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How To Get Faster Fast, The Best Shortcuts To Power, Why Conventional Speed Training Sucks & More With Nick Curson.

nick-landscape

My guest on today’s podcast is Coach Nick Curson, owner of Speed of Sport. He has produced multiple World, National, International, and Collegiate Champions. He is the head strength and conditioning coach for the famous ALA Boxing Gym in Cebu, Philippines and his primary areas of study are Eastern Bloc Strength & Conditioning, Plyometrics, Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, and Rehabilitative Exercise.

Speed of Sport is owned and operated by Nick Curson. With over 18 years of experience in nearly every type of strength training modality, Nick has studied extensively with top scientists, sports trainers, strength coaches, Olympic lifters, physical therapists, bio mechanical engineers, professional boxing trainers, martial artists, and more to develop the unique system of training for speed that we discuss on today’s show.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Why Nick is so into training the nervous system when it comes to full body performance (vs., say, the cardiovascular or muscular system)…[10:50]

-The training components Nick emphasizes that most other coaches and personal trainers don’t…[14:40]

-Why heavy strength training is something that you shouldn’t do very often vs. power and speed training…[24:30]

-How to strike a balance between muscle hypertrophy and muscle speed…[34:30]

-The best way to measure the speed of your muscles and rate of force development…[38:45]

-Why Nick always starts by training an athlete’s feet and proprioception…[46:40]

-How this type of training can be used by endurance athletes like triathletes, marathoners and obstacle course racers…[54:32]

-How new “biohacking” headsets like tDCS can increase rate of force development, power and explosiveness…[58:45]

-Nick’s top body weight exercises for developing speed…[61:40]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

SpeedOfSport.com – use coupon BEN

Halo Neuroscience headset for transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

Shuttle Systems plyometric machines

My interview with Jon Bruney on Neuromass training

The Bjornsen study Ben discusses (from Paul Jaminet’s website)

The mPower device for measuring rate of force development

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

The Art Of Biohacking Your Feng Shui & Transforming Your Home Into A Complete Wellness Sanctuary.

mel-land

When you imagine the spaces where you feel the most inspired, rejuvenated and energized, you probably picture a retreat or wellness sanctuary.

But why not make your own home a complete wellness sanctuary?

Enter the concept of Feng Shui, which is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. My guest on today’s podcast is a complete Feng Shui freak who specializes in enhancing the energy of your external environment – especially your home, so that you can be more productive and more healthy in the place you probably spend the majority of your time.

Her name is Melissa Ambrosini, and she is the bestselling author of “Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No-BS Guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and Becoming Wildly Wealthy, Fabulously Healthy, and Bursting with Love“, a speaker, entrepreneur and self-love teacher. Melissa teaches women how to master their inner “Mean Girl”, smash through limiting beliefs, and ditch the self-doubt so that they can start truly living the life of their dreams.  Named a self-help guru by Elle Magazine her mission is to inspire women across the globe to create a heart-centered life one that’s wildly wealthy, fabulously healthy and bursting with love.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Melissa’s special biohacks, tricks, tips and tools she specifically uses at her computer and with her recording equipment to keep her office Feng Shui “dialed in”…[9:30]

-Whether you should try to fix mold and fungus issues or just look for a different home…[17:00]

-Should you test a home or apartment before you move into it, and if so, what should you test for? [22:30]

-How you can create more negative ions in your home, and why you should do it…[29:00]

-What kind of plants Melissa has in her home that are specifically designed to detox the air…[33:20]

-How Himalayan salt lamps can completely change the health of the air in your home…[36:30]

-The special vacuum cleaner that Melissa uses to kill mold and fungi on carpet and flooring…[38:10]

-Why Melissa hired a woman to come to her house to do an “energy clearing”, and quantum physics proves this type of concept to actually work…[43:00 & 51:50]

-What Melissa does to improve the feng shui when she’s out of her element, like at a hotel…[50:50 & 58:30]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

How To Biohack The Ultimate Healthy Home by Ben Greenfield

Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No-BS Guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and Becoming Wildly Wealthy, Fabulously Healthy, and Bursting with Love

The IrisTech software Ben mentions

True To Form book for Foundation Training

Ben’s interview with Dave Asprey about how to control mold in his home

SurvivingMold.com

Air Oasis Air Purifier

Negative Ion Generator

Himalayan Salt Lamp

The Rainbow vacuum

Essential Oil Diffuser

Drunk Tank Pink book

Ben’s “How To Detox Your Home” article

Ben’s interview on healing frequencies

Structured water filters than Ben uses

11 Ways To Biohack A Hotel Room, Stay Healthy When You Travel & Keep Globetrotting From Slowly Killing You.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources from this episode:

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

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

Ben’s bark tea recipe

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

How To Explore Your Body & Your Body’s Electrical Charge In Unprecedented Detail: The Future Of Body & Brain Imaging.

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Two months ago, I laid in a long, metal tube in a London hospital, staring at the blank white walls around me as the entire room buzzed and hummed with the sounds of high-tech analysis.

I was getting a “Magnetic Resonance Imaging” procedure done – also known as an “MRI”.

But this was no typical MRI.

I wasn’t injured and I wasn’t sick: I was simply immersed in a brand new form of cutting-edge image analysis – an ultra-fast MRI scan to deliver precise quantification of fat and muscle tissue within hours – designed to give me a complete analysis of the entire structure of my body and brain – from extremely accurate body fat percentage and body fat distribution of visceral and subcutaneous fat, to the nitty-gritty details of everything from lean muscle and the brain, and beyond.

In today’s podcast, I’m going to take a deep dive into how you can do this type of advanced analysis of your body’s structure, the future of MRI testing for performance, longevity and aesthetics, and much more – including a very special appearance by Dr. Jack Kruse on how MRI’s can be used to analyze something called the “redox potential” of the human body.

My first guest in this episode is Marcus Foster. Marcus spent most of his career as a Product Manager for technology companies, including 8 years at Google. In November 2011, he was involved in a serious cycling accident, breaking four ribs and his collarbone. He started playing around with 3D volume renderings of the CT scan that was done of his thorax as a result of the accident. He was blown away by how beautiful the human body looks on the inside. A  year later he got knocked off his bike again, this time breaking his wrist, leading to another CT scan. The next year he was diagnosed with a tumor in his head and had to have a series of MRI scans. While he was gradually collecting imagery of different parts of his body, it seemed difficult to scale this model. In 2014, Marcus left Google and started Klarismo with the goal of making medical imaging more accessible to consumers as a means to explore and understand their own bodies.

My second guest in this episode, Dr. Jack Kruse, is a respected neurosurgeon and CEO of Optimized Life, a health and wellness company dedicated to helping patients avoid the healthcare burdens we typically encounter as we age. He is currently in private practice in the Gulf South. As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Kruse’s research has been published in respected dental and medical journals. His popular blog, JackKruse.com, gets over 250,000 unique worldwide visitors per month from countries like Australia, Germany, Russia, and Zambia (Africa).

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The series of horrific cycling accidents and eventually a tumor that led Marcus to delve into the fascinating world of CT scanning and MRI scanning…[10:45]

-The little-known medical condition that can lead to low testosterone in men, and how you can find out if you have it…[18:20]

-How something called a “Klarismo” scan is different than any other form of MRI…[24:12]

-Whether MRI’s are dangerous at all, especially in terms of radiation or exposure to “dirty electricity”…[25:30]

-How you can find out the size of your brain, and the link between that and intelligence…[35:00]

-What you can actually do with data that shows your precise fat and muscle distribution…[38:07]

-The future of MRI testing, and how you can actually determine the positive and negative charges within tissue…[45:00]

-What exactly “redox potential” is and what an MRI can tell you about your body’s redox potential…[58:10]

-Why Jack Kruse thinks Ben’s tattoos have deleteriously affected his redox potential…[71:40]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Prolactinoma (benign tumor that can cause low testosterone in men)

The “Dixon” MRI method

MRI vs. CAT scan

Dr. Jack Kruse’s articles on “Biohacking Your MRI” and “Fixing Your Redox

The Niox Mino device that Jack mentions for measuring nitric oxide

My intranasal light therapy podcast

Click here to download Ben’s complete raw data from his own Klarismo scan. There are several free tools you can use to view this raw data (DICOM files):

-For Mac users: Horos

-For Windows users: RadiAnt

-For Linux users: RadiAnt, also check out this video.

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

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

Podcast from  http://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/what-is-the-most-powerful-nootropic/

[00:00] Introduction/ Health IQ

[01:35] Organifi

[03:07] Introduction to this Episode

[04:41] About Daniel Schmachtenberger

[09:24] Daniel’s Backstory

[16:51] What is Neurohacking

[20:09] What The Right Nutrients Can Do To The Brain

[32:57] Biohacks Daniel Makes Use Of

[45:07] Qualia

[47:05] Nootropic Compound

[55:19] Little Known Effects of Nootropic Compounds

[59:32] Neuro Vitamin and Nootropics

[1:03:39] BioPQQ

[1:06:00] Clinical Research on Their Products

[1:14:45] Neuro Minerals

[1:18:05] Choline Donors

[1:22:25] Step 1 and Step 2 of Qualia

[1:38:24] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey.  What’s up?  It’s Ben Greenfield.  Prepared to have your mind blown because my guest on the episode that you’re about to hear is basically the world’s leading authority on smart drugs and nootropics, and how to maximize cognitive enhancement of your brain, how to upgrade your brain.  So it’s pretty cool stuff.  I enjoyed this interview quite a bit.  I think you will too.

However, as you know, it’s not just a smart thing to upgrade your brain.  It’s a smart thing to upgrade and protect yourself with life insurance.  I’ve got life insurance.  But the fact is what a lot of people don’t realize is that you can actually save a boatload of money on life insurance if you’re a healthy person.  So there’s this company called Health IQ and they use science, and data, and research to get you a lower rate on life insurance if you cycle, or weightlift, or swim, or run, or anything like that because they have all this research that shows that people who exercise a lot have a much, much lower risk of early death.  I don’t have to tell you that.  I’m preaching to the choir.  But what happens is they negotiate with life insurance companies for you based on your health results.  It’s really cool.

So the way that you do this is you go to healthiq.com/ben and they’ll give you a totally free quote.  If you go to HealthIQ, like Health Intelligence Quotient, IQ, dot com slash Ben (healthiq.com/ben), you can learn about life insurance for physically active people, but also get that free life insurance quote.  So it’s a good way to protect yourself and to also take advantage of the fact that you’re exercising to save some money.

This podcast is also brought to you by some of the best tasting green juice powder on the face of the planet.  And here’s why I like this stuff at this particular time of year.  I usually will do like kale, and bokchoy, and Swiss chard, and stuff like that in my smoothie, dense, dense green super foods.  But in the winter, it’s harder to find those foods.  I’ve got romaine lettuce, and iceberg lettuce, and cucumbers, and some squash, but you miss out on one of those really dense antioxidants, a lot of the dense, chlorophyll-rich green stuff.  So you could make yourself a smoothie with whatever, cucumbers, and zucchini, and iceberg, or whatever kinda like slightly subpar vegetables, sorry, cucumbers, that you have around, and then you can throw this powder in to upgrade the nutrient density.  I’m using that word a lot, aren’t I? Upgrade.

So, anyways the way that you do this is you get this green juice powder that’s called Organifi.  It’s got like 15 plus different ingredients, chock full of just about every green thing on the face of the planet, and you put it your smoothie, or your water, your juice, or your coffee if you’re one of those weird people that blend strange things into your coffee.  And the way that you get this stuff, you get a 20% discount on it, you use code Ben at bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife.  Code Ben gets you 20% at bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife.  Enjoy.  And now on to today’s episode with a guy who makes me look pretty dumb.  Not that that’s hard to do.  But he definitely does it.

In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“One of the things we realized was that people who are dealing with chronic complex disease who are gonna have to do a lot of things and did have some complication are also dealing with decreased cognitive function, decreased energy, and some emotional difficulty that makes it hard to do what they need to do.  So being able to support those areas is hugely beneficial.”  “When caffeine is bound to pterostilbene, the pharmacodynamics of it are very interesting.  It slows the rate of caffeine into the bloodstream and elongates the half-life pretty significantly.” 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 it’s probably no secret that I often record podcasts with all sorts of special things circulating in my bloodstream.  And today, it would be a definite doozy.  I am chock full of huperzine, DHEA, curcumin, quercetin, BioPQQ, artichoke, coleus, ginkgo, taurine, theanine, centrophenoxine, citicoline, alpha-GPC, zinc picolinate, magnesium threonate, and a host of other variables that are right now lighting my brain on freaking fire, things called nootrophics.  But my guest on today’s show actually thinks there’s a pretty big problem with this stuff, namely that the entire field, of the entire movement of nootropics, or smart drugs as some people will call them, even though there’s a difference, that the entire movement has some pretty extreme reductionistic tendencies.  Meaning that even though popping pills, and using biohacks, and self-quantification to make your body and your brain smarter, and despite the plethora of scientific findings focused on individual neurotransmitters, and mechanisms, and cell walls, and receptor sites, and brain flow, and blood flow, it’s almost a bunch of like isolated variables, isolated single parts of the cognitive machinery.  And in many cases when we look at all this stuff in isolation, there can be side effects.  There can be drawbacks.  There can be some deleterious impacts in other areas.

And so my guest today has a distinct focus.  His focus is to somehow make all this stuff work together, how to better understand, basically, the complex dynamics between the brain and an entire metatheory of cognitive enhancement.  As geeky, and nerdy, and woo-woo, and white lab coat-ish as that may seem, that’s exactly what we’re gonna be delving into in today’s show, along with a host of information on what I would consider to be the most comprehensive nootropic stack ever made, and what actually happens to be circulating in my bloodstream and in my brain right now.

So my guest today is Daniel Schmachtenberger.  And I just love that last name because any name that’s multisyllabalic that I can say without butchering it, I’ll take it.  Daniel Schmachtenberger.  I almost butchered it that time.  Daniel has actually been studying health and neurology for quite some time.  He was originally afflicted with some neurological and autoimmune illnesses that he’ll fill us in on, but wasn’t able to get ’em fixed with allopathic medicine or with complementary medicine.  And so he really took a deep dive into physiology and pathology, and became a real academic of mind-body medicine, a student of mind-body medicine.

And he has a huge background now in everything from psychedelics, to nootropics, to meditation, to psychology, to all sorts of different tools for evolving states and stages of consciousness, and evolving the human cognitive experience.  And he brings all of this together along with a ton of scientific research on his website, which I will link to in the show notes.  It’s called the Neurohacker Collective, and the specific flavor of nootropic that he has created is called Qualia.  And so we’re gonna delve into that and probably take the deepest dive we’ve ever taken into neurohacking, hacking the biology of your brain, your cognition, the problem with modern smart drugs, affecting your neurons in a very positive way, building new brain cells, and a whole lot more.  So, Daniel, thanks for coming on the show, man.

Daniel:  Ben, thanks for having me.  It’s good to be here.

Ben:  Yeah.  No problem.  And you are down in Encinitas, California, right?

Daniel:  That’s correct.

Ben:  I like it.  The land of yoga pants.  And also Navy SEALs, I suppose.  It’s kind of weird place, right?  Navy SEALs and yoga pants.

Daniel:  It is the intersection of both of those things.

Ben:  You aren’t wearing yoga pants and dressed up as a Navy SEAL with a trident, are you?

Daniel:  That’s private.

Ben:  Okay.  Alright.  Alright.  A little bit awkward, but we’ll leave that to everyone’s imagination.  Anyways.  So, Daniel, before we jump into this whole idea of nootropics, and cognitive enhancement, and the nitty gritty nuts and bolts of how to do it, I’m curious about what happened to you.  Because I know you had some kind of an illness, or something that kinda led you down this road, but what exactly was going on with you?

Daniel:  It’s a field that I’ve always been interested in, the capability for us to develop human potential in general, and cognitive and psychologic potential specific, as well as just kind of the cutting edge of personalized and integrative medicine, both from the diagnostic and therapeutic sides, and with my background orientation towards whole systems, complex systems science, and integrating multiple disciplines and approaches together, like I said, that had always been an area of deep interest.  But several years back, I did start having a bunch of symptoms.  And when I went and got traditional diagnostics, I had both autoimmune rheumatic disease and signs of neurodegenerative process, and the specific things that I had going on did not have any kind of adequate treatment in allopathic medicine, and there wasn’t even consistent success anywhere in integrative medicine.

And so, the answer for me was to just start seeking to understand what tissues were being damaged by what chemicals, what was happening in the chain in those causal cascades that lead to that happening, what could be the Tier 1 deviations from homeostasis that could lead to those kind of cascade.

And so that just meant starting to model out the systems in a more complex way where we don’t silo between neurology, gastroenterology, immunology, et cetera ’cause obviously a gut-brain axis disorder can be affecting neurologic tissues.  And so when we started to model that, applying complex systems ontology, a lot of really novel insights started to come about, and it led to me figuring out how to do appropriate diagnostics for myself of what was going on.  I found a number of key, like what were what you would call original cause, and then also causal cascade insights, and was able to actually reverse both the disease pathology as well as the underlying causes, reverse autoimmune antibodies, et cetera, and was able to do similar things for many friends that had also had diagnoses that had no formal treatment.  And this led to a series of insights about not just nootropics, or neuropsychopharmacology, but the future of medicine as a whole.  How do we do a better job of understanding what health is in terms of whole system resilience, and what disease is in terms of decreased resilience and pathophysiology, and what the future of adequate integrative personalized medicine could look like.

Ben:  That’s a lot of big words, man.  I’m curious in terms of like the specific nitty gritties.  What are a couple examples of things that you did?  Like when you’re talking about autoimmune issues or neurological dysfunction, were you just like drinking bone broth and following like an autoimmune diet where you weren’t eating night shades, and dairy, and soy?  Or were you pulling like a lotta like fringe little biohacks, or I know what you call neurohacks, out?  And if so, like where were just a couple of the things that you did that kinda like effected some really significant change?

Daniel:  You know how sometimes you talk to integrative doctors or biohackers, it really focused on mold, or yeast, or GI parasites, or pathogens, or dysbiosis, or methylation, disorders from genetic predispositions, or HPA axis disorders, or Lyme’s disease, or heavy metal toxicity.  It’s like how do you put all of the parts together of all forms of toxicity, all forms of deficiency, all forms of pathogenecity, code imbalance?  ‘Cause you’re obviously gonna treat Lyme disease in terms of actual Borrelia in the blood very differently than you’re gonna treat a mucosal infection or you’re gonna treat a heavy metal toxicity.  And so, the key for me was actually enumerating the entire space of all the things that could be involved doing complex diagnostics across the whole space.  And then rather than just kinda having a shotgun approach, have a very targeted therapy that factored exactly what was going on for me that would be totally different than what was going on for someone else that had the same disease diagnosis.  Because you can have multiple different deviations from imbalance, deviations from homeostasis that can lead to the same kind (inaudible) disease disorder.

So I was doing specific kinds of treatments for mucosal infections, weird infections I had in my gut from international travel, and that was both meds.  So Alinia, and Ivarmectin, and a number of kind of normal and not very common anti-parasitic, antibacterial meds, and a lot of supplements that were both addressing mucosal function, addressing infection directly.  So that would be like an example of dealing with GI infection where we were dealing with other mucosal infection, like things and sinuses.  Then were specific anti-infectious, and biofilm killing, biofilm breaking things that I did intranasally, a lot of IV therapies, IV chelation, glutathione, et cetera for aspects of toxicity, and ozone, ultraviolet lights for some humoral infection.  So some things, but it wasn’t just like all of the integrative things.  It was very specifically targeted towards what order of operations make sense on what things that are here.

Ben:  Right, right.  That make sense.  So you were not just like throwing everything in the kitchen sink at your body in some like desperate attempt to fix yourself.  You were actually, I’m assuming, doing like blood and biomarker testing as you went along researching a lot of this stuff?

Daniel:  Yeah.  I started with comprehensive diagnostics across the whole spectrum of things that could be involved and then said, “Okay, does this make sense?”  If I look at my medical history, when certain symptoms started, when I was exposed to certain things, I look at the whole landscape of biometrics now and in understanding of how causation could occur, do I kinda have a story of when these exposures likely happened, when these kind of exposures to toxins, infections, et cetera, injuries, stresses.  And then if you can put a picture together, then you can get a sense of, “Okay.  What would a project plan for reversing this?”  Obviously if you’ve got some kind of, say, GI mucosal infection that is causing continuous inflammation to go into the bloodstream or allowing toxicity to go into the bloodstream, you’re gonna wanna address that before trying to address the blood side most of the time.  So order of operations, et cetera, that’s just all things would factor if you’re doing kind of comprehensive treatment.

Ben:  Yeah.  And I know that today we’re gonna focus a lot more on kinda like the nutrient status of things, right.  Like nutrients that you could put into your body to assist with the nervous system and with brain health, and with even like building new neurons and things like that.  But in the show notes, I’m putting the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/neurohacker.  As in, well, just like what it sounds like.  Neurohacker.  But that’s a phrase I hadn’t really heard thrown around until I heard you use it, Daniel.  And I’m just curious, when it comes to this idea of neurohacking, before we delve into the nitty gritty of what kinda like a dream nootropic would look like, what exactly is neurohacking?  How do you find neurohacking?  What is it that your company does from this neurohacking standpoint?

Daniel:  Like I said, even though I’ve been interested in the field of cognitive optimization for a long time, one of the things that had me do a deep dive into it when I was wrestling with some of these issues myself is that some of the symptoms I was dealing with were cognitive decline.  And my background and like my whole life work being cognitively engaging things, that was more of debilitating than physical issues for sure.  And since I was gonna have to try and study, and figure out an adequate approaches since one didn’t exist, obviously I couldn’t do that while having cognitive decline.

So my first thing that I applied the cognitive input I had to was how do I increase cognitive bandwidths.  And so that was a deep dive into the study of cognitive nutrition, smart drugs, nootropics, et cetera.  Again applying complex systems models, just like what, okay.  So what really is being mediated by acetylcholine?  What’s being mediated by catecholamines?  By glutamate?  How do these systems interface?  Et cetera.  Getting out a more detailed understanding and then seeing how to support that whole process.

Now fast forward 18 years, one of the things we realized was that people who are dealing with chronic complex disease who are gonna have to do a lot of things and that have some complication are also dealing with decreased cognitive function, decreased energy, and some emotional difficulty that makes it hard to do what they need to do.  So being able to support those areas is hugely beneficial for the rest of treating their pathology.  But then, of course, that’s just relevant for everyone.  Right?  Even at the other end of the bell curve, people who are looking for real optimization enhancement.  And so neurohacking for us is you could almost think of it as a subset of biohacking, but also kind of a Venn diagram where we’re looking at hacking the mind-brain interface.  What things can we do that enhance?  So we’re not looking so much at athletic performance, even though that can be a positive side effect, we’re looking at optimizing cognitive capability and psychoemotional state and predisposition.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  So when we start to kinda like delve into the actual nitty gritty of, especially like the type of nutrients that you can put into your brain, my first question is, before we focus on individual ingredients, the thing that I’m curious about because I kinda wanna know how this works.  From an acute effect, obviously when somebody takes like a handful of pills, like a nootropic, or some powder, or some tincture, or extract designed to help your brain fire better, is there an actual chronic change in brain structure?  I mean, is there any evidence out there that you can do things like build new neurons, or reset your tolerance to things like caffeine, or increase the production of mitochondria or cell membranes, or anything along those lines?  What can be done in the brain by putting the right nutrients into it?

Daniel:  Yeah.  This is a really important question.  When we think about smart drugs in general, we oftentimes think about pharmaceuticals that are being used for off label purposes, like Adderall, or Ritalin, et cetera.  We’ll notice that we get immediate lift in certain metrics, like focus, or concentration, or something that’s useful.  But those lifts not only usually are not lasting, don’t produce positive long-term effects, but oftentimes are producing negative long-term effects.  Either because of side effects in other systems, or even the system they’re affecting, they’re affecting in a way that creates dependence.  And the primary way to think about this is if you have a regulatory system, like say we’re looking at Adderall.  You have an endogenous system that’s regulating dopamine levels and catecholamine levels.  If I override that system through an external, an exogenous stimulus, then I’m gonna create dependence upon that exogenous stimulus.  And that means downregulation.  One of our fundamental goals was how do we understand how the body’s and endogenous regulatory systems work, and rather than override them, work through those pathways where we can increase system resilience and robustness where if someone got off of whatever it was that they were taking that would actually have lasting positives because the underlying regulatory systems have become more robust.

So that was a core goal for us.  And there’s a number of ways of that happening.  So you’ve got obviously the immediate effects that are usually gonna be neurochemical, neuroendocrine kind of effects.  Changing people’s levels of neurotransmitters, receptor site modulation, things like that can affect those fairly quickly.  You’ve got medium term effects, which can come from things like decreasing inflammation and affecting the phospholipid cell membrane to have more integrity and elasticity.  And then you’ve got longer term effects, like the ones you’re mentioning where you start looking at things like neurogenesis, the development of new neurons, new neural stem cells, and synaptogenesis the development of new synapses, and both of those as a category of biogenesis, new biological structural development, increased mitochondria within cells.  These are not gonna be permanent ’cause nothing’s permanent and it’s a continuously changing environment.  Just like exercise and muscle development, it’s not permanent, but it’s lasting.  Meaning if you aren’t then damaging those structures and you’re continuing to support them, there is lasting structural change.

So I would say with a tropical, or in general, one of people’s goals should be how do we create short term immediate benefit we’re looking for without creating meaningful side effects or downregulation, how do we upregulate the regulatory systems for lasting benefit, and how do we upregulate structure in a way that’s going to produce, again, regulatory lasting benefit.  When you look at things like, you’ve got the company Neurostem that is in late stage clinical trials for their product NSI-189 that some people…

Ben:  What’s it called?  Neurostem?

Daniel:  Neurostem.

Ben:  Okay.

Daniel:  They’re actually a boutique pharmaceutical company, and they were originally working doing neural stem cell injections for spinal cord injuries and ALS, and they started figuring out some small molecules that made stem cells proliferate.  And their most famous one is a product called NSI-189, and that will probably become a pharmaceutical drug, but some people have already been using it as a nootropic.  And specifically, its mechanism of action is neurogenesis.  Developing more neural stem cells that increase grey matter density in the hippocampus and in other areas.  And so it’s been treating major depressive disorder.

Ben:  And is this something that people like would get prescribed by a physician, or is this like an injection into the brain, or what is it?

Daniel:  It’s not something that someone would get prescribed yet because it hasn’t finished FDA clearance, but it probably will.

Ben:  Okay.

Daniel:  But this is an example of one that is actually moving down that kind of pharmaceutical path.  But whether it would be used for, say, diabetic neuropathy, or anxiety, or depression, or Alzheimer’s, if you can help develop endogenously more neural stem cells, that’s gonna be very meaningful for lots of things.  What happens to be that there are nutrients that are involved in our body’s own process of doing that that can help in that direction and other kind of system modulators.  So those are all things that we factor in the nootropics that we develop.

Ben:  Interesting.  So when we’re talking about like new brain stem cells, what about for people with like TBIs, and head injuries, and stuff like that.  I mean, I’ve got an orbital fractures, and TBIs, and concussions like they’re going out of style.  When you’re talking about inducing new brain stem cells or neurogenesis, are you actually saying that you could potentially like heal certain areas of the brain?

Daniel:  Yep.  So when someone has a TBI, a mild traumatic brain injury or severe traumatic brain injury, the first thing that has to happen is to protect ongoing damage.  So ongoing oxidative damage, excitotoxicity, any of the kinds of damage that can start to cascade.  Whether we’re talking about a head injury, or a stroke, neuroprotection is the first goal.  And then beyond that, where there has been actual damage to neural networks, then we wanna see what can we do to help regenerate neural networks.  And we’ve got nootropics like emoxypine, also known as Mexidol, that have been used pretty heavily off-label, mostly for post-stroke and other forms of traumatic brain injury.

Some of the Russian peptides, C Max, and Selank, and some of the more common nootropics like some of the racetams, and ampakines, and noopept in particular have been found very, both neuroprotective and neurogenic.  And then you’ve got things like lion’s mane, and taurine, and methyl B-12 that are all neurogenic through normal and endogenous processes.  So even in the field of TBI treatment is only kind of scratching the surface of these areas.  I do think in the not-too-distant future, we’ll combine much better scan technologies like SPECT scans, and better QEEG, along with the normal FMRI, et cetera have a better picture of what’s going on, and then have much better both protection and treatment capabilities.

Ben:  Yeah.  It actually is fun to self-quantify this stuff.  I went down to Los Angeles and visited this place called the Peak Brain Institute and spent about a week there learning how to do neurofeedback, how to actually attach electrodes to my head and use this software in which you’re basically flying a spaceship with your brain, but you are being rewarded with audio and visual cues that encourage, for example, production of alpha, or theta brain waves, or the decreased production of like fast stressful beta brain waves.  And it’s really interesting because I’ve tried this type of brain training both with and without certain nootropics circulating in my system, and there’s a distinct difference, especially in the amount of like upregulated alpha or theta, and decreased beta when you use a self-quantification method like that.

Obviously not everybody’s gonna have like a, whatever, a $3,000 piece of electrode and laptop they can do this with.  But I mean there’s even phone apps.  I don’t know if you’ve played around with ’em much, Daniel, but like the CNS Tap Test App, which just like tests your central nervous system by letting you keep track of how quickly you can tap in a 60-second time frame, or like the n-back app on the iPhone that just allows you to test like your short term memory recall.  And it really is interesting that you can see a distinct difference that kinda goes above and beyond what you might get from, say, like a cup of coffee with this stuff.

Daniel:  Well, here’s a real fun concept there.  Obviously we are starting to get quantified self-devices that are more available, which is hugely beneficial ’cause when we can link assessment insights with whatever we’re doing in terms of influence, then we get much better and shorter upregulation cycles in terms of what we’re doing.  But we’ve obviously got also hardware that’s becoming available.  So it’s not 128, or 64 EEG, but the MUSE is actually pretty neat for people being able to do neurofeedback on their own.  And there’s a few EEG neurofeedback devices that are starting to become commercially available, that are good enough that they’re meaningful.  So these are all part of what we would call the neurohacking movement, both assessment and influential tools.  And you notice I’m not saying diagnostic or treatment because we’re not operating within the FDA medical space, but these are all what we call neurohacking tools that are meaningful and that we appreciate.

But when you mention that you are doing neurofeedback, neurofeedback’s not only helping you learn how to gain executive control of certain brain frequency states, but the reason that that can be lastingly beneficial is you start having certain states be more common, more baseline.  And certain things that were common before, say anxiety, or whatever become less common, less baseline, that corresponds with structural changes.  But when you’re doing neurofeedback, even though you have something on your scalp, it’s not doing any transcranial stim.  It’s just reading, and then you are using your own consciousness, you’re using your own mind-brain system to do different things with your attention that actually leads to neuroplastic rewiring of the brain, including development of new neural networks.  And that can happen also without EEG equipment, that can happen when someone learns how to juggle, or play drums, or any new kind of coordination task, they’re actually having to develop new neural circuitry.

And now when you start mentioning adding something like nootropics in, think about what happens if we’re wanting someone to do therapy to cure PTSD, or they’re wanting to do EEG neurofeedback to develop some new capabilities, what if we could give them chemistry that actually made their brain more neuroplastic first so it could more per unit/time of doing that therapy.  And then we gave them other chemistry afterwards that was long-term potentiating that actually helped lock in that new learning.  That’s an example of sequencing.  So that could look like microdosing psilocybin before and doing something like Ciltep afterwards, and you get to balance that plasticity, make your synapses more susceptible to change, and potentiation, lock in the learning in terms of effective synaptic formation.  This would be an example of thinking through something kind of in a more comprehensive neurohacking way.

Ben:  Yeah.  That whole field of neuroplasticity, it’s actually extremely interesting how you can strengthen or lessen existing neuronal pathways, or establish new neurons and new connections, which I know is actually called structural plasticity, versus like building new pathways, I think that’s called synaptic plasticity.  But you make a good point.  Like you don’t have to necessarily go out and spend thousands of Dollars on neurofeedback software.  You can learn a language, you can play the ukulele, you can tackle some difficult interesting subject like take an online course of Udemy or learn how to code.  And then you even mention something interesting.  Even like psilocybin.  That’s a really interesting topic.

I’ve used psilocybin here and there, and I’ve found that when I have used it, the situations in which I’ve used psilocybin in moderation with responsibility and with intention has actually resulted in the formation of intense memories that are far brighter, and more clear, and more colorful than memories formed in the absence of something like psilocybin.  So, yeah.  I think this whole idea of neuroplasticity is very interesting.  I wanna actually delve into some of the ingredients that you can put into your body to make it more neuroplastic, but also to do things like shut down brain inflammation, or provide the brain with neuro vitamins, et cetera.  But before I ask you about that, I’m curious, just for fun, I was talking about neurofeedback, for example, and you mention the MUSE headband for meditation.  Do you have anything that you do on a regular basis, in kinda like the tech sector, not necessarily like pills that you pop, but do you do like TDCS, or electro stim, or anything along those lines to enhance your own neuroplasticity?  Any special biohacks that you use frequently?

Daniel:  Yeah.  I wouldn’t just say for neuroplasticity, but for mind-brain, nervous system optimization comprehensively.  So right where I’m sitting, like within just reach of my seat, I’ve got the Vielight Intranasal Transcranial Lasers.  I like that technology quite a lot.

Ben:  It’s actually, and I’m gonna interrupt you super quickly because this is the million Dollar question, Daniel.  Do you have the one that like wraps around your entire head and goes in your nose?  Or are you an underachiever and you just have one that goes in your nose?

Daniel:  No, no.  Head and nose, both.

Ben:  Oh, nice!  So you have the Neuro.

Daniel:  Yes.

Ben:  Cool.  That thing is amazing.

Daniel:  But we have a bunch of other fun transcranial laser technologies.  So this is primarily focused on increasing cellular ATP levels through specific frequencies of light, and obviously transcranial and intranasal for increasing ATP and neurons, which are obviously very energy intensive.  And so I think that’s a brilliant technology.  There’s a lot of forms of transcranial stim.  Transcranial direct current is interesting.  I’m very careful with it.

Transcranial alternating current is interesting, transcranial magnetic deep stim, and we’ve even got friends who are at the pioneering edge of transcranial ultrasound at University of Arizona.  Stuart Hamerhoff’s lab and a number of other places that are pioneering work with transcranial ultrasound to reverse beta amyloid and tel phosphorylation involved with Alzheimer’s.  So there are some of those technologies that I use regularly that are here, and there other ones that I’ve went mused very specifically for specific conditions, or that wouldn’t be appropriate for me ’cause I don’t have the things that they’re needed, but we use them with other people that they are appropriate with right.

Ben:  Right, right.  Used appropriately, they’re really amazing.  For example, that Vielight device, I was speaking with a really intelligent neurosurgeon and a guy I’ve had on the podcast a few times named Dr. Jack Kruse, and we were talking about the use of things like intranasal light therapy, and the use of like that head band, that neuro head band.  And one of the ideas behind that, and it’s stimulation of the cytochrome C oxidase, I believe, is the specific area that stimulates it, is it creates a little bit of free radical production.

And so some of this stuff, it’s not like you’re hooked up to it 24/7.  It’s like that device, you’re supposed to use about once every two to three days.  Or like you talked about transcranial direct stimulation, the TDCS, which is often done with a headband.  I’ve been trialing a device called the The Neuroscience made by a company called Halo, and it’s a pretty intense form of magnetic stimulation that massively ramps up the activity in the motor cortex.  And so it will, for example, decrease your sensitivity to discomfort during exercise when you use it prior to an exercise session, or increase your ability to be able to rip more weight off the floor during a deadlift.  But you also, you’re supposed to take a good 8 to 10 hours between any type of sessions with stuff like that just ’cause it’s such an intense ride, so to speak, for your brain.  So, yeah.  Some of the stuff is interesting.  You just have to use it responsibly, right?

Music Plays…

Ben:  I wanna interrupt this podcast to tell you about a few people that you need to follow on Instagram.  So I’ve got a few ladies that you should follow on Instagram, whether you’re a lady you wanted to be inspired, or whether you’re a dude who wants to see ladies doing awesome things.  So here they are, jot this down or write them down or go to the website that I’m gonna tell you about in a second and there be links to each of these girls.  Molly Eledge.  She is an amazing, beautiful specimen of a crossfit athlete who has some really inspirational posts on instagram.  And there’s this girl called the Calisthenics Queen, Jessica Russian R3D Bogdanov.  Bogdanov.  Check her out, she has some amazing twirl in.  She does all over the place like a Parkour athlete on steroids.  Check out Kate Minwegen, that’s M-i-n-w-e-g-e-n, she’s an aerialist.  She’s also freaking amazing and in her instagram page is off the hook.  And then finally there’s this girl that is an adventurer who does like a bunch of free diving in deep water, and she’s really cool too.  Her name is Ashleigh Baird.

So all of these athletes are athletes to represent Kimera Koffee, and Kimera Koffee is used by so many of these crazy people like UFC fighters, and MMA artists and me, and professional racing pilots, and biohackers and all sorts of people around the globe including like adventurers who are doing amazing things.  And they use this stuff because it’s like coffee on steroids without actual illegal performance enhancing drugs in it.  So this coffee has alpha-GPC, taurine, L-theanine, DMEA, you’re listening to a podcast on smart drugs and nootropics, so why not get some in your coffee in the morning.  So, check ‘em out, Kimera Koffee, and here’s the deal, when you go to kimera koffee – k-i-m-e-r-a-k-o-f-f-e-e dot com, you use code ‘Ben’ to get 10% off any of their coffees or any of their cool things that you can put in the coffee and if you scroll to the bottom of the page when you go to kimerakoffee.com, all for those chicks that you can follow on instagram along with frankly all of their athletes on instagram and some of them are pretty, pretty cool, pretty fun to watch.  Instagram is a great way to waste time and see cool things, and be inspired of course.  So check ‘em out kimerakoffee.com.

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Music Plays…

Daniel:  For when you mentioned something that increases free-radicals, anything that is pro-oxidative is gonna increase free-radicals and so there’s a classic kind of relationship between oxidative and antioxidant herpes because you want a lot of oxidation of glucose within the cell and in particular areas appropriate to increase ATP and cellular energy, and you want to not be oxidizing cell walls and other structures.  So our people wanting to increase oxidative bandwidth or increase antioxidant bandwidth within its pole, right, it’s a very dynamic homeostatic relationship between both of those and in different areas, in different tissues, and almost everything works like that whether we’re talking about pH or whether we’re talking about redox interactions, we’re not trying to just move the needle in one direction, we’re trying to increase system resilience in both direction simultaneously.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.  It’s cool stuff though.  A total rabbit hole compared to what I actually wanted to talk to you about today which is nootropic compounds ‘cause I know that’s kinda like your area of expertise and like I mentioned like I have a bunch of the actually brain nutrients that you helped design circulating in my body right now.  I woke up this morning and I have these two bottles.  One called step one and one is called step two.  These stuff is called Qualia – Q-u-a-l-i-a, Qualia.  And I was first introduced to this stuff and I might ask your permission for this first, Daniel, is it completely off limits for me to mention the god-pill, the black label version of this stuff?

Daniel:  Obviously it’s not completely off limits because it happened.

Ben:  (chuckles)  Okay. Alright, so…

Daniel:  The god-pill is as you were calling it, your name not ours, is basically stuff that we worked within the research lab but is not available for sale because we haven’t gone through all of the FDA and testing we need to for that, but it’s on our product right now.

Ben:  Yeah.  I kinda did stuff backwards meaning that I had no clue what neurohacker collective and who you were.  I had no clue about this Qualia stuff that I’ll get in to in a second but someone at a random health and fitness conference that shall remain unnamed handed me this pill, and it was on a morning of a particularly difficult and rigorous day on which I was to speak, I was to do a whole bunch of signings and talks, I was to be attending a late night party that evening, and he handed me this pill, and he said that I want you to try this.  I said, “what is it?” he said, “It’s the god-pill.  There’s this black package and they opened it up and I’m like – Oh, you know, I’m one of those guys who if it is relatively natural, I’ll try it.  And I took a quick glance at the ingredient list which was an extremely comprehensive list of mostly stuff I was relatively familiar with but I’ve not actually taken all at the same time in all these different nootropic compounds.

So I took it, and I did literally feel like, not trying to be blasphemous, god, the rest of the day.  I mean, everything was firing on all cylinders.  Verbal fluency, memory recall, the ability to form relationships and connections with, and understand and be empathetic to people, all sorts of super interesting effects.  Even like reduced procrastination and reduced anxiety.  Unfortunately, this effects stayed with me until about 4am in the morning.  (chuckles) I was like, I wanna quit writing an article and go to sleep at some point, but very, very similar to almost like modafinil without actually kicking my liver into the ditch as modafinil can do.  And so, that was my introduction and later on I discovered that there’s actually perhaps a slightly less intensive version of this stuff called Qualia.  And so, that was I took this morning for example, one bottle that you take in the morning on an empty stomach and another bottle that you take with breakfast or food in your gut.  And so, that is what I wanna delve in to into this Qualia stuff.  So, in terms of Qualia, first of all, why do you call this specific nootropic blend that you make named Qualia?

Daniel:  Yeah.  It was a fun process when it comes to naming.  Qualia is actually a term coming out of philosophy of mind, which means “the quality of what it is like to be you”.  So your subjective experiences, the physical universe is made up of particles and force fields.  The subjective universe is made up of qualia; thoughts, emotions, sensations.  And so rather than just enhancing memory, or digit span, or arithmetic processing capabilities, we were alluding to the idea of optimizing one’s experience of existing, subjective experience of existing.  So if someone happens to know philosophy of mind, then they’re like, “Oh, cool.  They used a philosophy of mind term.”  And if someone doesn’t, it’s just a cool sounding board that sounds kind of like quality.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  Makes sense.  Alright.  So you’ve got one, two, three, four, five, six, I believe, seven different kinda like categories of nootropic stimulants in the ingredients of this formulation, and that kinda returns to, I guess, what you were talking about before how you don’t wanna just focus on one specific area of brain enhancement.  You wanna somehow get all the parts to interact.  And so, if I could, I’d like to ask about the difference between some of these things ’cause I think some people may not understand what all needs to be in a complete brain compound.  So first of all, one of the first categories that you have in here are nootropic compounds.  What exactly is a nootropic compound?

Daniel:  Yeah.  Loosely, the term is generally used to mean some chemical that can enhance some aspect of cognitive function beyond someone’s traditional baseline without meaningful side effects.  So it’s in contradistinction to smart drugs, which would enhance some aspect of cognitive function, but might have some side effects.  Or brain nutrients, which aren’t gonna enhance brain function beyond baseline, they’re gonna make sure that you don’t drop below baseline, or if you already are, help to bring it back up at their part of the kinda normal process.  And so of course we’re interested in, and neurohacking involves all of those categories, but that’s a general way to think about what a nootropic is.  And that term arose from the scientists that developed piracetam, which was the first racetam and kind of the beginning of the major family of chemicals.  And then there are other families of chemicals; ampakines and other things that are part of what we usually think of, we think of nootropics.

Ben:  Okay.  So a nootropic in general isn’t something like vitamin B to replace some things that you’re burning through when you’re thinking, or like choline, or something like that, but these are actual chemicals that would do things like assist with cell membrane formation in the brain, or cerebral profusion, or neuroendocrine regulation, or something like that?

Daniel:  Something like that.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  Now one of the things, I want to target a few kinda interesting nutrients that I wasn’t really familiar with in your compound.  And one of the things that you have as part of the nootrophic blend in here is called hordenine HCL.  Am I pronouncing that correctly?

Daniel:  Yes.  Hordenine.

Ben:  Okay.  What exactly is hordenine?

Daniel:  So hordenine’s interesting.  It is a barley grass extract.  So it is actually not synthesize.  It is an extracted compound.  And it is a fairly selective MAOB inhibitor.  And so you’ve probably used or at least heard of selegiline, Deprenyl, which is a fairly selective chemical MAOB inhibitor that many people have associated with life extension as well as probably one of the best nootropic smart drugs.  And then there are other chemicals in that category that are newer, like rasagiline.  This is a herbal version of something like that, less potent in the dosage that we use.  And specifically MAO inhibitor is inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down certain neurotransmitters so the neurotransmitters can actually get across the synapse more effectively.  MAOA and MAOB are going to protect different neurotransmitters more selectively.  An MAOB inhibitor like this is going to protect primarily dopamine and then some of the associated catecholamines; norepinephrine, epinephrine, and phenylethylamine.

And the main reason that we include this, and we include a small dose, is phenylethylamine, which is a minor monoamine, that category of neurotransmitters, it’s one of the primary active ingredients in chocolate and in blue green algae that gives the psychoactive effect.  It’s usually kind of a euphoric effect, but it has an extremely short half-life.  And so it usually degrades in minutes.  And so it’s been a very common stack in the nootropic world, the neurohacking world, to stack something like hordenine.  There are many other natural MAOB inhibitors, but to stack that with phenylethylamine so that it actually has a longer half-life and some of the positive psychostimulatory and euphoric effects actually last longer.  And so it’s also obviously gonna affect dopamine, which we’re addressing through a number of ingredients and pathways.  So that’s the gist of that.

Ben:  Okay.  Okay.  Got it.  And in addition to that, that’s blended with a bunch of other things that I think some people may have heard of before like a phenylethylamine, which is like a neurotransmitter.  I know it’s also known as the love drug, but it increases like euphoria, and arousal, and excitation.  Phosphatidylserine is another one I think a lot of people know about as a way to like increase mental processing speed.  I’ve talked about one that you have in there before called vinpocetine, which they actually had some really interesting research on in NFL football players to reduce, speaking of TBI, a lot of the issues with traumatic brain injury and in NFL players in a study, I think, that Dr. Daniel Amen did a couple of years ago.  Huperzine, which, of course, Tim Ferriss made popular in the 4-Hour Body, and theobromine from chocolate, and DHEA which you mentioned.  And then another part of that nootropic blend that you have that I wanted to ask you about is that you have a little bit of caffeine in there.  It’s not a lot of caffeine, but I noted that you bind the caffeine to something called pterostilbene.  Why do you do that yet?

Daniel:  Yeah. So we don’t actually bind that.  We get it from one of our partners called ChromaDex that makes a patented product called PURENERGY.  PURENERGY is pterostilbene, which is the primary antioxidant in blueberries and certain other natural compounds.  And they’re binding that to caffeine, and specifically there are many companies that make pterostilbene.  This company ChromaDex has a version of it called pTeroPure that they’ve got good clinical trials on showing its effectiveness as a cerebral antioxidant.  It’s very similar to resveratrol, pterostilbene is.  A few of the reasons that it is preferred to resveratrol often is that it has a much longer half-life in the blood, and it crosses the blood-brain barrier to be a cerebral antioxidant more effectively.  And when caffeine is bound to pterostilbene, the pharmacodynamics of it are very interesting.

So it slows the rate of caffeine into the bloodstream and elongates the half-life pretty significantly.  It elongates the half-life of caffeine by about 25%, and as you look at multiple halvings, that means that after about six hours, you’ve actually got 50% more caffeine in the blood than you do from the same number of milligrams of caffeine not bound to pterostilbene, which means that you have both more of a delayed onset, more gradual [0:54:04] ______ slower and longer taper so you’ve got more consistent peak plasma levels of caffeine.  And so we wanted something that had both a longer effect, and less of a crash afterwards, and less of a stimulatory peak, and this particular delivery mechanism for caffeine was the best one that we’ve found for this purpose.  And you get the additional benefits of the pterostilbene, which there are many benefits of it, but primarily antioxidant is the main reason.

Ben:  That’s interesting.  I’ve been genetically tested for this and I’m a fast caffeine oxidizer, which means that caffeine is typically in and out of my bloodstream pretty quickly.  And that is one thing I notice about this is it seems to like lengthen the half-life of caffeine, like without me getting like the up and then the down.  I’d never actually had caffeine bound to something like pterostilbene before, but really interesting effect.  And for those of you who have tried caffeine all on its own, I would recommend that you what it feels like when you get it bound to this caffeine, especially if you’re a fast coffee metabolizer like I am.

Before we delve into some of these other things, like neuro vitamins and choline donors that you have in here, kind of a bigger picture question for you, Daniel.  What are some little known effects that something like a nootropic can have that people might not know about?  I mentioned, for example, when I took that “God pill”, all of a sudden, I had zero desire to procrastinate.  Like I was ready to jump in to do anything.  And then for people who are procrastinating doing taxes, or writing that article, or cleaning up the desk drawer, whatever, it seems that nootropics may have an effect there.  But are there other things besides limiting procrastination that are lesser known effects of nootropic compounds?

Daniel:  Sure.  Let me explain that procrastination is actually a really fun example because it wasn’t one we intended when we were originally developing this formula.  In earlier iterations of the formula, it was one of the positive side effects that we were like, “Well, that makes sense.”  And it’s cool, and particularly limiting procrastination on things that people found dreadful and odious, and now they had just much more emotional neutrality and focus, et cetera in them.  And so this has been a very interesting process to both hypothesize what things we would expect to be effective and then see what actually shows up.  And obviously it’s gonna depend on the particular nootropic and the person.  So, say we’re looking at something like aniracetam versus phenylpiracetam, they’re both gonna have increased memory, verbal fluency through their effect on acetylcholine and the NMDA complex.  But aniracetam’s gonna have more anxiety decreasing, anxiolytic effects, and phenylpiracetam’s gonna have more psychostimulatory effects based on their effect on other receptor sites.  So it depends.  Huperzine A for instance, the acetylcholinesterase inhibition in it can cause lucid dreams.  And so a lot of people will take that on their own, or take something like Qualia, and notice that they start having a lot more vivid and lucid dreams.

Some of the, I would say, positive side effects that we were most interested by is people feeling less emotional upset, less what they would call drama, emotional upset that really is not helpful or warranted, without feeling numb.  So they actually feel more capable, more available to positive experiences, and negative feelings, like sadness around authentic things, but not being upset unnecessarily by stories they’re generating because they’re actually thinking more clearly.  And so much of our emotional process is not the result of what’s happening, it’s the result of us not thinking through multiple different people’s perspectives and generating negative meaning.  And as someone simply able to think more quickly and more clearly, then they don’t get poor thinking generating unnecessary emotional drama.  And so I would say that’s probably even one of the most fun experiences people have reported.

Ben:  Yeah.  I should know, by the way, when it comes to like vivid dreaming and lucid dreaming, I don’t recommend, at least I personally wouldn’t take this stuff in the afternoon because I found that it really produces a very intense wakefulness effect.  What I have found is that later on in the day, after you would think it’s out of your system, I still get a very intense amount of lucid dreaming and vivid dreaming on the days that I use this stuff.  So you don’t have to take it right before bed.  For example, I know like Alpha BRAIN, for example, is a popular nootropic out there that if you take it before bed, it can cause some pretty intense lucid dreaming.  But this stuff seems to cause it even if you take it in the morning.

Daniel:  Yeah.  Many of the compounds are gonna last in the bloodstream for a meaningful amount of time, and or they’re going to affect some processes that last for a meaningful amount of time.  So this particular acetylcholineterase inhibition has a meaningful half-life on it.

Ben:  Yeah.  Interesting.  Okay.  So you’ve got nootropic compounds, like the hordenine that we talked about, and the pterostilbene bound to the caffeine, and the vinpocetine, and the huperzine A, but then you also have these things you call neuro vitamins.  What’s the difference between a neuro vitamin and a nootropic?

Daniel:  Like we were saying earlier, a neuro vitamin, basically we’re just talking about vitamins that have some effect in the nervous system; either in converting amino acids into neurotransmitters,  so specifically B6 and B6 in the phosphorylated version, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, and vitamin C are both critical for converting phenylalanine and tyrosine into dopamine, converting tryptophan into serotonin.  And so these are, as per the definition of vitamin, these are that one has to get dietarily, the body can’t synthesize them, and they serve some kind of cofactor role in some kind of process, some protein or chemical synthesis.  So we’ve got vitamin D having so many important roles throughout the whole body.  But particularly for the brain, things like myelin synthesis.  We have a particular version of B1 called benfotiamine which has a very meaningful neuroprotective function, specifically in peripheral neurons, and a version of niacin which is another B vitamin, niacinamide, which helps with blood flow and cerebral profusion, but specifically NAD production.  And B5s role in acetylcholine and adrenal hormone production, et cetera.  So these are all vitamins in particular forms and doses that are oftentimes the limiting factor in some of the key processes that we’re seeking to support.

Ben:  Okay.  Gotcha.  So a lotta of like the vitamin B compounds in specific forms that I know are designed for their neuroprotective effects or their anti-inflammatory effects for neural tissue or cognitive impairment.  But in addition to the vitamin B complex, I noticed you’ve got the vitamin D complex in there, but it’s not just vitamin D.  It’s vitamin D in a form called microencapsulated cholecalciferol.  What is that?

Daniel:  So cholecalciferol just means vitamin D3.  That’s the scientific name for vitamin D3.  And micro-rencapsulated, microencapsulation is a process in which you have some kind of chemical payload that is put in some kind of encapsulation that’s designed to only break down or release at some target.  So maybe it’s trying to get your stomach acid, like an enteric microencapsulation, and release in the intestines, or move through a particular pH, or whatever.  So it’s a delivery method mechanism.  And because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, oftentimes it’ll be actually in a fat base because for manufacturing reasons, these particular capsules are powdered then, we need to be able to take the D3, and stabilize it, and make sure that it would deliver effectively.  So microencapsulation is usually something like alginate, particular extract from algae, or cellulose that’s simply gonna help better absorption and delivery of that nutrient.

Ben:  So it essentially helps to take a vitamin that would mostly be fat soluble and allows it to be somewhat water soluble?

Daniel:  In this particular case, yes.

Ben:  Okay.  Interesting.  Alright.  So you’ve got your nootropics, and you’ve got your neuro vitamins, and then you also have something in there, like a class of compounds called neuro anti-inflammatorys and antioxidants.  Obviously it’s rocket science to know what an anti-inflammatory or an antioxidant would do in the brain, and some of them, they’re relatively familiar, again, like quercetin, for example, which I know has some really cool neuroprotective effects, and curcumin, which I’ve talked about quite a bit on the show before in terms of its anti-inflammatory effects, especially for neural tissue, and DHA, and green tea extract.  And even bioperine, or black pepper extract, which I know can help with the absorption and utilization of curcumin.  There’s one in there also though called BioPQQ.  What is BioPQQ?

Daniel:  Yeah.  So PQQ is an active version of CoQ10.  And so it has a number of important effect as a Krebs cycle intermediary and support in ATP production.  And you can use CoQ10, you can use ubiquinol, or you can PQQ.  They’re progressively more potent for certain processes.  So we’re using PQQ, and BioPQQ is simply a patented brand that has had good clinical trials done on it.  So in general, if there are companies that have made a nutraceutical and have patented a process on it that has strong, clinical trials already done, we will use that so that we know we have quality control and can reference the clinical trials that were done specifically.  So PQQ does a number of interesting things.  It’s involved in recycling glutathione, it affects some growth factor, like nerve growth factor synthesis, but the primary reason that we’re using, it does have anti-inflammatory effects and cytokine modulation, the primary reason is ATP support.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  So you’ve got that in there for, specifically for ATP support.  I know, for example, that’s the same stuff that’s in the, is it called the upgraded anti-aging formula that Bulletproof makes?  The PQQ?  I think that’s the one that is.  It’s either upgraded anti-aging or…

Daniel:  Their upgraded aging formula is oxaloacetate.

Ben:  Okay.  That’s right.

Daniel:  Then you have the unfair advantage, which is the BioPQQ.

Ben:  Unfair Advantage.  That’s right.  Unfair Advantage called BioPQQ.  And speaking of which, I’ve talked about this before.  Some of these names, and I love the products that Bulletproof makes.  I’m a huge fan of their stuff.  I use their Brain Octane, and I use their chocolate powder, and their bars, and all sorts of stuff.  But also when you look at words, like catchy phrases like Unfair Advantage or I mean, heck, even “the God pill” phrase that I threw around earlier, there’s definitely an eyebrow that gets raised in the scientific community with stuff like this, with claims like that.  So I’m curious, in terms of like clinical research behind some of these ingredients, and specifically like combining all these greens into a cocktail like you guys are doing at Neurohacker Collective, is there actual clinical research behind this stuff?

Daniel:  Yeah.  Great.  I wanna go up for one moment and describe the process of why we brought these particular compounds together in these doses rather than other things, and is it simply a throw-in-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink ’cause you mentioned a kind of trans reductionist, whole systems approach.  The first thing we did when we were looking at development of a nootropic like this, because we were doing specific nootropic chemistry with people in an integrative medical clinical settings where we had their genetics, and we had a huge amount of blood chemistry on them, and could customize things like if they were under or over methylaters and which methylation gene mutations they had, and et cetera, this is obviously a very different process.  We wanted to see could we provide some aspect of that kind of benefit at scale that is a formula.  And there were some things that were so specific, like the way we would address the folate cycle, and many other examples that we just really couldn’t work with those axes without customized input.

But we found really happily, to kind of our surprise, that there were many things that we could work with where the people who kind of self-selected being interested in something like cognitive enhancement, we had a very high percentage of people that reported on different performative tests, responded very well.  And so that’s what this is.  But how we started was saying, “When people are seeking cognitive enhancement, what are they really seeking?”  They probably don’t care about arithmetic processing or digit span by themselves.  They care about a whole complex of cognitive and psychoemotional things that come together that lead to a certain set of experiential states and capabilities.  So it’s like how do we induce creative productive flow states neurochemically much more effectively?  And so it involves focus, and concentration, and task switching, and fluid intelligence, and various aspects of memory, memory IO, and long term memory, short term memory, digit span et cetera, along with things like drive and emotional resilience without creating irritability, and anxiousness, and et cetera.  So we were looking at the whole complex of what side effects are often created by some smart drugs or nootropics when people are pursuing some of the effects and once additional effects are actually needed for a synergy of being able to do really meaningful work and feel optimized in the process.

And so we started with that kind of cognitive modeling, and we looked at, for each of those psychoemotional cognitive states or capabilities, how they mapped the underlying physiology, what’s known about which neurotransmitters, which hormones, which underlying aspects of neural structure, et cetera are associated.  And this is from any various field of integrative medicine, or neuroscience, et cetera.  So we started to model out the physiological processes that mediate those capabilities, and then started to look at which chemicals affect those physiologic dynamics, and then start to explore synergies between them, and et cetera.  So we developed a nootropic database of about 500 chemicals that affected the pathways we were looking at.  And so when we narrowed it down to 42 in here, obviously we were including a lot of things, we’re also not including a lot of things.  We’re including very specific [1:09:48] ______, ratios, forms.

And so most of the ingredients have clinical trials showing the specific things they do, and then we have a specific kind of process of hypothesis generation of how we are seeking to effect positive synergies, and then we’ve done about three years of pre-clinical data where we haven’t had formal placebo control, et cetera, and we’re just moving in to doing clinical trials right now.  We have a partner in the neurobiology department at Stanford that’s helping with it and a number of other great science partners outside of Neurohacker as well, as the team inside of Neurohacker.  And so we’re just engaging on our clinical trials.  We’re also developing an online assessment app that can assess various cognitive capabilities, like you were mentioning there’s a few apps that do, but again we’re going for comprehensivity, and it can assess psychostructure and psycho kind of emotional states so that people will be able to use that app to test how this is working.  But also they could test anything.  They could take other nootropics, they could start meditating, exercising, and just really be able to have an available resource for tracking psycho cognitive effects that are…

Ben:  Right, right.  So it’s basically like a whole bunch of ingredients they have pretty good, robust empirical bases for support, and various degrees of laboratory and clinical research supporting their safety and their efficacy.  But in terms of like putting all of this together, I mean to be frank it, sounds like it’s still, you haven’t actually taken this and put it through like you know double-blind, peer reviewed research quite yet.  You’re just kinda going off of each of the individualize ingredients.

Daniel:  Yeah.  Like I said, we’re in the beginning of doing that, but we haven’t got all the results back yet.  But it’ll be soon.  Our first pilot trial will come back soon.  What we did in the pre-clinical phase was we had several hundred people for a few years going through trials where they, again, this was not properly blinded, that they were using Quantified Mind, or Cambridge’s online cognitive assessment, or various cabinet assessments like that as well as structured subjective reporting.  And so we did get input on specific data on what was changing in what percentage of people, and that was enough to develop it to kind of the place that we have, and now moving into a formal clinical process.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  Cool.  I can speak from an n=1 experience that it seems to work quite well for me, and I suppose anyone else could try it as well.  And by the way, again I’ll mention the show notes, just so you guys know, I’ve got a fat discount on this stuff over in the show notes.  Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/neurohacker.  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/neurohacker.  Oh, go ahead.

Daniel:  ‘Cause you just said n=1.  This is one of the interesting things when you ask about clinical trials.  Clinical trial says “does this particular chemical compound process therapy do something across some randomized database more than the placebo does”.   It’s a meaningful test, but obviously some people are on one end of the bell curve effect and some people are on the other end, and there’s a whole bunch of variables as to why that are just statistically averaged into that bell curve.  And when we’re trying to do personalized medicine, or personalized optimization, where we would do something different for you than we would for anybody else, then clinical trials are not, they’re still an important part of the overarching process, but they’re not adequate for n=1 optimization.  And so Qualia is our first product to go to market, but more personalized versions of it moving towards full-personalization, and then not just Qualia, but many different kinds of neurotechnologies coming together.  Our goal is moving towards being able to do appropriate synthesis of all the biometrics and psychometrics that someone has to gain better insights into what’s going on in their system and personalised optimization recommendation, which is an underlying AI problem.  And so that’s really what Neurohacker Collective is all about is how do we synthesize the entire space.  That first, and then synthesize a space of everything that’s actually meaningful to be able to affect people’s cognitive, psychoemotional, mind-brain interactions.  And then based on [01:14:15] ______ have about what’s actually going on for them, personalize those recommendations.

Ben:  Got it.  Cool.  I like it.  I’m all about mini testing as you go through the stuff.  And again, if you’ve got access to some of those neurofeedback software, or the MUSE headband, or n-back training, or CNS Tap Test, or anything like that, it’s fun to play with this stuff in that vein as well.  Neuro minerals.  You have neuro minerals in there as well, like lithium orotate, and magnesium threonate, and zinc picolinate.  One of the things I want to ask you about, Daniel, because I use magnesium.  I’ve used it in the past for helping with sleep before bed, or hoping to have a nice, smooth bowel movement the next morning.  You’ve got a form of magnesium called magnesium threonate in there.  Mostly what I’ve used has been magnesium citrate.  Why have you used magnesium threonate as your primary form of a mineral?  And then kind of a bigger picture question, why minerals in general is as an inclusion in this compound?

Daniel:  Yeah.  So magnesium threonate is magnesium bound to threonine.  And just like magnesium citrate is bound to citric acid, there’s many different forms that you can bind magnesium to that will either have better or worse absorption overall, or more specific absorption targeting some of the many different things that magnesium [1:15:31] ______ . Now this would be true for any mineral, and so Magtein, which is the first kind of patented version of magnesium threonate, had very interesting and very unique trials showing increased brain levels of magnesium, specifically cerebrospinal fluid levels of magnesium that were tested in terms of double-blind placebo control.  And actually for this, since we weren’t testing subjective effects, they were testing specifically cerebrospinal fluid levels and placebo didn’t matter that much, but testing it against other forms of magnesium and found increased elevation of cerebrospinal magnesium levels that no other form of magnesium tested had been able to show.

So when we’re looking specifically at magnesium’s effect for neural health, magnesium threonate seems to be the best form of magnesium currently known for increasing cerebrospinal and brain levels of magnesium.  Now that doesn’t mean that magnesium citrate or other forms of magnesium won’t have additional benefits.  We think that topical magnesium, magnesium oil is really beneficial because you’ve actually got rate limiting factors in terms of just GI absorption of magnesium in any form.  So going through other mechanisms is good, but this one is very interesting and it seems to be from everything we know so far, unique in its neurologic benefits.

Ben:  Yeah.  And so minerals in general are basically to do things like modulate some of the cytokines and the eicosanoids that are created during normal neural processing.  And I know there are other things that are necessary for like redox reactions, and cellular neural metabolism, and a lot of the other things you’d need minerals for, I just don’t see them in a lot of nootropic compounds, and especially this form of magnesium.  I’m totally on board with you.  I use, in addition to the magnesium citrate that I mentioned, like a transdermal topical magnesium, especially on sore muscles.  But I think it’s interesting that you guys have magnesium in this compound as well.

Now not to get too nitty gritty, but I’ve got a couple of other questions about ingredients and then like a usage question for you.  Amino acids, you have a whole broad spectrum of amino acids in there and I don’t think it’s much of a secret any longer that amino acids are used as neurotransmitter precursors.  And so if you’re low on protein, low on amino acids, especially if you’re the vegan or vegetarian, I know amino acids are crucial.  But then you also something in there called choline donors.  Choline donors.  Why is it that some would want to include a choline donor when they’re taking something like a blend of amino acids, and minerals, and nootropics, and things of that nature?

Daniel:  Right.  So there’s a number of different things we’re trying to affect here.  Neurotransmitters are one of the significant effects, specifically for the immediate effects and affecting things like NGF and BDNF for neurogenesis or some of the longer term effects.  So there’s many different pathways we’re trying to effect.  One of the neurotransmitters that’s very meaningfully involved in memory and cognitive function is the acetylcholine pathway, and so we have various choline donors which are actually providing the choline that gets acetylated into acetylcholine.  You’ll notice we also have acetyl donors, both in the acetylcarnitine and the acetyltyrosine where the amino acid has its own benefit, and we’re making sure that the acetyl groups aren’t gonna be the rate limiting factor for acetlycholine production.  And then the rest of that acetylcholine pathway involves things like, B5 is involved in the actual production of acetylcholine, the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors like huperzine A make sure that the acetylcholine in the pre-synaptic neuron can actually get across the synapse effectively, and then the NMDA modulators.  So Noopept in particular, but there’s a few other things increase the post-synaptic neuron’s ability to receive and process the acetylcholine.

All of this is part of what we call a comprehensive acetylcholine pathway support.  And the various different choline donors, so you’ve got citicoline, and alpha-GPC, and centrophenoxine, but also things like uridine.  Uridine has a number of interesting effects.  One of them is that it does convert into citicoline.  We have this blend because you’ve got various peak plasma times, and when you want a more kind of consistent peak plasma over a long period of time, you factor that.  And you’ve also got a kind of differential delivery where both alpha-GPC and citicoline are gonna affect peripheral nerves then centrophenoxine’s effect on central nervous system.  And so this is all part of what we would call acetylcholine precursors and support.

Ben: Okay.  Got it.  So it’s the same reason, you hear about things like choline turnover and about how you can get excessively fatigued if you try to get your brain to fire too quickly without replenishing it with things like alpha-GPC or with choline, and all you’ve done is you’ve taken a whole bunch of different forms of choline, like the cytocholine, and the centrophenoxine, and the alpha-GPC and put them all together in there so you’re essentially just like covering all the choline bases, all the what would be called the cholinergic bases.

Daniel:  Right.  Now there’s obviously many famous forms of choline like DMAE, or phosphatidylcholine, or whatever that we’re not using in here for various reasons.  And in the specific dosage, you’ll notice that the citicholine or the alpha-GPC are lower doses than if people are using those by themselves because we’re looking at the entire choline load to not make people over-cholinergic factoring all of them.  So, yes.  I would say it’s 101 of nootropics to look at the acetylcholine pathway.  And whenever someone starts to do a racetam of some kind or a racetam-like compound that’s going to be a NMDA modulator for acetylcholine uptake, the first kind of principle of stacking is usually have some form of choline donor that’s bound to it.  So something like centrophenoxine and noopept together is a very classic stack.  But then as you start to add uridine, and B5, and huperzine A, you just get a more comprehensive effect.

Ben:  Right.  And I know in many cases, people will like to consume a nootropic compound like this with a fatty-rich meal to help out with some of those choline precursors, and absorption in general.  Like have it with eggs or have it, like in my case, with a little smoothie with some coconut milk, and seeds, and nuts.  But the interesting thing, and I think kind of the unique thing about this Qualia supplement is there are two bottles that you get when you buy it.  You get what’s called a Step 1 and a Step 2, and only Step 2 is to be taken with food.  I’m curious why’d you switch things up as far as the bottling goes and the need for Step 1 and Step 2.

Daniel:  Yeah.  It wasn’t originally that way in terms of before it was productized and we were in development.  But as you notice there, there’s a lot of ingredients and there’s significant quantity in a lot of the ingredients, so there’s a lot of total grams.  So average dose of being three of Step 1 and five relatively large tablets of Step 2.  That was just what it actually took to get the kind of effect we were looking for.  And so. part of the reason that we split it up has to do with GI absorptions specifically.  So there’s a number of compounds that actually absorb faster without food ’cause they’re not competing for absorption site in the intestines and the compounds that are gonna start producing the immediate effects that people usually want to notice quickly.  So most of those are in Step 1.  And Step 2 are things that either absorb better with food, or could otherwise create nausea if not taken with food.  And so when the whole thing was combined, you either take it all with lower absorption on the things that are in Step 1 and slower immediate kind of effects, or run the risk of nausea taking it all not with food and decreased absorption on something.  So this was the best way that we could support absorption of the whole stack.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  Basically the rule is on this stuff, and this the way that I’ve been using it.  It works perfectly.  I know that the dosages vary widely.  You guys have dosage recommendations on your website and on the back of the bottle, but I’ve been taking four to five of Step 1 when I get up in the morning.  And then later on, with breakfast, anywhere between, depending on the day’s level of activity, three to five of the Step 2.  But actually, I think it took four this morning ’cause I knew I’d be talking to you and when I talk to smart people, I need some kind of advantage to be able to keep up with you guys.  So, yeah.  That’s interesting, the one-two combo approach.

Daniel:  The doses are obviously gonna be very different based on people’s sensitivity, based on their body weight, based on the desired level of effect they wanna have, based on if they have used other nootropics or stimulants, and in the past where they’ve actually maybe created certain kinds of dependence.  So there’s a lot of factors that are involved.  We have a ratio that is based on if it wasn’t split into 1 and 2, if it was one stack, what would it be.  And so three of Step 1, and five of Step 2 represents that ratio and kind of average dosage.  And people can either start there and then adjust accordingly, or if there are sensitivity concerns, start on the lowest side and then progressively move up as they feel comfortable with it.  And one of the reasons you might use less of Step 2 is that many of the choline donors are in there, and there are some people that are much more sensitive to getting over-cholinergic.

And so this is one of those aspects where you really wanna get into personalization.  Some people really don’t need much of the choline donors at all, and other people benefit from higher doses profoundly.  And so one of the things that we are working on and will be developing and releasing soon are before we get to full customization based off of genetics and clinical chemistry, we are gonna be doing kind of phenotype-specific versions that look at, in general, under or overmethylating, under or over-cholinergic, under or over-catecholaminergic, and this will provide better effect for more people.  And these are still [1:16:34] ______ .

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  And a couple of other questions.  Is this okay, like if somebody competes in like a sanctioned organization sport, like a WADA sanctioned sport, or a USADA sanctioned sport, something sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Association, or the Olympics, or something like that, there’s a whole like cocktail, a whole shotgun of stuff in here.  Is it actually safe?  Like is it acceptable to take if you’re competing in a sport like that?

Daniel:  Very possibly not.  So for instance, there’s a small dose of DHEA, and I know DHEA is on the banned list for a number of organizations and sports.  It’s fine for other organizations and sports.  So this is not something that we keep an updated list on on our website.  So I would say anyone who is being tested should look at what the banned list ingredients are for them, and then check to make sure this is right for them.  Again, we will in the future have versions that don’t have DHEA, don’t have caffeine.  But when we’re wanting to release an initial product that would be the most well-tolerated and effective across the largest number of people, this was the best starting place.  So this is not going too, as far as we would have any reason to believe, show up on any kind of illegal narcotics drug testing.  There are no illegal narcotics.  But as far as anti-doping, one should look into that themselves.

Ben:  Yeah.  I actually think it’s kinda sad because like DHEA, it’s not an anabolic steroid.  It doesn’t act like an anabolic steroid, it’s free of side effects, it doesn’t produce any of the negative side effects of an anabolic steroid, and I still don’t understand why WADA would ban something like that that you find in freaking like raw butter, and cod liver oil, and red palm oil, and pumpkin seeds, and ghee.  I mean it’s kind of interesting that they would straight up and say something like that when I know they’re trying to keep people from using a cocktail of potentially dangerous anabolic agents.  But to me, the DHEA part of things is a bit silly.  Especially when folks can wander into Walgreens and get enormous amounts of DHEA just right off the shelf and make a lot of, a lot of folks don’t really realize that sometimes the Olympic anti-doping laboratories, and World Anti-Doping Agencies, and some of these agencies, they paint with a really, really broad brush, an annoyingly broad brush sometimes.  So it’s kinda interesting, but, oh, go ahead.

Daniel:  DHEA is the precursor in terms of the endogenous steroid pathways, anabolic steroid pathways, the precursor to most of the androgens, testosterone and other androgens.  And so I don’t know what their process in coming up with including DHEA was, but if it was simply just saying this is part of the conversion pathway to testosterone, you can see how they would come up with it.  But, yeah.  I agree, especially in terms of dose dependence.  We see various degrees of adrenal fatigue so commonly, and there is this pregnanolone steal preferential shunting of the precursor to both cortisol and DHEA, the hormone pregnenolone moving the cortisol whenever there is chronic ongoing stress, which is almost everyone.  And so elevated cortisol to DHEA ratio is common enough, and damaging enough that some DHEA was included in the stack for general HPA support.

Ben:  Yeah.  Interesting.  I mean I’m all in favor of it as a supplement.  But like for me for example, because I know now people are like jumping to the microphones asking how I can be competing and using something that has DHEA in it with good conscience.  The fact is I would never use anything that contains a bad substance leading up to a race.  And in many cases you’ll see that things that are banned for in-season competition, or taking right before race, or not banned for things like off-season use.  So there’s that consideration as well.  Now obviously 42 different freakin’ ingredients in this stuff.

So it kinda returns full circle to what we talked about in the very beginning, Daniel, how a big part of this is to, rather than just putting caffeine in your body, or rather just putting like modafinil in your body, or rather than just putting like coleus forskohlii, or CILTEP, or oxytocin, or any of these other things in your body, basically you’re developing more of like a full systems approach.  But one more kind of big picture question I have for you is it seems as though Neurohacker Collective, your website, is kind of like poised to go above and beyond just creating some kind of like a super powerful nootropic.  And if you were to name like the biggest one or two things that you have coming down the pipeline that you think are going to kinda like flip the industry on its head when it comes to cognitive enhancement, is there anything in particular that you guys are developing in your deep dark secret Batman laboratories that you wanna let people know about?

Daniel:  Yeah.  Well, we’re working both internally in terms of our own R&D department as well as externally where we work with various universities and research labs that are doing things we find really interesting to both kind of support them in their science development as well as look at synthesizing multiple technologies together.  So we’re working on many different technologies.  Our goal in Neurohacker is to be able to curate the cutting edge of applied neuroscience through a complex systems framework and progressively support better personalization of that for all kinds of psychoneuro optimization goals for people.

And so we’re working on some very interesting things in terms of delta sleep induction right now and how to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of delta sleep, working on some very interesting things in terms of how to prevent and reverse some of the brain processes that are involved in cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s, dementia, working more scalable diagnostics where people can actually be able to assess more different biomarkers and psychometrics less expensively more often to get much better quantified self data.  Lots of things.  Lots of things.

I would say the underlying key thing that we’re working on that we’re most interested in is a complex systems AI, artificial intelligence processor that can look at all of people’s biometrics and psychometrics not just in regards to a specific reference range, but all of them in relationship to each other, and look at why are these biometrics the way they are in the causal relationship to other biometrics and psychometrics.  What’s actually causing, what are the kind of complex cascades ’cause like when you were asking about TBI earlier, someone can have an event where there’s some mild traumatic brain injury from a car accident or whatever, it doesn’t show up on a PET scan.  They are told they don’t have brain injury ‘cause it’s not structural, it’s functional.  Afterwards, there’s any number of symptoms that could occur.

So say anxiety is one of the possibilities based on which neural networks are affected, but someone could also have anxiety from a gut-brain axis disorder from a parasite or pathogen that affected their microbiome, or from a methylation disorder, or from excitotoxicity from mold.  And so to us there’s no such thing as anxiety in a meaningfully treatable way.  There’s many different pathways that can lead in to that set of overexcitatory neurologic processes, and to be able to have a better set of insights of how would you do differential diagnostics across all those things to see what is most likely to be most supportive for someone.  And we’re interested in the non-medical, just wellness optimizing, direct-to-consumer space, as well as the integrated medicine medical space.  And we’re in and deeper phases of some things, later phases of other things.  But what interests us the most is not just developing specific technologies, but being able to really curate that and synthesize the entire field ongoingly, and make that otherwise unmanageable amount of information meaningfully accessible to people.

Ben:  Cool.  I like it.  Well, the website, I will link to in the show notes.  Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/neurohacker.  If you don’t know how to spell neuro, then you should probably be taking nootropics, but it’s N-E-U-R-O hacker.  bengreenfieldfitness.com/neurohacker.  And when you go there, I’ll link not only to Daniel’s website, but also what I’m including in there is a supplement, a discount that you can use to get 15% off of any of these nootropic compounds, the Qualia stuff that you’ll find over on Daniel’s site.  And I’ll also into a few of the other little things that we talked about like TDCS, and the intranasal light therapy, and meditation headbands, and some of that other fun stuff you can play around with.  And in the meantime, Daniel, I wanna thank you for giving your time, and coming on the show, and sharing all this incredibly interesting/mind-blowing/neuroplasticity developing information with us.

Daniel:  Ben, when I mentioned that we’re seeking to not only develop technologies but that to curate, synthesize them, I see that is exactly what you do.  You do it through an informational framework, and also curatorial framework, and you know the whole biohacking and optimized wellness space, and I just have huge respect for the service you provide to so many people.  So it was an honor to be here with you.

Ben:  Well, thanks man.  I appreciate it.  And folks, if you’re listening in, try this stuff.  bengreenfieldfitness.com/neurohacker, take advantage of that very cool discount code that Daniel set up for us.  And also when you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/neurohacker, be sure to pipe in with your own questions, comments, feedback, anything you wanna contribute to the conversation, and either myself or Daniel will pitch in and reply to you.  And so, until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Daniel, I get to say his last name one more time, Schmachtenberger signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a healthy week.

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Qualia Nootropic Supplement

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

NeuroStem stem cell drugs

The Vielight Neuro device

The Muse meditation headband

Read more http://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/what-is-the-most-powerful-nootropic/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

smatch-land

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Qualia Nootropic Supplement

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

NeuroStem stem cell drugs

The Vielight Neuro device

The Muse meditation headband

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

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

Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/low-emf-saunas/

[01:12] Facebook Sauna Give Away

[01:48] Sun in our Pocket – The Human Charger

[03:54] Teeter Inversion Table

[05:45] Introduction to this Episode

[09:03] About Raleigh Duncan

[09:23] About Andy Kaps

[11:04] What is Infrared?  What is Near-infrared, Mid-infrared and Far-infrared?

[16:04] Why the Body Produces Infrared Light and How is it Measured?

[17:56] What’s the Difference Between the Near-infrared, Far-infrared and the Mid-infrared?

[18:31] Have Studies Shown the Effects of Different Infrared Wavelengths to Tissues of the Body?

[22:03] The Effects of EMF in the Sauna to your Body and How to Lower EMF in a Sauna

[27:15] Why Does One Sweat More From an Infrared Sauna Vs. a Dry or Wet Sauna?

[30:02] Nuts.com

[30:44] Organifi Green Juice Powder

[32:28] How Long Must One Stay in the Sauna?

[35:36] How the Detoxification Effect Occurs in the Sauna

[37:11] What Causes Vasodilation?

[38:18] Is There Supplementations to Enhance or Accelerate Detoxification Through Infrared?

[43:42] The Effects of Heat Shock Proteins as a Response to Sauna/ Sauna to Maintain Muscle Mass

[46:40] How the Use of Sauna Can Increase HRV (heart rate variability)

[1:03:26] End of podcast

Ben:  Eoow, it’s is Ben Greenfield.  Let me paint a picture for you, a pretty picture for you.  I’m actually kneeling on the floor of my hotel room with a microphone sandwiched in between a pillow here in Montgomery, Alabama.  I’m in my hotel room because I was just speaking on how to fuel the ancestral athlete at this conference called the Weston A. Price Conference.  And basically they’re really into like lard, and ghee, and butter, and raw milk, and fat soluble vitamins at this conference, so I’ve just been dumping copious amounts of cod liver oil and dark orange butter down the hatch.  So my apologies if I’m a little sluggish I got a full tummy.  I’m actually a very happy man, needless to say.  Fun conference.

Anyways, though before I jump in to today’s show which is all about how to not microwave yourself in a sauna, and a lot of other little tips about how to sauna effectively.  I wanted to tell you though something pretty special because we just gave away a 6,000 plus dollar sauna over on our Facebook page at facebook.com/bgfitness.  Yeah, those are the kind of cool things you can win if you’re a facebooker and you stalk me on Facebook.  But the sauna winner, I’m gonna announce at the end of today’s show.  So if you’re listening in and you entered into that contest then stay tuned because we had I believe over 5,000 entries and somebody possibly listening in right now won.  So stay tuned for that.

So what else before we jump in to today’s show?  Well, I am off to Finland tonight.  I’m flying to Helsinki, Finland tonight to speak at a biohacking seminar over there The Finland Biohackers Summit and of course, jet lag is one thing that I constantly have to fight with all the globetrotting that I do.

There is this product that was actually created in Finland and it’s referred to as Sun in Your Pocket.  So it’s this bright light therapy device and it’s really cool.  You put it in your ears.  It’s called the human charger, and what it does is it sends completely UV-free, blue-enriched white light through this LED headset to the light-sensitive regions of your brain.  And the reason that it does that is because when you do that in the morning at whatever time zone that you happen to have arrived in, it eliminates jet lag.  It sends your circadian biology a message that it’s morning, a very big message that it’s morning because your ear canals have some really light-sensitive regions in them that leads straight into your brain.

You put it on for just 12 minutes and you get this huge dose of light therapy.  So you can check them out at humancharger.com but they’ve got a pretty special offer for anybody listening right now.  You can get 20% off a human charger.  And I’ll give you the code in a second but know this is not just for jet lag.  This thing is good if you have trouble sleeping at night.  If you need to adjust your sleep so you can’t get to sleep at 10pm, so you need to start your sleep cycle early in the day, just throw this thing on when you get up like 6, 7 am, or if you find yourself getting up too early, you could say, ok I don’t want to get up at 5am anymore so I’m gonna turn it on at 7am.  I want that to be my new wake time.  Lucky you of that’s how late you can actually afford to sleep in.

Anyways, though so 20% off of this thing and the code that you can use for it is BenG30HC.  Gosh, that’s a mouthful, but that’s it BenG like Ben Greenfield, 30HC as in Human Charger.  BenG30HC and you go to humancharger.com/ben.  That’s humancharger.com/ben.  It’s called the Sun in Your Pocket – The Human Charger.  It’s recommended by 87% of the people that use it which is huge and I’ve been using it since 2015.  I discovered it in Finland at a biohacking conference.  Imagine that.  So check it out The Human Charger.

Also, this podcast is brought to you by the other thing that I do when I travel a lot and when I sit a lot on airplanes, or in cars, or at the end of a day working at a standing workstation, and that is Inversion Therapy.  I use this thing called a Teeter t-e-e-t-e-r Inversion Table.  So this is the Cadillac of inversion tables.  It not only comes with gravity boots which means that you can take these boots anywhere and I even have your table like anywhere there’s a pull-up bars, and anything you can hang from.  Just put the gravity boots on there and hang and decompress your knees, and your ankle, and our hips, and your spine.  Your legs feel light as a feather after you finished hanging from the gravity boots or from the inversion table itself, but it also has acupressure points in it.  So you kinda like stimulate certain areas of your spine as your hanging, and then it has like a low back stretching device.  Like a lumbar support device that goes in the middle of it.

I hang, my kids hang, my two 8-year old boys hang.  We haven’t yet finagled mom into hanging but we’ll get her onboard soon.  In the meantime though, you get a Teeter Inversion Table and you don’t just get the inversion table, you get the gravity boots, they throw in a free pair of gravity boots and you get free shipping.  That’s over a hundred and thirty-eight bucks of savings and all you do to get that along with their 60-day money back guarantee, along with free returns and all those bonus accessories like the lumbar support and acupressure pads, you go to teeter.com or I’m sorry get teeter.  I don’t know what’s gonna happen if you go to teeter.com that could be a dirty website.  Go to get teeter getteeter g-e-t-t-e-e-t-e-r dot com/ben that’s getteeter.com/ben.  No discount code that you need to know.  Just go straight to that website, getteeter.com/ben and now let’s learn how not to microwave ourselves.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:

“So if we will give that same frequency back to the body what happens is that the cells will actually start to vibrate, and in that vibration this is how detoxification is aided ‘cause detoxification which we’ll go into a little deeper later I’m sure is all about mobilizing the toxins”.  “They did a second study which was 8 weeks and they only had people come in to use  the sauna after 3 pm and those people lost the same 4% body fat but in half of the amount of time, and they attributed it to 2 things slightly lowering your cortisol levels and slightly raising your HGH.”

 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, its Ben Greenfield and it’s probably no secret that I’m kind of obsessed with heat therapy.  Meaning that for the past several years I’ve talked about on the show how I go out of my way to get into a sauna multiple times per week.  Not just based off of all the studies they’ve done over in Finland on like the longevity benefits of saunas, but also to do things like increase production of growth hormone and sleep better later that night and even get a little bit of a as woo-woo as the term may seem detoxification effect.  And what I use is this infrared sauna.  I have an actual infrared sauna in my basement and there was this kit that got sent to my house, and my kids and I put it together, and I sit in that thing just about every day like 90% of the mornings.  My morning routine is getting into my sauna and it’s like a big sauna that I can do yoga in and I’ll do like kundalini yoga, or I’ll do breathe work, or sometimes I’ll just bring some magazines in there that I wanna get through.   And I swear by the amazing feeling that I have the rest of the day when I get out of that thing.

So today, I thought I would get the masterminds behind not only saunas in general but this particular sauna that I use every day is called the Clearlight Sauna and it’s infrared.  Infrared can be tough to understand.  It’s a little bit difficult unlike the dry sauna or the steam room that you get at your gym, but it is super interesting and there’s a lot about infrared that we can delve into, and so when you finish listening to today’s show you’re gonna be a complete ninja in all things infrared sauna.

I’ve got Raleigh Duncan on the show today and Raleigh is a chiropractic physician and he’s been using saunas since 1996 designing, manufacturing, distributing specifically infrared saunas, and he works in the day to day operations of this Clearlight Saunas Company.  And then Andy Kaps is also on the show as well and Andy is the President of Saunaworks and they make this Clearlight Saunas, and they have worked together to do some really cool things like combining carbon and ceramic to produce these things called hybrid heaters and eliminate EMF in saunas and utilize these things called 500 watt full-spectrum heaters.  All sorts of technologies that they’ve developed that you can have in a sauna.  So today we’re gonna delve in to how you should actually use a sauna.  How you could use a sauna?  What happens to your body when you use a sauna?  How not to microwave yourself in a sauna and a lot more.  So guys, welcome to the show.

Raleigh & Andy:  Thanks Ben.  Happy to be here.

Ben:  It’s always awkward when we have 2 people on the show, right ‘cause you gotta (laughs) everybody has to figure out who’s who.  So Raleigh can you say hello and introduce yourself?

Raleigh:  Hi this is Raleigh and I’ve been working with the infrared saunas for 20 years now, so it’s definitely my passion.

Ben:  Awesome, cool.  That’s the voice of Raleigh for those of you curious and Andy go ahead and intro yourself.

Andy:  Hey, Ben thanks good to be here on the podcast.  Like you, I’m a big believer in infrared saunas I’m in mine literally almost every single day as well so.

Ben:  I think that Andy’s voice is lower and softer.  What do you think, Raleigh?

Raleigh:  Yeah, I definitely.

Ben:  Yeah, you’re very harsh and Andy is softer.  He’s more of the radio voice.

Raleigh:  That’s what my wife says.  Says I’m just harsh, so I’m working on that (laughs).

Andy:  (laughs)

Ben:  Well, you guys know which of you are best equipped to answer which questions but the first thing I wanna ask you is about infrared in general.  Most people know that infrared is different than like UVA radiation, UVP radiation from the sun or LED light or fluorescent light, but can you just kinda go on to real briefly what infrared is and then perhaps more run in more detail the difference between something like near infrared and far infrared as far as how they work from a spectrum standpoint and what they do to the body’s tissues?

Raleigh: Sure.  This is Raleigh and I’ll answer that one.  So probably the best way to think about it when we start talking about different wavelengths of energy when you mentioned microwave and this and that, it gets a little scary and people don’t wanna get fried that’s for sure.  So the best way to think about and the way I like to talk about it is we give off infrared from our bodies.  So it’s something when you get a hug from somebody and you feel that heat coming off that’s coming off from infrared.  That is infrared wavelengths.  So infrared is in the spectrum that we’ve used for the longest time or in what is called in the healing race or the healing spectrum because it’s natural to our body, it’s natural to our environment.  So when you go to the beach and maybe you’re lying on a towel on the sand and the sand’s been beating down and then the cloud covers the sun, you feel the heat coming up from the sand.  So that’s infrared also or a warm building, or a brick building that’s been heated by the sun and maybe it’s getting dusty, you walk by that building there’s this really nice heat coming off kinda soft, so that’s infrared.

And so, it’s very safe, it’s very gentle and that’s why we utilize it and I can get into a little more detail of how that works on the tissue but there’s far-infrared, there’s mid-infrared and near-infrared.  And we have used far-infrared almost exclusively for years and years and years, so you asked about how the infrared reacts with the tissue and this is very important so I don’t know how in depth you want me to go, Ben but I can get pretty deep with this as to how this far-infrared helps the body to heal.  There’s something called a resonant frequency, and that’s basically if you give the same tone.  Let’s say if you wanna break a wine glass, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this.  There used to be a commercial Ella Fitzgerald, Is It Live Or Is It Memorex, and she would break a wine glass just with her voice.  So if ever wanna try this as a party trick, you take the wine glass, you hold it by the base and you ping the wine glass.  The wine glass will give off a note.

Ben: What do you mean you ping it, you like hit it with a fork or whatever?

Raleigh:  Oh yeah, with you take your fingernail and you have to hold it by the bottom.  So you’re just gonna flick it and ping the top of the wine glass by the rim and then a note will come off.  That’s the wine glass’ own note.  And so, if you wanna break that wineglass that is the same exact note you give back to the wine glass.  And if you can do it with sufficient clarity and force, the wine glass will start to vibrate okay, and then shatter.  So it was Japanese scientists in the 70s that found out their names were Inoue and Kabbalah. They found out that this same resonant frequency can be used with infrared on the body.  So I talked about that we give off infrared from our bodies and the far-infrared spectrum at about 9.3. 9.2 micron.  So if we will give that same frequency back to the body, what happens is that the cells will actually start to vibrate, and in that vibration this is how detoxification is aided ‘cause detoxification which we’ll go in to a little deeper later I’m sure is all about mobilizing the toxins.  So that’s how this far-infrared is very safe, gentle familiar wavelength helps to heal the body and that’s just one of the things that it does on the tissue.  Mobilizes the toxins so that they can be eliminated.  So…

Ben:  I wanna ask you a little more about the…

Raleigh:  Yeah.

Ben:  The detox effects later on.

Raleigh:  Sure.

Ben:  ‘Cause I think sometimes it doesn’t get explained well enough to people and we end up sounding kinda cheesy, right like you sweat in your detox and somehow you completely clean out your body, or do something your liver or your kidney would normally be able to do, and I do wanna ask you about that.  But before we get into that there are a few things you touched on there that I think are kinda funky.  The human body produces infrared light has that ever been measured?  Is that a well-known fact in science or how exactly does that work, and if we produce light how do we do it?

Andy:  Well, not all, this is Andy, not all infrared is actually perceived as light.  Far-infrared is actually perceived as heat.  Everything in the world gives off and receives infrared in some wavelength you know, a perfect example put your hands together then move them about an inch apart that heat you feel between your hands is far-infrared heat.  So it’s all around us, it’s totally safe everything again gives off infrared heat.  They even use it to keep newborn babies warm in hospitals so you know, it’s pretty much everywhere.

Ben:  Okay, gotcha.  So we know that we’re producing this infrared rays and humans you said, produce primarily far-infrared?

Andy:  Exactly, there’s a scientific principle called Wien’s Law or Planck’s Law, your only variable is the surface temperature with our 90 degrees surface temperature of our skin that comes out to about 9.4 microns which is in the far-infrared band.

Ben:  Ok, gotcha.  So humans don’t produce the near-infrared or the mid-infrared primarily just the far-infrared?

Andy:  Exactly, we do have saunas that offer near-infrared and mid-infrared.  We feel the way we look at it is that’s an enhancement.  The near-infrared will penetrate a little deeper into your body, it’ll help raise your core body temperature, it’s good for relaxing your muscles, it’s good for your skin, so it enhances the benefits of the far-infrared but with the way we look at infrared therapy and that’s what we kind of…  we call it an infrared sauna but it’s really more about infrared therapy just happens to be that sauna environment we can put infrared heaters all around you, have the infrared heat under your body you’re not wearing any clothing in there, so all of that is a great environment for you but we believe that near-infrared enhances the far-infrared therapy.

Ben:  Okay, and then what is the difference between the near and the far and the mid?

Andy:  Technical difference is the size of the wavelength.  So if you look at almost like a bell-curve, it’s the distance from peak to peak.  And so, it’s actually infrared is a very wide wavelength.  It starts at basically zero microns and goes up to a thousand.  We mostly after a thousand is where microwaves are.  We mostly look at the range in the 6 to 12 micron range for far-infrared and 0 to 5 ½ for near and mid.

Ben:  Ok.  Alright, gotcha.  So in terms of the difference in the micron of the wavelength how does that affect the human body, like if I’m shining far-infrared on my body, how is that going to be absorbed differently or react differently with tissues until like a near or a mid?  Has that been studied?

Raleigh:  It has and here’s the big distinction.  Near is really different because if you put near-infrared into the body alright, you have a near-infrared source, it goes much deeper because it is not trapped or stopped by water.  So it will go much deeper into the body so it’s great for heating the core and things like that, but it doesn’t have that resonant frequency.  It doesn’t do the same thing on the (inaudible) passes right though them.  So if you wanna heat the core near is really good.  It’s also good at different skin conditions things like that, but we look at mainly if someone really wants to heat the body up like your sauna you have the near-mid and those big heaters in the front that’s gonna heat the core much faster.  Where with the far we’re wanting to get that resonant frequency, we’re wanting to get the toxins out and then also what happens with the tissue is you get a vassal dilation.  And that’s probably one of the biggest things that happens in the body as to why infrared saunas work so well.  So it’s not magic, it’s actually very scientific.

Ben:  Okay, gotcha.  So the near is going to heat the body but it’s not going to actually cause the cells of the body to vibrate based on the frequency of the actual infrared wavelength?

Raleigh:  That’s correct.

Andy:  Put it in a nutshell.  And we say there’s two parts to infrared therapy: the far-infrared band between that 6 and 12 microns, your body absorbs the infrared at about 9.4 microns that stimulates your lymphatic commune and cardiovascular systems, and your body’s response is to sweat, but then on a cellular level when water is exposed to infrared at a particular wavelength which is right around 6 microns it actually vibrates.  So idea’s that the vibrations of those cells cleans off toxins and they get eliminated to your various elimination systems.  So there’s kind of 2 parts there’s whole body therapy and there’s cellular therapy when it comes to infrared.

Ben:  Okay, got it.  Now, another question that I have before we get into some of the physiological effects of sauna exposure is this idea that when you’re in a sauna technically there’s not just infrared, right there’s electricity and there’s radiation, and there are all these other components that are present inside of a sauna and that’s something that I’m constantly cautious about.

Like I did a podcast a few months ago where I talked about like the steam rooms of gyms and how a lot of people will go on there and breath eucalyptus and everything, but in many cases whatever water is being used in that gym, you’re breathing in in really concentrated amounts, right like so if that water has fluoride or chlorine or birth control pills or pharmaceutical derivatives or anything else like you’re breathing it in.  Or the same thing maybe we go to a dry sauna at the gym or at your house that huge coil heater, a lot of times is putting out a lot of electricity, is putting out a lot of EMF similar to what you might get from a cell phone or a wifi router.  So in the case of something like an infrared sauna what’s going on when you get inside of an infrared sauna when it comes to your exposure to electricity?

Raleigh:  So that’s one of the things that we really worked on was to eliminate any hazards to the human body because number one, you don’t wanna do any harm.  That’s the oath I took to not do harm, and if people going into the sauna they wanna heal, so we check for VOC’s, we check for any electrical pollution that EMF, ELF all these things that we worked tirelessly to eliminate this, and where could be a hundred percent eliminated and get it down below thresholds of concern so that when you’re in the sauna at least in our saunas in the Clearlight, you can be assured that it’s safe, it’s healthy and you’re gonna have a good sauna experience.

Ben:  What do you mean like how do you lower the amount of EMF that a heater would produce for example?  How is that done from a mechanical standpoint?

Raleigh:  So that was very daunting for us, in fact the story behind the backstory is that the large carbon ceramic panels that we use is we wanted to put in our saunas.  So there’s been 6 generations of heaters in the past 20 years, so we’ve successively moved towards these large carbon ceramic panels because they give off the best wavelength.  But we couldn’t put them in our saunas until we figured out, Ben how to lower and then really eliminate the EMF and that took us about 3 years working with a very good heater manufacturing going back and forth.

Initially, we thought it would be about shielding the EMF, and in the end how we did it was that it was actually 2 heaters that are put together, so these are large flat heaters and they’re out of face with each other.  So EMF comes out, have you heard the term sixty hertz in the wiring in our electrical system in the US?  And so that means at sixty times every second there is a peak and a troth, a peak and a troth as the AC current oscillates, and at the top of that and at the bottom of that EMS is thrown off.  So by putting 2 heaters together one on top of the other at a hundred eighty degrees when the top heater is kicking off EMF at the top of this oscillation, the bottom one is kicking off the corollary or the negative part of that and it cancels out the EMF and we found that the most effective way and we were the first ones to pioneer this type of technology in the infrared sauna and that really revolutionized the whole industry.  And we wanted these big eaters because they gave that very important, very large percentage of that 9.3 micron, so we could get that resonant frequency so we could detox and really optimize the healing of the human body.  So that’s been our journey, yeah.

Ben:  Ok.  So basically the frequencies are cancelling each other out?

Raleigh:  That’s it exactly, and that’s really the best way to do it.  We found that by the time we had the heater shielded from EMF, it was virtually no heat coming off so then we went back to the drawing board.  It was a long process and the solution was so simple it was like one of those things it was right before our eyes but it took us a while to get there.

Ben:  Ok, so if I understand correctly based of what you said there’s 2 different types of electricity that you’d normally need to be concerned about in a sauna, is that correct?  The EMF but then there’s also ELF?

Raleigh:  Exactly, ELF is the electric field.  Looking at the research we don’t see as much that ELF is as harmful as EMF.  There is a lot of research from cancer on down that negative part of EMF.  With the ELF we see more people tend to be more sensitive to that.  So we’re actually the only sauna company that shields the sauna from the ELF.  What we do is we run a metal conduit in the walls to shield the wiring.  We actually carbonized a mesh in front of the heaters and ground it I order to cancel the ELF.  We run a metal tape in the ceiling wherever there’s any wires to cancel out the ELF.  So our saunas are the only ones that are both the EMF and the ELF-free so they’re very, very safe that way.

Ben:  Ok, gotcha.  So you’re not gonna microwave yourself when you’re inside this sauna?

Raleigh:  Exactly, quite the opposite (giggles). 

Ben:  Alright, so this kinda relates to another question that I wanted to ask you and that is the difference between an infrared and a dry sauna.  Like when I get out of an infrared, when I first step in it’s not quite as hot, you know I preheat mine for twenty to thirty minutes before I actually hop in, but when I’m in there like the air isn’t as hot but I break out in this intense sweat that I don’t get from a dry sauna or from a steam sauna.  Why is it that you sweat more in an infrared versus a dry or a wet sauna?

Andy:  That’s a great question and that’s really, Ben because the infrared wavelength goes deeper into the tissue.  So it’s not about heating with the air and that’s what you noticed but probably when you’ve been in there 5 minutes or so, it feels like the air temperature has gone up.  So the regular kinda what we call a traditional box of hot rocks-finished sauna that heats by heating up the air.  Heats the air to two hundred, two hundred twenty degrees and then the heating medium of the air, that’s what’s heating your body.  Infrared’s completely different in that the wavelength comes off the heaters, and then it doesn’t give up its energy until it penetrates an inch, inch and a half into the soft tissue.  So a totally different thing.  Now, also with the traditional type of sauna, the box of hot rocks sauna, once you start to perspire, now you’ve got a layer of water in between you and the heating source which is the hot air.  In infrared, it just comes straight through and keeps on going so that’s the biggest difference and you feel that, you feel that.  That is what you’ve talked about.

Music Plays.

Ben:  I’m going to interrupt today’s show to tell you a joke.  That’s right, joke.  Might as well lighten up the mood a little bit.  Geez, we’re talking about frying ourselves to death inside the wrong kind of sauna.

Anyways though, so there’s this big chess tournament that was taking place in New York City at The Plaza in New York, and after the first day’s competition a whole bunch of the winners were sitting around the foyer of the hotel and they’re talking about their matches and bragging about how wonderfully they played, and after a few dinks they started getting louder and louder, and finally the desk clerk at the hotel can’t take it anymore, and so he kicks ém out and the next morning the manager called the desk clerk into his office and he told him there’ve been many complaints about him being so rude to the hotel guests and instead of kicking them out he should have just asked them to be less noisy and the clerk responded and said, I’m sorry but if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.  Get it?  Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer?

Alright, well that fell flat.  Anyways, the reason I bring this up is because it is actually chestnuts season and chestnuts roasting on an open fire are something that everybody loves.  If you haven’t yet fresh-roasted chestnuts in your home it is freaking amazing.  You can bake them in the oven at about 425 for ten or fifteen minutes until the outside of the skin starts to peel off.  You can also cook them on the stovetop or if you’re really nuts over an open flame, but chestnuts you can get from today’s sponsor nuts.com.  And when you order chestnuts or any other nuts or seeds or flowers or chocolates or gifts or anything else from nuts.com, you get 4 free samples on any of their tasty treats from around the world delivered straight to your door.  So those 4 free samples are a fifteen dollar value.  You get to choose from over fifty different options, and all you need to do is you go to nuts.com/fitness, that’s nuts.com/fitness to get those 4 free samples with your order.  So go to nuts.com/fitness, get yourself some chestnuts, and if you didn’t like that joke just go to the comments section and tell me a better one.

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Music Plays.

Ben:  Can it get dangerous after all because I know they make, actually I wanna try this out.  They make infrared cookers for turkeys for example where you can actually cook a whole turkey inside this infrared grill, and supposedly it gets super crispy on the outside and the flesh is like butter on the inside ‘cause the infrared actually penetrates the tissue of the turkey.  I was thinking about that the other day while I was in my sauna, I’m like what happens if I stay in here for like 2 or 3 hours.  Have there been studies to see how long you should actually stay in a sauna?

Raleigh:  You know we’ve looked at a lot of that over the years, generally we say a maximum of 45 minutes.  The wavelengths they’re using to cook the turkey are the much shorter wavelengths and higher temperatures and that’s why they’re cooking.  You’re not gonna cook in our farm for its saunas or full spectrum sauna, either the infrared sauna’s raising you’re core body temperature and that’s one of the reasons why you’re feeling really hot, but there’s really no danger there.

We say a maximum of 45 minutes after that point you’re really starting to sweat out some good minerals, so we say leave it to about 45 minutes and that’s a very, very safe range.  And for people that were infirmed we say start out a little bit slower maybe start with fifteen or twenty minutes.  You could even start with the door open for a little bit just to acclimate yourself to it.  Some people who have heavier toxic loads need to do that.  They need to start out slower.  Start to get the toxins mobilized and moving out of their bodies before they actually really delve into deep.

Ben:  Right.  Now before we delve into this whole detox effect I should paint you guys a picture of my sauna ‘cause you might kinda like it.  You mentioned the minerals, so I’ve got these big glass bottles that I put minerals into, right so I use trace liquid minerals, put them into the glass bottles and I picked up this trick from Rick Rubin who we’ve had on the show before.  He has these big dry barrel saunas that’s what he uses.  He’s got a dry barrel sauna, and then he has a bucket of ice like a metal bucket of ice outside of his with a commercial ice maker.  The way that I do things is I’ve got the infrared sauna and then outside my house I’ve got like a cold pool that I’ll jump into afterwards.

Raleigh/Andy:  Nice.

Ben:  I like to get that hot cold contrast but I have these big glass bottles that I can put trace liquid minerals into so I can stay in my infrared sauna, I’ll stay in there sometimes forty-five to sixty minutes but I’ve got the glass bottles in there as well to allow me to maintain minerals and maintain water and take one in there.

The other thing that I do is I use wakefulness enhancing oils.  So I’ll take like peppermint oil or I’ll take another one that I’ve used is cinnamon oil, vanilla oil, and I’ll sprinkle a few drops of these essential oil around the floor of the sauna so kinda as the infrared heats up the sauna, you get these essential oil diffused into the air so you get aromatherapy at the same time that you’re doing the sauna.

Raleigh/Andy:  Very cool.

Ben:  The last thing that I do and I get laughed at for this sometimes by my wife is I’ll take my laptop and set it outside the sauna, ‘cause I don’t take anything electric into the sauna and like my phone or anything like that, but I’ll set up like yoga DVD’s you know, like kundalini yoga and stuff like that, and I’ll be watching an instructor like through the glass window of the sauna walking me through routine and I’ll do a full yoga routine in my sauna.  So I’ve got all these stupid little things I do inside the sauna but I’m constantly figuring out ways to make it work better.

Detoxification though, is what you were just talking about and I’m curious how the detoxification effect actually occurs in the sauna?  Can you go into that?

Raleigh:  So it’s a, this is Raleigh again, so it’s all about mobilizing the toxins.  So you even have people that say “Oh, detox that’s a myth.  We detox all the time”.  And that’s true, the body will detox itself all the time the problem is, Ben, and you know this, there’s 80,000 chemicals in our environment now that our great grandparents didn’t have to deal with.  So we have to somehow up the level of detox and help our body to do that, and what the infrared sauna does is it helps to mobilize the toxins.  So once the toxins are mobilized they’re gonnna go into interstitial fluid in the body and there’s 4 pathways of elimination. And you’re gonna have the toxins are going out either through the liver, through urine, through feces.

Toxins will come out also through exhalation, and of course the big one that we wanna do that’s gonna bypass all that is gonna be through sweating.  So those are the ways to do it but in that mobilization that’s going to enlist what we talked about in that vasodilation, alright?  The vasodilation that resonant frequency liberating the toxin from the cell so that it can be eliminated, and that’s how it works and there’s been studies that have shown this and the efficacy of detoxing in a sauna.  So it’s a pretty well standardized thing now.

Ben:  What is it that’s causing the vasodilation?  Is it natural nitric oxide release or something else?

Raleigh:  There’s a natural nitric acid, yes, that comes out and that just happens.  So think about it this way when you get the vasodilation and all the capillaries and everything, the blood vessels open up.  What happens is the blood pressure drops.  Then the heart senses that and it says, oh, wow blood pressure’s going down we better start pumping some blood.  So then we call this a passive cardio, so your heart’s gonna pump faster to move blood through the body now.  With that you’re taking nutrients around in the body and you’re eliminating and pulling out the chemicals and toxins and boosting the immune system and all the other things, you know.  Any type of healing is gonna happen at a faster rate boosting the metabolism, so.

Ben:  There’s this idea that you can use things like nitric oxide precursors or niacin or high dose caffeine, things of that nature to accelerate that effect.  Have you guys looked into or researched anything like supplementation to enhance or accelerate the amount of detoxification that can occur when you’re inside an infrared?

Raleigh:  The most famous one and the one that were closest to knowledge-based is definitely niacin because niacin has been used to help the body to flush out the toxins and it does that same action.  They used niacin to great success with saunas for Gulf War veterans, for 911 first responders, you know different people that higher levels of toxicity and this was all shown by a Dr. Yu and Dr. Ruth by actually taking fat samples.  And so you take fat samples before, and you take fat samples afterwards, and that’s like the gold standard of are we removing toxins.  But niacin is definitely been very effective and works in synergy with any type of sauna but even better with an infrared sauna.

Ben:  Now some people complain about the flush, the tingling sensation that you get with niacin.  I don’t know if you guys know about this, but there’s a form of niacin called inositol hexaniacinate.  There’s a company called Thorne that makes one called Niasafe, it’s like a non-flushing form of niacin.  I’ve used that in the sauna once I realized that niacin was pretty uncomfortable and this stuff works very similarly.  You get this same type of increase of blood flow and you sweat a lot more, but you don’t get that same type of flushing effect.

Raleigh:  Yeah, I think that would be a good remedy for people who just don’t like the flush or don’t want to experience that.  It works the same.  That’s correct.

Ben:  Gotcha.  And what about like caffeine or anything else that you could put into your system aside from niacin?  Do you guys experiment with anything else?

Raleigh:  I haven’t.  Andy anything?

Andy:  Not really.  No not with caffeine.

Raleigh:  The only caffeine I do is my first cup in the morning that’s about it. (laughs)

Ben:  Ok, gotcha.  Yeah, caffeine can accelerate and basically it opens up pores.  It causes a little bit of vasodilation.  It increases body heat, so that’s another one I found to work pretty well in combination with infrared.  So I’ll do coffee and or niacin beforehand and then of course the water with the trace liquid minerals during, so.

Raleigh:  Gotcha.

Ben:  How dangerous can that be though?  Can you obviously have to be careful about mineral loss and replenishment of minerals, but this whole detoxification effect.  Is it dangerous like how often can you do it?  How long can you do sauna?  And one of the reasons I ask too is I know for example the Finnish research that they’ve done on how saunas can increase longevity.  You know these guys I think were in there in a sauna 5 days a week anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes.  Obviously, a traditional smoke-Finnish dry sauna and not an infrared sauna which I think they would think we’d be blasphemous over there versus the big rocks on it.

Raleigh/Andy: (laughs)

Ben:  But either way, like how often can you do this?

Andy:  You can be in there 4 to 5 times a week even every day.  You are losing some good minerals in addition to the toxins.  You wanna make sure you’re eating a healthy diet, mineral supplementation like you’re doing is a great way to go.  You know, from ninety-nine percent of the people detox is not a problem.  There are some people that will have different types of reactions like for example, people with lyme disease they can have what’s called a Herxheimer Reaction.  They’re deep body’s detoxing too fats and it actually just makes them feel really, really sick, it’s almost flu-like symptoms.  So for those people that are detoxing fast or have a lot of toxins that are being mobilized and they’re starting to react to, we just ask them to slow down.  You know, take a step back and do it once a week, then twice a week, but you know for most people that are healthy no problem.  There’s a lot of sauna centers that have opened up around the country using our saunas.  All they do is infrared saunas.  They’re doing a thousand to two thousand sessions a month and we’ve never heard of any issues with anybody that way so it’s very, very safe.

Ben:  What do you mean sauna facility?  Is that like places you go just to sit in a sauna?

Andy:  Yeah, there are actually infrared sauna centers, they call them sauna studios.  There’s higher dose, there’s perspire, and these are centers that all they have are our infrared saunas.  There are people going in sitting in a sauna on a pay-per-session basis and they’re extremely popular.

Ben:  Interesting, now do they have like exercise sessions as well?  Can you go like do spin classes surrounded by infrared or anything like that?

Andy:  Some of them do, some of them you know, there’s one Sauna Sensation that has the vibration machines in there as well.  You can combine both the vibration machine with the infrared sauna.  Some are located associated with the gym, so you can partake in gym facilities and the infrared saunas so, it varies.  Some are strictly just infrared sauna centers as well.

Ben:  Ok, gotcha.  Now are you guys, familiar at all with Dr. Rhonda Patrick in some of the research that she’s done or spoken of with regard to the production of heat shock proteins as a response to sauna?

Raleigh:  Yes, in fact Rhonda’s down here in the Bay Area and she’s really done some great work on the effects of heat on the body.  So I follow her pretty closely, yeah.  It’s amazing what she’s found out.

Ben:  Can you talk a little bit about heat shock proteins and how that actually really works?  Can either of you speak intelligently on that topic?

Andy:  Yeah, I can.  Rhonda that’s sort of her bailiwick, but it seems to work very well in a way you can maintain, my understanding you can maintain muscle mass in periods of time by going in something like a sauna even if you’re not working out so.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s the same thing that I found is this production of this heat shock proteins essentially induces almost like a hormedic response very similar to what you would get if you were to say lift weights.  They basically decrease the rate at which sarcopenia would occur, or decreases the rate at which muscle mass would occur.  So like if you’re injured not only do you get the increased blood flow and the increased lymph flow that’s necessary to accelerate the healing response, but the cool thing is that you produce the heat shock proteins that helps you to maintain some muscles.  So I think it’s almost like a cool hack if you’re injured or if you can’t work out every day.

Andy:  Yup, so then that expands our knowledge of what a sauna how that’s gonna help someone who’s working out regularly.  You know, before we would talk about the obvious benefits that you’re gonna keep flexibility, you’re gonna allow your ligaments and tendons, everything to soften up, so if you go in before work you’re probably gonna have a better chance of not getting injured and then after a workout of course, people use saunas for years and years to take the lactic acid out, but now this is advancing.  Rhonda’s work is just advancing our knowledge of what we can do, so it’s really fascinating work.

Ben:  When you talk about post workout use of a sauna probably the most popular thing that’s come out of late are the studies that have been done on erythropoietin production or red blood cell precursors.  I don’t know if you guys have seen these, but they found that when athletes finish an exercise session, right so their already hot after the exercise session and then they do about thirty to forty minutes of sauna it actually simulates the same amount of erythropoietin production that you’d get with like the illegal use of like the EPO injections like Tour de France riders would use, and there was one really interesting study I just tweeted that shows that even though the results disappear more quickly than what you would get from say, like altitude training up in the mountains, the use of  a sauna or the use of heat therapy in combination with exercise actually causes the same performance at altitude as actual altitude training.  Again, the effects disappear more quickly but the effects are just the same as altitude training which is really interesting for people who can’t get up into the mountains to train.

Raleigh:  It’s very interesting work.  I saw that study and if you think about it also as this blood flow increases in your body, you’re bringing more oxygenated blood, and I don’t know if you’ve seen some of the HRV things that are coming out now.  You know HRV is being used to train now and we’re seeing a lot of correlations of improvement in HRV if people just using the sauna to that has effects on how you sleep, and how you’re stress level is, so there’s a lot of effects.  I think we’re mining and understanding the effects of this in the next 5, 10 years because the technology for testing has gotten so much better.  We’re gonna understand a lot more of how this is helping the body.  We know it does help the body but we’re understanding it a little more every year.

Ben:  Yeah, it actually is pretty interesting the research that they’ve done specifically on the sympathetic activity of the nervous system or the regulation of the autonomic nervous system, and the use of sauna.  So obviously the plasma volume expansion and the increase in blood volume is one effect from a cardio vascular standpoint, but this idea that you’ve seen improvement in HRV and I think the interesting thing is in most cases what I’ve seen is an improvement on what’s called the sympathetic nervous system’s core which is the parts of the nervous system that tends to be more, to use the highly scientific term beat up in like Crosfitters or extreme athletes like people who are doing a lot of glycolytic work, strength training stuff like that.  It appears to be one of the better methods for actually kinda regulating your autonomic nervous system or regulating your heart rate variability.  So it’s really interesting.

Raleigh:  It is really interesting and then the implications for the entire society are huge ‘cause when I look around you look everybody today is so stressed out.  I did a poll one time I walked around for a week and everybody I met I would ask them, do you feel stressed out?  And I did not have one person, Ben that said, no I’m fine everything’s great.  We think that the infrared from what we’ve seen in the HRV studies is you’re resetting the sympathetic parasympathetic tone.  So you’re more in the parasympathetic, so in that way you’re stress level’s going down and as we know stress is related to all kinds of diseases.  So we see this is as a good tool against the tide of just a stressed-out world.

Ben:  Probably depends on what you’re doing in the sauna too.  I mean, I’ll admit I’ve got some sessions where I’ll take a kettle bell into my sauna and just destroy myself you know, I’ll be covered in sweat and [0:49:16.2] _______ like scrape at the walls and get out and go jump in the cold pool, and I would imagine I’m probably getting a potential decrease in sympathetic tone or a little bit more of a beat up effect on the nervous system from something like that.  But I’ll do that for example if I’m getting ready for a race at altitude, or a race in the heat just because that’s the other thing.  They suggest that the improved performance that you see after heat therapy is not just due to the increase in blood volume but the other proposed mechanism of action is that you actually increase your pain tolerance, your discomfort tolerance, and there’s this idea that the central governor, the part of the brain that would normally kick in and shut you down from exercising when you’re rating of perceived exertion gets to a certain level, that kicks in at a later point if you’ve experienced extreme heat discomfort or a regular heat exposure.

Andy:  Right, well that’s something we’ve seen after talking to the people that are running sauna centers and spas and our own experience is that people coming out of the saunas, and you may have experienced this yourself, they usually have a smile on their face and that’s because dopamine is being released serotonin, endorphins, and so when you talk about pain, these are some of the things, I mean who doesn’t wanna feel better and happier?  So this can do it naturally and very easily.

Ben:  Yeah, it’s interesting.  I’ve seen some of that research that shows like the production of a lot of anti-inflammatory compounds like noradrenaline and adrenaline, and cortisol and growth hormones, but it should be noted though that those are acting differently than like a synthetic Vitamin C or a synthetic Vitamin E or even like…

Raleigh/Andy:  Exactly.

Ben:  You know, glutathione or curcumin or a lot of these anti-oxidants that people are shoving into their body.  I actually don’t recommend those post-exercise.  I like the use of a sauna post-exercise based off what they’ve shown in terms of blood volume and everything, but the anti-inflammatory effects are different than these other supplements because what supplements can do or with even like a cold bath can do is it can blunt the inflammatory response to the extent where you don’t actually get the same hormedic effect of exercise.  You don’t get the same response to exercise.  You can almost kinda shoot yourself in the foot by like dumping a bunch of whatever like high orac berry powder into your body post-workout, but what the sauna is doing is it’s more increasing growth hormone adrenaline and noradrenaline.  You mentioned like the drop in lactic acid probably from the vasodilation increase in nitric oxide, so it’s actually a smart choice for post workout.  A smarter choice than an ice bath, really.

Raleigh:  Well, it’s interesting too being up to university used one of our saunas for a weight loss study, and they found an average people lost about 4%  body fat in sixteen weeks but the part they found significant was the people that used the sauna later in the day lost more body fat.  So they did a second study which was 8 weeks and they found the people and they only had people come in to use the sauna after 3 pm and those people lost the same 4% body fat, but in half the amount of time and they attributed it to 2 things: slightly lowering your cortisol levels and slightly raising your HGH.  So it has that overall effect on your whole body.

Ben:  That’s interesting and actually that surprises me not to be too contrarian here like I would imagine just if noradrenaline and adrenaline and epinephrine were being increased you’d actually see a slight increase in cortisol which would seem to make sense based off the fact that you see an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity with the use of a sauna.  So I wonder if it’s like a short-term cortisol increase like an acute cortisol increase in the sauna followed by a decrease in cortisol after you’ve finished the sauna kinda like what we see with exercise like exercise stresses you out, but the long term effect is it destresses you.

Raleigh:  Yeah, I think that’s it.  I think you hit the nail on the head and this was a pretty short study.  So we’re probably gonna go back and do a bigger one and see if we can figure out a little more, but what was impressive was just to lose that amount of body fat over a short period of time and not do anything but just show up, get in the sauna, listen to some music and then go home.  So that was impressive.

Ben:  Yeah, it is and I know they’ve done some studies in mice as well in terms of insulin resistance.  They’ve studied diabetic mice.  I don’t know if you guys saw this study in terms of heat treatment in diabetic mice and they cause a thirty percent decrease in insulin levels, and a very similar decrease in blood glucose levels just again from the use of nothing going on there in terms of exercise or diet the only variable that they threw in was heat exposure for these little mice.

Raleigh:  Right.

Ben:  Probably lounging around the sauna reading magazines.

Andy:  That’s it.  Did you see that there was a hamster study too that was done putting hamsters in the infrared and that increased they showed the nitric oxide which is all the different chemicals that are used for erectile dysfunction you know, that’s what they’re doing they’re increasing the nitric oxide, so which shows another benefit at that.

Ben:  It does and when you’re bringing up erectile dysfunction it reminds me of another study that I recently posted, and this one’s really very interesting they found that, and you guys can tell me by the way, I meant to ask you this about the actual nanometers because I guess they use nanometers to measure the intensity of the light in some of these studies and they found that from men who exposed their testicles for 5 to 8 minutes per day to a wavelength of, it was between six hundred and seven hundred nanometers of infrared light they tripled their testosterone levels in response to that light exposure.

Raleigh:  Wow, no I haven’t seen that one.  So that’s kinda interesting.

Ben:  Well, this is what I wanted to ask you guys, do you know the actual wavelength put out by for example, in my Clearlight sanctuary there are 2 red heaters like from the front of it.  Do you know if that falls between the six hundred to seven hundred nanometer like if I were to say sauna in the nude?

Raleigh:  It does.  The full spectrum heaters are basically between zero and we tend to look at these microns, I have to convert, but it’s about between zero and a thousand, so you are getting that six hundred.

Ben:  Ok, gotcha.  Interesting.  Well, if I burn my balls off I’m gonna blame you guys but…

Raleigh/Andy:  (Laughs) Yeah, I would (inaudible)

Ben:  (laughs) You know what’s kinda funny is what I’ve been doing is I have another infrared light it’s like a light strip and I actually have that in my office, and most people who are talking to me on consults or during podcasts etcetera don’t really know this but there’s been times when I just pull my pants down and straddle the light and let myself bathe in all the glory of the infrared light, so lots of…

Andy:  You might have to charge more now, Ben, now that people know that (laughs).

Ben:  Exactly, yeah.  So this is really cool stuff and I know first of all for those of you who wanna access not just the research that we’ve been talking about, but also everything from the niacin that I recommend and the minerals and I’ll even put a link to the infrared turkey fryer for anybody who wants to fry a turkey this Thanksgiving using infrared.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/saunapodcast, that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/saunapodcast.  If you wanna delve into the research, and also I’ve written some articles about this for example, I have an article about the exact workout that I actually do in the Clearlight sauna.  I also have a really comprehensive article about everything from growth hormone to nitric oxide release to the production of heat shock proteins.  A lot of scientifically proven reasons that I personally and kind of addicted to my daily sauna, and then also this is the part that’ll make you guys grit your teeth Raleigh and Andy, but I’ve actually hacked my sauna, so I ripped the wood off the top and I insulated it to make it get hotter, and I stuck like a wine cork in the temperature sensor and kind of destroyed the sauna that I have, the Clearlight sauna that I have in terms of beauty but it’s extremely functional when it comes to heat production.  So I would imagine that we should probably issue a disclaimer here that I do not endorse destroying your sauna and insulating it but…

Raleigh:   We don’t recommend that.

Ben:  Yeah, you guys don’t recommend that, but should you want the instructions I will put those in the show notes (giggles) as well just for any of you biohackers out there, and you guys we have a special discount for anybody listening in, right?

Raleigh:  We do.  We have a website, one of our websites healwithheat.com h-e-a-l-w-i-t-h-h-e-a-t dot com, use the discount code Ben and you can save up to four hundred fifty dollars off of our regular price.   We’re also throwing in an additional ergonomic back rest at no charge.  So just visit healwithheat.com, and mention Ben and get the discount.  We also have a toll free number, it’s 800 317 5070, that’s 800 317 5070.

Ben:  Ok, got it cool.  And the main thing here is I wanna emphasize for those of you listening in is that you can’t just go out and get any old infrared sauna.  You need to be careful that you choose something that is as we described today low ELF and low EMF, and then as far as the protocol goes I personally like I mentioned to you guys I’m in there 4 to 5 days a week for thirty to sixty minutes, but make sure that you include minerals if you experiment with niacin make sure you kinda read some of the articles I’ve written on that so you know what you’re doing as far as doses and stuff like that goes.  I’m a huge, huge fan of saunas, and Andy and Raleigh, I wanna thank you guys for actually creating a sauna that allows me to get my daily sauna without microwaving myself.

Raleigh:  You’re most welcome.

Andy:  It’s been a great journey.

Ben:  Or turning myself into a Thanksgiving turkey.

Raleigh:  That’s right.  We wanna avoid that.

Ben:  Alright, well if you’re listening in, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/saunapodcast.  You wanna get the fat discount on what of these saunas just go to healwithheat.com and you can use the discount code Ben, you get four hundred fifty bucks off, you get the cool little ergonomic backrest to throw in them with your sauna.  And I am serious like these things are easy to set up.  My boys and I got the kit to our front door and within 2 hours like we had built the entire sauna, like this huge sauna that you can do yoga in.  And that one’s called the Sanctuary, by the way and that’s the one by the way also that we also just gave away on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Facebook page.  So if you stay tuned to the end of this podcast which is coming up in just a moment you’re going to hear who actually won that sauna.  It might be you if you’re listening in.

So Raleigh, Andy thanks for coming on the show guys.

Raleigh/Andy:  Absolutely, our pleasure.

Ben:  Alright, here we go as promised if you’re listening in you wanna find out if you won that Clearlight Sanctuary full spectrum sauna, the same one that I use every morning to do all my crazy yoga acrobatics in and get a full sweat on.  Well, after thirty days and nearly five thousand entries from twenty four countries like Italy, Ireland, Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Germany and of course the newly crowned Donald Trump’s gold US of A, and twelve other countries, so all over the world really.  The grand prize winner of the Clearlight Sanctuary II – a full spectrum sauna with free shipping right to your door as selected by random drawing, alright random.org that’s what we use for that for those of you who wanna do random giveaways, so the winner is… I hope you’re sitting back.  It’s a female, so that just narrowed down fifty percent of you.  A huge worldwide sigh from a bunch of dudes.  It is Emily Johnson of Denver, Colorado.  Woohoo!!   (cheering sound).  Insert the party noises here, the fireworks exploding, the little things that you blow in and out of, the kazulus, everything, every noise that you make when you win a giant sauna because that does not happen very often.  So congratulations Emily, this is your lucky day.  Clearlight’s gonna be getting in touch with you very soon, and in December just in time for the holidays, you will be enjoying and sweating in a beautiful life-changing Clearlight Sanctuary full-spectrum sauna.

Alright, folks well this is Ben Greenfield along with Raleigh and Andy from Clearlight Saunas signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a healthy week.

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

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

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

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

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

Infrared turkey fryer

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

The BenGreenfieldFitness Clearlight Sauna giveaway

Niasafe by Thorne as a non-flushing form of niacin

The Trace Liquid Minerals Ben uses in a sauna

 

 

 

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

sauna-landscape

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

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

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

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

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

Infrared turkey fryer

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

The BenGreenfieldFitness Clearlight Sauna giveaway

Niasafe by Thorne as a non-flushing form of niacin

The Trace Liquid Minerals Ben uses in a sauna

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

[Transcript] – Probiotic Enemas, Digestive Enzyme Myths, Breathing 10 Kilograms of Oxygen, Low-Protein Diets & More!

Podcast from: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/the-best-way-to-take-digestive-enzymes/

[00:00] Introduction/ Crik Nutrition

[02:32] Zip Recruiter

[04:16] Introduction to this Episode

[06:49] About Matt Gallant

[07:25] About Wade Lightheart

[09:26] Why Would One Do a Probiotic Enema?

[10:53] What Is A Yoga Swing?

[12:02] Matt’s Morning Routine

[14:28] The Vielight Neuro Headgear That Matt Uses in the Morning

[16:22] What Matt Is Using to Alkalanize His water

[17:16] How About Metal Plates on Alkaline Water Makers

[22:14] Wade’s Breakfast and Routine

[23:20] Breathing in 10 kilos of Oxygen – Wade’s Method

[25:15] Why Wade Consumes Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) Every Morning

[27:41] Why Wade Uses Branched Chain Amino Acids Vs. Essential Amino Acids

[29:23] Four Sigmatic – Winning X Blend

[30:28] Organifi Green Juice

[32:41] How Wade Maintains and Build His Muscle on a Low-Protein Diet

[37:04] Why Can’t The Body Digest Food on Its Own Without an Enzyme?

[45:20] Different Enzymes to Look For in a Label

[50:11] Why Something You Find in Digestive Enzyme Helps in Muscle Recovery?

[54:25] Why a Single Strain to BiOptimizers Probiotic Formula?

[58:02] Can One Take Digestive Enzyme on an Empty Stomach? The Effects?

[1:02:44] Digestive Enzyme as Meat Tenderizer

[1:04:35] Groundbreaking Enzyme Studies

[1:06:50] Probiotic and Enzyme Mixture – Which is more effective?

[1:08:08] Mistakes People Make When Using Digestive Enzymes

[1:12:29] Digestive Enzymes – Before, During or After Meals?

[1:14:23] Mat’s Probiotic Enema – A step by step protocol

[1:22:08] End of podcast

Ben:  Hey, it’s Ben Greenfield and I’m gonna apologize in advance to you because you are about to be subjected to a really nerdy conversation between myself and 2 guys who basically do crazy stuff; shine laser lights on our (censored), and do enemas and take copious amount of fringe supplements et cetera, so my apologies in advance but hey, if anything you’ll at least be entertained and maybe learn a thing or two for this month’s Christmas cocktail party.

But before we jump in, speaking of learning a thing or two, I want to tell you about something that I learned recently and that is the fact that you can dump copious amounts, copious I’ll see if I can spit that out, copious amounts of insect matter into your smoothie.  Copious amounts of insect matter into your smoothie and it still actually tastes pretty good.  Really good actually like a Wendy’s, you know those Wendy’s frosties that you used to get?  I don’t know if anybody even gets those I haven’t been to Wendy’s in a while but I used to get the chocolate frosty.  This one tastes like that but a vanilla frosty.  They do a chocolate one, too.  I just haven’t yet tapped into the chocolate, I have just been using the vanilla.

But it’s this company called Crik c-r-i-k, and they make really super tasty protein and this is protein that has 3 times the protein punch of beef and it actually blows away even organ meat in terms of nutrient density, and of course, it’s ethical but it’s a cricket-based protein powder meaning that it is jam packed with the full amino acid profile that insects have, a lot of people don’t know about this.  As much calcium as milk, more iron than beef or spinach, more potassium than foods like avocado but it tastes really, really good too, and you can just get it in a powder form and throw it in a smoothie.

So I’ve been using the vanilla, they do a chocolate as well but you get fifteen percent off of any of these really tasty cricket-based protein powder from Crik Nutrition and here’s how.  Go to crik.me/bgfitness, that was a mouthful I’ll admit.  Crik.me, you spell it c-r-i-k dot me crik.me/bgfitness, and if you wanna get fifteen percent off of your purchase just use code Ben B-e-n.  So crik.me/bgfitness use code Ben and they even have a hundred percent money-back guarantee which trust me you won’t need to use coz this stuff tastes amazing, and again, it’s just as good as good as beef when it comes to protein.

I also wanted to tell you about a new sponsor and they’re called Zip Recruiter.  So the idea behind Zip Recruiter is that they allow you to go find a job anywhere but if you’re hiring or you wanna post a job they also let you to post a job on all the top job websites.  So you go to Ziprecruiter.com, and you can post to a hundred plus jobsites like social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, but it’s all just in 1 click so you can find people in any city or industry around a nation.  So I figured I’d go to Zip Recruiter and just check it out see if I can find a job so I’m there right now.  I’m gonna go for Fargo, North Dakota.  Fargo, North Dakota, and we’re gonna look for a job as a police officer.

Let’s see if I could get a job as a police officer in Fargo.  So I click search, twenty three police jobs in Fargo, North Dakota.  Where should we email your jobs?  Interesting. Thirty-one B military police, police officer, armed custom protection security officer.  Boom baby!  I’m moving to Fargo.  Anyways though, check it out ziprecruiter.com just like it sounds zip recruiter.  So to be able to post jobs for free here’s what you do, go to ziprecruiter.com/first so if you go to ziprecruiter.com/first that lets you post jobs absolutely free.  For anybody that you wanna hire or if you wanna get a job you could go there too like me I’m gonna be a police officer now, Dad.  So check all that out and now sit back and enjoy this super nerdy interview.  My apologies again.  My apologies.                                      

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:

“The most important one and especially for people that are concerned with fitness, recovering athletes and people who wanna build muscle, and I think health in general, the most important one by far in our opinion is protease.  That means your body will hold on to enzymes as much as it can because they’re so essential for bodily functions and I believe that a high quality enzyme that is consumed on an empty stomach will become a metabolic or systemic enzyme inside the body.”

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 want to actually share with you a relatively strange email that I got from today’s guest.  The subject line of the email was Probiotic Enema and the instructions in said email went a bit something like this: “break up in a handful of capsules and ferment in coconut water, reaches peak power around 4 to 5 hours of fermentation.  However, you live in a cooler climate, Ben so it might take longer.  You can drink it and if it’s still sweet, then you can go longer.  When it starts to become acidic that’s when it’s at its peak.  For your enema, retention time should be fifteen to twenty minutes and I like doing the Batman version.  I go upside down with the inversion table so it really works its way down.  I tend to do this after 2 days of fasting so it really takes care of old bad bacteria in my gut.”

That email was actually written to me by today’s guest who is not only, as you would have guessed, a consummate gut biohacker but is also an entrepreneur, he’s a poker champion, an ex-rock guitarist, a strength conditioning coach with a degree in Kinesiology and the CEO of this company called BiOptimizers.  His name is Matt Gallant and as you can imagine Matt tends to think outside the box when it comes to things like nutrition and health, and he’s not on his own today he’s joined by Wade.  Wade Lightheart is your last name is that correct, Wade?

Wade:  Yes, sir.

Ben:  Ok Lightheart as in L-i-g-h-t-h-e-a-r-t?

Wade:  Correct.

Ben:  Interesting.  That’s a very, that’s almost like a dirty hippie name like my children River and Terrain Greenfield.  But Wade, for those of you who are curious who he is, he’s a natural body builder, he’s a vegetarian and a low-protein diet advocate.  We’re gonna talk about that a little bit in today’s show, 3 time all-natural body building champion which means he doesn’t inject steroids into his butt cheek.  He’s the adviser to the American Anti-Cancer Institute, he’s a Director of Education at BiOptimizers which is the company that Matt’s the CEO of, he’s been a vegetarian for over thirteen years, he’s also written a book that I’ll link to it in the show notes called Staying Alive in a Toxic World.  Now everything that we are about to delve into if you don’t want to furiously take down notes and instead want me to do all the hard work for you, you can access over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gallant as in Matt’s last name bengreenfieldfitness.com/ g-a-l-l-a-n-t.  So Wade and Matt welcome to the show.

Matt:  It’s great to be here, Ben.  I think you’ve got the best health podcast out there so it’s a real honor to be on it.

Ben:  Oh well, thank you it’s an honor to get enema instructional emails from you.

Matt & Wade:  (laughs)

Wade:  Yeah, great to be here, Ben.

Ben:  Oh and by the way, lest anyone wonder, I did indeed follow that email that Matt wrote me about taking a bunch of probiotics, breaking and opening into coconut water, letting the coconut water ferment and actually hanging myself upside down and trying the enema, I mean, you know what that might be a good little ice breaker here Matt or at least a bleed in, first of all before I ask you about the strange daily routines that you do, why is it that one would actually do a probiotic enema, what’s kind of the reason behind that?

Matt:  Well, a lot of the toxins in our body come from undigested proteins.  So we want to ideally go into every crevice in our body as well as in our blood get some proteolytic enzymes and probiotics can break stuff down.  So that’s where the intellectual or scientific or health concept came from and I was doing a 5-day fast, I’m like you know what, let’s take this to next level so I did a colonic and it was the best colonic ever in terms of what came out the next couple of days and this was like day 4, so it wasn’t food coming out it was like weird shape rubber tar-like stuff so I knew that ok this works, yeah.  So that’s where it all came from.

Ben:  Rubber tar-like stuff you actually get that stuff coming out of your butt see that didn’t happen to me.  Did I get that correctly?

Matt:  Well, and that was a colonic versus an enema, so it went deeper than just the enema would.  But I think if we bump it up from 1 liter to maybe a gallon (chuckles) when we do the enema we might start hitting those spots.

Ben:  And you hang when you do this, you hang upside down but do you actually use an inversion table or do you use, I think what you had mentioned to me was…

Matt:  I use a yoga swing. 

Ben:  Now what is a yoga swing for people who aren’t familiar with this?

Matt:  Yoga swing is a very, very cool portable exercise device.  You can do some bad (curse word) workouts with it.  It’s almost like a TRX but it’s like another level ‘cause you can hang and do some really cool inverted stuff or fall off of it in the gym, and stuff than be laughed at, but yeah it’s a really cool device so there’s a couple of them out there.  It used to be called I think Om Swing or Omni Yoga, so we’ll find the links and pop them in the show notes.

Ben:  Okay, cool.  And this is like a lot of times what you see people using in those acro yoga classes, right?

Matt:  Right, exactly. 

Ben:  Ok, gotcha.  Interesting.  So Matt, you are obviously a bit of a biohacker like me, you have this strange daily routines.  I know that you’ve bounced back and forth on me via Facebook message and email when you’re occasionally up to some crazy biohacks and for you in many cases seems like their nutrition-based.  Can you describe so folks can kinda wrap their heads around the type of things that you do, what your morning routine was leading into today’s call.  I guess it’s about 10am when we’re talking right now.  So imagine you’ve had time to at least get out of bed and engage in some manner of weirdness.  So what have you been up to this morning?

Matt:  Yup, so first of all I woke up wolf-style, I’m referring to that chronotype not howling which means I hit my snooze button 3 times, I actually really enjoy the snooze it’s a good REM opportunity for me.

Ben:  Wait, you said wolf-style, are you referring to the book by Michael Breus about The Power of When”? 

Matt:  You got it.

Ben:  Where people are wolves, dolphins, lions and bears and a wolf if I’m not mistaken, if memory serves correctly that’s more of like a night person, right?

Matt:  Right, so I’m the opposite of you and you’re a lion, right?

Ben:  Okay.

Matt:  And Wade’s a lion too, so you guys are in the same tribe.

Ben:  And so as a wolf actually hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock is supposed to be good?

Matt:  Yeah, I always intuitively felt bad that I’d get a lot of REM in those zones, and I do so and the book kind of endorsed it, and so I’m rolling with it.

Ben:  Ok, gotcha. 

Matt:  I literally put my alarm thirty minutes before I actually wanna wake so that I can hit it 3 times.

Ben:  Ok, gotcha.

Matt:  Uhmm, then the first thing I do I pound about a half a liter to a liter of structured alkaline ionized mineral water, then weigh myself, well actually weigh myself before getting the water but weigh myself, drink the water, rebound for 5 minutes I feel is really one of the best ways to wake up my entire body, then I put on the Neuro from Vielight which is the whole head piece.  Love that device.  It’s just absolutely awesome and then I take a bunch of supplements including a lot of brain stuff as well as enzymes and probiotics to kind of give my body some juice, and then I drink a coffee using alkaline water, a little bit of fats, some of our vitamins and minerals and I’m using some reishi spore extract.  My body just love reishis so I’m really pushing that.

Ben:  Now a few things that I want to delve into just slightly, you mentioned some type of did you say it was like a headgear or glasses that you’re using?

Matt:  Well, you recommended Vielight. but they’ve got… 

Ben:  Oh the V, you mean the intra-nasal light therapy?

Matt:  Right, but they’ve got the whole head piece now called Neuro where you’ve got another piece that goes on top of the head which hits your default network, so not only are you hitting your pre-frontal cortex with the light but you’ve got this headpiece with 5 clusters of lights that are blasting your brain.

Ben:  I feel left out that I didn’t actually know about this.  I’m still way back at the level where I’m just sticking stuff up my nose.  Now you can actually bombard your entire head with this infrared style light therapy?

Matt:  Exactly, and [0:15:13.6] ______ is about double the power and they just released the video where they’ve got somebody wired to a dry EEG machine and the whole brain just floods with alpha which is always a good thing.

Ben:  Oh wow, I’m looking at a photograph of this, I’ll link to this in the show notes for those of you who wanna check it out, the Vielight Neuro.  It’s described as the next generation transcranial intranasal near infra-red headset, and it looks like it uses the eight hundred and ten nanometer wavelength which for those of you listening in the best way I could described this to you if you haven’t experimented with this type of stuff before is it’s like a cup of coffee for your brain and it’s actually the type of thing that they’ve shown to induce increased blood flow to the brain and almost like a therapeutic effect for people with Alzheimer’s, but I had no clue they had an entire full piece of headgear.  This is really interesting I may need to add this to my morning protocol, Matt.

And then the other question I wanted to ask you Matt before we turn to Wade and find out what he’s been up to this morning is you mentioned that you alkalinized or you structure your water when you drink your water in the morning or when you make your coffee.  What are you using to do that?

Matt:  I’m using a Kangen Water Machine which I feel is one of the best health devices I’ve ever purchased and I’ve purchased just about all of them.  So I mean you can control the PH of the water, it micro-clusters the water molecules which means it makes the water molecules smaller and produces an anti-oxidant-rich water instead of unoxidated water.  If you really get into water, Wade Lightheart is one of the top experts on the planet.  So you can dive pretty deep with Wade on that one.

Ben:  Okay, cool but you use one of these units made by the company Kangen?

Matt:  Correct.  Well, Enagic’s the name of the company and SD501 is the device.

Ben:  Okay, now when some of these alkaline water makers, one of the things that people have expressed concern about in the past is that the water passes over like a metal plate and that you might get exposed to some kind of increased heavy metal when you’re drinking the water that’s been structured, that’s been passed over this plate.  You know if that’s the issue with some of these Kangen machines or what’s the deal with the way that the water is alkalinized?

Matt:  I’ll let Wade answer this one.  Go for it, Wade.

Wade:  Yeah, so there’s a couple of issues that can come up when you come to ionization.  First, let me qualify it a little bit is you could ionize any kind of water with a battery and some metal and stick the electricity in there and you get some form of ionization that doesn’t mean that’s gonna be healthy.  So there is a very large range of quality when it comes to creating ionization.  And so, in order to make sure that you’re making an ionized water that’s safe, you wanna use something that’s had a medical grade technology using particularly titanium and platinum, and platinum is what creates the electron donor plates.  So you have a platinum coating over a titanium plate and at a medical grade that’s beyond ninety-nine percent purity.

With cheaper ionizers and I think that’s where a lot of the issues come up or people have concerns about and I think they’re legitimate that they’ll use a seventy percent alloy and you don’t necessarily know what other metals could be there, and you could run into problems.  And that’s one of the reasons why I chose when I did my investigation of both 8-9 years ago when I started and I’ve been on that train for a long time is I chose one that had medical certification at 13485, you wanna have that designation in your ionizer and that’s gonna ensure that you have the safety of the water that you’re not gonna create any metal toxins or things like that that’s gonna cause any problems.  But ionization has been around, it’s been used in medical institutions since the mid-1960’s and it’s very safe if you’re using a medical-grade ionizer.

Ben:  So you want to look when you’re using something if you’re going to ionize water or experiment with how your body might feel, you’d want to use a medical grade and I noticed that the Kangens because I pulled this up to see if this is the type of thing one could get on Amazon for example, they use what’s called platinum-coated titanium.  Is that what you’d be looking for would be platinum or titanium in terms of the actual metal plates?

Wade:  Yeah, that’s exactly it and you wanna use a solid plate.  There’s a lot of technology out there that they’re using a mesh plate but what we found is mesh plates will break down over time simply because anytime you create ionization you’ll get build-up of minerals on those plates, and then your machine may become defective a year or two years down the road.  Out of the gate it might be okay but when you’re talking about these platinum coatings this is a very, very, very light coating and the surface area an electrical power and how long the water’s exposed that is gonna determine the quality or the intensity of the ionization that you create, and that’s gonna give you what I call the electron donors or the H ions that really power the things, and in my opinion it’s the electrical-based anti-oxidants that make all the difference in ionization not necessarily the alkalinity.

Ben:  Ok.  Got it.  Yeah, I have what’s called a structured water filter at my house which is basically like a series of glass beads in which the water kinda passes through a vortex.  It swirls the water so it maintains some amount of structure and then I mineralize it so I add some trace liquid minerals to it afterwards, but that’s my nerdy little water technique. But I’ve never actually owned or used one of these whole house water ionizers and it would be interesting to mess around with.  I think my wife would probably kill me if I put one more thing on the kitchen counter top though to go along with the water ozinator, the counter top reverse osmosis maker, the soda stream that allows me to carbonate water.  I think honestly her head would explode if I actually added another ionizer to the kitchen counter.

Wade:  Well, if you don’t mind a threat to your marriage, I’ll hook you up with one and you can run some experiments on it.

Ben: Well, who knows I don’t know if I turn into Superman maybe she’ll not complain.  So Wade speaking of Superman, you are a bodybuilder, a natural bodybuilder.  You are also a vegetarian and a low-protein diet advocate which I wanna talk to you a little bit more about ‘cause you don’t see that in the bodybuilding industry too much.  I’m curious first of all since you are a low protein-diet advocate and vegetarian bodybuilder, what did you have for breakfast this morning?  What’s the breakfast of a low-protein bodybuilder look like?

Wade:  First, I took in about ten kilos of oxygen through an intensive deep breathing practice and a meditation practice, so I think that a lot of people just don’t concentrate on oxygen as the primary nutrient of the body, and a lot of people just totally avoid that.  So that was the first thing that I did.  And then like Matt I did about a liter of ionized water with the minerals and the ions, and also I took in about 3 grams of essential fatty acids all plant-based fatty acids, 5 capsules of enzymes, the Masszymes, 2 probiotics and I took in about 3 grams of branched chain amino acids.

Ben:  Interesting.  And just to explore a few of those things a bit more.  How do you measure, you said you breathed in ten kilos of oxygen.  How are you measuring the actual volume of oxygen that you’re breathing in and how are you exactly doing that?

Wade:  Well that’s it, I’ll qualify it that that’s an estimation.  The average person probably breathes in eighty kilos a day, so what I do is I get up in the morning and I have a meditative practice.  So I get up, I have a series of what’s called the energization exercise, in other words I work with the… if you heard of prana or chi…

Ben:  Uhm. 

Wade:  I activate starting with my feet and I go through a series of exercises that just kinda wakes up the body, and gets you to separate the difference between muscular contraction and sending the electrical energy into the muscles.  So there’s two different energy systems and it’s well known in kinda Eastern philosophy, but not so much in the Western maybe athletic world although it’s getting more popular.  So I do that.  I’ll also put my hands around my kidneys, and I’ll start doing a breathing which is very intense which you start inhaling through the nose and exhaling so as I hah, hah, hah, you know that kind of thing, and I’ll do that for maybe five or ten minutes until I get (inaudible). Technically, I guess you’d call it, I get kinda high.  I get an oxygen high and that’s when I know that I’m oxygenated.

Now sometimes depending on where I am or what I’m doing, it will only be a few minutes and sometimes it’s gonna take me ten or fifteen minutes to get that oxygen high.  I’ll just keep going until I feel my brain get completely oxygenated.  And then that’s when I sit and do my meditation, and that practice will be anywhere from fifteen minutes all the way up to an hour although that doesn’t happen as much as I like to simply because of the demands of business, and then from there I take my water, I take my supplements, I take my branched chain amino acids and then I’m off to my day.

Ben:  Now branched chain amino acids as a low protein guy, these branched chain amino acids that you’re putting into your body are these a substitute for the whey protein or the bacon and eggs that someone trying to put on muscle would normally be consuming, or are there other reasons that you’re using branched chain amino acids?

Wade:  Yeah, I’m using the branched chain amino acids just to prevent the breakdown of my skeletal muscle mass and when it comes to a plant-based guy obviously just getting enough protein in your diet if you’re training really hard is an issue, so it’s not just about what you eat, it’s about what you absorb and utilize.  And what I found over the years and I’ve done a lot of experiments to kinda get this into that hyper state.  Prior to using branched chain amino acids I found that seventy-five grams a day is what I could sustain my muscle mass.  I’m around 200 pounds of five foot eight, around ten percent body fat, that’s kinda where my zone is.  If I go below 75 grams, I found that I would drop down.  If I went above a hundred grams it takes a lot of effort as a plant-based guy, then I could put on muscle.

I’m not trying to put on muscle, but now I’ve been doing experiments of how low I can go.  And if I add 3 grams of branched chain amino acids 2 to 4 times a day, I can go to as low as twenty-five grams of protein.  So what I found is it’s the branch chain amino acids and I think that’s where plant-based guys have more of a struggle.  If I have those into my diet I can really lower my protein intake without losing the muscle mass and without getting the food cravings that are often associated with a low protein diet.

Ben: Now why wouldn’t you consume essential amino acids and the reason I ask about that is because the branched chain amino acids for those of you who may not understand what this means is the branched chains are just leucine, isoleucine and valine and there are other supplements that are called EAA’s or essential amino acids that don’t just have the branched chains which are primarily used for energy production and muscle metabolism but they also have all the other amino acids that would be used for like neurotransmitter formation or for healing muscles even more quickly et cetera.  Why do use the branched chain amino acids versus like essential amino acids, Wade?

Wade:  I use the branched chain simply because I found them more effective in preserving muscle mass as far as training.  So I can go out and really kick in a workout.  I go to the gym and do a full body workout or a heavy lifting workout, and have no problems with it.  When I do just the full amino acids spectrum I noticed there’s changes in my appetite.  I’ll find I get a lot (inaudible) have the same performance level at the gym.  What’s the technical reason for that?  I’m not exactly sure but in my own experiments that’s what I found have worked best for me and that’s just the way I roll.

Ben:  Gotcha.

Music plays.

Ben: Hey, it’s me Ben.  I’m interrupting today’s show.  So rude of me but I’m gonna do it anyways because I wanted to tell you about a way that you can ensure that you don’t get sick this cold and flu season.  So there is this idea that mushrooms actually have a whole bunch of ingredients in them that help to boost an inactive immune system and calm down a hyperactive immune system, and help the body adapt to stress.  It’s called an adaptogen when something does that.  And there are a whole bunch of medicinal mushrooms that do this like reishi, and chaga, and cordyceps, and lion’s mane.  They contain turpines and a blend of different chemicals that can actually help you to fight off flus, fight off colds, fight off infections, produce a lot of anti-viral and anti-bacterial compounds, but what if just throwing this out there, what if you were to take all of them and put them into one little packet like every single mushroom?  Would it explode?  No, because I have that packet in my refrigerator right now it’s called the Winning X Blend.

It’s ten different mushrooms, count ém ten and all they’re all the mushrooms that were specifically harvested for the purpose of fighting off infection and helping the body to maintain a super strong immune system using what’s called the dual extract.  So water-soluble extract as well as a fat-soluble extract.  So this stuff is made by a company made by a company called Four Sigmatic.  It’s called the Winning X mushroom blend.  It’s an overdose of mushrooms in a good way and you get 15% off it.  Here’s how: go to foursigmatic.com/greenfield that’s f-o-u-r sigmatic dot com / greenfield and the coupon code that you use to get 15% off of this Winning X stuff or anything there really is Ben Greenfield. So that’s foursigmatic.com/greenfield and use code Ben Greenfield.

I also wanted to tell you about something that I learned recently.  There is coconut water which you’ve no doubt heard of before, and coconut water is very high in vitamins and minerals and electrolytes but you can actually take coconut water, and you can produce coconut water powder using a freeze-drying method.  So 1 ton of coconut water can make about 60 kilograms or so of coconut water powder, but there is a study that they did in the International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants where they tested the actual vitamin and mineral and medicinal property of a coconut water powder and they found that you don’t get any deterioration whatsoever compared to coconut water using this freeze-drying type of method.

So I thought this was interesting because I’ve always wondered where coconut powder comes from if there’s some magic coconut-water-pooping-unicorn in the sky that makes coconut powder, or if it can actually be made in a more healthy way.  And it turns out freeze-drying is the way to go.  So there’s this company that does a greens powder that has coconut powder as its base and their called Organifi.  So they take matcha green tea, and wheat grass, and turmeric, and ashwagandha, and mint, and spirulina, and chlorella, and they added all to this coconut water powder base and it is super-tasty.  You can put it in a blender along with anything.  You can probably blend it up with those mushrooms I was just talking about.  But you get 20% off of this stuff.  And here’s how you get twenty percent off this Organifi Green Juice Powder.  Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife.  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife and when you do, you just use discount code Ben to get 20% off.  So use discount code Ben at bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife, and enjoy your coconut water powder with a whole bunch of other stuff added to it.  Alright, let’s get back to the show.

Music plays.

Ben:  Now as far as the whole low protein diet, why would you be doing that in the first place?

Wade:  Well, first and foremost it just came out that way just being a plant-based guy, I mean, keep in mind I grew up under the-more-protein-is-better program, and like all bodybuilders that when I first started out, I went crazy on that, and then in 2003 I had a complete bloat after I did the Mr. Universe, and I didn’t understand prior to that there’s a difference between consumption and absorption.  And once I understood that I got educated about that, then I realized that well, it’s not really how much protein you eat, it’s how much you absorb and what’s interesting is that 75 grams in a day I’m probably absorbing and utilizing more protein than a guy that’s eating 250 or 300 grams of protein a day.

Ben:  Hmm.  Interesting.  So as far as the actual vegetarian approach to bodybuilding, obviously amino acids are something that you’re going out of your way to supplement with, but what about a lot of these things that you tend to find vegetarians are deficient in like creatine or vitamin B12 or DHA for neural fatty acid health, those type of things?  Are you also including supplements like that or are you getting all that from food-based nutrients?

Wade:  Ah no, I’m a big believer in supplementation for performance.  I don’t think it’s really possible to hit the highest levels of performance without the addition of supplements, and of course, you also need to know your genetic and epigenetic types.  So for example, you may have issues absorbing and utilizing B12 or things like that.  So again all of my stuff comes down to what’s optimized for myself.  You can do some generalizations but I do take a plant-based essential fatty acids.  I struggled with the EFA program for many, many years, and I think it was because I grew up in that high-protein low-fat diets and just Matt and I are total opposites on how we approach our diets, and for our bodies it was kind of interesting ‘cause we worked together for a long time, we have lots of great discussions about it ‘cause we were trying to find universal ideas.  But I really needed to get that EFA stuff down and I found the plant-based blend that I did and I’ve been tested recently and I’m good as gold on that.

As far as creatine and stuff, I supplement with it periodically if I’m doing a peaking cycle.  I think it’s great.  I don’t use it year round so I might do it for 6 or 8 weeks maybe 2 or 3 times a year depending on if I got a photo shoot or something to do.  I do notice a boost up on that.

Ben:  Ok, got it.  And are you using a specific supplement for your DHA or your EPA?  You mentioned the essential fatty acids that you’ve tested and you’re good to go on those.  What do you actually use?

Wade:  Ah, yeah there’s a plant-based blend by a company called doTERRA that I picked up, man it really, really made a difference for me, and so I’m not associated with the company or anything like that but I really like the blend.  It was great.

Ben:  That doTERRA that’s like an essential oil company, isn’t it?

Wade:  Yeah, it’s an essential oil company, and they have a plant-based version.  I forget the name of that.  I can run out a little bit later and I’ll give it for the notes the article.

Ben:  Yeah, send me a link later, and I’ll put ém over in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gallant.

Okay.  So that was obviously a bit of a rabbit hole.  You guys have pretty elaborate routines and I would imagine we didn’t even scratch the surface of what your entire day looks like but you’re particularly experts in this whole realm of probiotics and digestive enzymes, and that’s why I wanted to get you on a call because there’s a lot of things other than like shooting probiotics up your butt and hanging from a yoga swing that people don’t know about probiotics and about digestive enzymes.  And enzymes in particular are something that fascinate me because I think that there are a lot of myths and even mistakes that people are making when they’re using something like a digestive enzyme.

So first of all, whichever of you would like to answer this question I’m fine with, but why is it that your body can’t just take the food that you eat and using the body’s own amazing human built-in mechanisms digest food all on its own without actually needing to take some kind of an enzyme before you eat?

Matt:  I’ll answer that.  First and foremost, if we go through a quick rundown of what happens in digestion.  Number one, you put food in your body, you start masticating it, there’s some enzymes released in your ptyalin and starts breaking it down.  The food enters into the upper cardiac portion of the stomach and from there the enzymes present in the food should start breaking that down.  Now with humans we’re the only species on the planet that cooks their food.  Every other species eats the food with its enzymes present and at that stage those will start to be breaking down.

So for example a tiger that goes off and eats a zebra, there’s an enzyme called cathepsin that becomes activated as soon as that enters into the body of the tiger.  So when you consume, any animal whether it’s a vegetarian or whether it’s a carnivore, it always consumes its food in a live state.  When he eats it then the enzymes become active in it that start breaking down that food, so it actually preserves the enzymatic potential of the organism consuming the other one, okay.  So now, after that cardiac portion that first thirty sixty minutes hydrochloric acid starts to come in, the food drops into the lower intestinal tract, they start separating other amino acids inside the body and also disinfecting the food from any pathogens or bacteria.  After that what’s called bicarbonate buffers are added to the mixture and this keeps you from having ulcers in your duodenum,  and things like that, so as it enters into the intestinal tract it’s buffered, and if the formulation or the food is right, you have enzymes reactivated.

Now if you don’t, what happens is your body is going to secrete enzymes stored up in its pancreas for example, that’s been manufactured in the liver and you’re gonna start using these enzymes to break down food.  So your body will have what’s called a metabolic load or an enzymatic capacity load on your body to actually start breaking down the food into smaller levels and then finally the bacteria in your intestinal tract will start converting that into utilizable material.  So that’s kind of the stages of digestion.

Now unfortunately, most people are consuming their food, they don’t have the enzymes present and they don’t cleave the essential amino acids at the top.  They may not have enough hydrochloric acid inside the body to properly continue the breakdown.  It enters into the intestinal tract and we have what I call the ‘turkey dinner syndrome.’  Everybody’s had that Thanksgiving dinner where you ate a big meal, and everybody kinda has a second helping and they all run for the couch or the floor, or you lie there in a pool or drooled until you wake up, and then you go back to the fridge for another helping of grandma’s pie, right?

Ben:  Right.

Matt:  People go, why is that happening?  Well number one, the enzymatic capacity of the body was shunted to digest the food.  And so it says, you know what, Wade doesn’t need to eat right now, he doesn’t need to think right now, he doesn’t need to do anything he just needs to lay down while we digest that.  Now what happens is because we didn’t cleave those essential amino acids in the top part of the digestive process, we started borrowing amino acids from the smooth muscle tissue in the intestinal tract and that has a double effect.  Number one, it has a drain on the form and tone of the colon and over time that can also lead to poor contractions in the intestinal tract for people.  And so, what happens over time is we have this high-protein diets particularly a North American diets where we eat a lot of meat-based proteins, and a lot of animal proteins and milk calcium-based eggs, all that sort of stuff and we’re overloading our systems, and when that happens is we have a load on their enzymatic supply and this was documented by a guy by the name of Dr. Edward Hao back in the  forties ,and he said that by the time a person’s forty they have  about 70% less of the enzymes they had at birth.

In other words, their ability to do metabolic work is being limited and enzymes are responsible from thinking to blinking.  So the reality is everybody requires enzymes to digest their food.  Whether you’re getting them from the food source that you’re consuming, whether you’re getting them manufactured from your body or whether you’re getting them in a supplemental form, you must have an enzyme to breakdown your food. And if you’re operating at a compromised enzyme capacity which most of us are from our experience and our observations, supplementing your enzymes is probably the easiest, fastest and most efficient way to increase the absorption and utilization of your food, and to reduce the use of undigested proteins which cause a variety of neurotoxin issues and toxicity inside the body.  So that’s what we found and we’ve done and we’ve experimented and we’ve worked on this for the last fourteen years, I guess it’s been thirteen fourteen years and the reality is I think the proof’s in the pudding and just from the experiential effect, the cognitive enhancement and also the health, energy and vitality levels that we experienced.

Ben:  Now what would be the difference between using say like a digestive enzyme and just using what well, you’ll see a lot of cultures like for example, when I was in Italy we drank I believe it was Grappa, or Vinsanta, or like a digestive-based liquor, and you see people doing things like shots of bitters or one very common approach is to simply drink some water with lemon juice in it prior to eating.  What would be the primary difference between doing something like that, and using I guess like a more advanced digestive enzyme complement in capsule form or in pill form?

Wade:  I’ll grab this one.  So yeah, first of all is if we address the examples that you gave, a lot of stuff like some things like warm water activate hydrochloric acid.  so that’s one of the reasons people kind of intuitively like drinking teas and stuff after a dinner.  So that’s one reason people do it and as far as alcohol being a digestive aid, I laugh when I hear that (chuckles).  It’s a good marketing tool as a waiter, hey by the way, do you wanna digestive, but I don’t think it’s gonna really help people break down the nutrients in their food into usable components.

Here’s another way I’ll answer the question and that’s if you were doing very high quality farming, farming your own food, only eating that, and I know you do a lot of this, Ben, so. And of course hunting your food and ideally eating it raw, okay which is pretty wild, but I know there was this one guy who’s kinda suddenly famous for doing this.  Then yeah, maybe you wouldn’t need enzymes, right? so if you have your own organic food and your soil is full of minerals and you’re really doing a great job growing heirloom food that hasn’t been GMO’d, and you’re eating it fresh, then yeah, but the reality is for 99.9999% of the population that’s just not happening.  So I think that’s where supplementing with enzymes is a power move.

Ben:  Okay.  Now with enzymes, I’ve talked about enzymes before in the podcast and I’ve mentioned for example probably the foremost popular enzymes that I believe are in many of these digestive enzyme complexes, and the one’s that I typically see are like papain, bromelain, trypsin and chymotrypsin, right, like an off-the-shelf digestive enzyme complex.  Are there other digestive enzymes that people should know about or are all digestive enzymes just kind of the same molecules that help to break down the foods in your stomach or in your gut, or what are the actual enzymes people should look for on a label?

Wade:  So on a label ideally, again if you’re taking it for the purpose of absorbing more nutrients from your general diet, you want a really broad mix, and I’ll get into the most critical one last, but things like alpha galactosidase which helps you with beans and lentils, and obviously amylase is for carbs in general.  Cellulase, if you’re eating a lot of veggies just a lot of cellulose that your body struggles with cellulase will help with that.  You got things like invertase for sucrose, lactase for lactose or for people that are lactose intolerant, once in a while if they want ice cream, they’ll take lactase to help them deal with it otherwise they’ll spook their family with some gassy bombs, right?

You got lipase for fat, you’ve got things like xylanase for plant fiber again, peptidase for casein and milk proteins.  So it goes on and on, right, we could probably talk about different enzymes for a while, but the most important one and especially for people that are concerned with fitness, recovering athletes and people who wanna build muscle, I think health in general, the most important one by far in our opinion in protease.  And why is that?  Well, first of all protein is how our bodies, well let me be more specific, amino acids is how our body repairs itself, generates neurotransmitters for the brain etcetera, etcetera.  So on the plus side if we can feed or give our body more neurotransmitters, we’re gonna have again better cognitive function, et cetera.

So I have a good friend of mine who is in his 70s, he started taking Masszymes and our P3OM our probiotic, and he was suffering from depression and now he’s off his meds.  I’m not saying that that healed him but I do believe that that’s the price of not being able to break food down is your brain’s gonna get a lot less neurotransmitters with time.  And if you can’t produce…

Ben:  Right, because amino acids are necessary precursors for neurotransmitter formation.

Wade:  Exactly.  And then on the preventing negative side effects, undigested protein is really one of the worst toxins we can have in our bodies.  And I believe most people have way too much undigested protein.  So for those two reasons on the plus side of recovery and we can get some really mind-blowing studies on recovery from injuries and recovery from workouts.  On the plus side, and again avoiding the toxicity, so those are the 2 things that make protease so critical.

Ben:  So undigested proteins would not just be like, and that’s not corn and carrot slices in your crap, that’s actually like auto-immune reactions from undigested protein molecules crossing the gut barrier and winding up in the blood stream?

Wade:  Uhm, you got it.

Ben:  But probably the most common I guess, being one that I’m not sure well I suppose, they make gluten-digesting enzymes that can help with this.  I’m trying to recall the name of the most popular one off the top of my head.  You guys remember, is it gluten peptidase?

Wade:  Yeah, there are enzymes that help and maybe enzymes in general will help, but people that are gluten-sensitive or celiac.  My wife is a celiac, so anytime she accidentally consumes it she’ll take ten capsules and it helps a lot.

Ben:  Accidentally, meaning grabbing that baguette that looks so tasty?

Wade:  No, it’s probably more like me throwing flour in the air as I pound a pizza on a Sunday night and it affects the counter.

Ben:  Oh yes, you’re one of those guys.  So you’ve got a ton of different types of digestive enzymes.  It appears that the body can make itself and that also you could take in like a supplemental form, but one if the things that you touched on as you’re talking was this concept of I believe muscle repair and muscle recovery, and that’s something, I guess that a lot of people don’t think about when it comes to digestive enzymes.  I’ve actually had a few people in the past send me recovery supplements to my friend Doreen.  A lot of times I’ll look at the label of these recovery supplements and they do indeed have some of the same ingredients in them as a digestive enzyme complex would have in them.  What’s the cross over there?  Why is it that something that you’d find in a digestive enzyme would help with muscle repair recovery?  What’s going on from a physiological standpoint?

Wade:  Sure.  So I’ll start with a really cool hack that everybody can do.  And this hack was scientifically proven, we’ll share the study in the show notes.  So what you do you take 3 capsules of Masszymes and a couple of capsules of our probiotic which is also proteolytic and by the way proteolytic means it juts helps digest protein.

Ben:  Okay and by the way, just to interrupt you because I don’t want to confuse people when you say Masszymes that’s a particular blend of digestive enzyme that your company makes?

Wade:  Correct.  So we formulated Masszymes with the intent of giving athletes and bodybuilders an edge.  So most enzymes and not just athletes but people that work out.  Most enzymes are really weak in our opinion.  They’re very low in protease and they don’t have a variety of protease that works in a variety of PH levels  (Inaudible)

So going back to the hack, you take 3 capsules, 2 capsules of P3OM probiotics, you mix it in with whatever protein shake.  It doesn’t matter if it’s whey or hemp like we were big fans of plant-based proteins obviously, so whatever mixture into, throw that in there shake it, and then sip it while you’re working out and literally your body will start repairing itself a lot faster.  So you can achieve more muscle growth, more gains, faster recovery by literally sipping on a predigested protein shake, and that’s really what the enzymes are doing.  They’re breaking down the protein from protein into usable amino acids, and you just sip on it and you’re gonna get a lot more results.  So that’s the mechanism.  Go ahead.

Ben:  Now in my taking… so let’s say I wanna get swoll and I wanna enhance recovery whether or not I’m like a hardcore bike rider or in a gym, I would take protein like say a whey protein or rice or hemp or a P protein, would I swallow the digestive enzyme using this hack that you’re talking about.  Would I break open the digestive enzyme and pour it into the actual shake?

Wade:  Yeah, make your shake and put the capsules in there.  So you break it open and even if you’re lazy and you got a good blender just throw (giggles) the caps in there.

Ben:  Now, but could I do this like in my morning green smoothie, could I just take the digestive enzymes and when I blend the smoothie, blend the enzymes in there with the smoothie?

Wade:  Absolutely, and you’ll see, and here’s the 2 things you’re gonna see one, you’re gonna visually see like there’s a biochemical party happening.  Like you’re gonna see like wow, there’s literally chemical reactions happening that weren’t there before.  You’re gonna see it, and second of all you’re gonna taste it like the taste is very different, you can taste some magic is happening.  So those are the two things that you will see.

Ben:  Really?  Interesting.  Well my green smoothie tastes pretty dang good already so this will be interesting.

Wade:  I’m not saying it’s gonna taste (inaudible) by the way.  You’re gonna taste like it’s gonna be again there’s a biochemical reaction happening.

Ben:  Got it.  Now you have also mentioned to add a probiotics into the mix as well.  Why would that be?

Wade:  Well, again certain probiotics like P3OM are proteolytics.  So they enhance even more the protein digesting effects of Masszymes, so it’s a great one to knockout well.

Ben:  Okay, that makes sense and one thing I wanted to ask you about when it comes to that probiotic that you mentioned, you guys have this Masszymes digestive enzyme which is a blend of I guess you’ve got thirteen or fourteen different enzymes in there to help with everything from gluten digestion to lactose digestion.  I’m now looking at the label and it’s got protease, peptidase, amylase, bromelain, galactosidase, glucoamylase, lipase, lactase, invertase and diastase, but then in your probiotic in stark contrast there’s only one ingredient lacto baccillus plantarum.  Why is it they use that plantarum?  Is it because that’s the one that’s proteolytic or most probiotic complexes you see 7 to 10 different probiotics, why do you guys just have one?

Wade:  Great question.  So our probiotic is a transcient strain versus being a colonizer. So most people don’t understand the difference.  The colonizers will go and ideally build a colony on your intestinal tract of good guys.  Our strain is like a Navy Seal, and it’s a great metaphor because if you read our patent and we’ll put the patent in the show notes.  It’s in our patent that’s been shown to be anti-viral, anti-retroviral, anti-tumoral, so it literally goes and just cleans house and when I say clean house, taking care of the bad guys, the toxins, the bad bacteria just nukes ém, ok?  And we know this to be true, I’ve had probably about 7 different occasions where either myself or my wife or friends of ours have had food poisoning, like you’re going to the wrong buffet or whatever, and you give people ten capsules and within ten or fifteen minutes they’re good versus the people that didn’t get the probiotics, they’re sick for a couple of days.

So that’s we know that they’re incredibly effective at cleaning house.  They’re very aggressive, they double every twenty minutes and you’ve done the probiotic fermentation with the coconut water, I mean it would take weeks to achieve a similar acidity with kombucha for example versus with the P3OM it’s hours, and that’s just because it doubles very quickly.  So in getting into why it’s so special, we took l’plantarum and have put it through kind of a training process to make it stronger and more aggressive so that’s really the secret sauce and you can read some of that inside the patent.

Ben:  Ok, got it.  So you’ll put a link to that patent in the show notes so you can actually see even if we wanna look at the research behind this particular strain, they can check it out?

Matt:  Exactly, and a great metaphor is that most probiotics are like a peace-keeping team versus our probiotics are Navy Seals.

Ben:  Got it.  The Navy Seal probiotic.  You should’ve just called it, man, the Navy Seal probiotic, I think that would be much sexier than P3OM.

Now another question regarding digestive enzymes to backtrack a bit back into enzymes.  You talked about this little hack where I could take enzymes, and this P2OM probiotic and like break it open, and put it into a smoothie or a shake to enhance recovery or to enhance the muscle repair effect that a digestive enzyme can give you.  Now what I’ve heard before is that if you take digestive enzymes and you consume them without food, right like normally they would act upon the food that you’re consuming but if you take them on an empty stomach that they can actually help to breakdown for example, fibronogen that can contribute to muscle soreness, so they can assist with some of the things that would normally cause you to become sore or inhibit you from building muscle.  Is that true or and this is what I’ve always wondered, are the enzymes just going to kind of like eat away at your stomach lining and cause gut distress.  Like can you take digestive enzymes on an empty stomach and if so or if not, what’s the effect that that’s gonna have?

Matt:  We can start and then I’ll share some studies that are really mind-blowing.  Go ahead, Wade.

Wade:  Great, I’ll jump in here.  Great question and one of the things like yourself we’re very extreme in our testing and I want to test this in excess.  So I went on a ten-day fast and consumed a thousand enzymes a day of these Masszymes to see if I would break down and digest or if I don’t get one of two things.  One if that would affect my stomach lining and number two, if I would break the GI barrier in other words get the runs.  That didn’t happen on any level and I did feel really, really alert, and I did notice some other interesting things.

For example, I went through an extreme liver detox.  My first time doing that I was pretty neat.  But what was interesting when you talk about taking in on an empty stomach I had a friend of mine who had a huge fibrous necrosis scar from a spider bite that she had get rid.  It was about a half inch thick scar and probably 3 inches long, and I would give her the Masszymes on an empty stomach and within ten minutes this scar would become red and start to itch and over the course of the next 9 months she continued that taking the Masszymes twice a day on an empty stomach, she took 5 capsules twice a day on an empty stomach.  And in 9 months-time the scar had changed from a reddish color to almost completely clear, and it had reduced down to completely smooth.  In fact her daughter one day was rubbing her shoulder and said, Mom, your scar’s gone.  What happened?  And so there was kind of anecdotal evidence or experience that I got to experience first-hand to see that, you know the breakdown of tissue.

What happens and when you take in a digestive enzyme on an empty stomach and there’s no food let’s say to go, your body is going to preserve that.   You’re not gonna break the GI barrier.  For example, if you look at Vitamin C, there is an old protocol I think that is of  Linus Pauling that you take in as much Vitamin C ‘til you break the GI barrier that is getting the runs and then you cut the dosage, and you stay on that dosage ‘til you get the runs and you cut that dosage.  And that was the protocol used by a lot of guys in orthomolecular nutrition in their early experimentations.  And so, you don’t have that experience and that means your body will hold on to enzyme as much as it can because they’re so essential for bodily functions.  And I believe that a high quality enzyme that is consumed on an empty stomach will become a metabolic or a systemic enzyme inside the body and I think you’re gonna see more and more evidence demonstrating that in the future

I can share with you this from my own personal experience from using Masszymes over the years.  I went from extremely you know, how you get that kinda fibrous very hard muscle tissue from working out all those years and that sort of stuff.  My muscle tissue is extremely pliable and whenever I got a body worker working on me, he or she is usually like, wow! for a guy that carries as much muscle as you have how come your tissues are so pliable?  And I believe there’s a direct correlation with the amount of enzymes that I’m using in your body for enhancement and I think that’s one of the big benefits.  The other thing is you always wanna use the cultured enzyme.  There’s a degree of potency in enzymes so you know you’re regular food enzymes that are found in food, you have animal-based enzymes which are extract from animals, and then you can go all the way up to cultured enzymes which are developed on specific cultures and it’s in a very elaborate process that increases the potency of that enzyme anywhere from a hundred to a thousand times depending on the enzyme how long it was cultured, the quality of the culture, what nutrients were used to grow and what was the extraction process, and that’s what we’ve kinda gone to.  So I think why there’s a lot variance in the experiential reality of how people respond to enzymes is largely in part due to the quality of the enzyme they’re doing, the dosage that they’re doing, and how long they sustain those dosages so that they get enough of the benefit that we can build up their enzymatic pool.

Ben:  Okay, got it.  So this is kinda similar as like what I would do with say like liver, right like a really gamey organ meat that I would imagine.  I guess you probably don’t eat too much of Wade, but to make it a little bit less firm and less chewy, you actually soak it in lemon juice for a period of time or raw milk which also has enzymes in it to actually make it taste good ‘til you make that flesh a little bit more like butter, I suppose.  So what you’re saying is that when you consume digestive enzymes on an empty stomach or consume them for recovery you kinda have a similar effect on things like scar tissue and areas of fibrous build-up etcetera?

Wade:  Exactly.

Ben:  Okay.

Matt:  But it goes even beyond that and by the way, just hack alert, cool tip alert.  One of the things that I do, I take… ‘cause I’m in Panama and it’s tough to find really good meat here.  So I’ll buy some rib eyes that are locally raised, pretty tough meat, but I’ll put 2 or 3 capsules of the Masszymes and spread it on it for about sixty to ninety minutes and it just completely starts…

Ben:  Oh, man. 

Matt:  Immediately it’s breaking down the meat and digesting it so…

Ben:  That’s a good idea.

Matt:  And then I’ll clean it, wash it, put the salt and pepper and whatever, and then cook it.

Ben: So if I don’t have any lemon juice or raw milk on hand I could probably use kinda like what you’re doing as a marinade to soften the meat I could use that on like liver or anything else I was trying to soften and you can just break open these digestive enzymes.

Matt:  Uhm, exactly and if you want another hack to take you out to the next level is the Masszymes and then salt, like put some kosher salt, put the Masszymes first and then kosher salt on top and that really accelerates it, and then you clean it off.

Ben:  Nice. Digestive enzyme and salt 1-2 combo.  I like it.

Matt:  It’s magic.  So, in terms of the proteolytic enzymes on a systemic level to speed up recovery years 4 really interesting studies and again we’ll link that in the show notes.  One Dr. Fulgrave saw that sprains and strains could go from 8 weeks of inactivity to down to 2 weeks.  JM Zuschlag in a double blind clinical study using proteolytic enzymes for karate fighters showed absolutely mind-blowing improvements and you can read about this is at page 143 of the book Enzymes and Enzyme Therapy.

Ben:  What do you mean mind-blowing improvements?

Wade:  Well here we go.  Hematomas 15.6 days to 6.6 days.  Swelling 10 days to 4 days.  Restriction of movement 12.6 days down to 5.  Inflammation and this is key for everybody, inflammation 10.5 days down to 3.8 and unfit for training 10.2 days to 4.2 days.

Ben:  What were they using for something like this?  Like how much?

Wade:  They were using a proteolytic enzyme mixture.

Ben:  Okay.  Interesting.

Wade:  And on an empty stomach.  The key is to get systemic effects ‘cause if you take it with food it’s gonna break down the food, right?  If you take on an empty stomach it’s actually gonna get into the bloodstream and start doing some of these mind blowing improvements we’re talking about.  Two more quick studies Dr. Baumuller used enzymes, also on double blind studies showed ankle-related injuries would recover up to fifty percent faster and last one is Dr. Leichtman treated boxers and he could take black eyes from ten to fourteen days down to 1-3.  So, that’s what we call systemic effects or benefits of enzymes.

Ben:  Wow.  I just sprained my ankle in this last Tough Mudder race over the weekend so maybe I should go upstairs and pop some digestive enzymes.

Wade:  Popopopound it! 

Ben:  Boom!  I like it.  So in terms of enzymes this is obviously really cool.  I think a lot of people don’t really know that you can use these for so many things other than just digesting food.  Now in terms of the probiotic and enzyme mixture if I take the probiotics and I take the enzymes at the same time. what’s actually going on from like a chemical standpoint that would allow either the probiotic to become more efficacious or the enzyme to become more efficacious?

Matt:  Well we’ve done the experiments and you can actually see it on the website bioptimizer.com/greenfield, you’ll see a video which is an experiment we did.  We took some raw meat and put it in 3 glasses with some vinegar which is to kind of replicate stomach acid.  In one glass there was nothing going on, and the second glass we had just enzymes and then the third one we had our enzymes and our probiotics, and you can see the breakdown is just happening that much faster and it’s because the probiotics are again proteolytic, so they’re gonna help break that protein down to amino acids.  So they’re just a great synergistic thing again the proteases in the enzymes and the proteolytic nature of the probiotics are just gonna completely break down those proteins into usable aminos.

Ben:  Ok, got it.  Now Wade, I had a question for you and in terms of people using digestive enzymes and mistakes that folks make.  You know obviously, you could, I suppose use a digestive enzyme that only has amylase or only has lactase in it or you could just that’s not rocket science that maybe you just when looking at the digestive enzyme label aren’t getting all of the different enzymes that Matt was talking about earlier that were responsible you know, like cellulase for plant fiber, and lactase for milk, and peptidase for gluten, so you’d want a full spectrum but are there other mistakes that people make when their using a digestive enzyme?

Wade:  Yeah, I’ll go and talk a few things that kinda come up.  I think number one, is it’s too weak.  That’s the most common one if you go out to your store shelves and you look around.  The thing is particularly when you’re looking at the performance side of things you really wanna concentrate heavily on the proteases, and what happens is those are the most expensive enzymes to make.  So a lot of companies kind of cut corners on that simply because the average person isn’t sophisticated enough in their education to understand the difference.  The other thing is that I feel from a performance standpoint they don’t take enough volume.

We have developed a process that we’ve tested over the years that we’ve found that taking a high volume of a proteolytic enzyme for say ninety days is sufficient enough that you start to get these kind of ulterior benefits to the product, in other words you get your system optimized if you will, and then you can kinda adjust to your dosage and of course, we’ve gone to even further extremes to that and some of our peak performance guys they really pushed the limits on that, but for the average person they just don’t take enough and they don’t take a high enough quality.  And I had one other piece to it, when you get to protease, a lot of times people just classify protease as protease but when you’re going through that digestive process that I talked about earlier you have to realize that that PH starts to change from let’s say a neutral or an alkaline state after that first thirty to sixty minutes when the hydrocholoric acid comes in, that mixture is gonna drop from say 7 or 8 to 7 to 6 to 5 to 4 to 3, and you want proteases that work in all of those ranges, and the reason why you want that is because that’s what’s gonna cleave the amino acids or the protein into the usable amino acids inside your body.  So we have combined the 3 main ones which is the 6.0, the 4.5 and 3.0.  That way we handle the full spectrum of pH.  If you’re using an animal-based enzyme and there’s a lot of people that are using an animal-based enzyme blend.  It’s limitations within the pH are extreme and therefore you’re not going to get the same effects.

The other thing is if you’re not using all 3 of these you’re not gonna digest, absorb and utilize some of the key amino acids.  And this is where I think you get people that are having challenges with maybe depression, or they’re having trouble putting on muscle, or they’re having a variety of proteolytic enzymatic pathway issues, this is where we make a distinction by having the 6.0, the 4.5, the 3.0.  You’re gonna get all those amino acids utilizable by your body so that it can do the repair.  Make the polypeptide change for your brain and get your whole body rockin’ and rolling the way it was supposed to.  And that’s I think the big, big mistakes that people make.  And the other thing is you know they don’t take them before their meals.  What I do is I carry a little tin with me.  I take an Altoids I have one of those little Altoids containers that you can fit kinda of in that change piece in your jeans and I pack about twenty five enzymes inside that, and I just pop them before every single meal, and it makes a huge difference.  So I think you need to take it just before the meal and that will suspend your body from producing the enzyme.  So you don’t get the metabolic drain on your body.  That’s the other thing, so I think taking them just before is a big factor.

Ben:  So you take it right before.  So what happens if you forget, do you take it during or you take digestive enzyme after meal, will you still get some effect?

Wade:  Oh, you’ll still get the benefits but keep in mind that your body is extremely accurate.  Dr. Hao determined that it had the specific… what do you call it… your body was able to specify what food it has and what amount of enzymes it requires to break down that food.  So if you ingest the food without say taking in your enzymes, your body is going to start preparing the preparation and release of those enzymes.  It’s kinda like Pavlov’s dogs and the salivating.  Same thing with your body.  So if you take it beforehand, your body’s gonna sense that the enzymes are present and it doesn’t need to release and that’s gonna reduce the metabolic drain of your enzymatic capacity.

Ben:  Interesting.  Ok, wow.  There’s a lot here and I’ve been taking notes and I’ve got them again if you’re listening in over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gallant that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/ g-a-l-l-a-n-t.

Now a couple of things.  First of all, I know that over there or if you’re listening in you just go over to their website Bioptimizers just like what it sounds like bioptimizers.com/greenfield.  You guys have a discount code over there that people can use or discount that sets in for people?

Matt:  Yeah, they’re gonna get up to between twenty-three and forty-five percent off depending on the size of the package, so yeah we went all in for you.

Ben:  Cool.  And then the other million dollar question, and I’ll put a link to their website for you guys in the show notes or again bioptimizers.com/greenfield.  Other million dollar question ‘cause I think we just didn’t get in to enough detail on this, Matt and it’ll come full circle to how I introduced you.  The probiotic enema thing, what’s kinda like your gold standard method to do this probiotic enema?  Can you walk through this real quick for folks?

Matt:  Well, sure. Go ahead.

Ben:  And also what people can expect to feel like why they would wanna do this.

Matt:  So right.  I’m gonna actually give a bigger protocol so we did not [inaudible) fans of fasting once, twice, three times a year and we usually do, I typically do 3 to 5 days and Wade goes up to ten days sometimes, and of course, the research has come out on the benefits of that, and how it resets the immune system and all this great stuff.  So…

Ben:  You mean fasting without eating anything at all?

Matt:  Correct.

Ben:  Just water?

Matt:  Right, but being a bioptimizer (laughs), so we’re always looking to speed things up and accelerate the process, right? so we will do a couple of things during the cleanse.  One of them is yeah, we’re not eating food but we’ll take ten capsules of Masszymes and 5 capsules of P3OM three times a day.  So what that’s doing is getting into my blood stream doing that those beautiful systemic benefits we talked about as well as breaking down old undigested protein in my intestinal tract which I think there’s always some stuff there.  So that’s 3 times a day, ten capsules of Masszymes, 5 of P3OM.

We also love to do the batman enema.  So that’s where you’re gonna take and I believe more is better here, so on my next one and I’ve got one coming up soon.  I’m gonna go up to a gallon I think (giggles).  I used to do a liter but again without the colonic machine it’s hard to get deep as where I wanna go.  So I’m gonna prepare about a gallon of coconut water, obviously get some nice fresh coconut water.  With about a gallon you’ll probably gonna need about 6 or 7 capsules of P3OM depending on the temperature of your ambient room because you know why you get sick and your body temperature goes up, and that’s because every degree Celsius that your body goes up, enzymes double in capacity or function.  So that’s why your body turns up the heat so that the enzymes in your body can do more good.  And it’s similar with when you’re fermenting things the warmer the room is the faster it’s gonna go.  Four to 8 hours depending on the temperature is what you wanna do.

And again, you should drink it and it should be a little bit acidic because the probiotics are literally eating the sugar which is another hack by the way especially with the holidays coming up, if I’m pounding sugar like I did last night for example, I’m gonna take ten capsules of P3OM to help literally break that sugar down and feed the probiotics instead of me taking on the full blown blow there, but anyways back to the protocol.  Take the probiotics, throw it the coconut water when it becomes acidic that means it consumed the majority of the sugar and the pH is starting to change.  And then you’re gonna basically go in the shower, put your feet up, have an enema bag, you know get some help (giggles), and then drop a liquid in there and if you don’t have the yoga swing or what not, keep your legs up for again fifteen to twenty minutes, and if you have an inverted table or some sort of yoga swing hang, and just let that liquid work its way through and clean house.  So that’s the protocol.  And usually you’ll see that nothing comes out ‘cause your body absorbed it, but if you go deep enough you might notice the next couple of days some interesting things come out.

Ben:  Okay, got it.  So basically you ferment your probiotics for 48 hours at room temperature and if it’s slightly hotter it’s gonna ferment faster, and you’re fermenting it in coconut water and then you basically do a normal enema by your putting all that fermented probiotics up into your butt and hanging upside down for ten minutes.

Matt:  You got it.

Ben: Ish.  Cool I like it.  There’s a little experiment I’m gonna try this week.  And if you wanna use Matt and Wade’s probiotic mix, if you wanna use their digestive enzyme mix to tenderize meat or to shoot thing up your butt, you can go to their website bioptimizers.com b-i optimizers dot com/greenfield, or just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/gallant, if you want all the show notes, the studies they talked about.  I’ll put a link to the previous podcast that I did with Vielight on that light that Matt was talking about early on in the podcast.  My Power of When podcast with Michael Breus about how to know if you’re a lion, or a dolphin, or a wolf, or a bear, and plenty of other resources for you guys if you want to take a deep dive and you need this stuff.

And in the meantime, Matt and Wade thanks for coming on the show and sharing all these stuff with us guys, you’re a pair of unique dudes who are men after my own heart when it comes to trying to optimize the human body and brain using cutting edge science.  So thanks for coming on the show and sharing this stuff with us.

Matt:  Ben, thank you if it wasn’t for you I would not have tripled my deep sleep in the last 6 months like literally.  I’ve always been a big fan of sleep, but the content that I’ve learned from you in some of your blog posts have completely radically changed my sleep, and of course my quality of life as a result.  So thank you for doing what you do.

Ben:  Sweet.  Well thanks, man.  That’s music to my ears.  I’ll keep doing it now that I know that somebody’s listening in.

Matt/Wade:  (laughs)

Wade:  Yeah, we both love your podcast and I feel that you rate on the cutting edge of the health world so it’s a real pleasure to share a little bit of time with you.

Ben:  Cool.  I’m gonna end this thing then before I get a big head.  Alright you guys, well thanks for listening in again bengreenfieldfitness.com/gallant is where the show notes are.  Go to bioptimizers.com/greenfield, if you want some fat discounts on Matt and Wade’s probiotic and enzyme complex.  And until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Matt Gallant and Wade Lightheart signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a healthy week.

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

 

 

Matt Gallant is an entrepreneur, a poker champion, an ex-rock guitarist, a strength and conditioning coach with a degree in kinesiology, the CEO of a company called BiOptimizers, and a guy who send me e-mails like this:

Subject line: probiotic enema

Break open a handful of capsules and ferment in coconut water…reaches peak power around 4-5 hours of fermentation. However you live in a cooler climate so it might take longer. You can drink it, and if it’s still sweet then you can go longer. When it starts to become a bit acidic, that’s when it is at it’s peak. For enema, retention time should be 15-20 minutes. I like doing the Batman enema. I’ll go upside down with the Om Swing so it really works it’s way down. I tend to do this after two days of fasting so it really takes care of old bad bacteria…”

As you can imagine, this dude thinks outside the box when it comes to nutrition and health.

He is also joined on today’s podcast by , a natural bodybuilder, vegetarian and low-protein diet advocate. Wade is a 3-time All Natural Bodybuilding Champion, advisor to the American Anti-Cancer Institute, director of Education at BiOptimizers Nutrition and a vegetarian for over 13 years. He is also the author of several books including the best-selling books “Staying Alive in a Toxic World”.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The reason Matt does probiotic and digestive enzyme enemas…[9:25]

-The full-head laser light therapy treatment Matt does on his body each morning…[14:40]

-What you need to look for if you are going to use an ionizing water plate to alkalinize your water…[16:30]

-The method Wade uses to breathe in 10 kilograms of oxygen each morning…[22:20]

-Why Wade consumes Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) each morning…[25:15]

-How Wade maintains and builds muscle on a low-protein, vegetarian diet…[32:40]

-Why can’t your body just digest food all on it’s own without an enzyme…[37:00]

-The 13 different types of digestive enzymes, and how to know when you should take which…[45:20]

-A muscle-building hack you can use by breaking open digestive enzymes and probiotics and adding them to a shake or smoothie…[50:20]

-Why BiOptimizers only has one single strain in their probiotic formula…[53:50]

-What happens if you take digestive enzymes on an empty stomach…[57:50]

-How to use digestive enzymes combined with salt as a potent meat tenderizer…[63:25]

-The groundbreaking enzyme study that showed hematoma recovery to go from 15.6 days to 6.6 days, swelling from 10 days to 4 days, restriction of movement from 12.6 days to 5 days, inflammation from 10.5 days to 3.8 days and unfit for training status from 10.2 days to 4.2 days…[64:45]

-The biggest mistakes most people make when using digestive enzymes…[68:00]

-Whether you should take digestive enzymes before, during or after a meal…[71:55]

-Matt’s step-by-step protocol for giving yourself a highly effective probiotic enema…[74:15]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Bioptimizers website where you can find Matt and Wade’s probiotic and MassZymes P3-OM digestive enzyme blends <–click for discount

OmSwing Yoga swing

The Power Of When podcast about Wolves, Dolphins, Lions and Bears

Vielight Neuro (10% discount code is “GREENFIELD”)

Kangen water machine for alkanizing and structuring water

-Website with study: “Double-Blind Clinical Study Using Certain Proteolytic Enzymes Mixtures In Karate Fighters

-Website with study: “Therapy Of Ankles Join Distortions With Hydrolytic Enzymes; Results Of Double-Blind Clinical Trials

Traumatic Injury In Athletes paper

-Website with study: Enzyme Therapy And Sports Injuries

 

 

 

Probiotic Enemas, Digestive Enzyme Myths, Breathing 10 Kilograms of Oxygen, Low-Protein Diets & More!

matt-and-wade

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

Matt Gallant is an entrepreneur, a poker champion, an ex-rock guitarist, a strength and conditioning coach with a degree in kinesiology, the CEO of a company called BiOptimizers, and a guy who send me e-mails like this:

Subject line: probiotic enema

Break open a handful of capsules and ferment in coconut water…reaches peak power around 4-5 hours of fermentation. However you live in a cooler climate so it might take longer. You can drink it, and if it’s still sweet then you can go longer. When it starts to become a bit acidic, that’s when it is at it’s peak. For enema, retention time should be 15-20 minutes. I like doing the Batman enema. I’ll go upside down with the Om Swing so it really works it’s way down. I tend to do this after two days of fasting so it really takes care of old bad bacteria…”

As you can imagine, this dude thinks outside the box when it comes to nutrition and health.

He is also joined on today’s podcast by , a natural bodybuilder, vegetarian and low-protein diet advocate. Wade is a 3-time All Natural Bodybuilding Champion, advisor to the American Anti-Cancer Institute, director of Education at BiOptimizers Nutrition and a vegetarian for over 13 years. He is also the author of several books including the best-selling books “Staying Alive in a Toxic World”.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The reason Matt does probiotic and digestive enzyme enemas…[9:25]

-The full-head laser light therapy treatment Matt does on his body each morning…[14:40]

-What you need to look for if you are going to use an ionizing water plate to alkalinize your water…[16:30]

-The method Wade uses to breathe in 10 kilograms of oxygen each morning…[22:20]

-Why Wade consumes Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) each morning…[25:15]

-How Wade maintains and builds muscle on a low-protein, vegetarian diet…[32:40]

-Why can’t your body just digest food all on it’s own without an enzyme…[37:00]

-The 13 different types of digestive enzymes, and how to know when you should take which…[45:20]

-A muscle-building hack you can use by breaking open digestive enzymes and probiotics and adding them to a shake or smoothie…[50:20]

-Why BiOptimizers only has one single strain in their probiotic formula…[53:50]

-What happens if you take digestive enzymes on an empty stomach…[57:50]

-How to use digestive enzymes combined with salt as a potent meat tenderizer…[63:25]

-The groundbreaking enzyme study that showed hematoma recovery to go from 15.6 days to 6.6 days, swelling from 10 days to 4 days, restriction of movement from 12.6 days to 5 days, inflammation from 10.5 days to 3.8 days and unfit for training status from 10.2 days to 4.2 days…[64:45]

-The biggest mistakes most people make when using digestive enzymes…[68:00]

-Whether you should take digestive enzymes before, during or after a meal…[71:55]

-Matt’s step-by-step protocol for giving yourself a highly effective probiotic enema…[74:15]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Bioptimizers website where you can find Matt and Wade’s probiotic and MassZymes P3-OM digestive enzyme blends <–click for discount

Crik Nurtition ( code BEN for 15% off first purchase)

OmSwing Yoga swing

The Power Of When podcast about Wolves, Dolphins, Lions and Bears

Vielight Neuro (10% discount code is “GREENFIELD”)

Kangen water machine for alkanizing and structuring water

-Website with study: “Double-Blind Clinical Study Using Certain Proteolytic Enzymes Mixtures In Karate Fighters

-Website with study: “Therapy Of Ankles Join Distortions With Hydrolytic Enzymes; Results Of Double-Blind Clinical Trials

Traumatic Injury In Athletes paper

-Website with study: Enzyme Therapy And Sports Injuries

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

Episode #362 – Full Transcript

Podcast from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/362-donald-trumps-exercise-routine-altitude-vs-heat-training-can-kids-take-smart-drugs-can-ketosis-cause-muscle-damage-more/

[0:00] Introduction

[6:52] News Flashes/Genetics and Rep Ranges

[10:32] Altitude Training versus Heat Training

[14:56] Athletes’ Performance and The Thought of Their Impending Death

[17:11] Nutrient Optimizing Tips

[23:29] Special Announcements/Nuts.com

[25:19] Teeter

[27:54] Harry’s Razors

[30:07] HealthIQ

[31:50] Ben’s Schedule For The Following Weeks

[35:08] Donate to The Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast!

[36:26] Listener Q&A/Kids and Smart Drugs

[49:30] Ketosis and Muscle Damage

[1:08:11] Infrared Saunas and Sperm Count

[1:17:17] Genetic Testing

[1:31:59.2] End of Podcast

Introduction:  In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:  Altitude Training Vs. Heat Training, Can Kids Take Smart Drugs, Can Ketosis Cause Muscle Damage, Can Infrared Saunas Lower Sperm Count, 23andMe Vs. DNAFit Genetic Testing, 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:  Well, Rachel, it’s quite an exciting morning.  We have a new president of the United States here.

Rachel:  That’s right.  It’s been a crazy morning.  It’s a crazy 24 hours.

Ben:  Yeah.  It was.  I voted like a good boy.  I went out and did my civic duty.  And yeah, our new president is Donald Trump.

Rachel:  That’s correct!  For those of you who haven’t heard.

Ben:  For those of you who are under a rock right now or who just fled the country.  Anyways though, he has a very interesting workout and health routine.  Are you familiar with Donald Trump’s workout routine?

Rachel:  I’m not.  No.  But I’m very curious to hear what it is.

Ben: Okay.  Well, he was interviewed, and I believe it was in People’s Magazine, and what he told people was that he really didn’t have to work too hard to stay in shape or to keep up his stamina on this recent campaign trail because he said he gets his exercise by waving his hands around.  He goes on to say, “When you’re making speeches for 25,000 people, and shouting, and screaming, and having fun with everybody, and making America great again, you get a lot of exercise.”

Rachel:  And what’s your opinion on Donald’s exercise regime?

Ben:  You know what?  Like all joking aside, I actually have had days where I’ve had to like speak at conferences and been on stage multiple times, and you do a lot of pacing.  And lord knows Donald Trump waves his hands around a lot.

Rachel:  He does.

Ben:  And who knows?  Maybe he’s got like little wrist weights or little hidden shoulder weights that he’s not telling anyone about, and that’s actually his exercise routine and he’s totally serious.

Rachel:  If he doesn’t have those weights, Ben, I feel like you should send him some as a gift.

Ben:  Now I don’t know what kind of diet he follows.  I would imagine though it’s relatively complex.  I know that he said that he is a fan of fast food because he knows what’s in it.  He knows exactly what’s in it, which I suppose you couldn’t say for like kale that you might find growing out in the garden.  There might be insect’s poop, or you don’t know the exact quantity of calories, et cetera.  But…

Rachel:  Right.  He’s so far just the measure of health for a nation, isn’t he?

Ben:  Well, the other thing, and by the way, we’re not a political podcast.

Rachel:  We are not.

Ben:  We are apolitical.  We’re just talking about the president, our new president.  He’s shiny, he’s new, so we have to talk about him a little bit.

Rachel:  Great set of fake hair.

Ben:  He sleeps four hours a night.  We actually see a lot of presidents will claim that they sleep four hours a night.  We’ve talked about this on previous shows, I think.  Have you heard about this?  The genetic mutation that allows you to function with less sleep?

Rachel:  Right.  Yes, I have.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s a mutant gene.  It’s called the BHLHE41 gene that allows a small proportion of the population to get a lot of rest without needing to spend the whole night in bed.  So it’s possible that he’s also a mutant with the mutant gene.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  And actually, once again, seriously about that gene, it is actually interesting.  I know some people who have it, and they have a lot of lucid dreaming and nightmares.  They spend a high amount of time in rapid eye movement sleep and go through their sleep cycles more quickly when they have that gene.  So it’s like most of us have to cycle through four to five sleep cycles of 75 to 90 minutes per night.  But people with this gene can do the same thing, the four to five sleep cycles, but their sleep cycles are like 20 to 30 minutes long.

Rachel:  Is there a chance that anyone might think they have that gene, but they don’t have it and they just sleep four hours a night, and they’re not aware that it might not be that healthy?

Ben:  In our modern era of modafinil, and adderall, and smart drugs, and I know later on in this podcast, we’re gonna be talking about kids and smart drugs.  But the answer is yes, because there are cheats out there now that I think don’t necessarily come without a biological consequence.  But there’s that, and then there’s also this idea that there are things that you can consume that actually ’cause your body to more rapidly heal during the night and allow you to wake up feeling as though you are well-rested, but on less sleep.

And a perfect example of that is I just wrote an article at bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Now anybody who competes in like a World Anti-Doping Association sport, sanctioned sport, or USADA sanctioned sport, or the Olympics, or the NCAA, or whatever, they can’t use this stuff, but it’s the  growth hormone injections, what are called growth hormone precursors, growth hormone releasing hormones, and also a specific growth hormone called IGF.  If you use these type hormones prior to bed, they actually allow your body to heal more quickly during the night.  And most people that use these swear that they shorten their necessary sleep time by about one to two hours and still wake up feeling repaired, and recovered, and well-rested.  So, back to Donald Trump…

Rachel:  Another thing we can send to him then.

Ben:  Maybe he’s injecting growth hormone.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  We know he has big hands, right…

Rachel:  Growth hormones and hand weights that’s what he needed there,

Ben:  Let’s leave Donald Trump behind before we lose all of our Republican listeners and jump into this week’s news flashes.

News Flashes:

Ben:  Well, speaking of genes and genes for sleep, there’s also some interesting stuff going on out there right now when it comes to genes for exercise.  And there is a tweet that I saw recently, a tweet that I tweeted.  What’s that called?

Rachel:  A tweet that you tweeted?  You retweeted!

Ben:  A tweet that I tweeted is a retweet.  Yes.  I think I retweeted a retweet is what I did.  It’s like the movie “Inception”.

Rachel:  It’s like a vortex.  Right.

Ben:  Anyways though, this was a treat from The Strength Conditioning Research Journal.  And what they showed was what’s called a gene polymorphism panel test that predicts the best repetition range for you to use when strength training.  And this was kinda cool.  What they did was they wanted to test different athletes to look at their fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fiber capacity, and their potential for responding well to power training, like short, explosive training vs. endurance training, specifically in the weight room.  So like in this case what they considered to be like a power training-type of scenario was 10 sets of 2 reps.  Yeah, just 2 reps, which for anybody who lift weights, that doesn’t seem like a lot.  But you’re basically just like choosing as heavy a weight as you can and doing 10 sets of 2 reps of like a deadlift, or 10 sets of 2 reps of the squat.  And then the light group had 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps.

And so, what they did was they matched each type to their specific protocol.  Meaning people who have a power genotype, they had them do the heavy load training.  And then they took the endurance genotype, and they had them do the light load training.  And then what they did was they completely messed people up and created like complete cluster.  They mismatched, right?  Then they took the endurance people and had them do the power training, and they had the power people do the endurance training.  And it turns out that there was an enormously significant response in fitness when the gene polymorphisms were matched to the actual suggested protocol for that gene.

Rachel:  So when the power responders did heavy loads, was that what you’re saying?

Ben:  Yeah.  Exactly.  So it’s basically another big feather in the cap for this idea of dripping some saliva into a tube and sending it off.  I mean considering it costs, depending where you go, a hundred to 200 bucks to do, and we’ll talk about this later on in the podcast too, like different organizations that let you do this and which one’s better than the other.  But ultimately, I mean it’s good research in my opinion, that shows that you should probably think about perhaps testing your genes, not just to make decisions about training, but I mean, hell, I make decisions about like, I have the equivalent of a fresh tomato every day to get lycopene ’cause I have one of the genes for prostate cancer.

Rachel:  Yeah.  And I think the question that we have at the end is great because it can be quite overwhelming ’cause there’s so many different providers and so many different ways of analyzing the data, and so I’m really excited to hear what you have to say.

Ben:  Yeah.  They’re popping up all over the place.  DNA.com, and DNA.org, and DNA.net, and D.NA, and who knows what else there is.  So that was interesting.  And you can check out twitter.com/bengreenfield to, of course, get all this research and more.

Here’s another really interesting one about altitude training versus heat training.  So the idea behind this is that there’s basically two different, very well-known ways that, from an environmental standpoint, you can get a really big extra fitness boost, extra physiological boost from your workout.  Now one is altitude training, and the other one is heat training.  But in this recent study that they conducted, down in your land…

Rachel:  Down under.

Ben:  Down under.  They actually combined these two approaches to see if you combine like heat training with altitude training, if you get some kind of like amazing freak of nature response in fitness.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  So they took a whole bunch of pretty decent runners and they had one group do a bunch of workouts in a heat chamber, which is a horrible, horrible experience.  But they literally just did the treadmill in the heat chamber for 45 minutes.  And then they also did the same thing, but this time they did heat plus altitude.  So they did the same thing, but they simulated altitude at the same time.  And then they had a control group who just did workouts in an air conditioned room, which I think I would’ve liked to…

Rachel:  Would’ve been the fun out of all of them.

Ben:  Yeah.

Rachel:  And what did they find?

Ben:  You’re looking at your peers who are like blue in the face with blue lips, sweat dripping off their faces, inside of a sauna, stuck, begging to get out.

Rachel:  Oh, gosh.

Ben:  And you’re just riding in the air conditioned room.

Rachel:  Just hangin’ out.

Ben:  Anyways, what they found was that altitude training did indeed, as we would expect, increase hemoglobin concentration, increase the body’s ability to use oxygen which is what you want from altitude training.  And this effect persisted very significantly for about three weeks.  Now the cool thing is that in the heat training group, they saw the same increase, actually slightly higher increase in hemoglobin content.  And so the heat group got just as much benefit as the altitude plus heat group.

Rachel:  Wow.

Ben:  And the only caveat is that the folks who did the heat training, the results didn’t stick with them for quite as long.  But what this tells us is that if you need to, if you want to get all the effects of altitude training, but you don’t have access to altitude, you can still do these type of sauna treatments.  Although you need to know that, in this case, they were not only exercising in hot condition, but then they were like sitting in the sauna for a while after the exercise.  You have to get pretty dang hot in order to get this type of effect.  But it turns out that the heat group performed just as well as the heat plus the altitude group, with the only exception being that when they threw heat plus altitude into the mix, the results stuck around for a little bit longer.  But it’s still nice to know that you don’t have to move up into the mountains to get all the benefits of training at altitude.

Rachel:  And not only do you not have to move up into the mountains, but you can actually win a sauna right now.

Ben:  That’s right.  I like how you tie that in.  Are we still running the sauna giveaway?  Is that still going?

Rachel:  We are!  For only three more days.  So you’ve got three days left to go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/saunagiveaway, and enter your e-mail to go into the draw to win a Clearlight Sanctuary Sauna, which the same one that Ben has.

Ben:  That’s like a $4,000 sauna, right?

Rachel:  It’s a $6,000 sauna, actually.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Rachel:  No EMF, no ELF, and 100% lifetime warranty.  So head on over there.

Ben:  And that whole “no ELF, no EMF” thing, I think we got a question about later on in the show about the electromagnetic field generated by saunas.  So we’ll delve into that.  But in the meantime, yeah.  You can actually win a sauna to go and shove a treadmill into.

Rachel:  Do your training in.

Ben:  There you go.  I do not have a treadmill or a bicycle in my sauna, by the way.

Rachel:  You have weights, though.  I’ve seen them.

Ben:  I have a couple of dumbbells and I do some kundalini yoga in there which actually gets your heart rate pretty high.  So speaking of getting your heart rate pretty high, here’s an interesting study in which they found that athletes perform better when reminded of their impending death.  Now, if you look at studies, there are actually a surprisingly high number of studies out there that investigate what changes in people’s attitude.  Everything from voting, for example, people actually vote less conservatively when they’re reminded of their own death.  That’s just one, I guess, relatively relevant example that maybe the results of the election would have changed if people would have walked into the polling facility and…

Rachel:  Been reminded.

Ben:  …been asked, “What would you write in your gravestone?”  But anyways, what they did in this study was they took basketball players and they reminded basketball players of their own inevitable demise, basically by having them take a questionnaire about their thoughts on their own death.  Now they had a control group also take a questionnaire, but the control group had the questionnaire about how they felt about basketball.  So quite a different questionnaire.  You could talk about basketball, you could talk about death.

Anyways though, the group that took the spooky survey, the death survey, they saw a 40% boost in performance, specifically in shooting performance compared to the group that just got surveyed on basketball.  So basically, there’s something that goes on in the human brain that makes you want to make the most out of every moment possible, or like stimulate the motor cortex, or something like that, when you’re reminded of your own death.

Rachel:  And then the first line also says that “they took more shots”, which to me makes a lot of sense ’cause you’d be a little more risky.  Like, “Oh, I’m gonna die tomorrow.”

Ben:  More risky/successful.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  So perhaps we could use this as some kind of a hack for like kids’ tee-ball teams.  Line the kids up and show ’em photos of dead people, and then…

Rachel:  Or read them a really bad nighttime story the night before.

Ben:  Yeah.  This is like something that you could see some team that desperately wants to win the Olympic gold medal doing it.  Just start polling their athletes about death.  Yeah.  So that was an interesting one.  We’ll link to that one too.  And then we also finally have a really good article that I read over on Mark’s Daily Apple about nutrient optimizing tips.  This one had a lot of really good practical takeaways in it.  At least I thought it did.

Rachel:  Brilliant.

Ben:  Did you check this one out?

Rachel:  Yes.  I actually wrote a list of things from this article.  Good one.

Ben:  Some that seemed like they were a little bit laborious, but made sense, and some that didn’t.  Like one that seemed more laborious was the fact that egg yolks will oxidize more readily, the cholesterol in egg yolks will oxidize more readily than the cholesterol in egg whites.  But at the same time, you don’t wanna separate the whites from the fats because then you get these unopposed proteins, and you get a lot of like the food allergy reactions people can get when they eat just egg whites.  So the idea is you separate the whites and the yolks.  You cook the whites first, then you throw in the yolks when the whites are almost done if you’re gonna make scrambled eggs.  And that allows you to have your eggs and eat them too, without getting oxidized cholesterol.

Another one that he has in here is that when you make rice, you can actually make rice a little bit more nutritionally dense because rice is notoriously not very high in nutrient density.  So they recommend dumping a bunch of trace liquid mineral drops into your cooking liquid, or using something like liquid iodine in the cooking liquid for the rice. And then you can also add in things like butter, and olive oil, and coconut oil.  In addition to that, you can actually make your rice ahead of time, and then you refrigerate the rice, and then you can take it back out, and eat it, or cook it, or prepare.  But when you cook it, and then refrigerate it, and then take it back out, you get an increased level of resistant starch, which actually lowers the ability of the rice to cause like a blood glucose spike.  So not only can you cook your rice in cool little mineral things, but you can refrigerate it and then take it back out.

Rachel:  Right.  It’s like biohacked rice.  Finally.

Ben:  Biohacked rice.  That’s right.  A few others that I thought were quite interesting in here.  One is instant bone broth.  If you want bone broth, but you don’t actually have bone broth around, you can just use powdered gelatin mixed with cold water.  And that has a lot of the same glycine, a lot of the same amino acids as bone broth.  Not quite as tasty.  Doesn’t bring back memories of grandma’s chicken soup quite as well, I suppose.  But you just add powdered gelatin to cold water, let it sit for five minutes, and then you stir it in to whatever recipe is calling for broth, or stock, or soup, and yeah.  Gelatin.

Rachel:  Viola!

Ben:  I actually like gelatin.  The way that I use it is if I — ’cause I love to make a morning smoothie, but sometimes I mess up and I make the morning smoothie too thin, too watery.

Rachel:  Yeah.  Not edible enough.

Ben:  Yeah, I’ll put a couple spoonfuls of gelatin in there, stir it, and let it sit for five minutes.  Or I’ll toss it in the freezer for five minutes with the gelatin in it, and all of a sudden, I’ve got my nice, thick smoothie.

Rachel:  Gelatin is — it’s got something to do with pigs, right?  Pig’s foot.

Ben:  It could.  You could source gelatin from pig’s foot.  But it’s typically; it’s a bunch of peptides and proteins that are produced from what’s called hydrolyzed collagen.  So you take collagen from skin, and bones, and connective tissue, of, yes, pig, or fish, or chicken, or cattle, or anything else, and that’s how gelatin is made, is they hydrolyze the collagen from the joints of animals.

Rachel:  Right.  I’ve been vegetarian for a long time, so I’ve had to avoid gelatin.

Ben:  Yeah.

Rachel:  But my favorite one was the cutting of vegetables.  All of the stuff that you throw away, using that as vegetable broth by freezing it and putting it in the freezer, and then just taking it out when you need it.  I thought that was a super handy little tip ’cause I get rid of so many stems of vegetables.

Ben:  Yeah.  You mean like the peels of potatoes, and the skins of onions, and the top of the tomato?

Rachel:  Yeah.  Exactly.

Ben:  Yeah.  They all actually have nutrients in them.  And I love that idea that he recommends freezing them, and then when you do make soup, you bring them back out.  You know what I do though?  I throw those in the smoothie too.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah.  Even avocado pits.  If you have a good blender, avocado pits are very high in antioxidants and you get a lot of omega fatty acids you don’t get in the actual avocado.

Rachel:  Makes tons of sense.  Foods are made for us to eat them whole.

Ben:  Yes.  Exactly.  Let’s go with one more that I think a lot of people might know about, but maybe not everybody, and I certainly pay attention to this.  Garlics and onions.  They have a lot of really good phytonutrients in them, and garlic in particular has some really good allicin in it.  That’s why it’s called an allium.  But if you rupture the cell walls on a clove of garlic, for example, what that does is it causes this enzymatic reaction that makes that allicin — that bioactive component in garlic that’s so good for you, and good for your gut, and has all these anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.  It makes that more bioavailable.

So what you do is you take the clove, and you want to prep that first in your cooking. You wanna break that up 5 to 10 minutes before you want to begin eating or cooking that, before you begin cooking the other components of the meal.  So similar to that  and this is in a really good book called “Eating on The Wild Side” by Jo Robinson.  Really good book to have in your library.  You can like take kale, and lettuce, and bok choy, any food that would normally have anti-oxidants in it, whether you buy it from the grocery store or from the garden, but you rip it to pieces, and you leave it in the refrigerator overnight before you take it back out and you eat it.  And it actually concentrates the antioxidants in that vegetable when you do that.

Rachel:  It’s so interesting to me ’cause we like historically have used a mortar and pestle for things like onion and garlic.  And you would crush all that up with some oil before like 5 to 10 minutes easily before you cook your food, and we somehow inherently knew that that’s what we needed to do.

Ben:  Exactly!  Or, as our new president does, you could just stick to fast food because then you know exactly what you’re getting.

Special Announcements:

Ben:  Rachel, are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?

Rachel:  I’m not done.  I haven’t even started.  Is that bad?

Ben:  Alright.  I’ve got a tip for you from today’s first sponsor, and what they do is they make Christmas baskets.  But in their festive Christmas baskets, you will find a host of extremely good gourmet foods.  We’re talking about dark chocolate cashew clusters — tell me when your mouth starts watering, by the way.

Rachel:  Already started.

Ben:  Rum cordials, sesame sticks, roasted salted pistachios, dark chocolate covered Brazil nuts, sour tart cherries, Turkish figs, salted mixed — this is all in just one pack. One pack.  So this comes courtesy of nuts.com.  Nuts.com.  And not only can you get some pretty cool — that one I just described, by the way, is called the Gourmet Christmas Basket.  Anything that you are from nuts.com, you get a crapola of samples added to.

Basically what they add are four free samples.  You could choose from like 50 options. Whatever you want.  Turkish figs, or Brazil nuts, or the freakin’ sour gummy bears.  Knock yourself out.  But you go to nuts.com, and you enter code Fitness.  When you enter code Fitness at nuts.com, they automatically throw in the samples.  So it’s just like you’re getting even free stuff along with all of your sugar-free, Paleo friendly, certified organic, certified gluten-free options that they have, which I don’t believe that that Christmas basket is entirely comprised of.

Rachel:  No.  It doesn’t sound like it, but that’s why I like it.  And just so you know, Ben, if you wanna buy me a Christmas gift, that sounds perfect.

Ben:  Alright.  It’s on the list.  I’ll throw that in as one of my samples.  In addition, this podcast is brought to you by a company called Teeter, T-E-E-T-E-R.  Have you ever heard of Teeter?

Rachel:  I have heard of Teeter.  They do the — I say it T-E-E-T-A — but they do inversion tables, right?

 Ben:  Well, they make inversion tables, but I have one now.  And the cool thing about their inversion tables is they’re like inversion tables on steroids.  So mine came, first of all, with gravity boots, which means I can hang upside down even without the inversion table.  Anywhere where I have a pull-up bar, or anywhere where I can put these gravity boots, I can hang like a freaking bat.

 Rachel:  That’s so cool!

Ben:  They also have back acupressure knobs that you can put into the back of the table. And so when you go into your inverted position, you get acupressure like on your lumbar spine, your thoracic spine, or anywhere you wanna like pressurize your spine. And so you get like this acupressure therapy, which is actually really good for blood flow, and lymph flow, and it makes your entire back just relax.

And of course, hanging upside down in general is probably the biggest benefit of it for me, aside from just like decompressing the joints and giving a lot of what’s called traction to the joints so you get much more hydration feeding back into the joints, is that it increases oxygenation and even the building of tiny new blood vessels to the brain.  ‘Cause when you’re hanging upside down, your body has to build new capillaries so your brain doesn’t die, I guess.

Rachel:  Well, I love doing handstands.  So I think I’d love an inversion table.  So I think I changed my mind and that’s what I want for Christmas.

Ben:  Yeah.  Get one.  And here’s the deal.  What they are offering all of our listeners is not just the inversion table with a free pair of gravity boots that comes along with it.  So you can like take the boots with you to the gym and hang upside down there without your table.  But you also get $138 of savings on a Teeter inversion table, and all you do is you go to getteeter.com/ben.  That’s getteeter, T-E-E-T-E-R dot com slash Ben (getteeter.com/ben).  And they give you free shipping, they give you a 60-day money back guarantee, free returns, everything.  So I think it’s a good deal, personally.

Rachel:  I think that’s a brilliant deal.

Ben:  Yeah.  And it comes with this little digital guide too that gives you like 29 different exercises you can do and they’re not all, no, sit-ups on the inversion table, which are good exercise really.  But they go way above and beyond sit-ups.  I personally use it.  It rocks.  My kids use it.  teeter.com/ben.  TEETER.com/ben.  Also, Rachel, have you seen my face lately?

Rachel:  I haven’t.  But I’m imagining it’s overgrown.

Ben:  It is.  I am growing a beard.  And I’m not quite sure how much longer I’m going to grow my beard because my wife has finally begun complaining that my mustache is distracting her when we make out.

Rachel:  She’s getting what we call in Austalia a pash rash.

Ben:  Yeah.  I mean it’s nice and soft, but she said it’s beginning to get distracting.  So I’m thinking that I will probably shave soon, and I am probably going to shave with this new Gen 2.  It’s called a Gen 2.  It’s the generation two razor from Harry’s.  So they upgraded the handle, they added a rubberized grip and groove so you can’t drop it in case you’re in like a slippery shaving situation where you’re highly distracted.  Who wants a razor dropped on their toe, right?

Rachel:  No one.

Ben:  It’s got an ergonomic shape.  They’ve got these strategically placed rubberized grip zones.  I mean, it’s like the Cadillac of razors.  It’s called the Generation 2 Harry’s Razor.  And everybody who’s listening in, if you go to harrys.com, what you get is not only one of these Gen 2 five-blade razors at a fraction of the price of what you’d normally pay, and they’re created in these high quality German factories, and it’s just like a cool nice thing to own, but they’re also going to throw in some post shave balm. They add that to the order for free.  So you get their razor five blade Gen 2 cartridge, their shaving gel.  All of that’s free on their website when you sign up for one of their shave plans.  So you all you pay is shipping.  And the way that you get all that is harrys.com and you use code Ben.  You just go to harrys.comHARRYS.com, and enter code Ben to get like the free trial set, the post-shave balm, everything you need to ensure that your mustache isn’t annoying your loved one.

And then finally, I don’t know if you knew this, but you can actually, depending on how healthy you are, lower your rate on life insurance.

Rachel:  I did not know that.

Ben:  Not sure if our dear Donald Trump would be able to qualify for the low life insurance based off of his exercise program.  And who knows?  I might be completely beating him up, and he’s like a bodybuilder in disguise.

Rachel:  Right.  You never know.  Let’s hope so.

Ben:  You never know.  That guy might rip off his suit and have underneath a rippling physique.  And probably a very, very, hairy, hairy chest.  Anyways though, what they’ve shown in research is that people who exercise, of course, have a lower risk of all sorts of different diseases.  But now, health insurance companies are beginning to clue into this.  So there’s this company called HealthIQ, and what they do is they — if you’re a healthy person and you go to their website, they actually negotiate these amazing deals on life insurance for you because you live like an active and health conscious lifestyle.  So it’s like getting rewarded.  A lot of companies don’t do this.  They don’t take into account how much you cycle, or lift, or swim, or run.  But you can save a lot of money on life insurance if you’re active and you’re health conscious, and this company basically navigates all that for you in terms of like your applications and everything.  And you get a free quote and all sorts of cool stuff in terms of protecting yourself with life insurance, but then also saving as you do it.  So the way that you do it is you go to healthiq.com/ben.  It’s like healthiq.com, as in intelligence quotient.  Healthiq.com/ben, and you can learn more there about life insurance for physically active people.

Rachel:  Brilliant.

Ben:  It’s a brilliant idea.

Rachel:  I think so.

Ben:  Couple of other quick things.  I’m headed off to Finland.

Rachel:  You are!

Ben:  So there’s still time to get in to that conference at a 40% discount.  But it’s coming up soon.  November 17th and 18th is the Biohacker Summit.  They just sent me a photo.  Finland is covered in snow.  So bring your gloves.  But you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/362 to grab the show notes for this episode and to get in to Helsinki at 40% discount.  That conference is gonna rock, by the way.

Rachel:  It’s gonna be so much fun.

Ben:  It’s a lot of fun.  I’m also, tomorrow, flying down to Alabama.  For those of you who want to go to a really amazing food conference in Montgomery, Alabama, it’s called the Weston A. Price Food Conference.  Lots of cheesy puffs and hamburgers there.  Let me tell yah.

Rachel:  Donald Trump gonna be there?

Ben:  He may.  He may.  He may make a hand-waving appearance.  So the Weston A. Price Conference, you can still get into that.  I’ll be there.  It’s November 11th through 14th.  So again, coming up super-duper soon.  And then one that may give you a little bit more time to prepare, the Unbeatable Mind Retreat, where you can go and discover how to operate with the mental framework of a Navy SEAL.  Meaning that you too can learn how to kill people with no regrets.

Rachel:  Ben, are you speaking at that one?

Ben:  We’re just digging ourselves into a political hole here.  No.  I’ve got a lot of friends who are Navy SEALs, and they’re amazing men and women who serve the country.  But, yeah.  I’ll be down there.  I’ll be speaking down there.  It’s December 2nd through the 4th, and it’s not just for Navy SEALs.  I mean they do like warrior yoga, we’re gonna do like little obstacle courses.  Really good food, really good like after parties and dinners.  But it’s down in Carlsbad, near San Diego.

Rachel:  And it is it kind of organized to be like a 2017 plan retreat.

Ben:  Not necessarily.  You mean like reinvent your life for 2017?

Rachel:  Well, sort of.

Ben:  Nah.  I don’t think so.  It’s more just like I gonna be talking about neuroplasticity, and cognitive performance, and biohacking your brain.  And folks talk about everything from freaking like training like a Navy SEAL to, like I mentioned, like different forms of yoga and breath work.  It really is cool.  It’s a cool conference.  Called the Unbeatable Mind Retreat.  We’ll put a registration with our discount code and everything over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/362.

And then last couple of things.  We’ve got gift boxes, specialized gift boxes where I hand pick whole bunch of biohacks, supplements, gear, you name it.  And it you get that shipped to your house at a 50% discount.  I shove over 300 bucks worth of goodies in there and then ship it straight to you.

Rachel:  Speaking of pre-Christmas shopping, it’s the best Christmas gift ever.  ‘Cause I got one from my husband last year, and he loved it.

Ben:  So that’s called the gift box.  And all you do to grab one of those is just go to greenfieldfitnesssystems.com.  And at greenfieldfitnesssystems.com is everything I recommend, everything I endorse, including those gift boxes which you can order in time for Christmas.  And I mean it’s like a stocking stuffer on steroids.

And then the very last thing before we jump in to this week’s Q&A.  You might notice that the audio quality of this podcast goes through the roof over the next couple of weeks.  If you’re on board to help out, we’re gonna upgrade our podcasting equipment so I can do more interviews with people when I’m traveling, more face to face interviews, more studio-style interviews, more kinda slick like multi-person interviews with up to four guests.  Like we’re totally upgrading all the podcast equipment, which frankly is not free.

So, if you’re a listener and you wanna help out with us kinda getting to the next level, maybe giving This American Life a run for their money, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/donate and just leave a few bucks.  Like if everybody who listens in gives a few bucks, then not only are we gonna be able to upgrade our podcast equipment, but we’re gonna be able to get like maybe one of those fancy tricorders we can fly around the room.  Get 3D images as were podcasting.

Rachel:  Brilliant.

Ben:  That would be boring/offensive since half the time I’m podcasting in my boxers.

Rachel:  In your underwear.  Right.  (laughs)

Ben:  I’m dressed up right now though.

Rachel:  Good for you, Ben.

Ben:  I’m wearing my coat and my pants ’cause it’s freakin’ cold in here.  Alright.  Well, cool.  What do you think?  Shall we jump into this week’s Q&A?

Rachel:  Let’s jump in.

Listener Q & A:

Jens:  Hi, Ben.  This is Jens from the Netherlands.  I have a question for you.  I would like to get some advice on what kind of supplements I could give my children to get their max performance at school.  It would be nice to hear from you.  Thanks a lot, and hope to hear from you.

Ben:  Rachel, would you ever give a child a smart drug?

Rachel:  Well, I’m not a parent.  So I wouldn’t like to weigh in on these things.  But I don’t know.  I don’t know.

Ben:  Hand them a little blue pill, a red pill before they go to school to amp up their cognitive performance.

Rachel:  I probably wouldn’t.  But I can’t say that for sure.

Ben:  I don’t know.  I mean if you really think about it, like parents all over the world are doing that, right?

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  That’s what Adderall and Ritarol — Ritarol?  Ritalin?  Ritalin, I think it’s called. All these ADD and ADHD medications, they’re attention span boosters.  They are smart drugs.  Unfortunately, while they can increase focus and concentration, they also have a lot of side effects, like suicidal thoughts, and a little bit of a kick in the liver, and other things that would give me great pause in terms of giving these types of things to kids.  I mean, if you look at the mechanism of action for drugs like Ritalin and Adderall, it’s very similar to methamphetamine.  Basically like crystal meth.  So I think that kids on crystal meth may indeed grow up to be very important world leaders, but I’m not taking my chances with my kids.

And another issue there is that Adderall affects neurotransmitters that are some pretty potent stimulants for the central nervous system.  So when you’re producing a whole bunch of catecholamines like that during the day, what you can wind up with is kind of a crash later on.  Similar to what people get when they use like modafinil or adrafinil, or any of these more like synthetic forms of smart drugs.  They tend to have a huge amount of wakefulness for a long period of time and then a crash.  And again, a lot of potential for liver issues due to the fact that most of that stuff is metabolized by the liver pretty heavily.

Rachel:  Right.  At what age would you let your kids take smart drugs?

Ben:  Well, my parenting philosophy is my kids can really do whatever they want. Which sounds horrible, right, but like I educate my children.  I educate my children about everything from wine, and weed, and cursing, to voting, and travelling to foreign countries, et cetera.  And like they know, for example, that wine is something that they need to be careful with until they’re fully grown, their livers are fully formed because you can produce some pretty significant deleterious effects on the liver of a young child if they’re drinking wine every night for dinner.  Even though, yes, our kids do, they’ll get sips here and there.  They’ll have a little shot glass of something.  Like mom made ginger beer the other night that they got to try, so we’re not totally against that kinda stuff.

The same with like weed, for example.  They know that anything that has marijuana in it can affect the gray matter in their brain, and that they’re not supposed to be necessarily doing that to their brain.  Although the choice is completely theirs.  Same with gluten, right?  Like if they wanna have gluten at a birthday party, I tell them, I educate them about how gluten can damage nerve cells in the brain and will affect their performance in school the next day, and how even if it doesn’t make their tummy hurt, it can still decrease their ability to be able to absorb nutrients from food.  So it might affect things like their muscle growth, or their ability to hit a tennis ball really hard.  And then I let them make the choice.

Rachel:  Yeah.  Do your kids take supplements?

Ben:  They do.  And that probably returns to the topic at hand.  I mean if you look at nootropics, if you look at smart drugs, and if there’s any out there that would be effective for a child, I think that the answer is yes.  So there are certain psychoactive components that you find in a lot of nootropics that I would not give a child.  So we’re talking about things like Bacopa, and ashwagandha, and Rhodiola, and all of these herbs because most of them have a really good solid track record in adults.  But despite there being no negative neurological effects that we see in adults, we do know children’s brains develop at a lot greater rate than adults’ brains.

Children have different neurochemistry, particularly the balance between like their excitatory and their inhibitory brain activity.  And so I would want to see more studies in kids on these type of herbal derivatives before I would put my kids on them.  And even if I were to use herbal derivatives, I would also be very careful because many of these herbal nootropics, herbal smart drugs, and you find them now popping up like a dime a dozen all over different websites.  A lot of the sourcing for those comes from herbs that have some pretty significant heavy metal concentration because many plants, and a lot of these smart drug plants specifically, like teas, and Bacopa, and some of these, they actually tend to — very similar to mushrooms, leech things from the soil.  And high metal intake from the soil is an issue in a lot of herbs.  And again, it’s a bigger issue for a child’s developing nervous system than it is for an adult, even though it’s a significant issue for both.  It’s something that gives me pause, like this whole idea of herbs and metals.  And then also the fact that there’s very few studies in children on the health of a lot of these psychoactive herbal-based compounds.

So when we look at a lot of these shotgun-based compounds that I think are cool, when you look at like, whatever, CILTEP, or  — what are some other ones that we’ve talked about before on the show.  I mean, there’s CILTEP, there’s Alpha BRAIN, there’s TianChi, there’s all sorts of different smart drug and nootropic blends out there.  But from an herbal standpoint, I’d be pretty careful.

Now at the same time, there are things that we know can really help with things like cellular lipid membrane health in a child’s brain, or the amount of choline that’s available for neurological function, or the amount of fatty acids and DHA necessary for building a good brain.  And so when we look at some of these compounds, I would say some of the safer ones that I’m completely comfortable giving my kids.  And frankly the multivitamin that my kids use has a lot of this stuff in it.  One would be just a basic fish oil.  And I know that that sounds boring and doesn’t sound like a nootropic, but fish oil really is a nootropic in terms of providing a lot of those things for neurological lipid membranes for a child.

So fish oil, like a good, high-quality fish oil, I definitely think that that’s a good choice for a child.  It’s very relevant to the developing brain, it’s a very important nutrient for brain growth, the DHA in fish oil in particular has a very high density in brain tissue.  We have seen that supplementing it early in development in kids, ’cause they have done studies on this, it can reduce vulnerability to certain psychiatric disorders later on in life, like depression.  We’ve been giving our kids fish oil and a lot of different forms of DHA, and fatty acids, and EPA since they were babies basically.  We were rubbing omega-3 fatty acids into their feet when they were still breastfeeding.  So just make sure that whatever you’re using in terms of like a fish oil is certified to have mercury levels that are below the safe threshold.  But fish oil is one I’m really comfortable giving the kids.

So they do, for example, my kids do the Green Pastures Cod Liver Oil.  And then they also take a multivitamin that has some omegas in it, both EPA and DHA.  And the one that they use, and I’ll link to it ’cause you can just get it off of Amazon.  It’s called the Kid’s Calm Multivitamin.  It’s a liquid.  So a lot of kids who have trouble swallowing pills or swallowing capsules, do better with it.  And it’s better than a lot of the chewables because in a lot of the chewables, they’ll add things like sugar, and carrageenan, and some other things too that I’m not a huge fan of.  Whereas this stuff, it’s pretty clean. And it’s got omega-3 DHA and EPA in it.  It’s got vitamins, it’s got minerals, it’s all made from organic vegetables, and it’s got amino acids in it.  And it has magnesium in it, which is something I would also consider to be, in terms of healthy brain function and healthy brain development, an appropriate “smart drug” to give to a kid.  So magnesium would be one for sure.  And you want to get a proper dosage, you want to calculate the magnesium dosage for your kid’s weight to avoid inducing, say diarrhea.  But most kids can get by on about anywhere from 50 to 100 milligrams of magnesium, anywhere from one to two grams a day of fish oil.

And then another really interesting one that actually is not going to be bad for kids, has good safety record, really good mechanism of action, shouldn’t be disruptive to brain development at all, and has some really, really good effects for calming hyperactivity without making a kid drowsy is l-theanine.  L-theanine, which we find added to a lot of like smart drugs and nootropic compounds to reduce the excessive stimulatory effect of caffeine.  But you can also just take it all on its own.  And whereas caffeine may do things like affect the child’s overall skeletal development, and I’m not a huge, huge fan of high doses of caffeine for children.  I am a fan of this l-theanine.

And so, if I were to choose three things that I would give to a kid for improving performance at school, for example, it would be given them magnesium, giving them fish oil.  If they’re hyperactive, then I would definitely say something like l-theanine would help out quite a bit.  Or you could just use like something like this kid’s Natural Calm liquid multivitamin that kinda covers all the bases.

Rachel:  All the bases.  Yeah.  I’m curious if there’s an age that you would allow kids to start experimenting with different things.

Ben:  When you say experimenting with different things, you’re talking like dynamite…

Rachel:  (laughs) Voting?

Ben:  Or bicycles with one wheel?

Rachel:  (laughs) No.  Nootropics or smart drugs?  Is there like an age where the brain is developed enough to feel safe doing that?

Ben:  Generally, nervous system development is gonna vary a lot.  Like when a kid’s gone through puberty and they appear to be done with a lot of their growth, usually their nervous system is pretty close to being formed.  If you’re like the average kid, we’re talking like 15 to 18 — my wife, for example, she was a late bloomer.  She still gets people thinking she’s in high school, and I don’t think she was fully formed from like a post-pubertal standpoint ’til she was like 19 or 20.  So she was like the quintessential like late bloomer.  So it really depends on the kid and when they’re nervous system is developed. But I would just be careful with herbs and herbal derivatives, and excessive central nervous system stimulants in general until at least the age of about 18.  That’s where I would be careful.  So, yeah.  That’s the deal with nootropics for children.  I would not necessarily be handing them a whole cocktail of brain stimulating nutrients before they go off to school.  But theanine, and fish oil, and magnesium would be okay.

And the last thing I wanted to mention is I just finished recording yesterday an almost two hour long fascinating podcast on the people who make this nootropic that I affectionately call “the God pill” which you need to be quite careful with.  I will put a link to it in the show notes.  It’s actually called Qualia.  But for those of you, do not feed this to your children, or babies, or small animals.  But if you want something very similar to the effects of modafinil or adderall, and you don’t want the same effect on your liver, you need to try this “God pill”.  Just saying.  I’m not saying that to be offensive.  The God pill — it’s a term that someone else described it to me as and I rolled with it.  So, anyways though.

Rachel:  There you have it.

Dave:  Hi, Ben.  Thanks for listening to this question.  My name is Dave.  I’m four weeks into Keto and I’m five weeks away from my very first marathon.  I did a 24K run yesterday, and afterwards I noticed I had pale brown urine.  I was advised to go to the emergency where they said I had rhabdo, rhabdomyolysis.  They said it was because my body could no longer burn fat, that it started to burn my muscles, break down my muscles because I had no carbs on board.

I admit I was a bit slack there and I’m definitely back up on the broccoli now, three times a day.  Almost.  But my question is is that possible if, surely if I have — I’ve got lots of fat on board, but why would my body stop burning fat due to carbs?  A lack of carbs. They have recommended that before I do a long run, I take some cards on board.  To me, it sounds like carb loading.  My big concern is that if I do take some carbs on board before the marathon, that once those carbs are gone, my body won’t be fat adapted and I’ll be in worse trouble.  I’m just looking for some clarity.  Really appreciate your time. Thank you.

Ben:  Rachel, do you know what rhabdo is?  Rhabdomyolysis?

Rachel:  I had to look it up when I heard the question.

Ben:  It’s not fun.  I’ve had it before.  Actually, just about every time that I’ve raced Ironman Hawaii in Kona, I’ve gotten a rabdo.  Not because I was irresponsible — well I guess it’s irresponsible to do an Ironman.  Let’s face it, especially an Ironman like that.  But you push yourself so hard, ’cause the whole field is going so freaking fast. So you’re pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, and you combine that with extreme dehydration, so you get a lot of damaged skeletal muscle and you’re basically peeing like Coca-Cola color.  It’s really nasty.

Rachel:  Wow.

Ben:  And people will get that from muscle damage, like a crush injury to a muscle, or really, really strenuous exercise typically combined with dehydration.  That’s one thing that can cause rhabdomyolysis.  You look at people after a hard Crossfit workout, for example, getting rhabdo.

Rachel:  Is that quite common?

Ben:  Among heavily exercising people?  It is more common than you would think.  And a lot of times, you don’t wind up in the hospital or anything like that, you just need to like take a few days off and get some electrolytes back into your system and hydrate really well.  But in some cases, I mean you can get some pretty serious issues.  Like swelling of damage muscle can lead to compartment syndrome, for example, which is where everything around the muscle gets compressed, like nerves and blood vessels, and that can lead to pure hypoxia and actual cell tissue death in areas where there’s like severe rhabdo.  And a lot of times, rhabdo isn’t caused by exercise.

And in many cases, those are issues that you definitely want to pay attention to.  Like a snake bite can cause rhabdomyolysis.  The venom from some insects and some snakes can cause that same type of muscle damage.  Overdoing your daily habit of cocaine, or heroin, or ketamine, or really just about any — surprisingly enough, in our era of microdosing with psychedelics, a lot of these things in excess, MDMA, or LSD, or any of these things, amphetamine even, can cause rhabdomyolysis as well.  Then we get to this idea that Dave’s asking about, which is ketosis and this theory of ketosis being able to somehow cause damage to the kidneys or cause damage to the muscles.  And so strap on your propeller hats because it is time.

Rachel:  Oh, gosh.  Here we go.

Ben:  It is time.  Because I am an exercise physiologist, I dunno…

Rachel:  You are.

Ben:  I have a master’s degree in physiology, and sometimes the stuff annoys me when people paint with too broad a brush, or too black and white when it comes to ketone metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism.  So the idea is that basically when you eat a low carbohydrate diet, you get a pretty significant reduction in circulating levels of insulin because insulin is one of the things that is responsible for driving glucose from the bloodstream into like muscle tissue, for example.  And if you don’t have a lot of carbs circulating in the bloodstream, then you see a reduction in the circulating levels of insulin.  And you also, at the same time, see a pretty significant increase in the levels of a lot of enzymes that are responsible for increased levels of what’s called glucagon and also gluconeogenesis — meaning that in the absence of exogenous sources of carbohydrate, your body up regulates things like carboxykinase, and Fructose 1,6-biphosphatase, and Glucose 6-phosphatase, and all these things that will help to allow you to almost like to make your own glucose rather than getting it from the diet.

Now, what happens in the liver, for example, if you’re in a well-fed state, is you form the stuff called Acetyl-CoA, or Acetyl-CoA , depending what country you’re from, and that forms when you oxidize fatty acids.  It’s a process called beta-oxidation.  So fatty acids get oxidized to carbon dioxide and water, and that’s called the citric acid cycle.  And in many cases, when you’ve got a whole bunch of fatty acids going through that cycle which would occur during like ketosis, or like a low carb, high fat intake, the liver takes a lot of that excess Acetyl-CoA and converts it into what are called ketone bodies.

Now the liver can’t use those ketone bodies because it actually lacks the enzyme necessary to convert them into usable energy.  And so the ketone bodies leave the liver and they go to what are called extrahepatic tissues.  So tissues that are outside of the liver, say like the brain, or the heart, or the diaphragm to be used as a fuel, which is why a lot of times being in a state of ketosis can assist with like your cognitive performance, or your aerobic performance.  And the idea is that this spares glucose metabolism.   You’re basically oxidizing fatty acids and ketones as a replacement for glucose.  And especially in the brain, ketone bodies are one of the only things that can replace glucose.  So we know that the brain will use ketone bodies whenever blood ketone bodies rise, and a lot of other tissues.  Like I mentioned, the liver, and the heart, and the diaphragm, will use them as well.

So the idea is that some people, if they get this really high elevation of ketone bodies, they can be in danger.    So if we look at diabetic patients, we know that the detection of ketone bodies in their urine can be a sign that they’re not doing a good job controlling their diabetes.  And in severely uncontrolled diabetes, ketones get produced in massive quantities.  And when you combine those massive quantities of ketones with say, like a low amount of insulin production in a diabetic, then you get a combination, in many cases, of hyperglycemia — high blood glucose concentrations along with really high levels of ketones.

We’re talking about like if you were to do a blood test, like seven or eight plus.  It’s measured in a unit called millimolar.  And so you have really high ketones, you have really high blood glucose, and what that can cause is a net acidotic effect, what’s called ketoacidosis.  And ketoacidosis is an issue that can result in things like muscle damage and in things like a very excessive strain in the kidneys, et cetera. But this would only be in a state where you have this combination of a huge amount of ketone bodies and also a very, very high amount of glucose in the absence of insulin.  Now before we before go on here, let’s talk about the $30,000 bottle of ketone esters.

Rachel:  Yes!

Ben:  I raced the Tough Mudder last week and I got my hands on this bottle of ketone esters, which are like this new sexy form of ketone fuel, and I wanted to experiment with what it would be like to jack up your ketone levels through the roof, but simultaneously increase your blood glucose levels.  So I drink pure, and we published this whole thing just to the Facebook page, didn’t we?

Rachel:  Yes, we did.

Ben:  Okay.  So if you go to facebook.com/BGFitness, you could see how I did this.  But I took about 75 grams of glucose and took an entire bottle, I drank an entire bottle, just chugged it right before the race — of these liquid ketone esters.  I had high blood glucose for like glycolysis in explosive efforts, but then I also had the ketones feeding the brain, and the liver, and the diaphragm — or not the liver, the brain, and the heart, and the diaphragm.  Even skeletal muscle can use some of these ketones.  And I know what people are wondering who might know about that is, “Well, isn’t that a state of ketoacidosis?”  For me to jack up my blood glucose levels and jack up my ketones, isn’t that simulating what a diabetic might experience on a very low carb, high fat, ketosis-based diet?  Well, here’s the kicker: the blood glucose that I consume when I’m exercising, that gets shoveled into skeletal muscle, and it’s also burnt via glycolysis extremely readily when you are exercising.

And so, yes.  If I were to do what I did there and then sit at my desk, I may actually induce a state of ketoacidosis because those ketone ester’s can shove your blood glucose — or, I’m sorry — your blood ketones pretty high.  But if you do something like that during exercise, and this is what I reported on in that race.  I mean, I won the race, I ran two miles back to my hotel, I worked for two, I wasn’t hungry for hours, and hours, and hours.  This was like rocket fuel.  But if I weren’t exercising, then that high blood glucose along with the really bloody tone ketones, it actually could have been hard on, for example, my liver.  Now…

Rachel:  And does it have to be a quite intense exercise as well, I’m imagining?

Ben:  No.  I mean, even like walking your blood glucose — I mean, standing.  They’ve shown that you get an increase in blood glucose utilization just by standing instead of sitting like at your  workstation.  So, just general physical activity.  What I’m getting after is unless you are diabetic, and unless you are diabetic eating a very high fat, low carb diet and not exercising, you’re generally not gonna be at risk for ketoacidosis by combining, say, like low carb diets or doing like what Dave did and running a marathon without a ton of carbohydrates on board.  That’s not gonna cause rhabdomyolysis.

Now, there are a few things here that you should know about.  First of all, a lot of people think that there is no way that you are going to be able to have enough energy unless you have small amounts of carbohydrate on hand because there’s this theory that fat burns in a flame of carbohydrate.  This is what I was taught in school, that fats burn in a carbohydrate flame.  And what that means is that you have to have some amount of glucose available in order for that beta-oxidation that I talked about to occur.

So the idea is that that is not really true, especially in skeletal muscle.  And the reason for that is that in your skeletal muscle, which you use during exercise, fat does not burn in a carbohydrate flame because skeletal muscle doesn’t have sufficient quantities of the enzymes necessary to convert glycolitic intermediates, or what are called carbohydrate bodies, or glucose, into molecules that can actually get transported into the mitochondria to produce energy.  So skeletal muscle can oxidize amino acids and feed amino acids into this cycle to allow you to burn fats more efficiently.  So actually, the main concept here is that — especially when it comes to exercise, fats burn in the flame of amino acids, not in the flame of carbohydrates.

And so, if you have enough amino acids, high blood levels of amino acids, and you have high amount of ketones and fats that allow for formation of ketones coming in, whether either via like the consumption of MCT and coconut oil, or you’re whether using like any of these liquid or powdered forms of ketones, and you have sufficient amino acids, you are going to be able to produce energy all day long and produce endurance performance without like breaking down your muscles excessively to produce a set of rhabdomyolysis.

Rachel:  And so then why do you carb backload?

Ben:  Why do I carb backload?  You mean like eat carbohydrates in the evening?

Rachel:  You do carb refeeds, yeah.

Ben:  Yeah.  So the idea here is that you need some amount of storage liver glycogen and some amount of storage muscle glycogen to be able to tap into for extremely hard efforts, to be able to form like the proteoglycans necessary for joint health, to be able to have adequate carbohydrates on board for example, the formation or the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to active thyroid hormone T3.  And so when you combine extreme carbohydrate restriction, like eating 10% carbohydrates without doing any carbohydrate refeeds, and something like Ironman triathlon or some other form of excessive training, you can get hypothyroid-like symptoms.  You can get joint pain.  You can even get like dry mouth, and inadequate formation of tears, and inadequate healing of the gut mucosa lining because you don’t have enough carbohydrates to go around. Period.

So that was one of the things that I experienced when I didn’t.  I was part of a big study. We did like this 12-month study called a faster study where a group of athletes, including myself, followed a 90% plus fat-based diet for a year.  And while my performance did okay, I had a lot of issues.  Like I got cold all the time, and my joints started to hurt, and started to get some issues.  And as soon as I began to engage in some mild replenishment of my carbohydrate levels later on in the day, it got rid of that issue.  And I’m not talking about like — I’m still talking about like maybe 30% maximum of your total daily intake coming from carbohydrates, but that helps a ton with limiting some of the side effects that you can get with combination of ketosis with very high levels of exercise.

Now, I was able to find one case study in which they actually had a 23-year old obese man who showed up in a hospital with dietary ketoacidosis probably due to extremely low levels of insulin, high levels of blood glucose, and he was also eating like a very high, high carb diet using like an ultra Slimfast-type of type of supplement with extreme caloric restriction.  So the calorie restriction was putting him into ketosis, but this high carb ultra Slimfast shake was creating a high amount of blood glucose, and he had ketoacidosis.  And this guy actually did display some issues related to rhabdomyolysis.  They found that in his case, he had what’s called severe hyperosmolality and hypernatremia.  And this is very interesting because we tend to see this in people so who have severe electrolyte deficiencies, severe mineral deficiencies.

And so, it turns out that another part of this perfect storm could be like eating an extremely low amount of carbohydrates, an extremely low amount of amino acids, an extremely low amount of electrolytes, and then going out and exercising really hard. That can theoretically cause an issue with something like rhabdomyolysis, or excessive muscle damage from ketosis.  And that’s very easy to control, right?  You consume amino acids.  Like have 10 to 20 grams of amino acids per hour during exercise, like I recommend in my article about how to get into ketosis.  And I’ll link to that.  Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/362, and I’ll link to that article.

So you want to have about 10 to 20 grams of amino acids each hour.  You want to have electrolytes and minerals, not just during exercise, but as like a staple in your diet.  Like mineral rich foods, and sea salts, and stuff like that.  And then you would want to preferably consume something that allows you to really amp up your levels of ketones, and that would be like coconut oil-based fats, medium chain triglycerides, and then any of these powder or liquid ketones supplements that are available out there on the market.  And if you do all that, rhabdo, and kidney damage, and all these other issues that people suspect might be caused by ketoacidosis, those are not gonna be an issue at all.  And then just keep remembering that ketoacidosis is different than ketosis. Ketoacidosis is extremely high levels of ketone bodies combined with high blood glucose and acidotic state, typically with a low levels of minerals and low levels of amino acids. And ketosis is definitely not the state, if that makes sense.

Rachel:  Right.  It does make sense.  And I can see you’re an exercise physiologist.

Ben:  That’s right.  And now, Dave, and everybody else, you don’t have to worry about peeing Coca-Cola again.  Ever again.  Unless you’re like me and you do Ironman Hawaii, and it’s inevitable at that point that you’ll probably get rhabdo.  So have fun with that.

Jay:  Hey, Ben.  Appreciate all the bad-assery and biohacking that you do, and putting it on your podcast.  I think it’s phenomenal.  Really appreciate it.  I have a couple of questions regarding a sauna.  Number one, I bought one a while back and I did not even think about EMFs.  Does this mean I need to maybe get rid of it and get a new one? And number two, do you know anything about sitting on like an ice pack with like a towel over it while sitting in a sauna just so gentlemen’s boys don’t get too hot?  Appreciate it. Thanks a lot.  Hope to hear back from you.

Ben:  Well, this is a great question.  It’s a relevant question because I was just working on my sperm count earlier today, Rachel.

Rachel:  How do you work on your…  I don’t know if I want the answer to…

Ben:  I was working on my sperm count.

Rachel:  I don’t know if I want the answer to that question.

Ben:  I was working on the railroad.  We’ve talked about this before, I think.  I straddle a red light.

Rachel:  Oh, yes.

Ben:  Yeah.  So this morning while I was recording The Get-Fit Guy Podcast, I was naked, straddling a red light.  I actually put it on Snapchat.  I think maybe a little bit of butt crack, maybe even materialized on Snapchat this morning.

Rachel:  Is it a warm red light?

Ben:  It’s actually warm.  And there’s this idea that sperm quality is a primary measurement of fertility, and actually high testosterone levels and sperm quality are correlated, heavily correlated.  And what they’ve shown is that red or infrared wavelengths boost testicular sperm production, boost viability of sperm, and also, if it’s in the 600 to 700 nanometer wavelength of infrared light, and it’s for about five to eight minutes per day, a testicular stimulation by red light has been shown to as much as triple testosterone production by stimulating other testosterone producing cells called the Leydig cells in your gonads.

So the idea here is that red light therapy stimulates ATP production in your mitochondria’s respiratory chain.  They stimulate what’s called cytochrome oxidase, which is a photoreceptive enzyme.  That means that that enzyme responds to light cues.  And you can stimulate photo receptors in your brain by doing things like that intranasal light therapy, that weird little thing I stick up in my nose that I occasionally post to Instagram.  It’s called a Vielight.  But you can also do the same thing; you can stimulate the cytochrome oxidase, the photo receptive enzymes in your testicles, and mitochondrial ATP production’s sperm, and production of testosterone by activating the cytochrome with wavelengths of light.  Not UVA or UVB light, which frankly they’ve shown can actually damage.  Blue light can damage sperm and damage mitochondria in the testicles.  But like small amounts of red light, like infrared light, has actually been shown.

Rachel:  And how long does it take you to actually increase your testosterone that much with red light?

Ben:  In terms of the actual length of time of the studies, I don’t have that right in front of me.  I would imagine that for something like mitochondrial energy production, it’s relatively quick.  I mean, like people who start to use like the intranasal light therapy, they feel like it’s a cup of coffee for their brain almost instantly.

Rachel:  And I imagine that you’ve tried out a whole bunch of different testosterone hacking techniques and this is kind of one of the better ones?

Ben:  It, in my opinion, is working really well.  I don’t know if there’s a little bit of a nitric oxide release, but there is — well, I mean we’re all adults here, except for the parents driving their kids around their minivans.  In which case…

Rachel:  Ear muffs!

Ben:  Ear muffs.  Yeah.  I’m a lot harder, basically.  I’ve noticed that specifically.  It’s almost like you’ve got a whole bunch of blood flow.  It’s like viagra light, essentially.

Rachel:  And how long have you been doing it for?

Ben:  I’ve been doing that for, it’s been like almost five weeks now.  And it’s every day to every other day, like when I’m at home.  I just have it right next to my desk, and I [1:12:20] ______ .  But the other thing is that that Clearlight sauna you were talking about, that also produces light in the 600 to 700 nanometer wavelength, and so you could technically just like go into a sauna like that in the nude and get the same effect.

Rachel:  But aren’t your… uhm… balls like on top of the light?

Ben:  No.  Okay, so male testicles hang outside of a male’s torso for a reason.  They operate best at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit.  So actually below, that’s a couple of degrees below like the normal like 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.  And the idea here is that many types of lamps and bulbs that people will try for this, like incandescents, or heat lamps, or infrared lamps that are that shine at more than that 700 nanometer wavelength range, those do give awesome off a significant amount of heat and they’re not suitable for use on the testicles.  Those would lower sperm count, and those would cause the same issues as a dry sauna, which they’ve done studies on.

They found that these dry saunas can actually lower sperm count in men, and the idea there is the heat.  So if you step into an infrared sauna, it’s actually not that hot.  It’s light and frequency wavelengths that are heating your body, and so you sweat and you get like this deep like five to seven inches of penetration in terms of the actual heat, but it’s not like temperature heat.  It’s light-based heat.  And that allows your testicles to stay at their normal temperature.

Rachel:  And that’s why he’s suggesting people to sit on ice packs in saunas, ’cause I never have heard or seen that before, but it makes sense.

Ben:  You definitely don’t wanna sit like right on those wooden slats.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  You also don’t wanna use hot tubs too much if you’re trying to stay fertile.  You don’t wanna keep a… like when I ever put my laptop on my lap, I use something called a HARApad, which is like it blocks heat and radiation from coming off the bottom of the laptop.  Which is also really important, not just for guys’ sperm health, but for women and your eggs.  And then also they’ve shown interestingly that sperm production is highest in the winter, probably due to the lower temperatures in the winter.

So, yes,  you would definitely wanna be careful with a dry sauna.  But an infrared sauna, you don’t see the same effect in terms of heat causing an issue with sperm production. What you do see — you can still microwave yourself in an infrared sauna.  That’s the issue that we were talking about earlier with like the Clearlight sauna.  They’ve actually got like a special way that they put the heaters into that sauna where there is no EMF because the two waves of electromagnetic fields coming off the top and the bottom of the sauna, they cancel each other out, the way that they’ve built the sauna.  And so if you go in there with — you can use one of these, it’s called a Gauss meter.

So you can go into this sauna with a Gauss meter, and it’s got an extremely low level of what’s called EMF and then also ELF.  ELF is the type of radiation you’d get made by like utility power lines.  And a lot of times, you’ll see this in saunas as well, like a combination of EMF and ELF.  But what they’ve done on these — for example, like a good infrared, like these Clearlights, is they run the electrical wiring through the sauna with metal conduit to lower the ELF and the EMF.  And then they stack the heaters in such a way that they use what’s called a ceramic infrared heater, and they stack that in such a way that it lowers the EMF.  The two levels of heaters basically cancel out the EMF.  So you’re not getting electromagnetic fields on your balls, you’re not getting extremely low frequency, or what are called ELF fields on your balls, and you’re getting the heat on your balls.  It’s just all light.

Rachel:  And is there any way to hack out EMF and ELF from saunas that are not low in them?

Ben:  No.  They have to be built that way.  That’s the unfortunate thing is they have to be built that way.  So if you’re paying like 500 bucks for a sauna, you’re probably getting something that you’re gonna microwave yourself inside. Just like holding a cell phone up to your ear all day long which, by the way, I should note a couple of things that can reduce sperm count that you wanna be careful with.  Cell phones in the pockets.  I use a special case called the DefenderShield case that blocks out the radiation from the cell phone when it’s in my pocket.  And the other thing is tight pants.  Just like the Saturday Night Live song.  You wanna avoid tight pants.  Will Ferrell probably has a very low sperm count, and Jimmy Fallon from wearing those tight pants.  Do you know the skit I’m talking about?

Rachel:  I don’t.  No.  Let’s link to it in the show notes.  (plays SNL clip on tight pants)

Ben:  (Singing) I’ve got my tight pants.  I’ve got my tight pants on.

My pants are the tightest in all of the land.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Polly:  Hi, Ben and Rachel.  My name is Polly, and I’m listening from Columbus, Ohio.  I started listening four or five months ago, and since then, have gotten really interested in biohacking.  So I can’t thank you enough for the fabulous information that you both provide.  That said, one of the things I’m interested in doing is having my DNA testing because I think it could show me a lot that I could start to use to optimize my well-being.  However, I’m not sure about the differences between 23andMe, DNAFit, and the companies that you briefly mentioned on the podcast that you can export data to, who can give you more information.  I was having trouble determining these differences, looking at the blog, and was wondering if maybe you could answer the question on your show.  Anyway, any insights you have would be great.  Keep it up and I’ll keep listening.  Thanks.

Ben:  Ah.  The wonderful world of genetic testing.  You know what the best part about genetic testing is, Rachel?

Rachel:  Well, I would say that you only have to get it done once, but then I think that that’s a lie ’cause I’ve got mine done once, and I have to get ’em done again.

Ben:  Really?  What do you mean?

Rachel:  Well, it’s a long story.  We don’t have to go for it.

Ben:  Your genes changed somehow?  Did you go to China and enroll in their Olympics program…

Rachel:  And get CRISPR?

Ben:  Yeah.

Rachel:  No.

Ben:  CRISPR gene editing technology.

Rachel:  No.  But tell me what you think the best thing about gene testing is?

Ben:  That you get to drip saliva into a tube, and the best way to get yourself to drip saliva into a tube is to sniff peanut butter.  So any time I do a DNA test, I get to sniff peanut butter.

Rachel:  That is not where I thought this was going.

Ben:  I actually have done a lot of different types of DNA test because of these companies here that I talk about DNA on the podcast, and so they send like DNA test kits to my house, and I’ve experimented with different testing organizations.  And frankly, most of what seems to change — unless you’re doing a full genetic panel.  Now full genetic panel would be what you’d still pay several thousand Dollars to something like the Human Longevity Project to do.  But if you’re just getting your basic genetic snips that are the most important ones for things like the fitness parameters that we talked about earlier, or health, like diabetes risk and prostate cancer risk, or say like you wanna find out whether you’re a fast or a slow caffeine metabolizer, or maybe you just wanna find out like where your parents came from.  Like whether you’re Ethiopian or Chinese, which I would think you might have some other clues that would fill you in, but let’s just say you wanna get your genes tested, they can tell you about that too.

So a lot of these websites that test your genetics, the only thing that really changes from website to website is the platform that you surf through, like the software that you use to actually go through and look at the genes.  And some software allows you to take a really deep dive, like Promethease that Polly mentioned.  Promethease is what’s called a literature retrieval system that builds a personalized DNA report for you based off of analyzing all your DNA raw data.  And 23andMe doesn’t do that.  A website like DNAFit doesn’t do that.  So you have to take that raw data that you can get from any place that you send your genes into, whether you pay FamilyTreeDNA a hundred bucks to do your genes, you pay 23andMe 200 or 300, whatever it costs now, or you pay DNAFit because they include like a special PDF and they include like a special coach along with your program to walk you through stuff, you pay them $300 or whatever.  Any of these organizations, you can simply call them up or e-mail them, or go to the dashboard for your DNA test and you can download your raw data.

And once you have your raw data downloaded, you can upload that to any number of these different pieces of software that will analyze, say, like well, look at like Genetic Genie.  That website analyzes your DNA specifically to tell you how good you are gonna be at detoxifying, at producing antioxidants, and at doing what’s called methylation.

Whereas, if you export the data to Promethease, you get a host of information about like cancer, and diabetes, and risk of baldness, and all sorts of stuff like that.  Or if you upload to — there’s a website like Decodify.me, which is kinda like a biohacker platform where you could, for example, look at specific clusters of genetic snips and determine what your personalized supplementation program is gonna be to address those specific genetic deficiencies.  So I will put a list in the show notes, if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/362, to all of the different web sites that provide analysis of your raw genetic data.  But ultimately, the issue here is that 23andMe will only tell you your familial data, and a very limited amount of health data.  And you have to, at some point, download that raw data from 23andMe, and then you upload it to any of other websites, and you can get a ton of really interesting information.

Rachel:  Right.  So both DNAFit and 23andMe are the exact same test?  They’re testing the same things?

Ben:  It’s essentially the same test.  Their testing your genes.  23andMe, again, focuses more on ancestry.  DNAFit more spits out like personalized fitness and nutrition recommendations.  I mean, like if you go to DNAFit and you already have 23andMe, I think for just like 70 bucks, they’ll feed your 23andMe data into DNAFit and give you those same genetic fitness reports and genetic nutrition reports that you get if you were to just do the full meal deal through DNAFit.  So if you’ve already been tested, you can still do something like that.

Rachel:  Right.  And then can you quickly tell me what the difference is between the full genetic panel and just a normal gene test that we’re talking about?

Ben:  Yeah.  A full genetic panel is every single, it’s called full genome sequencing.  It’s really expensive, but basically whole genome sequencing determines the complete DNA sequence of your entire genome, and it’s a technology that a lot of companies like 23andMe, for example, aren’t using due to the expense.  The idea is that we do know that it’s kinda like this 80/20 thing.  Like there is a certain percentage, a certain pretty high percentage of DNA that’s gonna influence just about every health parameter out there.  And so companies like 23andMe or DNAFit, they’re doing essentially like a partial DNA analysis of all the snips that we kind of know about.

Whereas, whole genome sequencing is just sequencing everything, whether it’s snips that we know about or snips that we don’t know about.  And in my opinion, it’s good information to have, but I’m waiting to get full genome sequencing just because there’s not a big difference between it and a partial genome sequencing at this point until we know everything about.  But if you look at like the Human Genome Project, for example, run by — there’s this company called VeritasGenetics and there’s this guy named Craig Venter who’s kinda like one of the world leaders as far as like genetics research, and he offers full genome sequencing.  You might be able to find it for as little as a thousand bucks now.  But, yeah.

A company like this Human Longevity Project, they are trying to become the largest human genome sequencee center in the world, and they’ve got a bunch of these sequencing machines that can analyze a huge number of genomes.  But it’s different, it’s way more expensive.  Now one of the resources that I want to give to you is not 23andMe.com, but a website called 23andYou.com.  And if you go to 23andYou.com, like Y-O-U dot com, the cool thing is this totally free website with every tool you’d ever want to do everything from like compare your DNA to somebody else’s DNA, like your wife to look at, for example, very, very detailed ancestry reports, and family inheritance type of reports.  There’s tools in there that can be used specifically to, for example, analyze specific snips.  Like everybody in my family has had Alzheimer’s, so I really wanna know what’s going on with my Alzheimer’s genes.  It’s pretty much like a full database of every single web site out there that you can feed your raw data into when it comes to DNA.

Not to over complexify the issue, what I do with my clients and with myself is I have people do the 23andMe test — or whatever DNA test they want.  They send me the raw data, and then typically I am using Promethease to go through and look at any red flags. And then if they do Promethease, that also allows me to look at like slow twitch, fast twitch muscle fiber capacity, power responder versus endurance responder, et cetera, et cetera. And if someone like me is looking over your data for you, that’s a good way to go. If you just kinda want like a report so easy that a dummy could read it, and it’ll tell you it like how to eat and how to exercise based on your genetics, I would say DNAFit’s probably the best choice out there right now.  And that’s what I tell people to do if they don’t wanna like pay somebody to go through the results with them and they just want like an easy to read PDF, go with something like DNAFit.

Rachel:  Okay.

Ben:  So, there you have it.  Everybody can rush out and find out what kind of a freak of nature they really are, and you could even get the Donald Trump sleep gene sequenced if you wanted to.  Just saying.  Find out.  We also, by the way, have something very cool to give away.  So what do you think?  Shall we do our big bad giveaway.

Rachel:  Yes.  Let’s do it.

Ben:  Alright.  Cool.  So this is the part of the show where we read a review from iTunes. Now one of the best ways you can support the show, aside from helping us by our new podcasting gear by going to bengreenfieldfitness.com/donate, is to go to iTunes and to leave us a review.  And if you leave us a review, and we read said review on the show, and you hear your review read — I know this is getting really complex — just email [email protected].  And when you email [email protected], we’ll send you a beanie, a sweet BPA-free water bottle, a really cool tech t-shirt, and a lot of little goodies.  So that being said, Rachel, you wanna take this one away?

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  Straight from iTunes, baby.

Rachel:  Straight from iTunes.  Five star review by Scott Bylewski, and it’s titled “Excellence in high performance”.  “Unbelievably great podcast!  For high performance and recovery, this podcast has been instrumental in my fitness journey.  First saw Ben’s presentation from a recorded Unbeatable Mind retreat…”

Ben:  I think that was last year’s unbeatable mind retreat.

Rachel:  Which is coming up again this year.  December 24!  Don’t forget!

Ben:  Yeah.

Rachel:  “Simply outstanding information which I’ve used to help train and recover from endurance events like ultramarathons, GORUCK Challenges, and obstacle course races.  Led me down the rabbit hole to his products as well (FYI – superb gift boxes).” We have some of those available as well.  “I’ve recommended and shared Ben’s podcasts with many people and they have always appreciated them as well.  Thank you, Ben!  May you keep broadcasting your podcasts for many fit and healthy years to come!”  Awesome reviews, but…

Ben:  You know, I think I’m actually gonna take up golf and drinking, and let this whole podcast thing go pretty soon.

Rachel:  I think that’s highly unlikely, but you can always dream.

Ben:  I’ve been podcast for 10 years.

Rachel:  Yeah, Ben.  But you’re so good at it.  C’mon.

Ben:  Anyways though, that’s an awesome review from Scott.  And I like that he mentioned that recording from the Unbeatable Mind retreat because that whole thing’s available for free.  Actually, if you go to YouTube and you do a search for — if you wanna see the kind of presentations there, my entire presentation from last year’s available for free.  Just go to — I don’t know.  Heck.  Shall we link to it in the show notes?

Rachel:  Let’s link to it in the show notes.

Ben:  It’s like an hour and a half long, but yeah.  It’ll be a cool little video for those you want a little extra to listen to.  So we’ll put that in there in the show notes for you over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/362.

And finally, because I am off to go gallivant around the globe, I’ll be everywhere, like I mentioned, from Alabama, to Finland, to the conference in San Diego, and then I’m off to do a yoga retreat in Costa Rica.  You may not get a lot of Q&A from Rachel and I over the next few weeks, unfortunately.  Rachel…

Rachel:  Wah wah,

Ben:  Your dear voice, Wah wah!  but I have been interviewing some pretty interesting folks and we have a lot coming down the pipeline for you in terms of some really cool content from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  So stay tuned and say goodbye to Rachel, at least for a little while.  I don’t know.

Rachel:  Bye, you guys.  I’ll miss you.

Ben:  Might be a good three weeks or so.  Something like that.  But either way, bengreenfieldfitness.com/362 for the show notes.  Thanks for listening in.  Rachel.

Rachel:  Ben.

Ben:  Go wave your hands around.

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

 

 

November 9, 2016 Podcast: 362: Donald Trump’s Exercise Routine, Altitude Vs. Heat Training, Can Kids Take Smart Drugs, Can Ketosis Cause Muscle Damage & 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 Twitter.com/BenGreenfieldInstagram.com/BenGreenfieldFitnessFacebook.com/BGFitnessBenGreenfieldFitness.com/Snapchat and Google+.

—————————————————–

Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by:

HealthIQ– Get a free life insurance quote by going to Health IQ.com/BEN.

Nuts.com/fitness – receive 4 free samples with any order!

Harrys.com – get $5 off anything with code BEN

Teeter – for a limited time, you can get the Teeter Inversion Table with bonus accessories and a FREE pair of Gravity Boots so you can invert at home or take the boots with you to the gym. To get this deal, which is a savings of over $138, go to getteeter.com/ben

Click here to donate any amount you’d like to support the podcast!

-Clearlight is GIVING away a sauna to Ben Greenfield Fitness Fans. Click here to enter.

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 Weston A. Price 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

Dec 2-4, 2016: Unbeatable Mind Retreat. Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to hang out with Navy Seals and Ben at the annual Unbeatable Mind Retreat in Carlsbad, California. Click here to register.

Get the resources to Ben’s 2015 Unbeatable Mind presentation here.

Dec 3-10, 2016: Runga in Costa Rica: 8 days, epic food, twice daily yoga, salt water pool and manual therapy and spa services galore, experts from around the world teaching running clinics, kettlebell seminars, lecturing on nutrition, etc. Also daily adventures ranging from zip lining to white water, along with a full digital detox. Code “BEN” gets you a free gift with your RUNGA registration valued at $75! Click here to get in now.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Craig Dinkel? It was a must-listen – “Shattering World Swim Records On 25-Piece Fried Chicken Buckets, Climbing Mountains While Eating Defatted, Vegan, Grass-Fed, Arfentinian LIver Anydrate & Much More”. 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.

Can Kids Take Smart Drugs?

Jens says: He’s from the Netherlands, and he’s wondering what the best supplements are for kids to get their max performance at school?

In my response, I recommend:
L-Theanine by Thorne
Fish Oil
-Magnesium (e.g. Kid’s Calm Liquid Multi)
Neurohacker Collective Qualia (use code BEN15 to save 15% or BEN15r to save 15% on recurring)

Can Ketosis Cause Muscle Damage?

Dave says: He’s 4 weeks into ketosis and 5 weeks out from his first marathon. He did a 24k run yesterday and afterwards he had pale brown urine and he was advised to go to emergency where they told him he has rhabdomyolysis because his body could no longer burn fat and that it started to break down his muscles because he had no carbs on board. His question is, is that possible? Why would his body stop burning fat because of a lack of carbs? They recommended he take some carbs before a long run, which sounds like carb loading, and he’s concerned if he does that before the marathon, once they are gone, his body won’t be fat adapted and he’ll be in worse trouble than when he started. Can you clarify?

In my response, I recommend:
-My How To Get Into Ketosis article

Can Infrared Saunas Lower Sperm Count?

Jay says: He appreciates your bad-assery and appreciates you putting it on your podcast. He has some questions about sauna. He bought a sauna a while back and didn’t think about EMFs – does this mean he needs to get rid of it and get a new one? And do you know anything about sitting on an ice pack while sitting in a sauna, just so the ‘gentlemen’s’ boys don’t get too hot.

In my response, I recommend:
My biohacked sauna how-to article

23andMe vs. DNAFit

Polly says: Polly is from Columbus Ohio, she started listening 4-5 months ago and got interested in biohacking thanks to you. She’s interested in getting her DNA tested because she thinks she’ll find out a lot to optimize her well being, but she’s not sure about the difference between 23andMe, DNAFit and the other programs, like Promethease. She has read your blogs but she’s still confused, can you help her out?

In my response, I recommend:
23andme
23andyou
DNAFit

Services that provide analysis of Raw23andMe data

Some of these pages are actually more or less replacing the old reports of 23andMe with health risks, some are ancestry related.

  • Page exclusively written about this post topic – 23andYou
    – repository of many tools dedicated to extracting information from your data by 23andMe
  • Promethease – a literature retrieval system that builds a personal DNA report based on connecting a file of DNA genotypes to the scientific findings cited in SNPedia, analysis cost $5–10.
  • Decodify.me – is run by Joe from selfhacked.com and is in beta-release for biohackers
  • Genetic Genie – provides some methylation and detox reports (for me, at least for now, detox is just kind of buzzword with no exact meaning)
  • FamilyTreeDNA – family finder thing
  • DNA.land – geneticists from Columbia University and the New York Genome Center that will use your data for research and provide you some report and /or find some relatives of you
  • Livewello – costs about $20, reports for 600,000 SNPs, AND attach 12 resources for generating reports
  • DNAFit – reports from 23andMe data about fitness and diet

Servies that can help you with SNPs analyzed

  • SNPedia – kind of a wiki pages of many SNPs analyzed by 23andMe
  • PubMed – I use it as a newspaper
  • dbSNP – repository not only for human species’ SNPs
  • Ensembl
  • Gene Cards
  • Genetic Home Reference – consumer-friendly information about human genetics from the National Library of Medicine
  • MalaCards – an integrated database of human maladies and their annotations, modeled on the architecture of GeneCards database of human genes
  • OMIM – an online catalog of human genes and genetic disorders
  • Sterling’s App – I don’t know much about this, but could be usefull for findings about methylation, costs $10–30.
  • WikiGenes
  • ..and of course SciHub and LibGen could be usefull too. Or just any good library.

Other interesting services

  • GEDmatch – tools for DNA and Genealogy Research
  • Ancestry.com
  • Geni.com – service for creating your own family tree (I got to this while searching in 23andMe database of user’s names that could be related to me)

 

 

 

 

 

 

362: Donald Trump’s Exercise Routine, Altitude Vs. Heat Training, Can Kids Take Smart Drugs, Can Ketosis Cause Muscle Damage & More.

podcast-362

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

November 9, 2016 Podcast: 362: Donald Trump’s Exercise Routine, Altitude Vs. Heat Training, Can Kids Take Smart Drugs, Can Ketosis Cause Muscle Damage & 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 Twitter.com/BenGreenfield, Instagram.com/BenGreenfieldFitness, Facebook.com/BGFitness, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Snapchat and Google+.

—————————————————–

Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by:

HealthIQ– Get a free life insurance quote by going to Health IQ.com/BEN.

Nuts.com/fitness – receive 4 free samples with any order!

Harrys.com – get $5 off anything with code BEN

Teeter – for a limited time, you can get the Teeter Inversion Table with bonus accessories and a FREE pair of Gravity Boots so you can invert at home or take the boots with you to the gym. To get this deal, which is a savings of over $138, go to getteeter.com/ben

Click here to donate any amount you’d like to support the podcast!

-Clearlight is GIVING away a sauna to Ben Greenfield Fitness Fans. Click here to enter.

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 Weston A. Price 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

Dec 2-4, 2016: Unbeatable Mind Retreat. Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to hang out with Navy Seals and Ben at the annual Unbeatable Mind Retreat in Carlsbad, California. Click here to register.

Get the resources to Ben’s 2015 Unbeatable Mind presentation here.

Dec 3-10, 2016: Runga in Costa Rica: 8 days, epic food, twice daily yoga, salt water pool and manual therapy and spa services galore, experts from around the world teaching running clinics, kettlebell seminars, lecturing on nutrition, etc. Also daily adventures ranging from zip lining to white water, along with a full digital detox. Code “BEN” gets you a free gift with your RUNGA registration valued at $75! Click here to get in now.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Craig Dinkel? It was a must-listen – “Shattering World Swim Records On 25-Piece Fried Chicken Buckets, Climbing Mountains While Eating Defatted, Vegan, Grass-Fed, Arfentinian LIver Anydrate & Much More”. 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!

screenshot_10

——————————————

Listener Q&A:

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

Can Kids Take Smart Drugs?

Jens says: He’s from the Netherlands, and he’s wondering what the best supplements are for kids to get their max performance at school?

Can Ketosis Cause Muscle Damage?

Dave says: He’s 4 weeks into ketosis and 5 weeks out from his first marathon. He did a 24k run yesterday and afterwards he had pale brown urine and he was advised to go to emergency where they told him he has rhabdomyolysis because his body could no longer burn fat and that it started to break down his muscles because he had no carbs on board. His question is, is that possible? Why would his body stop burning fat because of a lack of carbs? They recommended he take some carbs before a long run, which sounds like carb loading, and he’s concerned if he does that before the marathon, once they are gone, his body won’t be fat adapted and he’ll be in worse trouble than when he started. Can you clarify?

In my response, I recommend:
-My How To Get Into Ketosis article

Can Infrared Saunas Lower Sperm Count?

Jay says: He appreciates your bad-assery and appreciates you putting it on your podcast. He has some questions about sauna. He bought a sauna a while back and didn’t think about EMFs – does this mean he needs to get rid of it and get a new one? And do you know anything about sitting on an ice pack while sitting in a sauna, just so the ‘gentlemen’s’ boys don’t get too hot.

In my response, I recommend:
My biohacked sauna how-to article

23andMe vs. DNAFit

Polly says: Polly is from Columbus Ohio, she started listening 4-5 months ago and got interested in biohacking thanks to you. She’s interested in getting her DNA tested because she thinks she’ll find out a lot to optimize her well being, but she’s not sure about the difference between 23andMe, DNAFit and the other programs, like Promethease. She has read your blogs but she’s still confused, can you help her out? 

In my response, I recommend:
23andme
23andyou
DNAFit

Services that provide analysis of Raw23andMe data

Some of these pages are actually more or less replacing the old reports of 23andMe with health risks, some are ancestry related.

  • Page exclusively written about this post topic – 23andYou
    – repository of many tools dedicated to extracting information from your data by 23andMe
  • Promethease – a literature retrieval system that builds a personal DNA report based on connecting a file of DNA genotypes to the scientific findings cited in SNPedia, analysis cost $5–10.
  • Decodify.me – is run by Joe from selfhacked.com and is in beta-release for biohackers
  • Genetic Genie – provides some methylation and detox reports (for me, at least for now, detox is just kind of buzzword with no exact meaning)
  • FamilyTreeDNA – family finder thing
  • DNA.land – geneticists from Columbia University and the New York Genome Center that will use your data for research and provide you some report and /or find some relatives of you
  • Livewello – costs about $20, reports for 600,000 SNPs, AND attach 12 resources for generating reports
  • DNAFit – reports from 23andMe data about fitness and diet

Servies that can help you with SNPs analyzed

  • SNPedia – kind of a wiki pages of many SNPs analyzed by 23andMe
  • PubMed – I use it as a newspaper
  • dbSNP – repository not only for human species’ SNPs
  • Ensembl
  • Gene Cards
  • Genetic Home Reference – consumer-friendly information about human genetics from the National Library of Medicine
  • MalaCards – an integrated database of human maladies and their annotations, modeled on the architecture of GeneCards database of human genes
  • OMIM – an online catalog of human genes and genetic disorders
  • Sterling’s App – I don’t know much about this, but could be usefull for findings about methylation, costs $10–30.
  • WikiGenes
  • ..and of course SciHub and LibGen could be usefull too. Or just any good library.

Other interesting services

  • GEDmatch – tools for DNA and Genealogy Research
  • Ancestry.com
  • Geni.com – service for creating your own family tree (I got to this while searching in 23andMe database of user’s names that could be related to me)

—————————————————–

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Mushrooms 101: Everything You Need To Know About The Psilocybin Psychedelics That Are Taking The Health World By Storm.

bill-richards-landscape

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Psychedelic drugs such as MDMA (AKA “Ecstacy”) LSD and Psilocybin (AKA “magic” mushrooms) are very likely going to be the next set of drugs after marijuana to be destigmatized and potentially legalized, not necessarily because people are “partying more”, but instead largely due to research going back to the 1950s which has shown that these drugs have a significant positive effect on those with depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Psychedelics are supposedly able to disintegrate entrenched or destructive ways of thinking in people who have depression, anxiety and PTSD. And brain imaging has indeed shown that in the brains of PTSD patients who took MDMA, their primitive fear center responses shrunk while their rational thought processes overrode them — the opposite of how their brains normally function.

Even Silicon Valley executives are now taking microdoses of LSD to enhance creativity and productivity (a typical dose of LSD – enough to make a person hallucinate or trip – about 10 micrograms of LSD, and a microdose is about 1/10 of that dose). Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), claims people who microdose feel more energetic and insightful but don’t necessarily see the face of God inside their water coolers.

Just as with marijuana, I suspect we will continue to see the destigmatization of psychedelics if their proven health or cognitive benefits outweigh the prejudice against them. As more scientific data emerges on these drugs, they will probably become mainstream, if not for your average person, then definitely in a controlled, therapeutic setting by licensed professionals.

So if you’re not in-the-know about psychedelics, you should be. Enter today’s guest: Dr. William Richards. 

Dr. Richards (Bill) is a psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bayview Medical Center, where he and his colleagues have been pursuing research with psilocybin, the active molecule in the so-called “sacred mushrooms”, for the past 16 years. His graduate degrees include M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, S.T.M. from Andover-Newton Theological School and Ph.D. from Catholic University, as well as studies with Abraham Maslow at Brandeis University and with Hanscarl Leuner at Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany, where his involvement with psychedelic research originated in 1963.

From 1967 to 1977, he pursued psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, including protocols designed to investigate the promise of entheogens in the treatment of alcoholism, severe neuroses, narcotic addiction and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, and also their use in the training of religious and mental-health professionals. From 1977-1981, he was a member of the psychology faculty of Antioch University in Maryland.

His publications began in 1966 with “Implications of LSD and Experimental Mysticism,” coauthored with Walter Pahnke. His latest book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences has just been released by Columbia University Press, and is described as “the first well-documented, sophisticated account of the effect of psychedelics on biological processes, human consciousness, and revelatory religious experiences”.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Dr. Richards personally uses psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds in his own life…[6:00 & 28:20]

-Why is it that research into psychedelic drugs seems to be growing in popularity, and why it waned in the first place…[7:00 & 18:00]

-Whether wandering through a cow’s field and picking mushrooms from dung is any different than what is being used in lab research…[22:50]

-What mushrooms have to do with sacred geometry, and why the kaleidoscope colors or visions one sees when on higher doses of psilocybin are related to these geometries…[41:50]

-Where you can “source” or grow your own psilocybin if you want to try it…[49:50]

-How you can combine psilocybin with other compounds to either increase or decrease their effect…[52:00]

-Psychedelics that Bill thinks “fly under the radar” but that more people should know about…[54:00]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences

Psilocybin research page 

The pharmacology of psilocybin study Ben mentions

The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge

EROWID.org

100% Sugar-Free Grapefruit Juice

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

[Transcript] – Shattering World Swim Records On 25-Piece Fried Chicken Buckets, Climbing Mountains While Eating Defatted, Vegan, Grass-Fed, Argentinian Liver Anhydrate & Much More.

Podcast from http://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/shattering-world-swim-records-on-25-piece-fried-chicken-buckets-climbing-mountains-while-eating-defatted-vegan-grass-fed-argentinian-liver-anhydrate-much-more/

[0:00] Introduction/ Healthy Home Workshop

[2:00] Propolis

[3:44] Introduction to this Podcast

[5:18] Craig Dinkel

[8:26] How Craig Got Into Swimming

[13:45] How Craig Dropped Seven Seconds In His Freestyle

[22:20] Why Craig Took Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly While Training

[25:47]The Fitness Strategies Craig Used to Train the Celebrity musicians He Worked With

[27:57] Quick Commercial Break/ Indochino

[30:49] Bark Box

[33:18] What Craig Did When He Trained Musicians

[41:08] How Craig Got Into Mountaineering

[53:17] How Craig Got Into The Supplement Research

[1:08:20] The Fascinating New Research on the Ability of Beet Extract

[1:11:35] How High Amounts of Desiccated Liver Increased Time-to-Exhaustion in the Lab

[1:19:38] End of Podcast

Ben:  This is a weird day.  Why is it a weird day?  Because my wife is out in the driveway right now using a power tool to carve pumpkins.  That’s right.  She’s doing a power tool carve pumpkin story.  She’s also, just this past week, made apple chutney, made pumpkin seeds four ways, including a pumpkin pie flavored-pumpkin seed mix.  She has been organizing the pantry in a very cool way that includes paint, and curtains, and all sorts of things that makes our pantry kinda sexy.  And finally, she’s created spooky facemasks.  My wife, a lot of you may not know this, she actually does a magazine every single month that’s like this beautiful online downloadable PDF magazine with videos, like tons of videos from her.

She literally spends the entire month putting together these amazing magazines.  It’s called The Healthy Home Workshop.  And whether you are a complete bachelor who just wants to sit at home but occasionally have people over, and completely impress them, and knock their socks off with your cooking and the Feng Shui of your home, or whether you are a family mom who wants to make your family better than all the other families out there ’cause we all know that’s the way moms think.  You should check out her Healthy Home Workshop.  How do you do it?  Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle.  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle, and you can check that out.

Now today’s podcast that you are about to listen to is pretty interesting.  It’s about shattering world swim records on 25-piece fried chicken buckets, climbing mountains while eating defatted vegan grass-fed Argentinean liver anhydrate, and much more.

Now before we jump into today’s show, I also wanted to mention to you something else kind of weird, and that’s propolis.  Propolis.  P-R-O-P-O-L-I-S.  What is propolis? Well, it is the immune system of a beehive.  It’s what bees use to sterilize their hive, to protect their hive from things like bacteria, and parasites, and viruses.  It’s this sticky substance that they make from plant and tree resins.  Well, propolis was actually the term given to this stuff by Aristotle.  Remember Aristotle?  Yeah.  That guy.

Its medicinal uses date back to at least 300BC.  It’s got over 300 active compounds and it’s good for anything immune-related ’cause it’s anti-viral, and antifungal, and antibiotic.  So you could like take it on an airplane or a bus, and spray it in your mouth and make your immune system bulletproof.  So it also works, by the way, on cold sores and canker sores for those of you who walk around with giant sores in your mouth, and even gingivitis and bad breath.  It can treat cuts, burns, wounds.  It’s like a freaking Swiss army knife for your immune system.  And they get this stuff from the bees.  Kids can even use it.

So the propolis that I actually have in my fridge right now, I’ve been playing around with it.  It actually tastes really good.  It’s made by this company called Beekeeper’s Naturals.  Beekeeper’s Naturals, and they’re giving everybody who’s listening in a 10% discount.  So to get that, you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/beekeeper.  Just like it sounds.  Bengreenfieldfitness.com/beekeeper and use code ‘Ben’ to get 10% off of their fantastic propolis.  Literally you just spray it in your mouth and you’re off to the races.  So check it out.  And now, on to today’s show.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“I never had any issues psychologically showing up ready for an event.  I always was a great competitor.  I couldn’t wait to get in the water.  I didn’t care who you were.  Went toe-to-toe with the biggest and baddest boys in the world, and none of them scared me.  I just couldn’t wait to get in and take ’em out.”  “For me, I’ve always had the attitude of ‘make the journey or the training the most miserable aspect of what it is you’re gonna do if you’re aiming for an event’ so that when you get to the event, all of that work is behind you.  You paid a dear price for it.  But you know, unequivocally, when you show up, I’m ready.”

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 here, and I actually first met, or I guess got introduced to today’s podcast guess when I got this bottle of strange pills in the mail.  And normally I would toss those bottles into my pantry, or my garage with all the other random powders, and oils, and capsules, and pills, and lotions, and creams, and strange devices that fit into various orifices of your body that I’ll often — excuse me, I’m coughing on my green smoothie, speaking of strange things in your body.

So all these things show up at my house, but this bottle kind of intrigued me because along with echinacea and beet root extract, which I know about, the bottle also had some other stuff I’d never heard of like Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae.  I don’t even know how to pronounce that.  How about this one?  Defatted, vegan, grass-fed Argentinian liver anhydrate.  I’ve heard of liver before, but not that particular flavor.  Or special version of cordyceps called a sinesis.  So long story short, I ended up calling up this guy, and this is the guy who would send it to me.  I’d ask him what it was for, and it turns out that he and this bottle are far from normal.  And you’re gonna find out why in today’s episode.

He’s got quite this story.  Quite the interesting guy.  Quite the athlete as well.  So his name is Craig, Craig Dinkel.  And if you are listening in and you get intrigued with Craig, and his story, and what we talk about ’cause he’s got some very, I guess I would call it like enchanting and edgy info that we haven’t talked about much on the podcast before.  If you find this stuff intriguing, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/craig.  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/craig for today’s show notes.  See, Craig?  I named the whole podcast after you.

Craig:  Yeah.  I feel honored.

Ben:  Yeah.  Well you should be, man.  I was looking over your resume in terms, of for example, especially your swim performances.  While training for the Olympics, I mean you were training with Navy SEALs, you were rooming with professional baseball players.  I know you were teammates with Dara Torres, who’s a pretty highly visible swimmer along with the Michael Phelps of water polo, a guy named Terry Schroeder, and I think only me and a small handful of listeners, as ex or current water polo nerds, would know who he is.  But that is pretty cool.  And then you also have trained a ton of celebrities.  I know you worked with Willie Nelson, and you worked with Johnny Mandel, and Ray Parker, Jr., and the guitarist for the Eagles and, I think one of the gals who toured with Elvis Presley, and Bruce Jenner.  All sorts of really interesting people.  So you’ve been all over the place, man.  Except for this show.  So welcome to the show.

Craig:  Well, thanks.  It’s a pleasure.  It’s really a pleasure to be here in such esteemed company as yourself.  High regard for you, and always have.

Ben:  Oh.  Well, thank you.  That’s probably the only time today I’ll be called esteemed.  So you got your start in the competitive sports world with swimming, I know.  But I thought it was kind of intriguing, you told me how exactly you got introduced to swimming.  Can you fill the listeners in?

Craig:  Yeah.  Sure, sure.  I’ve told this story in a couple of other spots as well, but I was a 2-year old kid and was very interested in the water.  And one day, family was on a pool deck, Southern California, and decided I’d find out what it was like to get in the water.  Parents weren’t paying attention, they weren’t doing their job that day, but my older brother who at the time was 5 years old was doing his job that day.  So what happened was I was curious and I slipped into the shallow end, went down the stairs, don’t even now I could do that at 2 years old, but managed to get down the stairs and started floating pretty well off into the pool.  And next thing I knew, I was up against the side of the wall and I was drowning.  I was drowning.  I hadn’t sunk to the bottom or anything, I was on the surface.  Yeah.  I can remember that like it was yesterday.

Ben:  That’s crazy.  You were two and you can remember that?

Craig:  I remember it just exactly as if it happened yesterday.

Ben:  I wonder if that’s common, to be able to remember a traumatic experience like that when you’re that young.  ‘Cause some people say they can remember being birthed.

Craig:  Yeah.  (laughs) That goes back further than I can go.  And it’s funny you say that because I had a friend when I was in high school, actually my best friend’s mother, who claimed and look, I’m just telling you what she told me.  I’m not saying that I necessarily go here, but I’ll never forget her telling me she can remember being in the womb.  Now that seems like a huge stretch to me, but this lady was a pretty special lady.  Really a true genius, and really an amazing human being.  Someone whose feet were cleanly planted on the ground, and so I had no reason to doubt her.  But I thought, well, the earliest recollections I have are just at around 2 years old.  But the funny thing about your question, or statement, about traumatic experiences is that my brother dove in from the deep end of the pool, he happened to see me and he was only 5 years old, and yet was able to push me out and get me to…

Ben:  Jeez.  At 5 years old, that’s kind of unique I think.  Maybe they — you guys were in California?

Craig:  At that time, yeah.  It was Santa Barbara.

Ben:  Okay.  But you were born and raised in Massachusetts, right?

Craig:  Yes.  Boston, Massachusetts since I was… yeah.

Ben:  Wow.  Something must have been in the water down in California for your 5-year old brother to be able to pull you out of a pool from drowning.

Craig:  I grant you he was only 5 years old and hardly formed as a human being, but he ended up being a pretty really amazing guy.  Six boys in my family, and all of us have varying levels of success and stories to tell in life.  But of all of us, he ended up having really the most interesting story of any of us.  We lost him to cancer about five years ago, which was a real drag.  But great guy, and he saved my life then.  And speaking about traumatic experiences, my family did not treat that is if it was some sort of major 911 emergency.  To their credit, they understood the serious…

Ben:  Really?

Craig:  Yeah!  They understood the seriousness of the situation, and I say that ’cause I can see that imagery in my mind too.  I can see the sort of nervous laughter, the comfort coming from “glad-this-didn’t-get-any-worse” and no one was screaming, or yelling, or running around, or behaving like someone just about died which I think was a good thing.  And so, I don’t know if I would have ended up later down the line becoming a swimmer or not had they handled it differently.  But I didn’t have any — it just ended up being an experience.

Ben:  That’s the trick to raising a world class swimmer.  Pretend like drowning happens every day and it’s the most normal thing in the world, and your kids will be bulletproof to it.  My dad’s brother, who also sadly is not with us any longer, he grew up as an amazing swimmer.  I know when he was I think 4 or 5, my grandma tells me stories about how he would swim underwater and I believe the distance that he got close to underwater at 5 was somewhere over a hundred.  Somewhere between 100 and 150.  That’s for meters, so that’s back and forth quite a few times under the water for a little boy to be able to do, but it’s pretty amazing.  I have this kinda fascination with water.  Did a bunch of cold water swimming before this episode just to get myself ready to interview you, and I think it’s…

Craig:  Yeah.  You’re crazy guy here.  You’re the crazy guy.  I read all about you when you’re cold water stuff, and that’s tough stuff.  I couldn’t do that.

Ben:  Yeah.  You develop enough brown fat and enough endothelial nitric oxide production, and even a skinny guy like me can handle it without being one of those big old fat polar bear swimmers.  After that you got into competitive swimming?

Craig:  Yeah.  Well, the bottom line is the brother will jump forward many years, back in Boston now, and that brother who saved my life became a swimmer.  And so I just followed him into the sport because I loved him and idolized him.  So that’s really how it began.  I wasn’t doing anything in particular.

Ben:  So when you got into high school as a swimmer, one of the things that I know you told me was you dropped seven seconds in your hundred yard freestyle to actually become a competitive swimmer, to be able to kinda like get into college.  And that’s, for anybody who swims, that a boat load of time.  No pun intended there.  So what did you do to actually drop that amount of time in freestyle swimming?

Craig:  That’s a really good question.  And despite the fact it was me, it could have been anybody.  And I say very egolessly that that is a boat load of time.  It’s an inexplicable drop, really.

Ben:  Well, yeah.  I mean, it would be like a lot of people — let’s say like a fast swim time for an average like Ironman triathlete, for example, would be maybe you could do a minute and fifteen seconds for a hundred meter time.  You’re talking about dropping down, for somebody who’s a recreational swimmer, closer down to like a minute.  Down to like 1:08 from a 1:15, which is a ton of time.

Craig:  Right.  That’s right.  As I look back at that, I think I did start my competitive swimming in New England.  I was not your everyday athlete back then.  I seemed to possess some natural talent.  I didn’t train that hard, I didn’t take it seriously, I had no reason to.  The environment I was in at that time was not a highly competitive environment, although I was always highly competitive whenever I was in an event.  I was always there to win.  But the training is just nothing compared to what they did in California.  And I didn’t understand how to train, and I don’t think the coaches were all that good, and I had some minimal success there.

And one day in New England at a swim meet, I just for absolutely no good reason broke the record of the fastest swimmer in New England who was three years older than me.  And that guy, I knew.  Very, very disciplined athlete.  Trained very hard.  I used to watch him work out all the time.  Another one of my idols.  Just happened to be on the same team.  Just the senior part of the team, the varsity team.  And when I broke his record, I thought, very objectively, I was fifteen and I thought, “Well, gee.  Maybe there’s something here and I ought to pay a little more attention to this.”

And along with that thinking, the family then moved to California.  And I think, to answer your question, I think I just landed at the right place at the right time.  Well, how do I say this?  I had a lot of fire in me.  A ton which is almost an indescribable amount of fire in my belly for reasons not having to do with just wanting to win, but for other reasons.  So I landed at the right place, all of a sudden I was coddled by coaches.  I had a great head coach, I had a stroke coach.  I happened to land on a team where one of the best swimmers in Southern California was also on the team.  And so right away, I had this heavy an inauguration to what it meant to be a California swimmer.  Just banked just like that.  So training changed dramatically.  I wasn’t working out the width of the pool anymore, and occasionally length of the pool.  I was just learning all about hypoxic training, stroke training, measured stroke training.  You mentioned the kid who could swim underwater a hundred, hundred…

Ben:  Right.

Craig:  That’s a long, long — I mean, I respect that.  That it some tough, tough stuff to do.  I think maybe the best I could do as an adult was maybe 75 to 100 yards, not meters.  You mentioned meters, which is a big difference.  So that’s an amazing thing.  So all these things were being introduced to me, and it was highly focused, and it was all driven toward winning at that time.  And so, I think that you know I left Scene A, New England, with probably some natural talent that just sort of bubbled up.

I think that’s fair to say because it wasn’t right for me to break the record of a guy who lived his life competing at the highest levels and training at the hardest levels.  And for me to just show up — the meet that I broke that record in, I wasn’t even gonna go to.  I was just like, “Eh.  Well, I’ve got nothing to do today.  I might as well just go to the meet.”  And so it just happened like that.  So I think that what happened was I spent a year, then of course, training in that program.  And the next year at what they call CIF, which is you equivalent to the high school Division 1 state meet.  I just dropped seven seconds.  I mean, it was just… there it was.

Ben:  So you were just doing a whole cluster of training modalities from hypoxic training, to strength training, to obviously swim training.  Were you using, ’cause I know you’re very into… and we’ll talk about this later on, like fringe ingredients, supplements — legal, we should throw in.  Were you into that stuff back then?  Like did you have like a keen interest in health, and food, and supplements?  Or were you like me?  I was a collegiate tennis player and I, every day before practice, would roll into McDonald’s and grab a Big Mac, supersized fries, Dr. Pepper.  That would fuel tennis every day.

Craig:  No.  I think you really, honestly just described what most athletes do.  I mean that is how we eat.  It’s a myth really that athletes, with exception, there are exceptions to this rule.  Dara became an exception later because she was competing in her 40’s and winning.

Ben:  You mean Dara Torres?

Craig:  Dara Torres, yeah.

Ben:  She did the Olympics.  She was, what?  40?

Craig:  Yes!  42.

Ben:  42.

Craig:  42 years old was her last Olympics.  And she just barely missed the gold medal in her last Olympics by, I think, 2/100 of a second.  I mean she was effectively a gold medalist at 42 years old.  She got the silver.

Ben:  That’s crazy.

Craig:  Insane.  Insane.  And so someone like her at that stage of life, you have to make some serious shifts.  And she made a ton of them.  I mean she did lots of things differently.  But, no, I think guys like you and me, when we were in college, like I used to go, just to compete with you on the eating thing.  My friends and I would get out of work, we’d go home, we’d get a couple bucks from our parents, and we’d shoot over to Kentucky Fried Chicken, and we would buy the biggest bucket they had, whatever that was.  I think it was a 22-piece or 25-piece bucket back in those days, and we’d just sit down at the dinner table there, or the restaurant table, and start eating fried chicken.

So I’d say that my eating habits hadn’t changed yet.  That was gonna happen later.  But I did begin the exercise of taking supplements and just finding out what might work, without much thought.  Just sort of listening to people and hearing what they had to say, and it began with something as simple and as basic as salt, salt tablets.  I figured out and I was outdoors, in California you swim outdoors here, and you’re in the sun all the time.  So you’re burning off a lot of energy, and blowing out a lot of salts and a lot of sodium, and that for some reason that seemed in those days to be the place to begin.  And later, toward my second Olympic run, it gets much more intense as I start figuring out what’s going on in between that salt period and the more intense trying-everything-under-the-sun period.

Ben:  Gotcha.  Okay.  So you wound up swimming in the Olympics from college?

Craig:  I did not make it, no, I did not.  I wish I could say I had.  The first…

Ben:  I’m sorry.  You were training for the Olympics.

Craig:  Yes.  I qualified for Olympic trials twice and competed twice in Olympic trials, but I didn’t make the team.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  But you had a bunch of NCAA records, a bunch of All-American records, I know you were inducted to — ’cause you were swimming for Cal State right?

Craig:  That’s right.  Cal State North, [0:21:09] ______ at that time.

Ben:  And you were like in their Hall of Fame as a swimmer.

Craig:  That’s correct.  Yeah.  I was the fastest inductee into their Hall of Fame.

Ben:  And what about during that time?  Were you into like supplements or fringe training methods during that time?

Craig:  I’ll tell you yes.  That’s where I think.  So that puts me into college and I did start trying to figure out what was out there and what might give me a biological edge because we all knew that PEDs have been around a long time.  And at the Olympic trial level, when you get out of the pool, if you made the team, you get out of the pool, you sit on a chair, and they pulled your blood right there on the deck.  And the…

Ben:  Oh, really?  You don’t pee into a cup?  They just take your blood right there, huh?

Craig:  Then they did.  That’s how they did it then.  A nurse would come out, and they’d just strap a tourniquet around your arm…

Ben:  You serious?

Craig:  Yeah.  The second Olympic trials I was in was in Indianapolis, Indiana and I’ll never forget seeing them come out, the nurses.  And the swimmers get out of the water, get in their chairs right by the starting blocks, and the nurses come out, and pull blood right there.  There was nowhere to go, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.  They wanted to make sure that you had no chance, if you were cheating, to go do something in the locker room, somewhere else.  So, yeah.  I’d say that by this time then, I’m starting to experiment with the fairly usual off-the-shelf stuff.  So I’m trying bee pollen, I don’t know how unusual some of these things are, but bee pollen, royal jelly, things along those lines.  The usual E supplements, C, B, you name it.  If it was there to take, I tried it.  And I did that for a long time.

Ben:  Yeah.  I’ve tried bee pollen and royal jelly before.  Those I guess would be considered somewhat fringe.  But bee pollen is actually really, really good for people like hay fever and allergenic issues.  It’s kind of like one of those counterintuitive type of things, eating small amounts.  What do they call it?  Hair of the dog when you have a Bloody Mary in the morning after drinking.

Bee pollen has some very interesting like natural allergy relief properties, which I think is kinda cool.  And then royal jelly, that’s one of those things where… I don’t know if you’re into the same concept that I am, that nature gives you clues, but you look at something like the aloe vera plant and how quickly it regenerates after having its limbs cut off, and it actually can increase your ability to produce stem cells when you consume like aloe vera gels.  Or in the case of like royal jelly, that’s what they used to feed the larvae and the adult queen.  It’s like the honey bee secretion.

And it’s one of those things, it’s almost like — I recently wrote a blog post about how athletes are now injecting themselves with like growth hormones, and insulin like growth factor, and things like that.  And royal jelly, and aloe vera, and all these things that cause growth in your body, colostrum, et cetera, they’re actually really cool natural forms of that.  But bee pollen and royal jelly, I would say if you were taking those in college as a swimmer, that’s something a lot of swimmers, I would say and collegiate athletes have not tapped into.

Craig: I think you’re right.  And I do subscribe to that thinking: if you look around nature, you can find a lotta clues and a lotta answers.  And it brings up another important issue that I have held since those days, which is, as you mentioned, it works for some people in some cases and in particular circumstances, and other bodies may not work with it.  Those things didn’t work with me.  But I’m a big, big believer in anecdotal support.  You can get academic studies, you can get clinical studies, you can get all kinds of studies that back up a given supplement or a product to help you perform better, whether it’s cognitive or biological, and those things may not work for you.  And there’s all kinds of undocumented, or documented, let’s say, but not clinical studied or not scientifically validated supplements that do work for people.

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  Sure.  I mean, like right now if you hear me opening that little bottle of water on my desk, I’m drinking water that’s structured, and it’s clustered, and it’s at a specific pH after it goes through the filter in my house and everything.  And, yeah.  There’s not a lot of research behind that in terms of it, say, increasing interest cellular hydration, for example.  But for me, personally, I feel a distinct difference in terms of hydration, in terms of me drinking tons of water and not actually peeing out tons of water because it’s actually hydrating my cells.  It really is interesting to use yourself as a bit of a guinea pig.  Safely, of course.

Craig:  Exactly.

Ben:  I endorse guinea pig-ing water on yourself.  I don’t endorse that with some other thing that one can inject into their body.  But anyways, so you wound up, after swimming, going on and getting into the fitness business?

Craig:  Yeah.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I had a background in music.  My first degree was in ethnomusicology, which at the time…

Ben:  Interesting.

Craig:  Yeah. At that time, there were no such degrees.  Today there are.  UCLA, I think, has one, and many, many schools have degrees in ethnomusicology.  But I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.  I just was an athlete, and I loved music, and I played guitar, and I figured somehow maybe I’d work my way into the rock and roll scene, become a musician.  But there was no money to be made in music right out of college.  So the only thing I knew, and I knew inside out and backwards, was training and fitness.  I knew that stuff.  So I started a private fitness business, and that’s how I met some of the people that you’d mentioned earlier.  I had a lot of fun doing that while I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do.

And by the way, it’s only now that I’ve really figured out that I really wanna do, and I’m doing it now.  This is what we’re doing now, and the business that I’ve gotten into here is a lot of fun and it really puts me back in my wheelhouse.  But, yeah.  That’s what I did for a while.  So I had a lot of celebrity clientele, and it was very interesting to work with some of those folks.  Not Willie Nelson directly, but his harp player, his harmonica player was a client of mine and a good friend, and still a friend today.  And a lot of those people are still friends today, but…

Ben:  You trained a lot of musicians.  Is that just like random that you had a degree in music and trained a lot of musicians?  Or were they kinda drawn to you?

Craig:  Hmm.  Let’s see now.  That’s true.  That’s a good point.  I mean, I also trained Jack Tempchin whose name you don’t know, and no one listening knows.  But Jack Tempchin wrote many, many of the hits for the Eagles, which I’m sure everybody knows.  And if they don’t, a little bit of research’ll tell ’em who they are.  So Jack was a friend of mine, and Don Felder for the Eagles was a friend at the time.  I haven’t talked to Don in a long, long time.  And Mickey, for Willie Nelson.  Who else?  Mike Riley.  Guy played with The Allman Brothers, southern rock band.  I guess you’re right.  I guess I never really… (chuckles)

Ben:  That’s interesting.

Music Playing…

Ben:  Hey.  I wanna make a quick interruption to ask you if you ever saw Napoleon Dynamite and The Ball.  Is it The Ball?  No, it’s not a ball.  It’s a prom.  It’s a prom that Napoleon Dynamite goes to, not a ball.  A ball would be Cinderella.  And he’s wearing this horrid suit, like a suit coat, or maybe it’s his little Mexican friend in there.  I forget that guy’s name.  But either way, just horrible like Southern Idaho fashion, and the same type of fashion that you get at like these big stores where you go and you buy the suit that literally makes your shoulders stick out 10 feet on either side with the huge ugly buttons in the middle.  You know, suits can look really, really crappy on people.  But not my suit.

I got a new suit.  It fits my body, it hugs my body like a glove.  It makes me look really good, at least I think so.  It is olive green, it’s got like grey polka dots it.  I custom designed the whole thing in a showroom.  It even says “Mr. Greenfield” on the lapel.  Honestly.  Do a Google image search for “Ben Greenfield suit” and you might see me wearing it.  Anyways though, I feel good in it.  I feel confident in it.  And it actually, it fits well.  It’s comfortable.  And anybody can get a premium suit just like the one that I got for a fraction of the price of any other suit on the face of the planet.

Most made-to-measure premium suits set you back over a thousand bucks, but there’s this company called Indochino, Indochino, and they do custom made-to-measure suits and shirts that fit you perfectly, and they’re at a really good price.  They use super fine fabrics.  You get to customize your lining, your lapels.  You do your own like personal monogram.  Don’t put “Mr. Greenfield” on yours ‘cause that would be creepy.  “Mr. Greenfield” only goes on mine.

But anyways, it’s really easy.  You just drop in at any of their showrooms, and then you pick out what you want for fabrics and patterns.  And then after you choose your customizations, you just kick back, and relax, and get ready within four weeks to step into a perfectly-fitting suit that makes you look really good.  So the way that you can do this, and you get this suit for 389, which is a fantastic price for a custom suit, you just go to indochino.com, I-N-D-O-C-H-I-N-O.  Indochino.com and you enter code Fitness at checkout.  That gets you 50% off the regular price for a made-to-measure premium suit, and shipping is free.  And I think every dude needs to have at least one frickin’ killer suit, and this is the time to do it.  That’s a really good discount code by the way.  50%.  So indochino.com and use promo code ‘Fitness’.

Now, the other thing that I wanted to tell you about is a box that showed up at my doorstep, and it’s got this writing on the outside of it that says “Bark Box”.  So I thought maybe somebody sent me bark, like for composting the garden.  And I opened it, and it was chock full of toys, like dog toys.  We’re talking like little squeaky balls, and little chew things, and these like jerky type of things for the dog’s teeth.  All sorts of things that the dog can play with.  And my kids went ape nuts ’cause all of a sudden they’ve got like six or seven new toys to throw around to the dog, and the dogs are just completely enamored with this stuff.

And frankly, the dogs are not getting into things they shouldn’t be getting into because they have all of these new toys from this company called BarkBox.  And the way that this works is every month, Bark Box paw picks, see what I did there?  Paw picks?  P-A-W picks?  They pick the best on natural treats and innovative toys to match a dog’s needs, and this would include things that are hypoallergenic or things that you can customize for like the dog’s chewing preferences.  And 100% of their products are tested on their animals before they’re shipped to you to make sure that an animal freaking loves this stuff.  And actually if your dog doesn’t like anything in the box, they send you replacements for anything that your dog would love for free.

They’re all about dog happiness, and it’s actually a really cool idea.  It’s like a quarterly type of shipment for dogs.  You just tell ’em how big your dog is, and they ship it to you.  I’ve got a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Blue Heeler, and they just ate up this box.  Literally.  Each box has four to six treats in it, a whole bunch of super fun toys, and it’s like the joy of a million belly scratches for your dog.  So you can get this for free.  You get a free extra month of BarkBox when you subscribe to a 6 or a 12 month BarkBox plan.  And all you do is go to barkbox.com, bark like a dog does, Barkbox.com/ben.  And when you go to Barkbox.com/ben, you get shipped to your door toys, treats, dog edibles, and an amazing unboxing experience that your dog is gonna flip out over.  So check ’em out.  Barkbox.com/ben.

Music is playing…

Ben:  When you’re training musicians, I mean, I don’t know, in most cases a lot of musicians, I suppose, unless you’re like Britney Spears in her heyday, or some of these modern musicians who are dancing on stage, or I even think, what’s his face, the young boy.  I am feeling so old right now.

Craig:  That’s alright.

Ben:  Justin…

Craig:  Bieber?

Ben:  Yeah.  Justin Bieber.

Craig:  That’s okay.

Ben:  Justin Timberlake.  Some of these guys, they’re in pretty good shape.  But most musicians aren’t in that great of shape, in my opinion at least.

Craig:  That’s correct.

Ben:  They’re really good musicians, but music is not necessarily a high calorie burning activity unless you’re dancing hip hop.  So in the case of musicians, when you’re training musicians, is it more kinda like keeping them from dying by putting them in Nautilus exercise machines?  Or did you have like a specific training approach that you use with folks like that?

Craig:  Yeah.  That’s a really, really good question because it depends on the instrument they play.  I mean, great question.  So, just to back up a bit.  Yeah, we see hip hoppers running around and expending a lot of energy.  So we think of them as the people that need the cardio core like work.  But remember, before there was that there was Mick Jagger and Mick Taylor, not Mick Taylor.  Oh God.  Now, I’m missing a name.  Aerosmith’s lead singer.  Oh, yeah.  That’s…

Craig:  Why can’t I get it?  I guess I gotta look that up.

Ben:  He was on…

Craig:  Steven Tyler!

Ben:  Yeah!  Steven Tyler.  Yeah.  He was on — what is it?  I so do not watch TV.  The idol.  America’s Idol?

Craig:  American Idol.

Ben:  Yeah.  American Idol.

Craig:  So if you think about people like that, that are enormously full of energy, and running around the stage, and burning calories, these people take that workout very seriously.  So to be succinct, you might, with a drummer who’s you know flailing all over the place back there depending on the band.  Some of them are very staid, quiet, and relaxed.  But lots of rock and rollers are really moving around.  So the lead singers, if they’re active people like Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler, they need to be moved around quite a bit.

They might have to do some sprint work, really power up the quads and hams, really get the lungs stretched and breathing out, some core work.  And you might take someone like a bass player, who are historically known, classically known as the gentleman of the band.  If you watch bands play and you just focus on the bass player, most of the time you’ll see they sort of look like they relaxed, nice guy in the band.  And the lead guitar player’s always the guy who’s ripping it up and trying to get the girls.  They’re all trying to get the girls, but more than anybody, the lead guitar player.

So you might do, and bringing up the lead guitar player too.  Some of those guys, think of Chuck Berry, that’s going way, way back.  Let’s bring it more current.  I can’t think of anyone more current actually on the lead guitar.  But those guys might need some cardio core too ’cause they tend to work around, to walk around, run around, and make a lot of noise.  You know who would be an example?  Angus Young of AC/DC.  There’s a guy who’s just all over the stage, and making noise, and so.  But the bass player, the keyboardist, these people who are sorta quiet, and more relaxed, and rhythm players, yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head.  It would be a slower routine.  Maybe a more a 2/4 routine, or a Nautilus-like routine, or…

Ben:  Yeah.  Interesting.  But you’re not doing that anymore, huh?  You’re not training musicians?

Craig:  No.  Sometimes I look back at that and think, “What was I thinking?”  I mean it was stupid to leave that business.  I had a great clientele, a lot of interesting people, I was very good at it, people liked me, and it was it fun to do.  But I still didn’t know at that time what I really wanted to do.  And what happened was one of my clients was a very famous, quietly famous, and legendary commodities trader.  And what happened was I walked into his house one day, and I saw these computers, and these lights blinking, and…

Ben:  Multiple screens?

Craig:  It was crazy.  And it was a different scene then than it is today.  But I didn’t know I was standing in front of a legend here, as I say a quiet legend.  This was not a person whose name — he didn’t care about attention, he didn’t care about any of that stuff.  He had other things that he was interested in.  Health, fitness, supplementation, healthy living, all these things were interesting to him.  In fact, he’s such a fascinating guy that I’d say that, and I don’t mean to deviate here, but this guy’s real talent was his brain.  He was really interested in psychology.  That was his real work.  And becoming a legendary trader was sort of like a natural outshoot of his personality.  He just happened to be really good at it, but he had other things that he was much more interested in.  Crazy combination.

So I met this guy and he was a major influence on me in many, many, many, many ways.  Became my best friend eventually, but I saw what he was doing.  He had this big house overlooking the bluff in Malibu.  He was an independent guy, doing his own thing, and making a lot of money.  And that all was very appealing and very attractive to me.  So I said, “Hey, what do you do?”  And he said, “Well, I’m a commodities trader.”  And I said something like, “Oh.  Like “Trading Places” with Aykroyd and Murphy?”  And he said, “Yeah.  Something like that.”  He ended up being a client of mine and I learned the business of commodities trading from him.  I left private fitness for a little while to go to Chicago to work on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, to his door opening.  So that became a big part of my life too.  Big deviation.  I know weren’t…

Ben:  Huge deviation.  Yeah.  You went into the whole like financial moneymaking world.  And I know you told me you wound up doing pretty well.  Like you grew some companies, did an IPO, you created like a half billion Dollar market cap.

Craig:  Yes.  Yes.

Ben:  And then that got all wiped out.

Craig:  Yeah.  Yeah.  That’s boy, I tell you.  That’s — I don’t want anyone to ever have to go through something like that.  So if we just jump away from the trading thing for a bit and we get into the 90s during the dot com revolution, I was fortunate enough to start a company from practically scratch.  Three, five people.  And the short story is we grew that company over five years to about a thousand people over multiple states.  We took it public and eventually had about a half a billion Dollar market cap.  And I was cashing out and I had about $10 million dollars waiting for me to cash out.  And I had picked my spot.  My spot was November, December of 2001.  That’s when I was gonna make my move, cash out, and then start doing more things like what you and I are doing right now.  Sort of move into these sort of things then.

But as everyone knows, November, December in 2001 was just a little bit too late ’cause in September, the Trade Center went down thanks to Osama Bin Laden, and that wealth and the company, everything got completely wiped out.  Just gone.  So broken, that started September 11th for me.  A week later, I was worth nothing.  So you just learn how to cope with that.  It was a dream come true to build a company from nothing to something.  It was the realization of a dream, of one of my dreams.  And that realization just literally went up in flames.  Now of course, we lost a lot of people and that’s much more tragic than anything I went through.  My heart goes out to the families of all the people that lost loved ones during that time, and the subsequent oars that followed.  But it’s still tough to forget what you went through in your own experience and what happened to you when those sort of things go down too. You know, you just pick up the pieces, you just start over again.  You just figure out how to start over.  You really have to do that.  You don’t just start over and go, “Meh.  I know the recipe to success.  I’ll just do it again.”  It doesn’t quite work that way.  Or it didn’t for me.  I had to take a couple of years to get my balance back.  And then when I did, it started to move in the right direction again.

Ben:  Yeah.  So now, you’re knee-deep in figuring out, I guess, how to crack the altitude nut.  Like you got into mountaineering.

Craig: Well, what happened was during that same time, a really crazy story had come out in 1996.  So in and around that same time, there was a major event on Mount Everest where a dozen or more people were killed in a very tragic accident.  And a subsequent book was written about it called “Into Thin Air”, and I strongly recommend the book.

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  Yep.  I’ve read that book.  It’s amazing.

Craig:  Yeah!  It’s an amazing book!  For me, it was a trifecta type of thing.  I didn’t expect Krakauer to be that good of a writer.  I just thought I was gonna read story of the accident and be done with it.  But it turns out that Krakauer is not only a great writer, but he’s got sort of a dark side to him that I picked up on, this angst in his soul.  And I connected with that.  And not only did he write really well, but I could feel some of his own stuff in that book.  And then reading the back stories…

Ben:  Yeah.  And for people who don’t know, that whole “Into Thin Air” book — and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/craig, that is about the Everest disaster where Krakauer gets up to Everest, I believe he wrote this in like the 90’s, and when he turned around to start his descent after he summited, there were twenty other people going to the top as a big storm rolled in.  And it just wound up destroying this climbing party that was going up Everest.  But the way the book is written, I obviously didn’t do it any justice just now, but it’s a thriller.

Craig:  Yeah.  So I strongly recommend that nobody waste their time watching the movie.  It doesn’t do the book justice.  There’s no way to get the fullness, and the depth, and the profundity of this experience without reading the book.  And you will not be disappointed.  This is a page turner.   So what happened was, I was reading the book and I thought these people are crazy who do this kind of work.  I mean all I did was train like a madman up to six hours a day, during my heyday, when I was training hard up to six hours a day, maybe on the low days, three hours and seven days a week.  So I was doing a lot of hard crazy work to get somewhere.  But it looked to me like these people who’d climb these — not fourteeners.  I was fourteener, but these 20,000 foot peaks and 30,000 peaks which is what Everest is it is are completely batty.  Because the amount of training it takes to do it, the amount of time it takes to prepare for it, and the desire to be on a mountain like K2 or Everest, you just gotta be a little out of your mind because in mountains this tall, you’re gonna be familiar with this, Ben, but there were these –besides the fact it’s just plain dangerous to do, the minute you get out of base camp, your life’s on the line with every step you take from base camp to the top and back.  And everyone knows coming back is tougher than going up on these mountains.  So if you just take that…

Ben:  Yeah.  But that’s why people do it.  I mean if it was easy, then everybody would be out climbing Everest.

Craig:  Right!  But let’s add a factor of, oh I don’t know, 30 to this now in terms of danger.  There’s a zone on both of these mountains, K2 and Everest, and mountains like this called the Death Stone.  And in the Death Stone, which you know about, it’s the worst place to be because if you don’t have oxygen on, you’re likely not gonna make it.  You’re going to die.  And with oxygen on, when you stick on that mask and you have that oxygen on, you’re still moving at a half a snail’s pace.  When you say one foot in front of the other, it’s more like one half a step in front.

Ben:  Yeah.  And it’s kinda crazy.  I haven’t done as extreme an amount of climbing as you have at this point, but one tiny step can gas you.  And a few tiny steps in a row will leave you, at that altitude, feeling as though you’ve been like running an 800 meter on a track at sea level with just a few tiny steps.  Yeah.  It’s pretty mind blowing.  And so how deep into mountaineering have you gotten?

Craig:  Alright.  I’m glad we’re talking about it, ’cause I didn’t get that deep into.  I’ll just tell you that.  So what happened was I read this story, and I thought these people were batty and out of their minds.  And after a couple of months, I thought, “You know, I think it’s worth finding out what these people are going through.”  And so my version of it, which is nothing at all compared to what those people went through, was reaching out to my brother who was a world class climber, and had been — as long as I’ve been swimming, he had been climbing Mountains.  So we just happen to have it in the family.  So I called him up and said, “Hey.  You guys are batty.  You’re all completely out of your mind.  I don’t know what it is that possesses you to do this stuff, but I need to experience it.  I need to find out what it is you guys are going through and what that’s all about.”

So that begins my first disastrous event, trying to climb the Grand Teton in Wyoming.  So my brother remembers me as this world class athlete, always in ripped up 6% body fat, great shape, and able to run mountains, and jump buildings, and all that stuff.  But I wasn’t 22 anymore.  At this point, I was in my 40’s.  And he goes, “This would be great.  You come along.  Just show up, you’ll be fine.”  I said, “Well, what do you mean show up?”  And he’s just, “Show up.”  “I gotta train for this stuff.”  He goes, “No, no, no.  You’ll be fine.  You’ll be fine.”  Ben, don’t ask me why I listened to him.  I figured he knew something I didn’t know, okay?  He’s the climber, he knows my background, he knows I’m out of shape now, but he must know something I don’t know.  So I listened to him, and I showed up.  And this was gonna be a trip of summitting three mountains in Wyoming.  The Teton being the last of them, which I think it’s right around fourteen, it’s a little under.  I had to opt out.  So 10 days, three mountains.  I had to opt out after failing on the first mountain because I was so out of shape.  My legs hurt so bad.  It was almost impossible for me to get back.

Ben:  It’s crazy.  That’s how bad it got from being a swimmer training for the Olympics, to going into business in the dot com industry, and trading and everything, huh?

Craig:  Yeah.  If you’re not trained, if you’re not working out, and it’s like a language, and you know this better than anybody.  If you’re not doing it, it’s just gonna leave you.  It’s just gonna go away.  Now the upside is if you’ve got background, you know what to expect when you start training hard again.  You know what pain is, you know…

Ben:  Yeah.  See, that’s the point is anybody I think that has competed at the level you have, once you get back into training, you get fit so much more quickly.  Like my wife, she ran cross-country in college.  And when she puts her mind to, let’s say, training for like a Spartan, which she’s done a few times, she will be hella fit within about two months.  And by fit, I mean she’ll go out and crush, which for her is pretty decent like 16 and a half, 17 minutes in a 5K, and be able to just go out, and she qualified for Spartan World Championships this year on like six weeks of training just because she is so used to — she was trying to go to the pain cave at an early age.  I think that’s a big advantage for a lot of people.  And I know that you, as a swimmer, I dunno if you get trained for the pain cave, but you got trained for pretty extreme sensory deprivation too.

Craig:  Your wife’s an amazing athlete, but I’ll give my brother the one who dragged me into this, the way he dragged me into it, credit for understanding what you just said.  Because I went to graduate school back in the 90’s too, and I remember him saying, “Look, Craig.  This will be a different grind for you.  You understand pain and sports and what all that means to get from A to wherever it is you’re going, and all the steps in between, and all the psychological barriers, and physical barriers.  You get that.  But it’s gonna be a little tougher for you to get your MBA because you were paying more attention to the Olympics at the time than you were at school.”  You’re right.  If you know the pain cave, you know the pain cave.  And if you know academics, you know that.  That’s harder for me.

Ben:  So did you eventually summit these three peaks?

Craig:  Yes, I did.  (laughs) I’m glad you asked.  So I failed out miserably.  I mean when I say I failed out, I limped for like a week after that first attempt.  And it was terrible, I was embarrassed.  My brother had his partner with him who he’s been climbing with since they were 15 years old, old climbing buddies, and I was just embarrassed because I did have this background and here I was showing them that background means nothing if you’re 20 years out of shape.  It doesn’t mean anything.  You gotta train for stuff if you wanna do well.  You just have to.  There’s no getting around it.

So that was a big failure, and I limped for like a week or so afterwards.  And while I was doing it, I was thinking, “Who would do this?  This is a miserable experience.”  I mean this is awful.  But I really had to realize that it was awful for me ’cause I wasn’t trained up for it.  So I decided to prepare and do it again the next year.  And I did summit one of the mountains, Middle Teton is what it’s called.  But then I got sick, then I had to leave.  The next summit was gonna be Grand Teton.  So that didn’t happen.  Year three comes along and I decide, “You know what?  Nothing’s gonna stop me.  I’m going back to the — as you put it, I like that phrase, Ben.  I’m gonna start using it.  I decided to go back to the pain cave.  And so for that year, I got back into the pool and I swam 3,000 yards a day, every day, five days a week.

Ben:  That’s a lot of swimming.

Craig:  It’s something I know, and it helped me with my wind, and stamina, and all that stuff.  I got in the gym three days a week, and I went into a very, very, very heavy training regime there.  But most importantly, I was living in Southern California at the time and I had a backpack.  And during the week, I would pack it up with 80 pounds of weight, and I’d hike around.  I wouldn’t go that far during the week ’cause it’s a work week and it’s tough, and I had already swam, and I might have lifted.  So during the week, I’d go three or four miles with 80 pounds on my back.  But every single weekend, I jacked it up to 110 pounds, and I’d go 10 miles in the mountains of Southern California.  So when August finally came, and I only had forty pounds on my back, and with all that training in the back of me, I finally did summit Grand and I — if you’ve got time, I’ll tell you a very quick, funny story about summitting the Grand.  So the answer is, yes.  I did summit and it took a lot of work to do it.  I was happy to do it.

And when I finally summitted it, as I was going through that process, and spending a night on the mountain, and hiking, and climbing, and repelling, and roping off, and seeing 3,000 foot exposures, and crazy stuff like that, I did see the joy in it.  Because like anything, if you were truly prepared for whatever it is, and in this case climbing, if you truly prepared for it, then the event is really, really meaningful.  And so for me, I’ve always had the attitude of “make the journey or the training the most miserable aspect of what it is you’re gonna do if you’re aiming for an event”.  So that when you get to the event, all of that work is behind you, you paid a dear price for it, but you know unequivocally when you show up, I’m ready.  I’m ready.

Ben:  Yeah.  You cannot magically pull a trigger and be running, let’s say, a minute per mile pace that is 10 seconds faster than what you ran in training just because you’re in an event and the adrenaline, and the epinephrine, and everything takes over.  Doesn’t happen.  You actually have to go there in to the pain cave in your training.  I wanted to, I know you have so many side stories to tell, but I wanna talk about this bottle of stuff that you sent over to me ’cause I know it has to do with what we’re talking about right now, which is performing.  And specifically, I know that you kind of got involved in to looking for ingredients that would specifically assist with blood oxygenation.  Is that correct?

Craig:  That’s exactly right ’cause I was a sprinter.  So for me, everything was about getting oxygen in as much as I could.  And when I competed, you’re not supposed to breathe every stroke as a 50 meter freestyler, and I had a tendency to breathe just about every stroke because I just needed to oxygenate more than the average bear.  So, yes.  My whole world’s about oxygenation, blood development and oxygenation.    I don’t think in terms of anything else.

Ben:  Gotcha.  So how did you start to dive into the whole researching of raw ingredients and picking out what you were gonna put into a bottle to help with something like blood oxygenation?

Craig:  Yeah.  It’s a great question too.  So I had a lot of background between beginning in high school and all the way through my college and Olympic training days with sports supplements.  And as I said earlier, for me, nothing worked.  And I was very into it.  I wanted something to work.  I was looking for something that would give me a biological edge.  But nothing really did.  So at a certain point, and I used to take like 30, 33 pills a day.  Sometimes all at the same time, which wasn’t the smartest thing about world.  But I used to take a lot of supplements, and I’d mix ’em up, and I’d try ’em out.  And ultimately I just said, “You know what?  This is making me sick and nothing’s working.  I’m not getting sick any less, and my performances haven’t changed.”

Ben:  So when you were taking like that many pills, were you doing this for oxygenation, or were you just doing it for you immune system, or was it just like a shotgun approach where you were taking everything?

Craig:  At that time, it was a shotgun approach.  I was trying to find a balance of things, or a combination of things, or a single thing that I felt was gonna make the difference in terms of how I could handle my training in the pool, and subsequently that would then lead into how well I would compete.  No.  It was the shotgun approach.  It wasn’t shotgun from the point of view where I’ll just try anything.  I was doing the research like for bee pollen and royal jelly.  These are things that purportedly helped, as you mentioned, with I think some allergies.  But they also have oxygen supporting components to them too.  But I didn’t feel like any of that stuff was working.  I used to take different kinds of bee supplements, and I didn’t find that anyone or combination of them was really working.

So a lot of time doing this.  I can’t say at the time I was doing it scientifically the way a guy like you would today.  You’re a really great guru in that area, and an influence on me in that regard.  But at that time, no.  I’d say I did a lot of reading, I used to do a lot of research, and a lot of reading at a high level.  Not that at the detail level you do.  And say, “Well, this looks like it’ll help me with endurance.”  “This looks like it’ll give me more iron.”  “This looks like it’ll transport more oxygen.”  “This looks like it’ll help clean my blood.”  And I went down that, road but nothing worked.  So I quit.  And what happened was I quit taking supplements, that is.

And then when I was training for the second Olympic run, I just happened to hook up — again, in Malibu with a chiropractor doctor, who is a very gifted man, still working today, who also happened to be a bit of a guru on nutrition.  And he wanted to get involved with my Olympic run and said, “Let me help you with supplements.”  And I said, “Sure.  Yeah.  I’m open-minded.  But just so you know, I’ve never done anything that’s worked.  But I’m way open to that because you probably know something I don’t know, being expert in the field.”  So what happened was we experimented with a few things and just something hit.  Just something hit.  And the combination of things that worked for me — the product I gave is enhanced a little bit with two ingredients today that I didn’t take back then, and I’ll walk you through that.  But for me, when I took this concoction, I had a very interesting reaction to it.  It took me about a week or so, I don’t remember exactly how long, but I had this detoxing effect.  It’s the only way I know how to describe it.  That’s the only thing I can think it was.  You know what a niacin rush is like, right?

Ben:  Yeah.  Actually, I had one earlier today.  ‘Cause every once in a while when I go do my sauna, which I did before I did my cold water swim this morning, I did a hot-cold, I will do a form of niacin called Niasafe, which is like a kind of a non-flushing form of niacin, but if you take enough you can flush a little bit.  And I do that before I do the sauna because it can cause fat cells to basically lyse under the presence of heat or infrared when you combine niacin with infrared therapy.  So, yes, I’ve experienced a flush.  But I try not to take supplements to give a big flush ’cause I don’t like that tingly feeling.  But that’s what you got, huh?

Craig:  Well, yeah.  So I used to take niacin, so I know what that feeling is like.  But there was no niacin in this formula, and, yes, my body slowly started to go through what felt like a full body tingling rush.  And it came on, and it lifted through a period of about 20 seconds.  I remember sitting down on the bed and saying, “Well, this is weird, and odd, and I don’t understand what’s going on here.”  But I could tell it wasn’t anything bad.  Instinctively, I knew it was something, but not anything that I had to really fear.  But I sat down and let the feeling pass.  And when that was gone, I just said, “Well, it was weird.”  I just got a feeling, ’cause at that time I’d really cleaned up my eating.  So getting to that question that you brought up earlier, at that point I was eating really clean for the ’84 games, and I was taking really high quality supplements.  Stuff I had not taken before, like the blue green algae, and chlorella, and now I added desiccated liver to the routine here, which is to the highest quality.

Well, anyway.  So before I get more into the product here, I found after that effect, at that point I was training meters.  For me personally, a dramatic change in my workouts.  All of a sudden, I was just able to train at a much higher level.  I mean these things don’t happen just right away, but you can feel in the pool, or you’re running, or whatever your gig is, whatever your thing is, you begin to feel power and strength that you didn’t feel before or an endurance factor that you didn’t feel before.   You furrow your forehead and you go, “Hm.  Something’s different.  What am I doing different that’s now making me feel better?”  And I would search hard, high, and low for what the difference was.  And the only difference in my routine at the time, finally, was that I was supplementing with this concoction of stuff that, I believed then and I believe now, because nothing else was different, was what was impacting me and allowing me to train with much greater endurance and much more speed.  In fact during that time, in workouts, describing the type of workout I’m about to go into here is a bit difficult and complicated to make sense to, but they’re called broken swims and they’re ways to do very, very…

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  I’ve done these.

Craig:  So you know what that is.  So they’re ways to get very, very high intensity, explosive work done.  Let’s just say you did a series of 100 meters or 100 yard swims on, let’s just say, a minute and thirty, or a minute and ten seconds.  And you might swim 75 yards all out, and then you take five seconds rest at the wall, and you go all out again to complete it.

Ben:  Right.  Yeah.  It’d be like if you’re gonna to swim a 500, you’d split into 10 by 50 at the maximum pace that you wanna be able to swim out.  Or you would break a 400 8 by 50, or a 300 6 by 50.

Craig:  That’s right.  Excellent.  That’s very, very good.  That’s exactly right. And the reason for these types of swim is they your body ready for race pace, the highest level race pace.  And the five second, the broken part of it, the five seconds rest in between, is just to give you some quick oxygen so you don’t completely burn out ’cause the idea is to keep that high quality intensity high.  And it doesn’t stay high at race pace when you’re doing 10 of these things if you don’t get a second of rest or two in between one of the swims there.  So 75 yards is one way to do it, five seconds rest, and then all out for the final 25.  And so I was swimming world record pace in workout.  I’d never done that before.  For me, again and I’m speaking solely for myself, that’s how it worked for me.  I was having amazing workouts, I was thrilled to death.  Was very happy about it.

So what was making a difference for me, I believe, at the time?  I was taking a combination of blue green algae, I was taking beet root, and I was taking desiccated liver.  And the two products that I’ve added to the ingredient list here are cordyceps sinesis and echinacea.  And the reason I added cordyceps is cordyceps has a very strong and documented background for being both an ATP producer — so to keep that battery charged, which is really critical when you’re sprinting, and also it’s known, it’s believed to have great oxygen carrying capacity.  And so my whole thinking, now, Ben, I gotta explain, also at the time, I know about cordycepts today.  I didn’t know about it then.  And I didn’t even know exactly what these ingredients were doing for me then, other than that I felt spectacular.  So it wasn’t till the internet age came sometime later that I was able to do some back study to find out what was going on.

Ben:  So at that point, this was just stuff this doctor was giving you?

Craig:  Yes.

Ben:  Gotcha.

Craig:  He’s a wild and crazy guy, and he thinks out of the box, and he understood the type of training I was doing.  He just did some unusual things with me that I feel made all the difference in the world.  So looking back at it, what was going on here was depending on the blue green algae you take, and you know a lot about this stuff.  Depending on the type you take, you get action in your chemistry that does things like clean and detoxify blood, increase red blood cell production naturally.

Ben:  You mean the blue green stuff?

Craig:  Yes.

Ben:  Yeah.  So I was a bit confused at first when I got this stuff because you describe it as Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae.  But it’s basically a blue green algae extract?

Craig:  This is a particular and rare kind of algae that comes out of Klamath Lake in Oregon, right near you.

Ben:  Really?

Craig:  Yep.  And it’s the only place it’s grown, and it’s got the highest content of chlorophyll.  Check it out.  You’ll see that I’m right.  And followed by, I think, chlorella and then spirulina.

Ben:  Yeah.  Have you heard of E3Live before?

Craig:  Yes.

Ben:  Yeah.  So a lot of people tell me, “You gotta E3Live.”  And apparently, it’s made from this blue green algae stuff that’s harvested from Klamath Lake, but this is the same place that you’re getting the algae that you’re putting into this BioTropic stuff?

Craig:  That’s correct.  And it performs a couple things for me.  I will just talk about that for just a second, why I think it’s so great.  I always showed up and I got a funny feeling you’re like me in this regard, but correct me if I’m wrong.  But I never had any issues psychologically showing up ready for an event.  I always was a great competitor.  I couldn’t wait to get in the water.  I didn’t care who you were.  Went toe to toe with the biggest and baddest boys in the world, and none of them scared me.  I just couldn’t wait to get in and take ’em out.  Sometimes I took ’em out, but more often than not, they took me out ’cause they were better.  But I’ve had some really great success as an athlete.  But some people don’t have that going on.  They train hard, they train harder than me, tougher than me, but they have psychological problems, or focus problems is really what I wanna get on to here.

And one of the great things about this particular product, the AFA, is that it’s got some chemistry in it that helps with focus.  And so one of the reasons I like this product is it creates clarity, it creates a focus, it’s also a mood enhancer.  So it lifts you a little bit psychologically, if you’re one of those people that has a hard time with pressure at competition.  It has that component to it.  It’s called PEA for short.  You can look it up.  It’s actually hard to describe, but I’ll try to do it.  It’s phenylethylamine.  That is the actual ingredient that creates that focus, that creates that…

Ben:  You mean like the mood enhancing effect?

Craig:  Yes!  Yes, yes!  Exactly!  It’s also used, to some effect, with people who have ADD to help increase their focus.  Personally, I am not personally about having to deal with focus.  I don’t have that issue.  I never did, including today.  I just know how to show up and do it.  But not everyone works that way.  So this particular product does a couple of things, several things that are very, very cool in addition to creating an uplifting sense of self and a greater focus factor.  It also is purported to have stem cell repair capability.

Ben:  You mean the chlorophyll?

Craig:  Correct.  Yes.

Ben:  Yeah.  Algae is interesting stuff.  I’m a big fan.  It’s got a lot of these a nucleic acids in it, which I believe is what assists with the actual repair and providing the body with some of the stem cell precursors.  But the other cool thing, I don’t know if you saw this research, I read a study about sunlight and chlorophyll, and how increasing the concentration of chlorophyll in your bloodstream, when that chlorophyll interacts with sunlight, it actually produces adenosine triphosphate, or ATP which is your body’s energy currency.

So you can actually produce more ATP without eating calories when you have high levels of chlorophyll combined with sunlight exposure, which when we were talking about something, like I know that you designed a big part of this for blood oxygenation and altitude performance, it is handy to be able to produce extra ATP when you have this chlorophyll in your bloodstream, especially if you have access to sunlight.  So that’s one of the cooler things I think about chlorella and about blue green.  But this particular AFA, it’s harvested from Klamath Lake, and it has specific properties to it based off of where it was harvested from.  Is that what you’re saying?

Craig:  Yes.  It’s the only place, unless something has changed since this conversation, it’s the only place in the world you can get it.  It’s very special material.  And I strongly recommend that people try it, whether they try through my own formulation.  My formulation is a combination of things that are designed to develop blood increase oxygenation.  But if someone wanted to try it on their own, I strongly recommend they do it. The other thing…

Ben:  So…

Craig:  Yes.  Go ahead.

Ben:  I was gonna say you’ve also got the cordyceps in there.  ‘Cause I wanna make sure, during the amount of time that we have left on today’s show, that I touch on some of the other things that are in here.  ‘Cause I wanted to ask you about the cordyceps.  So this sinensis, sinensis is that form of cordyceps that’s actually — is this the one that they like harvest from like larvae of fungus?

Craig:  That’s correct.  Tibetan grown, and that is exactly — can you make it sound a little better?

Ben:  No.  I mean it comes outta like fungal, I dunno, like ghost moth butt.  Basically they produce like a fruiting body and you harvest that.  But I know a lot of folks in Asian medicine, or Eastern medicine use this.  I know a lot of like Sherpas who climb Mount Everest will use cordyceps.  But the basic idea behind it, you were saying, is oxygenation or VO2Max?

Craig:  Yes.  Both oxygenation, it’s purported to have very strong oxygen carrying capabilities as well as increase in ATP.  I always think in terms of, well, all three of those things: ATP, oxygen, and blood development.  So some of the stuff doubles up.  It overlaps chlorella, creates that effect, and so does coryceps sinensis.  So we double up on the oxygen piece of it there, and the ATP piece as well.

Ben:  Gotcha.  Interesting.  Okay.  So we’ve got cordyceps, and it’s sinensis is how you pronounce that, right?

Craig:  Correct.  That’s right.

Ben:  So that’s the specific brand of cordyceps, or flavor of cordyceps.  Then you also have beet in here.  I know a lot of people already know about beet root as like a vasodi — it’s like for body viagra.  But I wanted to ask you if you saw this recent study on beet root.  ‘Cause we talk about cold water swimming, and one of the reasons that I do it is so I get that you know white adipose tissue to brown fat conversion.  They did a study with beet root where they found that the nitrates in beets accelerate the conversion of white fat tissue to brown fat tissue.  And so you can actually use something like this like prior to exercise, or specifically prior cold exposure to accelerate fat loss in terms of white fat to brown fat conversion.  Have you seen this research?

Craig:  That’s very interesting.  That’s new to me I’ll have to look that up and learn more about it.

Ben:  Yeah.  It came out last year.  And in it, they actually used inorganic nitrate from beets to turn regular white fat tissue into calorie burning brown fat tissue.  It’s really interesting.

Craig:  I’ll definitely look that up.

Ben:  Yeah.  I’ll link to the study in the show notes.  But you’ve got the beets in there, which I know a lot of people know about.  A lot of people have also heard of echinacea before for the immune system.  But you also are putting it in there for the blood?

Craig:  So echinacea is really well-documented for immunity — immune support.  Being an athlete, we know that, especially when we’re in high training that we tend to walk a fine line between sickness and health.  We’re always healthy, but might get a cold easier ’cause we’re broken down, and especially when you’re training at a very, very, very high level and that’s all you do all day long.  Those people are always, they’re always sort of fighting with that.  And it’s worse than it looks because you see the professional athletes out there all the time.  Well guess what?  They’re not letting you know, they go out there sick all the time and play.  I mean think of Michael Jordan when he had to play against the Utah Jazz in the NBA semis.  He went out there with the flu for seven games.  He had no choice.  He had to play.  And a lot of athletes are dealing with it all the time.  So it’s in there for additional immune support.

But echinacea’s also known, has been purported to have gentle red blood cell production.  And the science of which is too much to go in right now.  It’s worth you doing your own research, whoever’s listening in, and validate that for yourself.  But that’s one of the reasons I put it in there because I argue of course that if you have vasodilation like we talked about with beat root, you have cleaner blood and more ATP going to hard working muscles, and more red blood cells carrying oxygen, and cordyceps also increasing the oxygen carrying capacity of your system.  Then you’re gonna get it when you need it most, and that’s when you’re training or in competition.  So that’s why I have that.

Ben:  Yeah.  I hadn’t really thought about using echinacea before for like red blood cell boosting or altitude performance until I read it on your label and started looking into it.  And it turns out there actually is some pretty good research behind echinacea and blood building properties.  In terms of, I know that it compares somewhat to EPO in terms like the illegal erythropoietin blood cell precursors that people will use as an illegal performance enhancing supplement.

Echinacea is right up there with EPO in terms of the ability to build new red blood cells.  So I thought that was really interesting.  And the last one you have in here, in addition to the blue green algae, the cordyceps sinensis, the beet root, and the echinacea is the mouthful: the Argentinean grass-fed, clean, defatted vegan liver anhydrate.  Fill me in on this one and why it’s in there.

Craig:  There is no better source that I know of and things change, and things flux, and the world changes, but as of this conversation, there’s no better source of the highest grade, cleanest, B suite of vitamins which I really believe in.  Especially the oxygen and energy parts of the B suite — 12, 6, 3, and so on.  It’s all right there and there’s no better source than coming from liver.  So that’s just all there is to it.  Some people, I’ll be very transparent about this.  It’s an animal product, and if you are insistent upon not having an animal product in your body, don’t take it.  Find something you’re comfortable with and happy with.  But the way around that, and it’s really not the way around it, it’s the right thing to do is just to get the cleanest possible form of it you can.

So you find a vegan-fed cow, you find vegan-fed liver.  So this is Argentinian grass-fed, non-hormonal, defatted, there’s not fat in it, vegan-fed liver.  And that’s why it’s in there, because it’s the best possible quality you can get of that suite of vitamins, as well as other vitamins and minerals that come with this particular ingredient.  So for me, it was critical to be in there because that was one of the products that I took during the time when I was training that I felt made a big difference in my performance.  I can’t say that it was grass-fed at that time, but I felt that that suite of vitamins coming from that source was by and large the best of anything I ever took.

Ben:  Yeah.  And I really, again, like in terms of fat soluble vitamins, I think a lot of people know that liver is a really good source of fat soluble vitamins.  But what I didn’t know was some of the research that you have on your website.  I believe it was doctor [1:13:31] ______ who did research.  It was on the lab animals, not humans, but they found some really significant increases, like 700 plus percent increases in time to exhaustion when getting desiccated liver into their bodies and in high amounts.  So it was really interesting, the research on this.

Craig:  I think it’s great.  Like you say for anyone who’s thinking twice about, if you are thinking twice about it, it’s a vegan-fed.  It’s as clean as you can possibly get source of the best suite of vitamins that you can put into your body, especially for training.  And even if you weren’t training, if you weren’t doing anything competitive, you should take it anyway.

Ben:  Yeah.  I held on to that little bottle.  I mean, it’s been I guess probably about six months since you sent me that bottle.  I held on to it for a few months, then I took it on a hunting trip at elevation and loaded with it.  Because most of the research that I’ve seen on increasing performance at altitude not only involves moving to and training at altitude, which can be impossible in many cases, but also taking the type of supplements that allow one to build new red blood cells or to increase your levels of inorganic nitrate in your body from something like beet root.  They’re loading for anywhere from 10 to 17 days in most studies when you’re using something to help you perform at altitude.  So I started using it prior to going on that trip, and then just basically hunted hard for about a week.  And I also took a bunch going in to this recent Spartan World Championships which was up at Lake Tahoe, the Ultra Beast up at Lake Tahoe.  And I felt great on both times that I loaded with it and that I took it.

Usually, if I take something and I don’t like the way it makes me feel, or gives me explosive diarrhea, for example, or it’s just a crap supplement, I’m not gonna talk about it on the show.  But I actually do dig this stuff.  And I’d say just about anybody who’s wanting to perform at altitude or if you’ve got like issues with anemia, I know we have to be careful making medical claims, but you don’t want to take a bunch of iron, I could see it coming in handy for that type of thing too.  If you’ve given a lot of blood and you wanna build your blood more quickly, anything that would involve building blood or oxygenating blood, I’d say that this stuff is pretty good for.  Just from my own personal experience and looking into the research behind the ingredients.  So good job, man.  I like the blend.

Craig:  Thank you.  I really appreciate it, especially coming from you.  As I say, great respect for you.  And I’ve got — look.  Not everything works for everybody.  So try it.  If it doesn’t work, no problem.  Just send it back, and I have two other blood oxygen support products that are gonna be coming to market pretty quick here.  Yeah.  Because look, product A may work, and B doesn’t, and C does, and maybe none of them work.  But just going back to what we were saying earlier, some things work for somebody and some things don’t work on other bodies.  So you’ve got to have more than one way to skin a cat.  So that’s what I’m doing here.  This works, this worked brilliantly for me.  I appreciate the kudos from you.  Thank you.  And keep an eye out for other stuff that I’m bringing up that I know works also.

Ben: Yeah.  And I know that folks, if they want to, can get a discount on this stuff.  I believe the code is just Ben to get a discount on your website?

Craig:  Yeah!

Ben:  Alright.  Cool.  So I’ll put a link in the show notes.  BioTropic.  You can go bengreenfieldfitness.com/biotropic.  If you just wanna go straight to his website, it’s like bio, like biology, and then tropic, like the tropics.  But it’s called the BioTropic Blood Oxygenating Supplement.  Use code Ben to get a 20% discount and free shipping on that.  I think you can use that.  Is that a one-time use code or can folks use it whenever?

Craig:  No.  For your people, it’s free shipping, 20% off.  It’s deeper than 20% really, ’cause it’s discounted on the site already.  So it’ll be closer to 25%, but free shipping, it’s an unlimited use, and they can share it so that, for your people, they can use it forever.

Ben:  Cool.  I like it.  And of course, if you have questions about this stuff, usage, ingredients, anything like that, you can leave your questions or your comments, and either Craig or I will reply.  You can do that over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/craig.  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/craig.  So that’s where the show notes are at.  I’ll link to some of the other stuff we talked about, like that beet juice-brown fat study I mentioned, that “Into Thin Air” book that I do recommend that you add to your reading list if you haven’t read that one yet, and a few of the other things that we talked about in today’s show.  So, Craig, I wanna thank you for your time and for coming on the show today and sharing this stuff with us, man.  It’s pretty fascinating how you went from swimming, to mountaineering, and now figuring out how to oxygenate people’s blood.

Craig:  Well, yeah.  Look.  I appreciate you having me on the show today.  The next the next challenge is next summer, I’m trying to do a long haul hike.  I wanna do the Continental Divide trail.  It’s about a six month program, and so I’m training for that right now, and this is a big part of helping me get there.

Ben:  Awesome.

Craig:  So keep moving.  Thanks, Ben.  I really appreciate the time today.

Ben:  Cool, man.  Well, thanks for coming on the show.  And for those of you listening in, check out bengreenfieldfitness.com/craig.  And until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Craig Dinkel signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a healthy week.

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

 

 

I first met today’s podcast guest when he sent me a bottle of strange pills in the mail.

Normally, I would toss such a bottle into my pantry or garage with all the other random powders, oils, capsules, pills, lotions and creams that often show up at my house…

…but this bottle intrigued me.

Along with echinacea and beet root extract, the bottle contained a bunch of other stuff I’d never heard of.

Stuff like “Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae”. “Defatted, Vegan, Grass Fed Argentinian Liver Anhydrate”. A version of Cordyceps with the name “Sinesis”. 

So I called the guy who sent it to me and asked him what it was for. It turns out that he, and this bottle, are far from normal. His name is Craig Dinkel, and on today’s podcast, you’ll discover:

-How Craig went from almost drowning in the pool to being one of the fastest swimmers in the world… [8:30]

-How Craig cut 7  seconds off his 100-meter time while swimming in highschool[14:40]

-Why Craig took bee pollen and royal jelly while training for the Olympic swim team…[22:20]

-The fitness strategies Craig used to train the celebrity musicians he worked with…[25:45]

-The training Craig used to switch from swim performance to mountaineering…[49:00]

-How echinacea can increase red blood cell count just as much as the illegal performance-enhancing drug EPO…[69:26]

-The fascinating new research on the ability of beet extract to turn white storage fat into calorie-burning brown fat…[68:30]

-How high amounts of desiccated liver increased time-to-exhaustion in the lab by over 750%…[71:42]

-The rare fungal extract from larvae that can cause your body to produce ATP, even in the absence of calories…[67:00]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

The beet juice/brown fat study Ben mentions 

Into Thin Air” book

Thorne Niasafe

BioTropic Blood Oxygenating supplement (use code ben to get 20% discount and free shipping)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shattering World Swim Records On 25-Piece Fried Chicken Buckets, Climbing Mountains While Eating Defatted, Vegan, Grass-Fed, Argentinian Liver Anhydrate & Much More.

craig-landscape

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

I first met today’s podcast guest when he sent me a bottle of strange pills in the mail.

Normally, I would toss such a bottle into my pantry or garage with all the other random powders, oils, capsules, pills, lotions and creams that often show up at my house…

…but this bottle intrigued me.

Along with echinacea and beet root extract, the bottle contained a bunch of other stuff I’d never heard of.

Stuff like “Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae”. “Defatted, Vegan, Grass Fed Argentinian Liver Anhydrate”. A version of Cordyceps with the name “Sinesis”. 

So I called the guy who sent it to me and asked him what it was for. It turns out that he, and this bottle, are far from normal. His name is Craig Dinkel, and on today’s podcast, you’ll discover:

-How Craig went from almost drowning in the pool to being one of the fastest swimmers in the world… [8:30]

-How Craig cut 7  seconds off his 100-meter time while swimming in highschool[14:40]

-Why Craig took bee pollen and royal jelly while training for the Olympic swim team…[22:20]

-The fitness strategies Craig used to train the celebrity musicians he worked with…[25:45]

-The training Craig used to switch from swim performance to mountaineering…[49:00]

-How echinacea can increase red blood cell count just as much as the illegal performance-enhancing drug EPO…[69:26]

-The fascinating new research on the ability of beet extract to turn white storage fat into calorie-burning brown fat…[68:30]

-How high amounts of desiccated liver increased time-to-exhaustion in the lab by over 750%…[71:42]

-The rare fungal extract from larvae that can cause your body to produce ATP, even in the absence of calories…[67:00]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

The beet juice/brown fat study Ben mentions 

Into Thin Air” book

Thorne Niasafe

BioTropic Blood Oxygenating supplement (use code ben to get 20% discount and free shipping)

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

[Transcript] – Why Your Heart Is Not A Pump (& What Most Doctors Don’t Know About The True Cause Of Heart Disease).

Podcast from: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/why-your-heart-is-not-a-pump/

[0:00] Mvmt Watches

[2:41] Introduction to this Episode

[4:49] A Little About Dr. Thomas Cowan

[7:56] Celeriac Root – Amazing Flavor for Soup

[9:19] Dr. Cowan’s SVT – His Own Heart Disease

[13:19] Why Dr. Cowan Mentioned Water in his Book

[15:01] Dr. Cowan’s Critique About The Heart as a Pump Idea

[25:28] Nuts.com

[27:04] Casper Mattresses

[28:49] Blood Flow in Human Body Similar to Water Flowing Through a Tree

[33:59] How Does Drinking Water Exposed to Sunlight and Electromagnetic Fields Influence the Blood?

[36:35] The Model of the Heart is Completely Wrong – Dr. Tom Explains

[40:37] What is Chastahedron

[42:33] The Similarity of Ben’s Family Home’s Water Well and the Heart’s Way to Structure and Spiral (Vortex) our Blood

[45:26] Why Most Doctors Don’t Know About This Concept of the Heart Not Being a Pump

[49:02] Coronary Heart Disease Causes Heart Attack – A Flaw According to Dr. Tom

[55:32] If Not Blockages, Why Then Do People Get Heart Attack?

[1:03:10] The Concept of Vagal Nerve Tone

[1:06:37] A Strange Brazilian Plant and Why Dr. Cowan Talks About it in The Book

[1:10:18] Why Take Emu Oil and Vitamin K2 For The Heart

[1:16:24] What’s Love Got to Do With It and Why is it Important?

[1:21:58.7] Love – The Key to Preventing Heart Disease

[1:25:17.5] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey, what’s up?  It’s Ben Greenfield.  I gotta tell you between hoisting kettlebells up to my shoulders, doing obstacle course races and generally just being a kinda clumsy guy, my watch face looks like freaking scorched earth.  I usually wear a digital watch for just about everything ‘cause it’s got a little chronograph on it, and I don’t use like an Apple watch.  I don’t use one of these Bluetooth-enabled self- quantification fancy watches, I just have a ‘plain Jane’ watch ‘plain Jane’ digital watch, but recently I started wearing a nice watch, like when I do things like go to conferences and speak on-stage or go to church with my hair all slicked-back, looking like a big boy, wearing real clothes, not sitting at home in my underwear, and I’ve actually gotten a lot of complements on this new watch that I’m wearing.  It looks like a million bucks and actually works.  It ticks like a fine watchmaker’s watch, it ticks.  And it’s got this like classic old-schooley I guess like you’d call almost like a madman kinda design.  I Think ‘Madmen’ is the TV show.  I think I’m thinking of from the forties, or the fifties, or the sixties.  I’m beginning to delve into my complete ignorance of pop culture now.

Anyways though, so the watch that I’m using is produced by this company called Mvmt m-v-m-t Mvmt and what they do is they design this revolutionary new watches that look like a million bucks, and they actually cut-out the middleman, they give the watch straight to you and they start at just ninety-five bucks for a watch you’d normally pay 400 to 500 dollars for, and I gotta tell you having a nice watch on your wrist actually makes you feel like a little bit of a bad (censored), I gotta say.  So I dig ém and now they’re giving everybody that listens to this show a 15% discount.  Just in time for Christmas-ish season, just saying.  With free-shipping and with free-returns.  So to get that deal here’s what you do.  Go to m-v-m-t watches.com/ben, that’s mvmtwatches.com/ben and this watch has a really clean design I’ve been getting a lot of complements on it.  So now you can step-up your watch game.  It’s time to step-up your watch game.  See what I did there?  Ok mvmtwatches.com/ben, m-v-m-t watches dot com/ben.  And now, let’s jump in with Dr. Thomas Cowan and everything your doctor doesn’t actually know about your heart.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:

“They said that human being is just a pure mechanical object it just works with mechanics, there’s no such thing as life, we might as well study it in a dead body because it’s all the same and that was how we started thinking and doing medicine and science ever since.  A heartbeat is the expansion of expandable walls and then a passive contraction.  There’s no push needed which also makes it very easy for a muscle to do that for eighty years twenty-four hours a day you know, three hundred sixty days a year.”

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 its Ben Greenfield, and I was just wandering around outside naked.  I actually put it on Snapchat.  I was out in my garden doing some plant-foraging clothes-less and the lack of pants was mostly because I do a cold shower or a cold soak every morning, and I like to get more of the nitric oxide and the cold thermogenesis benefits by forcing my body to warm itself.  So I wander around naked in the forest picking vegetables.  But you know, I love plants, I love to eat vegetables and I actually had a podcast with a guy last month.  His name is Dr. Thomas Cowan, and he had written this book called “How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables”.

I read the book and it blew my mind and I did a podcast with him, and you can actually go listen to that podcast, but what we didn’t talk about much on that podcast was the fact that Dr. Cowan has struggled with heart disease, and he has as a result of that studied very intensively heart disease and found some pretty controversial evidence that not only is our heart likely not a pump as modern medicine has led us to believe and as most doctors are trained, but the way that we treat heart attacks and heart disease in general is heavily flawed, and is costing us millions and millions of dollars every year in health care.  So Dr. Cowan wrote this book called “Human Heart, Cosmic Heart”.  I read it just as thoroughly as I read his other book “How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables” and once again my mind was blown by this book. So I had to get him back on the show to talk all about the heart and heart disease, his own journey, what he’s found and what you really need to know.

Frankly, whether you do or do not have heart disease, I’ll bet you have a loved one who you may want to make aware of what you’re about to learn in this interview and frankly the information is fascinating just because remember, you don’t just want absence of disease, you would like for your heart to be working as well as possible, and Dr. Cowan is the guy who knows how to make that happen.  At least I’m keeping my fingers-crossed that he does otherwise this would be a really short show, right?  Right Dr. Cowan?

Dr. Tom:  Yes, thank you Ben.  Just one correction, it’s actually Cowan not Cowan

Ben:  You know, that was like the first thing I was gonna say was when I was introducing you, I realized I was kinda going back and forth between Cowan and Cowan but it’s Cowan like moo, the cow

Dr. Tom:  Oh, and like moo and actually Tom is a lot easier.  So you can go with that too.

Ben:  We’ll just roll with Tom, and by the way as Tom and I talked for those of you listening in, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/cosmic.  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/cosmic just like it sounds c-o-s-m-i-c, and I’ll be taking copious notes and I’ll put a link to his book and everything else, and the previous podcast that I did with him over there as well.  So first of all, Tom welcome back, man

Dr. Tom:  Thank you.  Thank you for having me.  It’s great to be here

Ben:  Yeah.  Absolutely, and I know as a fellow vegetable enthusiast perhaps you also had plants for breakfast.  I took all the plants that I picked and put them in a blender with some coconut oil, and then top that off with some almonds, and coconut flakes, and cinnamon, and a bit of dark chocolate.  It was fantastic.

Dr. Tom:  Yes.  I had about 6 different vegetables and 2 powders in some bone broth.  That’s what I had for breakfast.

Ben:  Nice.  That sounds just as nerdy/ancestral as my personal breakfast.  So I love it. 

Dr. Tom:  I’d tell you what’s really good.  I’ve had some celeriac.  I don’t know if you know celeriac.  It’s basically the celery plant that’s been sort of cultivated for its root and makes wonderful soup.  If anybody wants to really flavor their soup in an amazing way, celeriac root is the way to go.  I know it’s hard to find and so I grow it in our garden, so it’s easier for me but, man if you can do that, it just has a flavor that sort of like, fennel and dill and carrots all mixed together.

Ben:  Yeah, I just looked up an image of it.  It’s not an attractive root but…    

Dr. Tom:  Not an attractive root.

Ben:  It’s very nutrient-dense or?    

Dr. Tom:  Yeah, I mean I haven’t studied the nutrition.  I just love the flavor, so I eat it.  

Ben:  Ok, got it.  I threw in my smoothie this morning something that I think a lot of people don’t eat, and we grow celery in our garden and I use the leaves from the celery the dark green leaves that grow in the outer stalks of the celery.  They’re very bitter and they have a lot of these hormedic-type of mild, mild toxins in them that actually induce your body to churn out a lot of its own little indigenous anti-oxidants.  So celery leaves if any of you out there just chewing in the stems, gotta go for the leaves too.

So Dr. Cowan, Tom, I wanna start here.  You had heart disease.  Correct?    

Dr. Tom:  Oh well, not the kind of heart disease that I talk about in the book.  I had a fairly common condition called SVT or Supraventricular Tachycardia, and basically I had it from birth.  The best way to describe that if you want me to is if you think of your heart as a gate, and then the gate has an electrical system that opens and closes the gate if it’s like the impulse, and usually it’s in a very specific sequence which is there’s a little pacemaker sound the left atrium and that fires, and then it goes down the wire and then it opens the gate, and I was born with 2 wires from the left atrium to the gate.  And so it was going down the 1 wire, and it was fine, and when it goes down the other line, I wasn’t fine.  It would go at about two hundred a minute.       

Ben:  Wow.     

Dr. Tom:  And so, I actually used to play basketball games in high school, very intense basketball games at a heart rate of two hundred a minute which, I tell you, it wasn’t easy.   

Ben:  Holy cow!      

Dr. Tom:  Yeah.

Ben: So did you wind up having to get on like a lot of people for heart electrical abnormalities who get on like a calcium channel blocker or a beta-blocker calcium channel inhibitor, or something like that?  Did you wind up needing to be on some kind of medication for this?

Dr. Tom:  You know, I’m pretty not such a big fan of medicine so I would never do that, and as I wrote about in the book there was one episode where it kinda backfired on me that I was camping in the wilderness in Minnesota and it happened, and I did carry beta-blockers in case.  And it went on for about 8 hours which is petty long time to go at two hundred beats per minute.  I was in a remote island and going into congestive heart failure, and my wife was not happy about it.  And I took a beta-blocker and it broke, and after that I ended having an ablation so that they basically cut the extra wire and then it never happened again.             

Ben:  Oh, it’s like a catheter ablation?   

Dr. Tom:  Yeah.

Ben:  Ok, gotcha.          

Dr. Tom:  So you know, that was the only “heart disease” I ever had.  So it’s much different than the kind of heart attack, angina, unstable angina that I talk about in the book.     

Ben:  Right.  Right.  Gotcha.  And you have your background in allopathic medicine.  You’re trained as an MD, correct?      

Dr. Tom:  I am trained as an MD and then on and off worked for almost ten years as an ER doctor, and I was pretty much almost able to be board certified as an ER doctor while I was developing my own practice.  So yes, I am fully-trained and familiar with the rep.    

Ben:  Yeah, gotcha.  So you don’t completely assume modern medicine, you’re not a hairy-hippie living out in the woods and completely ignoring modern medicine.  You’ve obviously gotten a catheter ablation and you understand this stuff pretty well.  That’s one of the things when I started reading your book that I appreciated was you actually are well-versed in medicine and as we talked, we don’t need to lay down your whole history as we went through it when I interviewed you about vegetables, and anybody listening in, you gotta go listen to that interview.  But Dr. Cowan or Cowan, Tom, I will convert by the end of this podcast at just calling you Tom, I promise.

You mentioned very early on in that book something that I’m personally fascinated by, you mentioned the name of a guy who I’ve had on the podcast before and that’s Dr. Gerald Pollack, a guy who studies water up at the University of Washington.  And one of the very first things that you begin to talk about is water and how not all water is created equal.  Can you delve into why you mentioned water so early in this book?

Dr. Tom:  Well, the reason that I mentioned water in the book was because the first major premise of the book, and there’s basically two.  The first is that the heart does not pump the blood, and the second is blocked arteries generally speaking, don’t cause heart attacks.  The reason I mentioned those is because there’s probably know more two fundamental truths in conventional science and medicine than those two.

In 1628 is when we found out by a guy named Willian Harvey that the heart pumps the blood and it’s been one of the foundational facts of conventional science for almost four hundred years.  And I had been convinced over the last twenty years that it was basically flat-out wrong, and after figuring out that the heart doesn’t pump the blood, I had to figure out why does the blood move and that led me to study water.  And so, that’s how I got into studying water which provides a very clear, concise, and plausible explanation for why the blood moves in the body, and so that sort of closed the loop.

Ben:  Ok, so this idea behind water, can you explain what structured water is and what that has to do with the way the blood moves within the body?  

Dr. Tom: I can.  It might be better if you don’t mind if I just critique the heart as a pump idea first?   

Ben:  Sure.  Yeah.

Dr. Tom:  Is that alright? 

Ben:  You obviously know how to explain these concepts best so yeah, absolutely.    

Dr. Tom:  Yeah, if I could do that.  So, it’s basically in the same with heart disease.  It’s first a kind of negation of the known facts, and that leads directly into this question you asked, I don’t wanna ignore your question, but what the role of water is.  So conventional science in medicine says we have this approximately 1 pound organ which has fairly thin walls, and we have about enough blood vessels in the body to go around the earth approximately 3 times.  So that’s a pretty small pumping organ, and by the way, when I say pump, I mean pressure propulsion.  I mean, there’s something about the walls of the heart that pushed the blood through the body.  That’s what we’re told, and that’s what I mean by a pump.      

Ben:  Okay.

Dr. Tom:  So, if you think about it, if you’re talking about series of tubes that’s 3 times around the earth, and mind you the fluid in these tubes is very viscous, number 1.  Number 2, it’s got all this stuff floating around in it meaning white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets and other stuff, and interestingly the tubes are hardly any bigger than the stuff floating around in the tubes.  So just think about this.  And I invite all the listeners to think about it.  How is it possible that a 1 pound thin-walled organ can push all these sticky fluid with stuff in it 3 times around the earth?  I mean on the face of that, that’s basically absurd, but the interesting thing about that theory is the more you examine it, the worst it gets because it turns out that the speed of the movement of the blood, the velocity is very fast after it exits the hearts, and then it gets slower and slower and slower until it (inaudible) at the capillaries where the gases are exchanged, the food is off-loaded, and the waste products are taken up where it actually stops.  Now, people are gonna have to take my word for it that it stops there, but there are Youtube videos you can see that, and if you don’t believe that it totally stops, it has to be true that it goes very slow because that’s where the stuff is exchanged.  So it can’t be whizzing through the capillaries.

Ben:  Okay.

Dr. Tom:  And the other thing is that’s the same principle as how any fluid flows when it’s in a narrow vessel like a narrow river, it’s going very fast and then if it spans out into a wetland it goes slower and slower and slower.

Ben:  Right.

Dr. Tom:  So in other words, in this 3-times-around-the-earth travel, halfway through the travel it stops, and then it gets going again.  The analogy that I like to tell people, it’s like you have to get from I think you live in the Northwest somewhere, you have to get to Florida on a bus, and I say okay Ben, can you get on this bus but the bus isn’t gonna have an engine and it’s gonna stop in St. Louis.  My guess is you wouldn’t get on the bus.

Ben:  Right.

Dr. Tom:  You would have no way to get going again once it stops in St. Louis which begs the question of if the blood stops halfway through its travels, then how did it get going again?  It can’t be from the heart being a pump because that already stopped.  So there must be some “pump” at the capillaries.     

Ben:  Okay.  So quick question here, like when the blood stops in those capillaries, the heart can’t simply through its pumping action cause more blood that’s behind that other blood to just push out other blood through once since it stopped?

Dr. Tom:  No.  

Ben:  Okay. 

Dr. Tom:  Because it has to come to a stop there and then get going.

Ben:  Ok.  Gotcha.

Dr. Tom:  So that’s what they call an inelegant explanation. 

Ben:  Ok.  Thank you.  I’ve been complemented many times on my inelegance, by the way so I’ll take it.

Dr. Tom:  (chuckles) No, no it wasn’t a comment on you but that’s what sometimes people say that.  That cannot be.  The other thing that’s strange about this theory is, so if you look at the system, so you have this supposed heart pushing the blood 3 times around the earth and the exit of the heart through the aortic valve is through what’s called the aortic arch. So just picture like a McDonald’s arch or the Arc De Triomphe, or any arch like coming off the exit of the heart.  And again the analogy here is imagine a spigot of your house where you put a garden hose and you shape it as an arch.  And when you turn the water on very fast what’s gonna happen to the arch in the garden hose?

Ben:  When you push the water out very fast the arch will collapse, right?   

Dr. Tom:  Well, it’ll straighten.    

Ben:  Ok, yeah. 

Dr. Tom:  Right?  So it’s an arch.  You turn it on real fast ‘cause if you’re gonna pump 3 times around the world, you better pump pretty hard.   

Ben:  Right. 

Dr. Tom:  And the tube would tend to straighten, but the amazing thing about it is when you look at what happens to the aortic arch during systole which is the time of maximum contraction, it actually bends in more.  So it makes even a bigger arch.  Which completely makes no sense.     

Ben:  Right, because if the heart was actually pumping the blood through at that velocity, the arch would not become more pronounced.  So the arch would theoretically needed to disappear.    

Dr. Tom:  Yes, exactly.  Clearly every catherization, every angiogram shows that the arch bends in it becomes more of an arch, and so the whole thing just makes no sense.  It makes no sense.  So, that led me to then say so what is the pump?  And now, the first thing is we’ve already identified the pump.  Now again let me define pump, means the reason the blood moves, right?  That’s what we’re talking about.  They told the reason the blood moves is the heart pushes it which we already know doesn’t make any sense.  It can’t push and bend the arch and go all that way on that one little organ day after day for eighty years.

So then the question is what happens in the capillaries and how is that related to water?  So it turns out that Pollack’s explanation is that here’s another basic fact in science that there’s 3 states of matter, but when you look at water there’s clearly more than 3 states.  It just as evidenced by the fact that the cells are 70% water, we’re told, and you can prove that, yet you could squish your leg into a pulp and no water would come out of your cells.  So where’s the water?  Well, it turns out it’s in a gel phase.  The way you form a gel phase as he brilliantly described was you take a…        

Ben:  He meaning Dr. Gerald Pollack over at University of Washington? 

Dr. Tom:  Yup. 

Ben:  Okay.

Dr. Tom: You take a protein or a hydrophilic surface and you put it in water, and you charge it with the sun or the earth just being in the sunlight charges up the hydrophilic surface, and it forms a negatively charged what he calls exclusion zone next to this protein and positively charged protons then go into the bulk water.

Ben:  Ok, got it.  And when you say a hydrophilic surface you would mean something like you’re putting the water into one of a gelatin for example, speaking of you having bone broth this morning is a hydrophilic substance.  I know in the lab, I think when I spoke with him, when I interviewed him it was [0:23:56.9] _______, some kind of plastic that they use to move the blood through.  Are you saying that the water that’s in the blood that’s moving through our veins is inside of a hydrophilic surface because the inside of our blood vessels is hydrophilic?       

Dr. Tom:  Absolutely.

Ben:  Ok, so the inside of our blood vessels would be very similar to what they’ve used in the lab in terms of it being a hydrophilic surface that they’re pushing water through? 

Dr. Tom:  Yes.

Ben:  Ok, and… Oh go ahead. 

Dr. Tom:  But I just wanna correct that for a minute.  There’s no pushing the water.  All you need is this rolled up tube that creates a separation of charges, so it creates this negative charge which by the way, protects the tube, it’s called an exclusion zone, and that pushes the positive charges into the bulk water, the non-gel water.    

Ben:  Right.

Dr. Tom:  And that’s exactly what you have in the capillaries.  You have these charged hydrophilic tubes that have a very small layer of negatively charged exclusion zone gel, and inside of that you have the inner part, the lumen of the blood vessel, the center of it which has positively charged protons which because they repel each other, they cause the water, meaning the blood to start moving.

Music plays.      

Ben:  I’m interrupting this show to do something that you’re gonna thank me for.  Tell you about chocolate.  Now there is this website that has get this, organic cacao powder, carob powder for those of you who for some strange reason don’t like cacao powder, mint chocolate chips, Dutch coco powder, dark chocolate wafers, raspberry chocolate chips, organic white chocolate chunks, organic cacao paste.  I didn’t even know they made paste but apparently they make paste.  Everything you’d ever want chocolate-related, or nut-related, or cooking and baking-related, or organic or raw, or anything else, snacks/dried, fruit/trail mix related, you can get at nuts.com, and you’re gonna be salivating when you visit this website.

The cool thing is you can buy this stuff that I normally buy, right like Brazil nuts, and dark chocolate, and chia seeds, but then if there is anything that catches your fancy that you just wanna try, what nuts.com is doing is they’re giving 4 free samples to everybody who listens in.  You get to choose from over 50 different options.  You can try cacao paste, whatever that is if you wanna actually try it.  I may actually add that to my next stack.  I might use my own discount code and add that one.  I think it’s some kind of like a fudgy paste.  Anyways though, here’s how you get the deal from nuts.com.  Go to nuts.com and use the code ‘fitness’ when you order.  As soon as you do that, you get to select from 4 free samples whatever you want.  That’s over $15 value.  Pretty good deal if you ask me.  So nuts.com and use code ‘fitness.’

I also wanted to mention just in case you want to have chocolate in bed in a really nice bed that this podcast is brought to you by, honestly one of the most comfortable mattresses in my house.  So I have this sleep surface up in my guest bedroom that’s a combination of latex and memory foam, but what I think is even cooler is it breathes.  It’s got this breathable design that keeps you cool while you sleep at night which unless you’ve been living under a rock or unless you’re not a chronobiology nerd like I am, you’ve better things to do, you know that being cool at night helps you sleep better.  That’s why I always dial down the temperature in my house when I’m sleeping to about 60 to 65 degrees, but I also sleep on a breathable mattress and the name of this mattress company is Casper.

Casper Mattresses gives you free shipping, free returns, a hundred nights risk-free and the mattress arrives at your house in this cute little box that you can easily carry up and down the stairs.  Time Magazine actually called it one of the best inventions of 2015, so it’s gotta be good, right?  Anyways, you get fifty bucks off of any mattress and already a very affordable mattress fifty bucks off though when you go to casper.com/ben, and you use promo code ‘Ben.’  So you go to casper.com/ben, this seems kinda redundant but it’s the way that it works, and then you enter the promo code ‘Ben’, and terms and conditions apply, whatever that means I’m pretty sure there’s not many of them you have sort of a mattress, and if you don’t like it and within a hundred days, you send it back.  Anyways though, casper.com/ben use promo code ‘Ben.’  Alright. Let’s get back to the good doctor.

Music plays.

Ben:  And this is, by the way, if I recall correctly from my interview with Dr. Pollack this is how water will travel defying gravity for example the bottom of a tree all the way to the top of a hundred foot tree is via the travel of water with this exclusion zone.  The travel of structured water through a hydrophilic surface.

Dr. Tom:  Exactly, and then it explains this another conundrum in science called the barometric limit which is we’re told that water can’t move up a column higher than 33 feet because the gravity, the weight of the water becomes too much though.  Yet there are trees that are 300 or 400 feet, so the whole thing is basically nonsense.  The pump in that situation is simply that the tubes that this sap or water is flowing in are hydrophilically-charged xylem tubes.     

Ben:  What’s a xylem tube?  What’s that mean?   

Dr. Tom:  That’s just the name for the tube that the sap flows up in the tree

Ben:  Ok, gotcha.

Dr. Tom:  And so, it’s the exact same mechanism that gets the blood to flow from our capillaries up through the veins, and then the veins coalesce like a river from a wetland into a raging river, so they’ll go faster and faster as they get up to the heart, and literally no energy is required except sunlight and earth energy.  So the whole system runs by itself just because of the nature of this fourth phase of water.  But the whole thing is brilliant really.    

Ben:  Well, yeah it’s like a perpetual motion machine.  It’s almost like free energy because all you’ve got is just fluid following a charge.  When you say the sunlight or the earth I assume what you’re referring to is that is where the actual electrons to allow for this charge are coming from?

Dr. Tom:  Well, in Pollack’s experiments he put these tubes in water and he put them in a lead box, and the tube stopped being charged and the water stopped flowing.  And then he put them in the sunlight and they started flowing again.  Which tells us that the separation of charge which is the thing that really is doing the work here, that has to come from some supply of energy from the outside which can be simply sunlight or electromagnetic field from the earth or holding your friend’s or wife’s hand, all those things provide energy that’s enough to charge up our tubes and flow the fluid which is exactly what people experience with massage and intimate encounters, and being in the sun, walking on the beach, walking in the wet grass with bare feet, all these things.  They all charge your tubes, make the blood flow and it’s all free and amazing.

Ben:  You know, the interesting thing that you mentioned that I don’t want to necessarily fly under the radar is this exclusion zone.  You’ve got all these positive protons on the inside of that exclusion zone.  So all these positive recharged molecules are repelling each other and causing that upward flow of water or fluid, or in this case blood, but around those positive ions are all the negative ions next to the actual surface to the blood vessel, and you mentioned how that’s almost protective, but what you’re saying is that if you are in a state and we’ll talk about this later where you actually have these exclusion zones in your blood, you would theoretically be keeping like erosion or inflammation of the blood vessels at bay because the exclusion zones will be like protecting the surface of the blood vessel against solutes or bore toxins, or other particles, correct?

Dr. Tom:  That is absolutely correct.  You nailed it hundred percent, and that’s why in the normal state as long as your tubes are charged, you have this protective gel lining your vessels and you get no damage from inflammation or anything else, and life is good.   

Ben:  Ok, so where do we go from here in terms of explaining this concept to people?  Do you wanna delve into how one would actually create this type of structured water inside of their blood vessels, or do you wanna talk more about like the structure of the heart because you have a really unique explanation of the actual structure of the heart in the book?    

Dr. Tom:  Right.  I mean there’s not a whole lot else to say about to create structured water it’s basically good food, earthing – meaning bare feet on bare ground, exposure to sunlight which is what humans were meant to do, and intimate touch with some other living being.    

Ben:  You’re not gonna sell a lot of pharmaceutical medications with that approach, by the way.  I’m just warning you. (chuckles) I don’t know if you’re aware of that.

Now what about, because I know a lot of people ask this, and I’ve talked about this on the show before.  What about drinking water that has been exposed to sunlight or drinking water that has been exposed to earth’s electromagnetic fields by focusing on spring water and fresh well water or even using like these water structuring units or drinking structured water?  Do you think that that has an influence on the blood or is that simply influencing things like intracellular hydration?

Dr. Tom:  That’s also a great question, and all I can say Ben about that is I don’t know for sure.  First of all, I think we should drink the purest most alive moving water we can.  That I agree with.  But as far as being able to prove that drinking structured water helps structure the blood, the fluid in your vessels, that I can’t say that I know.

Ben:  Right, but what you do know is that inside the blood we do see evidence of these exclusion zones forming and a positive and a negative electrical gradient that is allowing blood to move without the pumping action of the heart per se.     

Dr. Tom: That’s exactly right, and I know whether drinking water promotes that I don’t know that, I do it just to be because I’m hoping it does but I don’t really know that for sure.

Ben:  Ok, so this model that you’ve described is this all, playing devil’s advocate here, blue sky, totally theoretical, zero clinical research behind this?

Dr. Tom:  You mean, are there any studies that prove that what I just said is correct?

Ben:  Basically, yeah. 

Dr. Tom:  (chuckles) Well, I would say the first step people should go to is I just started a website devoted to all things heart called humanheartcosmicheart.com, and in there a mechanical engineer friend of mine, Ralph Marinelli who’s been working on a proper model for what the heart actually does for decades, and he has a whole engineering perspective on this whole thing I’m talking about, and with references etcetera.  So there is a lot of work on this and it’s basically the reason why nobody has been able to make a functional, mechanical heart that does anything close to what it should because the model for the heart is completely wrong.

Ben:  Now when you say “the model for the heart is completely wrong” are you referring to the actual geometry of the heart that you talked about in the book?

Dr. Tom:  I’m referring to 2 things.  The first thing is, if we know that the pumping so called pumping which means the reason the blood moves is from what we just talked about this water dynamics and it starts in the capillaries, so the next rational question is so what is the heart doing there in the first place?  Why do we need a heart?  What does it do?  And the best way to describe that is a bit like if you wanna use an analogy again, it’s like a hydraulic ram.  So you click a ram in a fast moving stream of water, so now picture this fast moving venus blood coming up to the heart, and it gets to the heart and what does the heart do?  It stops the blood.  Doesn’t push the blood, it stops the blood.  And it holds it in an expandable tank behind the gate.  So the gate expands and that creates positive pressure on the incoming side and negative pressure or a vacuum on the other side, right?

Ben:  Right. 

Dr. Tom:  That’s what’s going to happen.  And once that pressure differential builds up, the gate will open the aortic arch, the outflow too will compress in because it’s a suction device not a pushing device, and that explains perfectly what you see and even what a heartbeat is.  A heartbeat is the expansion of expandable walls, and then a passive contraction.  There’s no push needed which also makes it very easy for muscle to do that for eighty years, twenty-four hours a day, three hundred sixty days a year.  So that explains what a heart does.  Now there’s another whole aspect of what the heart does which turns out that the heart has a very interesting shape which I described in detail in the book which is a 7-sided regular form which supposedly didn’t exist until a guy named Frank Chester basically created it.  And when you create this form and put it into an on-rushing stream of water, what this form does is 2 things.  One, it structures the water so that the cells go down the middle like the white blood cells and the red blood cells, and it does that by creating a vortex or a spiral inside of this structure.

Ben:  Okay. 

Dr. Tom:  So the whole thing is so amazing and sophisticated.  This blood comes in which has lost its form it comes in to this holding tank which creates using nature’s creative form which is a vortex or a spiral like the Milky Way or DNA, or a snail or sunflowers, or any other creative form, and that gets the cells to move down the middle where the least resistance is and puts the other stuff in the more fluid part to the outside where the most resistance is, that helps the flow and it creates this vortex which essentially energizes your whole being and creates an electromagnetic field which gets the organs to entrain on them.  The vortex is key and we only know that there’s a vortex is in there because we can see it when this form is created.

Ben:  And the actual form of the heart I believe the title of the shape that you give to in the book is a ‘chestahedron’, is that correct?    

Dr. Tom:  Yeah.  That was new name that Frank came up with to give a name to the exact form that actually Rudolf Steiner predicted, he said: “the heart is a 7-sided regular form that sits in an imaginary box in the chest”, and whe int turns out when you put this form in a box it makes the same angle in your chest as your heart does in your real chest. 

Ben:  Ok, so if I form a 7-sided chestahedron figure, you actually have an image of this in the book, a photo of this in the book, and I take that and put it into a geometrical square which represent for example like the human chest, that thing is gonna jot out at an angle of thirty-six degrees which is the exact angle at which the heart sits within the chest.    

Dr. Tom:  Exactly, and it’s the exact number of degrees of warmth of a normal human being.

Ben:  Wow.  And so this chestahedron, this is actually a shape that allows for a flow of blood through the heart.  Basically like a vortex, a spinning flow of blood through the heart that allows the heart to pass through the atria and the ventricles of the heart with as little resistance as possible?

Dr. Tom:  The point of the chestahedron is to create this vortex.  So yes, it has this little resistance but what it needs to do is like the creative energy of the blood has been spent on its course through the body.

Ben:  Okay. 

Dr. Tom:  So you need to create a new impulse for life, a new creative energy and that always when that wants to happen nature always uses a vortex.

Ben:  Ok, this makes sense because my water, this might be a good analogy.  The water in my house comes from a well.  I’ve got a well in my backyard, and unfortunately there’s I think a myth out there about well water that it’s all just pristine.  It’s not.  Yeah, I’ve had the water tested, and it’s got very high levels of manganese.  It’s also got a lot of bacteria-based iron in it.  It doesn’t have chlorine and fluoride, and birth control pills, and everything that’s in a typical municipal water supply, but it’s not perfect.  So when that water passes into my house it goes through what’s called the hydrogen peroxide-based iron filter which filters out or really converts all of the bacteria-based iron into more or less OH molecules or what wind up in my water after it passes through that filter.  And then it also passes through a secondary filter, a manganese filter.

After that has occurred, you know you mentioned the creative energy of water not being quite as high once that blood gets back into the heart, once that water’s gone through the 2 filters going into my home, I realize that it is not a structured, the exclusions zones that form when that water was passing through all the rocks and the underground springs that it was passing through before it came up through all the tubes in the well and through all my filters.  A lot of that exclusion zone is no longer present, meaning if I wanna drink really good structured water I have to do something about that.  So I actually have a series of glass beads, a vortex built into the pipes coming out of that filter, out of that secondary filter to restructure the water before it winds up in my shower head, in my drinking water and my bath water and everything else.

What you’re saying is that the chestahedron, the 7-sided shape of the heart that this geometry expert, this Frank guy developed as a model of the heart, that’s acting very similarly to the vortex of glass beads – the structured water device that I’ve placed in my home.  It’s like the human body has its own structured water or structured fluid creator, and the shape of the actual heart is allowing the water or the blood to become restructured as it passes through the heart?

Dr. Tom:  You got it. 

Ben: Cool.  I love it.  So it’s a vortex basically.

Dr. Tom:  I couldn’t have said it any better myself, Ben.    

Ben:  Ok, cool.  I like it and my own water filters are making better sense plus I think it’s dang cool that I have almost like my own built–in biological structured blood creator, my own vortex inside of my chest.  It’s really cool.

Dr. Tom:  That is exactly right.  I don’t have anything to add to that.  You’re smart.  You’re doing what your heart is doing.  You’re recreating the system.  The energy is spent but it’s like I tell people you gotta get the stuff out of the water and then you gotta make it alive again.

Ben:  Ok, so when did this idea, ‘cause you went to medical school, you learned that the heart was a pump, you mentioned that it’s been hundreds of years since we have ever considered anything aside from that fact.  Why is it or when was it that this entire idea of the heart being a pump arose and why has it been so prevalent.  Why don’t more doctors know about what you’ve talked about, and what’s kind of a history of this whole heart as a pump type of model rather than the alternative model you’ve just proposed?

Dr. Tom:  So it was started like I said in 1628 with this guy Harvey, who’s considered the father of modern cardiology and I think in some ways a very complicated answer because if you would ask in 1627, what move the blood?  The answer for thousands of years before that was some vital force that works through water.  That’s what they said.  Everybody from the ancient Greeks down to the pythagoreans, all that they said there’s some special life force in water that moves the blood.  So, then along comes Harvey and was basically you know, it’s a complicated evolution of thinking of humanity.  There was a time that science had to get rid of all talk of vitalism, or special forces, or special properties of water, or life forces, they said that the human being is just a pure mechanical object.  It just works with mechanics.  There’s no such thing as life.  We might as well study it in a dead body because it’s all the same, and that was how we started thinking and doing medicine and science ever since.

Now, in some ways that probably needed to happen.  There was probably too much unclear thinking and not scientific thinking really, but the problem is we lost any sense of the difference between life and death frankly.  And there’s no such thing as vitalism, there’s no such thing as special properties of water but it turns out actually they were right.  There is something in special property of water, and you could describe it as a vital force.  I mean, I’m not exactly sure I know what that means, but there’s some creative force that people actually can feel and experience and there was just this stream in humanity to get rid of all talk of that.

Ben:  Got it.  Plus the model that I referred to earlier say like, going out barefoot on the planet earth, and drinking good clean structured water, or getting exposure to sunlight, or touching other people to get there.  Transfer of negative electrons that also I guess doesn’t really sell a lot of pharmaceutical drugs.  That might be part of it as well.  I would hazard a guess.

Dr. Tom:  Yeah, that might it. 

Ben:  Now, not to be a conspiracy theorists.  It’s just the way I think.  But anyway, so the definition of a heart attack when we look at that related to the model that you’ve just presented could also be flawed, correct?

Dr. Tom:  Yes.  The first step was that the heart is not a pump, and the second step for me was questioning this theory that coronary artery disease i.e. plaque in coronary arteries that constricts the blood flow and doesn’t allow the blood to pass that downstream from that, you get a heart attack.  It turns out that’s as equally flawed as the heart is not a pump or the heart is a pump.

Ben:  Ok, why is that? 

Dr. Tom:  Well, there’s a few lines of reasoning.  The first one was interestingly enough when heart attack started happening in this country in the thirties, forties and fifties with particularly with the change of diet and lifestyle.  The cardiologist were introduced this plaque theory and they didn’t believe it.  They said, first of all plaque happens everywhere in the body in all the blood vessels because if we’re saying that there’s something in the blood that causes plaque like cholesterol, or LDL, or inflammation, then it should happen everywhere because it’s in the blood.  So coronary arteries, splenic arteries, artery to your liver, artery to your foot, everywhere.  Yet, nobody has ever heard of anybody getting a spleen attack or a liver attack or a kidney attack.  The only 2 organs that have attacks are the heart and the brain.  No other organ has this kind of a schemic so called heart attack or we call it strokes with the brain.  So that was the first thing.

So then, they had this argument and they did autopsy studies on people who died of heart attacks.  And I actually have a few of them here with me, and one of them is by a study of a guy named DeWood in 1986, and there were others that are on my website.  They say 34% of the people at autopsy who died of a heart attack had a blockage of the vessel.  So that means 66% didn’t have a blockage of the vessel which is very interesting because since that’s the entire reason why we think people die of heart attacks.  What possibly could have happened to those 66% of the people?

Ben:  Right.  Kinda throws a wrench in that equation. 

Dr. Tom:  Right.  The other thing that I started thinking about is probably 90% of the bypass to stents, angioplasties etcetera are in the following situation, and I’ve seen I don’t know, a hundred patients exactly like this.  So a guy who doesn’t feel so good you know, but he’s gone on hikes and little shortness of breath, little chest pain goes to the doctor they say, oh you, have something wrong with your heart, let’s do an angiogram and they find that 96% blockage of one of the blood vessels, and they say you need to have a bypass or a stent or an angioplasty because if you don’t and it blocks anymore you’re gonna die.

So let’s dissect this a little bit because first of all the theory is all of the blood to your heart comes through this major coronary arteries.  There’s 3, some people say there’s 2, but there’s basically 3.  So if one of them gets blocked you’re a goner.  Now the guy comes in (6% blockage and that means he’s got 4% blood flow to his heart.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if somebody has 4% blood flow they’ve got no blood flow and how in God’s name did they walk up that hill yesterday?

Ben:  Right. 

Dr. Tom:  And second of all, you mean to tell me if you go from 4% blood flow to 2% blood flow, or 1%, that’s gonna be the difference and that’s gonna kill you.  Frankly, I don’t believe it because I think 4% is basically zero, and they already don’t have any blood flow through that blocked artery.  Yet, the Mayo Clinic in 2003 does a study in just angioplasties, stents and bypasses besides very few situations have no effect on the overall mortality of the patient.  In other words…

Ben:  Right unless it’s like a very high-risk patient in which cases they’ve shown like a slight improved chance of survival kinda like statins, they only work for people of either like had pre-existing heart disease or those who are  I think men above x-age but in most cases statins don’t actually work to prevent heart disease.

Dr. Tom:  Right, and then I don’t even know if I would agree that they work in those cases, but anyways, yes.

So the other thing that I found out the first time I ever publicly spoke about this was years ago was at a Holistic Northern California Heart Symposium, and one of the intraventional cardiologist at a local hospital was there and he obviously knew what was about.  There were holistic people there, so he wanted to be more catered to that audience.  So he said back in Alabama in the sixties back when they used to do and check poor black men with syphilis and that stuff, and they had these guys who came in with chest pain and they did angiograms on them, and they found the ones who had 1 vessel that was more than 90% blocked, and so the study was they decided not to do anything for that.  They didn’t tell him to eat right, they didn’t do a bypass.  They didn’t do anything.  They just said, go home and if you have more problem let me know.  And they all wrote in the chart, if this guy comes back which part of their heart would have the heart attack?  And of course, they all said well, the part that was blocked.  As if it blocks any more than 8% blood flow, then  it’s gonna be the end of it.  So then they waited, and some of them came back, and at the end of the study less than 10% had a heart attack in the area of the original blockage.  In other words, if they had done their stents, and bypasses, and statins, and angioplasties to that vessel, it would have done them no good because that vessel never had a heart attack in the first place.

Ben:  Interesting. 

Dr. Tom:  And so the whole thing, and I mean I could go on forever about this but it’s all in my book, just made no sense at all.

Ben:  So in terms of the reason that people do get heart attacks if it’s not because of these blockages, if bypass surgery doesn’t relieve the symptoms of chest pain and doesn’t prevent future heart attacks, then what you’re saying is that there’s something else that must be causing heart attacks aside from some kind of like a blockage?

Dr. Tom:  Yes, well just to correct one second there.  It does relieve symptoms, in fact, we think it’s because a) it either cuts the nerves so you don’t feel it, but there was even a very interesting placebo trial where they had people with chest pain, they say we’re gonna do a bypass and they just opened their chest, and they didn’t do anything and they had approximately the same symptom relief as the people who didn’t.

Ben:  Ok, so you do you ‘em almost like a sham-based surgery? 

Dr. Tom:  Yes. 

Ben:  Yeah, very similar that actually there’s a lot of really interesting sham-based surgeries out there.  I don’t know if you’ve seen the one on knees where they cut open people’s knees, and you know, some people got the little incision that looked like they’d actually had the surgery.  Some people actually got an ACL surgery, and there was no difference in terms of symptom relief between the two.  The people have thought they got the surgery had just as much knee pain symptom relief as the people who got the actual surgery.

Dr. Tom:  Right.  So anyways, whether that’s reproducible or not I don’t know, but the point is there’s a lot of questions of that theory.  So getting to your point of what does cause heart attacks.  The first thing to know is that… to see this… again, you can go on my website, I have a link to this other website heartattacknew.com where you can see that the heart is not 4 blood vessels.  It’s an entire network of so called collateral vessels because the body is not so stupid to put all its eggs in these 4 baskets.  So the whole blood flow of the heart again is like a water shed with the blood moving in there because of the whole water thing, and it’s a flow, not a river through these 4 vessels.  So that’s the first thing.

The second thing is, and again this has been clearly worked out in a… and I don’t need to go into the whole history of this but here’s what happens.  So first of all, we have an autonomic nervous system divided into a sympathetic and a parasympathetic chain.  Sympathetic is fight or flight, parasympathetic is rest and digest.  Well, over 90% of the people who have heart disease have decreased parasympathetic nervous system activity, and so when that happens chronically…

Ben:  So just to interrupt you real quick, so what you’re saying is that the rest and digest branch of the autonomic nervous system, and I actually measure this every single morning myself.  I do what’s called the heart rate variability measurement every morning on my body, and so every morning when I wake up I know my sympathetic nervous system activity and my parasympathetic nervous system activity.  And so, when you say parasympathetic nervous system activity you’re referring to what I’m measuring every morning and checking to make sure is high enough, people actually have a lowering of parasympathetic activity?

Dr. Tom:  Yes.  In fact that very thing you’re doing ‘cause you’re (giggles) very savvy about these things is a heart rate variability task and that has revolutionized our understanding of this.    

Ben:  Okay.

Dr. Tom:  So, in that very test people with heart disease have decreased parasympathetic activity, chronically it happens with diabetes, it happens with high blood pressure, it happens with social isolation, it happens with bad food, it happens with a lot of things.  All the things that cause heart disease.  Then they have a sympathetic stressor either physical activity, or emotional grief, or psychological trauma, or financial or a whole lot of things, and so the next thing that happens is what’s called a glycolytic shift where the energy generation goes from the mitochondria to the cytoplasm.  I know that’s technical stuff.  But what happens is you start burning fuel with glycolysis meaning fermentation instead of the usual way to the krebs cycle.

Ben:  Right. 

Dr. Tom: What happens then is you build up lactic acid in the tissues.  There are numerous studies enlisted in my book for every heart attack there’s a lactic acid buildup in the cells.  Now, this is very similar to what would happen in your leg if you ran too far and you went anaerobic in your legs, you would build up lactic acid and then you would feel cramps and pain in your leg, right?

Ben:  Right.

Dr. Tom:  The same thing happens in your heart.  It exceeds its capacity, there’s a shift in the nervous system drive for the use of fuel, you build up lactic acid, and that causes a cramp in your heart which we call angina.  The difference between the heart and the brain and all the other rest of the organs which don’t get attacks is a) the heart and the brain, each use 40% of the fuel and b) and more importantly those 2 organs can’t stop so the lactic acid continues to build up unlike your leg, or your spleen, or your foot, or your liver, where if the lactic acid builds up in your leg, you feel pain, you stop running, your blood flushes the lactic acid out and then you can start over.  In the heart you can’t do that.  If the lactic acid builds up, you get a localized acidosis metabolic acidosis in the tissue of your heart which clearly destroys the tissue which is then what we call a heart attack.

Ben:  Got it.

Dr. Tom:  That’s exactly what happens.  You can measure it, you can measure the lactic acid build-up, you can measure the increasing acidosis in the tissue and that’s at a certain level you start breaking down the cells, break down the cells then you see it the increased troponine in the blood.  You see the EKG changes cause the electrical impulses don’t get transmitted through the dead cells.  The whole thing is very clear and well worked out.

Ben:  Now this interests me for a couple of reasons.  First of all, this whole idea of mitochondrial dysfunction is very, veru similar to the metabolic theory of cancer in which cells can actually go into almost like out of control glycolysis, out of control lactic acid production when mitochondria become, shall we say less than stellar in terms of their health inside of a cell due to interestingly enough, lack of sunlight, lack of proper hydration, too much free-radical production etcetera, and so it’s very interesting that the same things that cause cancer to a certain extent seem to have a little bit of a mechanistic effect in heart disease as well.  The other thing that I find very interesting here when you’re talking about a parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system imbalance is that there are things that strengthen the parasympathetic nervous system that we’ve talked about so much before on a podcast that people can easily do.  Are you familiar with the concept of the vagal nerve tone, Dr. Cowan, Cowan, Tom? (chuckles)

Dr. Tom: (Chuckles) Ah, yes to a certain extent.  I mean you, probably you know more about that than I, and I just wanna say, Ben too, years ago I gave a lecture called Cancer and Heart Disease – Two Different Manifestations of the Same Disease.  So, I should have had you do that because your explanation again was perfect.

Ben:  Interesting.  And I’ll slap myself on the back for that one because that wasn’t in your book.  

Dr. Tom:  It wasn’t in my book. 

Ben:  Just the thought of that as you were talking, but this idea is that the vagus nerve tone or a high vagus nerve tone is associated with increased parasympathetic nervous system activity, and we actually recently released a podcast inside of our what’s called our premium channel at Ben Greenfield Fitness where we went over thirty-two different ways to increase vagal nerve tone.  It is everything from (chuckles) love and relationships, and gratitude, to deep tissue work on the jaw, head and neck like jaw realignment, to chanting, to singing, to even freaking gargling, all sorts… and cold water exposure is one, by the way.  You just simply…

Dr. Tom:  (laughs) Cold water, absolutely.

Ben:  Cold shower, cold splashing on your face,, there’s all sorts of things that you can do to increase the tone of your parasympathetic nervous system that are easy, cheap or free and when you talk about this parasympathetic, sympathetic imbalance, and how that creates this cascade that can lead to an acceleration of the heartbeat, and a constriction of the heart once again, it’s so simple what we could be doing to reduce these risks.

Dr. Tom:  Well, my only response to that, Ben is I hope everybody watches or listens to that podcast you were referring to, and does at least thirty-one of those things.

Ben:  Now you also mentioned in the book, I mentioned statin drugs and I think you talk about how aspirin does this as well, but how some of these drugs that are commonly recommended for heart disease cause the production of nitrous oxide and acetylcholine, and that these can actually reduce parasympathetic nervous system activity or contribute to the issue.

Dr. Tom:  Right, but we also have to understand that the 4 main categories of drugs that have some benefit for preventing or treating heart disease, they have mechanisms like they say statins lower cholesterol, but they also increase acetylcholine which is one of the main neurotransmitters of the parasympathetic nervous system.  So in so far as there is benefit which I’m not sure there is, but if there is, it’s not from lowering the cholesterol it’s from a temporary increase in the parasympathetic activity.

Ben:  Okay.

Dr. Tom:  Same with aspirin, same with nitrates, and a beta-blocker is nothing else but blocking the sympathetic arm which has an effect of increasing the parasympathetic arm at least in relation.  So you can even see the 4 main drugs in cardiology from this perspective that’s how they work, but as I’m sure you’ll ask I talk about a different medicine which actually supports your parasympathetic nervous system and furthermore, directly converts lactic acid into pyruvate which is the preferred fuel of the heart.

Ben:   Yeah, I actually have underlined that section of the book because I did want to ask you about that particular medicine, it’s like a Brazilian plant.  I’ve never heard of it until I came across it in your book.  Can you describe what that is?

Dr. Tom:  So the plant is herb Strophanthus, it’s basically an African vine that was discovered by… what’s his name, Livingstone, the explorer in Africa.  It’s intensely bitter stuff that contains an active ingredient that in Europe is called G-strophanthin, and in the United States it’s called Ouabain, o-u-a-b-a-i-n.

Ben:  Okay.

Dr. Tom:  Ouabain turns out amazingly enough is an indigenous neuro-hormone.  Indigenous meaning it’s actually made in our adrenal glands, in the adrenal cortex so the plant is copying what we make, and it goes from the adrenal glands to the heart to a) stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, and b) convert the lactic acid which is the lynchpin in this destructive process into pyruvate which is a fuel for the heart.  So it actually gets into the very heart of the mechanism that leads to the heart attacks.  And that’s why for decades it was given to all heart patients in Germany, in Switzerland, and they were able to document a dramatic prevention of heart attacks, decrease in heart attacks.  They gave an IV if somebody came in with a heart attack, and then stuff happened and they got rid of it.

Ben:  So you can’t get this stuff anywhere, like if I were to go search on Amazon for a strophanthin or strophanthus, you cannot actually find this?

Dr. Tom:  So right now there’s only 2 sources of it.  All the other companies that were making this active ingredient or the plant extract have been bought or went out of business or they were something who knows, you know, it’s hard to know what happened actually.  But right now there is a compounding pharmacy in Germany that will make it and there’s a herbal company in Brazil that makes an extract of the plant which is what I have used, and I’ve tested it so I know how much ouabain per milliliter, how much ouabain per drops, so I actually have an extract of the plant and I know how much stuff of the actual ingredient is in there.

Ben: How’d you get it?

Dr. Tom:  (laughs) I contacted the owner of the company and we’re at an active process of making it available to people through our website.

Ben:  Okay. 

Dr. Tom:  It’s not quite yet, but it’s gonna happen really soon

Ben:  Keep in touch with me because I’m extremely interested.  What I actually wanna do is I wanna take some and measure my heart rate variability using the system that I use to see what happens specifically to what’s called the high frequency score, the strength of the parasympathetic nervous system.  I’d be curious to quantify that and see how it actually works on my own body.

In the book, you also talk about how you use things like emu oil and high amounts of Vitamin K2.  Why do you do that?

Dr. Tom:  So the three “causes” of heart attacks or angina, unstable angina chest pain.  Number one is this thing that we’ve talked about with the parasympathetic/ sympathetic imbalance, lactic acid build-up etcetera.  The second is the failure of the collateral circulation which is the small blood vessels that do their own bypass, that create this water shed of flow in the heart.  And then the third and probably actually the least significant is… I’m not saying that having plaque in all your arteries is a good thing, right?  I am saying that’s usually not sufficient to cause a heart attack, but if we can reduce the plaque build-up, that’s still a good thing and there’s two ways of doing that.  One is basically with those structuring of the water like we talked about, the other is eating a very high Vitamin K2 diet.  It seems like Vitamin K2, which is the Weston Price activating factor directs the calcium and the deposition from the blood vessels to the bones where it belongs.

Ben:  Hmmm.

Dr. Tom:  And I’ve seen people who’ve taken high K2 and emu oil was just a high, K2 is fat-soluble so it has to be in fat.  High amount of K2 and their calcium score decreases and their plaque build-up either stabilizes or regresses.  So…

Ben:  Gotcha.  What I use is a Vitamin D, Vitamin K blend in a medium-chained triglyceride oil.  That one’s made by Thorne, but yeah, very similar concept.  Okay, so you want a good Vitamin K that’s in fat-soluble form and you want increased parasympathetic nervous system activity, those are two of your main heart attack prevention methods.

Dr. Tom:  And the third is collateral circulation which is either exercise, the kind of things that you’re talking about, strength-training does that and for people who are basically too debilitated to even exercise, there’s something called EECP which basically forces new collateral circulation to form.

Ben:  Is that very similar to like these compression garments or compression gears like pumping boots?

Dr. Tom:  Yup, except that’s synched–up to the EKG, so it compresses while your heart is relaxed and that forces these new small blood vessels to sprout. 

Ben:  I actually use something like that for athletic recovery.  I never really thought about it for my heart, but I have these boots called NormaTec boots, and they were developed by a NASA scientist, and they actually do what’s called a grade-aided compression from your feet up to your legs but you pull on the boots, they actually do an internal measurement of the circumference of your legs, and then you just sit there while you’re working on your computer or reading a book, or whatever, and they just basically pump from your foot all the way up to your femoral artery.  It’s about how high they go and I think they actually sell them for the arms and the torso as well, and then back out.  I would imagine it’s almost like a cheap home-version of this EECP that you’re talking about.

Dr. Tom:  Right.  You’re exactly right.

Ben:  Okay, now the other thing that I just wanna make sure that I get right when it comes to heart attacks just to kinda close the book on the cause of heart attacks.  So, we know now based on what you’re saying that in terms of what would cause a heart attack would be increased sympathetic nervous system drive, decreased parasympathetic nervous drive, and increased glycolysis that causes a lot of lactic acid production in your heart cells, in your myocardial cells.

Now, in addition to that one of the things that’s thrown around quite a bit when it comes to the blood vessels especially is this concept of inflammation and like elevated C-reactive protein being something that they’ll measure as a potential marker for heart disease.  Do we need to consider inflammation or whether caused by high insulin levels, high blood glucose levels, etcetera.  Is that part of this equation as well?

Dr. Tom:  So, high inflammation especially in regard to insulin and diabetes which is a risk factor, but the interesting thing about diabetes as a risk factor is diabetes as all doctors know is a disease of small blood vessels not of big blood vessels.  So how does that make sense if it’s big blood vessels that are the culprit?  The answer is it doesn’t.  But if you have a lot of inflammation and high insulin and the whole diabetic metabolism, you will have a deterioration of your small blood vessels meaning your collaterals’ circulation which is your main flow protection against heart attacks.  So that’s what the connection is.

Ben:  Okay, gotcha.  So we’d also want to theoretically be doing what we can to keep elevated blood glucose at bay, and to fight inflammation using I would imagine there’s just like traditional anti-inflammatory protocols such as avoiding toxins and air pollutants using ginger, and turmeric, and curcumenoids, and garlic, eating a lot of dark leafy greens, those type of things.

Dr. Tom:  Yes, and don’t eat sugar, and you know…

Ben:  Right, all the stuff folks should know already. 

Dr. Tom:  Corn oil and all that stuff. 

Ben:  Yeah.  This is absolutely fascinating.  I mean, like this book it’s really well-written, it’s a little bit of a page turner.  I cannot let you go though, without asking you about one of the more important things that you talk about in the book, and that once again, I think flies under the radar might be a little bit woo-woo for people listening in, but the last chapter in your book is called ‘what’s love got to do with it.’  Why is that the last chapter in the book?  Why is that important?

Dr. Tom:  So, I wanted to point out my experience with science and medicine, is there’s a disconnect between what people actually feel and live versus what they say as “scientists.”  So if you think about the heart, so when I dissected a heart in medical school, it’s just this nondescript lump of stuff, and if I dissected it cell by cell, I can guarantee you I find nothing that I would call love in there.  Yet that’s what were told is reality.  That all it is is just the stuff, and I can tell you there’s no love in that stuff, yet these same scientists, cardiologists and every human being on the planet I think, doesn’t say to their loved one, I love you with all my spleen, or I wanna hold you up to my buttocks to show how much I love you, or the football coach doesn’t say to his players, I want you guys to play with all your liver.  They don’t say that.  They all say, I love you with my heart.  Put your heart into this game.  If you don’t have heart, you can’t be on the Warriors, whatever it is.  So we all have this connection to the heart as some sort of esoteric organ even though like I said because of this whole stream of science and medicine, we deny that there’s any connection, but even heart surgeons they talk about they have to love their patients and it’s the support of their family that got them through.  I mean, why it’s just this lump of stuff like how does that make any sense?

So to me there’s gotta be a connection.  And the way I put together the connection was first of all love is not something, it has to be unique.  Like you don’t say to your wife, I love you just like I love all the other women.  I mean, you could say that, but I don’t think she would like that, or to your child, oh I love all children just the same as you.  That’s just not what love is.  Love is very unique and specific.  It has to do with the core of your personality and interacting with the world.  It’s who you are.  Now, what’s interesting about the heart unlike other organs as far as I know unlike any organ, is when you do a heart transplant and give the person a new heart, they often take on, not always but often, the actual emotional biographical characteristics of the person who’s the new heart.

Ben:  It’s crazy.

Dr. Tom:  It’s crazy.  It is crazy as if the core of your being, even there’s a story that this guy was a racist and he didn’t like black people, he’s all prejudiced and hated music, and all these, and he gets the heart of a guy we didn’t know who it was.  Next thing you know he’s hanging out in the bars with African American people, and listening to classical violin concertos.

Ben:  And you should know, this doesn’t happen with like kidney, or liver, or lung transplants.  Like it only happens with heart transplants.

Dr. Tom:  Right, and they investigated, they found out that the old heart was from an African American seventeen year old guy who was studying to be a classical violinist.

Ben:  Wow!

Dr. Tom:  I mean, when you read that you just think about it somehow this core of your being which I mean, I don’t know what love is any more than anybody else frankly, but I do think that it’s got to somehow be connected to the core of your being.  Love is not superficial or you don’t say to your wife, I love you a little bit not so much, I have other things that are more important to me.  That’s just not how it works.  So when you talk about the core of your being it seems to be related to your heart.  And again, there’s a very good book written about this called The Heart’s Code by a psychologist who basically counsel heart transplant patients.

Now interestingly, some didn’t have this experience, and his take on them was that they lived basically in conflict.  As if they have a new core but they couldn’t accept it almost like your brain can’t go there.  Like no, this is how I am.  I don’t like music but your heart is saying, you know what, I like it.  I wanna listen to it.  So they live their life in conflict.  Whereas the people who did the best just say, you know what, it’s a new day, I’m gonna just enjoy the music.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s amazing.  That’s really interesting.  So in terms of love how does that fit in to this equation that you’re talking about with organ donors? 

Dr. Tom:  That’s what love is.  Love is connecting with the essence of your being and essentially from there going out into the world.

Ben:  Got it.  So basically love involves the deepest part of our being, our essence, our heart and for us to truly prevent heart disease, or prevent heart attacks it’s not just drinking emu oil, and seating in compression boots, and taking strange Brazilian plant extracts for our parasympathetic nervous system.  It’s also about I guess, all those things that had been shown in books like blue zones to be associated with increased longevity and the highest number of people and that’s gratitude, relationships, family, smiling and love.

Dr. Tom:  And sunlight, and clean water, and food that tastes wonderful, and a life of security and without this constant threat of annihilation, and all the other stuff that we’re faced with.

Ben:  It’s so simple and I love it.  And I wanna thank you, Tom for writing this book and for giving us this crucial information.  You’re doing a lot of good in the world. 

Dr. Tom:  We’ll thank you Ben, I really appreciate you having me and you’ve also brought up a number of things here which I need to know more about, and I’m going to look into.   

Ben:  Well, you just need to go to the show notes just like everybody else. (chuckles) The show notes are over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/cosmic, as in the name of the book that you need to read which is Human Heart, Cosmic Heartbengreenfieldfitness.com/cosmic is where you can get the show notes for everything that we’ve just talked about; the links to Tom’s website and much more.  And in the meantime, Tom thanks for coming on the show.

Dr. Tom:  Thank you, Ben. 

Ben:  And everybody else, have a healthy week.  Until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Dr. Thomas Cowan signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com

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

 

 

I first introduced you to Dr. Thomas Cowan in the podcast episode released a few weeks ago entitled “How (& Why) To Eat More Vegetables, Why A Plant Is Like An Upside-Down Human, Little-Known Superfood Plants & More!

In that episode, you learn how when Dr. Cowan was a 20-year-old Duke grad-student, bright, skeptical, and already disillusioned with industrial capitalism – he joined the Peace Corps in the mid-1970s for a two-year tour in Swaziland. There, he encountered the work of Rudolf Steiner and Weston A. Price – two men whose ideas would fascinate and challenge him for decades to come.

Both drawn to the art of healing and repelled by the way medicine was―and continues to be―practiced in the United States, Cowan returned from Swaziland, went to medical school, and established a practice in New Hampshire and, later, San Francisco. For years, as he raised his three children, suffered the setback of divorce, and struggled with what we didn’t really talk much about in that previous podcast: a heart condition.

He was intrigued by the work of Price and Steiner and, in particular, with Steiner’s provocative claim that the heart is not a pump. Determined to practice medicine in a way that promoted healing rather than compounded ailments, Cowan dedicated himself to understanding whether Steiner’s claim could possibly be true. And if Steiner was correct, what, then, is the heart? What is its true role in the human body?

In his new book “Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease“, which is a deeply personal, rigorous, and riveting account of his own struggle with heart disease, Dr. Cowan offers up a daring claim…

…not only was Steiner correct that the heart is not a pump, but our understanding of heart disease – with its origins in the blood vessels – is completely wrong. And this gross misunderstanding, with its attendant medications and risky surgeries, is the reason heart disease remains the most common cause of death worldwide.

In today’s episode, Dr. Cowan presents a new way of understanding the body’s most central organ. He offers a new look at what it means to be human and how we can best care for ourselves―and one another. During our discussion, you’ll discover: 

-The strange root vegetable (which you probably haven’t heard of) that Dr. Cowan had for breakfast before our interview…[7:56]

-Dr. Cowan’s own heart struggles that caused him to have a heartbeat of over 200 beats per minute while playing basketball…[9:20]

-Why it is physically impossible for the heart to be able to pump blood through the body in the way that you (and your doctor) have learned…[13:25 & 15:25]

-How the way that blood flows through your body is actually quite similar to the way that water flows through a giant, tall tree…[28:45]

-What a “chestahedron” shape is, why is the exact shape of your heart, and how it creates a very unique vortex inside your chest….[40:35]

-How I personally structure my family’s water in a way extremely similar to the way that the heart structures and “spirals” your blood…[42:30]

-Why most doctors don’t know about this concept of the heart not being a pump…[45:50]

-Why coronary angiograms, bypass surgery and stents don’t work…[54:00]

-A strange Brazilian plant molecule called “Gstrophanthin” and why Dr. Cowan talks about it in the book…[66:50]

-How to use fats, oils, vitamin K, parasympathetic nervous system activators and compression therapy to drastically lower your risk of a heart attack…[70:15]

-The single biggest key to preventing heart disease…[76:20]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

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

My interview on structured water “Is All Water The Same” with Dr. Gerald Pollack

The whole house structured water filter Ben uses to create a “vortex” for his drinking water

The NatureBeat heart rate variability system Ben uses every morning to measure his nervous system

The Strophansus extract / ouabain Dr. Cowan mentions

Organic emu oil

Vitamin D/K2 blend

The Normatec recovery compression boots that Ben wears

 

 

 

 

 

Why Your Heart Is Not A Pump (& What Most Doctors Don’t Know About The True Cause Of Heart Disease).

dr-tom-landscap

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

I first introduced you to Dr. Thomas Cowan in the podcast episode released a few weeks ago entitled “How (& Why) To Eat More Vegetables, Why A Plant Is Like An Upside-Down Human, Little-Known Superfood Plants & More!

In that episode, you learn how when Dr. Cowan was a 20-year-old Duke grad-student, bright, skeptical, and already disillusioned with industrial capitalism – he joined the Peace Corps in the mid-1970s for a two-year tour in Swaziland. There, he encountered the work of Rudolf Steiner and Weston A. Price – two men whose ideas would fascinate and challenge him for decades to come.

Both drawn to the art of healing and repelled by the way medicine was―and continues to be―practiced in the United States, Cowan returned from Swaziland, went to medical school, and established a practice in New Hampshire and, later, San Francisco. For years, as he raised his three children, suffered the setback of divorce, and struggled with what we didn’t really talk much about in that previous podcast: a heart condition.

He was intrigued by the work of Price and Steiner and, in particular, with Steiner’s provocative claim that the heart is not a pump. Determined to practice medicine in a way that promoted healing rather than compounded ailments, Cowan dedicated himself to understanding whether Steiner’s claim could possibly be true. And if Steiner was correct, what, then, is the heart? What is its true role in the human body?

In his new book “Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease“, which is a deeply personal, rigorous, and riveting account of his own struggle with heart disease, Dr. Cowan offers up a daring claim…

…not only was Steiner correct that the heart is not a pump, but our understanding of heart disease – with its origins in the blood vessels – is completely wrong. And this gross misunderstanding, with its attendant medications and risky surgeries, is the reason heart disease remains the most common cause of death worldwide.

In today’s episode, Dr. Cowan presents a new way of understanding the body’s most central organ. He offers a new look at what it means to be human and how we can best care for ourselves―and one another. During our discussion, you’ll discover: 

-The strange root vegetable (which you probably haven’t heard of) that Dr. Cowan had for breakfast before our interview…[7:56]

-Dr. Cowan’s own heart struggles that caused him to have a heartbeat of over 200 beats per minute while playing basketball…[9:20]

-Why it is physically impossible for the heart to be able to pump blood through the body in the way that you (and your doctor) have learned…[13:25 & 15:25]

-How the way that blood flows through your body is actually quite similar to the way that water flows through a giant, tall tree…[28:45]

-What a “chestahedron” shape is, why is the exact shape of your heart, and how it creates a very unique vortex inside your chest….[40:35]

-How I personally structure my family’s water in a way extremely similar to the way that the heart structures and “spirals” your blood…[42:30]

-Why most doctors don’t know about this concept of the heart not being a pump…[45:50]

-Why coronary angiograms, bypass surgery and stents don’t work…[54:00]

-A strange Brazilian plant molecule called “Gstrophanthin” and why Dr. Cowan talks about it in the book…[66:50]

-How to use fats, oils, vitamin K, parasympathetic nervous system activators and compression therapy to drastically lower your risk of a heart attack…[70:15]

-The single biggest key to preventing heart disease…[76:20]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

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

My interview on structured water “Is All Water The Same” with Dr. Gerald Pollack

The whole house structured water filter Ben uses to create a “vortex” for his drinking water

The NatureBeat heart rate variability system Ben uses every morning to measure his nervous system

The Strophansus extract / ouabain Dr. Cowan mentions

Organic emu oil

Vitamin D/K2 blend

The Normatec recovery compression boots that Ben wears

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