Introduction: In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: Natural UTI remedies, how to detox your liver, can you drink Bulletproof Coffee everyday, six ways to deal with anxiety, and proven ways to fix muscle cramps.
Brock: So I hear standing is the new sitting.
Ben: Standing is the new sitting and even though I’m a huge proponent of standing because sitting is kinda bad for you, it kills you as most people know who are sitting here slowly dying as they sit there listening to our podcast.
Brock: Getting fatter and fatter until they die.
Ben: Yup, that’s right. I stand now. The past 2 weeks I’ve been standing when I record the podcast and in the past I haven’t really been able to hack together like my microphone computer setup to be able to really stand and now I’m standing and I’m sure that all of our listeners can hear the vitality and the energy and the non-dyingness that’s going on now.
Brock: The non-slow getting fat and dying.
Ben: You know, the other way that you can get more energy and vitality when you’re talking and presenting is you can put food in your underwear. Have you heard about that?
Brock: Yeah! Yeah, I’ve been keeping food in my underwear for a… you know, I was doing it before as popular actually.
Ben: Grapes, mayonnaise, cereal, everything. I’m totally not kidding, I’ve been to a few different seminars who were advice was given totally not kidding you that one of the best ways to put yourself at ease and relax when you’re public speaking or presenting is to put food into your pants or into your underwear. Isn’t it crazy?
Brock: Hmm so, does it have to be on your genitals?
Ben: I don’t know where the food actually goes. I never actually raised my hand and asked that question. I would leave it to someone like you to ask that question but…
Brock: That’s the first thing that I would have done. I can’t believe you didn’t ask that.
Ben: So if you’re a…
Brock: That only as an excuse to say genitals but it’s also be important, the most important thing to know.
Ben: That’s right. If you’re listening in and you have any important talks to give today, presentations at work, seminars, talks to kids, anything like that. What I’d like you to do is go put some food in your pants right now. Give it a try and then write into the show and let us know how that goes.
Brock: This is episode 258, so that means you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/258 to find out the links to all the stuff that we are talking about.
Ben: The latest, greatest news flashes! So, let’s start off talking about runners and the… I love your sound effects. Those are not canned sound effects, that is actually Brock live, beat boxing a male runner.
Brock: I’m totally, I’m that guy from the Police Academy movies.
Ben: That’s right. So, first started that came out on PubMed which apparently may actually due to the lapse in government funding here in the US disappear at some point so…
Brock: Oh, that would suck. That’ll be the worst part of your government not been able to sort itself out.
Ben: Every research that I read this week has had this big warning on the top of it that PubMed maybe disappearing. So, if we actually start just making up research, that’s why because the government just let PubMed fail.
Brock: Yeah, it’s because the Republicans were sort of losers.
Ben: Go Obamacare! Concurrent training in elite male runners, you know what concurrent training is Brock?
Brock: It’s when you train back to back to back to back?
Ben: Well, actually that’s complex training. Concurrent training is when you combine strength training with endurance training.
Brock: Oh yeah! Okay, of course, cool.
Ben: And they did a study. In the past most of the studies that they’ve done were they have compared like what happens when you combine endurance with strength training vs. just doing endurance training. They’ve never really looked at well trained runners like elite runners, it’s always been the kind of general population so they did this study in elite runners to find out if you combine the strength training program with the running program if it would slow you down, speed you up not make any difference at all, that type of thing.
Brock: Make up better in your genes…
Ben: That’s right. So, this was in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, so they had an endurance only group who just continued running and these were highly trained runners and then they had a group that did a strength training with, like exercise bands and body weights stuff and just kinda like hohum you know, the type of stuff you see folks doing in runner’s world magazine or whatever.
Ben: We just lost our entire contingent of runner’s world magazine employees who listen every week I’m sure.
Ben: And then we had a strength group and the strength group actually did like heavy resistants training and plyometric power exercises and then also of course continued their running and what they found was that all of the groups were able to kinda maintain things like their running economy, their VO2max, their maximum heart rate, their rating of perceived exertion, their time trial speed everything. So they’re really first of all no deleterious effects of strength training even heavy strength training and that’s something a lot of runners get concerned about right, increase in muscle mass and you know the potential for decrease economy and efficiency. Not only did none of that happen but there is one group out of those 3 different groups: the running only, the light elastic band stuff and then the strength group. There’s only one group that actually showed a significant improvement in their time trial test and this is for a 3k time trial (3,000 meter time trial) and you know which group it was?
Brock: The combination group.
Ben: Yeah, that’s right. The group that was doing like the heavy strength training along with the endurance training so they were doing strength training, plyometrics, endurance training. That group got the most bang for their buck period. So, here’s a pretty good research, pretty good study that goes to show that if you’re a runner ever if you’re an elite runner, strength training can help you out. So there you go.
Brock: I heard Wilson Kipsang has been doing a combination training.
Ben: That was crazy, marathon world record. What was his time?
Brock: Yeah, 2:23. Two hours and three minutes and 15 seconds faster than Patrick Makau.
Ben: And did you hear that just as he was about to cross the finish line some naked dude like ran out in front of the camera holding some advertisement for a porn website.
Brock: I didn’t. Oh.
Ben: Yeah, he’s crazy.
Brock: He steals the limelight. Well, I guess he didn’t ‘cause I didn’t hear about that.
Ben: Yeah, yeah talk about food in your pants. Anyways so, the next thing I wanted to mention was kind of another study what we’re talking about running and this was also in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research and this one actually was really interesting. They went around and ask a bunch of elite cross-country and track and field coaches about the way that they prepare their athletes to kinda get limbered up or to warm up prior to their races and prior to their training sessions and workouts. And…
Brock: I’m afraid what you’re gonna say next.
Ben: Yup. Even though multiple research studies have shown that static stretching like stretching and holding or yoga style stretching actually slows you down and reduces your peak force capacity and reduces your performance during exercise. The majority…
Brock: And there’s no effect on whether you’re gonna get injured or not.
Ben: Right. No effect on the reduction of injury prevention. We still got the majority of NCAA division 1, division 2 and division 3 cross-country and track and field programs are still having their athletes do this long static stretch holds. Not only in between interval work and their training events but also prior to their races in track and field and this is in the US.
Brock: You know, it’s not a huge surprise this is still like a lot like basketball, football, hockey, all those guys are still doing stretching too. It’s like, I don’t understand when they’re going to give that up.
Ben: Yeah. It’s one of those deals where I think that some track and field and cross-country coaches or football coaches or basketball coaches in general maybe under the impression that eventhough there’s not some kind of a magic performance enhancing effect of static stretching that it’s a good way to address muscular imbalances in an athlete. The reason that I say that is I even heard the… I was actually listening to the Rob Wolf podcast and Rob’s a great guy but I heard him and his podcast partner talking about how static stretching was really good way to improve mobility for something like a squat and the fact is that it’s really very very seldomly limitations in the actual stretching capability of the muscle belly that’s gonna keep you from achieving a range of motion that you want to achieve during a specific activity.
Typically it’s one of two other things that are gonna keep you from achieving that range of motion that you wanna achieve. Even if we’re talking about something like a squat much less a running or a sprinting motion. Number 1 would be cross-linking in your fascia which is that sheath that surrounds your muscle tissue and that’s something that’s address through deep tissue work, through foam rolling, through… a lot of the type of kinda mobility protocols you might see in a book like a, excellent book, Becoming A Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett where he does a lot of kind of like deep tissue work and you’re doing like foam roller, mobility, using even things like barbells to smash muscle tissue and really mobilize fascia and…
Brock: Terrible title, good book.
Ben: Yeah, good book. And Kelly, I don’t remember if he points from that book or he pointed out elsewhere but you know, he said it can be a 12 to 18 month process to really re-invent your body in that manner but that’s one thing, this fascia adhesion so that’s one area that coaches should be coming at mobility from. The other area is simply movement and the ability to recruit certain muscles for example for a squat range of motion, many athletes simply aren’t able to recruit their hip and their glute muscles properly simply because their… whatever they spent long periods of time in a seated positions or their hip flex muscles are shortened and their butt muscles are turned off. There’s a really really good book out there and I’ve actually started to, I used to do yoga almost every morning and I’m gradually making a transition into doing the actual exercises in this book instead every morning. I’m still doing yoga once a week not because it increases my performance or decreases my injury potential but just because I find it relaxing and kinda restoring and decreases blood pressure and improves focus and all that jazz, but this… yeah, exactly. This new program that I’m using is called Foundation and I have the author of this book “Foundation” on the podcast like 2 years ago, Eric Goodman. Excellent, excellent book. I’ll put a link in the show notes but this book has a 10 exercise sequence in it that is designed to align your hips, turn your butt on and open up the exact muscles that allow you to become a better athlete. This is the guy that worked with Lance Armstrong, the US professional water polo team, just a bunch of athletic organizations specifically with the goal of improving posture and improving utilization of what’s called your posterior chain or kinda turning on your butt. So it’s called Foundation Training, it’s shifts the focus from the front of your body to the back of the body. It’s strengthens your posterior chain, corrects your poor movement patterns in the back, maximizes your power, still improves flexibility as well as endurance, the ability to hold a position as well. Fixes back pain, I’m a huge huge fan and it was one of those deals, I’ve known about the book for a long time. I’ve finally made it a point to learn the exercises in the book and I would say that if I could see track and field, cross-country coaches, basketball, football coaches, whatever doing, 2 things: number 1 would be to teach all this foundation exercises to the athletes, number 2 would be to incorporate deep tissue work. You do those 2 things and that’s gonna kick the pants off of static stretching.
Brock: I think you should throw a 3rd thing in there which is turning their butts on.
Ben: Well, that’s what foundation training does. It puts the little red staples button, the easy button, on your butt and you just press it. Boom!
Brock: Yeah, I’ve been madly trying to think of some kind of joke of like turning Lance Armstrong butt on.
Ben: It’s like Rudolf the red nose reindeer except it’s the button side of the nose just start to glow up globe red. Hey, I see your butts on. Uhm, alright.
Ben: One other thing I wanted to mention was a study that came out that looked at cross reactivity. The title of this study was Cross-Reaction between Gliadin and Different Food and Tissue Antigens. That’s sounds like a mouthful literally but what it looked into was the ability of certain foods to cross react with glutein. And the reason that this is important is because even if you’re not super duper gluten sensitive there are some foods that you can combine, you know, for example foods that might have trace amounts of gluten that you can combine with other foods and you can really do a number on your gut if you happen to combine certain foods.
And this study looks into the foods have the highest potential to be cross-reactive with gluten. If you’re trying to fix your gut, if you’re trying to go gluten free, if you have issues and you suspect you have issues with celiac, if you’ve been eating a poor diet for a long period of time and you have a leaky gut or a damaged gut, this is really important for you to listen to because if you’ve decided that you’re gonna eliminate wheat or you gonna be really careful with wheat. There are few other things that you’re gonna be careful with as well especially if you happen to still be, you know, getting in trace amounts of gluten here and there. Some of the big ones that they found in terms of immune reactivity or cross-reactivity in this study were milk, and specifically cow’s milk as well as milk chocolate or chocolate made from cow’s milk, oats were pretty high up there, as was corn and instant coffee. Really, really interesting to that is instant coffee. So one of the worst things you could do for your stomach would be to have for example coffee and a gluten containing food like coffee and oatmeal for example. A typical breakfast for a lot of people can actually be an extremely cross reactive combination. So the reason for that is that there are foods that are naturally gluten free like chocolate like coffee but they contain proteins that are so similar to gluten that your body can confuse those proteins for gluten and when you eat those foods your body and your immune system can react very similarly to if you just take out a bowl of whole wheat pasta for example and that’s specially an issue when you combine those foods with trace amounts of gluten here and there in your diet. So, understanding the concept of cross-reactivity is really important and if you gonna go gluten free or you gonna go through a period of time where you wanna say “fix your gut” or maybe or even preparing for an athletic event or you just want your gut to be as primed as possible and really eliminate any type of increased permeability in your gut or leaky gut or potential for a free to have kind of a gut explosion so to speak when you’re out there competing. I would really be careful with instant coffee, I would not be doing a lot of oatmeal, I would be careful with chocolate especially milk chocolate. Those are some of the biggies that they found, also yeast containing foods or another biggie in the study but I’ll link to it in the show notes if you wanna see a full list of the foods that they’ve found, those are some of the big ones that they’ve found with cross issues.
Brock: You know, I don’t wanna see the list. This is the… I’ve 2 reactions to this study. The first one is, is there anything that we can eat? I’m starting to the…
Ben: Oh yeah! I mean…
Brock: point words like you’re cutting out gluten and you’re cutting out now you’re cutting out stuff that’s reactive with gluten. It’s getting so limited and I understand the dangers and all that but at the same time, it’s so disheartening.
Ben: Dude, go read the chapter I wrote in my book and it’s available for free on bengreenfieldfitness.com. It’s called 40 Easy Meals, yeah, 40 Easy Meals for Athletes and I mean it just gives you list of all your nutrient dense food, your salmon, your grass-fed beef, your seaweed, your nori, even things like white rice, sweet potatoes, yams, cauliflower, nutrient dense vegetables, all these stuff I mean there’s a cornucopia of foods that you can eat that incredibly nourishing to the body. It’s just a matter of thinking outside the typical westernize diet we’ve kinda been lead to follow as the easy way out.
Brock: I guess I need to look at the list ‘cause it just seems like obviously the one you listed right now, I don’t need a lot of milk chocolate, I don’t need instant coffee, I mean, why would you do that to yourself. Those are easy to avoid but I’m afraid that this just gonna have like other stuff on it that just takes all the fun out of eating.
Ben: No, it really doesn’t, I mean, it’s mostly foods that you would find in like package boxes in the cereal section of the grocery store. It’s really, it’s a lot of foods that you typically find packaged processed and the foods that you probably wouldn’t want to be staples in your diet anyways. So…
Brock: Okay, I feel better.
Ben: So, good, good I’m glad you feel better.
Brock: I was scared I was kinda like shaky and sweaty there for a second…
Ben: I was afraid we’re going to end the podcast right there.
Brock: Yeah, me too. Okay, shake it.
Brock: Pre-mature ventricular contraction.
Ben: Hmm, pre-mature ventricular contraction not similar at all to the other pre-mature issues that we experience in medicine.
That’s a, it’s a heart palpitation and it’s one of the multiple issues that was unveiled to be wrong with me and my heart.
Brock: Oh, we saw 2 things just the PVC and the enlarged left ventricle. Basically, it was pointing to the fact that you’re the heart of a 50 yr old man.
Ben: So, I just published my complete medical results. It was pointed out to me actually by one of the people who is looking at the app that actually my personal phone number and address are in there so I gotta go back and block those out but I just published the full medical results of the heart scan that I did to determine what 10 years of extreme endurance exercises done to my heart. Just published that to the Ben Greenfield fitness premium section which you can…
Brock: You have to pay 10 dollars a year.
Ben: It’s at bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium just published that, I’ve got a follow up post to follow up interview with the heart doc. Bunch of stuff coming down the pipeline that I’m gonna add to that but for now, for those who wanna jump the gun just go check out my results, check out the EKG (the electrocardiogram ultrasound) everything. Just published all that to the app basically like last night. So, that’s all there if you wanna check bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium and you can see whether or not I’m gonna drop dead of a heart explosion (to bar the highly scientific term).
Brock: It’s weird we have gut explosion and a heart explosion on this podcast. Good!
Ben: That’s right and speaking of exploding, the holidays are approaching – cookies, fruitcakes, turkey, beer, punch, everything, the green bean casserole with a little crunchy noodles on top of it.
Brock: Everything has pumpkin in it.
Ben: That’s right and pumpkin. So, October 4th which is, actually in 2 days if you’re listening in this podcast when it comes out, October 4th my wife and I are doing our monthly webinar for the Ben Greenfield Inner Circle. And this month we’re gonna be teaching you how to get through the holidays and maintain your physique and maintain your six pack abs and your tight butt and all that jazz. Brock thinks that we’re just gonna tell people to zip their mouth shut during the holidays.
Brock: Just to avoid everything, stay at home, lock the doors.
Ben: We’re gonna talk about some of our recipes, some of the desserts that we use, some of the ways that we prepare our thanksgiving and our holiday meals. And even though incidentally this year we’ll be celebrating thanksgiving in Thailand, so it will be chicken pad thai for thanksgiving. Either way though, we’re gonna go over all of that in this month’s inner circle webinar so you can check that out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle, tons of other goodies in there including over 3,000 different form threads on a variety of different lifestyle and health and nutrition topics so check that out in the inner circle.
Brock: Yeah, not only are you guys are very in there but you’ve got some very active smart folks over there as well and they’re filling in the gaps.
Ben: And then also for those of you who are into ironman triathlon, Brock and I, I’m headed over to Kona to compete in the Ironman World Championship. Brock is headed over to Kona to…
Brock: To drink and lay down on the beach and…
Ben: Lord knows what. That’s right, drink rhum.
Brock: For all things are ironman triathletes?
Ben: That’s actually, this upcoming week is the official week that pre-orders open for my brand new book “Beyond Training” and Brock’s gonna be down there as well. So, any of you coming to the big island of Hawaii, be sure to check out or keep your eyes peeled to twitter.com/bengreenfield to see where Brock and I will be where we’re doing the secret lunch party and the meet up, everything we’re gonna keep posted up on the twitter page as well as over facebook.com/BGfitness. So stay tuned to that and of course we are spending a little bit of money to actually get our plane tickets and hotels and everything to be down there in Kona.
Brock: Stay fed.
Ben: That’s right to stay fed and drunk and everything like that so if you want to help to donate to the cause of Brock’s rhum addiction then go to show notes for this episode, bengreenfieldfitness.com/258 and you can just click to help donate to the podcast and by donating to the podcast you’ll allow Brock to buy lots and lots of floral print t-shirts in Kona and also ensure that the Kona coverage is magical.
Brock: Yeah! Really that some, if anybody has anything that they absolutely would like to see or know or I don’t know, or take pictures of or something from the Ironman World Championships, let me know ‘cause I’m gonna be running around. I’m looking for ideas, looking for suggestions, things you wanna see. I actually followed Ben from the condo to the start line of the ironman Canada and it turned out that everybody really liked that. I was just doing it ‘cause I had nothing else to do but if there’s anything else like that you’d like to see, let me know.
Ben: Such as running dude across the finish line…
Brock: Yeah, right in front of the…
Ben: … just as the men’s champions about to finish.
Brock: I’m gonna wait ‘til the women’s champion to be honest.
Rayne: Hey Ben and Brock, I wanted to share a success story with you guys. I had a breakthrough and just really wanted to say thank you! So after listening to your podcast I was inspired, I have to change my eating habit and get my act together. Transition to a low carb eating stuff I increased fats, water, protein and it’s still going very very well. I lost a bunch of body weight and body fat percentage as well. I’m a pretty big guy, I’m 6 foot 2, 230 pounds and body fat down around 15% right now. The true trial broke in this weekend when I ran the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim. It’s about 48 miles and 11000 feet of climbing and 11000 feet of descent. I’ve been doing ultras for a number of years and I’ve always used a hammer nutrition products and always been in the 250-350 caloric intake range and I had some success with that but I think at older my body fat slowly increased. I got about actually about 240 lbs of 20 something percent body fat. I concluded I’m acceptable. So, going into this year’s Grand Canyon run I decided to try something completely new which I hadn’t done before. I used Ucan Superstarch, Vespa and a couple of nut butter packets for the entire run. The entire way I felt fantastic, nice even energy, nice and I felt relatively strong throughout the whole entire thing as well as can be expected with all the descent and climbing. In the last couple of miles I started to feel a little bit sleepy, I busted out some sports jelly beans that I had held in reserve and a little bit of glucose and caffeine that was there perked me up just enough and I flew out of the Canyon with a total run time of just over 13 hours. For the entire day I consumed just under 200 grams of carbs and have about 88 calories per hour which is a significant departure from my previous load. I felt wonderful the entire day and was really excited about transitioning into this method of a little bit more fat adapted approach to endurance athletics. So, thank you Ben and Brock, really appreciate all of your guides and information and your podcast and happy trails!
Ben: Wow, running the Grand Canyon rim to rim race at 230 lbs is no joke. That’s…
Brock: No! And to tell you that any weight is no joke.
Ben: That’s pretty good.
Brock: That’s awesome.
Ben: That’s pretty good especially on a low carb diet and those of you who have been over on the facebook page know that I was called out by the 30 bananas a day guy during rider in a recent video. By the way, guess who email me last night and who’s gonna be on the podcast.
Brock: Oh right! The man‘s coming on the podcast that is in a, learn your name.
Ben: I’m interviewing him the week after Hawaii hopefully between now then he learns that my name is not Gran Benfield and yeah, we’re gonna get down and dirty and talk about the 30 bananas a day thing so stay tuned for that. That’s gonna be an interesting podcast so that will be coming out in a couple of weeks.
Brock: There’s something terrible about social media that everybody can really come across this being probably more aggressive and more of a jerk than they actually are so this is a great opportunity to show that I mean both of you can have the opportunity to be civilized normal people and have great conversation so that’s…
Ben: Uhm, yeah both of us can be complete assholes too. So, get ready.
Brock: That you could go that way as well. But don’t.
Craig: Hey Ben this is Craig from Birmingham. I have a friend who’s in her mid-70’s and often struggles with urinary tract infections and she’s done everything the doctors have advice and it really doesn’t help, it just seems to recur.
So, I wondered what you might have to say on that subject. Thanks! Love the podcast and Brock didn’t wanna leave you out, thanks for all your contributions as well.
Brock: Urinary tract infection is no fun. I don’t know if you ever had one Ben but I have had 2 in my life and man, it’s like you’re finished peeing and immediately feel like you need to pee again. It’s just been the whole day doing a little dance.
Ben: Never ever had the burning pee. Had to help out some people with it though my ah, my ah, well I wanna name names but I had folks who had help out with it. So first of all…
Brock: It’s not an embarrassing thing. I hope people know that having UTI is not a shameful event, it’s just a thing that happens.
Ben: Yeah, so there was actually, for those of you who aren’t aware of The SexyBack Summit. A lot of people think that’s just a kind of something about how to have better sex but the sexy back is something…
Brock: I thought it’s Justin Timberlake.
Ben: It’s a… That too! It’s 24 different presentations on things related to sex relationships, caring for your genitals, etc. And there’s an…
Brock: That’s the 3rd time we’ve said genitals on the podcast.
Ben: That is! We’re on a roll, we’re on a roll. One of the presentations in there is given by a gal named Christa Orecchio and she has a really good presentation in there called Why We Get UTIs, Yeast Infections and Candida and How to Knock Them Out For Good. Now, I’m not gonna give way everything in there ‘cause honestly it’s something that you’re supposed to go and purchase and it’s well worth. I don’t remember how much the SexyBack Summit cost but I can give you a few little take-aways that Christa goes into in that episode because it’s really really useful. So, first of all she gives some specific precautions that you can take to prevent developing a UTI in the first place. No.1 is to urinate after you have sex, no. 2 is to drink a lot of water especially if you have a new partner or if you’re someone who’s prone to UTIs in and around sexual activities especially very important time to flush the system so to speak so keep one of those little gerbil water bottle things maybe above the bed and you just kinda drink from that like a straw, you know, in between your…
Brock: That same gerbil and sex in the same paragraph made me really uncomfortable.
Ben: So, let’s jump in to some of the nutrient protocols that she recommends. The first is the d-mannose and d-mannose is a sugar that disrupts the adherence of bacteria to the urinary tract wall and you would actually time your d-mannose to be taken after sexual activity if a UTI is something that you experience. Cranberry extract acts similarly to d-mannose but really doesn’t hold the candle to it in terms of effectiveness. So d-mannose, you can get it in a capsule form or you can get it in a tincture form. I’ll put a link in the show notes to a couple different versions, good versions of d-mannose and that’s one thing that can come in really handy. Another thing…
Brock: That’s interesting. That’s the cranberry juice is a thing that took care of both of my UTIs just like right away too just like big glass that 2 hours later right just ring.
Ben: Well, Dr. Orecchio says that d-mannose works even better so there you go.
Brock: That’s awesome! And you probably you don’t have to drink the whole crap load of ocean’s spray fructose, sucrose and earns her up.
Ben: So in the beginning phases of a UTI, few other things that you can do that help to stop and extract are to eat lots of steamed asparagus, asparagus similarly to d-mannose can help to disrupt the adherence of the bacteria to the urinary tract. You can also if you’re steaming the asparagus drink the water that you steamed it in and adding garlic. The sulfates in the garlic can actually help to activate those components of the asparagus as well.
Brock: And the other fishes…
Ben: Full strength probiotic as well as the use of fermented foods like kiefer, kimchi, raw sauerkraut all of those can help out quite a bit. There’s also an herb that is incredibly powerful kinda flies under the radar but it can potentially work even better than D-mannose and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes, it’s called Uva Ursi U-v-a U-r-s-i Uva Ursi.
It’s an herb that can literally knockout about 90% of UTIs so that’s another one that I’d look into if you really want to get down and dirty and listen to the full presentation that Christa on UTIs, I’d recommend that you do so ‘cause I’ve really only scratch the surface of some of the stuff that she talks about. But those are few of the areas I would start with would be D-mannose and Uva Ursi for supplements. Asparagus, garlic, fermented foods like kiefer, kimchi and sauerkraut, a good therapeutic strength probiotic, lots of water and all that stuff will help out.
Kristopher: Hi Ben, it’s Kris in Atlanta. Big fan of the show. So I’ve been running for about 3 years of ultra distance for the past year or so and I’ve been pretty healthy throughout those 3 years but prior to that I was actually a chronic hard drug user and I’m curious if maybe that left some long lasting damage to my body. I just went through a wellness FX blood test, performance blood test, everything looks fairly good. I have slightly elevated ALT, liver enzymes but you know, otherwise everything is pretty good but I wonder if there’s something specific I should be looking at to determine maybe if there’s something that I need to address and if so is there a specific detox protocol that I should maybe consider. So love to hear your thoughts on that. I hope you survive in your zombie apocalypse training and again love the show. Thanks!
Brock: That’s very cool Kristopher, good work turning your life around and it’s only one who’s going to take it to the next level as well. That’s good on yah.
Ben: Yes, certainly, certainly. And of course, I mean it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that you know, having been a chronic hard drug abuser, it’s gonna mess up your liver a little bit just because that’s the detox organ. So I’ve had some people go through the Wellness Performance blood panel which is a really good panel and then I think it’s pretty much available in 50 states now so anybody can get the Wellness FX Performance Panel and it gives you like your complete blood count and your liver enzymes, your kidneys, your electrolytes, your thyroid, everything. I have a lot of folks that I put through that panel. We’ll link to it in the show notes. As Kristopher says, it will show your liver enzymes and see those elevated many times simply because people have exercised the day before the test even doing as something as simple as a hard exercise session the day before you go in a test that includes liver enzymes can cause a little bit of liver inflammation and it can cause those enzymes to be slightly elevated. But the way that this works is the liver filters and it processes blood as it circulates through your body and metabolizes nutrients and it detoxifies substances like pharmaceuticals or alcohol. It makes blood clotting proteins and it performs a lot of other pretty vital functions and all the cells that are in your liver contain protein called enzymes that drive all of these chemical reactions so when the liver cells get damaged or they get destroyed, the enzymes that are in these cells leak out into the blood and when you get a blood test it will pick up the presence of these enzymes. So one enzyme for example is called aspartate aminotransferase and that’s abbreviated AST on the liver test. That one you’ll find in muscles as well as liver and that’s why sometimes AST will be elevated on a liver enzyme test when in fact it’s more coming from muscle breakdown than it is from liver and that’s where you’d see something like that elevated from someone having exercised the day before they’re going for blood test.
Ben: Alanine aminotransferase abbreviated ALT, that’s more exclusively found in the liver. So, it would be a little bit more concerning if you found both ALT and AST elevated in the blood, that’s more indicatory of liver damage than just AST being elevated which could just mean you worked out hard the day before. There are some other liver enzymes that you can have tested everything from alkaline phosphatise to another one called gamma glutamyl transpeptidase which is abbreviated GGT. Most of the time basic liver test is just gonna test your ALT and your AST, those first 2 I mentioned but there are bunch of others that you could potentially test in a form of liver function test as well if you wanted to dig in to whether or not there was really significant liver disease.
Now the liver also makes albumin which is a protein that circulates in the blood and you’ll find albumin levels to actually be low in people who have damaged liver because the liver is not making normal amounts of albumin. Bilirubin is another component that you’ll see in a liver function test and that’s the waste product that’s made from the breakdown of red blood cells and the liver processes bilirubin so it can be excreted in your stool. Bilirubin flows to your liver’s bile ducts and it gets dissolved in bile and you’ll find that if people have issues with their gallbladder or impaired bile flow or even some issues with their liver, bilirubin levels tend to be elevated as well. However, this is another one because it’s produced in the breakdown of blood cells in really active people if you look at the liver panel sometimes you do see bilirubin elevated as well. So bilirubin and AST would be 2 things that I personally tend to see elevated on a lot of people’s panels but I’m not that concern about unless you also see things like elevated ALT. Now the thing is that once you find out that something is going on with the liver, you know, this kinda gets to the meat of Kristopher’s question, should you do a cleanse, should you do a detox. What can you do if you have you know say, high ALT, high AST, high bilirubin, you know that you’ve taken your pharmaceuticals in the past, you’ve been drinking lots of alcohol and you’ve pretty much got a lot of science point to the fact that your liver is probably a little bit beat up and need some TLC. So what you can do is first of all understand that there are kind of 2 different detoxification pathways in the liver. So the liver has this 2 different mechanisms via which it gets rid of a lot of the compounds that has to get rid of or detoxify everything from contaminants, pollutants, insecticides, pesticides, food additives, drugs, alcohol, everything. There’s a phase 1 pathway and a phase 2 pathway, so what you wanna do if you gonna detox or if you gonna cleanse, if you gonna take care of the liver is you wanna address both pathways. So the phase 1 pathway of liver detoxification consists of oxidation and reduction reactions combined with what’s called hydrolysis or breaking things down with water essentially. To put it simply this pathway will convert a toxic chemical into a less harmful chemical and this is achieved via the use of antioxidant so antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E and the natural carotenoids you’ll gonna find in like vegetables and fruits and things like that. If you don’t have enough antioxidants in your diet or antioxidants are lacking because you have high levels of exercise or toxin exposure then phase 1 detoxification pathways in your liver can get really impaired. So some of the things that can cause kind of an overworking of the phase 1 detoxification pathways or a limitation of their ability to operate properly would be things like excessive caffeine intake, excessive alcohol intake, excessive intake of like processed fats or animal fats that are laden with like hormones and antibiotics and stuff like that. Exhaust fumes, pollution, high amounts of estrogens from like plastics or you know, birth control pills, stuff like that, all of that stuff can affect phase 1 detoxification. Now the things that you’d wanna put into your diet though it actually help you with phase 1 detoxification would first of all as you would probably suspect be anything that would be considered like a full spectrum antioxidant. So I’m a big fan, there’s 1 supplement called Lifeshotz that’s a full spectrum antioxidant. I’m a big fan of that one. Unsweetened grape fruit juice can really help with that phase 1 detoxification pathway as well. If you have a juicer for example and you juice grape fruit, that’s really really good for the phase 1 part of the detox pathway. Curcumin which is the yellow compound that gives turmeric its yellow color, I’m a big fan of high dose curcumin for supporting that phase 1 detox pathway. I always slam a good 1-2 grams of curcumin from Phenocane which is a kind of a natural pain killing supplement I used if I’ve been drinking a lot of alcohol. So, we’ll definitely have to take a few suitcases of curcumin to Kona Brock.
Brock: I’ve already got mine and my glutathione.
Ben: That’s right. Curcumin, grapefruit, a good full spectrum antioxidant, all of that stuff can help to support the phase 1 pathway.
Magnesium is another really important component of the phase 1 pathway so using like a natural calm magnesium for example before you go to bed at night and then what are called indoles from cruciferous vegetables including like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, stuff like that, all of those can help with the phase 1 detox pathway in the liver. So…
Brock: What’s it called? Indole?
Brock: Oh, okay.
Ben: So getting those into the diet can really help with the phase 1 pathway. Now there’s of course 2 different pathways, once you’ve hydrolized and you’ve oxidized or reduced those specific compounds, they actually have to be bound and removed and kinda passed on into your stool and taken out of your body and that’s part of the phase 2 pathway called the conjugation pathway, the phase 2 detoxification pathway in the liver and that’s where the liver is gonna add a substance specifically it’s usually a molecule like cysteine or glycine or sulphur molecule to a chemical to a drug to a component in the liver to make it less harmful and to allow it to be excreted from the body in the bile, the urine or the stool or whatever. So there are some major sulphur containing compounds and some really important molecules that you wanna have in your body to support this pathway as well. One of the most important ones that you may have heard it before is glutathione. I’m a big big fan of using like a liposomal glutathione as a binder for the phase 2 detoxification pathway. Any sulphur containing food can also really really help with this like garlic, onions, along with those cruciferous vegetables I mentioned earlier like broccoli and cauliflower and asparagus and stuff like that, that can help out as well. Chlorella is a really good detoxification support for that phase 2 pathway, it also helps to bind toxic substances. You could use something like a there’s those little green tablets that you can eat. One is called energybits, that’s spirulina but that same company at energybits.com they also make one called recovery bits and that’s chlorella. It’s a hundred percent organic broken cell wall chlorella.
Brock: Ah, I didn’t realize they were 2 different supplements.
Ben: Yeah, that’s why they call them 2 different names. So that one’s really good, there’s a discount, they give us a discount code we can use on that, I believe it’s BEN actually I think either BEN or GREENFIELD either one in all caps will give you a 10% discount over at energybits.com on that stuff. Charcoal, activated charcoal works really really well as a binder also. So that’s another one that you can use to support that phase 2 detoxification pathway and these are all things that you could use for a 30-60 day protocol for like a liver cleanse and there are some of these things that you can use on a daily basis like cruciferous vegetables, garlic, onions things of that nature just as your daily support. I’m also a fan of using a full spectrum antioxidant on a daily basis as well like that Lifeshotz packet. Now just a couple other things to bear in mind when it comes to liver detox, milk thistle extract is another good one. There is a supplement called CapraCleanse that I like that’s got some really good detoxification compounds including milk thistle extract in it that be you know, if you’re gonna put a bunch of stuff together and do like a gold standard liver detox, you’d do something like you’d get that CapraCleanse and do anywhere from 4-8 of those a day, you do 1 packet of Lifeshotz a day, you would take either activated charcoal or chlorella, I would necessary do both, one or the other would be fine and then the liposomal glutathione and you could do all that along with the high intake of cruciferous vegetables and a lot of water and that be really kind of natural cleanse that wouldn’t have you spending to too much money on like of this fancy liver cleansing packages. One of the things I would consider would just be like liver cleansing juice. There’s some really good juicing recipes out there and some natural things that you can juice that have really good liver cleansing properties. I’m a fan of taking lemon, like the juice of a whole lemon and putting it in a juicer along with about a golf ball size piece of ginger, and ginger by the way is really really good at preventing and treating fatty liver disease as well as lessening the amount of oxidative stress in the liver. That’s another good one, and acts kinda similarly to curcumin in that respect. Some cilantro which is another really good detox, some garlic and then some mint and you can juice all of that, you can add a little bit of like a Himalayan sea salt and a then little bit of flaxseed oil and flaxseed oil can also reduce the levels of fats that accumulate in the liver and help to reduce risk of fatty liver disease.
You can put all of that together, juice it and make literally like a liver cleansing juice so again you take some lemons, you do some ginger root, you do some flaxseed oil, you can put some garlic in there, you can do a little bit of mint and then you put all that together, you juice it, you add a little bit of sea salt and that’s a really nice detox recipe for the liver.
Brock: I did a liver cleanse a few years ago that was, almost that same recipe except it had olive oil in it as well.
Ben: Yeah olive oil works okay, flaxseed oil though actually works a little bit better when you’re looking at like a liver detox. You could use just a basic cold pressed organic flax oil. So…
Brock: It taste better too ‘cause the olive oil didn’t go well with citrus.
Ben: Yeah, yeah and you really wanna make sure your liver cleansing juice is worthy of master chef. So, so there you go, that’s your liver cleansing detox juice recipe and if you’ve got your own liver cleansing detox juice recipe ‘cause I know there’s a lot of juicers that are listening to the show, leave your comments in the show notes for Kristopher if you’ve got some other juicing recipes that you like but I think that it’s really really handy kind of a self medicating tool to have around like a good masticating juicer or good juicer in your kitchen, juicer and a smoothie I think are really good kitchen tools to have around for stuff like this.
Brock: A blender…
Ben: That’s right. Juicer and a blender, what did I say?
Brock: A smoothie.
Ben: A smoothie, well yeah, a…
Brock: That’s it, you make a smoothie…I just use a hammer personally that’s… it works really well and a good stainless steel bowl and a hammer.
Ben: A hammer and a nutcracker and then you just like keep a little tame squirrel around to chew on stuff or if you really want to take out the big guns of beaver, keep a beaver around.
Brock: Our squirrels are pretty big around here.
Ben: Yeah that’s true, you’re up in Canada. You have beaver size squirrels.
Allie: Hi Ben and Brock, thanks for all the great work on the podcast. Question about bulletproof coffee, do you think it’s a good idea to just use it everyday consistently or is it better to take a day or two off a week from using bulletproof coffee? I have used it a couple of times and I like the effect but I’m just thinking that taking it a few days off a week and saving it for “big days” would be more effective than using it everyday. Thank you very much, bye.
Brock: You know lately I’ve been having bulletproof coffee like maybe 4 or 5 times a week but personally I can’t do it everyday just because I get bored. I like breakfast food.
Ben: You know, if you’re listening and you don’t know what bulletproof coffee is, it’s just where you take coffee and you brew it and technically bulletproof is trademarked by Dave Asprey’s upgraded self company and you blend your coffee with medium chained triglyceride oil, butter, and then maybe some other flavorings like a little bit of cinnamon or some chocolate powder or stevia or something like that. You could technically do it everyday but there are a few issues that I think you need to be careful with. First of all, for somebody like me for anybody who’s out there competing, you wanna keep your body really sensitive to caffeine. We talked about this on a podcast a few weeks ago but you’ve got this adenosine receptors in your brain and they can actually get desensitize to the effects of caffeine and generally although a week or two of no caffeine about every couple of months or so. So my body is really sensitive to the effects of caffeine and like right now getting ready for Ironman Hawaii, all I’m drinking is decaf. There would be no issues with you doing something like bulletproof coffee everyday if you wanted to do that but I would recommend that you consider using decaf coffee every now and again if you’re gonna do it and in the past there really hasn’t been a very very good clean source of decaf coffee. I know that Dave Asprey’s company now does like a Swiss process of what’s called a Swiss water treated coffee. That’s really really good way to decaffeinate a coffee, what it does is it’s simply takes a green coffee extract and it soaks coffee beans in that green coffee extract that has had its caffeine removed and so that’s naturally kinda sucks the caffeine out of these coffee beans and then you can roast them but there’s no actual chemical used in the decaffeination process.
And there’s been some really good studies on the benefits of decaffeinated coffee. It can improve blood flow to the brain, it can have some pretty good effects on decreasing your risk for diabetes, it can improve your carbohydrate metabolism specifically how it does that, as well as your insulin sensitivity, decaf coffee beans have just as many antioxidants in them as regular coffee. The one thing that you’re missing out on with the decaf is that you don’t get the caffeine high that you might get from a cup of bulletproof coffee in the morning but one thing you should remember is that caffeine can actually inhibit what’s called mTOR which stands for mammalian target of rapamycin and mTOR is a mechanism that increases protein synthesis in your muscles especially after exercise so if you’re exercising say in the morning and then doing a couple bulletproof coffee technically the caffeine in that bulletproof coffee could inhibit a little bit of your muscle rebuilding or muscle repairing response in which case you’d want to opt for more of like a decaf version of a bulletproof coffee rather than a regular version. So, I would say that the bigger thing to consider here would not be whether or not you could drink something like bulletproof coffee everyday but whether you should have the caffeinated or decaffeinated version. I personally save my bulletproof coffee consumption for big workouts or before races like prior to Ironman Hawaii I will do a big old cup of bulletproof coffee meaning I’ll do you know, a good 16 ounces or so, it will have a half stick of butter in it, it will have about 2 big tbps of MCT oil and it will have some cinnamon, it will have some chocolate and it will all get blended up and that’s why will all drink as my pre-ironman meal and I won’t have anything else until I come out of the swim and I’m getting ready to get on the bike until that point I’ll just be burning pure fats driven by caffeine across the blood-brain barrier and it’s a really really cool feeling for me on race morning or something like that. You know, I’m a bigger fan of doing like a smoothie in the morning, I just enjoy a nice kale smoothie that I add some coconut milk and stuff like that too, I’m not a huge huge fan of drinking necessarily like the high fat coffee every morning, I do use Dave Asprey’s upgraded coffee every morning as my coffee of choice sometimes decaf sometimes regular but a lot of times I just used a coffee and I don’t actually have the fat and everything to it. If you were doing coffee everyday you could but I would definitely make sure that you use decaf as well as regular.
Brock: I think the study that we talked about a couple of weeks ago, the conclusion was that if you were to alternate 2 weeks on 1 week off with caffeinated to decaffeinated coffee that you’d be able to maintain those pathways, is that what you remember too?
Ben: It would actually, you could even do something like a 2 months on and 1 week off. You could do as seldom as that in terms of 2 months of caffeinated coffee followed by a week of decaffeinated coffee and that would still allow your what’s called your adenosine receptors to stay upregulated. So there you go. Man, the propeller hats are really spinning on today’s show I feel like we’re getting pretty nerdy.
Michael: Hey Ben, my name’s Michael, I’m a big fan of the show. I was just wondering what your recommendation would be for like maybe like somewhat with a General Anxiety Disorder combine with maybe some resulting like adrenal fatigue that sort of thing. I’m kinda looking for a more natural approach to treating what I believe is my generalized anxiety disorder but I have been on certain drugs in the past like clonazepam, clonidine, and I know those are kinda addictive and I’ve weaned myself off from those excessively and I’ve been, I’m trying some things like valerian root extract and some St. John’s wort, 5 htp and all those kind of anti-depressant/like an anxiety protocol and it’s been working pretty well but I would just and at the same time I’m still feeling pretty fatigued, feeling little chronic fatigue type syndrome going on and I just wondering what your recommendations would be just for an overall adrenal support supplement diet and lifestyle type program in addition to a natural supplements that can be used to reduce anxiety. Alright, thanks Ben! Love the show, look forward to your response, take care. Babye.
Brock: I’m a bit of an expert in this area.
Brock: If I do say so myself I had some serious anxiety issues for number of years. I have been on SSRIs, I’m been off of SSRIs I’ve been through the cognitive behavior therapy, I’ve done tons of yoga, learned how to do all the deep breathing and I came out the other end, perfectly!
Ben: Perfectly! What did you find made the biggest changes or had the most positive effect for you Brock?
Brock: It would absolutely be the combination of cognitive behaviour therapy like the training that you go through with the type of therapy and breathing exercises and with, I think those 2 things should be taught in like elementary school.
Ben: What kind of breathing exercises that you do?
Brock: I actually, I‘ve 2 different ones that I cycle through like when I can’t sleep, I do count off to find my heartbeat so I’m in time with my own bio-rhythm and I’ll do 8 beats of breathing in and I hold it for 3 beats and then I exhale for 12 beats then hold it out for 3 beats and do that, it only takes about 6 times before I can take myself out of a full blown anxiety attack or just put myself back to sleep if I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and got that, you know, when the brain is just churning and churning, that’s been by far one of the most effective things.
Brock: And it did take some practice. It’s not most things you can go and try the first time and be like, “Oh Brock’s right, this is perfect.” It takes a little while to get your body used to it and to understand that this means to relax and calm down and quiet down and now I can almost think about doing the deep breathing and I get that same kind of cue.
Ben: And you did cognitive behavioral therapy as well.
Brock: Yeah, yeah, that’s the thing that I think everybody should be taught. Just being able to take that step back, see how you’re reacting to things, figure out why you’re reacting that way to them and then decide whether that’s the way you wanna react to it or not and then you program…
Ben: Did you meet with a practitioner for that?
Brock: I did, yeah. I went to, just a weekly thing for a few months like 6 months, not every single week but most weeks and a lot of it involved keeping a journal, doing a bunch of work on my own not necessarily just going into the practitioner all the time but doing a lot of work on my own and it paid off big time.
Ben: Yeah, that’s one of the things. I actually wanted to bring up 6 different recommendations for Michael and the first recommendation that I have for him is something that you just mentioned which is journaling and I believe that in the last podcast I mentioned a new form of journaling that I’m using called The Five-Minute Journal. I think the website is fiveminutejournal.com, I’ll find the url and link to it in the show notes. But it is just 5 minutes of journaling total per day, a few minutes in the morning a few minutes in the evening and it tells you exactly what to do it’s very very kind of a done for you journal, nice little white bound journal that you keep on your bedside and journaling has been one thing that’s been shown to help quite a bit with anxiety. So that would be number 1, number 2 would be, I’d surf over to The HeartMath Institute and at the heart math institute, I’ll link to that in the show notes, they have a couple of different bio-feedback tools that you can use. One is called the EMWave and that is a handheld tool that has a little cable that comes out of it that attaches to your earlobe and collects your heart rate and tracks your heart rate variability but it also comes with software and what you do is you sit in front of your computer as the software collects your pulse data and your heart rate and it brings you through this different techniques in interactive exercises and game play that help to bring your heart and your mind into a very coherent state and they’ve done studies with this that have shown it to reduce anxiety and also help with things like focus and reduce stress and things of that nature. They also on that same website have something a little bit similar not quite as powerful in terms of the desktop software neural feedback feature but it’s called the inner balance trainer and that’s an app for iPhone or iPad same thing, it’s got an earlobe thing that you plug into, it feeds your heart rhythm into the app and it does a little bit less fancy bio-feedback than the desktop software but it has like a breath pacer on it, it shows you your heart rhythm pattern and your hrv and there’s a little bit of education built into that app as well in that censor so the censor and the app and everything put together is $99 and if you were to get like the EMWave and the software and everything like that, that’s closer to like $199. Either one of those would be a pretty good solution though now they both are gonna teach you how to do something called coherence which is a technique in a nutshell in which you notice and admit what you’re feeling, you try to name the feeling that you’re feeling and then you tell yourself to ease up as you gently kinda focus in on your heart and relax as you breathe and ease the stress out.
And over on the HeartMath website they actually have a program that’s called eliminating anxiety and it teaches you how to use these apps and the software that they have specifically to work with anxiety and I know a lot of people have had a lot of success with that so whether you deal with stress, insomnia, lack of sleep, anxiety, anything along those lines, that’s a really good website to go and explore and I’ll link to that one in the show notes for sure.
Brock: Awesome! That’s sounds it would really well with the cognitive behavior therapy ‘cause that would be some sort of an actual like a really feedback mechanism you could that you’re actually achieving something instead of just like hoping you’re feeling better, I like it. I wish I had that one when I’m going through all my problems.
Ben: So, number 1 would be the 5-minute journal, number 2 would be the HeartMath Institute, number 3 is I would certainly look into your neurotransmitter balance and you can actually do self-tests now to do this. I’ll link to this test in the show notes but there’s a test called the neuro-adrenal expanded test which is a test that you can get from DirectLabs and the neuro-adrenal expanded test will test for specific neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, etc. That’s really a good one to see what type of neurotransmitter imbalances that might be present that can really affect your anxiety well-being, your sleep, your stress, your mood, etc. That’s an excellent test and what you can do once you have the results of that test is you can look into if it turns out that you need it, what’s called neurotransmitter repletion and typically these are blends of, what it sounds like you may have tried a little bit before Michael which should be like 5-htp, tyrosine, things of that nature. One really really good blend that I found to work for a lot of people especially folks who have done this neuro-adrenal expanded test and found themselves in need of a little bit repletion is a supplement called travaCor that’s t-r-a-v-a-c-o-r. I actually have some and I’ll keep it on hand for times that I’m really stressed out or when I find that too much work or anxiety is kinda keeping me awake at night but it’s travacor and it’s made by a company called NeuroScience and it’s a really good blend in a really nice ratio of tyrosine and 5-htp and some other relaxing compounds that would be another good one to have on hand so that would be number 4. So, number 1 is the 5-minute journal, number 2 would be to go over to the HeartMath Institute, number 3 would be to look into your neuro-adrenal expanded test, number 4 would look into the supplement called travaCor by NeuroScience, number 5 would be passion flower. Have you ever tried passion flower Brock?
Brock: No, I’ve never heard of it actually.
Ben: So, I’m big on passion flower. I keep a bottle of passion flower extract next to my bedside for if I ever wake up like 3 or 4am and I’ve got just thoughts raging through my head about things I need to take care of the next day, there’s been some really good studies in terms of the effects of passion flower on situational anxiety like stage fright or anxiety about a job interview as well as helping out with anxiety disorders even like panic disorders or social phobias stuff like that. So passion flower works really really similar to like a benzodiazepine or like a valium or something along those lines and it’s specifically influences what are called the gaba receptors in your brain. And gaba is a certain type of brain chemical that helps to promote relaxation by decreasing electrochemical activity in your nerve cells and passion flower is completely a natural way to achieve the same effect as something like valium or diazepam or something like that without actually putting a number on you know, we talked about your liver without causing you have to detox or metabolize pharmaceuticals or get a lot of the addictive effects or something like the diazepam. But you wanna use like a passion flower extract or a passion flower tincture that works best, that would be a liquid form of passion flower, you put in your tongue for about 60-90 seconds and you can use that prior to bed, you can use it when you’re feeling anxious, it may make you feel a little bit sleepy so you’d wanna be careful like pulling it out in the middle of the day or while you’re working at the office, it would be more kinda like a pre-sleep pre-nap type of supplement but it’s almost like an anaesthesia and it has really cool effect in terms of settling you down so I’m big big fan of passion flower for another kind of natural relaxant and anti-anxiety….
Brock: Does it work quite rapidly like you’re saying you take it in the middle of the night if you’re awake.
Ben: It works really rapidly like within a couple of minutes. So, yeah so passion flower extract passion flower tincture like I’ll take that down to Kona for example and I’ll be taking that like the night before the race so I have like a glass of red wine, I do some passion flower extract, you know, hit the sack and it will really help me sleep before the race too.
Brock: But it doesn’t make you groggy in the morning I’m guessing.
Ben: Not at all, not at all. No…no grogginess no.
Brock: I have problems with the diazepam and lorazepam that I was taking I would have like it almost like a hang-over.
Ben: Yeah exactly, exactly so none of that from passion flower, so that would be number 5. And then number 6 would be a book and there’s really good book out there written by a guy name Dr. Kalish and this particular book kinda goes into ways that you can fix your brain, different things that go wrong in terms of neurotransmitters, how to heal your body, how to do it what he calls “mapping your mind” and it’s one of the better books out there when it comes to looking into like fatigue, depression, anxiety, hormone and neurotransmitter imbalances that can affect that I mean there are a lot of other books out there that can be really good for this as well like this one called The Edge Effect, there’s a brand new one called Why Isn’t My Brain Working but this Kalish method one is pretty good so I’ll link to that in the show notes. I have yet to read the book Why Isn’t My Brain Working but I do know that the Kalish book is good, this other one called The Edge Effect is really good book as well that was written by Dr. Eric Braverman but I would recommend that you do a little bit of self education in terms of why, you know, from like a chemical/nutrient/electrical standpoint sometimes you can experience the anxiety as well and that’s a really good resource to do it.
Brock: I wrote 2 books in there if I may to really help me, there’s one called “Taming Your Gremlin: A Guide to Enjoying Yourself”, that’s what a, it’s kinda audit first when you read it, it’s almost like a, it looks like a sort of children’s book but once you start to get over that and get into the meat of the information, it was one of the most helpful books that I came across and the other book would be “When Perfect “Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism” ‘cause I think not necessarily everybody with that has anxiety it’s coming from that same place but I think a lot of people who have general anxiety disorder, it’s a sort of habitual perfectionism.
Ben: The Gremlim, I love it. Cool.
Brock: Yeah, yeah it’s got some illustrations that are quite quite hilarious.
Ben: Taming the Gremlin! So, we’ll put a link to all that stuff from the show notes Michael and hopefully that helps you out.
Christopher: Hey Ben and Brock, my name is Chris Yager from Chicago. I have a question with regards to cramping, it seems I’ve lost a lot of weight recently and I’ve been doing a lot of the paleo type diet training just to a half ironman, do a lot more miles, a lot more endurance like things that I used to and it seems I cramp a lot more especially in the calves, in the hamstrings, in the thighs not so much during training but actually coming out of sleep sometimes in the middle of the night, I actually woken up abruptly by a leg cramp out of nowhere it seems like I can flex my calf hard enough I can actually cause it to cramp whenever I want but I don’t know if there’s something in my diet, dehydration, something I can look into or change or have a supplement or something that could help with the cramping issue ‘cause when your hamstring sucks up it really hurts it pretty debilitating. So that’s, it would be great to hear your thoughts on that, I haven’t heard or read anything from you guys regarding that but I’m sure you’ve made it covered it before but thanks a lot and I look forward to hearing it.
Brock: I get that same thing sometimes when it usually after I exerted myself like I be like stretching my hamstring out or something or stretching my quad out and my hamstring I just like, not up like crazy and all, relax it and then I can do it again and yell not up like crazy and just so weird when that happens. It sounds like Christopher can do that like any time he wants.
Ben: It used to happen to me a lot playing water polo doing the egg beater kick, come on! It was really really hard efforts where I played whole set for the water polo teams. We push people around and you’d get up when we were fighting with somebody in the water in a whole set position doing the egg beater kick as hard as you could way harder than you ever would during training and then it cramped and that’s would be scary ‘cause you start to sink. So, not a good place to cramp.
The explanation typically from muscle cramps goes like this, they say when you exercise you sweat and you release water and electrolytes like sodium and potassium and magnesium and calcium and as you lose the water and you lose the electrolytes your body becomes depleted and since electrolytes help you to conduct nerve impulses to your body that allow your muscles to contract when you lose enough water and you lose enough electrolytes, these nerve impulses become deranged somehow and make your muscles cramp. So that’s the typical explanation for cramping as put out by Gatorade and electrolyte capsule manufacturers, etc.
Brock: Did you really say deranged?
Ben: Deranged. The fact is though that there are several reasons why this probably isn’t the case and there was a recent article we published at bengreenfielfitness.com on why you really get muscle cramps and the myth behind muscle cramps and the basic overview is that first of all sweat has way more water in it and it has electrolytes in it so what happens is when you get dehydrated and you sweat a lot especially if you’re exercising, your blood levels of electrolytes go up a little bit or they stay about the same and your body actually can go for days maintaining plasma levels electrolytes without you taking in any salts at all. They’ve also done studies on athletes who take in electrolytes vs. athletes who don’t and found that there’s really not a huge difference in terms of the amount of cramping in athletes who have the same level of hydration or athletes who are dehydrated or athletes who have a lot of electrolytes on board vs. those who have low electrolytes levels on board. So that doesn’t seem to affect cramping very significantly as well. The next thing to think about is that if dehydration and if lack of electrolytes truly cause cramping, then all of your muscles would go into some kind of an uncontrollable spasm and we see that in severe cases of dehydration and electrolyte deficiency but in most cases it’s just one muscle that tends to spasm like your calf or your leg muscles for example it’s not your full body and so that also tends to kinda suggest there might be something going on here other than just like loss of hydration, loss of electrolytes. Now, the other that you have to realize is that if it were lack of water and lack of electrolytes that actually cause you to cramp then one of the best ways to reverse the cramp or to stop cramping which is basically stretching and resting a muscle or slowing down a little bit, those wouldn’t work because technically you’d still be dehydrated and you’d still have a lack of electrolytes keeping that from occurring. So, what it comes down to is what really causes muscle cramps are a few different things: first of all, it would be pushing yourself harder than what you’re used to in training during something like a race and what happens is your muscle goes into a protective reflex where it feels or senses that you’re pushing your body to the point where you might get injured so there’s what’s called an alpha motor neuron reflex where your body puts that muscle into a shortened protective spasm so that you’re not able to contract it and the fix for that would be to actually push yourself just as hard in training as you push yourself when you’re say racing or competing or in that event where you tend to be cramping so that’ll we number 1. Number 2 would be a lot of times cramping is due to anxiety and stress and just basically focusing too hard you can get that same alpha motor neuron reflex when you do that as well and so trying to relax, being able to breathe and to kinda let go a little bit during a race or the hard workout where you’re cramping that can also help out and that can be incredibly hard to do but it can help. Light and passive stretching can help muscle cramps go away faster especially when you combine them with this type of rest and it’s not that you’re increasing flexibility it’s basically just the slight stretch that almost tells your brain it’s okay to relax the muscle. So light stretch of the muscle can help out a little bit if you find yourself in a middle of a cramp. And then interestingly, even the taste of a salty solution can reverse this alpha motor neuron reflex and this is the interesting study that they did on pickle juice where they found that pickle juice could reduce a cramp and the reason for that is not that the salt in the pickle juice are making their way into the muscle and restoring muscle electrolytes, the reason that we know that is because the reverse of the cramp occurs way too quickly for this to be electrolyte absorption, it’s simply the taste of something salty, you can try pickle juice, you can break open an electrolyte capsule and just damp a little bit into your mouth to reverse that cramp. You could taste anything that’s really salty technically in a pinch you might be like lick your arm, you know, if your arm has a bunch of salt on it and just that taste can help to reverse a cramp as well. Anything salty or kinda vinegary can help with that. We’ll put a link to the full article in the show notes for Christopher to go read but I would recommend that he go check out that article on bengreenfieldfitness.com on 5 Scientific Ways to Stop Muscle Cramps and then the only other thing that I’ve found to be an issue because Chris specifically talks about when he’s asleep this issue is occurring, I have found that a natural muscle relaxant specifically one called natural calm magnesium taking about 400-600 mgs of a natural calm magnesium prior to going to bed at night is one of the best things that I’ve found to help with reversing muscle cramps, relaxing the body and getting rid of this night twitches or this leg cramps, that’s another thing that I would highly recommend if you’re cramping is something that you experience when you’re in bed at night because a lot of times one of things that’s really gets depleted once you start training for something like ironman is magnesium and even though electrolyte deficiencies during training are something that are rarely the cause of muscle cramps I found that sometimes your body just ceases up a little bit if it doesn’t have that natural muscle relaxant magnesium on board when you’re sleep at night so I personally do natural calm magnesium before I go to bed at night every night anyways because it just helps me sleep a little bit but it can also be really good for that night time cramping.
Brock: Excellent! What I’ve only got 1 other question for you then.
Ben: What’s that?
Brock: And that is, do we have an ITunes review this week.
Ben: Oh si, si we do. We have quite a fantastic one. By the way, before we get into our giveaway and our ITunes review, I don’t know if any listeners happen to head over to giftfromben.com but any of you who heard that announce last week probably got access to pretty cool video over at giftfromben.com so if you haven’t yet been over to giftfromben.com visit giftfromben.com ‘cause there’s a free video from Brock and I right there.
Brock: And you’ll see he’s playing with the tennis ball.
Ben: If you’ve no clue what we look like you can also see what Brock and I look like on that video so go to giftfromben.com also don’t forget to go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/love if you wanna share the love and spread the wealth and tell other people about this podcast but of course we also end the podcast with a giveaway and let me tell you we now have on hand brand new Ben Greenfield fitness hats as well as tech shirts like running shirts, the shirts that you can use for workouts, etc. They’re really really cool looking, they’ve got a big BG logo on the front, they say bengreenfieldfitness.com on the back. We’re gonna send anyone who leaves a review, whose review that we read on this podcast a brand spankin’ new Ben Greenfield fitness t-shirt and Ben Greenfield fitness hat and today’s review comes from (interesting title here) WTF2010.
Ben: WTF2010 actually left us a review in Spanish and I am not fluent in Spanish but I’m gonna do my best to read this, he actually titles it, she or she titles it: Maravilloso – which I assumed means marvelous. Maravilloso?
Brock: That seems to be.
Ben: Yeah, alright are we ready? Do you think you might be able to play some Spanish tunes in the background as I read this one Brock?
Brock: Yup, here you go.
Ben: Play some Spanish thing. Alright, here we go. “Ben y Brock son dos excelentes fuentes de informacion relacionada a nutricion, acondicionameinto fisico a todo nivel. Ne es necesario ser un experto ni un extraterrestre para entender y seguir sus recomendaciones para convertirte en un super humano.” Here’s the English, “ Ben and Brock are an excellent source of nutritional and fitness information for listeners of all kind. You don’t need to be an expert nor an extraterrestrial to follow their advise and try to become a super human.” I like the Spanish version better.
Brock: I like it!
Ben: That’s my word of the day! Super Humano! Until next time, until Kona. Go be super humano! Olay! Chachacha!
Oct 2, 2013 Podcast: Natural UTI remedies, how to detox your liver, can you drink BulletProof Coffee every day, six ways to deal with anxiety, and proven ways to fix muscle cramps.
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right, use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form… but be prepared to wait – we prioritize audio questions over text questions.
- Well trained runners benefit from strength training & it doesn’t make you slower at all.
- Kinda sad that cross-country and track and field coaches are still stuck in their old “static stretching” ways. (I also mention book “Foundation Training” here)
- Gluten intolerant or want a better gut? 3 bigs things to avoid: instant coffee, cereal with milk and oatmeal.
October 4, 6:30pm Pacific: “Get Your Ideal Winter Physique” is next Inner Circle webinar. Get in for 10 bucks a month here.
October 8-16: Ben and Brock will be in Kona. Click here to help donate to the cause!
February 6 to March 6, 2014: Want to get into the Perfect Health Diet retreat in Austin, Texas? Click here for all details. Ben Greenfield will be presenting at the Feb 6-Mar 6 retreat.
If you’re looking for a topic we covered in the past – we have released the Ben Greenfield Fitness Top Hits, Vol. 1 on iTunes.
And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – leave your review for a chance to win some!
As compiled, edited and sometimes read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
Testimonial from Rayne @ 00:26:10
I had a break through and wanted to say thank you! After listening to your pod cast I was inspired to get my act together. I’ve been transitioning to a lower carb eating style with increased fats and moderate protein. It’s been going well – lost some weight and body fat %. I’m a relatively large guy, 6’2″, 230 lbs, with approx 15%bf. But the true trial came this weekend when I ran the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim. it’s 48 miles and 11000 feet of climbing. I’ve been running ultras for a number of years and have always used “hammer nutrition” products and consumed around 2-300 calories per hour. For this run I tried something I had never used before (Cardinal sin, I know) I used Ucan super starch, Vespa and a couple of Nut butter packets. I Felt Amazing the entire way. I began to feel sleepy in the final miles so I busted out some sport jelly beans that I had held in reserve and the glucose and caffeine woke me up and I flew out of the Canyon with a total run time of just over 13 hours. For the entire day I consumed just under 200 grams of carbs and approx 88 calories per hour! I never thought that it was possible. Thanks again for your insight and inspiration.
Natural UTI Remedies
Craig says @ 00:29:53
He has a friend who is in her mid-70s who struggles with Urinary Tract Infections. She has tried all the stuff the docs suggested but they still come back. Do you have any ideas?
How To Detox Your Liver
Kristopher says @ 00:35:40
Is currently rather healthy (and an ultra runner) but was a chronic hard drug abuser in the past. He just went through a WellnessFX Performance blood test and everything looks ok (except for elevated ALT, Liver Enzymes). Is there something specific he should be looking for or at? Is there a cleanse or detox he should use to minimize or heal the damage he has done to himself.
In my reply, I mention the following:
–Chlorella from RecoveryBits (use 10% discount code BEN)
Can you drink BulletProof Coffee every day?
Allie says @ 00:52:12
Do you think it is a good idea to use Bulletproof Coffee everyday or should you take a few days off per week and save it for “big days”?
Six Ways To Deal With Anxiety
Michael says @ 00:58:34
What would you recommend for someone with a General Anxiety Disorder and resulting chronic/adrenal fatigue. He is looking for a more natural approach to treating his disorder. He’s been on meds and has weened himself off. Then he tried some natural remedies like valarian, st. john’s wort, and 5-htp. They’ve been working pretty well but he is still feeling fatigued. He is looking for supplements, lifestyle advice, or other remedies.
In my response to Michael, I recommend:
-The Kalish Method book
Proven Ways To Fix Muscle Cramps
Christopher says @ 01:13:13
He recently lost a lot of weight, started eating paleo and started racing Ironman. Since then he has been getting a lot of cramps in calves, hamstrings and thighs. Not necessarily while training or racing but when he is asleep. If he flexes his calf hard enough he can cause it to cramp whenever he wants. Is there something he could add into his diet to help? Could it be dehydration?
In my response to Christopher, I mention the article on muscle cramps and I mention Natural Calm Magnesium.