Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: How To Recover From Lost Sleep, Do Bar Workouts Work, Can Vitamin D Supplement Cause Heart Disease, Is Your Smoothie Killing You 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 for natural movement, get out there! When you’re working all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest effort to see…” All the information you need in one place right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Ben: So Rachel, in an effort to help our listeners get to know you, the new podcast sidekick a little bit better I thought maybe I’d ask you the quintessential question that all podcast were seem to ask each other these days, and that is: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Rachel: (chuckles) Well, actually my daily breakfast is just one big massive mug of coffee.
Ben: I thought you gonna say Vegemite.
Rachel: (laughs) Actually, I do have Vegemite.
Rachel: My favorite… yeah, my favorite thing is to have every American like comes over to our house try Vegemite on toast, and it’s hilarious every time.
Ben: But for breakfast, you just have coffee?
Rachel: I do. Yeah, I love coffee and for some reason I don’t you know, need anything else in the mornings, it’s perfect.
Ben: I would waste away by lunch.
Rachel: Oh, really?
Ben: Actually, there are some times if I have a big dinner party or if I over eat…
Ben: I have a one-two-combo that I use to make sure that it doesn’t all go to my waistline. I’ll use this on like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., I’m gonna sound very orthorexic here…
Ben: But basically I do – I fast until lunch, and I actually set my stopwatch – I’m very competitive with myself. So, if I’m done eating at a big party by like let’s say – whatever, 11 p.m. at night which would be pretty typical for a party, I’ll then set my clock for 16 hours, and I do a 16-hour fast from the bout of over-eating until the next time that I will “allow” myself to eat and then at some point during that fast, I do like a cold soak on like a cold pool…
Rachel: Mmm. Mmm-hmm.
Ben: …cold shower – like a long cold shower – cold water swim. So, that’s the only reason I’m not morbidly obese.
Rachel: That’s a good tip for everyone for this Thanksgiving. And now Ben, you just got back from Helsinki.
Ben: Yeah, just got back a couple of days ago from Helsinki, Finland, so for those of you who are at the big Biohacking Summit over there. Hello, it was awesome to meet you and if I remembered how to say ‘hello’ in Finnish I would say ‘hello’ that way, I think it’s just ‘hey’ as a matter of fact. But Finland is very cool. A lot of mushroom forging, a lot of nude smoke sauna-ing and a lot of dips into the Baltic seas. So, it was quite fun and for any of our listeners who want to go over to Helsinki, Finland next year, we actually have the registration open for next year’s Biohacker’s Summit, and we’ll put it in the show notes. If you go to the show notes for this episode, you can get all the goodness that Rachel and I wind up talking about and that’s gonna be at bengreenfieldfitness.com/332, so enjoy!
Rachel: So what do you got for us this week, Ben?
Ben: New Flashes this week. Well, as you know Rachel, I try and keep people abreast of the most cutting edge health information on Twitter, Facebook or if you can dish a health information on Instagram – there too, even though more often it tends to be me in my boxers doing something crazy at my house, but we always are posting things and you know, you’re actually our social media – I don’t know, do we mentioned that last week? That…
Rachel: I don’t think we did, no.
Ben: Yeah, for those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or wherever else, Rachel’s kinda like the mastermind behind…
Ben: …the social media. And yeah, there were some interesting things that we talked about this week and this is the part of the show, we’ll tell you about the most interesting ones. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, here’s an interesting one: they look at the effects of three different energy drinks on oxygen consumption and perceived exertion during treadmill exercise.
Now the reason I want to bring this up is because I can’t even count on all my fingers and toes, and would need more than that if I were going to count the number of people who I know who were like whip out on Red Bull during Iron Man triathlon, or who rely on a Monster Energy drink as their pre-workout go to – it’s just, it’s all over the place and do you – do drink energy drinks at all, Rachel?
Rachel: Definitely not.
Rachel: Not a fan. Terrible stuff.
Ben: You liar, you drink coffee.
Rachel: (laughs) But that’s true, I do drink – yeah, I definitely drink coffee. No, but we have a – we definitely have a “no energy drink policy” in the whole household.
Ben: Right. And when we say energy drinks, you know, the stuff that’s either you know, sucralose or sucrose…
Ben: …or fructose or glucose mixed with copious amounts of caffeine and usually something else that’s kinda throws your ticker for a loop. So, in this particular study what they did was they used four different commercial energy drinks. They used Red Bull of course, they used Monster Energy, they used 5-Hour Energy and then they used one with the unfortunate name Squirt.
Ben: Which I have actually never heard of. I don’t even know what Squirt Energy drink is, but they need a branding expert to rename that one (chuckles).
Rachel: Uhm, I don’t know if you want to know.
Ben: Yeah, so anyways, what they did was they have them ingest this energy drink and then rest in a seated position for 1 hour which I’m thinking of itself is just funny to have someone slam an energy drink and then just kinda sit for an hour.
Rachel: I’m gonna have it.
Ben: I like to see that part of the study – see like how long it takes for their eyes to twitch a little bit and you know, for maybe the pupil dilation to occur. Anyways, what they did was they’ve been exercised for 15 minutes at 70% of VO2 max, so pretty hard on a treadmill and they recorded their VO2, their rating of perceived exertion and their performance. The findings were that energy drinks and none of the four different energy drinks appeared to increase treadmill exercise performance or running economy or oxygen consumption whatsoever, and the conclusion of the research was that energy drinks do not improve exercise performance or time to exhaustion. So there you have it.
Rachel: And they’re full of sugar.
Ben: There you have it. The research gods have spoken. Now granted I would say that there’s a big difference between like running 15 minutes on a treadmill and being 6 hours into like an Iron Man triathlon, and having an energy drink in your special needs bag to pick you up and that’s a little bit more difficult to gage your research.
Ben: So anyways, if you were going to do like a big endurance event or something like that, Rachel, do you use any type sports performance enhancing compounds like mushrooms or adaptogens or superfoods or anything like that?
Rachel: No. No, no.
Ben: Just coffee and veggie – you are so boring.
Rachel: Just coffee and Vegemite, yup (laughs).
Ben: With toast. Well, there was another interesting article that I talked about, and this one was about kids, and what this was – was an article that appeared on the BBC that showed that there is new study or new – I guess would call a report out from what’s called The Organization for Economic Cooperation. And what they looked at was school technology, and whether or not school technology in particular – the use of like computers and tablets and phones and accumulated daily minutes using internet in school – they wanted to look at what actually happens to student performance in those situations. Now, what they found was that students who use computers very frequently at school get worst results, they found that students who use computers sparingly at school have better learning outcomes than the students who are regularly using computers. They showed no appreciable improvements in reading, Math or Science even in the countries that heavily invested in information technology in schools. And some of the highest achieving school systems particularly South Korea and Shanghai which I thought was interesting, I would’ve expected them to have like computers attached to their shoulders. They had lower levels of computer use in school and higher levels of achievement, and it was really interesting to see that despite what you would think would be the case, right? Like more computers, more funds, more technology, better performance.
Ben: They found out that’s not the case and as a matter of fact technology seems to inhibit performance to a certain extent in the classroom and I like this, because my kids – I would consider to be learning deficient when it comes to finding a way around like an iPad or an iPhone…
– they will use like my Kindle occasionally or my phone and they know, the very first thing they do when I hand it to them is they put it in airplane mode. Because I’ve taught them about WiFi signals and what those can do to the body, but even those they very sparingly use. So it’s good to know that technology is definitely not crucial and we’re talking about Finland by the way. Did you know that over in Finland, they don’t even start school until seven, they barely do any standardize testing, they really don’t focus on college to have leaders, no school uniforms, there’s no honor societies, there’s no valedictorians, there’s no like classes for the gifted, they rarely get more than half hour of homework every night, but they rank among some of the smartest people in the world on standardized testing.
Rachel: Right, yeah.
Rachel: And they’re also quite happy.
Ben: ‘Cause they’re out in the forest naked…
Ben: …forging for mushrooms.
Rachel: It’s their parents knowing they have to feel guilty about minimizing screen time with their kids.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. I mean, there’s that paradox right? When you want your kid to grow up and be enabled in a digital world to be able to survive, and I don’t know, maybe your kid would be the next great Angry Birds creator (chuckles). But the fact is that you don’t need technology in the classroom in order for kids to learn. That it turns out that the more the technology, the actual, the lower the learning potential. So it’s really interesting maybe because they’re all playing I don’t know, Angry Bird…
Ben: …or Minesweeper or what’s the candy one?
Rachel: Candy Crush.
Ben: Candy Crush.
Ben: Yeah. So, that was interesting. And then the last thing I wanted to mention was household dust. There’s actually new study showing how household dust can actually make you fat, and I thought I bring this up because there’s been a lot of interesting household dust in among our listeners recently because of the podcast that we did with Brett Bauer about the vacuum cleaner.
Ben: So you listened to that one?
Rachel: I did. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah, so he came to my home and did this whole like audit of my house like fungus, small dust, everything but dude, he knows a ton about a household toxins, and I was shocked at what he showed with this vacuum he was getting out of like my furniture and my carpet and everything else. But what this latest research study shows is that there are materials in house dust that turn on a specific protein in your body, and the name of the protein – brace yourself, get ready for this – it’s peroxisome proliferator activated nuclear receptor gamma.
Ben: It’s called PPAR gamma – well, affectionately called it. So, what it does in your body is that particular protein triggers fat cell growth and is involved in obesity, and what they found is that PPAR gamma is turned on after exposure to less than 1 milligram of household dust, and that houses that have a high amount of what are called semi volatile compounds commonly found in indoor dust that what are called PPAR gamma antagonist. This was the study published in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal. So, that means that they can bind to and activate this PPAR gamma and that’s involved in fat metabolism and also in fat cell proliferation. So they found that more than half of the dust samples that they collective from homes, offices and gyms had a level of exposure that would allow for extremely significant PPAR gamma activation so…
Ben: …it turns out that dust in your house…
Rachel: Dust (chuckles).
Ben: …can make you fat. Now I’m a fan of like a – I don’t know if you do this Rachel – I kinda leave the doors and the windows and stuff kinda open during the day…
Rachel: Right, yeah.
Ben: Just to simulate your house being outside as much as possible.
Rachel: So that’s how people can mitigate the dust making them fat?
Ben: That’s one way to do it. The guy who I had on the podcast by the way, I was actually surprised I think you know, ‘cause usually we get anywhere from over the course of the year after this podcast were released like 80,000 to 90,000 people downloading an episode. I think only – I talked to Brett like he had like 28 people something like that actually get on the phone with the free call that he offered them to go over all their household dust mitigating needs, so he has a lot more time in his schedule. So if you want to talk to Brett, we have a page for it – it’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/rainbow – that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/rainbow, and you can have a little chat with him about how to test a household dust, how to get rid of it everything like that, so if you haven’t yet done that? You should.
Rachel: I tell you what Ben, if you found dust in your already very detoxed home, I imagine its kinda find quite a bit in mine.
Ben: Mmm-hmm. You’re screwed.
Rachel: I know.
Ben: So one of the things that we’re gonna start doing in this special announcements, for those of you who were listening in – just let you know about podcast that happened over the weekend that you may have missed. We actually have them with Dr. Anthony Beck – pretty controversial if you go read the comments. Dr. Anthony Beck got a lot of raised eyebrows for that show. So, did you get a chance to look at the main comments, Rachel?
Rachel: I have read the comments, yeah. It was controversial.
Ben: Yeah, he was talking about this oral IV stuff – this little liquid shot of like a structured water, right? That you take out with you on marathons and runs and stuff like that, and there are lot of people who thought it was a woo-woo pseudo-science – nonetheless, I’m actually, I’m racing Spartan World Championships this weekend and I’m wearing arm sleeves. I’m actually posting a video to Youtube later on showing my whole get-up for that, but I’m putting this little water shots that he talks about in that episode up in my arm sleeves and just carrying them with me during the race. So, if I wind up with explosive diarrhea during the event probably it’s all woo-woo pseudo-science but either way, it’s a good episode to go listen to. So if you missed out on the weekend podcast episode with Dr. Beck, we’ll put a link in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/332 if you wanna listen in. And we also have a few sponsors for today’s show. So, first sponsor is Kimera Koffee – Kimera Koffee is coffee that has and I’m going to try and pronounce this word properly: Nootropics in it – nootropics, how would you say it, Rachel?
Rachel: I think it is – isn’t noo? Nootropics?
Ben: Nootropics. Nootropics sounds better, sounds less negative in nuetroplex.
Rachel: (chuckle) Yeah.
Ben: Nootropics sounds like it’s completely void of jungle flora, nootropics is basically they’re like herbal smart drug – so this is coffee and its coffee that has a several different things in it: Alpha GPC, taurine, L-theanine and DMAE – now, one of the things that’s cool about it is the L-theanine part. And I don’t know if you knew this, Rachel, but when you combine L-theanine with caffeine, you can actually drink caffeine after about noon and have it not disrupt your sleep. So L-theanine actually decreases a lot of the potential for caffeine to cause insomnia.
Rachel: Hmm. That’s going to be very helpful for me.
Ben: Yeah. So this coffee has the L-theanine already in it. And then it’s got a bunch of other things in it as well, so and it’s tasty because it’s grown at a high altitude and it’s a – it’s actually harvested from beans that are considered to be deep earthy flavors with hints of cacao and I will eat anything that has hints of cacao in it – anything. So anyways, check it out: kimerakoffee.com and you can use code: ben10 to save 10% off. If code ‘ben10’ doesn’t work, try code ‘ben’, I’m not sure but that – I’ve heard that the code ‘ben’ may work as well – so Kimera Koffee: k-i-m-e-r-a koffee.com. This podcast is also brought to you by Harry’s shaving. Have you ever used the Harry’s razor, Rachel?
Rachel: No, I have not.
Ben: Mmm, you’re missing out.
Rachel: I know.
Ben: They have ergonomically designed handles. They actually look nice, my wife actually uses my Harry’s razor so. Harry’s has a new daily facewash, so, their facewash is the special formula that exfoliates your skin, and it has in it a volcanic rock exfoliates which I think means somebody at some point climbed up a volcano and harvested the rock and put it into little tube of daily facewash that comes with your Harry’s razor. It has aloe and coconut water, eucalyptus and peppermint refreshed in it.
Ben: It is fancy, especially the volcano part.
Ben: So as a matter of fact, you don’t need to buy a razor, you can just go with their daily facewash, but anything you get there, you use code ‘ben’ at harrys.com. And when you use code ‘ben’ you save a whopping $5 on any of their shaving kits and actually considering their shaving kits are not that spendy anyways, that’s actually a slamming deal. So you can get some really cool German engineered precision blades – they’re like race cars for your face over at harrys.com, use code ‘ben’ so.
Also, this podcast is brought to you by NaturalForce supplements. So NaturalForce supplements are – they’re the company that make actually exactly what I’m gonna be putting in my water bottle when I race the Spartan World Championships this weekend. So, that particular formula that they make is called Iskiate and it has the following: it has Chia seeds which we all know are magical fruits from the Mayan and Aztec cultures that somehow give you magical energy. It’s not of woo-woo pseudo-science, do you think?
Rachel: Probably for now.
Ben: Yeah, no, but Chia seed is actually is – I don’t know if you knew this – they’re covered in hairs and the tiny little microscopic hairs when you soak Chia seeds in water, they swell up and they form this gelatinous fiber. And so, the one of the main cracks of this particular formula is Chia seeds, but then they have Bee Pollen, bee pollen which is actually a dietary protein that bees eat and it’s produced by flowering plants and then gathered by bees, and then they somehow – I’m not sure what they do to the bees, how they get the bee pollen from the bee into the powder, but I try not to think about that. I really hope that the bees are okay.
Rachel: I’m sure the bees are fine.
Ben: This royal jelly – have you heard of royal jelly?
Rachel: Yes, yep!
Ben: Yeah. So what happens is worker bees actually they secrete this thick milky substance that transforms a worker bee into a queen bee, and that’s the actual thing that allows the queen bee to get 40% larger and live 40 times longer than the worker bee. So, apparently if you wanna go 40% larger (chuckles) you can eat royal jelly. But this is a formula: Chia seeds, Bee Pollen, royal jelly it’s all in a powder, and what I’m doing is mixing that up in a water bottle and then I’ll be putting that in a water bottle sling and kind of nursing that during the race. I’ll put about 3 hours worth of that fuel in there, so you can get it over at the NaturalForce website, what you do is you go to mynaturalforce.com, follow the link that we have there on the show notes, and you use code ‘ben10’ and you save a 10% off of the Iskiate endurance or anything else they have there on the site when you use that code. So there you have it, you can try that out instead of your boring old cup of coffee and Vegemite in the morning, Rachel.
Rachel: (chuckles) Special stuff.
Ben: Special royal jelly.
So few other things, few other special announcements: first of all, I will be speaking at the Unbeatable Mind Retreat in Carlsbad, California, and that’s where a Navy Seal Commander Mark Divine is going to have folks like Robb Wolf, Dr. Kirk Parsley, Dominic D’Agostino, bunch of cool folks presenting. They’re gonna have morning WOD’s, Warrior Yoga, you’ll get to go visit SEAL Fit headquarters which is where they have like the world famous Kokoro camp, all sorts of cool stuff, so – that one they have limited entries for but you can check it out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/unbeatable. It’s December 4th thru 6th and the cool thing about that is that’s the same week or the days leading up to where we’re gonna have the Spartan Race in Malibu. So you can go to leave into Carlsbad and jet down the Malibu like I’m doing, and race the Spartan down there so, there’s that. And then finally the last thing that I wanted to mention is that our friends over at Onnit, they’re having a 40% sale right now on all their fitness gear. So clubs, battle balls, kettlebells – you name it – 40% discount which is a pretty slammin’ deal. We’ll put a link to that discount over on the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/332. Have you ever worked out with a battle ball?
Ben: Or kettlebell or a club?
Ben: Just yoga?
Rachel: Just yoga and running.
Ben: Do you lift weights at all, Rachel?
Rachel: I don’t. I need to, I know.
Ben: You gotta get you on a weight training by the way.
Rachel: I know, yeah.
Ben: What about the episode that we did with Steff Kudrow, The Harder to Kill radio girl.
Ben: That lifting heavy weights.
Rachel: Yes, inspiring stuff!
Ben: Yeah. You need to get yourself a kettlebell, just start doing some swings.
Ben: Seriously. You know it’s all about your bone density…
Rachel: Right. Yeah.
Ben: Also, they’re just, they’re cool kettlebells so check them out. Oh! there’s one last thing that I forgot to mention, the audio book.
Rachel: It’s a big deal, Ben. How you’d forget this one?
Ben: That’s a big deal.
Ben: All I spent – I spent, I would say close to 50 hours with my face in front of a microphone recording the audio book for Beyond Training, and I updated it as I went, adlibbed, I put in my own special sound effects…
Ben: …like a (makes a ‘boing’ sound) and a ‘woohooo!’ – not into that, but it’s all over at Audible and you can get it for free if you’re not an Audible member. If you’re already an Audible member well then you already know all about the goodness that is the audio book medium.
So anyways, my entire New York Times Bestseller “Beyond Training” is now available with me reading it to you, just like reading a bed time story. And you can get it now at Audible when you go to the show notes, we got a link for it. You could go to Audible and just search for it, but you won’t get your free book if you do it that way. So go to the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/332 and we got a link there for you to go get the brand new audio book of “Beyond Training”. Tell all your friends before you read the book, but just wanna spread the wealth, do us a favor: tell your friends – so check it out and it is all available now. So that was a freaking long special announcements, I know.
Rachel: We got there in the end.
Listener Q & A:
Nate: Hey Ben! Nate here, question: I’m a paramedic/firefighter and as you know our sleep schedule can vary quite a bit from no sleep to being asleep from 1 to 2 hours, being up to 1 to 2 hours and it’s just really depends on what’s going on that night. Do you have any tips to recover the next day or lessening impact of the sleep schedule on our bodies and hormones? Thanks!
Rachel: So that was Nate’s question and we need to help him out because he’s a paramedic and firefighter, and he’s doing good stuff for the world. So what do we’ve got for him, Ben?
Ben: And we also don’t want sleepy firefighters?
Ben: And we don’t want paramedics injecting substances in the people while they’re sleepy.
Rachel: While they’re sleep deprived.
Ben: My brother is a paramedic…
Rachel: So is mine!
Ben: …and a firefighter.
Ben: Interesting, wow! Well, we have something in common. There we go, the very, very first thing that you and I have in common – both of our brothers are saving the planet.
Rachel: They are.
Ben: Anyways, and my dad also was a paramedic and a firefighter growing up and they do have weird, erratic schedules and it is one of those things that can be a little of an uphill battle – almost like night shift work. But there are some things that you can do I mean, even if you’re not a paramedic or a firefighter and you’re just I don’t know, maybe you’ve stayed up all night drinking or you’re at a conference or you’re a college student and you’ve got a you know, a bunch of work to do for finals or a test. Lessening the impact of erratic sleep basically comes down to a combination of decreasing neuroinflammation which my friend Nora Gedgaudas likes to describe as a bunch of the glial cells in your brain go off like a bunch of Chihuahuas holding machine guns – it’s the way that she describes it – and essentially begin firing in ways that almost make you feel out of control. Out of control of your appetite, your self-control, your wakefulness and you know, basically you feel a little bit less in control of your body even your speech patterns, etc. So you wanna decrease your neuroinflammation while also putting things into your body that are going to help to regulate your circadian rhythm, or assist you with wakefulness even when you’ve had erratic sleep schedules. So, I would say that there are kinda like 3 different categories that I would focus on when it comes to lessening impact of erratic sleep. One category be light, one would be supplementation and one would be food. So the reason that I’m not going to recommend the glaring, well maybe it’s not a super glaringly obvious choice – the reason I could talk a lot about cold water which I actually use quite a bit for everything from like you know, jet lag to like I mentioned when I eat copious amounts of food – is that when you are very, very low on sleep that can actually be quite stressful to your sympathetic nervous system. And jacking yourself up with cold water or cold showers or cold immersion is sometimes not the best choice when you’re already stressed.
Ben: So, I’m gonna leave that one out, I’m also gonna leave exercise sessions out because the same thing holds true. It can be difficult especially on your cardio-vascular system when you exercise in an exhausted or sleep-deprived state. So whereas I’m a fan of things like cold water to maintain wakefulness when you have had enough sleep or exercise sessions to jumpstart your circadian rhythm…
Ben: …when you’re travelling. And when you wake up in the morning if you just had a night of crappy sleep, sometimes those are not the best choices for you compared to the stuff I’m about to talk about so.
Ben: So first of all, light. Light is your friend whether that be sunlight, whether that be a – in ear LED lights or intranasal light therapy or blue light boxes or any of these devices that expose you to large blasts of light.
So you can use this multiple point throughout the day when you are low on sleep, when you need a pick me up, when you don’t want to be dumping anymore caffeine and say like – let me put it this way, once you exceed about 500 milligrams of caffeine, you are – you’re really risking a quite of a bit of adrenal stress, and so milking your way through the day after a night of erratic sleep with copious amounts of caffeine is not the best strategy.
Ben: Yeah, but light is actually quite handy. So there are few ways you can do this. For example, I wrote an article about this device called the human charger and made in Finland incidentally, so I was able to see those folks when I was over there. They make a device that is a 12 minute extremely bright light cycle that it looks like little headphones, little ear buds, you put one in each ear and blasts your ears photo receptors with bright light for 12 minutes, and when you would use that would be in the morning when you need to really wake yourself up after a night of erratic sleep and even throughout the day. I wouldn’t use it anytime after when the sun goes down unless you plan being out late right? Like and then it’s a little bit of a hack that you could use prior to say like a night of partying or something like that to as a surge of wakefulness without consuming you know, again something like coffee. Go ahead.
Rachel: Yeah, no it makes absolute sense. Keep going.
Ben: Okay. So there other thing that you can do, and we’re gonna release a podcast on this in a couple of weeks as they make devices also that are originally used for Alzheimer's patients but that can also be used in a very similar fashion. They look slightly – well here’s the deal: when you’re using the human charger in ear photo receptor it can look like you’re just listening to an mp3 player. This other device though is intranasal…
Ben: …light therapy which is just what it sounds like, you are actually shelving something up your nose, it’s a little clip of light.
Rachel: It’s kind of uncomfortable.
Ben: Yes. It’s kinda hard to make it look like you’re listening to music when you’re doing that lights, it’s hard to look like anything except someone walking around with an implant in your nose. So even though it’s a little less conspicuous, it also can be a very effective way to use light to regulate your circadian rhythm in a creative portable way if you don’t have exposure to sunshine. I mean don’t get me wrong, sunshine is probably the most important and effective and natural way to combat the effects of erratic sleep with light but sometimes you just can’t get out in the sun whether due to work limitations or the geographical location that you’re in like you know, all you folks in Seattle…
Ben: …or Portland, etc. so.
Rachel: You just didn’t get any sun, no.
Ben: I’m right, exactly. You’re – well you’re over in Seattle, right?
Rachel: I am, yeah. Mmm-hmm.
Ben: Yeah, I don’t think we’ve mentioned that in the last show, but for those of you who are curious where Rachel’s from or those of you who are trying to stalk Rachel, she’s in Seattle.
Rachel: Please don’t.
Ben: So introduce a light therapy, in ear photo therapy and then also the – you know – exposure to sunlight. They also make these blue light boxes like I mentioned that you can place on the desk or a counter top and there was also emit blue light that can be used very, very similarly. So, that is one strategy is – light. Another strategy is something that we’ve talked about quite a bit before on the show and that would be the strategy of limiting blood sugar fluctuations through the use of ketones. Now ketosis is a diet that is very helpful for the neurodegenerative diseases, can be helpful for things like Alzheimer's, helpful for things like MS, etc. because it shuts down a lot of excitotoxicity in nuero cells. And it turns out that ketones or an energy that can be used very effectively by the brain – one ketone that’s called beta hydroxybutyrate which is generated when you burn fats as a fuel, that is a more efficient source of energy for your brain per unit of oxygen than glucose is. And what this means is that you’re able to avoid frequent fluctuations in blood sugar which can actually cause an increase nerve swelling formation and vascular inflammation and can also contribute to kinda like a roller coaster level of fatigue throughout the day…
Ben: While also supplying your brain with a very potent source of fuel that actually fights off cognitive impairment when you use ketones as a source of fuel. The other very interesting thing is that when you’re low on sleep, you generally have a high expression of pro-inflammatory what are called cytokines. This is one of the reasons that you feel so crappy after night of partying or after a night of erratic sleep – it’s the reason a lot of night shift workers have chronic diseases related to inflammation. And so because it shuts down what are called – I’m gonna use another big word here: peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors or PPARs, okay the same thing that dust can cause.
What it can do is it can shut down expression of those pro-inflammatory factors.
Ben: And the way to get yourself into ketosis is something that kinda soar it goes go above and beyond the scope of my answer to Nate, but ultimately it involves you know, limiting your amount 0f consumption of glucose, processed sugar and starches while putting a lot of healthy fats like triglycerides, coconut oil, moderate amounts of things like you know, butter, some olive oils, seeds, nuts, cheeses, things like that into the body. So basically a higher fat, very low sugar, low carbohydrate diet the day after a night of lost sleep or erratic sleep can really assist with nueroinflammation, and also giving your brain a very potent source or fuel. And they actually make nowadays a what are called BHB salt or ketones salts and that’s literally beta hydroxybutyrate that you consume in like a supplement form, so there’s kind of a couple different ways that you can get yourself into ketosis but it’s a very potent strategy when you’re low on sleep – it’s the use of ketosis like a fueling strategy.
Rachel: And you’ve written a ton of information on it already.
Ben: I have.
Ben: I have. And it’s I mean, well have you ever tried to get yourself in a ketosis or done a high fat diet?
Rachel: I come of naturally am drawn towards high fat diet, so I don’t do it like religiously but I definitely am sort of halfway there, I think.
Ben: As a vegetarian, what are your primary sources of fat?
Ben: Okay, got it. What about like seeds and nuts and stuff like that?
Rachel: Definitely a huge amounts of chickpeas – they’re super high fat aren’t they?
Rachel: Yeah, I eat a lot of seeds and nuts, definitely.
Rachel: Huge amounts actually, probably too much avocado (chuckles).
Ben: Okay, got it. Yeah, so plant-based diet is something that you can achieve ketosis while following because honestly a lot of the whatever you wanna call paleo or carnivore sources of ketones, they also spike blood glucose or cause gluconeogenesis…
Ben: …as proteins gets turn to glucose like you know, fatty fish, meats, stuff like that, bacon – whatever – a lot of those are so protein-rich that they can make ketosis difficult versus a lot of these healthier vegetable-based oils and fats, and seeds and nuts, and things of that nature, but ultimately, if you are low on sleep ketosis is not a good strategy. Okay, the next thing that I would recommend and I’m gonna turn to some nutraceuticals now. One is called Acetyl-L-Carnitine – Acetyl L-Carnitine, so this is something you would typically get in its supplement form. For example, Now Foods is a supplement company that you can easily go to on Amazon to get Acetyl-L-Carnitine, and that crosses the blood brain barrier pretty easily and when it does, it’s a very powerful antioxidant in neural-tissue. So it acts on acetylcholine function and it acts on dopamine function – two different neurotransmitters that are going to affect the way that you feel, and the way that you function when you’re low on sleep. It’s very neuro protective, a lot of like smart drugs and we’re gonna – did we agree to pronounce it nootropic?
Rachel: Yeah, let’s agree with that.
Ben: Smarts drugs and nootropic compounds they contain a acetylcholine or acetyl-L-carnitine rather, due to its cognitive enhancing properties but also does a very, very good job at fueling mitochondria in the brain and also acting as an antioxidant in the brain. So when we talk about brain inflammation, neuroinflammation from lack of sleep that’s one supplement that would be prudent to include. Another that I would include when you’re low on sleep even if you already take it, you can overdose on it, would be either a fish oil or a krill oil. For a lot of some reasons, it’s considered to be very neuro protective, so what you’re trying to choose when you’re low on sleep are any of these supplements that are neuro protective. So, it is important to know that not all fish oils are created equal. I recommend if you’re gonna get a fish oil, you use one that is in what’s called it’s triglyceride-based form, there are lot of fish oils they don’t reconvert the fish oil out of its unnatural and unhealthy ethyl ester form back into the triglyceride-based form because it’s expensive. So officially you get what you paid for but if you use a good form of fish oil that can also be a very neuro protective, so there are few different brands out there like Nordic Naturals, Carlsons, Thorne makes a fish oil, I take the one – I take the fish oil that is made by the company Living Fuel because it also has a Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Astaxanthin and a bunch of other kinda cool little neuro productive compounds in it, but a fish oil in addition to acetyl-L-carnitine would be another one to use.
So the next thing to look into and you’re gonna love this one, Rachel – is coffee.
Ben: But the deal with coffee is coffee has specific compounds in it that I talked about the show before – very potent brain anti-inflammatory agents: one is called the cafestrol and one is called kawehol – we don’t really see those talked about too much when people talk about coffee. But those are the two different agents in coffee that actually affect cognitive performance separately from caffeine. Now, the interesting thing is that when you use a paper filter or any type of filtration mechanism when you make your coffee particularly like a finely – a fine pore on the filtration – both of those compounds – the cafestrol and kawehol, those don’t wind up in the coffee.
Rachel: Ahh, interesting.
Ben: So you would want to use French press, or you would want to use what’s called Turkish coffee which I also affectionately call ‘cowboy coffee’ where you’re just like pouring hot water over the grounds and then kind of like pouring the hot water with the coffee into a cup while trying not to pour the ground into the cup which is you know, effectively what Turkish coffee is. But coffee has especially those particular compounds in coffee those have very, very good neuro-protective and neuro anti-inflammatory components. The other thing, interestingly, that is a very powerful neuro anti-inflammatory compounds, kind of like the king of anti-inflammatory compounds when it comes to everything from decreasing all the like the amyloid plaque that builds up in Alzheimer's disease, decreasing a lot of this neuro excitotoxicity which tried a little chihuahua cells in your brain going wild and firing off their machine guns – it’s called microglial overactivity for those of you who want the technical mambo jumbo for that. To a lot of the inflammation that occurs of your lack of sleep, curcumin is actually one of the best neural inflammatory compounds that you can consume. And lately, I have been experimenting with taking curcumin like a curcumin powder and what I’ve been using are the Thorne curcumin capsules and I’m actually breaking them open and putting two capsules into my coffee. So the way that you do this is you make a French press coffee and you put curcumin into the French press coffee and it tastes like someone kinda dumped a bucket of curry into your coffee…
Ben: so I can’t say the flavor is out of this world, but in terms of the way that the coffee makes you feel from a neural standpoint and also the amount of neural inflammation it occurs particularly if you’ve been traveling, you’re jetlagged, you’re low on sleep, etc. curcumin combined with like a French pressed coffee is amazing as a one-two-combo for shutting down neural inflammation.
Rachel: Is that also gonna help with clarity for like feeling cloudy after not getting enough sleep?
Ben: You basically feel like someone washed your brain.
Ben: You have coffee with curcumin. So you haven’t tried coffee with curcumin before, try it. I can’t speak to the greatness of the flavor but it is – it is very, very good for fighting off a neural inflammation. So a few other things that I would do, one would be if you’re going to use any type of smart drug or any type of nootropic in addition to just caffeine, the one that you’d wanna choose particularly for erratic sleep would be aniracetam. Aniracetam is something we talked about last week. It’s in for example the new supplement called Nexus made by AxonLabs and I’ll link to all of these stuffs in the show notes for you over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/332. I’m just gonna put out a giant list for you like the cocktail for low sleep, but if you’re going to use a smart drug, aniracetam helps out quite a bit. Aniracetam is my choice nootropic when I have landed in a new city and I’m jetlagged or I have you know, whatever, I’ve only slept for let’s say 10p.m. to 4a.m. because I had to get up early to work or to do something else. So that would be you know, if you were to choose anything you know with all sorts of things out there like Alpha Brain and you know, Modafinil, and all these things – aniracetam works quite well in that situation. But I’m not done yet, there are other things. For those of who you are druggies out there who just want the full on stack and wanna pull out all of the freaking stops, couple other things: first of all, creatine.
Creatine is most known for its effects on strength and power, but it turns out that you’re brain uses creatine to create synapsis. And studies have shown, many studies have shown like creatine improves brain function especially – this would be interesting for you, Rachel – it improves neural function most dramatically in vegetarians.
Ben: Because vegetarians a lot of times are creatine deficient…
Ben: And simply using 5 grams of creatine a day has been shown to significantly improve brain function in vegetarians.
Rachel: I’m gonna get me some creatine.
Ben: But it can also… you gonna get you some creatine. Yeah, there’s a lot of different forms out there: powdered forms, capsule forms, we do have creatine over at greenfieldfitnesssystems.com, and I have a form called Creapure over there, but there’s a lot of different ways to get your creatine, you don’t need to load with it – you know, you take the boat loads of the body building websites and magazine, so you just take 5 grams a day and creatine can help out quite a bit, too. And then the final thing that I’m gonna recommend to you is this – it’s called an alkaloid, a lot of plants have these compounds called alkaloids in them. And there’s a mossy plant called huperzine that’s used in Chinese herbal medicine for headaches, for fever, and for a lot of things related to neural inflammation. And the particular alkaloid that’s found in this huperzine plant moss has been shown in studies to increase nerve cell growth, so very similarly to creatine to protect against Alzheimer's, similar to curcumin and to enhance memory as well as to increase a rapid eye movement sleep if you take it prior to sleep. And it’s called huperzine A…
Ben: Huperzine A, and you can actually get this, you can find it in supplemental form just like the acetyl-L-carnitine or the – you know, the creatine. The source that I use is called Tian Chi, it’s like a Chinese adaptogenic herb complex and that has equivalent or something like 40lbs. of this club moss extract and it called huperzine.
Ben: First person I ever heard or saw talking about this was Tim Ferris who talks about it quite a bit in his 4-Hour body book, his one of his neural anti-inflammatories of choice, but huperzine would be another one to throw in there. One thing you should know is that when you use something like huperzine, it rapidly increases your – what are called your acetylcholine levels, and so you do need to make sure that if you take a acetylcholine – oh, I’m sorry, if you take a huperzine, and you find that you tend to clench your jaw or a did a lot of tightness in your head, neck and jaw which is very much indicative that you are someone who’s like a cony hyper responder who doesn’t do well with things that rapidly increases acetylcholine. You can use this little hack of combining it, and I know I sound like a complete druggie here. You can combine it with aniracetam which actually rapidly turns over acetylcholine levels and that’s a way to combat the effects of the high amounts of acetylcholine and huperzine. So I know that – that was quite a bit of things that you can use and to review: light, ketosis, acetyl-L-carnitine, fish oil, coffee preferably with curcumin, preferably French pressed, aniracetam, huperzine and creatine. Those are the exact compounds that I would use for example during a finals week, during a week of lost sleep, during a day where I’ve had erratic sleep, etc. if I wanted to pull out all the stops, so there you have it.
Rachel: And so, one question: at what point does erratic sleep turn into sleep deprivation?
Ben: It’s a good question. Sleep deprivation is something that it’s cumulative and I know that’s kinda sounds head-slappingly obvious to a lot of people. What that means is that – and we talked about this a little bit with Nick Littlehales – is that if you are supposed to get let’s say thirty-five 90 minutes sleep cycles in a week which is appropriate. That’s about what you should be shooting for, that’s comes out to five 90 minutes sleep cycles per day. And you don’t hit that over a 7 days cycle than you would be considered to be based on Nick’s opinion when we talked about in that podcast, you can be considered to be sleep deprived at that point. And you know, capable of making you know, less than 90 old decisions or perhaps eating one to many Snickers bars, but I don’t know about you, Rachel, but I feel sleep deprived or feel as though it’s affecting me cognitively with as little as one night of a lost 90 minute sleep cycle.
Ben: Whereas physiologically it’s apparently closer to one week, I would say one day seems to be the case for a lot of folks who I talk to.
Rachel: Right. So, light, supplements and food.
Ben: There you go.
Adzua: Hi, I’m calling this and wondering about the effectiveness of barre exercises. I’ve been seeing many barre studios and barre classes popping up all over the place, but I haven’t been able to find any research about its effectiveness or impact on the body. So if you please let me know what you know about this, I would love it, thank you.
Ben: Have you ever done a barre workout, Rachel?
Rachel: I have, yeah. Pure barre, it’s taken over America.
Ben: Mmm, yeah. Well, I personally like to sculpt to myself a ballerina’s body, so I have a barre here in my office where I can do my…
Rachel: Oh you do?
Ben: – my pirouettes? Is that how you pronounce it? Pirouettes?
Rachel: Yeah. Pirouettes, as well.
Ben: My pirouettes. Yeah, so it’s interesting – the barre workouts – they were of course, no surprises here; they were developed by a ballerina.
Ben: So there’s this German dancer living in London who came up with this idea to combine her dance conditioning routine with rehabilitative therapy, and with this was way back in like the 50’s and she – her name was Lotte Berk, and she started this method that’s kinda branched into and wind up being this barre method that is now taking over the world by storm. So it’s not just in dance studios now, it seems to be like showing up in like you know, gyms and you know, personal training studios and just like running in all fitness routines as far as like a way to workout.
Rachel: Right and ballerinas are strong people.
Ben: Ballerinas, they are strong.
Rachel: They’ve got to be something to it.
Ben: That’s right, even the men and even like that they do wear pants that look…
Rachel: Very tight.
Ben: Painfully tight.
Ben: Painfully tight.
Rachel: It’s like gymnast.
Ben: That’s right. So barre obviously has its origins in dance but you don’t have to be a dancer to do barre, and basically – and you could probably describe the workout even better that I could Rachel because sounds like you’ve done it more than I have, but it’s mostly body weight. Sometimes it’ll use light hand weights like 2 or 3lbs. hand weights or sometimes resistance bands…
Ben: Sometimes they’ll use exercise balls and typically either you’re wearing your socks or you’re barefoot and you’re doing a bunch of like rather doing like squats and shoulder presses and big compound movements you do on a strength train class, they’re tiny one inch increments, more like isometric moves where go like…
Ben: …down an inch, up an inch and you move very, very slowly using isometric contraction which…
Rachel: Yeah. Tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny movements.
Ben: Mmm-hmm. Yeah so, and a small, small movements can really help you to isolate specific muscles when you look at it from a physiological standpoint. What you’re doing is you’re building up lactic acid tolerance, and you’re also strengthening muscles with less impact. So without as much straining of tendons and ligaments, etc. and that’s one of the strategies that I’ll use a lot of times with athletes who I’m training who are in an off-season or who are injured are isometric moves where we will for example do a workout that involves you know, a 2 to 5 minute squat hold, to 2 to 5 minute push up hold, to 2 to 5 minute pull-up or hang hold, to 2 to 5 minute lunge hold for each leg, and then a 2 to 5 minute plank for example. But barre workouts, you are also doing what is very close to isometric curve, very close to working very, very small, small patterns like one inch at a time. So, you target a lot of muscle groups at once during a class and people who have done it have told me that their body kinda shakes like a bowl of jell-o when they’re doing it…
Ben: Because of all that lactic acid muscle build up and the fact that you are having to hold you know, anytime that you try and even if you just try and get up on your toes, right, and hold yourself up on your toes you get a lot of shaking, you get a lot of fatigue and you also improve you mind-body connection. So you strengthen on your muscular system quite a bit when you are consciously holding a move rather than just kinda like flailing like you do on a lot of strength training classes.
Ben: You say that you feel that when you do a barre class, Rachel?
Rachel: Yeah, you definitely kind of engaging muscles that you might not even known existed, and the tiny ones that kinda hold a lot of things together so that’s why that’s stuff really, really good.
Ben: Did you know that Brock, who was a podcast sidekick before you moved in and forced him out, he used to be a ballerina?
Rachel: Did he?!
Rachel: (gasp) Wow!
Ben: Yeah. So if we had him here, I’m sure he could speak to this…
Ben: …to this barre workout. Now there are some issues of barre workouts.
Ben: You’re not building a lot of strength when it comes to things like bone density, you’re not doing a lot of compound movements like squats, lunges, bent over rows, clean presses, a lot of things that would be considered to be functional.
So I would say that if you’re going to do barre workouts, you should have at least one devoted workout a week where you are lifting weights, and actually doing compound movements with barbells or dumbbells or kettlebells or other moves that actually challenge your ligaments, your tendons, and your joints a little bit more than body weight and isometric swirl.
Rachel: It’s interesting as well, because would you consider ballerinas – professional ballerinas to have like highly functional strength? I mean they are jumping…
Ben: I would consider them to have highly functional movement and mobility…
Ben: But I would also say that many of them you know, they have a little bit of a frail appearance when it comes to overall strength, and so if strength and bone density and staving off you know, muscle loss and things like that are important to you, I would say that you should if you wanna train every muscle system, right? If you wanna be like what I call Batman, right? Like you have power and strength, endurance and flexibility, etc…
Ben: I would say the strength component is probably slightly missing…
Ben: for something like a barre workout.
Rachel: And what about heart rate?
Ben: Yeah, from a cardio-vascular standpoint, it depends, so from the evidence I’ve seen it looks like most barre workouts are done at about 40 to 60% of max heart rate. So if you want to for example, increase VO2 max, you wanna do marathon, triathlon, be able to climb a flight of stairs or rescue a baby from a burning building, if you wanna increase VO2 max, you may need to include high intensity cardio-vascular intervals on the side…
Ben: And you know, you throw in some VO2 max-type of sets. And then the last thing is that when you’re using body weight workouts you know, whether it’s like a barre workout or whether it’s a workout where you’re doing like the push-up squats, pull-ups type of thing, you plateau far more quickly than you do when you’re lifting weights and you have the ability to say like add more weights to the barre. And so because of that, you may find that you have to constantly overload and challenge your body with more moves or more barre or like I mentioned, just add one or two strength training sessions under the next one or two high intensity interval training sessions for cardio-vascular exercise in the next, and then you’ve got a nice balanced routine. And this is what I – you know, whenever I look at a single method of working out – whether it’s yoga or barre or strength training, I always look for balance and there’s a lot of like body builders who have no mobility.
Ben: They’re doing things like you know, foam rolling and yoga and there’s a lot of cross fitters who have poor cardio-vascular endurance who need to throw in a few, like longer runs during the week and you know, there’s a lot of say like a yogis who have poor bone density…
Ben: …because there’s not enough strength loading going on. So, we always wanna step back and look at any given workout routine and fill in the gaps so…
Rachel: Yeah, that’s not necessarily one workout, it’s gonna cover off on absolutely everything.
Ben: Right, exactly, exactly. So that being said, I don’t think you’re gonna see me wearing the tighty-tight pants anytime soon…
Ben: And venture into a barre class although you know, not to be crasp but what brand of pants do you get so that your package looks as huge as it does on these ballerinas – these dudes that you see dancing out on stage?
Rachel: I don’t know if it’s the brand of pants that makes them look like that.
Ben: I think it’s the brand of pants…
Ben: They can’t all be hung like that…
Rachel: Have you got pants Envy?
Ben: I have pants Envy. So if anybody knows the brand of pants that the – what do you call the male ballerinas?
Rachel: I don’t know.
Ben: Yeah. That the male ballerinas use – Brock would know. Let me know because I may have to get myself one of those for the next big date night with my wife to impress her.
Bill: Hi Ben! This is Bill Montgomery again with another question. Just recently I read an article on Yahoo that said that in taking anything more than 4000 IUs of Vitamin D3 was bad for you and could cause heart disease, and all sorts of nasty stuff when I thought was the opposite. So, was curious what you thought about the Vitamin D if that’s a good study they did or if it’s something that’s much crap. Wish you luck! Bye!
Ben: Hmm. Do you take Vitamin D, Rachel?
Rachel: I do and this one’s a little scary.
Ben: It is, yeah. And it is true that there has been research recently conducted on Vitamin D.
And I don’t remember where this particular research study first appeared, but it was one of those studies that looked at blood test of a bunch of different people over a long period of time – it was like a 10 year period of time. And what they found was that there were some people who had a very high level of Vitamin D, who had been like supplementing with Vitamin D and I believe it was almost a quarter million people that they looked at in this particular study. And what they found was that there’s law of diminishing returns with Vitamin D, where when once you get up to a blood level of about 40 then that is considered to be ideal and then once you go above 40, and you get over 80 and especially once you exceed 100, there is a diminishing return of Vitamin D and you actually get a few different things that happen. One is a hypercalcemia or high blood calcium levels that co-relate to high Vitamin D levels, and hypercalcemia or high levels of calcium is something that can contribute to a plaque formation in coronary arteries. So that’s one thing that can happen, is just basically calcium deposition in arteries – and that is associated with excessive Vitamin D, so that’s one thing that can occur. Now Vitamin D can be in same amounts, right? Like if you fall into that 40 to 80 level, it can inhibit a lot of iatrogenic processes, it can inhibit calcification and it can inhibit release of a lot of the pro-inflammatories, cytokines and a lot of these molecules that tend to adhere to smooth muscle cells in vascular walls, and contribute to coronary heart disease. So it’s one of those things where you can’t paint with a broad brush and say that Vitamin D in general is going to cause disease. However, there are a lot of people taking Vitamin D…
Ben: …who have not tested their blood levels.
Ben: And if you’re taking Vitamin D as a supplement, your blood levels are above 80, then you could’ve be risking a hypercalcemia, and a lot of people are taking Vitamin D supplements and engaging in that risk for two reasons: first of all, they’re already getting enough Vitamin D from food sources and sunshine towards supplementations not necessary.
Ben: Or they’re getting Vitamin D from multiple supplements that they’re taking and not realizing it because the Vitamin D…
Ben: …is in a lot of stuff these days like they’ll add it to fish oil, they’ll add it to multivitamins, they’ll add it to like immune system supporting compounds. You might think you’re getting whatever 2,000 international units per day from your multivitamin but once you add in all your other sources, you might be getting closer to like 5,000 units a day.
Rachel: Right and it’s also just to give in places that don’t have a lot of sunshine but you just take Vitamin D…
Rachel: …you don’t even kinda think about it.
Ben: The other issue is that Vitamin D can cause calcification if taken in the absence of Vitamin K2. Now, you get Vitamin K2 from well sources would include for example, grass-fed butter or nato which are like fermented soy beans. You can also get Vitamin K2 in supplements, and if you have good bacteria and you have a lot of good fermented foods, you can get Vitamin K from your gut – the bacteria in your gut can make it. But a lot of people don’t have those factors present so they’re taking high amounts of Vitamin D unopposed with Vitamin K and also unopposed with magnesium – another co-factor that’s necessary for Vitamin D absorption and to avoid over calcification. So what this comes down to is: a.) if you’re taking Vitamin D of no business taking it unless you’ve wandered in to a doctor’s office and slapped down 40 bucks and get a blood 25 hydroxyvitamin D test to see if you fall between that 40 to 80 range. Number two: if you do find that you need to be taking Vitamin D, you need to take it with Vitamin K, you need to take it with magnesium and it’s pretty rare that I see folks who need to be taking anything more than a couple thousand international units of Vitamin D per day.
Ben: And the thing is a lot of people are taking like 4,000, 6,000, 8,000, 10,000 units of Vitamin D because they heard it was just like this you know…
Ben: Magic multivitamin when in fact you don’t need that much and there’s a lot of diminishing returns. So I recommend for Vitamin D – what I do is I use the shock and approach – I take the Thorne multivitamin which has Vitamin K, magnesium and Vitamin D in it, so my bases are covered.
Ben: The other thing that you can do if you – let’s say you’re taking that multivitamin or multivitamin like that and your Vitamin D levels are low, and you still need to get them high, maybe you live in a very, very gray area or something like that or you’ve just got a chronically low Vitamin D levels from years of low Vitamin D intake. You can add extra Vitamin D on top of that but if you do, you wanna choose a Vitamin D source that also has Vitamin K in it.
Ben: Thorne, the same company that makes that multi they also have a liquid Vitamin D, Vitamin K blend – you just basically Vitamin D, Vitamin K and MCT oil. If you look on the label of a lot of Vitamin D supplements that are out there these days, supplement manufacturers are getting a little bit more savvy about the need for K2 included along with Vitamin D, and so you’ll see them on the label but look for it. Make sure that whatever source of Vitamin D you’re using also has Vitamin K and also has minerals or magnesium in it and so that’s when you can avoid Vitamin D harm in your ticker.
Natalie: Hey Ben. I have a quick question. My holistic doctor told me that if I need my smoothies and not put every color of vegetable in it, well I could actually be creating more oxidation in the cellular level than if I use every color. May I have your thoughts on that?
Ben: You know, I don’t know about you Rachel but putting every different colored vegetable on the face of the planet into my smoothie sounds exhausting.
Rachel: It does sounds exhausting but I actually really love eating lots of different color, so I’m interested to hear your answer to this question.
Ben: Yeah, I mean like that’s the advice that you see on the cover of Cosmo Shape Men’s Fitness and Men’s Health and Women’s Health and the newspaper…
Rachel: And we all believe everything we read.
Ben: Eat the rainbow, eat a variety – you know, it’s one of those head-slappingly obvious things that most people know about. Why don’t people realize the reason behind that though? So the reason for that when you look at different colored foods, they have different properties. So for example, red foods interestingly, because they’re red, they actually help out with most things related to blood. So red foods are red because they have what are called lycopene and also anthocyanins in them. Both of those helped to increase heart and circulatory health. So examples would be like you know, cherries, cranberries, red bell peppers, tomatoes…
Rachel: Tomatoes, yeah.
Ben: Beets would be another biggie…
Ben: beets are very red.
Rachel: I though beets were purple.
Ben: No, beets are red. Like you grab purple-ish red, I think that we could probably say that – I don’t know – I would consider purple food to be like blueberry, plum, eggplants type of thing, and beets would fall into the blood supporting category for sure.
Ben: So we’ve got the red foods, and then we have orange foods. Orange foods you eat, a lot of people have heard of carotenoids or beta-carotenoids, also bioflavonoids, also Vitamin C. Orange foods are very high in all of those compounds and orange foods interestingly because skin you can argue is kinda sorta orange-ish.
Ben: Mostly the benefits for those are skin and eyes, so we’re talking about like carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes/yams, peaches, what else? Like butternut squash, pumpkins, stuff like that. Orange foods would be more like skin. So we’ve got red foods – blood, orange food –skin, and then you’ve got yellow. So yellow foods – this is gonna sound really, really gross but I used to dissect cadavers when I taught the anatomy lab at University of Idaho – I didn’t teach it, I was the T.A., right? So my job was to dissect cadavers.
Ben: And one thing you’ll find, there’s a lot of yellow in brain tissue and in digestive tissue like gut tissue.
Rachel: That is really gross.
Ben: It’s gross.
Ben: It’s disgusting. But anyways, yellow foods actually help to promote digestion and help with brain function. It’s really, really interesting how our nature gives us clues like this. So examples of yellow foods and yellow foods are high in what are called alpha keratins, whereas orange foods are a lot of times have more of the beta keratins in them. We would be talking about things like yellow peppers of course, pineapple would be another one, lemons would of course we considered yellow. There are a lot of apples that are kinda yellow, some beets are yellow as a matter of fact, yellow watermelon which I love, yellow tomatoes – any of these yellow foods are going to help with digestion and brain function. And then there are the greens of course. Green foods are generally are going to be very, very high in what’s called lutein and also indoles – and both of these are particularly improved or particularly helpful for things like bone, teeth, muscles – green foods cover a lot of bases actually because the greens tend to be someone more powerful in terms of your nutrient density. So everybody…
Rachel: So why you gotta eat your greens.
Ben: eat your greens – everybody knows about this, right? Like broccoli, spinach…
Ben: kale, brussels sprouts – you name it. By the way, what color is Vegemite?
Rachel: Like a dark brown.
Ben: ‘Cause it’s got everything in it. It’s got so many good things in it – its just almost brownish black.
Ben: Now Vegemite, I don’t think is an actual vegetable.
Rachel: It’s not a vegetable; it’s not even close to a vegetable (laughs).
Ben: Find its name. So I’m gonna see how many Vegemite jokes I can get away with by the way until they got really old. So anyways, green foods would be the next category, and then there are two other categories: one would be bluish purple foods which get their hue from what are called the anthocyanins in them, and those are associated with like anti-aging or anti-oxidation. So we’re talking about just basically fighting off the effects of life, of breathing of living, of exercising. So blueberries, blackberries, like I mentioned plums or eggplants would kinda fall into that, purple cabbage, there were some potatoes that are purple, elderberries would be another big one, purple grapes, raisins and stuff like that. So those are gonna be more like anti-aging, anti-oxidation. And then finally there’s white and I’m not talking necessarily about white foods like white bread and white rice, but there are some other things you can probably think of, right? Like onions, cauliflower…
Rachel: Hmm, potatoes.
Ben: Yep, some white potatoes, ginger would be considered white jicama, a lot of turnips they’re like…
Ben: Yeah, garlic, white peaches, white nectarines, mushrooms would be considered kind of a white-ish food – now white, interestingly, they help to enhance the immune system. So think white blood cells, right?
Ben: White foods like this can really, really help with immunity. So once we put all these colors together: red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple and white – you can cover a lot of bases once you are eating a rainbow. And as you can see by eliminating one for like say, not eating ever like the white-ish foods, you gonna miss out on the immune benefits or by not eating the yellow foods you might miss out on some of the digestion benefits. But for a doctor to tell you that you must put every different color of vegetable into your smoothie and otherwise you can be creating more oxidation than if you used every color – I’m gonna call BS on that one.
Rachel: Mmm. Okay.
Ben: Because kinda like protein – it doesn’t matter how much you get in any one single meal – what matters is what you get at the end of the day.
Ben: So by the end of the day. Yeah, granted you can only really absorb and digest 20 to 30 grams of protein max anyways in any given meal. But ultimately, it comes down to what you’ve got in your body by the end of the day, or in some cases with like fat soluble vitamins for example by the end of the week…
Ben: And not necessarily what you’ve got in any one given meal. Now granted there is an article that I have written over at bengreenfieldfitness.com about how to biohack your smoothie and in it I talk about the fact that when you blend it high speed, having the yellows right? Like having Vitamin C, a little bit of cold water in their prior to do in all of your blending helps to prevent a lot of the anti-ox or the oxidation and the nutrient damage that can occur with blending – but that is a specific Vitamin C plus cold water mix that you’re using and it is for the reasons of preventing oxidation of the nutrients that you’ve been adding. It’s not because you need to eat every color…
Ben: …for one meal so.
Rachel: So don’t stress. Your smoothie is not killing you.
Ben: Your smoothie is not killing you, right.
Rachel: But still try and eat the rainbow.
Ben: And fire your doctor. And eat the rainbow, yes. So that being said, we managed – we somehow managed, Rachel in our first ever podcast voyage together to get through all the questions.
Rachel: We did and the training wheels are off.
Ben: The training wheels are off, but we still have to get to the iTunes review.
Rachel: Oh yeah.
Ben: But before we do, by the way, everything that we’ve talked about that you’ve just listened into, from the Beyond Training audio book to the Unbeatable Mind Retreat, to all of our sponsors, to the news flashes everything, to my massive lists of things you can do to avoid the deleterious effects of poor sleep – those are on the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/332. And of course, we never – we never delete comments unless they are extremely offensive, so if you want to pipe in with your own thoughts go to the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/332 and start a conversation or join the conversation over there. But you can also leave the show a review, and if you leave the show a review, it helps us out tremendously and you can do so by going to iTunes, do search for the Ben Greenfield show and leave in a preferably 5 stars versus 1 to 4 and also – if you can leave 4 just leave 5 – honestly people, I mean, come on. You know you’ve got in your heart.
Rachel: And you know you love it.
Ben: That’s right. And you can also say something, and if we read your review on the show, and you hear it, just email [email protected] that’s [email protected] and we’ll send you a surprise pack with bunch of cool stuff in it. So that being said, Rachel, what do you think? Do you wanna read this week’s review?
Rachel: Sure. So the review is from Certified Wellness Geeks and it’s 5 stars.
Rachel: “Great content and info. If sometimes we hear too much about our host wandering his property butt naked and picking vegetables after his cold water training.”
Ben: I do that.
Rachel: You do.
Rachel: “I love that these guys and girls can best out some serious science but don’t get too nuts with it so us lay mans don’t glaze over. Also these guys care about their fans and they’re willing to interact with us via social media.”
Ben: True. Truth.
Rachel: “This is evidenced by my tweets with Ben back and forth regarding the Spartan Race, Ultra Beast and cramping issues. If Brock wasn’t leaving…” Aaw. “I would say he needs to do more SNL Sean Connery voicings – speaking of voices. I think the switch from the porn star on the radar to the wannabe James ‘O Jones is perhaps an improvement. Seriously, these guys will help you ten times your wellness fitness training food knowledge. Wonderful.”
Ben: Did he just asked for a Sean Connery impersonations?
Rachel: He did, yeah. Saying out loud, Sean Connery voicings.
Ben: “You know you like it for buck (laughs), I’ll take a swags for 400.”
Rachel: That was really good!
Ben: “You better believe it and your mother likes it.” (chuckles) Alright, well, on that note, I guess I’ll just take us out with Sean Connery. “Thanks for listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness show, you can visit the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/332 to go access all the goodness that is the Ben Greenfield Fitness show and…” – how am I doing, by the way?
Rachel: Incredible. Keep it up, keep it up!
Ben: Okay, alright. “Tune in this weekend for a fantastic special interview and I’m beginning to sound like an old man…”
Ben: I’m beginning to sound like an old man losing his teeth.
Rachel: Yeah, you’re leavin’ us, then you’re leavin’ us.
Ben: So I’m gonna stop there. Thanks for listening in bengreenfieldfitness.com/332 is where you can access the show notes, myself and my Australian friend are gonna go eat some Vegemite now, later.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
Sep 30, 2015 Podcast: How To Recover From Lost Sleep, Is Your Smoothie Killing You, How Household Dust Makes You Fat & More!
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, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.
- Health concerns aside, it doesn’t appear energy drinks help exercise one bit.
- For those of you who feel bad your kid doesn’t get to use an iPad or iPhone enough (my kids use neither).
- How household dust makes you fat.
Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Dr. Anthony Beck? It was a must-listen – titled “The Physician Who Personally Advises The World’s Leading Health Authorities, And His Tiny Invention That Pro Athletes Swear By”. Click here to listen now or download for later!
This podcast is brought to you by Kimera Koffee. Go to KimeraKoffee.com and use code BEN10 to instantly get 10% off premium coffee infused with cognitive enhancing nootropics.
This podcast is also brought to you by Harrys shaving. Visit Harrys and use $5 discount code Ben on a Winston set, a Truman set, or any other mighty fine shaving equipment, at a fraction of the cost of drugstore razors.
Our final sponsor for today’s show is NaturalForce supplements, where you can use code “BEN10” to save 10% on any supplements, including Iskiate endurance formula, which is exactly what Ben Greenfield will be using during the Spartan World Championships this weekend.
Onnit is having a huge, blowout sale on all their fitness gear, including clubs, battle balls and kettlebells. Click here to get 40% off all Onnit fitness gear.
Now Available – Ben Greenfield’s “REV Yourself Conference” – 25 Packaged Interviews With The World’s Leading Experts In Physical & Mental Performance Enhancement Strategies. In this package, you’ll get to watch and listen as Ben Greenfield sits down with the world’s leading experts in biohacking, physical performance, mental performance, cognitive enhancement, personal productivity, muscle gain, fat loss and more. In a frank, easy-to-understand, fireside chat format, these experts reveal all their most cutting-edge secrets, and your access to the videos and audios also includes helpful notes, summaries and more. From Dr. Mercola to Mark Sisson to Nora Gedgaudas, you can check out the lineup and get access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, forever (no expiration!) once you click here to get lifetime access for $47.
Dec 4-6, 2015: Ben is speaking at the Unbeatable Mind Retreat in Carlsbad, California. This is where SEALFit and Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine will be assembling the best of the best in everything from performance to cutting-edge mental training to advanced sleep tactics and more. Includes amazing ancestral meals, morning WOD’s at SEALFit HQ (the site of the world famous Kokoro camp), Warrior Yoga instruction and workouts, and speakers such as Robb Wolf, Dr. Kirk Parsley, Dominic D’Agostino, and more. Click here to get in now.
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.
Ben Greenfield’s New York Times Bestselling book Beyond Training is now available on Audible! After spending over 43 hours in front of a microphone, Ben has finished recording a 100% (fully updated) audio recording of this quintessential guide to performance, recovery, fat loss, digestion, brain, sleep, hormones and more. If you’re new to Audible, you can get it now for free by clicking here.
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!
As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.
How To Recover From Lost Sleep
Nate says: He’s a paramedic/firefighter who works odd shifts and has an extremely odd sleep schedule ranging from no sleep to 1-2 hours/night. What are your tips for recovering the next day or lessening the impact of erratic sleep?
In my response, I recommend:
–Human Charger article
-Coffee (with cafestrol and kawehol, so use French Press or Turkish Coffee), blend with curcumin.
–Nexus by AxonLabs
–Huperzine (e.g. TianChi)
-Limit blood sugar fluctuations, use ketosis.
Do Barre Workouts Work?
Adzua says: She’s wondering about the effectiveness of barre exercises? She would love to know your thoughts on whether Barre exercises are effective.
Can Vitamin D Supplements Cause Heart Disease?
Bill says: He recently read an article on yahoo that said anything more than 4000 IU of Vitamin D3 could cause heart disease. What are your thoughts?
In my response, I recommend:
–Vitamin D/Vitamin K blend
Is Your Smoothie Killing You?
Natalie says: Her holistic doctor told her that if she didn’t put every different colored vegetable in her smoothie, she could be creating more oxidation at the cellular level than if she used every color. What are your thoughts ?