrate all of their tuning instruments with that, they would be introducing a level of chaos into the entire world.

Ben:  What does that mean chaos?  Like when you say, for example, that a frequency can induce chaos like in the human body, how is that chaos manifesting itself?  Like is this something we could look at like in terms of like chaos in a red blood cell, or in a liver, or something like that?

Michael:  To totally demystify, let’s take the word disease and let’s hyphenate it.  Dis-ease.  My body is at dis-ease.  It’s not at ease with itself.  You mentioned peace earlier.  A chaotic state is any time when something’s in flux.  It doesn’t really matter what it is.  And so with the human body, if you put yourself into a place, for example, some people like myself are very susceptible to magnetic waves, or being near power lines, or a lot of bundles of cable.  Other people, they could sit, they could live in a house that was right beneath a power plant, and it would never bother them.  So it’s how it affects us on a physiological basis.  If you have the wrong electrical frequencies permeating your home, EMFs, or wherever you are, you’re not going to sleep well.  It’s going to cause issues with your circadian rhythm, maybe even your pineal gland.

On a cellular level, it’s a negative thing.  So that’s where I was going with that, is it’s not again good science.  If you could do that, and you’re really a twisted enough individual and that’s your mission statement, that you want to screw up the world, hey, that’s a great way to start.  My mission is exactly the opposite.  I want everybody to experience what you experience every day of their life, and I’m working 24/7 to start in the United States and hopefully, later on in another direction to bring frequencies into the musical world that actually bring harmony, and peace, and help people sleep better.

Ben:  Okay.  That makes sense.  Like when you talk about frequencies, and you mention this Dr. Horowitz guy, I know he’s done studies on like, I think it’s 520 something Hertz.

Michael:  528.

Ben:  Yeah.  And he’s looked at the fact that, I believe it’s water, when it is vibrating at that specific frequency, it actually flows through in and out of cellular membranes more efficiently.  I think Dr. Gerald Pollack at University of Washington has done some similar research in terms of the ability of a cell to either absorb or not absorb water depending on the frequency at which that water is vibrating.  And I know also, for example, I use a BioMat and that has Amethyst crystals and Tourmaline crystals in it, and these also vibrate at specific frequencies that seem to affect organ function.  And I know that people who listen to this podcast are aware that the human body is a battery,right.  Like it operates at a specific ideal electrochemical gradient when it comes to the way that sodium, potassium pumps work in terms of getting energy in and out of cells, and that particular battery function is dependent upon the frequencies that we’re surrounded by, right.  So you talked about Wifi signals, Michael, and obviously you talked a lot about music, but a big part of it comes down to the fact that cell membranes responds to vibrations, right?

Michael:  Absolutely.  And that’s been one of the funnest things as far as with Wholetones as people say, “Well, how loud do I have to have my music?  Do I need to wear headphones?”  And the beauty of frequencies is, no, no, and no.  If you want to enjoy it with headphones on, sonically you’re going to enjoy it maybe a little bit better.  There’s particular applications, PTSD, TBIs, for example, where it may improve the situation with headphones, but for the most part, as long as you’re immersed in some degree even if it’s just that a barely audible level, your body responds huge to these particular frequencies.

Ben:  Interesting.  Okay.  So we know that sound frequencies affect the human body.  We know that they affect things like water, for example.  Now, when it comes to musical instruments and music, and retuning musical instruments, tell me about what you found when it comes to 440 Hertz, for example, like you mentioned that we have in the U.S. and Canada as our tuning for the note A.  What did you find when you began to realize that that might not be the ideal frequency?

Michael:  Great question.  I mean, it initially started, like I had mentioned before after the initial query of why are these tuners calibrated this way.  And the other side of it is my whole life as a musician, I always knew that there was so much right with music, but there was something wrong with music.  It’s really difficult for me sometimes when you look at these things to try to pinpoint the exact moment, but it was when I questioned the tuner, and then after that I suddenly realized, “Well, wait a minute,” if music is more than just entertainment, if it’s actually a modality for healing the body, then I need to find out what frequency would work along with the electricity of the human body, as you mentioned before as tourmaline’s a huge conductor.  I need to find out what would be a conductor that would have a positive effect on the body.

And so through a lot, I mean, we don’t even have the time on this podcast to go through all of it, but through wonderful journey and a myriad of different things, I ended up in Israel and met a man that basically had told me that he spent his entire life working on the Psalms of David, King David in the Bible.  And at the end of this incredible day, I walked away with transcripts and information that was boggling my mind about the possibilities of why music was not doing what I thought music would do.  And after making these appropriate adjustments, I found that sonically, and here’s another argument, by the way, sonically 444 Hertz is probably the greatest frequency, or a key that you could play over the human body because it activates every single organ, it works on your DNA, and it was the corroborated work by Leonard Horowitz.  I was surprised, and I published it in the book, I was shocked when I read Leonard’s work before we became friends, and all of a sudden out of the blue he said, “I’m positive that 444 Hertz is a rested positive frequency that will help align the human body.  I was like, “Holy smokes.” ‘Cause, I mean, basically there’s a million different frequencies, but when you’re in A equals 444 Hertz, an amazing thing happens.

Underneath your fingers unlocks all these other frequencies, as you mentioned, 528 becomes middle C on the piano.  Now you’re working in a range where every single thing you’re playing, even if you’re playing the same songs you used to play, now they’re in a virtually new key only four sets higher, but they make a huge change in the human body.

Ben:  It’s a very, very slight adjustment.  Like when I got that digital tuner, and I actually emailed you to make sure that I did it correctly, and I made that slight adjustment to ensure that, for example, the A on my guitar was at 444, it really did change the way that I felt when I played the music, and it’s really, really crazy.  Again, it sounds woo-woo and unscientific or whatever, but it actually made a big difference.

Now, you talked about 444 Hertz.  There is a pretty strong religious background behind that, right.  ‘Cause you talked to this guy about David, for example.  For those of you not familiar with the Bible, David was considered to be, correct me if I’m wrong Michael, but he was one of the greatest musicians in the Bible, right?

Michael:  The absolute greatest, the master musician.

Ben:  How do we know that he, for example, was playing music at that particular frequency?

Michael:  Well, here’s the best part of it.  It’s like with anything else, that’s where we get a little weird all around even in the political places.  Some of us aren’t there and so we can’t say definitively that that was what he did, but after using 18 years of research and adding and subtracting, and working a lot, suddenly I realized what he was working.  I mean, obviously he played a kinnor, which is what some people call a harp, but it’s a ten string instrument, and I always knew that the bottom note, the tonic would have been A.  So it was a matter of subtraction, and then after several years of working with it, all of a sudden I thought, “Man, could it really be so simple that it’s just forward?”  Four sets make that much difference.

So when I made the adjustment, I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody this Ben, but the first thing I noticed immediately was I’m thinking it’s higher and so, I’ll have to sing higher.  So I started singing, I never went hoarse.  I could sing for three hours, four hours.  And the other part that was amazing is, as a musician I’m real persnickety and so I’d always be tuning my guitar.  When I did the Wholetones recording in 444, I think I’d tune my main guitar twice in seven days.  Usually, I’d tune twice in a song.  So, it was almost like that frequency my guitar was saying, “Aha!  Thank you.”  And my voice was saying, “Thank you!”  ‘Cause that’s where I’m supposed to be, that’s the tessitura, that’s where I’m supposed to sing.

Ben:  Now, with regards to this 444 Hertz, I know it makes the body feel pretty good because, like I mentioned, and I don’t remember if I told you this prior to us getting on a recording today, but I had my massage therapist, Tracy, come to my house the other night, and I had her put the massage table in between the two biggest speakers in my house, and I put on one of the CDs.  So I think you have, how many CDs are in this CD kit that you have?  Seven?

Michael:  Seven.

Ben:  Okay.  Yeah.  So you’ve got seven CDs, one of them is just all that what you call the Key of David, right, like 444 hertz, and I had her just blast this.  So it was like an hour long massage, we just put it on repeat, right.  ‘Cause the CDs 22 minutes long, so we just played it three times through.  I felt amazing afterwards, and she did too.  Like she wasn’t even getting a massage, but she’s like, “I cannot believe how good my body feels after just being blasted by this music for an hour.”  And so, I know that particular frequency seems to work, but there’s a whole bunch of others.  Like you’ve got, 528 and frequencies up in the 800s.

Can you kinda walk us through and explain how different frequencies affect different organ functions?  Because when I look at this CD kit that you have, it says, some of it’s good for like the liver, some of it’s good for stress, some of it’s good for detoxification.  Can you walk me through how these different frequencies work and why you chose the frequencies that you did?

Michael:  Absolutely, Ben.  Well first and foremost, you have to remember, like I said before, everything has an atomic weight, or everything has the ability to be vibrated.  For example, and I’ll even tell you what I did as far as why this has been so successful and it works.  Let’s just say that we both found the way to be able to survive after someone removed both of our hearts, and we’re looking at our hearts and saying, “Wow.  The atomic weight of Ben’s heart and Michael’s heart are a little bit different,” but overall, we’re within a certain bandwidth where if there is an excitement or a frequency that’s added, suddenly that heart will begin to vibrate once you find its atomic weight.  And so, when I found the baseline of that, and it was through mostly the work of a man named Royal Rife, R-I-F-E, there was a lot of research out there, and also I happen to be in a gaggle of just amazing scientific geeks that are always helping me work through these things, and I just realize that every part of the body has a resonant frequency.

And like, we’re talking about the human heart, so there’s a bandwidth to where we’re virtually close to having the same, but no two hearts weigh exactly the same.  So the way I was able to find a baseline was once I found that frequency that is inherent to vibrating the heart, for example, I would add a mild, super mild oscillation, Ben.  So an oscillation, just for your listeners, is just like when you have a total tone, like “Aaaaah,” or all of a sudden you go, “Aaaaaah,” you add that little bit of vibrato, if you will, or vibration to that frequency.  Well, what that does if you look at an oscilloscope is it spreads out the field just a little bit.  So if you do that with the frequency, you find a frequency that is absolutely favorable for a particular organ at a mild oscillation.  Now you’ve got 90% of the people listening are going to be affected by it.

And so, with that being said, each of the seven frequencies operates in a different part of the human body, and it also has a lot of emotional connections.  If we had time I could read to you like, in fact we have thousands of customer testimonies now, but just amazing things that happen with certain parts of the body, certain emotions depending on which of the frequencies that you’re listening to, and even the most amazing is how it affects animals.  Like anxiety with animals, dogs and cats, separation anxiety, sleep, you know.

Ben:  Really?

Michael:  Yeah.  In essence, anything that has breath is affected.  Plants, I mean, Jordan Rubin, a great friend of mine, with Get Real Nutrition, you know, before that he had one of the largest supplement companies in the world.

Ben:  Yeah.  He’s the owner of the Garden of Life, right?

Michael:  Yeah.  He sold it, but he was.  Yeah.  I mean, he’s just like the arch-typical, when it comes to supplement, he’s like the top, you know, top.  Well anyway, long story short, when he found out about what I was doing, he said, “I want the copy of Chroma so I can use it in my mycobacterium.  I want to grow mushrooms and stuff inside.  So he puts up these plasma screens, and I send him a couple packages of Chroma.  A Chroma by the way, for your listeners, is the DVD and the Blu-ray set that is actually not only these frequencies in the audio, but the harmonics of light that coincide with them.  And he began to play…

Ben:  Oh, so you play this on like a TV?

Michael:  Absolutely.

Ben:  Interesting.  Okay.  I have it.  The same guy that gave me these Wholetones CDs you recorded, he gave me that Chroma.  I didn’t know what it was.  I don’t even take it out of its shrink wrap yet.

Michael:  Oh gosh.

Ben:  So you would play this on a TV and you could, for example, have that playing in a room where you have plants and things like that?

Michael:  And you!  I mean you’re going to be bathed in photons and audio.  Because remember, once we exhaust the audio frequency realm, we’ve just begun the frequencies of light.  And so, if you can combine those two modalities of light and sound, photons and audio, imagine what you’re sitting in in your room when you’re getting therapy.  It’s actually chromatherapy.  And so he thought…

Ben:  What are you, sorry to interrupt, but do you sit there and you look at the TV monitor while the sound plays?  Or can you be anywhere in the room?

Michael:  You can be anywhere in the room, you can be doing stuff, it doesn’t matter.  It’s light.  It’s just like when you’re outside, and you can play football, or you can lay down and get a sun tan.  Either way you’re getting sun.

Ben:  Okay.  And you don’t have to be looking at the sun?  You can just basically be exposed to the actual photo receptors on your skin, for example, can be exposed to that same light wave?

Michael:  Right on.  You don’t have to stare at it.  That’s what makes it so great, and that’s why people, like I don’t have 22 minutes and 22 seconds to sit here and listen to a song.  Well, don’t.  Move around.  Do your housework.  As long as it’s audible, you’re getting it.  So that’s what’s so cool.  But before I forget, so I send him out the Chroma packages and, within a couple of weeks he’s sending me pictures of how it’s changing the plant root size, bioavailability of his plants that he’s growing for his new company which is Get Real Nutrition.  It’s handmade nutrition.  And we’ve become very close friends, and he uses Chroma for every single thing.  Every product that goes out now has been what he calls, harmonically energized by Wholetones.  So everyone that receives Jordan Rubin’s supplements knows that it’s been bathed with chromatherapy before it ever gets in their body.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s really interesting.  I mean, we know for example that even when you’re walking on the rocks and dirt outside, you get exposed to the Schumann resonance frequency that the Earth emits, right.   It’s 7, it’s a very, very low Hertz.  It’s 7.38 Hertz, something like that.  But they actually make crystals, I caught a lot of flak for this, actually by people who thought that I was completely, not to overuse the term yet again, but woo-woo by going down this path, but I used to have bracelets and they are all sold out, and then I no longer was able to work with the guy who was manufacturing these crystals that we developed.  But we were just blasting these things with that particular frequency, that 7.38 Hertz, so that when you’re on an airplane or in a skyscraper, somewhere like that, you could actually wear this crystal on your wrist, or around a necklace that would vibrate with that specific frequency.  So you’re still getting a lot of the benefits you’d get, say if you were grounding, or earthing, or camping, or something like that.  And people responded to these frequencies, like they actually do have an effect on the body.  So it’s fascinating.  And so the idea here, to return to my original question, is that specific organ groups respond to specific frequencies?

Michael:  So, I need to go ahead and answer that question.  I’m sorry.  I’m kind of like a water fountain sometimes.  Anyway, so here’s the deal.  I can make this really simple too.  As simple as on your audio set at home: treble, mid, bass.  Let’s start there.  The lower the frequency, the more bass, in other words, or bottom that it possesses.  In other words, let’s just say that you’re driving down the road and a guy pulls next to you in his hooptie, and he’s got his sub so loud that it’s rattling your brain inside your cranium, right.  That only elicits the physiology of the body, the physical, the earth, the flesh in other words.  So the bass is a slow, lumbering frequency.  If you were to look at it in an oscilloscope, it’s a slow, big, wide open, sine wave.

Now it’s really funny in that part, like 396 for example, in the Wholetones package, or the Open Door as it’s called, it’s an opening frequency.  You don’t start on opening frequency in a high range frequency.  It doesn’t work.  You have to start at exactly what you said, at the grounding point of where you’re at, and 396 opens people up, and the most exciting thing about this frequency for me is people that have shame and guilt, they deal with it, Ben, and they don’t feel worthy to ever have anything good happen to them.  Suddenly, this frequency, when they sit and listen to this, suddenly they realize that not only is healing within their grasp, but they’re worthy of it.

So there’s this grounding that comes at the very beginning, and as you move up through the frequency realm, you move up through the body.  You move up through the audio realm.  So for example, something super low only moves your body, but it doesn’t do much for your emotions, you know.  But when you get up in the mid frequencies, the 528s and up, like Yo-Yo Ma on the cello.  The guy can sit down on a stool, and play three notes, and you’re crying like a baby ’cause it’s working in that mid-range, which is the soul realm, or thought, will, and emotions.  It elicits feeling.  Like if you ever hear like, back in the day B.B. King could just play one note on his guitar and people start crying.  It’s because that frequency range really does a number on the soul.

But as you know, the higher you get in the frequency, you begin to move past the soul realm and into the spiritual realm.  So there’s high frequencies that basically elicit that type of an effect as far as opening you up to…

Ben:  Yeah.  More of the spiritual effect.  And I have the CD.  You have one, remind me what the one is called that’s at the very, very highest frequency?  Like up in the 800s.

Michael:  It’s 852 Hertz.

Ben:  Yeah.  What’s that one called?

Michael:  It’s called The Majestic.

Ben:  Yeah.  I listen to that one when I do devotions and prayer in the morning ’cause I have a few, I’ve had to actually get some CD players now that I have your CDs ’cause I didn’t even have CD players.  So now I’m playing these in CDs, but it actually enhances like my morning meditation, my morning devotional practice because that particular Hertz frequency seems to cause more of almost like a spiritual awakening.

Michael:  Absolutely.  And people don’t really understand how all of that works.  In my life, it seems almost as that I’m trying to demystify it, so I like your terminology, but I don’t want people to think that it’s woo-woo.  And one of the things that I tell about frequency that makes them laugh is, first of all, you could never have a phone call, you could never even have a conversation.  And, best of all, if I would have met you 50 years ago, I mean if that was possible ’cause you’re not 50, and I said, “Hey, Ben!  I gotta cut a rectangular hole in the sheet rock of your kitchen, and I have this device, I’m gonna stick it in the wall, okay?  And when I’m done, you’re going to be able to take any of your cold food, and shove it in there, push one button, it’s gonna heat up, but you can take it out with your hand, it won’t burn your fingers.”  You say, “You’re a nut!  You’re a weirdo!  You’re a wizard!  You’re a freak!”  Well, that’s what we call the microwave oven, and it’s an antiquated piece of kitchen equipment today.  But at the time, people look at stuff like that and they go, “What type of chicanery is this?”  Well, nothing.  It’s just good technology.  So, in the very same way, frequency has been around as long as there has been anything to be around.  Frequency is a voice.  It’s a voice.

Ben:  Yeah.  There’s this medical device, I believe it’s out of Russia, I’m actually in the process of researching it right now.  It’s called a D.E.T.A., and the way that it works is it actually generates some really low frequency electromagnetic fields, like anywhere from 0.1 Hertz to 100 Hertz, and you can set it at a specific frequency to affect a different organ, right.  Like the diaphragm for example is at 91.0 Hertz, or the lungs are at 72 Hertz, or the amygdala is at 20.5 Hertz.  And if you know you have an issue with a specific organ, you can actually blast it with that particular frequency, and you can generate a healing response, or a vibrational frequency in that specific organ.  So it’s really fascinating how there’s some health devices, and I’ve even talked about pulsed electromagnetic field frequency before in the podcast.  Have you heard of this before, Michael?

Michael:  Well, remember, I’m also an inventor.

Ben:  Okay.

Michael:  So the machinery in my home is pretty shocking, but yes, I actually have a PEMF machine in my bedroom, and the machine that you’re talking about is also a German machine out now.  And there is an MLM company that I won’t mention now that’s also trying to facilitate a Japanese machine that does similar, I think the Russian and the German machine are very superior, but yeah.  As far as I try to stay on the cutting edge of anything that’s frequency-based, and all the work that’s being done, your listeners might be interested to know that there is a new stylus-free turntable now that plays 12 inch records that has a laser for a needle. There’s a man in Australia at the moment that is doing inoculations using frequency instead of a needle.  There’s a Canadian man and his wife right now that have cleaned copious amounts of polluted water by using 528 with a frequency generator and 20,000 Watts of power.  Amazing stuff going on up there.

Ben:  Speaking of vinyl, I want to ask you about analog versus digital sound in a second.  But one other thing I should mention is that, for those of you out there who do things like listen to binaural beats, which I know a lot of folks do now for sleep, for example, or use  like these sleep apps that play sound, or for those of you that use the Earth pulse, and I’ve talked about the Delta Sleeper, two different devices that can be used to affect, for example, delta brain wave function while you sleep, if you use any of those type of things, you’re already taking advantage of the way that frequencies affect the human body, it’s just that Michael particularly excels in creating these type of frequencies into music.

Michael, but when it comes to music, and you talk about this a little bit in your book, but I have some questions for you about this.  Analog versus digital.  First of all, can you talk about the difference between the two, and why it could potentially be actually inferior to be listening to things like MP3s, and potentially even CDs, if you want to get all of the benefit out of a sound?

Michael:  I certainly can.  And again, I think it’s very important that a lot of people are very combative and polarized over certain issues, like is 444 or 432 better, which we may get to, analog versus digital.  First, let me say that in the realm of sonics, both modalities are positive.  There’s not a negative.  One is digital, one is analog.  Obviously, for certain reasons, the analog is preferable and I’ll tell you why.  When you have an analog signal, Ben, basically it’s an unretouched natural resonance of a particular note or frequency.  A digital, it captures the same note and same frequency, however, it converts it into binary or numbers.  It converts it into numbers and then those numbers recreate those particular wave patterns.

So, it’s basically a difference in translation.  One for example, and I am old enough, but I remember the first time I listened in to Tchaikovsky on a 12 inch vinyl disk through all analog equipment in a Macintosh tube power amp.  It was an experience that was so enthralling and exhilarating that I wept listening to music.  However, today we carry around iPod-sized devices that fit in a shirt pocket that can carry 6,000 songs on it or whatever. And if you plug it into the earbud and you listen to it, it sounds really good until you realize that one of them is notes that have been converted into numbers versus actual frequency vibrations that are organic.  You realize the difference.  Where it gets funky is that people say, “Okay.  Well, I thought your music was analog?”  It is.  Everything that’s recorded on that product is an analog instrument.  I use a proprietary method of recording to where even the digital signal gets washed through analog equipment which does make a big difference, and that’s why it’s sweet and transients are full, and I go to painstaking quality with the CDs to make sure that they’re actual .WAV files instead of MP3s.  However…

Ben:  Okay.  So back that up just a second.  So when listening to one of your CDs, and this something I was a little bit apprehensive about, because I read in your book that analog trumps digital, but then the actual CDs that you have are technically digital.  But you’re creating those in such a way that you’re maintaining some of the analog benefits?

Michael:  There is some fantastic conversion.  One of them is called SADiE, it’s a SADiE system.  But there’s also some fantastic real-time things you can do in the studio while recording to make sure that you’re not losing transients and frequency.  So, I’m so glad we’re having this conversation, where it gets interesting but still functional, is when we get into the truncated frequencies where we talk about MP3, or streaming music, or digital.  Here’s the thing, we used to call it ZIP.  Remember?  You know, it was like a .ZIP file, and then you’d have to open it up.  Well, basically an MP3 is an ultra-compressed file.  So you’re taking analog, you’re converting it to numbers, and then squeezing it.  So if you look at it as far as size, it’s a smaller postage stamp of that frequency, but what people miss in that, the positive side is that in today, the percentages of people that actually even own any analog equipment in their home is less than one percent.  And so, the only people that do are what we call audiophiles, and they’ve retained old record players where everything on pristine vinyl, which is the preferred way to go.

However, when you’re recording, people have no idea what happens in the recording studio.  Back in the days of analog, we used 2 inch tape, Ben, and I was a master of mastering and a master of editing, and you did it with a razor blade and 3M tape, and that’s how it worked back then.  And if you made a mistake, you got to do it all over again.  In the virtuosity of digital recording today, there isn’t anything that you can’t do, you never have to, “Can you rewind that?”  There is no, everything’s virtual tracking.

So as far as ease of recording and what can be done with recording, no question about it.  There’s elements of analog that a lot of people, like myself, like a lot of great producers in New York, they’re finding ways to start recording drums analog, the human voice analog, certain things analog again.  And then, the only downside of it is once you get it to that place of mastering, you’re still running it through tubes, Weiss mechanics, all kinds of stuff that adds warmth and roundness to it.  The only thing you’ve really done is converted part of the signal digital for the sake of being able to play it back, and online, people say, “Okay.  Well, you offer Wholetones digital.  Why does it work?”  Because digital still works.

One of the funniest testimonials that I have was from a lady that actually called me from Tampa, Florida.  I won’t give your her name.  She’s a registered nurse, and she called me on the phone, I don’t know how she got my number, and she said, “I never believed that this crap could ever work.”  And I said, “Hi, I’m Michael.”  And she said, “Listen.  I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for 10 years.  I’m a nurse at Tampa General.  Somebody told me about your  So I went on there and I listened to a sample, one time, went to bed woke up in the morning, I didn’t feel any pain in my body for the first time.  I thought it was a fluke.  That was two months ago.”  “My doctor,” she said, “told me that I have no more rheumatoid arthritis.  I’m a huge fan.”  And she introduced me to the medical community, and doctors now find the validity in what I’m doing because of what’s happening and because they’re using, so many doctors are using mood music therapy today.  It’s shocking.  They’re finally use it even in post-surgery.  You know, post-invasive surgery that brings healing in a fraction of the time it used to take it, and so it speeds up convalescence as well.

So anyway, I just said all that to say that if somebody listen to a sample on my web site, I mean, that’s like Uber compressed.  You know how quick you gotta load those things.  They get your web right.  And if people are getting healed listening to that, the question is: is analog better?  Absolutely.  It’s richer.  Is the average person going to hear a difference between those frequencies?  Absolutely not.  Absolutely not.

Ben:  Okay.  So you don’t have to have a vinyl record turntable per se.  You just have to ensure that if you’re using music that has been tuned to the specific frequency that has been produced using this kind of analog, I guess, like analog retention type of equipment that you use when you create these CDs.  Is there a name for that system that you use, if someone wanted to like look at the cover of a CD and see if it was recorded using that technique?

Michael:  Well, in the mastering portion, in the information you can look for SADiE, S-A-D-I-E, systems is one of the things…

Ben:  S-A-D-I-E?

Michael:  Uhuh.  And the rest of the stuff that I use are all different types of audio washes.  Like I use Neve transformers, I use all tube stuff.  My theory is if it doesn’t glow, it’s gotta go.  Everything runs through tubes, and everything I can do to retain that sonic analog criteria, I do.  Where it’s at all possible.

Ben:  Okay.  I see that SADiE recording software actually has a website, and by the way, for those of you who are listening in, I’m taking notes on everything that Michael is talking about, and you can access the show notes for today’s episode at  That’s slash T-O-N-E-S.

Michael, I have a few other questions.  First of all, the best way to use these CDs, like when I got them, I’ve just been experimenting, right.  Like I’m playing them in the car, playing them when I’m getting a massage, I’m playing with my kids, but like there’s seven of them, and they’re each 22 minutes long.  Is there any type of recommended system that you have for getting the most benefit out of them?  Like should I listen to one each day of the week?  Should I just kind of mix and match as I see fit?  I mean, what’s the best way to use these?

Michael:  Well, for the most part, Ben, people are the best judge on an individual basis, which I think obviously, I’m like you, I’m a huge advocate of people supplementing and taking care of their human bodies, and not trusting other sources or government to take care of themselves.  With that being said, there’s one thing I tell everyone.  If you’re going to do this, you have to at least commit to the opening frequency.  And then if you read the book, it goes into great detail about what you, like you said, what each one of those, what they can expect to see, what part of their body will be affected by each of those frequencies.  So what I tell people, if time is of the essence, always start with the first disc, 396, 396 Hertz, The Open Door, and that prepares you for whatever else you choose.  Let’s say, let’s just use it, for example, let’s say…

Ben:  Let’s say, I drink too much and I know my liver needs some help.

Michael: (laughs)

Ben:  Not that anyone listening in ever drinks too much.  Let’s just use that as a fun example.

Michael:  Which is a great one.  And there’s different times and certain things, I’ll give you a great example.  Let’s just say, okay, the way that my body process is I have a hangover.  Well, 417 works best for a hangover.  Let’s say that I drank too much and I have an upset stomach, 741 works better for that.  Let’s say that I have mild case of cirrhosis of the liver, now we’re talking 528.  So it really depends, but my main point is that the book gives a great overview of the application.

Here’s a funny one.  I did a wedding.  I actually officiated at a wedding in Texas.  I got sick to my stomach about an hour before the wedding, and I’m thinking, “Oh no,” ’cause it was a really, I mean it felt like food poisoning.  So, I put on one frequency that’s notorious for helping with the stomach and it did it.  And so when I put on 741, within 15 minutes of the 22 minutes and 22 seconds, the stomach ache disappeared.  Well, I found that one works better for something that is bad that you ate as opposed to an acid reflux, or something that’s wrong with your digestive.  So, see what I mean?  So you’re going to know the best, but what I always tell people is you need to set aside at least 44 minutes and 44 seconds somewhere in your day to listen to The Open Door first, and then whatever one of those frequencies that adheres to your issue the best.  The ultimate scenario, what we do in my house is we have speakers all over a house.  So I leave it on 24/7 and I just let it play through, I let it filter through everything around the clock at a low volume.

Ben:  Yeah.  So when you’re saying leave 44 minutes available, that can count as like time in your car, for example.

Michael:  Absolutely.  Anywhere.  It doesn’t have to be a focus therapy like some things are.  Like you can move around, you can do lighthouse work, you can be in another room.  You’ll find that you can be upstairs, and the music could disappear, but you’ll hear that frequency just as loud as you do if you went back downstairs again.  It travels.

Ben:  Okay.  Gotcha, cool.  That’s good to know because I plan on playing this all over my house.

Michael:  Awesome.

Ben:  A few other questions for you.  Tuning forks.  I ran into this lady at a health conference who is using tuning forks and she used a specific tuning fork and kind of put it near a different area of your body to target a specific region or organ.  What are your thoughts on tuning forks as therapy?  Is this the same concept or a tuning fork is something completely different?

Michael:  It’s a very similar therapy, if you think about it.  It’s all about vibration.  The only thing I would say, and of course I mean I have a lot of friends that have companies and I love it.  The only thing I can say about tuning forks is, you think about how long that vibration lasts.  Does it work?  Yes.  I mean, can I put it in a cranial sacral point, and hit a particular thing, and will it work on that particular part?  Yes.  But what I’m talking about is something sustainable.  I mean actually in essence, and I am working on a new project, I just can’t talk about it yet.  But the longer that I did that, let’s say I had a tuning fork that lasted for 30 minutes, now we’re talking.  If I could put that tuning fork on a particular part of my body, Ben, and it vibrated at the precise frequency necessary for 30 minutes, now we’re talking.  But you got to remember, even if you’re multiply striking it, there’s always a transient point between the strike and the note.  And most people that use that therapy, they don’t do it for 5, 10, 20, 30 minutes.  So, yes.  I think it’s awesome.  I think it works much better if you have a sustainable solid underlayment of frequency to which what Wholetones is, and most people don’t know this.

The music is the spoonful of sugar. The medicine that goes down is the frequency that’s the underlayment bed underneath that music.  And so, if I stripped away the music and you just listen to that tone for 22 minutes and 22 seconds, you would still get massive therapy.  And I think that’s where other modalities kind of miss that a little is that, like I said, strike, response, strike, response, it’s like you’re breaking up and adding transients points.  Even if you want to do that for 30 minutes, you’re much better off listening to something that’s continuous.

Ben:  Got it.  Okay.  So if I don’t have access to like a CD or music that I can play long term, I could potentially have one of these tuning forks that produces specific vibrational sound frequencies for healing.  But ideally, if I want to do it for long periods of time, a CD would be ideal.

Michael:  Well I can tell you right now, if you wanted to use a tuning fork, as long as you sampled it and it was seamless, where there wasn’t like a bit rate issue, or there wasn’t splits between it, it would work.  But what I did was, and I don’t mind telling you because you get it, I couldn’t use a frequency generator or any type of anything that was not analog.  So people say, “How did you make that beautiful,” because I got so disgusted by what I heard on YouTube and it was so.  I mean, it all sounded just like when your TV goes off at one in the morning, it just makes that (beeping sound).  It’s like, who could listen to that?  And so, I got a crystal vase and an eyedropper and I filled it with water until it pegged the frequency meter on my recording software, and when I hit it 12 o’clock, I sampled it.  And so everything you’re listening in the bottom are real wood strings, analog strings, and on the other side are crystal vases full of water making that tone.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s amazing.  Just this concept of crystal and sound healing, and I don’t know, have you ever been to like crystal and sound healing centers where they’ll actually just bombard your body with crystals, or gongs, or different forms of sound therapy.  There’s literally a practitioner there just like walking around you, bombarding your body with frequencies.

Michael:  I haven’t done that.  I’ve been to obviously a lot of places where they used Tibetan balls in places out in California that was a frequency center that they had nonstop stuff playing there.  But, yeah, I mean it’s awesome.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s actually on my list of things to do, and I’ve done some sound healing, but there’s apparently a guy in Sedona, one of my friends, Aubrey Marcus who runs this supplement company called Onnit.  He swears by this guy.  When you have like muscle or soft tissue issues and injuries, this guy can actually heal, he does like a combination of body work and sound therapy, and that was where I got the idea to play your music while my massage therapist was working up on me.  And I think I’ve actually tapped into something.  I think if you’re a massage therapist and you’re listening in, grab some of Michael’s CDs and play them for your clients, and like I mentioned, the Sound of David frequency was the one that I have my massage therapist play, but I may experiment with some others.  And then I use like your 800 and some odd Hertz, whatever it is for…

Michael:  852.

Ben:  Yeah.  852 for devotions and prayer, and stuff like that in the morning.  But man, I think this stuff is fascinating.  I think that some people raise an eyebrow at it, with good cause, like I’m all about being skeptical, but at the same you cannot deny, when it comes to frequencies that they not only affect the human body, but they affect water, they affect plants.  I think you and I, Michael, would probably even argue that in the stories in the Bible about how they blow trumpets and knocked down the walls of Jericho and things like that, that there’s probably something to that, that you could actually…

Michael:  Oh, yeah.

Ben:  You can do quite a bit with either chaotic frequencies or healing frequencies.  Michael, your wealth of knowledge, and I could talk to you a lot more about music and sound.  I know your time is limited and I think we’ve given folks a little bit to work with here as far as getting their head spinning when it comes to sound, and healing with music, and frequencies.  So here’s the deal: if you’re listening in, go to  You can get Michael’s stuff on Amazon, like his book, his CDs, et cetera.  I’ll put a link to some of the other things that we talked about too.  Things like binaural beats, things like tuning forks, Biomats, all this jazz if you want to completely geek out.  The sky’s the limit.  I’m a big fan of paying attention to invisible variables in your life like air, light, water, electricity, and of course sound.

So Michael, thank you for coming on the show, for sharing the stuff with us, and for doing the research that you did, and for creating these Wholetones CDs.

Michael:  Well, it’s an honor, Ben.  And my whole thing is I just want to see people get better.  If this helps them in any way, and according to, like I said, tens of thousands of testimonials, it is, and what I do with my life helps me sleep good at night.

Ben:  I love it.  Alright. Well, folks, again if you’re listening in, you can go to to take a listen or investigate a little bit more.  And until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Michael Tyrrell, signing out from  Have a healthy week.

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.



Quick question: when was the last time you listened to music?

Or white noise?

Or “binaural beats”?

Or any other form of audio?

And did you ever give any thought to the frequency of the actual wavelengths of sound contained within that audio?

Until recently, I didn’t. I had no clue that frequencies of sound, frequencies of music, and even the frequencies of the piano that my kids practice each day or the guitar and ukelele that I practice each day can actually affect cognitive function, heart health, liver, kidneys, digestion, libido, mood and much, much more.

But at a recent health summit, someone handed me a book called “The Sound Of Healing”, written by author Michael Tyrrell…along with a handful of CD’s that Michael had recorded. These CD’s, called “Wholetones” are described as music that “heals, repairs, and protects against disease.”

So, skeptical but curious, I sat down and read the entire Sound Of Healing book, and I began occasionally listening to the CD’s while driving, while getting a massage, while sitting in my sauna, etc. Every time I finished a CD, I had such a unique feeling of elation and satisfaction after listening, I downloaded a digital tuning app and retuned my guitar and my ukelele to the “frequencies” Michael described in the book. This may all seem a bit “woo-woo”, but it made a huge difference in the ability of a song to make me feel uplifted and full of positive energy as I played it.

I managed to get Michael on today’s podcast, and during our discussion you’ll discover:

-Why the music and sound you listen to every day is not tuned the right way and can actually be destroying organ function…

-How sound frequencies affect the human body, water, plants and more…

-How to “re-tune” music and sound to heal organs and provide therapy to the body…

-How to combine light and sound to de-stress your body…

-Why digital sound from CD’s and mp3’s are not as good as analog sound from things like vinyl albums, and what you can do about it if you don’t want to buy a vinyl record turntable…

-The best way to use the sound to heal your body and to target specific organ systems…

-What Michael thinks about the use of tuning forks as vibrational sound therapy…

-How can a musician “re-tune” their instrument to the correct frequency…

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

The WholeTones Healing CD’s

The Sound Of Healing book

Digital tuning device

The fluoride “deception” conspiracy podcast I recorded

The Biomat device

Royal Rife

DETA electromagnetic bioresonance devices

DELTASleeper device

Earthpulse device

SADIE recording software

Tuning the Human Biofield book (tuning fork therapy)
Read more






Unleashing The Phenomenon Of Using Sound & Music For Performance, Recovery, Healing & More.


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

Quick question: when was the last time you listened to music?

Or white noise?

Or “binaural beats”?

Or any other form of audio?

And did you ever give any thought to the frequency of the actual wavelengths of sound contained within that audio?

Until recently, I didn’t. I had no clue that frequencies of sound, frequencies of music, and even the frequencies of the piano that my kids practice each day or the guitar and ukelele that I practice each day can actually affect cognitive function, heart health, liver, kidneys, digestion, libido, mood and much, much more.

But at a recent health summit, someone handed me a book called “The Sound Of Healing”, written by author Michael Tyrrell…along with a handful of CD’s that Michael had recorded. These CD’s, called “Wholetones” are described as music that “heals, repairs, and protects against disease.”

So, skeptical but curious, I sat down and read the entire Sound Of Healing book, and I began occasionally listening to the CD’s while driving, while getting a massage, while sitting in my sauna, etc. Every time I finished a CD, I had such a unique feeling of elation and satisfaction after listening, I downloaded a digital tuning app and retuned my guitar and my ukelele to the “frequencies” Michael described in the book. This may all seem a bit “woo-woo”, but it made a huge difference in the ability of a song to make me feel uplifted and full of positive energy as I played it.

I managed to get Michael on today’s podcast, and during our discussion you’ll discover:

-Why the music and sound you listen to every day is not tuned the right way and can actually be destroying organ function…

-How sound frequencies affect the human body, water, plants and more…

-How to “re-tune” music and sound to heal organs and provide therapy to the body…

-How to combine light and sound to de-stress your body…

-Why digital sound from CD’s and mp3’s are not as good as analog sound from things like vinyl albums, and what you can do about it if you don’t want to buy a vinyl record turntable…

-The best way to use the sound to heal your body and to target specific organ systems…

-What Michael thinks about the use of tuning forks as vibrational sound therapy…

-How can a musician “re-tune” their instrument to the correct frequency…

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

The WholeTones Healing CD’s

The Sound Of Healing book

Digital tuning device

The fluoride “deception” conspiracy podcast I recorded

The Biomat device

Royal Rife

DETA electromagnetic bioresonance devices

DELTASleeper device

Earthpulse device

SADIE recording software

Tuning the Human Biofield book (tuning fork therapy)

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

Living With A Navy Seal, Running 100 Miles, Only Eating Fruit Until Noon & More With Jesse Itzler.

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Jesse Itzler only eats fruit until noon, runs hundreds of miles at a time and lives a completely “out of the box” life – while claiming that he does not actually indeed even have a box.

Jesse cofounded Marquis Jet, the world’s largest prepaid private jet card company in 2001, which he and his partner sold to Berkshire Hathaway/NetJets. He then partnered with Zico Coconut Water, which he sold to The Coca-Cola Company in 2013. He is a former rapper on MTV and he produced and sang both the NBA’s Emmy Award-winning I Love This Game music campaign and the popular New York Knicks anthem Go NY Go. Itzler is also the author of the best selling book Living With A Seal.

When he is not out training for his next 100 mile run or being a dad to his four kids, Jesse can be found at the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks games, where he is an owner of the team. He is married to Spanx founder Sara Blakely and the couple and their 4 children live in Atlanta, Georgia.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Jesse met a crazy Navy SEAL at an ultrarunning event – a guy who pushed through the race with kidney failure and broken foot bones while eating crackers and bread…

-Jesse’s experience attempting to perform 100 pullups as a skinny runner…

-The crazy things that ensued when a Navy SEAL crashed in Jesse’s living room for 31 days…

-Why Jesse ran 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours…

-What it means when Jesse says “when you’re done you’re only 40% done”…

-Why Jesse waits until noon to eat anything except fruit…


-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Fit For Life by Harvey Diamond

Living With A Seal

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