Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: The Best Remedies For Hot Flashes, Does N-Acetyl Cysteine Increase Gutathione, How To Increase Shoulder Mobility, Getting Rid of Scar Tissue, and much more.
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Brock: Ahooz! Your teeth, I hear?
Ben: Ayayayayah! Seriously, my teeth are still chattering and I finished my cold water morning swim almost an hour ago. And I’m okay with that ‘cause I know my body’s churning out lots of nitric oxide and creating all this new special brown adipose tissue, etc. but I got to tell you Brock, I have this new strategy that is pretty killer for every Wednesday morning. So you gonna have to put up with this now every single time we record.
Brock: Okay, tell me about it. I wanna know what this is.
Ben: So, and if you’re listening in to this podcast and you wanna go out and replicate this setup for yourself, knock yourself out. You can even email me you know, of how I put all these together. But basically I have a 19 foot, what’s called an aqua fitness pool and this is like one of those endless swimming pools…
Brock: Oh, I was gonna say 19 feet, that’s like two of you.
Ben: It’s pretty long but I mean by the time I’m stretched out with my arms and my legs, I’m already getting moved around that thing pretty rapidly because it’s got high speed jets and so, I swim against the high speed jets and I’ve got this half hour routine that I do where the pool is at 59 degrees, and that’s Fahrenheit, 59 degrees Fahrenheit. I swim for 8 minutes and I do a combination of freestyle swimming and underwater hypoxic no breath swimming against these jets, and then next to that I have what’s called a J470 jacuzzi. And you can look up this model but this particular model of Jacuzzi allows you to have a hot tub without having to add much chlorine to it. It’s all ozone treated, so you avoid all the chlorine chemicals. So, I go 8 minutes in the cold water, and then 2 minutes in the hot water, and for the 2 minutes in hot water, I try and hold my breath underwater for the entire 2 minutes. Basically I’m getting that hypoxic oxygen deprivation effect, and then I jump back into the cold pool. So, you could replicate this kinda cold water swim at your local health club if it has kind of colder pool but ultimately, that’s new Wednesday morning routine – is 8 minutes cold, 2 minutes warm, 3 times through for this killer 30 minute routine and that’s why my teeth are still chattering.
Brock: You know where else they do that workout?
Brock: Guantanamo Bay. (laughter)
Ben: Speaking of jumping from cold to hot pools, Brock, I tweeted out this week about crazy endurance quests that the Outside Magazine website published. So, I’ll go through a few of these with folks and this somebody’s are pretty crazy but if you want to tune in to what I release on twitter each week, just go to twitter.com/BenGreenfield and you can get these news flashes right when they come out. But here’s a few of the 13 toughest endurance quests that Outside Magazine published this week. We’ve got the jungle ultra – that’s 142.6 miles through the Peruvian jungle in a self supported race, and they describe the courses dropping 10,500 feet to the jungle floor as you cross 70 rivers. So, that’s called the jungle ultra. I thought that one looked pretty interesting. How about this one: the Alaska mountain wilderness classic, in which you trek over a hundred miles across wild Alaska terrain and there’s no route and there’s no GPS but apparently you can carry a satellite phone, so there’s that.
Brock: I think that’s just sending a whole bunch of people out to get lost.
Ben: Here’s an interesting one. This one’s called the Self Transcendence, 3,100 mile race. It’s held in unassuming corner of Queens, New York and its test competitors mental strength is much as their fitness. You must complete 3,100 miles in 52 days by completing 5,649 mine naming laps around one city block. The Self Transcendence – it lasted for 18 years. I’d be curious if any of our listeners who’ve ever done that one. I wouldn’t be surprise, we got a lot of listeners in New York. I bet at least 1 or 2 of our crazy listeners have done this self transcendence.
Brock: I hope so. I wanna hear about it.
Ben: How about this one. The 633 Ultra – this is a self-supported 350 mile race in the Arctic Circle in which you have to cross the Arctic Circle and it lies at 66 degrees and 33 minutes. Apparently that’s the – I don’t know, I guess the latitude, longitude of the Arctic Circle?
Brock: Uhm, yeah.
Ben: Temperatures have around 25 degrees below zero and you must complete the course in 191 hours or less. Just basically 8 days. Only 11 people have finished it in 7 years.
Brock: And only 8 people or maybe 9 people signed up for it.
Ben: That’s right. So, if you wanna check up some of these crazy endurance quest, I’ll put a link to all of them in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/298. So, if you’re bored, you’re twiddling your thumb, you’re sitting around on the couch, and you feel like a crazy endurance quest, go sign up. So, there’s that.
Brock: I like it. I think we should choose one to do each year.
Ben: That’s right and just see how long we actually live. I’d give us a couple of years before we get bitten by some giant Peruvian bumblebee or drown in the Arctic Circle.
Ben: Here’s another interesting thing I tweeted out. This was an article that appeared last year entitled, “Do Olympic athletes train as in the Paleolithic era?” and it’s really interesting because this article goes into how some of the best athlete on the face of the planet seem to naturally progress towards training in a way that’s very, very much like our hunter gather ancestors would have trained. For example… oh, go ahead.
Brock: I was gonna say it’s a lots and lots of just low level activity.
Brock: With their sprints.
Ben: Uh huh, like this 80/20 rule. There’s this polarized training type of approach where if you look at (inaudible) turns that characterized by the prevalence of daily bouts of prolonged low intensity aerobic based activities in a spurs with periodic short duration high intensity burst of activity. And sure enough, if you look at some of the best Olympic athletes and especially if you look at endurance athletes like marathon or cyclist, etc. you see a lot of low level aerobic training, a lot of physical activity not performed at a super high intensity but performed regularly and consistently. And every once in a while extremely high, high intensity interval training sessions that pushed them very, very hard. Such as you would do if you are fighting a lion or defending your family against the savor tooth tiger or…
Brock: Running from a rhino…
Ben: One of those giant elephants with a tusk or those one called – the big mouth…
Brock: The mammoth?
Ben: Yeah, the woolly mammoth. So, you tend to see that same type of ancestral movement pattern replicated in the training patterns of some of the best athletes and teams on the face of the planet. Another point that they make out is that a lot of times these activity patterns in the hunter gather era were undertaken with low carbohydrate availability and it’s interesting because a lot of modern day research shows that this concept of like train low, raise high. Meaning – you train in instead of relatively low carbohydrate availability and then you make carbohydrates available during a race or actual competition. It turns out that that can actually upregulate the production of mitochondria when you do something like that and also helps you fire up free radical and a lot of oxidative stress from exercise. So, it’s interesting that we tend to see that physical activity in the state of low carbohydrate availability also displayed in hunter gatherer type of activities.
So, there’s that. Another thing that they mention is that if we look at the Paleolithic era, a lot of times, strength and power such as like finishing a wild animal that you may have killed or fighting after a long day of hiking and we tend to see strength and power typically performed after sometimes an exhausting aerobic activity. And so it turns out that after you, for example, run or worn yourself up from a practice or something along those lines, it can actually help from fitness standpoint and also in mental toughness standpoint to still have to perform some kind of a strength or power activity afterwards. So, this entire article is really interesting as post in the Journal of Sports Medicine but it’s called, do Olympic athletes train as in a Paleolithic era? And I think it’s worth the read. It’s just really, really interesting how some of the best athletes kinda tend to train like caveman whether they know it or not.
Brock: I like it. The sort of goes against what we talked about for a sort of the all those folks who have jobs and have families and lives and stuff, not doing that really low level but specifically for those people who are doing this for a profession.
Ben: Right, exactly. Completely flies in the face of sitting in your computer all day in a seated position and then drinking a jamba juice and then doing a workout, right – like it’s completely the opposite. So, there you go. Not that we have anything against jamba juice of course. We love jamba juice.
Brock: I don’t know if we have jamba juice in Canada.
Ben: I don’t know.
Brock: We have other offenders…
Ben: I saw jamba juice under the bus a lot. So, sorry jamba juice [0:11:55.0] ______. Okay, so another thing was that are interesting article and this is a great read, it appeared over at suppversity website and this was an article that went into a lot of the latest research who was just like a quick review of a bunch of latest research. And a few of the things that I thought jumped out of me was number 1; there are 2 different things they talked about that could increase cerebral profusion or increase blood flow to the brain or act as a smart drugs/nootropic in terms of increasing performance on cognitive test. And these two things; number one was cold water. Drinking cold water prior to an exam actually helped participants do better on a cognitive test.
Brock: Hmm, crazy!
Ben: And so we talked about cold water before as increasing blood flow throughout the whole body including the brain, it turns out as not just like taking a cold shower or doing like I did this morning going for a cold water swim, it’s also just drinking cold water. And the other thing that they found could increase cerebral blood flow was a high flavonoid cacao drink. In order words, like a dark chocolate type of drink. So, you could eat dark chocolate and you could drink cold water and you just be a smart little cookie just based off of those two little lifestyle changes.
Brock: I keep my chocolate bars in the freezer.
Ben: Hmm, that’s probably the ultimate nootropic. The other thing that I thought that was interesting in this article was they talked about the water trick. And a lot of people think that it’s a total myth that if you drink a glass of water prior to a meal, that you’ll eat less, but they actually did this study where they showed that when folks drink, the equivalent – it was right around 16 ounces of water prior to what they described as an ad-libitum porridge breakfast which is basically eating as much porridge are you like. Well, it turns out that folks ate much less of that ad-libitum porridge when they had this water intake meal before a meal. And so therefore, water intake may actually be an effective strategy to suppress energy intake. So, if you’re gonna eat something and you think you might over-eat it, try to drink a huge, giant glass of water first. And if you happen to have an exam afterwards, make sure it’s a cold water and have a little bit of chocolate. So, there you go.
Ben: Brock, I have a very, very special announcement and it involves breast milk.
Brock: My favorite kind of announcements.
Ben: So, we’ve talked about colostrum before on the show and colostrum is that life giving fluid that’s produced as pre-cursor to mother’s milk and mammals. That’s what used to like heal up the gut lining in a new born baby, it heals leaky gut, and in full grown babies aka adults.
It can help out with growth hormone formation, muscle building, excellent for enhancing immunity, it’s something you can load with for like 2 weeks before any kind of race in hot weather to increase the health of your gut specifically by decreasing permeability of the gut during exercise and hot weather. Tons of research behind all the different immune and growth factors produced by this stuff and its colostrum. So, colostrums has been kind of a daring supplement that we’ve talked about for a long time in the show, and the special announcement that I have to make is that Greenfield fitness systems which is named after me…
Brock: What a surprise.
Ben: Greenfield fitness systems now has its own colostrums supplement. It’s a goat based colostrum supplement, very, very low allergenic potential, it’s got a lot of different what are called immune-globulins in it, growth factors, growth hormones, and anti-bodies that help to strengthen your immune system and destroy for a antigens and so if you have gut issues, or a leak gut, or weak immune system, or you’ve got an upcoming hard workout, or race in the heat or you wanna recover faster, or increase growth hormone, this is a way to do it. You take about 4 colostrum capsules in the morning, and if you want kinda double dose, you do 4 in the morning, 4 in the evening, and it’s called Nature Colostrum. It’s the brand new Greenfield fitness systems supplement, Nature Colostrum. So, all of our listeners can get a grip it bottle stuff, it’s 40 bucks for your own bottle of human (not human, that’ll be horrible)…
Brock: You say, who are you milking?
Ben: … goat press milk. My mom. No, it’s goat colostrums. So, if you want to jump start your immune system and heal the leaky gut, check it out. We’ll put a link in the show notes or you can go to greenfieldfitnesssystems.com to check it out but it’s called Nature Colostrum. So, anyways I’m pretty excited about that.
Brock: Yeah! It’s cool.
Ben: So that is out now and look for other Greenfield systems supplement coming very, very soon specifically focused on your joints and on your gut. Colostrum is the first one that we officially have available as a Ben Greenfield fitness approved supplement. So, you can check that out.
Ben: While you are taking your colostrums, check out the sponsor for today’s show, and our sponsor is Training Mask. This show is brought to you by Training Mask. You may have noticed that if you’ve listen in to previous episodes and you try to use our special discount code for training mask that it may not have worked, and that because training mask made that discount code go by because it wind up on some of these popular coupon websites like retail me not or coupon codes or whatever, so anyways, here… drumroll please… is the new discount code that gives you 20% off this cool Bane Batman like mask that helps you to grow a third lung, and the discount code is GREEN1, GREEN1. So, you can use discount code GREEN1 over at trainingmask.com and get a 20% discount on growing that third lung that you’ve always wanted.
Brock: Disclaimer, it will not actually produce a third lung.
Ben: It will just make you feel like you’ve grown a third lung. So, check it out trainingmask.com – it’s the one that all of the UFC fighters are wearing. So, if you really wanna get really good at beating people up and not breathing hard while you’re doing it then put on your training mask.
Brock: So very valuable skill on today’s world.
Ben: That’s right. A few other things… as I think we’ve mentioned on this podcast before, I am going to be speaking at a private event in London, England next week. I’ll be in London from November 2nd through about November 9th but it just so turns out that we’re gonna have a little meet up for all of the Ben Greenfield fitness listeners and fans, and we’re gonna do that on Saturday night, November 8th. So, if you’re in London on Saturday night, November 8, here are the details: we’re gonna get together at this restaurant called Skylon Restaurant – we’ll put a link to that on the show notes. Apparently it’s on the south bank near the London Eye where we…
Brock: Oh yeah, just down from the Wicker Shanks.
Ben: Just down from the Wicker Shanks… You know where that is really?
Brock: No, I made that…
Ben: Oh, you made that up.
Brock: Not a thing. As far as I know, anyway.
Ben: I love how we’re so like…we’re so…
Brock: Culturally insensitive…
Ben: Culturally insensitive that we think of London as being like Harry Potter’s school. Anyways, Skylon Restaurant, Saturday night, November 8, 6PM, come join me, Dr. Tamsin Lewis is gonna be over there, and basically just gonna hang out. It’s totally nothing formal, it’s not like a talk or a lecture or anything like that. It’s basically just drinking at Skylon Restaurant. So, check that out if you’re in London.
Brock: Do they have blues in England, do they?
Ben: I believe they do. I think what they do is they had alcohol droplets to their tea. Dip their crumpets in that and have a grandeur time. So, you can check that out. Also, few other places that you can hunt me down – as I’ll be over in Israel from November 9th through the 16th . I have no clue at my schedule be over there but if you follow me on twitter at twitter.com/bengreenfield and tune in to the facebook.com/BGfitness page, you’ll be able to kinda see what’s going on when I’m in Israel and hopefully we have a chance to do a meet up over there as well with my wife and I will be over there. And then December 4th through the 7th, I’ll be speaking at the Unbeatable Mind Retreat near San Diego, California and we’ll put a link to that and all these other fantastic locations over on the show notes, and then finally if you happen to be hanging around and you’re in the Middle East, I’ll be over speaking in Dubai at the end of January and that’s a little ways off by now but I thought I’ve mention that as well just we don’t leave the good folks in the Middle East out.
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Graeme: Hey Brock and Ben, it’s Graeme from Adelaide in Australia. My question is actually from my wife. She’s experiencing hot flashes as part of early stages of menopause. Now, most of the supplements help the same go down the estrogen part which may not really comfortable with given the links to breast cancer and stuff like that. We’ve been experimenting with magnesium and vitamin A and been getting some really good results but I was wondering if you could recommend any other supplements that actually more help with hot flushes. Thanks guys!
Brock: Hey, it’s nice to hear from Graeme.
Ben: It is nice to hear from Graeme, and uhm, you know what’s interesting about hot flushes, Brock? Did you know guys can get hot flushes?
Brock: I didn’t but I believe that, ‘cause I get really hot sometimes I’m sitting on the couch.
Ben: Yeah, it’s actually something that can happen to guys of all because basically hot flushes, the way that they work, for those of you who are unfamiliar with or haven’t had the pleasant experience of getting a hot flush. What happens is – blood vessels in your head and in your neck expand really fast and this can happen during the day or during night – you don’t have to get all the sweating and the dizziness, and the high heart rate, and the headache, etc. Sometimes it can just feel like you’re just really hot and sometimes it can be sweating and dizziness and a faster heart rate, and the headache. But it’s basically just blood vessels in the head and the neck, expanding really quickly. And in women, you tend to have this happen more often leading up to menopause or during what’s called the peri-menopausal years, and one of the reasons for that is because estrogen levels sharply drop and when that happens you can get more of this rapid blood vessel expansion, increasing blood flow to the head and the neck, and it’s just a result of the hormonal changes specifically that drop in estrogen that occurs. So, part of it may have a little bit to do with another thing that can increase blood flow to the head called luteinizing hormone. And you can get some surges in luteinizing hormone that also happen during this peri-menopausal years. In guys, you typically tend to see hot flushes occur if there’s a dramatic reduction in testosterone levels. So in women, it’s a sharp drop in estrogen levels that can cause it. In men, a sharp drop in testosterone levels can cause it.
Brock: That doesn’t vote well for me.
Ben: Uh uhm. So, if you’re guy and having a hot flashes, you get your testosterone checked out. There’s a lot of different remedies that they’ve looked at. Obviously hot flushes are something that women have been experiencing for a long period of time and because it can disrupt sleep, and create insomnia, and create a lot of discomfort especially at night.
There are a lot of things as far as alternative remedies that folks have looked into that go above and beyond kinda some of these estrogen therapies that you might see prescribed more in like traditional western medicine or the use of phytoestrogens. And Graeme is right, using things like phytoestrogens and even using a lot of times things like soy and other sources of estrogens that can create some downstream issues as far as increased risk of breast cancer and other cancers simply because estrogen is so pro-growth and so trying to band-aid the issue with just a bunch of estrogen exposure is not necessarily the best idea. So, as far as some of the alternative remedies for hot flushes that actually have some decent research behind them; one incidentally is not really a netriceutical at all and it’s simply acupuncture. And there’s a really, really interesting study. This was actually a study done by Turkish researchers and I know we all have a special place in our heart for the good old Turkish researchers.
Brock: We love them Turks.
Ben: That’s right. We love them Turks. So, in this study, they actually recruited a bunch of post-menopausal women and they put them through a course of acupuncture and at the end of the study period and in this case if was a 5 week course of acupuncture where they’re doing acupuncture 2 times a week for 20 minutes. The women who got the acupuncture showed significantly more relief from their symptoms compared to another group of women who got sham acupuncture. I’m not really sure what sham acupuncture is, but – and in all seriousness, I think what it is they actually use blunted nails that don’t actually penetrate your skin. So, yeah, so you think that you’re getting needles poked in to you but you’re really not. So anyways though, the real acupuncture vs. the fake needles, turned out to actually decrease other symptoms of hot flashes, so and other uncomfortable symptoms of menopause as well. So, acupuncture is one thing that you can do. Even though I know that can be inconvenient to go out of your way to visit an acupuncturist a couple times a week for 20 minutes, is something that has been shown to be effective. And I’ll put a link to that particular study in the show notes if you wanna check it out over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/298.
So, another thing that has been shown to be useful for this is is Maca and Maca is just basically an adrenal stabilizer. You can get it in organic powder form, you can add it to smoothies, you can take it in like a capsule form as well but it’s basically – it’s great for guys actually to increase testosterone but in women, it may actually cause a little bit of a natural surgeon estrogen that can relieve some of these hot flash symptoms. So, Maca root is another one to look into and you definitely wanna get the organic variety but you can typically find the organic variety for example on amazon.com. You can get some good organic varieties of Maca root and also goes by the name lepidium – l-e-p-i-d-i-u-m, is the scientific name of Maca. Most of the time you just gonna find as organic Maca or Maca root if you wanna sound more…
Brock: Is that M-a-c-a?
Brock: So that’s not macha.
Ben: Yes, yes. Not macha green tea but maca root.
Brock: There you go.
Ben: So, there’s another thing called black cohosh. And I think black cohosh just sounds cool. But the root of the black cohosh plant has actually been used for many, many centuries and it’s actually in native American remedy to help relieve menstrual cramps and the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, and irritability, and mood swings, and sleep disturbances. And they’ve done clinical studies with black cohosh and found it to be a safe and effective alternative for women who cannot or will not take a hormone replacement therapy which should be one of the more modern remedies for hot flashes and menopause. So, black cohosh is actually this flowering plant that you find in some mostly eastern areas of North America which why it’s a more than native American remedy but it can be found in capsule form, tablet form, and like a liquid tincture or you can find it in a dried root for tea, but it’s something that would definitely be considered a clinically proven and effective remedy for hot flashes. So black cohosh would be another one.
Now, when I’m bringing up some of these things like black cohosh, maca – there’s also interestingly some studies on vitamin E and hot flashes in menopausal women. Vitamin E – you gotta be careful with. You always wanna make sure it’s balance out with vitamin C, another natural antioxidant because high dose synthetic vitamin E especially can lead to increase risk of strokes. So you need to be very, very careful with the overuse of vitamin E but in its natural form, balance out with vitamin C, vitamin E would be another thing that – along with black cohosh and maca root can help out quite a bit.
Anyways though, there is one supplement called Meta-Balance, you should be able to find at many health food stores. You can find it on Amazon, we’ll put a link to it in the show notes but that’s one that’s made by Thorne, and Thorne was one of those companies that I really, really admire in terms of their avoidance of using nasty fillers and their adherence to very, very high quality additives in their supplements. And this particular one, Meta-Balance, it’s got black cohosh in it, it’s got something called Vitex in it, it’s got something called Dong Quai in it which acts very. Very similar to Maca root, and it’s got some wild yam in it which helps provide you with a little bit of natural progesterone which can help to decrease a lot of the symptoms of a lot of peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. So, it’s got all of that in it. Along with it, I believe it has a little bit of vitamin E and vitamin C in there as well. It’s just something that you can take – it’s relatively affordable, it’s 25, 30 bucks for a bottle of the stuff but it’s called Meta-Balance. Meta-Balance – that’s another one that I’d look into. So, those are some of the biggies.
Brock: Taking that with me, you wouldn’t have to worry about all the dosages ‘cause all that stuff here are listing else like, okay so how much…
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, it’s one of those convenience, those convenient things that you can just add in. The other thing I’m looking to, just be like a basic Chinese adaptogenic herb complex. A lot of times with hormonal fluctuations, adaptogens can help out quite a bit. They helped to produce more hormones when there’s hormonal deficits, produce little less, you know, for example if you have excessive cortisol, help to decrease cortisol production little bit, and one of the adaptogens that I recommend and use myself called TianChi, that’s got a lot of components in it that help to regulate blood flow to the brain as well. So, that’s another one that you could look in to and that’s just something to take like mid-morning, on an empty stomach or even early morning on an empty stomach, is called TianChi. So, those are some of the main things that I would look into. If you didn’t want to go out of your way to do acupuncture, I’d look in the black cohosh, maca, this Thorne meta-balance stuff, if you wanted the mix of that and some of the vitamins like vitamin E that can help out with regulating hot flashes and then this TianChi. So, that’s what I would do and that’s the block.
Brian: Hello Ben, my Brian Balls. I’m calling from Martinsville, Virginia. I have a question regarding the supplement NAC – N-Acetyl Cysteine. I’ve been reading some articles about it and saying that it covers a wide variety of health issues, helping to make things better for the body, and one of the major thoughts that I have about it was – what are your comments on how it works to reduce during and post-exercise oxidative stress? And also, if you could recommend a pure, quality product, that would be greatly appreciated, and also too, if you know of any research that there are like any major side effects from taking this supplement. I think that’s all I have, appreciate your input and your time. Okay! Have a great and I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks.
Brock: So we have talked about N-Acetyl Cysteine in the past but this is a very specific kind of question about the oxidative stress. So, he’s looking for a sort of an antioxidant side of things.
Ben: Yeah. I think we’ve talked about in the past has a pretty significant liver detox type of thing that to add in to your protocol if you’ve had a heavy vendor.
So, for all of you getting ready to put on your Halloween zombie costumes and go out and drink a lot of shots of hard liquor…
Brock: Your sexy zombie costumes of course.
Ben: Yes, of course your sexy zombie costumes or nurse costumes as the case may be. What are you gonna dress up for this Halloween, by the way?
Brock: I’m gonna dress up this the guy who hides inside his house with all the lights turned off. I do that pretty much every year. It’s my staple.
Ben: (laughter) I love it. I’m gonna dress up as a dad who walks his kids around and… yeah, and to think my kids are not…
Brock: And knocks the candy out of kids hands.
Ben: I think I’ve got a – like a Dracula, like a vampire kid and my then my other guy is something cute. He’s like a squirrel or an Ewok or something like that. So, yeah, pretty random.
Brock: I like it. It’s good comment.
Ben: Anyways though, that has nothing to do with N-Acetyl Cysteine really. So, N-Acetyl Cysteine is just the – you may have heard of the amino acids cysteine before and N-Acetyle Cysteine is basically the amino acid cysteine but there’s what called an acetyl group attached to it. And when you do that, when you add an acetyl group to cysteine, it makes cysteine water soluble. So, normally if you’re just take oral cysteine which isn’t water soluble, it’s not well absorbed by your intestine, and so if you’re just taking a cysteine supplement, it doesn’t really get absorbed and it doesn’t really have any of the effects of cysteine that I’ll tell you about in a second. Now you can get dietary cysteine as the breakdown product of proteins and peptides. Like whey protein for example, like if you supplement with whey protein, you get and you may have read about this, a little bit of an increase in glutathione synthesis. And one of the reasons for that is because cysteine if it is absorbed, is one of the amino acids that contributes to the synthesis of glutathione. And you may be familiar with glutathione as one of the most potent antioxidants that your body makes. It’s important in your liver detox pathways, it’s important in fighting free radicals on a cellular level. So, glutathione is really important but the problem is that, if you just taking like a cysteine supplement, you are not really going to get much absorption to form glutathione. If you’re eating like whey protein, you actually do get some cysteine absorption from that but the tray office of course maybe whey protein might cause some GI side effects for you or maybe you just don’t want the calories that come with whey protein for example if you’re trying to supplement with cysteine. The other thing is that, you would have to eat a lot of whey protein. We’re talking like dozens of scoops of whey protein to get a very high intake of cysteine if you’re looking for like more of a therapeutic or like a pretty big liver detox effect. So, this is where something like adding an n-acetyl group to cysteine comes in handy. So, what happens is, like I mentioned n-acetyl cysteine is a pre-cursor used by the body to produce glutathione and glutathione is this really important and powerful antioxidant that’s help protect you against free-radicals damage and services as a liver detox. So, when you add this acetyl group to cysteine, then what you allow for cysteine to do is get quickly what’s called d-acelated and metabolize in your intestines and in your liver, and then it combines with a couple other amino acids. One called glycine, and one called glutamate to form glutathione and so, really the main reason that you would take an n-acetyl cysteine would be to get to that end goal of producing glutathione. Now, there are some forms of n-acetyl cysteine that are very, very well absorbed compared to other forms. For example, if you look for an n-acetyl cysteine capsule, which is where you’re gonna find most n-acetyl cysteine supplements packaged then, what happens is n-acetyl cysteine is really easily oxidized when it gets expose to the air. So, an open bottle of capsules is really vulnerable to oxidation and degradation. So it’s kind of an issue if you’re getting your n-acetyl cysteine in like a capsule form. You can also get n-acetyl cysteine in effervescent form and this is a form that – I personally, I’ll tell you right now, I don’t take n-acetyl cysteine, I take liposomal glutathione instead. I use the bulletproof upgraded glutathione and so, that’s my way of getting glutathione rather than going the n-acetyl cysteine root.
But basically an effervescent form of n-acetyl cysteine is the way to go because what happens is not only do it as a solid capsule or a tablet get dissolve really gradually in your stomach and can’t really fully dissolve, it can cause some irritation in the gut especially in the mucus membrane of the stomach but it’s very, very prone to oxidation. An effervescent tablet gets absorb very, very well and one of the forms that I like is there’s this company called PharmaNac, is a p-h-a-r-m-a Nac, pharmaNac, you can get it off of Amazon. It’s an extremely well absorbed form of n-acetyl cysteine if you want to use that as a root to increase glutathione levels. So, that’s the way that I would go if I were gonna use n-acetyl cysteine to boost glutathione. But like I mentioned, I don’t use effervescent n-acetyl cysteine like pharmaNac, I use the liposomal glutathione and this is the stuff that taste like liquid dog farts basically. So it’s not pleasant, but what you do is you put it in our mouth, you hold it for about 30-60 seconds then you just chase it with a glass of water or your swallow and it’s a great way to get targeted glutathione into your gut cells and do so in a way that doesn’t allow your enzymes to degrade the glutathione before your gut is able to absorb it and deliver it to the cells. So, the way that liposomal glutathione works is – glutathione binds this peptide, this peptide called lactoferrin and lactoferrin by pass stomach degradation and delivers glutathione straight into the gut. It crosses your intestinal mucosa through this process called endocytosis and basically all that means is that you don’t get degradation of the glutathione like you would with a capsule or a tablet and it just get absorb. So, kinda 3 different ways to skin the glutathione cat – one would be to use something like n-acetyl cysteine in its effervescent form like this pharmaNac stuff, one would be to use to take crap loads of whey protein, and then another way would be to use like a liposomal glutathione. So, if I were gonna take n-acetyl cysteine, I would use this pharmaNac stuff, so I’ll put a link to that the liposomal glutathione in the show notes, you can check out those ways to live better through science by upgrading your free-radical buffering capacity.
Mark: Hi Ben, hi Brock! It’s Mark from [0:42:48.9] ______, Canada. So, good old Canadian welcome to and hello to Brock there. Anyways, in June of this year, I did a Tough Mudder and I was felt good and had a really good time and then the next I played 2 back-to-back softball games and I felt a tweak in my shoulder every time I throw and at that time I thought – oh, nothing of it, probably just a sprain but from that day on I kinda felt some tightness in my shoulder and my range of motion was very limited, had trouble playing golf to start, and there is other things like reaching for high things became difficult and even at times playing things like my dreadnought guitar was difficult and so, anyways, it’s gotten better, my range of motion has almost come back and when I’m wondering is why is it that it’s taking this long, it now the middle of October, and I wonder if there’s anything that then you could suggest that could help me with the tightness and soreness that I feel initially in the morning. And I wanna thank you both for the great work that you do and I really appreciate all the hard work that you do. Thanks.
Brock: I like how Mark just so ever so subtly let us know which kind of guitar he’s playing.
Ben: Uhmm, yeah.
Brock: I do enjoy dreadnoughts.
Ben: I do enjoy a good dreadnought guitar. I don’t know what dreadnought guitar is honestly.
Brock: Oh, it’s one of those big fat acoustic guitars. So, I can see why that would actually crank your shoulder more ‘cause he has to reach around a little bit.
Ben: Uhhmm, yeah, yeah, of course. So, as if doing a Tough Mudder and then the next day playing 2 back-to-back softball games wasn’t enough. He’s now adding the dreadnought guitar into the equation. I could see why his shoulders are complaining.
Brock: Exactly. He’s probably got some long flowing locks and I’m sure he was singing a love song to some hippie girl.
Ben: Yeah, I mean, the problem with the shoulder is that because it’s a complex joints and there’s so many different muscles and tendons that kinda travel underneath the clavicle and through that – what’s called the glenohumeral joints and also on the top of and the inside of and underneath the shoulder blade.
That just resting the shoulder or just stretching the shoulder typically is not gonna get rid of pain. And as soon as you start to throw, or as soon you start to move, or as soon as you start do whatever you do on the Tough Mudder, the arctic enema or the giant huge mount Everest wall that you climb over, you’re gonna feel it again. And so, I have 2 different things that I do for my shoulder that I swear by and there’s this really, really good website. So you probably heard about the book, Becoming a Supple Leopard right, Brock?
Brock: Uhmm, yeah, I own it.
Ben: Yeah, great book. I own it too and I love it and anytime I’ve got a tweak or pain in a specific area, I literally just use Becoming a Supple Leopard book like a cookbook. I flip to the specific area that involves the area I’m feeling pain in and I pretty much do every mobilization and every technique that’s in that book. You know, he’s got everything from like voodoo flossing to deep tissue mobilization, to… gosh. What… you name it. The book is just chockfull of all these methods that you can use. But there’s also, just if you wanna take the lazy man’s route, there’s a website that has a lot of the moves in that book on the website. I’ll link to it in the show notes but it’s just called allthingsgym.com as in g-y-m dot com. Not to be confused with allthingsjames.com.
Brock: Which should also be very interesting..
Ben: I spoil like a devo taste site to Jim Carrey or something like.
Brock: I thought it be Captain Kirk.
Ben: Yeah, or Captain Kirk. But anyways, they’ve got a mobility section – it’s the allthingsgym.com/mobility101 and they split it in to like shoulders, ankles, calves, feet, hip openers, hips, back, etc. and a lot of times actually with some of the clients that I’ve worked with, I’ll send them to specific sections of these page and we’ve got little aches and pains that we’re dealing with just to have them do specific what are called mobility WODs or mobility movements that are on here. Two of the ones that I really like to do for my shoulder, that I use frequently, that I found to be very effective for the shoulder – one is to really work on the elements of the rotator calf that tend to travel underneath the armpit. This should be muscles like the infraspinatus and the teres minor if they’re adhesed and if there’s lack of range of motion in them, they generate and radiate pain to the front of the shoulder and a lot of times in throwing athletes or an obstacle course type of athlete who are going over walls and stuff, when you get this tightness in the shoulder, it’s all starting back in there, kinda underneath the armpit at the bottom of the lat. So, there’s one mobility move called the lacrosse ball shoulder mobility 1 and just take a lacrosse ball or tennis ball or ball about that size, you lay on it so that you kinda like laying sideways on it and that ball is kinda tucked underneath your armpit and pinning all that soft tissue in the armpit, the lower lat area, and you just move through every area of tightness in through there. And what works really well is if after you’ve gone through all that teeth grittingly tough work underneath the armpit and the lat, you then stretch the shoulder across the body, and do a few shoulder stretches like that would be the time to stretch the shoulder after you’ve done that soft tissue work, and then you hit the other side. So, that one is called – and again I’ll link to this in the show notes for you over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/298 but that one is called the lacrosse ball shoulder WOD. The other one that I like is called shoulder flossing. And this is really cool. You need one of those big bands, tooth floss simply will not do the trick. You could try tooth floss but I think it probably break it. Use a big band like a rouge fitness band, and what you do is you attach one end of the band to an immobile object like a pole or a beam, or something that’s not gonna move around, or even like a bed post or something that’s gonna move much. And then you hold on to the other end in your grip. You kinda wrap it around like your wrist and then hold on it with your hand and then you move your shoulder through a variety of different ranges in motion like internal rotation and external rotation, horizontal fletching, horizontal extension, but as you’re moving your shoulders through all these different ranges of motion, that band is maintaining tension on your shoulder. And it’s doing what’s called traction, right. So, it’s distracting your shoulder joint and kinda opening it up and almost milking inflammation out of it as you move through these different ranges of motion –this called shoulder flossing.
That’s another really, really good one and I would actually recommend you do that after you tacked down all that soft tissue in your shoulder with a lacrosse ball or with some soft ball, tennis ball, whatever you can use to break up that tissue. There’s even these really, really cool balls with little spikes coming out of them called beastie balls, if you do a search for beastie balls, b-e-a-s-t-i-e balls, you’d be able to find those. Lots of very offensive website, I don’t know which, but either way, beastie balls are pretty cool too. I use those and I always travel with one of my bag, but I will do a little lacrosse ball shoulder, or I do the shoulder flossing with the rubber band. And I mean like you know, all of the other things that can help with inflammation –like we talked about before on the show like doing some cold with some electro stim, and doing a – what else did we talk about, like acupuncture like kind of stuff. The top 2 things I’d start off with before I do any of that stuff would be some – just some deep shoulder tissue work with the ball, some shoulder flossing, and that will generate free of blood of that inflammation that can collect in that soft tissue around the shoulder, and that really isn’t gonna go away no matter how much rest you do unless you actually start to do some of these other methods. So, check out the links that I put in the show notes to that stuff.
Yvonne: Hi, my name is Yvonne Heat. About a year ago I ripped my thigh muscle doing an aerobic workout and which I have now a lump of scar tissue at the top of my leg which about to [0:51:37.2] ______. But a lot of the time I keep getting a burning sensation in my thigh and I keep wondering what it was. If you could tell me, thanks, bye.
Ben: That just sound painful, thigh muscle ripped.
Ben: This should be a case where ripped muscles is not a good thing. Not fun.
Brock: Wait. Oh, yeah, yeah, as opposed to getting ripped or getting ripped.
Ben: Yes, exactly. So, ripped thigh muscle. Yeah, so, what happens here is when you tear a muscle, you sprain a tendon, or you strain a tendon, you sprain a ligament, whatever, you can get a scar tissue. It also can go by the term adhesion, or fibrosis and the words are all different but the concepts are pretty much the same. You get this dense fibrous tissue – that’s an underlying factor and in many, many injuries, and it’s one of the reasons that you can injure it and keep on injuring it afterwards because when you form this scar tissue after an injury, it binds up and it ties down other tissues in the area that need to move freely. So, the scar tissue builds up, muscle will become shorter, it will become weaker, it will get tension on tendons that have scar tissue or that are surrounded by areas of scar tissue that can cause tendinosis. You can get nerves that become trapped in areas of immobile scar tissue and that can cause things like tingling and numbness, and weakness, reduced range of motion, loss of strength, the loss of mobility, and there’s kinda 2 different ways that scar tissue gets formed – one is; a mechanical injury – right, a muscle or a tendon or a ligament gets torn by getting stretch too quickly, or it gets crushed and the body creates scar tissue to basically more or less glue those torn pieces together. And that’s a necessary part of the healing process but if you don’t pay attention to some of the things that I’m going to talk about in a second here as far as making sure that that glue is laid down in an align pattern, then you get some of these issues with a lack of range of motion, and nerve tissue becoming trapped, etc. and a shortened weak muscle. Now, scar tissue can also form in areas of your body that don’t receive enough oxygen and this actually occurs more often than what we may think like for example, sitting for long periods of time during the day can create hypoxia in your hip flexors and cause scar tissue to form in your hip flexors causing pain in your low back, and muscle tension, and weakness, and nerve entrapment. Even if you haven’t torn your hip flexors or strained your hip flexors. So, anytime we increase muscle tension by keeping a muscle in a shortened position for a long period of time, we get hypoxia or we get reduced blood flow to an area and once that reduce blood flow happens, that means less oxygen, that means hypoxia, and when you don’t have enough oxygen being delivered to a muscle area, that leads to free radical accumulation. So, I mean you could take all the glutathione on the face of the planet but if you’re not actually getting oxygen into an area, those free radicals attract specific cells that produce scar tissue.
And that scar tissue gets laid down in greater, greater, amounts overtime and it can begin affecting like I mentioned, your surrounding muscles, and tendons, and ligaments, and fascia, and nerves, and sometimes it can be a matter of a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Like you could be sitting for a long period of time with shortened hip flexors, you go for a run with shortened hip flexors, create hypoxia, create scar tissue, and then just have this vicious cycle where you get less lactic acid drainage, you get more burning in those areas of hypoxia, you get an increased risk of injury to that area because it’s not mobile or it’s not able to produce strength, and it’s just this vicious, vicious cycle. So, the trick here is to somehow figure out a way to actually get rid of this scar tissue or to remove this scar tissue. And in my opinion, there are only 2 really effective ways for getting rid of scar tissue. One, is not quite as effective as the next one that I’ll give you but I’ll give the first that’s slightly less effective method first and that would be just basically using waves to break up scar tissue. So, typically ultrasound waves are really the number one way to do this, and this would be the type of ultrasound wand that you’d find at – for example, physical therapy institute and they move that ultrasound wand around and around in an area like knee or an elbow that has built up scar tissue. And those sound waves literally assist with breaking up the scar tissue. So, that’s one way that you can do it. In my opinion, not only is that a little bit annoying and expensive but it’s not as effective as the second method which is actually just use deep tissue therapy. Like deep, firm strokes that are moving in the direction of the muscle fibers and helping to realign scar tissue and to move oxygen back into an area. Now, deep tissue sports massage is really the best way to do this. You can self-administer that with things like foam rollers, and lacrosse balls, and a lot of the other methods that we’d talked about. You can have someone else, like someone who is well versed in deep tissue sports massage, do this to you as well. This specific form of deep tissue sports massage that I think is best at mobilizing areas, reducing scar tissue, and realigning tissue in a pattern or in a direction that it should be aligned, is active release technique or ART. That’s the number one form of deep tissue massage that I would recommend as far as something that you should be able to find relatively close to you in your area. That can really work to break up scar tissue and get rid of hypoxic areas. I’ll put a link in the show notes to the part of the active release therapy website that let’s you find a practitioner in your area who can work on you. But that’s what I would recommend. And I mean like, it’s easier than you would think to find an ART therapist. And this is where you can go to a clinic, and I mean like for me, even like before Ironman, I had a lot of little injuries in areas that I knew were hypoxic like especially in my knees. After racing the Spartan world championships and I actually had a deep tissue sports massage therapist come to my home. It’s actually less expensive than you think. I basically kinda like bulk paid him for, I think it was like 4, 5 sessions to just come to my house and treat me and he kept his table in my living room closet and just pulled it out every time he showed up, and work on me a few times and that was convenient for me ‘cause I could just, you know, I could be doing my work, working at my office and then he’d up and then I do my 45 minutes immobilization and he’d leave, and I followed that up with foam roller and some lacrosse ball work but getting deep tissue massage is so therapeutic at removal of scar tissue, and frankly, I’ve been talking about this with some of my clients, especially, you know, most of folks I trained, people think I worked with pro-athletes, I mostly work with like about 40-60 year old male, and female executives who still wanna perform and go out and do things like triathlons, and obstacle races, and ultra runs, and mountain bike races, and things like that. And what I find is, that not just for myself but also for these folks that I’m working with, it becomes so important to even replace workouts throughout the week with deep tissue work. We fall on skip yoga sessions or we fall on skip weight training workouts, etc. and instead just do deep tissue mobilization. Spending like 30-40 minutes on the foam roller or balls just hunting down spots and eliminating them and I think that that is an off neglected focus of training that helps to nipple out of this in the butt and get rid of it before it happens.
I mean, I’ve got 2 days in a week now where I do – it’s kinda funny – in Kelly Starette, he’s the guy that wrote the book, Becoming a Supple Leopard, he also wrote this newer book called Ready to Run, and he calls it goat hurting, where you’re just basically sitting with all your different yell like a muscle stick, a foam roller, a lacrosse ball, etc. and you just finding all those areas that hurt and just going after ‘em, and essentially putting force into them to remove them and to realign those areas with scar tissue. And so, I’ve got 2 full days a week now, where I’m spending a long time just doing this goat hurting, and I just put on a podcast, or an audio book, and listen to it and just sit on my living room floor and go to town. Really, really important if you wanna be in this for the long game and if you wanna get rid of a lot of nagging aches and pains, and a lot of athletes, and weekend warriors, and exercise enthusiast have to deal with. So, that’s what I would do for this, and again, I’ll put a link to that active release technique practitioner search in the show notes for you.
Brock: well, that’s fantastic.
Ben: Fun freakin’ tastic.
Brock: I think you solved some serious problems today.
Ben: That’s right. And by the way, speaking of fantastic, we did get a review this week, and as usual, if you leave the podcast to review over on iTunes, we will send you the exact gear package. You can go check out the gear package at bengreenfieldfitness/gear. As a matter of fact, you can even for $47 support the show and buy one of those gear packs that are cool. Ben Greenfield fitness beanie, a bpa-free, guilt free water bottle, and a cool tech t-shirt that makes you look all muscular and sexy. You can check that all out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear. But if you leave a review and you hear us read your review on the show, and you email us and let us know, just email [email protected] , let us know your t-shirt size and we’ll actually get a gear pack out to you, straight to your front door, possibly with Brock jumping out of a cake and singing you a song, if you’re lucky.
Brock: Probably! That’s what usually happens.
Ben: Yeah! So anyways, our review this week comes from… I_murder_Kale, and…
Brock: Oh, that’s just Kale, I thought it’s I_murder_Kate.
Ben: No, I_murder_Kale actually.
Brock: Okay, that’s better.
Ben: Yeah, so I want you to read this one, Brock.
Brock: Oh, the title of this review is – I think of these guys every time I take a shower. Which I think we don’t even need to read the whole review now ‘cause that’s better than anything.
Ben: Yeah, it’s yours.
Brock: Okay. “This podcast has done at least two things for me: #1, it provides my brain with the perfect balance of humor and stimulation for the solid hour it takes for me to fold and put away laundry”.
Ben: Uhmm, nothing like stimulation when you’re putting my laundry.
Brock: Yeah! I was – take that as my service zen time but if you need stimulation, that’s okay. And it continues, “And #2, it has also successfully turned my daily bathing routine on its head. Showering will never be the same for me now that I know all the super cool benefits that comes with cold thermogenesis.”
Ben: Oh yeah, baby.
Brock: “Warm, luxurious showers and baths are the thing of the past as I now keep my tap on the coldest setting possible. So thanks, guys, you’ve turned one of this stay-at-home-mom’s only luxuries into a battle-of-wills fire breathing freak fest.”
Ben: That’s hot.
Brock: “P.S. My husband thanks you for lowering the energy bill. Keep up the great work!”
Ben: well, we’re gonna think about you now every time we take a shower. So, goes two ways.
Brock: I gave up taking showers long time ago so…
Ben: That’s right. Well, for all of you stay-at-home sucker moms out there who are taking showers and thinking of Brock and I, thanks! And of course, be sure to leave us a review in iTunes, and thanks to I_murder_Kale, we’ll send you a very cool beanie that you can wear while you take your showers so…
Brock: ‘Cause she just keep the extremities warm while doing cold thermogenesis.
Ben: That is crap. So, and also we’ll put a link to everything from the crazy endurance quest that we talked about at the beginning of this show should you wanna sign up for one of those, to every where I’ll be from London to Dubai, etc., as well as all of our recommendation for increasing glutathione and improving your mobility over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/298. So, thanks for listening in and also of course, be sure to support today’s sponsor by going to trainingmask.com and using code GREEN1 to get a 20% discount on your third lung, and while you’re at it, surfing around the webs, go to greenfieldfitnesssystems.com and check out the brand new Nature Colostrum. So, thanks for listening in, and happy showering.
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Oct 29, 2014 Podcast: The Best Remedies For Hot Flashes, Does N-Acetyl Cysteine Increase Glutathione, How To Increase Shoulder Mobility, and Getting Rid of Scar Tissue.
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- Would YOU do any of these crazy endurance quests? Which one?
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- Wow. Cold water and chocolate as nootropics, and drinking water before a meal as a fat loss strategy. Good article.
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As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.
The Best Remedies For Hot Flashes
Graeme asks: His wife has been experiencing pre-menopause hot flushes. Most of the supplements focus on eostrogen i.e. Are phytoeostrogens which they are NOT a fan of due to increased risk of breast cancer etc. She has been using Magnesium which is helping a LOT, plus some Vitamin E and they have also heard Kelp powder (iodine) helps. Do you happen to have any other suggestions?
In my response I recommend:
-This article on acupuncture and hot flashes.
-This article on black cohosh and hot flashes.
-Black Cohosh/dong quai (e.g. Thorne MetaBalance)
–Organic Maca Powder
Does N-Acetyl Cysteine Increase Glutathione?
Brian asks: He is interested in learning more about N-Acetyl Cysteine. He has read some articles that say it can help with a wide variety of health issues – helping to make things better for the body. One of the major questions he had was how does it work to reduce pre and post exercise oxidative stress? Also, could you recommend a pure quality product? Are there any side effects from taking NAC?
How To Increase Shoulder Mobility
Mark asks: In June this year he did a Tough Mudder and had fun and felt really good. The next day he played two, back to back, soft ball games. He felt a tweak in his shoulder every time he threw the ball but didn’t think much of it. From that day on he has had tightness in his shoulder and his range of motion was very limited (reaching forhigh things is difficult, playing golf is hard and even playing his dreadnought guitar is painful). It is getting better, very slowly, but it is still very tight in the morning and interrupts his sleep at night. Do you know why this is taking so long to heal, why it is tight in the morning and what he can do to speed up the healing?
Getting Rid of Scar Tissue
Yvonne asks: About a year ago she ripped her thigh muscle doing an aerobic workout. She now has some scar tissue at the top of her leg. Now she gets a burning sensation in her thigh muscle and wonders what it could be. Can you tell her?
In my response I recommend:
–Active Release Technique practitioner search