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

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Articles, Biohacking

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

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

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


The Finnish Super-Smoothie

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

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

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

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

Get The Low Carb Athlete - 100% Free!Eliminate fatigue and unlock the secrets of low-carb success. Sign up now for instant access to the book!

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

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


Kettlebell Walk

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop and do 30 kettlebell swings.

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

-Stop and do 30 kettlebell rows for each arm.

-Walk 100 steps with the kettlebell held overhead.

-Stop and do 30 kettlebell squats.

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

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

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


Full Head Infrared Therapy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fascial Rebooting

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

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

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

ELDOA T6-T7 video

ELDOA T8-T9 video

ELDOA L5-S1 video

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

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


Is Fermented Cod Liver Oil A Scam?

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

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

Yikes.

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

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

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

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

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


Summary

So that’s it.

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

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


Also published on Medium.

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

  1. JR says:

    So whatever happened to the blood results promised? I would love to know your findings! I just rediscovered fermented cod liver oil as I originally read about it some ten years ago. Especially for cavities. I have several children with very bad teeth at the moment. I would prefer to help strengthen their teeth instead of drill into them. Looking forward to your response!

  2. SURYA says:

    Hey Ben

    What’s your take on FCLO as of today? I have a bottle of green pasture FCLO plus butter oil. Do you recommend using it or throwing it in the bin? Are there safer, healthier alternatives?

    Peace
    Surya

  3. Don St.Clair, LMT says:

    Ben, I used to work in the nutritional supplement industry, for very reputable Chinese herbal medicine companies and a top Taiwanese herbal medicinal corporation. There are reputable companies like Jarrow, and ones that I would not touch Now or ever! You get what you pay for with supplements. Shop carefully and ask brand recommendations from the health and supplements person at a good natural food store (and not one of those terrible chains at the mall, never ever, nor someone at a major supermarket chain who barely knows anything about what they stock).

  4. Nicole says:

    Hi Ben,

    Have you tested the fermented cod liver oil yet? Someone just recommended Green Pastures product to me, I checked your blog to see if you had mentioned it and sure enough. I’d love to hear your follow up findings.

    Thanks!

      1. JC Cross says:

        Hey Ben, did you finalize your testing of FCLO?

        1. Yes, I found zero rise in inflammation, triglycerides, liver enzymes, omega 3 ratios or any other deleterious parameter on my own bloods and I was double dosing every day for nearly 2 months.

          1. Diane says:

            Have you written this up anywhere? Do you or your kids take Green Pastures FCLO now?

          2. Diane says:

            More on FCLO controversy – jury is not out: https://wellnessmama.com/59039/fermented-cod-liver-oil-safe

  5. Todd says:

    What shocks me about the entire FCLO “scandal” is that both Green Pastures and the WAPF allowed this to go on so long without taking swift and decisive (and independently objective and verifiable) action.

    Green Pastures should have immediately contacted some well known organization and requested that they arrange for various tests using product purchased randomly from a variety of stores. Some of the issues, particularly whether it is actually not cod, is quite damaging if true but immediate a full disclosure could have helped resolve this quickly.

    As for Sally Fallon’s reply, it’s clear to me that she didn’t take the claims particularly seriously but with the recommendations that the WAPF gave to people over the years, particularly to parents with young children and for children with severe disabilities, it’s shocking that they didn’t do more to address this issue. I don’t find that K. Daniels wrote to be very credible since it was clearly sensationalized and intended to injure rather than state facts, but it did raise a number of issues that needed to be properly addressed and which unfortunately were not properly addressed.

    I’ve spoken to many people who have now quite using this product. I use Green Pastures products regularly as does my family and all of us have now stopped and will not likely purchase from Green Pastures again, not because I think that there is anything wrong with their product but simply that I don’t want to take the risk of any of the report being true. I think that is incredibly unfortunate. Even worse, the WAPF is a world leader and represents the ideals that I hope are taken forward globally concerning proper nutrition and lifestyle and now I’m left questioning its integrity as an organization.

  6. Lincoln says:

    To get a balanced view of the Green Pastures FCLO drama, please read Chris Kresser’s and Chris Masterjohn’s analysis at https://chriskresser.com/important-update-on-cod-… and http://chrismasterjohnphd.com/2015/08/29/weighing… respectively. Long story short, the report is not as damning as it first seems although it raises some valid concerns. Both Chris’ seem to think it’s still OK to use.

  7. Steven says:

    Yes, I absolutely do love these reviews. Keep them coming. There needs to be a BNN channel on TV, Ben News Network 24-7.

    I was taking the Green Pasture’s product as well, so very good to know.

  8. Andrew Templeton says:

    Hey Ben,

    It was great meeting you at the Weston A price Foundation. I have really been enjoying your podcast and reading your articles. This was the first article released after I signed up on the mailing list. As soon as I read it, I ordered a Kettle Bell and finally received it. So i took it out for a spin around the block and absolutely loved it. A low intensity workout that kills. I was doing well for the first 30 min, but then the forearms and shoulders started to get pretty tired. Finished strong though. Loved it!! Any variations you would recommend trying?

  9. Jake Brindle says:

    G’day Ben,
    In reference to your post on “Fascial Rebooting”, Ming Chew actually developed these methods some years ago. I’ve been incorporating them for a long time (I wish I was more regular) but get his book and learn all his stretches!
    http://www.mingmethod.com/#!

  10. Erica says:

    Love your long and in depth articles.

    These “short and sweet” reviews have an entirely different objective and offer great exposure to a variety of topics which you may not have the time or current depth of knowledge to discuss at length. Really enjoyed the variety and curiosity-piquing tidbits presented in this article! Look forward to more in the future, along with your typically detailed and intensive articles-there’s no substitute for depth and expertise. Thanks!

  11. Emery says:

    What about regular cod liver oil? Do you have any experience with Nordic Naturals? I give my boys their children’s dha.

    1. It's not fermented when regular so fewer "benefits", which is the potential issue. Stay tuned for my own N=1!

      1. Kaitlin says:

        You can’t ferment oil. It rots. You can’t ferment livers either. Not enough carb to keep a ferment going. The product is fraud.

  12. Wendy says:

    Remember the results you get on yourself, an adult, will not be the same as what you would get on a child. Children are different. They are NOT small adults! They have many and various differences. But your children get such a good diet and outdoor activity that I don’t think they need any supplementation.

    1. Iosif fliskounakis says:

      https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/report-cod-liver-oil/

  13. Dwight Jessup says:

    The Vit K that Vessi takes is K2 not K1.

    Also using plastic to surround you cooking food is a dubious decision – much like using alum foil.

  14. Daniel Schweri says:

    Thank you for these reviews. One thing I sometimes miss is measurements of bio data. So when you recommend the Neuro, why not add screenshots of measurements that show the improvements? I think you did something like that with a PEMF device and for a biohacking site, that would be a great approach.

    1. They actually have some REALLY interested EEG data. Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiG1r9-JSEo

  15. Craig says:

    Ben, I saw that you were selling your Vielight 810. Do you feel a vast difference with the upgrade?

    1. A bit more "full head" feeling *during* and more focus after…

  16. Brad says:

    You may want to take a look at rosita extra virgin clo, I’m trying this now as an alternative to green pastures.

  17. Patricia says:

    Very interested in seeing your bloodwork re the Green Pastures FCLO. I’ve been taking it on and off for the last few years and have never had a ‘bad’ batch (I *always* keep it in the fridge; it has never smelled or tasted off or bad). In fact it seemed to heal some small cavities I had. No sign of them at a follow-up appointment after I started taking the FCLO.

    1. That's why we started doing it: cavities….

  18. BJ says:

    I’ve followed the fermented cod liver oil “scandal” since Dr. Kaayla published her report. It’s important to note that Sally Fallon ended up testing FCLO after Masterjohn’s rebuttal was published. Sally’s testing confirmed Kaayla’s shocking test results – the results that got Kaayla fired.

    Here’s a good post that summarizes Sally’s testing that happened a few months after Kaayla’s report was published:
    http://www.thefamilythathealstogether.com/weston-…

    Another good link is Kaayla’s follow-up blog, posted on September 9th, 2016:
    http://drkaayladaniel.com/fermented-cod-liver-oil…

    Many people have shared their blood work here:
    http://www.cheeseslave.com/fermented-cod-liver-oi…

    And finally, here is a short 1 minute video that encapsulates the “before” and “after” FCLO testing:
    https://youtu.be/DBO818_CmoY

    I think the biggest shocker to me was the fact that I had assumed that Green Pasture was using Atlantic Cod, but it turned out that they were using a combination of Pacific Cod and Pacific Pollock, which testing shows has a completely different nutrient profile than Atlantic Cod (which all the other manufacturers use).

  19. Jared says:

    So what about the fish oil you have on your website (living Fuel Super Essentials) and why wasn’t that one being used for the kids? Just curious as to that’s the one I take.

    1. Well basically the fermented cod liver oil is different. It is more for the fat soluble vitamins and specifically I did this for my boys' bone and teeth health after a discussion with katie the wellness mama about reversal of tooth cavitation with that approach. The SuperEssentials fish oil I personally take 4 of per day for the astaxanthin and the EPA/DHA. But it's not so much for bone building.

      1. Kaitlin says:

        The “fermented” cod liver oil does not have high levels of fat soluble vitamins. That’s nonsense from Sally Fallon. It has some Vitamin A and almost no Vitamin D. It can’t possibly do anything for your boys’ bone and teeth health.

  20. Robin says:

    I am currently giving my 3yr old autistic son cod liver oil (from Kirkman Labs) in the morning and evening, at the request of his doctor. Based on your post, I am questioning if I should err on the side of safety as well and switch to ghee. Eagerly awaiting your updated podcast with your findings on this, Ben. Thank you for all you do…it’s appreciated more than you know!

  21. scott says:

    I like the short reviews sometimes its hard to stay caught up on the podcast I subscirbe to. Thanks for the hard work bro!

  22. Chris Curley says:

    Very interested to see the results of your “in vivo” testing with F.C.L.O. By the way there are a few other alternative brands to feed your kiddies such as Rosita and Dropi both from Iceland

  23. Spencer says:

    This is all a regurgitation of Ming Chew’s method from almost ten years ago. The Permanent Pain Cure. https://www.amazon.com/Permanent-Pain-Cure-Ming-C…

  24. tom says:

    love these quick reviews that we can dig into further if interested

    sometimes the podcasts are just too long to get all the way through on busy days….

  25. Jeremy Lopez says:

    I once did consultation with you through wellnessfx. I was using Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver because of Tim Ferris was hyping it up in 4 hr body. After taking it for about 90 days i notice a Fat deposit under my arm. Before taking Green Pastures my Triglycerides 171, 90 days later while on the supplement it shot up to 303. You called me up and told me i should stop taking this supplement asap. You even did follow up call because you wanted to do more research on why my numbers would shoot up so high. The next time i did my blood work my triglycerides were at 112. This all took place from april 2013-July 2014. This the reason i stopped listening what Tim Ferris says.

  26. Jolaine says:

    I do dig these short and sweet reviews very much. Thank you! Honestly, considering how much you read every day and how much you’re involved in the industry I’m shocked you weren’t aware of the FCLO incident with Green Pastures. The day that hit the fan my social media blew up with the news. I guess it’s just good you know now. I also was takingnit at the time. Now I’m not taking any fish oil at all but I do need to get back on that. My favorite brand is called Stronger, Faster, Healthier. Check them out.

  27. Adam says:

    The kettlebell walk is something that Dan John has talked about for a long time. I like your protocol for it, but you aren’t the first to do swings then carries with a kettlebell.

    1. Not sure Dan ever walks an hour with a kettlebell but I'll ask him. ;)

  28. Ljubica Gnjatovic says:

    hi. Here is a link on page where one who wants can read articles which address the fermented cod liver oil concern/rebuttal after writing of author K.Daniels. Healthy home economist wrote about good, in my opinion. And I cant wait to read your results of testing. You write in a interesting way, understandable for pple like me who are not experts. Thank you for your work! I hope findings will confirm good use of these products, which is taken also by me and my kids.. we will stay tuned to enjoy your articles. Gbl. Ljubica, Croatia, Europe

  29. Jamie says:

    For your experiment, please do not acquire the fermented cod liver oil from green pastures themselves. A company that is willing to put rancid tilapia or pollack oil into it’s product will likely send you an atypical sample to ensure a good review.

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