Introduction: In today’s podcast, what kind of sports drink or gel is best for endurance exercise? Also, upper body strength for swimming, is honey a good energy source, is hair analysis worthwhile, should you run through menopause, chlorine sensitivities, dealing with a labrum tear, xenoestrogens and weight changes, cycling and sciatica pain, and ways to deal with metatarsal pain.
Brock: Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast. I’m sitting here and getting ready to have an awesome chat with Ben who’s, I believe, are you there?
Ben: I am here.
Ben: I’m actually feeling a little bit lonely though, I don’t have the usual amount of electromagnetic radiation bombarding me because I went fishing over the weekend and took a pretty nice deep dip in the lake with my cell phone in my back pocket.
Brock: Oh no.
Ben: The iPhone 4S is not a fan of deep lake diving for trout.
Brock: No, I don’t suppose it is. I’ve seen them go in toilets before and they also don’t like that.
Ben: Ironically, the only reason I had the phone in my back pocket was to take photos of fish because there was no cell phone reception where I was at and I’m reading the book Zapped right now by Ann Louise Gittleman.
Brock: Oh, okay.
Ben: I’m going to get her on the show to talk about electromagnetic radiation and all of the different sources of it that were constantly bombarded by but it turned out to actually be kind of nice to not even have a phone at all or computer or really anything electrical. I was just sitting out there in the woods reading a book about why electricity is bad for you.
Brock: That’s awesome. I’m actually doing exactly the same thing tomorrow afternoon heading up to a cottage that we rented up in the Muskokas ad apparently there’s no internet and very sketchy cell reception and I’m really looking forward to that.
Ben: Yeah. It’s an interesting concept, the whole electromagnetic radiation/dirty electricity/electric pollution type of deal. I actually did just write kind of an article with my thoughts so far, haven’t been almost done with this book and I published it over at SuperHumanCoach.com which is a site where I’ve got some articles up and where I work with a lot of trainers and fitness and nutrition coaches to mentor them but we also got articles on that site so.
Brock: Are the articles free to anybody?
Ben: Yeah, they’re free for anybody. So it’s over at SuperHumanCoach.com. If you scroll into the bottom as soon as you get there, you can see that latest article that I did and that way you can get inspired to also go swimming with your phone.
Brock: Alright, this is the part of the show where Ben highlights the coolest things they came across over the last week or so and you can always find the latest and greatest stuff fresh off the presses if you go to Twitter.com/BenGreenfield and also to Google+ which you can find if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and just click on the links along the side. So what have you got for us this week?
Ben: Yeah, we just got done talking about swimming and there was a study on the Environmental Journal of Health Perspectives that looked at indoor swimming in chlorinated pools and whether or not there is an issue with that and specifically hormonal alteration in adolescent boys. I know there are a lot of folks out there that swim that maybe are concerned about chlorine and we’ve talked about that in the show. I think there’s even a question in this podcast about chlorine.
Brock: There is, yeah.
Ben: And what they studied was chlorinated indoor pools and chlorinated outdoor pools and they really didn’t see a hormonal effect in the kids who swim in the chlorinated outdoor pools probably because they were better aired but for the indoor pools, the boys who swim the most in indoor chlorinated pools had about 20% more testosterone levels, that’s pretty significant.
Brock: That’s very significant.
Ben: In terms of the chemical punch that chlorine can deliver to hormone levels and I don’t think this is necessarily a reason to completely pull your kids out of their swim team if the swim team happens to swim in the chlorinated indoor pool but it certainly returns to like that discussion that we had with Dr. David Getoff and we’ll link to this episode in the show notes but it was about how to reduce the risk from swimming in chlorinated pools or drinking chlorinated water and one of the big things that Dr. Getoff hit on was the use of like full spectrum anti-oxidants and vitamins. I mean the specific nutrients that he harped on were vitamin D, vitamin E, something called Alpha-lipoic acid which is an anti-oxidant and then also he mentioned a high dose vitamin C and all of these are anti-oxidants that may be able to mitigate some of the effects of chlorine exposure when you’re swimming. I’ll put a link in the show notes because he actually mentioned two really good articles on vitamin C that I end up listening to and there’s certainly some really good evidence to suggest that if you’re getting frequent exposure to chlorine, especially if you got kids that are swimming indoors a lot, high dose anti-oxidants may be a good idea either before or after that swim session and you could do that, for example, we’ve talked about products on this show before. You could give your kids like post-workout, use something like the living fuel super berry pre-workout or during the workout, you could have them do something like the solo synergy, those are two examples of anti-oxidants that we use around here that my kids are able to eat and they’re four years old, they don’t mind the taste of that stuff, it just tastes like berries but pretty interesting study and that one certainly caught my eyes just because my kids, they take indoor swim lessons and they swim indoors and chlorinated pools quite a bit.
Brock: That’s especially scary for adolescent boys when hormones are, not that they become less important as you age but it seems like they’re really important when you’re going through all those crazy teenage changes in the body.
Ben: To get Michael Phelps’ girlfriend on the podcast and find out whether or not all his machineries are working okay. Alright, so there’s also something about, there’s a study on self-luminous tablets a.k.a. iPads, that’s the geeky scientific name.
Brock: Oh, I like it.
Ben: Luminous tablets, you can add that to your vernacular next time you’re pulling out your self-luminous tablet on the airplane but the study was looking at length, level and duration of exposure on melatonin suppression and they were specifically investigating whether or not looking at an iPad or a tablet during the evening affected melatonin and there was actually a 20%-30% decrease in melatonin after about one to two hours of viewing the tablet or reading the tablet and that’s pretty dang significant in terms of its effect on your sleep and of course, we’ve talked a lot about how, in previous podcast, about the growth hormone and the cellular repair recovery and everything else that takes place when you sleep with adequate melatonin levels in your bloodstream, in your brain and these tablets really do shut it down quite a bit.
Brock: That’s a long time to be looking at your tablet. Do people actually like lay in bed or sit on the couch for like an hour or two and stare at an iPad or anything like that?
Ben: Same type of blue light wave spectrum that you get on TVs and computers.
Ben: The combined effect of all three, absolutely. I mean, I personally do but I wear the blue light blocking glasses because the blue light wave spectrum is the spectrum that’s the most damaging when it comes to melatonin levels. So I wear the Gunnar Glasses just because they’re one of the few brands that don’t make you look like a complete geek. They’re requiring a propeller hat to be worn with the glasses but yeah, I mean blue light wave spectrums are pretty significant when it comes to melatonin suppression. I’m in the process of replacing all the or most of the lighting in the main rooms of my house with lights that are lower on the blue light wave spectrum for that reason just because of its effect on your melatonin levels and the incredible importance of melatonin when it comes to the quality of your sleep.
Brock: I guess I’m just too much of a hippie, I don’t spend too much time in front of, especially in the evenings, in front of a TV or computer or anything but if you do, look out.
Ben: Yeah and if you ever go camping, you know this, you sit around. As soon as it starts to get dark, you start to get tired at a much earlier time that you do at home and it’s because at home, you got all this different forms of blue light hitting your eyes throughout the evening. Artificial light, pretty big deal and something to be concerned about if you’re concerned about recovery and sleep and all the other things that sleep can do for you. As far as another study, there was one other thing that I wanted to mention and it was kind of related to this and it’s this whole idea of basically like avoiding blue light in the evenings but then there’s also some evidence that if you get seasonal effective disorder, depression, if you have difficulty waking yourself up in the mornings that using these high blue lights, basically they’re like light boxes that you look at in the morning to help you wake up and those can actually have a pretty significant effect in terms of your awareness and alertness and wakefulness during the day. Now, what I linked to in the show notes and what I found was interesting was there was one company that produces these light boxes that also has what’s called a morning-evening questionnaire and it’s this questionnaire that you go through. It’ll take you about 10 minutes to do but it determines whether you are a morning type or an evening type and whether or not you’re using one of these light boxes, I personally don’t use one because I go outside for about 10-15 minutes every morning and do a little bit of yoga which is why I was late for this morning’s podcast. But you can figure out whether you’re a morning person or an evening person and I thought this was interesting just because it can help to dictate when you’re going to prioritize mental tasks for which you want to be the most productive or even physical tasks, when are you going to be able to maybe feel most motivated to workout and there was also the study also do tell you the best time of morning if you were going to get a bunch of blue light exposure or you’re going to be doing something like a light box on your kitchen table when you’re eating breakfast, it tells you the best time of day. Like for me, if I was going to use one of these light boxes to improve my alertness during the day based off of my morning / evening score, I’d use light therapy at about 6:15 am to 6:30 am, that’s like the 15-minute period of time for which I’d want to be staring at artificial light, blue light wave spectrums if I did actually want to maximize my wakefulness in the morning. So it’s a totally free questionnaire but I’ll link to it in the show notes, I thought it was kind of interesting.
Brock: Yeah it is interesting especially like it can give you an indication of when you should be working out and like you said doing mental tasks that I think a lot of us, I myself included, we just sort of slot everything in where it seems to fit as per the social norm kind of thing rather than trying to maximize when we’re doing things.
Ben: Exactly. It seems like this would be some pretty handy for employers to have from employees too as well.
Brock: Oh yeah, totally.
Ben: It might affect, if you find the entire work force does better working from whatever, 6 am to 11 am, maybe you can kind of retool your work day for an earlier lunch and let people off earlier but get them in there earlier, that type of things, so just some thoughts but anyways, I’ll link to that in the show notes and that’s about it for the news flashes.
Brock: Okay, so at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, there’s always interesting stuff that you’re posting but I have to ask you about the bracelets, the Power Bracelet post. I kind of left that post a little more confused than I thought I was going to, are you onboard with the bracelets?
Ben: I am onboard with the bracelet that I have been testing. It was interesting so I was playing tennis a couple of days ago and I was playing doubles and all four of us were wearing one for more another one of these power bracelets like one guy was wearing like a Phiten Band and one guy was wearing an ion bracelet and I think one guy had the Power Balance 1 and he had that combined with one of the necklaces that it came with because he said it got rid of his joint pain and these things, especially in like recreational athletes and I especially see it in more older individuals who want to kind of get rid of pain, they’re getting more and more popular. My problem is I’ve just never really noticed when I wear one, when you do the muscle testing, all the different types of things that are supposed to indicate that the bracelet is working, I haven’t noticed much until I started wearing the one that I’m wearing right now. So I wrote an article about it and this one is what’s called a Piezoelectric Disc so it vibrates. Incidentally, we were talking about this earlier in the podcast, it’s also supposed to have a little electromagnetic field blocking effect as well and I know that we got a few replies from like quantum physicists and people who really were kind of laughing at my article in terms of some of the science presented but my ultimate take away on that article and of course, that’s available on BenGreenfieldFitness.com for folks to read, was that there are so many things that I know in science that are very tough to grasp and that maybe we don’t know about and if something makes me feel better or perform better or sleep better or feel less stressed, then I don’t care if I can’t understand the science or prove the science, I’ll wear it. So that was really the ultimate take away from that article and I do a follow-up article on that coming up this Friday as well.
Brock: Cool. I’ve actually tried I had a negative ion bracelet that my dad bought for himself because he’s got a lot of joint pain and he decided to get me one too and I’m left handed and I wear a watch on my right hand so the only place I could put it was my left wrist and I’ve actually had reconstructive surgery on the cartilage on my left wrist so that bracelet really hurt. I wore it for about three days and it caused so much pain that I actually like just threw it out because it was causing me more pain than not wearing anything.
Ben: Yeah, so that’s one of the cases where you definitely would probably be held back by the bracelet.
Brock: Yup, that’s not fair. That’s not the bracelet’s fault.
Ben: Yeah, that’s not fair for the little bracelet.
Ben: Article that I published on Monday too that I think that anybody who’s following the low carbohydrate diet or who’s trying to be in a state of what’s called ketosis would be very interested in, is that I wrote a fairly comprehensive article about which supplement help you out best when you’re on a low carbohydrate diet, just some basic stuff like for example, when you switch to a low carbohydrate diet, your blood pressure pretty quickly drops to the loss of sodium and so I talked about what kind of sodium dosages would be adequate once you switched to a low carbohydrate diet and talked a little bit about amino acids, glutamine, magnesium and some other things. I actually ended that article mentioning a discussion that I had with Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple when I was at the Ancestral Health Symposium a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about how a lot of this low carbohydrate stuff looks really nice on paper and there are certainly some ultra runners and some purely aerobic athletes doing pretty well with low carb but it has yet to be really truly tested in an event where you’ve got that unique combination of being totally carbohydrate-depleted, like an Ironman, but you’re also doing efforts especially if you’re competing at a high level that are taking you way up into like your maximum heart rate zone. So you’re looking at like say a really good Ironman triathlete who is maybe getting up to maximum heart rate 10, 15 times during the bike ride as they’re making quick passes and turning out maximum wattage and then maybe, they’re surging along really close to lactate threshold for the better part of a marathon and granted, that’s maybe 10% of the folks who are competing in something like an Ironman Triathlon but we’re discussing whether or not it’s actually possible for someone competing at that level to really truly not be using lots of gels, lots of sports drinks, lots of sugar and it’s something that’s really total blue sky because we don’t know, so I am in the process of possibly putting together a team of almost like low carb, ketogenic athletes to really test this stuff out full on. So I gave more information about that in the show notes and if any of the listeners read that or hears this and you e-mail me about getting on to that team, don’t worry if you don’t hear back from me because I’ve got lots and lots of e-mails pouring in and I got to go through and everybody’s e-mail and it’s something where I’ll probably be discussing this. I’m going to reach out to Mark Sisson again this weekend probably and all more news about that next week so there you go, check out that article.
Listener Q and A:
Brock: Alright everybody, awesome questions yet again and we actually have a brand new way on the website to leave voice questions so now you don’t just, you steal the opportunity, you can do the Skype to PacificFit or you can call the 1877 number or if you go to the website, on the right hand side of every page or at least the podcast pages, you can click on a little tab and it opens up a little window and you can record your audio right there. You can use the built-in mic on your laptop or on your computer or if you have an external mic, you can use that as well. It’s very slick.
Ben: You don’t even have to like be in theU.S. I know that a lot of our calls in the past would come from theU.S.because it’s a toll-free number, that’s free in theU.S.but not free anywhere else. Now you can be anywhere in the world, you don’t even need to have a telephone. You just push that little button and you record your message for the podcast and it comes to me and please do not record other messages about things like technical support and things like that, that’s just for podcast questions but yeah, it’s pretty cool. It’s called, I forgot what it’s called but it’s cool technology because we’re all geeked out on the latest and greatest here on the show.
Brock: Yeah. I did notice it uses Flash so you won’t be able to actually record directly from your Apple devices but if you have an android, you should be able to use it from there too.
Ben: Yeah and I mean, if you want to ask a question from your Apple device, that’s simple. You just go to a little voice memo part on your phone, you record a voice message and you send it to me, [email protected].
Brock: It’s old school e-mail.
Ben: Easy, alright.
Brock: Okay, so let’s take the first question that came through the new system and it comes from Keith.
Keith says: Ben and Brock, this is Keith from Boston, Texas and I recently listened to a podcast about a product called Tailwind Endurance Fuel and the conversation was quite compelling and I’m just wondering what’s your thoughts on about this product for ultra distance marathons. Thank you.
Brock: Tailwind Endurance Fuel, tailwind.
Ben: Sometimes I get tailwind when I’m running.
Brock: I do right after the swim quite often.
Ben: Yeah, lots of tailwind depending on what I had for breakfast that morning. Tailwind is an endurance fuel, it’s mixed with basically like glucose and sucrose sugars and then they put like a bunch of electrolytes and stuff in there. It of course is based off on the idea that you need electrolytes during endurance exercise, it is basically like a powder that you would mix with water and it’s got sodium, potassium, carbohydrates, pretty standard really. They say it’s really easy on the gut, that’s probably because they use really simple sugars instead of complex sugars and it’s certainly one of those things that you could test. I find that it appears to be fairly similar to this new supplement put out by Stacy Sims, who we’ve had on the show, and that’s the osmo nutrition product and if you listened in to the interview with Stacy Sims, one of her main beefs with using like say gels is that gels tend to draw a lot of fluid out of the plasma in order to allow you to digest them properly and they may possibly also have a greater heat of oxidation in the gastrointestinal tract and so her solution to that is to use a simpler sugar combined with a high amount of electrolytes to keep fluid in the plasma and to basically do what’s called increasing plasma volume and this Tailwind seems to be based on a fairly similar concept. Actually, the nutrition used in both of these products is somewhat similar. So the basic science behind this is that in terms of like fluid absorption into your bloodstream, it’s based off of two things, how fast stuff is emptying from your gastrointestinal tract and how fast it’s getting absorbed on the intestinal level and whatever it is that you’re drinking is going to affect both of those variables. So for example, glucose and sucrose are the two sugars that are used in both Tailwind product as well as this newer osmo formulation from Stacy Sims and the combination of glucose and sucrose is something that can stimulate sodium absorption and fluid absorption in the intestinal cells. So the goal is basically to cause rapid gastric emptying and rapid intestinal fluid absorption by using something like a couple of sugars like that. The whole idea behind something like the osmo active hydration is, they say, keep your food in the pocket and keep the hydration in the bottle. So the idea is that you’ve taken this mix of sugars with a high amount of electrolytes to maintain your plasma fluid volume and then you supplement that with real food, like Stacy Sims recommends things like salted potato cubes, little sandwich bites and mini cookie bites and some chopped up Bonk Breaker bars or Cliff bars or Luna bars or something like that and so it’s a combination of drinking like a mix of simple sugars, a high amount of electrolytes and then supplementing that with real food. The issue with this is that it’s all based on the idea that you’re trying to counter electrolyte losses with the idea that, we always hear about in sports science that when you start to feel thirsty, you’re probably only two percent dehydrated and that can translate to a loss in power or a loss in speed and that’s where the real disconnect occurs. If you’ve ever looked into any of the research by for example, Dr. Timothy Noakes, that there really isn’t correlation between that drop in body weight based off of dehydration or that loss of electrolytes and an actual performance decrement. So that’s why I still one eyebrow raised at this stuff. It’s not going to hurt you, you may find that compared to a gel, you actually do much better in terms of your gastrointestinal tolerance. I’m just not convinced that the sodium levels are anything that you actually need because there’s a lot of sodium in both of these compounds. So it’s one of those things where you got to test it out, you got to try it. I know that for example, the osmo nutrition, it’s fairly expensive a nutrition source and it’s one of those deals where you do get what you pay for. For example, I know that they filter their sugar differently. It’s filtered through charcoal, basically through wood rather than being filtered through a bone char or a charred bone which is what most refined sugar that’s used in sports products is filtered through. They use like a hormone-free, GMO-free protein source as they whey protein source in their supplement. They definitely go out of their way to ensure that everything is produced in a very clean, certified good manufacturing processes facility so you’re going to pay more when you get a supplement like that. Now I absolutely have no financial affiliation or sponsorship affiliation with either of these companies but what it comes down to is that if you don’t tolerate gels well at all, even if you do recommended the practice of drinking anywhere from four to eight ounces of water with each gel that you consume, you may want to try out one of these products. I can’t speak for the quality of Tailwind’s ingredients. I don’t know what they use. I do know that Osmo uses really high quality ingredients but yeah, both of them would fall into the same category and they’re just powder that are mixed with water that are based off of simple sugars and based off of maintaining plasma volume with a high amount of electrolytes.
Brock: Makes sense, there you go Keith. Alright, let’s move on to our next question from Eve.
Eve says: I’m a typically pear-shaped female. I’ve done strength training diligently for several years and I’ve trained for Triathlon for almost a year. My upper body strength is really holding me back on the swim. I train swimming 3 times a week. I’ve worked with strength coaches and I’ve followed numerous strength training protocols with several personal trainers. I bought your book Strength Training for Triathletes and followed some of the exercises and I’ve had improvements in my leg strength but not in my lats and arms. I eat paleo with loads of fruit, plenty of protein, liter of milk per day and zero junk and zero gluten. Is there no hope for me? Even my mother can bench more than me.
Ben: I was laughing a little bit because paleo doesn’t include dairy and she drinks a liter of milk per day. Anyways though, that’s on the side, you don’t have to be that strong to swim well. I get my butt kicked by little 12-year old girls when I’m pulling laps in the pool and I’m sure many of you jacked guys out there have experienced the somewhat humbling feeling of being destroyed by someone who appears to have no body mass whatsoever when it comes to muscle. So remember that swimming, because you’re moving through this liquid medium, is more about the way in which you move through that medium and your efficiency and economy and that’s why little kids can be so fast in the water is because they’ve learned how to move properly through the water. You look at someone like the person who just won the Olympics, the Olympic gold medal in triathlon Alistair Brownlee, look at the guys who came in second and third behind him, Javier Gomez and Alistair’s brother Jonathan Brownlee, all very slight guys, tiny shoulders, tiny arms. These guys basically have like pipe cleaners for arms but they somehow swim extremely fast and that’s because of their form and even if your mother can bench press more than you, you should still be able to swim fairly fast and the best resource that I can recommend to you would be the book by the guys that I really follow when it comes to swimming advice and that’s the folks over at Swim Smooth, Paul and Adam, over at Swim Smooth. They’ve got a book, linked to that book in the show notes for you, but in the book, they discussed swim types and one of the swim types they discussed, they split swimmers into 6 different body types, is the bambino type and the bambino is described as a female with a really small to light build, a lot of times with limited swimming experience but the way that the bambino is described is that they tend to have a really inadequate catch at the front of the swim stroke, a very gentle swim stroke that doesn’t have a lot of oomph. Typically kind of a wide, deep arm pull through trying to use the shoulder to muscle through the water but being unable to do so because of that slightness and small muscle mass and then really a struggle in the water due to limited confidence and specifically a lack of rhythm in the stroke and this, in my opinion, is really the key. No matter how much or how little muscle mass that you have, if you can increase your feel right at the front of that stroke, what’s called the catch, and then you get a high turnover meaning that you get a very rhythmic turnover, you’re not spending a lot of time gliding in the water but literally your arms are turning over at a fairly rapid state, then you can actually swim fairly fast without a lot of muscle but those are the two keys, is a good catch at the front and a high rhythm. So for example, you can use something like a metronome, it’s a little metronome that you put in your swim cap that keeps you on pace and keeps your pace up stroke to stroke to stroke. The other thing that you can do is a lot of what are called Sculling Drills as well as Single-Arm Swimming Drills to work on getting that catch in the water. It’d take you to about a half hour to work through the chapter for bambinos in the Swim Smooth book but I own that book, I’ve used it for myself, I’ve used it on some athletes that I’ve worked with and that’s what I would recommend, is go red the bambino section of the Swim Smooth book and start to use a lot of the drills that they give you especially for rhythm and for catch and don’t worry too much spending a lot of time bench pressing and eating protein, working on your economy and efficiency is going to pay a lot better dividends when it comes to improving your swim speed.
Brock: I went to the Swim Smooth website, it was probably back in January and did the typing questionnaire and I came up as a bambino embarrassingly enough but in the 6 months since then, I’ve completely turned myself around and I haven’t done the test again but I should go back and see but I’m quite certain I’m not a bambino anymore and that only took me I don’t know, about four months probably to work on, so get to it Eve.
Ben: That’s a little bit of an insult for a big strapping guy like you to get classified as a bambino Brock.
Brock: I tried to say it really manly when I was telling people, Yeah, I’m a bambino, bambino.
Ben: Shake your pony tail or your pig tails. Just kidding.
Brock: Okay, so next question comes from Rob.
Rob says: I was listening to you and Brock talk about gels and goos today, recommendations for half marathoning. I started running hardcore last year and I found the half marathon distance really tough until I started wearing a CamelBak and I was thinking about carrying honey packets with me as a natural source of energy as opposed to gels and goos. I’m a budget runner, as much as possible, because I’m on a budget sort of wage earner and I can just grab those honey packets in the local coffee house. What do you think about using honey as an energy source during a long distance run?
Ben: It is certainly very available in terms of being able to run to any random Starbucks and grab some right, but one of the things that I know some people may think about when they’re eating honey is that we often tend to think of honey as mostly fructose and fructose uses one kind of sugar transporter in the gut called the glute 5 transporter and that’s a different type of transporter than is used for something like glucose which uses a different type of what is called sodium-dependent transporter and it’s one of the reasons, and I mentioned this a couple of times in the show before that you can get a maximum sugar absorption rate by using two different types of sugar in a sports drink or a gel or something like that and so you turnover and you look at the back of a lot of these gels and there are a mix of maltodextrin which is a glucose polymer or a bunch of glucose molecules linked together combined with fructose, so maltodextrin/fructose blend. And I know that I’ve been guilty of thinking of honey this way in the past before as being just primarily fructose and so because it’s only using that fructose transporter and you’re getting less absorption than if you use like a regular gel. However if you look at honey, most of these commercial honeys on the market, if you check out the jar or if you look at the label or you go and take a little bit deeper into what they’re comprised of, they’re actually right in the range of 30%-40% fructose and 30%-40% glucose then with a little bit of sucrose, little bit of maltose and there’s a little bit of water in there but that type of sugar blend is actually not too bad and it’s certainly not going to be an issue in terms of absorption and taking advantage of the multiple sugar transporters in your gut. So as long as you can tolerate honey, as long as you don’t have some type of fructose intolerance, as long as you don’t have any type of histamine reaction due to pollinated reaction compounds in there if it’s some sort of raw honey, then there’s really not much of an issue with using that as a natural and if you’re ducking into Starbucks, grabbing a handful of honey and then running out before they can snag you and make you buy a latte, sure it could work. Of course all of this is with the caveat that, I’m more turning into the type of guy who does not really recommend using carbohydrates much at all during training unless it’s a very long session or a race and based off of what I was talking about earlier in the experimentation I’m going to be doing over the fall and the winter, we make it to the point where you’re really using very minimal sugar during any event and when you do your sugar only from a really slow absorbing, super long chain source like the UCAN Super Starch for example. However, if you’re on a budget and you want to run to the coffee shop and grab some honey packets, yeah go for it. The actual chemical composition is pretty favorable, mixed with glucose and fructose.
Brock: I know your question was primarily about the honey but I just want to go back to your second sentence where you said you found the half marathon distance until you started wearing a CamelBak. Now that concerns me but a CamelBak generally holds like over liters worth of water and during a half marathon, that’s a lot of water.
Ben: Unless you’re taking more than two hours to run a half marathon and I know there’s a really good handful of people who take more than two hours to run a half marathon but unless you’re taking more than two hours to run a half marathon, you don’t need any fuel and I go out quite often for 90-minute, two-hour not quite often but when I go out on 90-minute, two-hour jaunts, a lot of times I don’t have anything with me, no water, no gels, no anything like that. So you may want to cut yourself loose a little bit too and just go out and run and it’s one of those things where just because all these fancy apparatuses exist for carrying all these extra gels and flasks and water bottles doesn’t mean you have to use them for a half marathon training run. I mean a lot of that stuff is designed for like ultra runners who are out there all freaking day long so yeah, it’s a good point Brock.
Brock: Yeah, I always get worried when I see people lining up for like a half marathon and even like a 10k and they’ve got one of those belts on that has four little bottles of liquid and a bunch of gels and I just think it’s not only unnecessary but it can be a recipe for disaster. I mean Tim Noakes talked a lot about hypernatremia a few weeks ago in the podcast and it’s scary.
Ben: Usually when I’m lining up for a half marathon, I’ve got my CamelBak, I’ve got a headlamp, I’ve got a tent, just okay.
Brock: Bow and arrow of course, like just in case.
Ben: Yeah, my bow and arrow.
Brock: Oh that’s right. You’ve got a handgun because you’re in the States.
Ben: Well I do have a concealed weapon as well. I pack my Glock during my half marathon just in case I need extra fuel.
Brock: Alright, let’s move on to the next question from Kalonny.
Kalonny: Is there any validity to hair analysis? A local chiropractor offers this test to measure mineral content of your hair and according to this particular website, if a particular mineral deficiency or toxicity exists in the hair, it usually indicates a mineral deficiency or toxicity within the body. This in turn provides a great metabolic activity within the body which allows us to prescribe a unique treatment protocol in order to properly treat your condition. I’m interested for myself but also for my daughter who shows characteristics of autism and other behavioral issues. Is it legit or a waste of money?
Ben: Well, if hair analysis were completely illegitimate, they wouldn’t use it for drug testing and it actually does provide pretty good forensic evidence for drug use. So what happens is you get this trace amounts of this drug or the metabolite of the drug being broken down and it can get deposited in the hair follicle and what gets deposited in the hair follicle can get entrapped, kind of in the core of the hair shaft as the hair grows out from that hair follicle. So if your hair grows at the average rate of say like a half inch in any given month, it will get to the point where it can provide a pretty decent historical record of when certain drug use took place or how often you took a drug like once or twice a week or daily or whatever and a lot of drug metabolites are pretty chemically stable for a certain period of time. You can’t wash them out of your hair or bleach them out of your hair and so for hair analysis drug testing for like job reviews, job applicants, stuff like that, it works pretty well. They do what’s called a Gas Chromatography, lab analysis of the hair shaft and you can get a pretty decent idea of whether or not there are trace amounts of a drug metabolite in the hair. Same thing for the finger nails, you can do that. however when it comes down to like alternative medicine and making nutrient or mineral or vitamin recommendations based off of the level of something like a mineral in the hair, this is where you get into a lot more soft science and no really good study showing that this stuff actually works. So not only do the level of minerals that are in your hair not even correlate with the level of minerals that are in your body, but others know no known like normal ranges for minerals in the hair. So when you get these numbers back from the lab, who’s to say what’s normal, what’s abnormal and who’s to say how the minerals in the hair actually reflect what’s in your body. The other issue of hair analysis is they’ve done studies on these labs that do hair mineral analysis and the type of chromatography and what’s called spectrometry that’s used in each lab, tends to vary, it tends to be unreliable, you’ll tend to get different results from lab to lab and they have done studies where they’ve sent in hair samples over a dozen different labs around the country and gotten different results back from each one. The American Medical Association has a pretty firm stance that they oppose chemical analysis of the hair to determine needs for medical therapy and while you can’t put a ton of greens into everything that the AMA says, this is certainly one of those deals where I would tend to line with them when it comes to hair mineral analysis. It’s like it’s good to see if there’s a certain trace element in your body like a drug but when it comes to using you choosing which supplement you’re going to take based off of the minerals or the nutrients or the vitamins in your hair, there is just a better way to do things or better ways to do things. Say for example like red blood cell analysis. There’s a test put out by a company called Doctors’ Data and that’s something your physician can order for you and what it is, is it’s a red blood cell analysis. So what that’s going to allow you to look for are a lot of the similar things that you’re going to find in hair like magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper, zinc. It’ll look at your glucose tolerance, levels of chromium, and levels of vanadium. It’s called an RBC element analysis. That test will cost you anywhere from $200 – $300 to have your physician order something like that, that’s a good one. Another one that would be good that’s actually going to tell you a few things that a red blood cell analysis won’t tell you particularly your levels of antioxidants and also some amino acids and vitamins is what’s called a SpectraCell analysis and SpectraCell is another analysis, it’s going to cost anywhere between like $150 and $250 to have your physician write a requisition form for you to go to a lab and do that test but similar deal, you’ll be able to look at a lot of metabolites but you’ll be looking at them on a blood level which reflects what’s actually going on inside your body. So I’ll put a link to both of those tests in the show notes, one’s called a SpectraCell analysis, one’s called a RBC element test but those would be the two that I would do if you’re really trying to get a glance at through like mineral deficiencies or micronutrient deficiencies and then finally, Brock, she said something about autism?
Brock: Yeah, her daughter is showing characteristics of autism and some other behavioral issues.
Ben: Yeah. For that, go over to like GapsDiet.com and check out some of the evidence when it comes to gluten and gut health and it’s linked to autism and behavioral issues, that’s really the best resource I can point you out to and probably is going to give you more bang for your buck starting off with like a $20 book or even just exploring the GapsDiet.com website for free before you go into some of these more advanced lab tests even though the lab tests are good and they’re going to tell you a lot. I’d start even more basic just on the whole nutrient level of how much gluten is in the diet and how your daughter’s gut health actually is.
Brock: Great! Okay, let’s move on to Hope’s question.
Hope says: I’m 53 years old and I’ve been going through the side effects of peri-menopause and menopause for many years now. I decided when I was in my later 40’s that I would “run through menopause”. I’m now running three to four miles a few times a week and also do different types of cross training. I’ve completed a 5k and a 10k but I find that I get too exhausted to put in any real extended mileage. I wanted your input regarding how to deal with the exhaustion, hot flashes and creeping weight gain which has been occurring. I’ve tried black cohosh and other remedies but to no avail. My diet is very good, lots of veggies, clean foods, proteins and not huge amounts of carbs except for a treat. My mother had breast cancer twice so there’s no way I’ll be touching any hormones. I’m trying my best to keep fit and young but I got to tell you, it’s been tough.
Ben: Yeah, running through menopause is probably not a good idea and the reason that I say that running through menopause or trying to exercise your way out of menopause is not a good idea is because as we talked about in the episode Why Women Gain Weight As They Get Older and What You Can Do About It, which I’ll link to in the show notes, progesterone is something that declines very quickly through peri-menopause and menopause and it declines at a more rapid rate than estrogen and when you combine that with lots of exposure of estrogen from the environment, primarily in the form of like xenoestrogens from chemicals and pollutants and toxins, you’ll get a really high level of estrogen compared to the levels of progesterone. Now the issue here when I say it’s not smart to try and run through peri-menopause and menopause is that exercise and especially chronic endurance exercise, spinning, cycling, running, 5k training, 10k training etc., that tends to produce a lot of cortisol and cortisol and progesterone actually compete for similar receptors in your cells. So when you’ve got high levels of circulating cortisol, that can impair progesterone activity and it can reduce the effect of progesterone therapy if you were taking something like a bio-identical hormone replacement and even if you aren’t taking a bio-identical hormone replacement, and it doesn’t sound like you are or want to, it can really limit the effectiveness of your body’s natural levels of progesterone especially that those are getting tinier and tinier the older you get, the farther you get into something like menopause. So you’ve got cortisol competing with these progesterone receptors and you’re amplifying that to any type of training that’s causing a really big cortisol response. Now the other thing that happens is what’s called a Pregnenolence Deal, which we’ve talked about before in this podcast, but what happens is cholesterol is basically, it provides all the co-factors that you need to produce hormones but the very first hormone produced is called Pregnenolene and pregnenolene is going to basically flow into production of some of your other vital hormones like DHEA, testosterone and even progesterone. However, prior to being used to produce any of those hormones that I just mentioned, pregnenolene can be shunted into being converted into cortisol and so if you are causing the adrenal glands in your kidneys to churn out a bunch of corticosteroids and cortisol, because of the amount of endurance training that you’re doing, then you’re going to get this pregnenolene steal or rather than being used to create something like the progesterone that you need to combat the effects of menopause, you’re instead creating cortisol with that pregnenolene. So the final issue is that some of the natural progesterone that you have circulating in your body, that can also act as a precursor to some of the things that you’re going to be basically depleting more quickly when you’re doing lots of exercise like aldosterone which is a cortico hormone that regulates fluids in your cells, as well as cortisol progesterone can also be used and shuttled in the same way that pregnenolene can to produce cortisol and so with excessive exercise, you’re prematurely depleting progesterone because you’re using it to create other steroids and you’re essentially aggravating this estrogen dominance that I talked about in that episode, episode number 193 which I’ll link to in the show notes and so one of the best things that you could do is to focus more on some of the more cortisol-stabilizing things that you’re doing, I would specifically say stick with the yoga, stick with the strength training and really back off your running, really back off your spinning, cycling. If you want to combat a lot of these effects of peri-menopause and menopause, it’s one of the reasons that you tend to get a lot of like Ironman triathlete type of women having a really hard time losing weight as they go through that type of training just because there’s so much progesterone getting stolen away or not produced. Now of course, you’re definitely going to want to limit your exposure to xenoestrogens and a lot of these environmental pollutants to make sure that you’re limiting the amount of estrogen that comes in so that the estrogen-progesterone ratios aren’t getting further thrown off but I’d definitely listen to episode number 193 to geek out a little bit more on that. Now as far as supplements are concerned, one of the main areas where estrogen turnover takes place and one of the main issues when it comes to estrogen dominance in terms of your physiological ability to process estrogen properly is your liver and if you didn’t want to take a bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, then you do want to make sure that you’re at least taking a really good care of your liver through some natural supplements. For example, magnesium is a really good one to take, somewhere in the range of like 400 to 600 milligrams of magnesium on a daily basis, that can really help with your liver and your ability to clear estrogen. Vitamin B complex and more like a really good full spectrum vitamin B complex, even like a liquid multivitamin, like a Peter Gillham’s liquid multivitamin, that’s a good brand, you could get on something like that and then also calcium D Glucarate is really good as is milk thistle extract in terms of liver cleansing and kind of liver tonic effect. Capra Cleanse, I’ve talked about that on the show before, that’s a good liver detox. If you get stomach upset with it, it’s because it has a liver fiber in it and so you definitely want to ease yourself into that one if you’re using it but go to the Ben Greenfield Recommends page over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com and I’ll link to that in the show notes. There’s a whole section that I have there on estrogen dominance and some of the supplements that you can take to combat some of those effects of estrogen dominance. I’m in the process of bringing a supplement to market that will just be something that will give you the shocking effect when it comes to this stuff but in the mean time, go check out that page for some of my links to primarily that calcium D Glucarate, milk thistle extract, Capra Cleanse, the magnesium and the vitamin B complex, those are some of the things that you’d want to combine with a decrease in the amount of this chronic endurance exercise that you do, so that’s where I would start.
Brock: You just love the hormone questions, don’t you?
Ben: I do, I’m a hormone addict.
Brock: You are. Okay, let’s move on to Nadine’s question.
Nadine says: I am an ex-triathlete who stopped swimming because of a problem with chlorine. Here’s what the symptoms are like, after two 0r three swims in a week, I stop being able to digest fat, get heart palpitations which I never get otherwise and generally feel terrible. It took me a long time to figure out what the trigger is until my naturopath did some reflex testing with pool water and figured out that the chlorine in the water goofs up my liver and gallbladder. I stopped swimming in 2005. I do a lot of endurance training but really want to get back into triathlon. I’m going to try a lower chlorine pool inVancouverbut wondered if A, you have encountered this sort of reaction before and B, if you’ve any ideas that might help out with the chlorine. I have no respiratory symptoms.
Ben: This is kind of related to a couple of answers that I’ve already given earlier in this podcast. Of course we talked about chlorine and mitigating some of the chemical effects of chlorine with the full spectrum antioxidant blend but if this neuromuscular type of reflex testing that your practitioner was doing was accurate, then it certainly could be the case that there’s liver/gall bladder that was going on basically because the whole idea behind neurological reflex testing is that all of your different organs like your liver, your heart, your gall bladder, your pancreas or whatever, they’re associated with specific areas located on your skin. I mean those are called dermatomes and this is really linked to eastern medicine to a certain extent but the amount of stress that’s experienced by any of those organs can be tested by testing the response of a muscle, the pressure that’s exerted against a specific dermatome in the presence of a compound that you’re interested in testing so in this case like chlorine. So it would be a muscle test with pressure against the dermatome associated with the liver while exposed to pool water and some of the muscle testing I think is a little woo-woo like when someone like holds a post-it note up in front of you or as you hold a post-it note in your hand with a name of a vitamin on it and if you muscle test’s weak then that means that you’re deficient of that vitamin.
Ben: I’m not kidding.
Brock: That’s crazy.
Ben: Yeah, I mean, I know we have a lot of alternative medical practitioners that listen to this show and I know that some of them actually practice this, I’m not trying to offend anyone but I think it’s complete bull, just saying and if you can send me studies that prove otherwise, fine. Send them over or if you can show me that the stuff actually does work in some way, send it over but either way, I’m not a big fan of that type of testing but there’s no muscular reflex testing with the pressure on the dermatomes. There’s definitely quite a bit of a foundation in eastern medicine that shows that some of this stuff can certainly indicate some type of organ dysfunction. So in this case, let’s say that the liver and gall bladder is sensitive to chlorine. I would necessarily say quit swimming in chlorine completely because chlorine shouldn’t really like goof up your liver unless your liver is broken, unless your filter is broken. Chlorine is not so powerful of a chemical that you shouldn’t be able to swim in a chlorinated pool without being able to handle to a certain extent. I mean you shouldn’t be getting like heart palpitations and stuff like that. So, I would make sure that if this is your liver that you do something like a liver cleanse. I just got done talking and my answer about the progesterone issue about some of the things that really help to support the liver like calcium D Glucarate, like milk thistle extract and some of that stuff. Some of the other things that would be really good to include in your diet on a regular basis would be turmeric, ginger and garlic, all of those have a really nice supportive effect on the liver and Dandelion Root, it’s like that Dandelion Root tea, that’s a really good liver tonic as well. These are the same type of things that you can use to help your body if you’re on a pharmaceutical drug protocol or anything else where your liver is having to basically filter more out than it would normally and then of course, eating a lot of vegetables that support the liver, primarily cruciferous vegetables is a really good idea. I wouldn’t necessarily ignore the fact that there may be other things going on here though like you say, you just started swimming or not that you just started swimming but you recently started swimming and after taking some time off and you said you were never able to digest fat, you get heart palpitations and generally feel terrible, I would also look at possibly just an issue with your gut in terms of being at a horizontal position for a long period of time, put in some extra esophageal pressure on you that is giving you some of the symptoms of like heart burn, in many cases, that is an issue with an imbalance in your gut flora. For example, you either having like a Candida issue or not having enough probiotics in your diet, possibly eating too many fermentable carbohydrates like fructose and fruits and melons and grains and things of that nature and then it also, in terms of heart burn, another thing that that can be related to is just lack of digestive enzymes, like you may want to experiment some lipase or a full spectrum digestive enzyme complex just to make sure this isn’t more of an issue with just your gut. I realized that your naturopathic reflex testing identified this as being kind of an issue with the liver and the gall bladder but I’d say it’d be worth at least looking into your probiotic intake, your digestive intake and your overall gut health so that’s another area that I would certainly look at.
Brock: When I was getting my earthy on the show, we were talking about how I was classified as a bambino as a swimmer back in January and leading up to that time and for like probably up to a month after that, most of the time when I leave the pool especially if I did a longer swim like over two kilometers or so like anything I was getting close to an hours of swimming, my stomach could get really upset for quite a while, it would last hours. Afterwards I sort of eventually, as of my breathing, got more relaxed with swimming. I stopped getting that stomach upset which also made me feel terrible and was putting on some pressure, almost like heart burn sort of feelings as well so again, not to go against your naturopath who did the tests but that could be something as well, gulping too much air down into your digestive tract can cause some crazy stuff as well.
Ben: Yeah, quit swallowing the damn water.
Brock: They’re sad too. Alright, next question comes fromShannon.
Shannon: I currently have a small tear in my labrum in my left hip. I have an acetabular impingement that’s seems to be why this happened. I was a runner and practiced a lot of yoga. I’d been seeing a yoga therapist and doing physical therapy and my hip has been feeling better. I’m not planning on having surgery because my hip is feeling better. Do you have any suggestions or opinions about workouts? I’d love to get back on running but high impact activities make me nervous.
Ben: Yeah, it kind of depends on the extent of the tear and of course, I can’t go through a show without mentioning that I’m not a doctor and nothing that I say during the show should be misconstrued as medical advice and you should always check with your general care practitioner before you take any of the recommendations I’ve been making on this show. I should make you say that really fast at the beginning of every show Brock.
Brock: I’ll just record it and then we can just drop it in anytime we need it.
Ben: Boom! There you go. So because the labrum is damaged to the cartilage and the tissue in the hip socket, it really depends on the location and the amount of blood flow that’s in the area where the tear occurs, kind of somewhere to a miniscule tear. Sometimes like a lateral miniscule tear is something that you can pretty much deal with whereas a medial miniscule tear that may be as larger has less blood flow can be more of an issue when it comes to knee pain and actually be something that requires surgery whereas on the lateral side, it can be managed with natural methods or just using physical therapy. Labrum tears are kind of similar. In most cases if we’re talking about just like mechanical labrum tear that occurred due to an injury that’s not from something like osteoarthritis, you’re always going to want to try physical therapy and stretching and strengthening prior to doing something like taking the step into surgery. Physical therapy for example can help you to avoid putting too much pressure on that hip joint while building muscle strength, so you’re strengthening your core and your hips and your glutes and your thighs, it could be that you’re taking enough stress off of that hip and specifically off of that bony attachment to where the labrum doesn’t really get as much pressure placed on it and if physically therapy and some stretching and I’ll toss a few exercises and stretches in here in just a second but if those don’t work, really the type of surgery that you can get in most cases for a slight labral tear is just a basic arthroscopic procedure and that’s minimally invasive, a little tiny camera that gets guided via some really small incisions and they removed the torn tissues. In some cases, they repair the tear but that’s something to wear anywhere from four to six months later, you can be completely back to activity. If you let a labral tear go for a long period of time with no stretching, no strengthening, no physical therapy and you’re just moving through the pain, that should give you some pretty permanent damage to the hip joint and the point where a minimally invasive procedure isn’t really going to do you a lot of good for that labral tear, so it’s where you have to be kind of careful. I’ve seen much surgical, quick in-and-out type of snip repairs of the labrum though. For two years, I spent a better part of my life just standing in a surgical room, watching orthopedic surgeries as part of my internship or else later on when I was actually working as a hip and knee surgical sales for Bio Med, I was literally just standing there with a laser pointer, showing the surgeon which of our tools to use next and so I’ve seen a lot of these and related surgeries can be super quick and really minimally invasive and then some of like getting your entire hip replaced can be a whole different issue and you don’t want to strain something long to that point even though that’s usually related to like osteoarthritis causing the labral issues rather than just like a little bit of a torn labrum from activity but either way, in terms of initial pain management, little frozen bags of ice tend to work really well like for frozen bags of….
Ben: Yeah peas, carrots, except in Canada too. Do you freeze anything else up there inCanadalike chops?
Brock: Moose or beavers.
Ben: So you get some frozen moose on there, on the hip but basically I like ice post-activity, I like heat pre-activity so heat to basically allow for some blood and to get the thing warmed up and then icing when you have any pain can be good for pain management. As far as stretches, I think she mentioned that she was in yoga right?
Ben: Yeah, that’s really good especially hip openers like the warrior pose or the triangle pose, any of the sun salutations, those are really good. Any other groin stretches like the frog stretch, that’s really good. The hip cradle is another really good one.
Brock: The pigeon.
Ben: Like the hip cradle hip opener. Yup, the pigeon would be another good one and you can easily find pictures or videos of any of those exercises on pretty much any yoga website. You also want to combine that, of course, with strength in your hip muscles because you don’t want to just get over flexible. The yoga, I find, really helps with range of motion especially with folks who have a lot of chronic hip pain but doing like a clamshell exercise or a fire hydrant exercise where you’re hiking your leg out to strengthen your hip abductors, that works really well. Doing some type of a hip adduction like lying down on the ground with an anchor weight or elastic band, firing the inner thigh, that’s another good one. Leg extensions can workout pretty well especially like standing leg extensions, meaning that you have an elastic band or cable attached to your leg and you’re kicking out with a straight leg and you can do that in multiple directions too, there’s a little bit more torque when you kick side-to-side with that one or back behind you but that can also be really good in terms of strengthening your hips. So those are some of the things that I would look into. There’s a book out there called Heal Your Hips: How To Prevent Surgery and it’s kind of older but it’s got some good information in it. It was written by a physician named Dr. Klapper and I will put a link to that book in the show notes for you but it’s called Heal Your Hips, so that’d be another one to look into for sure and again, I’ll link to that and you can check that out. You should be able to pick it up off Amazon, just find. So those are just some of the things that I would do for that hip.
Brock: Excellent. Let’s move on to Sefi.
Sefi says: Are there any studies that actually looked at weight changes in women who avoid xenoestrogens compared to those who don’t?
Ben: Well, it’s obviously one of those deals where you can’t ethically give one group of women a chemical xenoestrogen and leave one group without just because we know that there are a lot of really serious endocrine disrupting effects from estrogens, they definitely are toxic and that’s something that there are multiple studies that show. I will link too many of them in the show notes for you. I’ll collect a handful so that you can start to check stuff out Sefi but as far as comparing women who avoid xenoestrogens compared to those who don’t, the way that you study something like that is you look at the amount of xenoestrogens that appear in the urine primarily and then you can then go back and look at things like insulin sensitivity, like propensity to form adipocytes or adipose tissue or even something like increased like mammary tissue and risk of breast cancer when you look at the amount of xenoestrogens that are appearing in the urine specifically like urinary levels of something like Bisphenol A which is a pretty common xenoestrogen. Some of the main studies like there was done on the Journal of Endocrinology that looked at urinary Bisphenol A levels and measures of obesity and elevated levels of urinary BPA were definitely measures of obesity independent of any other risk factor and I’ll certainly link to that one in the show notes for you, that was a study that actually came out this year, earlier this spring in May of 2012 so that one was pretty compelling in terms of showing how exposure to environmental pollutants can affect your risk for obesity. There is another one that was also done on but it specifically looked at how BPA in combination with insulin, which we would be getting from like a higher carbohydrate or higher calorie intake can accelerate the conversion of fibroblast cells into adipocyte cells which essentially is making fat, so that’s another pretty compelling study and that one, that came out several years ago but that was in the journal of Lipid Research. There have been other studies that have been done, the American Journal of Physiology basically didn’t study the obesity or weight per say but instead they looked at the type of environment that gets enhanced in terms of your body’s ability to store fat, insulin sensitivity, leptin sensitivity, things of that nature in response to xenoestrogen exposure and what they found was that xenoestrogens certainly had a significant potential to create this enhanced environment for your body to stay fat and that one was in the American Journal of Physiology. I believe that was 2005 that that study came out. There was another one in the journal of Applied Toxicology that basically was looking at absorption of benzoic acid compounds through the skin and basically increase formation of like fatty human breast tissue and that one again, found that there was a significant correlation between xenoestrogen exposure and tissue formation, so lots and lots of studies out there. They haven’t necessarily taken one group of women given them a bunch of pollution exposure and toxins and whatever, melted plastic and then compared their weight but didn’t just because of the ethics of doing something like that but the evidence is pretty mounting and I will put a link to these studies that I just mentioned as well as some other studies in the show notes for you so that’ll help you geek out on this stuff if you really want to look at the research more.
Brock: Who doesn’t love to geek out?
Ben: That’s right.
Brock: Alright, our next question comes from Andy.
Andy says: I recently fell into the sport of road cycling after trying it out last year during a vacation.
Brock: Andy, I’m worried. What do you mean by you fell into the sport? That sounds dangerous or painful or something.
Ben: He was out in the street riding his bicycle with his beget and bottle of wine and like a group of cyclists raced past and he got drawn into the crowd and he became a cyclist from then on, I’m sure that’s exactly what happened.
Brock: Alright, let’s go with that.
Andy says: I’ve always been active, fourth degree black belt in karate though I now have to work within my sciatica that at times does not allow me to walk without pain. Riding does give me minor back soreness but it doesn’t hurt me at all. Even I’m now 56 years old, I would like to get into this sport more seriously but with caution. I still have a full-time job and yes, a growing family thus I have to balance so where does one begin to establish a serious though reasonable overall program that someone like me can use to challenge himself?
Ben: This is going to be my biased response but that’s kind of why I created the two primary triathlon training programs that I’ve written because I’m one of those guys that just wants to sit down at the beginning of the day and see the workouts that I’m supposed to do without a ton of like geek speak and a little science and symbols that I got to remember what they mean and just be able to go do the workout, that’s always the approach that I take when I’m writing a triathlon training program, I try and keep it very specific but also not so specific that someone was trying to remember what IF and THT and PLP and TIT and what everything else means when they’re out there doing their workout. So there’s two triathlon training programs that I’ve designed that I’d recommend you take a look at. One is for half Ironman for Ironman triathletes. It’s called the Triathlon Dominator, you can check it out at TriathlonDominator.com and it’s designed with the same type of quality over quantity type of training that I do myself in order to allow me to do things like Ironman triathlon and still have a life and a family and a job and all that good stuff. So that’s one program that I’d look into. The other program that I’d look into would be one that I created for sprint all the way up to Ironman distance. The difference with that program being that it’s a little bit more focused on weight training and getting a nice body while you’re training for triathlon too, and that one’s called Tri-Ripped at Tri-Ripped.com. I would certainly look into either of those programs. With Tri-Ripped, you’re going to find that you are doing a little bit of extra strength training and that you are focusing more on maintaining kind of a nice body along with your triathlon training whereas the Triathlon Dominator is A, focused primarily on longer distance like half Ironman or Ironman and B, not quite so focused on the aesthetic component of how your body looks, so check those out. And then you mentioned about the sciatica issue and one of the things I always want to be sure to mention to folks when they tell me that they’re having issues with sciatica is that sciatica, which is basically pain in your low back in your hip that generally kind of radiates down to your leg, that is typically associated with issues with your lumbar disc with some kind of a disc protrusion or a disc herniation but sacroiliac joint dysfunction was pretty much considered to be the primary cause of sciatica all the way up into the 1920’s and then once kind of disc issues were found, the sacroiliac consideration’s kind of went up to the back bone but any chiropractic physician will tell you and actually recently, there’s been kind of a resurgence of interests in western medicine as well that the SI joint is really one of the primary sources of low back pain even for something like sciatica. So I would go to a good sports chiro and just have them evaluate your SI joint and look at whether or not it’s mobile and whether or not there are any abnormalities or sticky points in your SI joint and they can mobilize that for you and then from then, rather than going to the chiropractic doc over and over again, you simply get adjusted possibly a few times but what you do in conjunction with that is strengthen your butt and your glute muscles while at the same time stretching your hip flexors if you’re ever in a seated position for a long period of time and that 1-two to three combo of SI joint adjustment, glute strengthening and hip flexor stretching, as simple and stupid as it may seem, can really help in many cases to completely alleviate sciatica, so I’d certainly try out that intervention.
Brock: Cool! While we were recording this podcast, I usually try to jot down anything that Ben says, he wants to put that in the show notes and I was writing down Triathlon Dominator and spell check, really wanted that to be Dominatrix.
Ben: That will be the next program that I’d do, Triathlon Dominatrix.
Brock: That’s exactly what I was going to suggest, that is your next book.
Ben: You’ll honk a bunch of people out there and survey all P force, riding along in their leather with their whips flying in the wind and apple stuffed in their mouths.
Brock: That’s going to be awesome. Okay, our final question comes from Paul.
Paul says: I’m a 63-year old, 30 plus year runner. I have flat feet and hammer toes. Last few years I’ve had nerve pain under my second toe on my right foot. I’ve used a metatarsal pad under the toes with relative success. Lately pain hangs on after long runs. I went to a podiatrist and got a cortisone shot for the inflammation and was told I need an orthotic. I’ve seen insoles with the pad directly behind the ball of the foot designed to take the pressure off the metatarsal bone and would be interested in your view of the best way to approach this problem.
Ben: Yeah, there’s a lot of research that shows that metatarsal pads and any of these kind of offloading techniques can really help to alleviate symptoms of basically what’s called Metatarsalisia or Metatarsalgia depending on how you want to pronounce it, in folks who have pain in their feet. I’m sure a bunch of podiatrists just laughed their butts off at my pronunciation but essentially what you do is you wear an orthotic that spreads the pressure from when you strike the ground across all your different metatarsal heads and there’s actually quite a bit of science that goes into everything from their rear foot post to the orthotic plates to the position of the actual like metatarsal button itself on these orthotics and in many cases, going with a custom made orthotic in the extra $300, $400 you’re going to spend at a podiatrist to get your foot casted and that orthotic made up, is going to be worth it if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in weight bearing your impact mode on your feet for the rest of your life. So, I would certainly consider going past like the over-the-counter orthotic and go to more like a semi-rigid orthotic with you basically get your foot casted and then anywhere from two to four weeks later, they get the orthotic created, you go back into the physical therapist or the podiatrist, you try it on, you make sure that it works really well for you then make minor adjustments with like, for example, a heating gun if it’s a semi-rigid orthotic to make sure that it’s really fitting you just like a slipper and a lot of times, that can really help with the metatarsals. I mean there are certainly folks who I know of who have just switched to kind of the whole minimalist approach. Spent a lot of time standing around with their bare feet doing limited amounts of walking in the bare feet, gradually progressing the jogging and the bare feet or in vibrams and then gradually moving on to running and finding that that foot strengthening protocol actually allows them to be able to bear foot run or to walk around without orthotics. And while that approach may work for some, if you’ve naturally got flat feet and hammer toes and some of these other issues going on, custom orthotic may be for you and I know that there’s always that argument that I’ll back in the hunt or gather days and nobody was going to get their foot casted in a custom-made orthotic, I would argue that possibly folks who were born with flat feet or had some congenital issue that made running painful, but I’m sure not had access to orthotics but maybe also not been able to take advantage of the pleasures of running or of exercise in that sense. So, I think this would be an example where better living through science may come in quite handy for you in terms of getting a custom orthotic.
Brock: That would’ve been the person who got picked off by the lion.
Ben: Yeah and we certainly do not want our listeners getting eaten by lions so Paul, I would certainly look into rather than doing things like cortisone shots for inflammation, I’ll look at into like a custom orthotic and if you did want to go to the minimalist running route, there was an article that I wrote a few months ago at BenGreenfieldFitness.com that basically went into how to start running bare foot and how to do it without being stupid about it, which is what like 75% of people I’d say just start running bare foot and don’t know how to do it. So I talk about how to naturally strengthen your foot as you go, how to take baby steps, all the drills that you can do for your feet, all the flexibility drills that you can do for your feet to actually get you to the point where you can run bear foot without pain and I’m right now putting a note to myself to put a link to that in the show notes but there are certainly situations where I think that bear foot running or minimalist running is just dumb. Like when I was camping this past weekend, I went for a bare foot run and then I was like Hey, I’ll see you guys in about an hour and a half and I headed out to go run up in the hills and the week prior, I’d run seven, eight miles through Boston and felt great on concrete and the wood and the bridges and asphalt and everything. I took off up in the mountains where you’d think that there’d be even more natural ancestral running surfaces lined up on a horse trail a mile in, slammed my metatarsal into a rock that was sticking up because of the areas were, the horse hood were kind of compressed the ground down and limped back home and had to put on my shoes for the rest of the run. So, there’re certainly cases where shoes and orthotics and stuff like this come in quite handy and the rest of my run went great aside from the slight amount of pain that I had in my foot from initially starting off bear foot. So there are definitely times when shoes and orthotics and stuff like that come in handy or footy as the case may be.
Ben: Haha, I’ve made it funny. So yeah, I think that wraps it up.
Brock: It does, so yeah. Everybody, don’t forget, if you want to ask a question, there’s a brand new button on the right hand side. It says Ask Ben a Question so you can leave your audio questions unless of course you like hearing me mispronounce your names and stammer my way through your questions then by all means, keep sending the e-mails.
Ben: All being to completely eliminate the need for Brock.
Brock: So it will become an automated service.
Ben: Anyways though, the other thing is if there are any geeks out there, any audio geeks, Brock and I are still struggling with my audio cutting out when he talks and vice versa. We’ve been dealing with this issue for the past, it’s been 8 weeks or so now.
Ben: And Skype doesn’t know what’s up and we don’t know what’s up and so if you know anything about audio recording, mixing etc. and you want to help us out, we would totally dig it. We’d really appreciate it because it’s getting frustrating for us. We get that now, at this point when we record the podcast, we got to hang up like every 20 minutes and call back because it gets so bad. So e-mail [email protected] if you think you might be able to help us out with that issue, and then one other call for support. I’m in the process of basically creating a series of blog posts on self quantification, you may read that first one that I did about how to self test your body and I mentioned about wellness effects and some of these other ways that you can test your blood and saliva and urine and I’m beginning to create a series of blog posts on some other tests and some other ways that you can quantify but this particular series of blog post is going to get a little bit spent before me and so I think that you’re all going to find it quite interesting especially those of you with expendable incomes that really want to get down into quantifying every little thing that’s going on with your body but I’m going to need some support for this next series of blog posts in order for me to afford some of the research that’s going to go into them. So if you are listening in and you want to donate, you can go over to the show and donate any amount you’d like, $1, $5, $10, $20 but specifically, there’s about a $600 need for this next series of blog posts for me to be able to get them done, get the research done and get this stuff written out in terms of self quantification. So if you have any amount that you can donate, it will certainly help out a bunch and you can do that over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, there is a donate button there on the right side and of course, all of your support is appreciated. So that’s it and in reality, that’s just to support my gambling habit over at the reservation next weekend. No really, it’s for self quantification research so, that’s it and until next time, this is Ben and Brock, signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
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Aug 22, 2012 free podcast: What Kind Of Sports Drink or Gel Is Best For Endurance Exercise? Also: upper body strength for swimming, is honey a good energy source, is a “hair analysis” worth while, should you “run through menopause”, chlorine sensitivities, dealing with a labrum tear, xenoestrogens and weight changes, cycling and sciatica pain , and ways to deal with metatarsal pain.
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right side of the screen, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype to “pacificfit” or scroll down on this post to access the free “Ask Ben” form.
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- If your kids are swimming in pools a lot, you need to be giving them antioxidants. Here's why.
- Simply using an iPad after midnight decreases melatonin production by 23%!
- Cool way to figure out whether you're a “morning” or an “evening” person.
Cooking Class with Ben & Jessa Greenfield: “Make Your Own Probiotics” – Thursday, August 23, 6:30-8pm. Fee: $5 per person – includes recipes and samples. Location: Pilgrim’s Health Education Center.
Need blood testing to find out your health or performance biomarkers? – Ben recommends WellnessFX
As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
Audio Question from Keith:
Wants to know Ben's opinion on Tailwind Endurance Fuel.
~ In my response I mention Osmo Nutrition.
I am a typically pear shaped female. I have done strength training diligently for several years, and I have trained for triathlon for almost a year. My upper body strength is really holding me back on the swim. I train swimming 3 times per week. I have worked with swim coaches and have followed numerous strength training protocols with several personal trainers. I bought your book “strength training for triathletes” and followed some of the exercises. I've had improvements in my leg strength, but not in my lats and arms. I eat Paleo with loads of fruit, plenty of protein, litre of milk per day with zero junk and zero gluten. Is there no hope for me? Even my mother can bench more than me :-(
~ In my response to Eve, I mention the SwimSmooth book.
I was listening to you and Brock talk about gels and goos today, recommendations for half-marathoning. I started running hardcore last year and I found the half-marathon distance really tough until I started wearing a CamelBak and I was thinking about carrying honey packets with me as a natural source of energy, as opposed to gels and goos. I'm a budget runner as much as possible because I'm a budget sort of wage-earner and I can just grab these honey packets at the local coffeehouse. What do you think about using honey as an energy source during a long-distance run?
Is there any validity to hair analysis? A local chiropractor offers this test to measure mineral content of your hair and, according to this particular website, “if a particumineral deficiency or toxicity exists in the hair, it usually indicates a mineral deficiency or toxicity within the body. This in turn, provides a great window into the metabolic activity within the body, which allows us to prescribe a unique treatment protocol in order to properly treat your condition. ” I am interested for myself, but also for my daughter, who shows characteristics of autism and other behaviour issues. Is it legit or a waste of money?
I'm 53 years old and have been going through the side effects of peri-menopause and menopause for many years now. I decided when I was in my later 40's that I would try to “run through menopause”. I'm now running about 3 – 4 miles a few times a week and also do different types of cross training. I have completed a 5k and a 10k, but I find that I get too exhausted to put in any real extended mileage. I wanted your input regarding how to deal with the exhaustion, hot flashes and creeping weight gain which has been occurring. I have tried black cohosh and other remedies to no avail. My diet is overall very good – lots of veggies, clean foods, protein and not huge amounts of carbs, except for a treat. My mother had breast cancer twice, so there is no way I'll be touching any hormones. I am trying my best to keep fit and young, but I gotta tell you, it's been tough!
I am an ex-triathlete who stopped swimming because of a problem with chlorine. Here is what the symptoms are like: after two or three swims in a week, I stop being able to digest fat, get heart palpitations (which I never get otherwise) and generally feel terrible. It took me a long time to figure out what the trigger is until my naturopath did some reflex testing with pool water and figured out that the chlorine in the water goofs up my liver and gall bladder. I stopped swimming in 2005. I do a lot of endurance training but really really want to get back into triathlon. I am going to try a lower chlorine pool in Vancouver but wondered if a) you have encountered this sort of reaction before and b) if you have any ideas about helping out with the chlorine. I have no respiratory symptoms.
I currently have a small tear in my labrum in my left hip. I have an acetabular impingement that seems to be why this has happened. I was a runner and practised a lot of yoga. I have been seeing a yoga therapist and doing physical therapy and my hip has been feeling better. I am not planning on having surgery, because my hip is feeling better. Do you have any suggestions or opinions about workouts? I would love to get back to running, but high impact activities make me nervous.
~ Heal Your Hips book.
Are there any studies that actually look at weight changes in women who avoid xenoestrogens compared to those who don't?
~ Harvey PW, Darbre P. Endocrine disrupters and human health: could oestrogenic chemicals in body care cosmetics adversely affect breast cancer incidence in women? J Appl Toxicol. 2004 May-Jun;24(3):167-76.
~ Braun JM, Kalkbrenner AE, Impact of early-life bisphenol a exposure on behavior and executive function in children, Pediatrics. 2011 Nov;128(5):873-82. Epub 2011 Oct 24.
~ Roy JR, Chakraborty S, Chakraborty TR. Estrogen-like endocrine disrupting chemicals affecting puberty in humans–a review, Med Sci Monit. 2009 Jun;15(6):RA137-45.
~ Jensen TK, et al. Do environmental estrogens contribute to the decline in male reproductive health. Clinical Chemistry December 1995 vol. 41 no. 12 1896-1901.
~ Ho, S-M, W-Y Tang, J Belmonte de Frausto, and GS Prins. 2006. Developmental Exposure to Estradiol and Bisphenol A Increases Susceptibility to Prostate Carcinogenesis and Epigenetically Regulates Phosphodiesterase Type 4 Variant 4. Cancer Research, Volume 66, Pages 5624-5632.
~ Diamanti-Kandarakis E et al. 2009 Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement. Endocrine Reviews 30(4):293-342
~ Carwile JL, Michels KB, Urinary bisphenol A and obesity: NHANES 2003 – 2006. Environ Res. 2011 Aug;111(6):825-30. Epub 2011 Jun 14. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
~ Zsarnovszky A, Le HH, Wang HS, Belcher SM. Ontogeny of rapid estrogen-mediated extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling in the rat cerebellar cortex: potent nongenomic agonist and endocrine disrupting activity of the xenoestrogen bisphenol A. Endocrinology. 2005 Dec;146(12):5388-96. Epub 2005 Aug 25.
~ Ayyanan A, Laribi O, et al, ISREC-Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, National Center of Competence Molecular Oncology, Lausanne, Switzerland.
~ Masuno, H., et al. “Bisphenol A in combination with insulin can accelerate the conversion of 3T3-L1 fibroblasts to adipocytes.” J lipid Res. 3 (2002): 676-684.
~ Silver MK, O'Neill MS, Sowers MR, Park SK, PLoS One. 2011;6(10), Urinary Bisphenol A and Type-2 Diabetes in U.S. Adults: Data from NHANES 2003-2008.
~ Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America.
~ Harvey PW, Darbre P. Endocrine disrupters and human health: could estrogenic chemicals in body care cosmetics adversely affect breast cancer incidence in women? J Appl Toxicol. 2004 May-Jun;24(3):167-76.
I recently “fell” into the sport of road cycling after trying it out last year during a vacation. I have always been active (4th degree Black Belt in Karate) though I now have to work within my sciatica that at times does not allow me to walk without pain. Riding does give me a minor back soreness but it does not hurt me at all! Even though I am now 56 I would like to get into this sport more seriously but with caution. I still have a full time job and yes a growing family thus I have to balance. So, where does one begin to establish a serious, though reasonable overall program that someone like me can use to challenge himself?
I am a 63 yr old 30 + yr. runner. I have flat feet and hammer toes. The last few years I have had nerve pain under second toe on my right foot. I have used a metatarsal pad under toes with relative success. Lately pain hangs on after long runs. I went to a podiatrist and got a cortisone shot for the inflammation and was told I need an orthotic. I've seen insoles with a pad directly behind the ball of the foot designed to take the pressure off the metatarsal bone and would be interested in your view of the best way to approach this problem.
~ In my response to Paul I talk about the How To Run Barefoot post.