Podcast #340 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/12/26043
Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show: How To Test Your Fat Burning Efficiency, The Ultimate Guide To Preventing Alzheimer’s, Cold Thermogenesis, 5 Pieces of Gear For Becoming A Stronger Swimmer, and How To Keep Chlorine Exposure From Damaging Your Body, Does Oil of Oregano Kill Probiotics, and much more.
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is – Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s for the natural movement, get out there! When you’re looking at all the studies done…studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: So, Rachel what did you ask Santa for Christmas?
Rachel: I actually asked Santa for flights back to Australia, and I got them!
Ben: You’re going to Australia, back to Australia.
Rachel: I am! Uhmm.
Ben: Really? When do you – when do you doing that so that all of our Australian listeners can be lining their runway of the – do they have airports in Australia? Is that the way that they do things down under?
Rachel: They definitely have airports, and I would love to see some ‘Welcome Home Rachel’ signs.
Ben: Nice! People – people dress up as Koalas.
Rachel: Yes! Please bring it. I can’t wait. I am coming back January 1st actually flying on New Year’s eve, the 31st and getting in on the 1st, and then I’m there for 3 full weeks, and it’s summer, and I can’t wait, so…
Ben: And, for those of you listening in, if Rachel sounds tired on any podcast recorded during January, it’s probably because she’s gonna be up at like the ungodly hour of 5am or whatever. Well, I’m over here at 11 or noon podcasting on my end. So, just an FYI, you may wanna send Rachel some coffee, some high grade, high octane Australian coffee.
Rachel: (Chuckles) Yes please.
Ben: Yes. I asked for a ukulele.
Rachel: No way.
Rachel: Did you get it?
Ben: I want a ukulele. I don’t know because it’s before Christmas when we’re recording this and…
Ben: I’m a huge fan. And we’re actually gonna talk about some methods of enhancing cognition and brain performance in today’s discussion on Alzheimer’s, and I’ve always been a fan of music. And in particular the brain drive nootropic factor, the BDNF that gets released that causes neuronal growth and dopamine production and all sorts of cool things in response to music. It’s most powerfully produced when you are actually playing and producing music versus just listening to music. And I’ve always been a huge fan of you know, strumming in my guitar in the evenings, but I travelled so freakin’ much and the guitar is so freakin’ big…
Rachel: So hard to carry around, yeah, yup.
Ben: I want one of those little ukulele.
Rachel: Hey Ben!
Ben: So I asked for a ukulele in a travel case for Christmas.
Rachel: Guess what?
Rachel: Weird serendipity… I got a ukulele for Christmas!
Ben: Are you kidding me?
Rachel: I already got one. Yeah! And Jake got one too but he doesn’t know yet. So…
Ben: Oh my gosh!
Rachel: I can’t wait to practice.
Ben: This was totally unplanned. Just for those of you whose listening in…
Ben: Amazing! Alright. Well, in future podcast episodes, you may be treated to a ukulele…
Ben & Rachel: Duo.
Ben: So, for news flash number one today, Rachel, I actually have very bad news for those of you listening in over the holidays.
Rachel: Oh no! What is it?
Ben: So, a new report in a new Ted Talk that I will link to in the show notes for this episode on calorie restriction and fasting, and what it does for your brain. This was actually quite fascinating when it comes to cognitive challenges created by fasting. Because we’ve talked about fasting before on the show to shut down inflammation, to cause what’s called fat cell apaptosis, to cause basically the body to turn over everything from gut cells to skin cells, you know, fasting kind of like renews your body. It’s really interesting. I know people are probably cringing in trying to set down their raisin-mint chocolate chip holiday cookie right now, but anyway, so this newest research shows that fasting can actually stimulate the production of new nerve cells created by stem cells in the hippocampus area of your brain.
So, what that means is that fasting stimulates the production of ketones which we’ve talked about quite a bit on the show before, and I actually just wrote a monster podcast on how to get in – or a monster article on how to get in to ketosis on bengreenfieldfitness.com if anybody wants to check that out, but this ketone production that occurs in response to fasting increases the number of mitochondria in the brain neurons, and it increases the production of new nerve cells in the brain. And what they’ve found is that this is directly correlated with improvements in learning and memory ability.
Ben: Yeah. And in particular one of the diets that they recommended based off of this report was what they called The 5:2 Diet.
Rachel: Uhmm, which is…
Ben: Now, I’m not a fan of diets, by the way. Because I think diet suck all of the enjoyment out of eating.
Rachel: Totally. Yup, not super sustainable either.
Ben: Ehh however, let’s call this a strategy…
Ben: …on a diet shall we? So, the…
Rachel: Lifestyle change.
Ben: The 5:2 strategy – all it comes down to is you’ve got 5 days of the week where you just eat your normal kinda the like – you know, you meet your total daily energy expenditure, right? You don’t really heavily restrict calories, and you don’t eat a lot of calories but then on two days of the week, what they recommend is a mild fast where men might eat 6 to 700 calories, women might eat 4 to 500 calories. And the author of that study recommended that as a good strategy for fasting. Now, that’s not the strategy I use.
Rachel: Yeah, it doesn’t seem too hard, right?
Ben: I do a 12-16 hour intermittent fast everyday, so…
Rachel: And what’s the difference, how are they gonna impact differently?
Ben: I don’t think there’s much of a difference.
Ben: I really don’t. I think that the end goal for any of you listening in should be simply expose your body to certain periods of time where it goes for a long time in a state of calorie restriction, or not constantly getting snack shove down the hatch, so…
Ben: That’s the big takeaway message, but I should mention – and again, I’ll link to this study and the TedX talk over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/340, if people wanna check it out. But, few of my clients and you know who you are if you’re listening in and you’re probably gonna hate me. You may notice that you actually have a Saturday at lunch time to Sunday at lunch time fast on January 2nd. So, after all of the New Year’s and the holidays are over, on January 2nd which is a Saturday at noon, all you do is – you eat lunch on Saturday and then you don’t eat again until Sunday at lunch. You can have water, you can have coffee, you can have green tea. So, I’d also challenge our podcast listeners, and I’m personally gonna do this to try that. Try kicking off the New Year with a 24-hour fast.
Rachel: Boom! I’m in. Count me in.
Ben: Yeah, it can make you smarter too.
Ben: There you go. Smarter/grumpier. So, another thing that I wanted to mention, another study, and I’m actually going to – usually we go over like about 3 studies when we have our new flashes, but because it’s been like 3 weeks since we recorded an official Q & A episode, I’ve actually got 5 little snippets for folks today.
Rachel: Oh my god! There’s so much going on.
Ben: Bonus! I will tack those on to your podcast bill when you receive your podcast bill on the mail. So, this was a study on the effect of cold thermogenesis particularly on your gut bacteria. And for this study, what they did was they kept one set of mice in a room at about 6 degrees Celsius, and I’m not going to try to in real time during a podcast convert that to Fahrenheit, but it’s cold, it’s cold.
Rachel: That works for me – 6 degrees Celsius, and all the Australian listeners, boom!
Ben: You know it, by the way. And then they had another group kept at 22 degrees Celsius which is basically like room temperature. And they saved all of these cute, little creatures’ feces, and they collected blood samples from them, and what they found was that as would be expected as we all know from cold dwelling creatures that you get an improvement in metabolism, and you get an improvement in insulin sensitivity, and fat burning, and all these things that we know already that cold thermogenesis and cold exposure is good for. But what they also found was that the cold dwelling mice experienced a shift in their gut bacteria.
Ben: They actually grew a specific microbiome that was unique to being in a cold environment.
Ben: And since we know that the gut bacteria is responsible for everything from producing like neuro transmitters for your brain, to help you sleep better, or to be more motivated, and we know that the gut microbiome is responsible for like the strength of your immune system, all sorts of cool stuff.
It turns out that cold thermogenesis may not just be improving your metabolism but also improving the health of your gut which I think is pretty cool.
Rachel: I feel like we’re getting into a point with cold thermogenesis where we say, what can it do?
Ben: Yeah, exactly. And it’s one of those deals where fluctuations in environment period. Not just cold. I don’t want people to think we’re obsessed with cold. Fluctuations in environment period, you know, being hot, being cold, going outside, rolling around in the dirt, which is why I love mud runs. And basically, getting exposed to environment, getting out of your freaking temperature controlled house, and going out and doing things, or getting exposed to things that make your body anti-fragile, to borrow the title of the excellent book by Nassim Taleb. It’s all good for you, and it turns out that it affects your microbiome too. So, hurray for being cold! So, the next thing that I think is absolutely fascinating was this brand new study that they reported in the journal Cell about personalized nutrition. There’s been a lot of articles about this one recently, but this was a study that they did over in Israel. And what they did was they took a big, big group of subjects and they fed them different varieties of meals, you know, bananas, cookies, things that would normally you would expect cause some pretty significant blood sugar spikes, some pretty significantly elevated blood glucose levels. And what they found was that there’s a huge difference in what’s called the glycemic response among people.
Ben: These differences were based off of people’s genetics and their individual body types. What I mean by that is that in some people who would eat a banana or a cookie, their blood sugar would go up significantly, very high in a manner that would cause, you know, things like inflammation, conversion of sugars and the fat by the liver, all the unhealthy things you’d expect in response to blood sugar. And in some people, that didn’t occur all. In… go ahead.
Rachel: So how is it different to a sort of organizing your diet around your genes with genetic testing?
Ben: Well, this is basically shedding light on the fact that there definitely is something to that.
Ben: I mean, they found that a big, big part of that actually was not only related to genetics but also related to something we just talked about: your microbiome.
Ben: The bacterial status on your gut… so, it turns out that depending on the status of your gut and we know that, for example, there is such a thing as like the obese microbiome, right? Like some people have bacteria in their gut that are associated with fatness and some people don’t. And part of that could be related to how high your blood sugar spikes in response to a meal.
Ben: So, the researchers took this one step further and they actually created an algorithm and they’re also working…
Ben: …on basically like a phone app where you eat a food, you test your blood sugar, you input the blood response into the app, and it ends up generating like a specific dietary recommendation for you based off of what you’re eating. And so what I’m gonna do in the show notes because you can actually sign up to get a notice once they’ve release this algorithm and this app to the public. You can sign up to actually take part in some of the studies this really cool group out of Israel is doing. Now right now, on the website, it says: Registration to the study is currently limited to pre-diabetic residence of Israel, 18-70 years of age, which kinda sort of hones down the number of listeners to this podcast…
…to a pretty small group. However, hello to all our Israeli listeners. Big wave. But ultimately, if you go there, you can put on your email address and you can eventually become a part of the study if you want to get like a glucometer and stool samples, and all the things that would allow you to be a part of some of these really cool studies, and eventually also to get a notice once the app and algorithm and everything gets developed and released to the general population, but it’s just one more clue that there is no – and again, this is why I don’t like diets. There is no – like one diet that works for everyone individual genetics, your microbiome, your blood sugar response to specific foods, all of these are gonna influence your diet. And I’ll link to this article ‘cause it’s absolutely fascinating for anybody who is either a nutrition nerd or doesn’t have any better way to spend their time. It’s fascinating to see the individualized nutritional response to foods I think.
Rachel: Did they have any thought the ETA or when the apps gonna be released?
Ben: It doesn’t exactly say on the website. I couldn’t find any timeline and there are lot of Israeli letters on the website that I don’t quite understand because I don’t speak – I don’t speak Israel even though I have a Jewish name.
But anyways, it’s worth checking out for those of you who like this kind of stuff, who get turned on by diet.
Rachel: Awesome. What else do you got?
Ben: Okay. Couple other things – couple other things. Ashwagandha, brand new study on ashwagandha. Now, ashwagandha is one of my favorite little compounds, so, basically it’s known as an adaptogen. So ashwagandha is the scrub, it grows primarily in parts of Asia, and it’s classified in Indian ayurvedic medicine as what’s called a rejuvenator. And so, specifically what it does and what’s been shown to do in many research studies is to decrease the stress hormone cortisol that causes slight increase in testosterone, and also an improvement in cardiovascular performance. All of these things in the past have already been proven in clinical studies as result in using ashwagandha. Now, in this most recent study, what they looked at was the ability of ashwagandha to increase muscle strength, and also muscle recovery in response to a resistant training program. So, what they found was pretty significant. For example, in the group that used ashwagandha, they found a 15% increase in testosterone.
Ben: They found a 2% extra decrease in fat loss, a significant improvement in muscle recovery, over a 10 pound increase compared to the group that wasn’t using ashwagandha – that was using a placebo, over a 10 pound increase in leg extension strength, 20 kilograms which should what, be over 40 pound increase in bench press, and also a significant increase in the production of lean muscle mass. And what I thought was really interesting because creatine is something that I’ve talked about again and again, I’ve said anybody who’s training for strength, power, etc. should use creatine.
Ben: It is just the most proven supplement on the face of the planet for this type of stuff. Ashwagandha more or less kicked creatine’s butt.
Ben: When it comes to what it can do. Now, I already use ashwagandha and a couple of things that I use. Now, the form that they use was this form of ashwagandha called KSM66. In about 2 months ago I interviewed this Chinese adaptogen formulator named Roger Drummer, and we talked about that specific form of ashwagandha, this KSM66. It’s basically a commercial, high concentration ashwagandha-water extract that’s been standardized to have a high amount of what’s called (a new word we haven’t used on the show before) withanolides, withanolides.
Rachel: Hmmp, never heard of that one.
Ben: That’s one of the primary active ingredients that you find in ashwagandha. So, for example, tianchi which is like the little smart drug packet that I use sometimes, that has ashwagandha in it. The CBD that I recommend at night time for sleep, that has ashwagandha in it. You can go out and find a lot of different supplements that have this form KSM66 form of ashwagandha in it. But it turns out that if you’re not already using ashwagandha especially if you’re doing strength training, or training for power, muscle gain, etc. you should consider using it. And like I mentioned, they’ve done other studies for cardiovascular endurance as well. And just so you know for dosage, most of the studies are using doses of about 500-1000 mg of ashwagandha.
Rachel: And – so are you actually saying that people should stop using creatine and start using ashwagandha?
Ben: You could use both. I mean, I don’t want to necessarily recommend ‘cause I know I get called out on this a lot. You know, of being the guy who says – well, there’s like 20 different pills you should take everyday. You know, it’s just a matter of walking a fine line between better living through science and also like taking every supplement on the face of the planet. But I’ve had to say, I mean, since I’ve already recommended, I tell people the few things that I take everyday, is I do multivitamin, I do fish oil, and I do creatine. I take those 3 things every morning. That’s just like my protocol – my supplementation protocol. And then in the evenings I take the CBD and that CBD already has ashwaganda in it. So this doesn’t really change anything I’m currently doing or recommending. Al it does is show that – hey, there’s even more benefits than we know of for ashwagandha, so. Cool stuff! And I’ll put a link in the show notes to the actual study. And then finally when it comes to strength, and power, and everything else – kettlebells. Do you have a kettlebell?
Rachel: Uhm. I don’t but we’ve talked about it before. I don’t.
Ben: Okay. So, the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research just released the study in which they compared kettlebell, high intensity interval training, to sprint interval cycling.
And what they found was that a specific circuit of 4 different kettlebell exercises – I’ll tell you which 4 exercises they were. Basically, it was just as good as or better than doing high intensity sprint on a bike for maintaining your cardiovascular endurance and your VO2 max.
Ben: So why is this important? Because many times people who have like achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis or some kind of a knee issue, or they’ve injured something related to running or cycling, they wanna maintain VO2 max, they wanna maintain cardiovascular endurance but can’t run or can’t bike or perhaps can’t swim. So, kettlebell training can be a way to increase your VO2 max to maintain endurance without actually aggravating some of those areas. So I actually have because I subscribed to the journals strength edition research, I’m holding in my hand right now the actual paper, and I tore the sheet out of the journal of strength and conditioning research because I’m gonna film a video for the Ben Greenfield Youtube channel that demonstrates how to do each of these exercises, but for those you listening in, you wanna jump the gun and try out the workout that they gave and the subjects in the study. What it was was they used 20 seconds of kettlebell exercising followed by 10 seconds of recovery and they did this for 4 minutes. And some of you may realize that this is what’s called a Tabatha set. And they did 3 times through – this Tabatha set. So the exercises that they did was they did 20 seconds of a sumo squat with a kettlebell, and 10 seconds of recovery and then another 20 seconds of sumo squat. And then they did the kettlebell swing, they did 20 seconds of the kettlebell swing, 10 seconds of recovery, and then another 20 seconds of the kettlebell swing, and then they did 20 seconds of a kettlebell clean and press, and then 10 seconds of recovery, and another 20 seconds of kettlebell clean and press, and they finally they did 20 seconds of a kettlebell sumo deadlifts, 10 seconds of recovery, and a final 20 seconds of a sumo deadlift. And that was the – so 8 different kinda like stations going through this 4 minutes of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, and that was the actual routine that they used in the study, and they saw some really significant improvements in the cardio-respiratory and the metabolic response to that particular protocol.
Rachel: And the good news is if you’re working at home, a kettlebell is hell of a lot cheaper than a stationary bike. Right?
Ben: That’s right, actually and it takes a lot less space as well. You know, you could put it in your office, you could keep it in – you could do a kettlebell swing in an airport bathroom.
Rachel: If you wanted to take one on the plane with you.
Ben: If you wanted to take kettlebell on the plane. I have seen somewhere – they have kettlebell you can fill with water.
Rachel: Oh, wow! That’s handy. Really handy.
Ben: Yeah. I haven’t seen those lately but I know they exist. You could probably do a google search for water kettlebell. So, there you go, something to spend your Christmas gift cards on. A brand new kettlebell, so. That being said, what do you think? Shall we jump forward to our special announcements?
Rachel: Let’s do it!
Ben: Well, speaking of kettlebells, Rachel, one of my favorite kettlebell manufacturers – the company that does like zombie-faced kettlebells…
Rachel: And the gorillas…
Ben: Monkey-faced, gorilla kettlebells, that’s Onnit! And Onnit is a friendly sponsor of today’s show. But I actually don’t want to talk about Onnit kettlebells, I wanna talk about something else that’s actually very, very similar to kettlebells in terms of what it can do for you. And that’s a battle rope. Have you seen this before?
Rachel: No, I haven’t.
Ben: Battle ropes are pretty cool. These big, heavy ropes and you can put them like outside in your backyard, or in a gym, and you hold on to them and you’ll move your hands up and down, and do like waves, or slams, or lift them above your heads, and they’re just like big, heavy ropes that you throw around, and Onnit actually has one of the biggest varieties of cool looking, colorful battle ropes that I’ve ever seen. So I have an Onnit battle rope in my gym.
Rachel: What color is yours?
Ben: Mine is black. Just black.
Rachel: Oh black!
Ben: But they’ve got like yellow…
Ben: …black like a bumble bee, they’ve got blue and red, and they’ve got purple, and they’re pretty cool. And, the deal is that if you visit Onnit, you save 10% off of any of their fitness gear from their kettlebells to their battle ropes, and I do really like battle ropes. One of the workouts I've been doing recently is I do an interval on my bike, and then get off my bike and do an interval on the battle rope, and then get back on the bike, and go back and forth like that.
Rachel: Is better word – is it a full body kinda thing workout or is it sort of upper body only?
Ben: Uhmm. Yes, full body and just feels badass ‘cause you’re just like slammin’ this rope into the ground. So anyways, onnit.com/bengreenfield, onnit.com/bengreenfield, you don’t need discount code, that will automatically when you go to onnit.com/bengreenfield, it will automatically – through the magic of the internet – fill on the discount code for you.
So, this podcast is also brought to you by Kimera Koffee.
Rachel: My favorite.
Ben: And Kimera Koffee is the stuff – that’s what actually the coffee that I had this morning because I broke my own rules and I stayed up really late last night working on my fiction book. Sometimes I get the – what do you call it? The muse? The blues?
Rachel: Uhmm, the flow. You’re inspired.
Ben: Yeah. So I stayed up really late writing it. So I only slept about 5 hours last night. So I got up this morning, and I had my big cup of Kimera Koffee because it doesn’t have caffeine in it, it has alpha GPC, it has taurine, and has L-theanine, and has DMEA. All of those are proven nootroopics, that help with blood flow to the brain, that help with cognitive performance. So had my big cup of Kimera Koffee and Kimera gave us a little Christmas surprise. Usually when you go to kimerakoffee.com and you use code “Ben” you save 10% but just for this week, they’re actually giving us all 20%.
Ben: So, 20% discount. What?
Rachel: I’m gonna go there right now ‘cause I have to tell you I’m on my 3rd cup of Kimera Koffee just this morning! So, I need to wear out, I need more…
Ben: Yeah, you need your ukulele in double time. Yeah, so check that out – Kimera Koffee – k-i-m-e-r-a k-o-f-f-e-e dot com. The 20% code is “Ben” – B-e-n. Now, a couple other things I wanted to mention in today’s special announcements, the first is that – a PaleoFX, my favorite conference of the year. And one of my favorite cities in the world – Austin, Texas is happening. And that’s kinda like the who’s who gathering of the health movement. You’ve got New York Times bestselling authors, physicians, scientists, biohackers, pretty much everybody who’s anybody, and all the best parties, and all the coolest gear, and foods, and talks, and everything are PaleoFX and the title is quite deceptive and misleading, you don’t need to be paleo.
Rachel: Well, that’s gonna be my question.
Ben: That’s one of my favorite things to do is go to PaleoFX and…
Rachel: And not be paleo.
Ben: …eating a sandwich (chuckles) and drinking a glass of milk.
Rachel: Do a lot of people go to this stuff or no?
Ben: No. You don’t need to be paleo. So you get a ton of benefit and a ton of fun out of the PaleoFX Conference. So, I’ll be speaking there, we’ll put a link in the show notes or if you want to, you’ve got a mind like a steel trap, you can just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleo16 and that will get you in on the early bird discounted registration. So, bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleo16. Oh the date! It’s May 27th through May 29th. Beautiful time of the year to be in Austin, Texas. So, there’s that. And then the other thing that I wanted to mention just real quickly is that because we haven’t really had a Q and A episode for like 3 weeks…
Rachel: Right, it’s been ages.
Ben: …we had a lot of like special guests come on.
Rachel: And so much has been going on! It was your birthday…
Ben: So much.
Rachel: Right! You’re going your soapbox…
Ben: Gotta my soapbox that people wanna read my soapbox post at bengreenfieldfitness.com. It’s there where I talk about basically why I do what I do, and why I haven’t written a diet book.
Rachel: And the community of it loves it ‘cause it was the most engaged post.
Ben: It was engaged. So anyways, we had a podcast on like bad things that are good for you like weed, and good things that are bad for you, like stability ball, giant chairs that you sit on. We had a post on everything you need to know about amino acids, we had a post on something called or podcast on something called The Qauntlet which is this wrist device that generates light and cold, we had a podcast with Dr. Kirk Parsley on the sleep remedy. We’d really good one on like the broken gut, and why athletes have gut issues, we just had one on whether or not genetic testing, and programming your exercise based on genetic testing, is a scam or not…
Rachel: That was my favorite, and I’m gonna jump in right here and ask you straight up. How do you feel now about PX360 after that podcast? Are you a 100% in? Are you 80% in? 50% in? How do you feel?
Ben: Still on the fence, still on the fence about it. And the reason that I’m on the fence about it is not because I don’t think that you can do a bunch of like body measurements and genetic measurements, and health measurements, and come out with a customized genetic program based on that. It’s mostly due to the fact that I have not yet taken the necessary steps to implement that amount of complexity into my routine, right?
Rachel: Uhmm, and see how it has you, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. So, like my workout…
…yesterday was sleuthing with my kids and towing them up the really steep hill, and giving ‘em a giant push down, and then running down and getting them and pulling them up again. And that maybe completely effing against whatever my genetic exercise programming would have been for that day…
Ben: …but sometimes I find it if I dig myself into too deep of a programming hole with like a set workout that I must do that day because of my genetic programming for that week, you know, it kinda sound like a little bit more free flowing, but that’s me, right? I’m not a technician engineer type, I tend to be a little bit more free-flowing with that stuff.
Rachel: Uh, good to know.
Ben: I would recommend though that anybody who is interested in epigenetics and how your exercise programming and even your vacation time should be programmed based off of your genetics that you’re listenin’ to that episode – and we’ll put a link to it over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/340, but ultimately if you are skiing or snowboarding or snow showing or bicycling or whatever else over the holidays, and you want some back episodes, some fantastic audios to listen to, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Go listen to some of those back episodes that we had because I personally think we had some pretty intriguing interviews, so…
Rachel: Yes definitely, and I’m gonna take a minute here to just let everyone know that we are doing a really awesome giveaway this week. It’s fat loss pack. You have 3 opportunities to win: one on Facebook, one on Instagram, one on Twitter. At the moment we only have 16 people entered on the Facebook post. So, high, high chances if you get in there.
Ben: Huge chance of winning. So there you have it. Head over to facebook.com/BGfitness for that. What do you think? Q and A time?
Rachel: Let’s get into it.
Listener Q & A:
Steve: Hi Ben and Rachel, this is Steve. I’m an apprentice body improvement trainee, and I’m trying to get what test I should be ordering and taking so that I can help put my body into a good state for reducing fat, and building muscle. Thank you.
Ben: You know, I have to admit. I don’t actually know what an apprentice body improvement trainee is.
Rachel: I don’t know either but I guess – I don’t know, what is that?
Ben: Sounds fancy.
Rachel: Steve, jump in on the comments and let us know what that is.
Ben: You could probably get a pretty big alphabet letter soup after your name, you too or an apprentice body improvement trainee. So…
Ben: Yeah. I may have to research that but I can tell you a little bit about testing your fat burning efficiency. I can definitely tell you that. So, there’s this idea of metabolic efficiency – metabolic efficiency. So, it’s based off of this idea – your body relies primarily on 2 sources of energy: carbohydrates and fat. So, very quick physiology 101, some of you might yawn, but carbohydrates get quickly converted into energy. Your body can store, you know, 1500 to 2000 calories worth of carbs in the form of what’s called glycogen, and that typically gets depleted after anywhere from 1 and a half to 3 hours of exercise. But fats get more slowly converted into energy and most peoples’ bodies have a pretty infinite store of fat like literally tens of thousands of calories of fat even on a pretty lean person. So, this idea of metabolic efficiency or fat burning efficiency is an actual measure of how well your body utilizes the fat as an energy source. And the idea is that especially if you are an athlete or if you’re somebody trying to lose weight, you can get yourself to the point where you’re primarily burning fat and you’re conserving a lot of that glycogen that is less available, that’s a little bit more precious to have around. It’s much more finite, and so you hear about this crazy exploits of some endurance athletes who have built up huge amounts of metabolic efficiency like Sammy Encanan who has been on the show before who rode from the States to Hawaii, I believe it was, with his wife which I do not recommend as the healthiest thing to do for your marriage but they somehow did it, and he would go, he would row for something like 8 hours at a time without eating because of the huge amount of metabolic efficiency that he have. There’s another guy who did a 12 hour summit of Mt. McKinley and he had one energy gel the whole time because he had – he’d going to a lab, measured his metabolic efficiency, his fat burning efficiency, and I’ll explain how to measure in a lab, and it was just through the roof. This guy’s name was Kilian Jornet. So, and I maybe pronounced it wrong, could be Jornet, but I like Jornet, it makes me sound French.
Rachel: It sounds fancier, uhmm.
Ben: Anyways though, so yeah! I mean like if you’re a runner, you could carry less food weight, if you’re backpacker, you could pack fewer food calories, if you were to actually get into this state of metabolic efficiency.
Now, I used to run a series of personal strength training studios and gyms here in the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane area and I had metabolic testing carts at all my facilities, and what a metabolic testing cart is is it measured the carbon dioxide that you produced and the oxygen that you consumed as your exercising on say a treadmill or riding a bicycle. And the gas is called indirect calorimetry and when you’re collecting the gases produced during exercise, not the gases out your butt, the gases out your mouth – hey, I’ve been asked that before. What do you mean gas during exercise?
Rachel: It sound like a fart. (laughs)
Ben: You will produce a lot of gas during exercise. Anyways though, there is basically a direct correlation between carbon dioxide produced, oxygen consumed and the amount of fat versus the amount of carbohydrates that you burn. And when you get a metabolic efficiency test, there is what is called a crossover point, and this crossover point is the point at which you shift from primarily burning fat into burning a significantly greater amount of carbohydrates. And if you’re metabolically efficient, that crossover point will occur at a much higher intensity, right? So you can train your body to shift into carbohydrate utilization of the much higher intensity than it normally would. And that’s really the gold standard way to test your metabolic efficiency is you would go to your friendly google search engine and you would look for, you do a search for metabolic testing and in the name of your city. And when you contact the metabolic testing facility that you find, you wanna check and make sure that they don’t just do resting metabolic testing, but you wanna make sure that they do exercise metabolic testing and tell them that you specifically want to know where your crossover point occurs. You specifically want to get a test for your metabolic or your fat burning efficiency. And that would be the gold standard way to test.
Now, that being said. There are some other things that will influence your ability to burn fat efficiently. So, for example, one thing is something that we already brought up and that how efficient your body is at burning fats, and producing what’s called acetyl coA in the process of burning fats. Now, acetyl coA gets converted into ketones and so if you measure your ketones’ cause let’s face it, you’re probably can’t afford to go into a laboratory everyday and measure how you’re doin’ during that exercise session with your metabolic efficiency.
Rachel: Oh, that was gonna be my question if you do metabolic testing, how long should you, I mean, you have to get multiple tests done right to see if you’re getting better, and how long should you wait in between, and then how expensive does that get?
Ben: Yes, so a test is gonna cost you anywhere from $100-200, and you would generally do something like that. Let’s say you were training for a backpacking trip or a triathlon or something like that, you would repeat the test every 4 to 8 weeks.
Ben: So, but there are things you could do at home as well. So for example, ketone breath testing – I’m a big fan of using this device called Ketonix. You can test your ketones via urine but once you have the gun, your foray into getting efficient at burning fats, you will find fewer and fewer ketones in your urine because your body is utilizing them as a fuel. And so, urine is not the best way to test for ketones. Blood is very good and breath I like because it’s less invasive, and because like I’m an author and I type, I don’t like to have little wounds on the end of my fingers all the time when I’m testing for ketones. So I like this device called a Ketonix and will link to that in the show notes, but it’s a very simple, easy to use breath testing device for ketones. So that would be one thing that you can use.
Rachel: Is that one more reliable than blood or same as kinda…
Ben: It is the same. It is the same as blood yet not more reliable but the same and even though, it’s you know, the initial investment in it, I forget the exact cost on the Ketonix, but the initial investment is more than what you’d spend on like a – I believe it’s $150. So, that’s more than what you’d spend on a blood monitor, but considering that the blood testing strips are like 2-4 bucks a piece, you know, it pays for itself after a while.
Rachel: Yup, yup!
Ben: So, that’s one thing – is you wanna measure if your body is doing a better job everyday getting into ketosis and ideally you would be able to stay in a state of ketosis most of the day, and that would be a good indicator of fat burning efficiency. Another test that you can do is whether or not your blood glucose is staying low, and you could go to your local drugstore and you can get one of these blood glucose monitors for pretty inexpensive and the actual strips are much cheaper than the ketone testing strips.
For blood glucose they come out to anywhere from 25 cents to a dollar depending on how many you buy, but when you’re looking at blood glucose, your fasted blood glucose should ideally be at 90 or below, and that’s a very good sign that you’re doing a good job burning fats, but you can also actually get a blood sugar lab test for what’s called hemoglobin A1C – HpA1c, and your HpA1c is a 3 months snapshot of your fasted blood sugar levels, and that should be below 5.5. And there’s a blood sugar test that you can do where you just go into the lab, they’re test your blood glucose, they’re test your hemoglobin A1c. I’ll link to it in the show notes but it’s just a stand-alone test. So rather than spending a bunch of money and getting a fancy test, the test for everything on the face of the planet, you can just get a blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c test if you wanted to just do that one, so there’s that.
Ben: Yes! Helpful. And then there’s also the sex hormone test and thyroid hormone test. Now, the reason that I recommend if you really wanted to see how well your body is equip to either build muscle or burn fat that you get these tests is because your testosterone, your insulin-like growth factor and your — there’s one other – oh, DHEA. DHEA is another one that would be tested on a sex hormone panel. Those are all indicative of your ability to both burn fat and build muscle, and if suppressed that is going to affect your fat burning efficiency. So remember, that it doesn’t just come down to how many fats, and how many carbs you’re burning in a lab via your gases but also your actual blood hormone values. And then the other one, the other hormone to look at that’s not the sex hormone but that is a hormone that is directly correlated to your metabolism, and the total number of calories that you burn during the day is the thyroid hormone test. So I would recommend that gold standard, you get your blood glucose, your sex hormones, and your thyroid hormones tested. That would be a 1-2-3 combo to see how well equipped your body is to burn fat or to see like maybe why you’re not losing weight for example.
Rachel: Right, yup.
Ben: And then finally, if you really want to take a deep dive, there are hosts of different amino acids that if you have a deficiency in them, and we talked about this a little bit in the podcast with Dr. David Minkoff, they can affect your metabolism and they can affect your ability to be able to burn fat or to build muscle. And there is a test called an Ion Panel and in Ion Panel there is one called the Metametrix Ion Profile, you can get that for yourself from one of these online testing facilities like Directlabs for example. I’ll link to all these tests in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/340, but that will test organic acids, fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, all these micro things that a lot of these basic blood tests won’t measure, because – and that’s not something I recommend for everybody, but if you tested everything else, and it’s all good and still you can’t lose weight, and you still can’t make yourself fat burning efficient, you can’t get in to ketosis like you may want to actually measure some of these smaller micro nutrients to see if you have any deficiencies in those.
Rachel: Okay, I’m probably have a dumb question, but I’m gonna ask. So these are all dependent on being on a ketogenic diet and burning fats as fuel and not carbs?
Ben: They’re not necessarily dependent on that. They’re testing your ability to be able to get yourself into a state of fat burning efficiency which is not necessarily synonymous with ketosis, right? You don’t have to be in ketosis to be efficient at burning fat.
Rachel: Burning fat, okay good.
Ben: However, the production of ketones or the level of ketones that you produce is directly correlated to the amount of fats that you’re burning, and so some people – everybody is theoretically in ketosis. It just depends on what your definition of ketosis is, right? Some people have some level of ketones circulating in their bloodstream that are 0.3, other people would be at levels that are 3, and so the higher the number of ketones that you produced, the more indicative that is that you’re burning a higher amount of fats as a fuel, but that doesn’t mean that you need to be eating like an 80% fat-based, full on ketosis diet to get yourself into a state of fat burning efficiency.
Ben: All it means is that ketones are one corollary to how many fats you are burning, and if you don’t wanna walk around with a gas mask on all day measuring carbon dioxide produced and oxygen consumed, then breath ketone testing with something like a ketonix device can be a good way to kinda keep your finger on the pulse of how well you’re doing at burning fats.
Rachel: Right. Okay, thank you, Ben. And that clears that up.
Ben: Yeah. So the only thing that we’re still fuzzy on is how we can become an apprentice improvement body trainee? I want that – it just sounds cool. So, Steve if you got a chance, leave a comment in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitnes.com/340. Explain that one to us because it sounds like it’ll just be a darn cool thing to announce at a cocktail party.
Bryan: Hey Ben, Bryan Hardy here from Toronto, Ontorio. Quick question: when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, things like dementia, cognitive decline with age, what would be your optimal protocol from diet, lifestyle, supplementation, and various biohacking devices for reversing something like Alzheimer’s. I know medical science says that there’s no treatment for Alzheimer’s but that we know that there are many things that can improve the situation, and so if you or loved one are to be diagnose, what would you do? And yeah, looking forward to hearing the answer. Love the show, love all the work that you do. Keep it comin’! Peace!
Rachel: So, this is a personal question for me as well Ben ‘cause my dad is got early onset Alzheimer’s, so.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, and frankly there are a lot of things that can be done for early onset of Alzheimer’s, for people who have Alzheimer’s, and dementia that flying through the radar. A lot of people don’t talk about, but I must begin. My response to this question with the medical disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. This podcast is not meant to manage a disease, do not misconstrue anything that I am about to say as medical advice because it’s not, this is simply what I would do if I knew I had a high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s, if I had pre-Alzheimer’s, if my mom, you know, or my dad started to come now with Alzheimer’s like these are the things that I would highly recommend, and frankly even if you’re not interested in or concerned about Alzheimer’s, the cool thing is that most of these things are biohacks for improving cognitive performance, so.
Rachel: Everyone can benefit.
Ben: Everybody can benefit. Everybody who wants to get smarter. So now, the other thing I wanna say before I delve into this is I’m gonna make a lot of recommendations but I don’t necessarily feel that everybody needs to jump out, and go like buy these biohacks and supplements, and stuff like these. This is just like I would do if myself or a loved one had Alzheimer’s because I would wanna pull out these many stuffs as possible because I know that it can be a sad and frustrating, and a confusing disease to have to deal with, and modern medicine does not provide a ton of very effective solutions for Alzheimer’s.
Rachel: Right. Good. Let’s get into it.
Ben: Okay. Let’s start here: You gotta understand a little bit about the actual cause of Alzheimer’s. So, what Alzheimer’s is it’s frankly the most common form of dementia. There is no known cure. It worsens as it progresses, it eventually leads to death, and most often it get’s diagnose on people who are older than 65. But what we’re seeing is a lot of people getting diagnosed with Alzheimer’s earlier than that possibly due to dietary factors, possibly due to inflammatory factors from our modern industrialized environment, but ultimately it’s a growing issue and the current treatments that are out there, or the current kinda died in the womb modern medical treatments that are out there, they tend to only help with the symptoms rather than stopping or reversing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease which should ultimately the holy grail. Like that’s we would wanna achieve, and there are some studies that I’ll talk about here in a second that have discovered some definite reversals in terms of the progression of Alzheimer’s when specific strategies are used. We’ll talk about the strategies in a second. But basically the cause for Alzheimer’s; so there’s – there’s a few different theories as to what actually causes Alzheimer’s. So, one is just basically what’s called the cholinergic theory. So, a lot of smart drugs and nootropic compounds out there even like that – the Kimera Koffee that we were talking about, they have choline or choline precursors in them. So there’s this neurotransmitter, this excitatory neurotransmitter in your brain called acetylcholine, and the cholinergic theory of Alzheimer’s disease is that Alzheimer’s is caused by reduced formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and there’s certainly some evidence to point out that that may be true. That eventual deficit in the body’s ability to produce that neurotransmitter may partially responsible for the progression of or the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
But there are other theories as well, and I suspect that Alzheimer’s is kinda like a cluster of a lot of these theories.
Ben: So, another big theory is the amyloid theory. So, you may have heard of this concept of what are called beta-amyloid deposits…
Rachel: No. (laughs)
Ben: …or what’s basically like – it’s like plaque formation in the brain. So, you get widespread neural inflammation when you have a lot of these beta-amyloid deposits, and the idea here is that you get these amyloid formations in the brain from these protein buildups and part of that is due to natural aging, the part of it is due to inflammation. Inflammation that could be caused by dietary factors, inflammation that could be caused by neuronal cells dying, you know, and anything from like lack of sleep, to high amount of sugar can cause this beta-amyloid plaque buildups. So, there’s a lot of different ways that beta-amyloid plaque can build up, but the idea is that these amyloid deposits can actually cause Alzheimer’s disease by shutting off some of the neuronal connections in the brain. So, that’s more of like an age related process directly related to inflammation. That’s why some people will say that Alzheimer’s is partially just like a disease of too much sugar like an insulin issues with the brain, and part of that is because of the beta-amyloid, the plaque buildup that can occur in the brain.
Rachel: Will the two major kind of theories around causes?
Ben: Well, there’s another one called the tau theory. So, these proteins in your brain called tau proteins. T-a-u proteins, and there’s a theory that those start the disease cascade because those protein thread pair with each other to form what are called neurofibrillary tangles. So, when you look at Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll tend to see these tangles in the brain that essentially collapse neuronal transport systems, and cause cell death in neuro cells in the brain. Now, this type of neurofibrillary tangles can also be caused by high amount of inflammation, and one of the ways that that inflammation can primarily occurs is via sugar. Big fluctuations in blood sugar. And that’s why lower sugar intake, higher fat intake, and even the use of like a ketosis-based diet is one of the primary dietary strategies proposed for controlling Alzheimer’s. So, and there’s a few other smaller theories, you know, the tau theory, the amyloid theory, and the cholinergic theory are three of the big ones, but there’s also the idea that oxidative stress just basically again, that would be environmental stress from pollutants, from toxins, anything from mold to fungi, to bad air, bad water, or wifi signals, all these stuff can eventually cause a lot of oxidative stress in the brain. So, that’s another theory, and another one is that you get mile and breakdown in the brain. So, mile and breakdown would be related to you not having enough oleic acid or enough DHA to the primary components of the mile and sheaths in your brain, and when those mile and sheaths breakdown, the brain actually not only is unable to propagate signals as well but it also causes a release of iron when those mile and sheaths breakdown and iron can cause further oxidation in the brain. So you can see how a lot of these theories are kind of like wand together and that’s why I say it’s probably multi-factorial.
Rachel: Yes, yup.
Ben: And that Alzheimer’s is basically an issue where a lot of these things kinda playing together. So ultimately, as far as fixes for Alzheimer’s go, what I would do if I or a loved one has Alzheimer’s, is that there’s a fascinating paper – a fascinating paper that was published in late 2014. The title of the paper, and I’ll link to it in the show notes is Reversal of Cognitive Decline – a Novel Therapeutic Program, and what this paper looks into are a bunch of case studies of people who adapted a specific cluster of therapies all designed to reverse or control Alzheimer’s, and the list of therapies is quite extensive but it’s also pretty easy to wrap your head around if you listen to what I just said, you’ll understand some of those underlying cause or factors of Alzheimer’s. So, I’m gonna go through some of the actual therapies that they used in the study, and the very interesting thing is that they noticed significant improvements in working memory, significant declines in the onset of Alzheimer’s, early Alzheimer’s but also late Alzheimer’s, they notices some improvements and some reversals which is kind of unheard in modern medicine when it comes to Alzheimer’s but they actually able to significantly influence Alzheimer’s using some of these factors, so.
Rachel: Okay, so what do we got….
Ben: So, in this particular paper – first of all they covered diet, and as you would imagine not only a low glycemic index diet, but also a low inflammation diet, and a low grain diet, all seem to have some influence.
And so, if I had Alzheimer’s, I would switch to a low inflammatory diet – meaning, a diet low in sugars, soy, wheat, dairy, commercial meat, all those things that we – most of us know would contribute to inflammation. But I would also switch to a more plant-rich, high fat, ketogenic-based diet.
Rachel: Hmm, why is that?
Ben: Well, as I discussed in our recent paper at bengreenfieldfitness.com on how coconut oil in the absence of short-chain fatty acids can actually cause inflammation, the problem with a lot of high fat diets that lower blood sugar is they don’t include fiber, and butyrate and short-chain fatty acids, and all of those must be present in order to control the potential inflammation that can happen when you’re consuming things like MCT oil with the long-chain fatty acids from coconut oil.
Ben: Because you’ll find coconut oil and MCT oil and ketogenic diets many times recommended for Alzheimer’s and also for cognitive performance but they must, must, must be accompanied by high intake of plants and fiber.
Ben: Now, the best example of a diet like that that I can give you and I’ll link to a podcast that I did with this gal in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitnedd.com/340 is something like the Wahls protocol. Dr. Terry Wahls who is someone who developed MS, developed a very plant-rich based ketogenic diet that is rich in fat, low in sugar, that is low in inflammatory compounds, high in anti-inflammatory compounds, but also very plant and fiber rich. And the title of her book is called The Wahls Protocol, but that would be a perfect example of plant-based ketogenic diet.
Ben: So, in addition to that – one of the things that they used in this particular study was like an MCT or coconut oil. Now, I would actually take this to the next level and again, I recently talked about this in my article on how to get into ketosis is I would actually go straight for the specific form of coconut oil or extract of coconut that is highest in ketogenic medium-chain triglycerides. So there are different types of fats found in coconut oil but one is called C8. C8 is very quickly and easily absorb by the body, and it’s specifically very easily use by the brain to generate ketones. So, an example of that would be the company Bulletproof Coffee produces this form of MCT that’s in C8 form are called brain octane oil. Brain octane oil.
Ben: And so that something that, you know, if I had to choose between like coconut oil or MCT oil, or this brain octane oil, I would choose a C8 source. It’s not cheap but it would be the most potent of the oils to use. And they use an oil – even they use the coconut oil on this studies, I would actually use more of something like isolated C8 brain octane oil.
Rachel: Okay, crazy thought here. If you lived in a place that had an abundance of coconut on coconut trees, would you just eat the coconuts?
Ben: Well, you’ll get the fiber, and the short-chain fatty acids, you’ll get a lot of the lauric acids, but you’ll get less of that C8 than if you kind of engaged in – I know that’s sounds like a very natural approach what you just talked about, Rachel but I am – when we’re talking about disease, that can be incredibly disabling, I would cut straight to the hole like better living through science approach and biohack it, you know, and go straight to the C8. That’s what I would personally do even though coconuts are more natural, in this case I would, you know, kind of like I would recommend curcumin as a very potent neuro anti-inflammatory agent vs. just turmeric, right? So you go straight to the most potent extract of what it is that you’re trying to get.
Ben: So, okay, so from a dietary standpoint, we have a plant-based ketogenic diet, the use of a C8 form of an oil as part of that diet, something like this brain octane oil, and then finally, I would recommend to enhance the formation of ketones even more so that the brain is having to rely upon sugar as little as possible. I would recommend the use of any of these exogenous ketones that are on the market these days. Now, I won’t kick this horse to death ‘cause I just wrote like a monster article at bengreenfieldfitness.com, and will link to that in the show notes but it talks about all these different ketones, and they’re typically in a powder or a liquid form that you can consume that shove your body very, very quickly into ketosis which is incredibly therapeutic for Alzheimer’s. So there’s one called Keto-Cana which stands for calcium, sodium, keto-C-a-n-a, there’s one called Keto-Os which is a blend of MCT powder and ketones, there is – let me think – there is –
Those are the main two – keto-Cana and keto-Os but I’ll link to that article on the show notes because that would definitely be a component I’ll include with the diet.
So I’ll talk about – next I’ll talk about some of the supplements that they used in this particular paper and that you’ll see in many cases in other studies, there’s a huge variety of studies. I’m gonna link to a bunch of them in the show notes that I’ve looked in on some of the particular supplements that I’m about to talk about. So, one is EPA and DHA. So, there’s several studies that show that the administration of omega 3 fatty acids via EPA and DHA may prevent a lot of the cognitive decline that occurs with Alzheimer’s. One of the issues with EPA and DHA is that you’ll get it from fish oil, but fish oil tends to be easily oxidized. So, if I were using fish oil to control something like Alzheimer’s, I would make sure that it was packaged along with some of the things that can control oxidation of fish oil. So what you’d specifically be looking for to do that would be a fish oil that is packaged with or taken along with vitamin E and what are called mixed tocopherols. Both of those can limit a lot of the oxidation of fish oil that can occur with fish oil consumption. Fish oil would definitely be indicated and has been researched with something that can help with Alzheimer’s, but you don’t wanna take it in the absence of antioxidants. So a perfect example of an actual brand, and this is the actual brand of fish oil that I actually use anyways is Super Essentials Fish Oil. It’s fish oil that has astaxanthin, mixed tocopherols, and vitamin E already in it. So the fish oil does not become oxidized because again as you know now, oxidization is one of the issues that can contribute to Alzheimer’s, so you wanna consume a fish oil but you want it packaged with antioxidants.
So, another thing that I would recommend taking and at they looked at in the study is an herb called bacopa. Bacopa is something that I’ve recommended before for like when you have a hangover or when you’ve done a lot of airline travel, or when you’ve been in any situation where you produced neural inflammation. It’s an herb that can shutdown neural inflammation. The main thing that you wanna do with bacopa and this was another thing that they used in the study that I’m talking about is you wanna make sure it’s organic. So you can get organic bacopa for example off of Amazon, but you can get it in a pill form, you can get it in a powder form, you could put it on coffee, you could put it in tea, but an organic bacopa extract – that’s b-a-c-o-p-a, that can also assist with the neural inflammation that would contribute to Alzheimer’s.
Ben: So, the next thing would be anything that supports mitochondrial health. Now, in this specific study some of the things that they looked at for mitochondria – to optimize mitochondrial function is co-enzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, something called PQQ, n-acetylcysteine, acetyl-l carnitine, selenium, zinc, resveratrol, ascorbate, and thiamine. Those are all things that can assist with optimizing mitochondrial function. Now, at the risk of or to avoid getting too complex with the number of pills that you might be popping to control some clinical Alzheimer’s, what I’d recommend for this would be there’s one specific supplement out there that contains most of these. Contains PQQ, alpha lipoic acid, it’s got some vitamin C, some pantothenic acid, and most of the compounds that I just talked about. And that one is called Mitogen. Mitogen – it’s what called an advanced mitochondrial support stack, it’s made by company called Axon Labs to simplify things, and to kill as many birds with one stone. That’s the form of mitochondrial support.
Rachel: Can you overdose on any of those?
Ben: You can. You can overdose on water. But basically you would take that according to the recommended dosage which in that case would be 3 capsules.
Ben: So you’re getting about – it’s about 1600 mg worth of their mitochondrial support blend, something like that. So that’s one called Mitogen. So another thing that they used in this study was vitamin C and specifically what they used was a little bit higher dose vitamin C. Again to control some of the inflammation that can occur with Alzheimer’s. For vitamin C, I would recommend – there’s a very absorbable made by a company called American Nutriceuticals, American Nutriceuticals. And vitamin C has been shown both alone and in combination with vitamin E to prevent the oxidative damage that can occur in something like Alzheimer’s. So, in this case they were using about 500 mg of vitamin C, so the one thing that I would say as far as vitamin C goes is that this Mitogen stuff that I talked about, it has 500 mg in it.
So, I’m not entirely convinced that taking extra vitamin C over and above that would be entirely necessary, but they did use quite a bit of vitamin C in this study as well. So it would be everything to consider including, but if you wanted to simplify you could use that Mitogen stuff instead of adding in extra vitamin C if you’re trying to budget and try to use as little as possible.
Okay, the next thing that they use and I know this is a lot of stuff, but again like I mentioned earlier if I wanted to pull out all the stuffs with Alzheimer’s, this is what I would do. They use the blend of vitamin D and K2, vitamin D and K2. And both of these have also been shown to assist with Alzheimer’s. Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with significant impairment in cognitive performance, and so vitamin D – when you take it can cause calcification unless it’s accompanied by vitamin K2 which is why I recommend a vitamin D, vitamin K2 blend.
Rachel: I’m gonna ask the same question here, and can you explain what the difference between getting the right amount of sun and taking a vitamin D tablet is?
Ben: In most cases with about 15-20 minutes of mid-day sun exposure, you can get significant amounts of vitamin D. You’re not still getting the vitamin K2, but you’re getting the vitamin D and if you can get out of the sunlight everyday depending on where you live, that could be a decent corollary to doing like this – like a vitamin D, vitamin K2 blend. But if you aren’t able to get out into the sun, it’s definitely something that I recommend doing like a vitamin D, vitamin K2 blend, so.
Rachel: Great! Thank you.
Ben: The next one that they went over in this study was prebiotic-probiotic blend. Now, the reason that they did a prebiotic-probiotic blend was because probiotics tend to do better when consumed along with a prebiotic like inulin for example, which is also known as chicory root. So, that’s something that you would consume along with the probiotic, and that’s what they used in this study was prebiotics combined probiotic. An example of that would be – what I use when I travel is a shelf-stable probiotic that does not need to be refrigerated. That is a mixed of prebiotics and probiotics. The name of that one is Caprobiotics Advanced, Caprobiotics Advanced, and that would a perfect example of a prebiotic-probiotic blend that they found to be efficacious in the case of Alzheimer’s. I suspect it’s because your gut flora as we mentioned earlier is intimately tied to neurotransmitter production. That’s probably why this actually had a difference, or produce a difference, but I recommend something like this Caprobiotics Advanced for something like that. It’s a blend of inulin and then a bunch of therapeutic grade probiotics. So, that would be another one, and I’m not done yet ‘cause there’s few other things that they did in the study. They used creatine, so I would recommend about 5 grams of creatine per day. Creatine has some very significant effects on cognitive and neuronal health, so I would recommend that. Reduction of these amyloid plaques can be achieve through the use of 2 different compounds: one is curcumin, and so about 1-2 grams of curcumin per day from a very absorbable curcumin would be advised. I like the stuff made by the company Thorne – it is curcumin phytosome form and curcumin phytosome is basically very absorbable form of curcumin. A lot of curcumin is notoriously unabsorbed unless it this phytosomal form. So curcumin phytosome and then ashwagandha we already talked about, the cool thing is that a lot of the other compounds are used in this study including cytocholine and resveratrol, you can find those along with ashwagandha in that Tianchi stuff that I talked about, so that would be another thing that I would include would be like a blend of ashwagandha, cytocholine and anything that acts very similarly to resveratrol.
Rachel: And Tianchi, is something like that – would you wanna be taking that everyday or…
Ben: Yes. In the case of Alzheimer’s or in the case of wanting to get as much as cognitive performance as possible, shut down brain inflammation as much as possible, yes. Again, I know that there are folks out who right now are thinking – “Gosh, this sounds like a lot of stuff”, but we’re talking about something similar to like, let’s say cancer, right? So, if you can deal with cancer, I would have no problem poppin’ 30 pills every morning if I had cancer, and I knew that each one of those had specific action against some of the things that are associated with cancer. So I mean, that’s what we’re talking about is how many stops you wanna pull out and if I or a loved one had Alzheimer’s, I’d wanna pull out as many stops as possible.
Few other things that they had in the study or in this case studies of multiple individuals. One is magnesium. Magnesium can also have some anti-inflammatory effects, and it can also – basically there’s a causal relationship between low magnesium, what are called your hippocampal neurons, and neural degeneration. So, magnesium has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of dementia, and even though there is not any studies that currently exist on magnesium and Alzheimer’s specifically, it seems like a very good idea to supplement with magnesium based on the evidence that’s out there. And the other cool thing is that magnesium can help with sleep when taken before bed, and one of the things that they did in this particular study was they not only ensure that the patient with Alzheimer’s are getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night, but they were also testing for sleep apnea to ensure that they were actually achieving proper deep sleep cycles. So, I have a podcast that I did with the gentleman from Sleep Medicine group where they will ship sleep apnea testing devices to your house to see if you have sleep apnea, but I would not only rule out sleep apnea but I would also use magnesium prior to bed, and the other thing that I would use prior to bed would be something else that has been significantly studied when it comes to neuro degenerative disorders and Alzheimer’s disease and that would be cannabinoids like a CBD-rich cannabinoid. Like I mentioned that CBD stuff that I used – it’s got ashwagandha, it’s got CBD in it, it’s got magnesium in it, so you know… (cross talk). But I would include that before bed. And there are few others, few other things that they’ve looked into. First of all, zinc and copper imbalances have been shown to contribute to Alzheimer’s issues and particularly low levels of zinc. There’s a very absorbable form of zinc called zinc picolinate. It’s made by a company called Thorne, and that would be another one to consider including because of the zinc/copper deficiencies or the zinc/copper ratio issues that have been shown to be an issue with Alzheimer’s. Now there’s something else in this study was they optimize what’s called zinc/copper ratios. And you can do that by using something like zinc picolinate. The last actual supplement that I’d recommend in addition to – and I’ve made an entire list like the ultimate supplement stacks for Alzheimer’s that you do along with like this ketogenic diet. And this is again, be for Alzheimer’s, be for dementia, or be for – if you just wanted to use every step possible to optimize cognitive performance or to decrease your risk of getting Alzheimer’s. The last one would be a mushroom. They did not use this particular mushroom in this paper that I’m talking about; this reversal of cognitive decline paper, however, there are enough studies that have been done on this particular mushroom extract that if I were concern about Alzheimer’s, I would use it. It’s been used for everything from dementia, to Parkinson’s, to senility, to Alzheimer’s, and that is Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Lion’s Mane Mushroom.
Rachel: What does that do?
Ben: Lion’s Mane mushroom can limit the formation of these amyloid plaques, and it can also increase blood flow to the brain. There are a couple of clinical studies that have shown pretty promising results of it against dementia, and against Alzheimer’s as well. So, it one that I will include would be a good extract of Lion’s Mane mushroom. There are some different ones out there – FourSigma Foods would be one that I’d recommend. It does like a good dual extract Lion’s Maine but that is, that’s like a mushroom fungal extract that I know kinda flies into the radar but would be also a smart one to include in like the ultimate supplement stack for something like Alzheimer’s.
Rachel: Okay. Question: Would you do any sort of lab testing prior to dosing on these massive stack?
Ben: Yeah. So the testing, I’m gonna put a list in the show notes of what are called memory tests that you do. So, there are what are called facial recognition test, and BBC on their website actually has a very, very good facial recognition test. There’s an IQ test as well – that’s a very, very good online IQ test. There’s a tap test which is a good way to test your central nervous system strength, and there’s also something called an N-back Test which test your memory recall. I’ll put a link to each of those tests along with a couple other tests, cognitive test that can be used to gage your responsiveness to these different protocols that I’ve just talked about, and those are things that are free that you can find online, but that you can easily use to kinda see how well your body is responding to some of these things.
Rachel: Awesome! Yeah, it’s fascinating.
Ben: Okay. So the next thing that I wanna get in to are actual – what I would term like biohacks or gear that you can use. So, we had a podcast with a gentleman who produces an intranasal light therapy device that has shown some promising results when it comes to optimizing blood flow to neuronal tissue. That one is called the Vielight. It’s something that you would use for – I believe the timeframe that we talked about on the show was something like 20-45 minutes per day, but it is literally just what it sounds like it’s light therapy via your nose. You actually wear this device and it improves blood flow to the brain via intranasal light therapy. That is one device that would own and that I would use if I were concern about Alzheimer’s or dementia, or if I wanted to improve cognitive performance. So, that’s one thing. And they did not use this particular device in that study that I was talking about, but it is something that I would consider. Now, what they did do was what they called brain stimulation. Now, all these refers to when it comes to brain stimulation are these different games out there that are cognitive training games. I’m going to put a link in the show notes to a list of studies that have been done on specific cognitive training video games, and apps for enhancing neuro-cognitive performance. For anybody who just wants to get smarter, or for anybody who wants to ensure that they’re engage in the practices that can keep Alzheimer’s or dementia from progressing. These would be from everything from Lomosity to Brainscape to N-back apps. There are a variety of cognitive training apps that you can use, but these would be things that you would definitely include as part of a protocol like spending anywhere from 15-30 minutes per day engaged in cognitive training. We’ve got cognitive training using apps and a lot of these online tools. You got intranasal light therapy… now, there is also this hyperbaric oxygen therapy concept. Now, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and that has been shown in studies. So, hyperbaric oxygen chambers is where you increase the amount of oxygen, and the partial pressure of oxygen that’s in the air as you lay in this chamber. This can be expensive, this can be $ 15 to 20,000 to actually purchase like a device that you would use at your home. Now…
Rachel: It sounds expensive? (chuckles)
Ben: There are – I’ve got an article coming out in a couple of weeks at bengreenfielfitness.com that shows you for about a thousand dollars how you can create a hyper oxygenation device like mask-like device that you can wear on your face, and you can use that at home. So you’re talking about 115 to 120 as the cost of buying a hyperbaric chamber, but frankly, if I really wanted to pull out all the stack, I would consider the use of or finding a facility that allows me to use hyperbaric oxygen. And the cool thing is you could combine a few of these things like you could use intranasal light therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen at the same time.
Ben: There are some companies where you can purchase these hyperbaric oxygen therapy devices as well. And some of them are a little bit less expensive because they’re design for home use. I have interviewed a guy named Alex Tarris on the show before, and he runs a site called Health Hacks Reviewed at healthhacksreviewed.com. He has a variety of hyperbaric devices and also what are called PEMF devices. We’ll talk about PEMF devices in a second, but there’s a code “bengreen15”, you can use on his website and it gives you anywhere from 5-15% savings on like infrared saunas, hyperbaric chambers, PEMF devices, you name it. So, you could save a little bit, but ultimately this idea of exposing the body to high amounts of oxygen preferably the hyperbaric oxygen chamber but you could also use what’s an oxygen therapy device, an oxygen concentrator as what’s it called. You would wanna include a protocol like that or have access to something that’s going to hyper oxygenate the air that you’re breathing so that you can use something like that each day.
Ben: So, that would be another thing. Almost done with biohacks and little tools that you can have around your house but another one is PEMF – Pulse Electromagnetic Field Therapy. Now, there are some very, very interesting studies that have been done on improvements in cerebral blood flow using electricity.
Shockingly there are even studies that have found…
Rachel: That are fun? (laughs)
Ben: The amount of cell phone (pun intended), the amount of a cell phone level – EMF exposure that you get from a cell phone can actually protect against or reverse cognitive impairments in mice who have Alzheimer’s. Now, there are also studies that have been done on transcranial electromagnetic treatment which is also a form of electro therapy to the brain. However, as I’ve talked about on the show before a lot of these electromagnetic field treatments like cell phones, transcranial electromagnetic treatment, etc., that’s a pretty high intensity amount of electricity, and even though it may improve blood flow to the brain, there’s a risk for cancer when you use something like that. And so, it’s like a tradeoff, right? So, that’s why I’m a fan of using some of these lower intensity systems and there is in particular a form of electric magnetic frequency called PEMF – pulse electromagnetic frequency, and there’s a specific pulse electromagnetic frequency device that is design to be worn on the head or that can be worn on the head, and it’s called an ICES device. So, PEMF here what’s called an ICES device can get you a lot of the blood flow benefits that you would get from electromagnetic frequency without the potential carcinogenicity of using like electrodes and things like that on the brain. So it’s called an ICES device that Health Hacks Review website that I talked about, they should have this device. You may be able to find it in another locations as well of course but it’s called ICES, and I’ll link to more information about that as well some of the studies that have been done on PEMF for improving cognitive blood flow as well. And again, this is something you could use to enhance cognitive performance, limit dementia, were also treat Alzheimer’s. So, a few different usage for something like that.
And then the last one that I wanted to mention is – I recently had a podcast with the folks who created this device called the Quantlet which is a wrist-worn device that both cools the blood to lower oxidative stress and inflammation, but then also introduces light to the wrist that enhances nitric oxide production. And when you get the vasodilation that occurs with this increase in nitric oxide production, it can increase blood flow to the brain. And so, even though they haven’t done any studies with this quantlet device ‘cause it’s new and in Alzheimer’s both nitric oxide production as well as exposure to some of these infrared frequencies, and the drop in inflammation that can occur in response to that have been shown to help Alzheimer’s and dementia. So, that would be something I’d certainly consider using as well as like a biohack to have around.
Rachel: Okay, questions: Light therapy – does it matter ‘cause I mean also human chargers right through the ears and this intranasal, and this light on the wrist, does it matter kinda how you get exposed to it?
Ben: It does. The intranasal light therapy and the frequency that they use was something like this Vielight device, it was designed more for what’s called Photo Biomodulation, and what that means is enhance blood flow. Whereas something like the human charger which is an in air ear light therapy device, that is more design to simply simulate sunlight, right? To say like beat jet lag or enhance wakefulness, but it’s not necessarily design to increase blood flow in the same way as for example this intranasal light device. So yes, the form of light matters. And that’s why I’d recommend something like this intranasal light therapy vs. the in ear light therapy.
Rachel: And then second question ‘cause that’s a ton of stuff with lots of money, which if you have to choose one, which one would you go?
Ben: Which biohack would I go with?
Rachel: Uhmm, tough question.
Ben: It’s tough to say but I would say that the one right now that combines a few of these different things all at once would be something like the Quantlet, the wearable wrist device, but it’s really tough to say, you know, it’s one of those things were I’d ideally like to have like a PEMF device, I’d like to have a quantlet, and I’d like to have some kind of hyperoxygenation therapy, but yeah, I mean it can be expensive and it can seem unfair that you can literally buy your way into some reversal of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and it can be expensive.
Ben: But ultimately, you know ideally, you pull out all the stops and you introduce all the stuff that entire supplement stack that I just talked about along with all the biohacks, along with the plant-based ketosis-based diet, the use of exogenous ketones, and you use all of these as a therapeutic program. So, I know it seems like a lot but you know again, you’ll see some people with – to use cancer as an analogy again who are just like taking 30 different supplements, using a lot of different protocols and who have through natural methods, been able to slow down or reverse cancer formation.
And you could potentially, again, I’m not a doctor, this is not to be misconstrued as medical advice, this is just what I would do if I had Alzheimer’s, if I had dementia, or if someone said – hey, Ben make yourself as smart as possible in a year flat. Here’s an unlimited budget. Those – these are all things that I would do right off the bat.
Rachel: Okay. Awesome! So Bryan…
Ben: All the stuff… and we’ll put as many notes as possible on the show notes. But Bryan…. That’s what I would do.
Jason: Hey Ben, hey Rachel! I’m calling today for my 15 year old son. He’s a competitive swimmer and he swim 2 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, and I’m really concerned about the chlorine exposure. So I’d like to know about the potential dangers of that maybe if there’s any test we could run to see if he’s potentially toxic, and if so how do we detox that out or are there any supplements to counteract some of that? Also, he swims with folks who are a little bit older than he is, you know, 16, 17, 18 year olds who are a lot stronger, and possibly would like to know some workout or exercises that would be great for a swimmer not to bulk up but to get lot stronger, and faster in the pool. Thanks a lot! Love the show, keep doin’ what you’re doin’!
Rachel: So two-part question there Ben, first up…
Ben: Two-part question…
Rachel: When it comes to chlorine exposure…
Ben: Chlorine, I love me some chlorine. I actually – I treat my pool with natural enzymes. I try to limit my chlorine use. So, I’ve like an ultraviolet light in the hot tube, and it uses what’s called ozone therapy and enzymes to clean the pool. And then my cold pool or my endless swimming pool because I keep it so cold, I do use chlorine in that but only trace amounts. You need very, very little chlorine when you keep a pool cold because that limits the amount of like algae formation and the ability of things to grow, and to ferment in your pool. So ultimately though, I have done some pretty extensive podcasting on how to reduce the risk from swimming in chlorinated pools, drinking chlorinated water, I’ve got a whole podcast on chlorine, water filters, and an article on how to keep swimming pool chlorine from destroying your body.
Rachel: Oh, I love it! (chuckles)
Ben: I will link to all those ‘cause I don’t wanna go over stuff that I’ve covered extensively in like hour long podcast before, but the big picture is that you want to a.) shower immediately before and after you get into a chlorine-based pool, because the organic matter that’s on your skin: sweat, hair, urine, anything that has nitrogen in it, it can create an agent that’s even more toxic than chlorine called the chloramine, and so if you can shower with soap before and after exposure to chlorine, like use a good soap like chemical-free soap like Dr. Bronner’s for example, that will help quite a bit with the production of chloramines. You wanna make sure that you also get antioxidants into your system, they did an interesting study called Antioxidant Administration Reduces Lung Injury from Chlorine Exposure, and in that study research team exposed lab breaths to chlorine gas, and then they gave them high dose ascorbic acid which is just basically vitamin C and then n- acetylcysteine. And that significantly reduced the respiratory damaging effects of chlorine. So, you can use like a high dose vitamin C, you can use n-acetylcysteine, there are variety of different like antioxidant cocktails that you can use, but vitamin C appears to be the most potent when it comes to limiting the damage from chlorine.
Ben: So doing like high dose vitamin C added before or after you swim, or using something like n- acetylcysteine, or both can help with limiting the damage to chlorine. And then also it appears that breathing as much fresh air as possible can also help out quite a bit as well, and this is something that the physician who I interviewed about chlorine exposure recommended. And that was basically be like – don’t go straight back to your office, try and get outside in the fresh air because it appears that breathing the high amounts of oxygen kinda similar to what we talked about Alzheimer’s can limit some of the oxidative damage that occurs in response to chlorine exposure.
Rachel: Awesome! Okay.
Ben: So again, like that just totally skims the surface but I will link in the show notes to all the podcasts that I’ve done on truly limiting damage from chlorine, and also like some of the best chlorine water filters out there.
Rachel: Okay. Second part question: Workouts or exercises that can make him stronger and faster. Go!
Ben: That’s a great question. Now, I love to swim. When I moved in to the forest, it made me really sad ‘cause I used to live right by the river, and I used to like run down to the river in my (chuckles) Speedo, my running shoes, my goggles over my head, I would run through the neighborhood.
There’s about two blocks ahead to run through, and people just got used to me running through the neighborhood in my Speedo. And I would jump into the river and I go swimming, and I’d run in the Speedo back home, and I loved it. And when I moved to the forest, I literally – it cost me a lot of money, and it was a significant expense but I actually had a giant hole dug in the forest and had a crane bring in 19 foot endless pool up and drop it into the middle of the forest so that I would have water to swim in.
Rachel: Classic Ben, classic!
Ben: Yeah. And that’s what my cold water pool is called an aqua fitness pool, and I go out there and swim a couple of times a week. I’m a huge fan of swimming and you know, I was an Ironman Triathlete for 10 years, and one of the things that I found was of course, you know, sometimes you can’t make it to the pool or sometimes you want to increase pool strength when you can get to the pool, or it’s too cold outside to swim. So ultimately, there are a variety of studies that have been done on the type of strength training that works well for swimming. So, starting way back in 1986, they did one study that found an explosive strength training regimen that can consisted of 3 repetitions for 3 sets of a variety of different back and arm strengthening exercises. Increased 50 meter free-style performance by about 7% which is pretty huge. They did another study in 2007 that again used more explosive training combined with isometric training which is where you’re like holding a position for an extended period of time like a pull up hang, or a squat hold, and they found that this also significantly improve swim strength. There was another study they did in 2009 in which this 5 repetitions with maximal load over 3 sets. Another study in 1994 where they did 3 sets of an explosive base strength training that included about 6-8 reps. Another study in 2012, where they did… (uhm, what did they do in this study) that one was circuit training, and they actually found no benefit from the circuit training at all.
Ben: Circuit training being like longer sets – they are taking like 60 seconds to do, 10-20 reps. etc. All of the studies that have shown any benefit to improving swimming performance have been high intensity, low volume, short duration strength training. Very quick explosive strength training.
Rachel: Uhmm, yup!
Ben: Probably because swimming is not very strength based, it’s more neuro muscular based. It’s more skied-based. So if you are going to strength train, you wanna do very short, powerful, explosive strength training in the pool – what’s called high intensity, low volume training. And I have a podcast that I recorded about 6 months ago with some folks who wrote a very interesting paper in the Journal Strength Conditioning Research about improving endurance performance and triathlon performance, and we talked quite a bit about this concept of high intensity, low volume training. We’ll link to that in the show notes but ultimately it comes down to just small number of times per week doing explosive strength training, and don’t waste your time with circuit strength training or old school like body builder’s style training ‘cause that does not make you better swimmer. All the studies that have been shown to wants strength training and swimming have been short explosive stuff. So…
Rachel: Alright. Anything else?
Ben: Yeah! Few other things, for when you crank it in the pool, there is this device called a Vasatrainer. I have one in my gym and it is a cable-based device that simulate the type of resistance that water produces what’s called isokinetic, meaning the harder you pull against it, the harder it pushes back against you, and you lay down on your stomach on this thing, it’s like a bench and you swim. And there’s like 2 cables, can paddles, and it works really well like I can put that next to my bike and do like bike swim sets, if I don’t wanna go outside to the pool, I can just lay down on that and do 5 sets of hundred meter, super quick sprint and that’s it. And I don’t have to get wet or shower or anything like that. So that one’s called a Vasatrainer. I like that as one of my top pieces of gear for becoming a stronger swimmer. And the cool thing is it allows you to focus on your actual form, keeping what’s called the high elbow and getting into the pool position very quickly if you’re a swimmer, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There are also paddles, I recently had a guy who’s training for Ironman went over to my house and we’re showing him a couple of paddles that I have up on my pool, and there were paddles that train your hands to be in the correct position during the swim stroke, and there are 2 different paddles that I recommend every serious swimmer, or Ironman triathlete or anybody who wants to get better a swimming hat – one is called the Agility paddle, and that trains your hand to be in the correct position at the beginning of the stroke…
And then there’s one called the freestyler paddle and that teaches you how to use your forearm just as much as your hand when you’re swimming. It’s the agility paddle and the freestyler paddle. The next thing that I would recommend is that you have something that provides resistance when you swim. Now, for me with that endless pool, I actually have a tether that wraps around my torso so I’m swimming like this elastic band attached to my waist, but you can also get a drag suit which is a suit that literally just what’s it sounds like it like expands, really sexy. It’s like this baggy suit that you wear when you swim – they make them for both men and women, they have little pockets in them that fill up, and basically it makes it harder to swim, it’s like swimming, you know, in your clothes but it’s called a drag suit. I recommend that, they also make a parachute that you can drag behind you. That one’s gonna cool for open water swimming. It’s like increase the amount of resistance that you’re pulling behind you when open water swimming. It turns an open water swim set and do like resistance or strength training for swimming. So, I recommend that.
And then the last thing that I recommend as far as gear goes because it allows you to focus on your form without having to worry about breathing – that’s a front amounted swim snorkel. They made this swim snorkels that are designed for freestyle swimming and they’re really cool. You put them on, they attach on the front and so you can breathe to this front managed swim snorkels, and you can focus just like on your kick or just on your pull without having to worry too much about turning your head to break because that complexity is something that a lot of times can make you forget to work on your hands, to work on your feet. And you can even if you wanted to “hack” swim snorkel, you can get what’s called the cardio cap and you can put that on top of the swim snorkel. They make this custom-fitted cardio caps that go on top of these front-managed swim snorkels and it limits the amount of oxygen that can go in and out if the snorkel so you can actually do what’s called hypoxic training when you’re wearing one of these front-managed swim snorkels with the cardio cap on top of it. So you kinda take things to the next level with you front-managed swim snorkel if you want to.
Rachel: Also sounds very attractive. Sort of very attractive options here.
Ben: Yes, and no discussion swimming would be complete without me recommending to your son, Jason, my number 1 recommended training book on the face of the planet. Most of the triathletes I trained use this book and I highly recommend it for everything from swim sets, to swim form, etc. to swim drills, you name it. It’s called the Swim Smooth Book, the Swim Smooth Book. Awesome book, best book I’ve ever read on swim training, swim form, etc. and it’s written by a couple of open water swimmers. So it’s very relevant for like triathletes as well. So, that is the one that I would recommend, so now you know not how to die from chlorine, and how also to be complete rockstar in the swimming pool.
David: Hello! I know all of oregano is very potent. My question is though ‘cause it’s so much information back before on the internet, there’s a probiotics and if I wanna take probiotics, how far apart should I take it from oil of oregano? We’ll appreciate it. Thank you.
Rachel: So that sounds like a pretty straight up question, Ben.
Ben: Oil of oregano… have you ever taken oil of oregano?
Rachel: No, but I’ve read everything you have on it.
Ben: It’s got some gag factor to it. Most people put it on water. It’s not necessarily like a daily tonic that I personally use, but a lot of folks who have like yeast or fungus or candida infections like oil of oregano can knock that stuff out. And it’s also incredibly potent as like an antiviral and antibacterial which means like if you’re gonna be on a crowded space like on an airplane or bus or you’ve been like, you’ve got kids running around your house with a sniffles, you just basically have some oil of oregano, you know, and a glass of water, and it’s pretty potent but of course, because It’s so potent, one of the concerns out there is whether or not it will actually kill good bacteria. Because the way oil of oregano works is its active component is called carvacrol. Now a lot of oil of oregano that you buy at the grocery store has very, very low carvacrol content. You wanna make sure whatever oil of oregano that you’re using actually has higher than about 75% carvacrol content that allows it to actually have an extremely high amount of efficacy when it comes to fighter up a cold, or protecting yourself from bacteria or killing off yeast or fungus or whatever. So anyways, what carvacrol does is breaks down the cell membrane of bacteria. Works on gram positive bacteria as well as gram negative bacteria and when you knockout the cell membrane of bacteria, you eventually allow the influx of various compounds like say calcium that can readily kill bacteria.
So, it’s not really the oil of oregano that’s killing the bacteria, the oil of oregano is weakening the bacterial wall, the membrane, and then the other stuff like calcium for example will influx into the cell and kill it.
Ben: Anyways though, does it kill good bacteria? Well, the fact is even though research has definitely shown how oregano oil is quite potent against bacteria, there is no study that’s actually been done on its effect against what we would be called good bacteria, say like probiotics, there’s no studies that have say given a group of subject – probiotics and then oregano oil and seen whether or not those probiotic actually died. However, it’s kinda interesting, most of the searches that you do for this on the internet for whether or not oil of oregano can kill good bacteria, they reveal this fella that did any calls on one study on yogurt, and what he did was he made yogurt at home and put about 10 drops of full strength oregano oil which is like after cause burns on your skin, like that’s really, really potent oregano oil. And he made up a milk and a yogurt culture which has we all know is just chockfull of good bacteria, and then tested to see whether or not those cultures grew or whether or not he’s basically was able to make oregano flavored yogurt, and theoretically if oregano oil kills all organisms including the beneficial ones, then the yogurt cultures will die and the milk that you use the yogurt is just going to stay milk, but if the oregano oil does not kill the good bacteria then the cultures will thrive and you’ll wind up with oregano flavored yogurt which sounds disgusting. So anyways, so his experiments which he repeated multiple times allow him to create delicious oregano flavored yogurt, and it did not kill the bacteria or the culture in that yogurt, and so it appears that the carvacrol and oil of oregano maybe selective in terms of the type of bacteria that it kills. But again, this was an equals one study, you know, not a clinical study, not controlled and full disclosure, the name of this fellow if you find him on the internet is Gary Greenfield. He’s actually my dad who’s… he’s a big health nerd and he’s done a lot of these little like any cool ones studies and so it’s kinda funny because if you look in around the internet or on the efficacy of oil of oregano against good bacteria, probiotics, it’s his name that’s pop up everywhere.
Rachel: What a legend!
Ben: This yogurt study that he did – I remember when he did this study few years ago…
Rachel: Oh, new Gary, did he do that when you were young?
Ben: …remember he’s telling me – he is like – “I made oregano-flavored yogurt Ben, it didn’t kill the yeast”, something like that.
Rachel: And you’re like – “No, thanks dad”.
Ben: Yeah, that reminds me actually, it’s his birthday today. I need to call him.
Rachel: Happy birthday, Gary!
Ben: So anyways, it doesn’t appear that it kills good bacteria but again I can’t say that for a fact because, you know, that wasn’t a controlled study, it was just my dad.
Ben: So anyways though, so this so far, has been a marathon podcast. Hopefully those of you listening in have not yet tuned out because you’re full of Christmas cheer and wanted to get as smart as possible over the holidays, and hopefully we’ve given that to you thus far, but we ain’t done yet.
Ben: Are we?
Rachel: No! it’s my favorite part!
Ben: Because it’s time to do a giveaway. Time to give a giveaway.
Ben: Before we do a giveaway, if you are about to tune out ‘cause you don’t wanna win cool stuff, you gotta hit the show notes – bengreenfieldfitness.com/340, and be sure to forward this – this particular episode. If you know of anyone who’s interested in Alzheimer’s, dementia, things of that nature, if you have questions, leave them in the comment section for this episode, but that being said, this is the time of the show when we choose an iTunes review. See, one of the ways that you can spread the good word about the show is by going to iTunes, do the search for a Ben Greenfield fitness podcast, and leavin’ us 5 stars and a nice review. And today, we’re gonna read a review and if you hear your review read on the show, all you need to do is email [email protected], that’s [email protected] and we will send you a cool Ben Greenfield fitness beanie, a nice little tech t-shirt, and also a bpa-free water bottle if you hear your review read on the show. And so we’ve chosen a review today, looks like it is from California Girl8208 who says: Obsessed with Ben Greenfield, to the great annoyance of my husband. And if you can go ahead, go ahead and take this one away, Rachel.
Rachel: Here we go! Alright. “Ever since I discovered this podcast a few weeks ago, I’ve been binge-listening to these episodes to the detriment of all my other old favorites, even Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! I have a master’s degree in Applied Anatomy and Physiology, and I’m a sports therapist, and find that Ben is very knowledgeable about all the topics he discusses with his wide variety of guest. He clearly does his homework and asks well-thought-out questions. I find the information overall very helpful, with the exception that it occasionally borders on scaring us all into thinking the reason for our dysfunction is that we don’t all own $2000 vacuum cleaners or expensive air and water filtration systems. However, I have learned so much from him that I can accept the fact that most of his guests (like any other program) have something to sell, as well as Ben himself, so I take everything with a grain of salt and fact-check this independently”.
Ben: Good call!
Rachel: Good girl!
Ben: That is exactly what I recommended in my birthday post that I wrote actually was like I will say stuff, but it doesn’t mean it applies to you. For example, on this podcast I recommended what like 20 different things for Alzheimer’s?
Rachel: Like a million, a million!
Ben: It doesn’t mean I recommended everybody in their ______[1:45:59.4] and take bacopa and lion’s maine. It’s just for the people who want…
Rachel: Right. I’m not finished yet.
Ben: Oh, okay. Go ahead.
Rachel: (laughs) “The mere fact that he brings such an array of topics to my attention is really taking my practice and personal health issues to a higher level. Keep up the good work, Ben!
Ben: Hmm, so first of all my apologies, California Girl8208 to your patient loving husband, and as far as the – your review, I love that you point out the fact that you do need to fact-check things independently and take everything here with the grain of salt because it doesn’t mean it’s meant for you. I don’t think everybody needs to go out and put a vasatrainer, swim trainer in their basement, or run to their neighborhood wearing a drag suit with goggles on their head. But what we try to do is provide you with the information that you to go out and educate yourself, and figure out what’s gonna work for you.
Rachel: That’s right. It’s not the word of God.
Ben: That’s right. It is not the word of God.
Rachel: It’s the word of Ben.
Ben: Although I can simulate the voice of god due to my nice, expensive road microphone.
Rachel: Of kind of godly.
Ben: That’s right! Very godly.
Rachel: (laughs) Alright.
Ben: So anyways, at the risk of getting blasphemous we better stop there. But ultimately, you can access the show notes, bengreenfieldfitness.com/340 where you’re be able to get everything from the study on ashwagandha, to all of our recommendations for Alzheimer’s and cognitive performance, previous podcast on swimming pool chlorine, and even how to make wonderful oregano-flavored yogurt that you can impress all of your friends over the holidays with.
Ben: Or you could just do eggnog and cookies.
Rachel: Like a normal person.
Ben: So, as a matter of fact, I can hear my wife upstairs in the kitchen because today is our Christmas eve which means that we’ll be gathered around the fire tonight with the boys having some snacks, and just basically hanging out. They’re gonna open their gifts, they got little skis which make them super excited about.
Rachel: That’s adorable. Why do you guys have Christmas early?
Ben: Bond down the slopes. Because tomorrow is Christmas, Christmas eve is with her family, the next day – Christmas day, is with my family. So we got like 3 Christmases.
Rachel: You’re a lucky man and family.
Ben: I know. Life wouldn’t get any better. So anyways though…
Rachel: Well, merry Christmas everyone!
Ben: Yes, merry Christmas everyone. Merry Christmas, Rachel!
Rachel: Merry Christmas, Ben! I hope you have a wonderful time with your family.
Ben: May your ukulele bring joy into the hearts of children!
Rachel: May our ukulele brings joy to the hearts of children.
Ben: That’s right. And you will, I guarantee you at some point on the future show you’re relocking ukulele tunes, but in the meantime, thanks for tuning in. Have a healthy week, and this is Ben Greenfield and Rachel Browne signing out from the Ben Greenfield fitness show. Later.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast. Go to bengreelfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
December 23, 2015 Podcast: How To Test Your Fat Burning Efficiency, The Ultimate Guide To Preventing Alzheimers, Cold Thermogenesis, Fasting & More!
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.
- Probably ill-timing for the Holidays, but here’s what fasting does to your brain.
- Really cool (pun intended) and amazing how cold actually changes your gut bacteria.
- This “personalized nutrition” study is absolutely fascinating and I plan on trying it. (also see: http://newsite.personalnutrition.org/WebSite/Home.aspx)
- Ashwaganda more powerful than creatine? Looks like it.
- Goodbye stationary bike, hello kettlebell (kettlebell just as good!).
This podcast is brought to you by: Kimera Koffee, nootropic infused coffee that makes your brain work faster (use 20% discount code BEN), and by Onnit, the world’s best website for outside-the-box performance enhancement.
May 27-29, 2016: Ben is speaking at PaleoFX 2016 in Austin, Texas. This is the The Who’s Who gathering of the Paleo movement, with world-class speakers including New York Times bestselling authors, leading physicians, scientists, health entrepreneurs, professional athletes, fitness professionals, activists, bloggers, biohackers, and more. And you DON’T need to be Paleo to be able to get a ton of benefit and fun out of this one!
Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now at a 40% discount.
Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.
And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!
As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.
How To Test Your Fat Burning Efficiency
Steve says: He’s an apprentice body improvement trainee and he wants know what lab tests are required to start with, to get his body into an optimal state to lose fat and build muscle.
In my response, I recommend:
-Indirect calorimetry testing
–Breath ketone testing with Ketonix
–Blood glucose/HbA1C testing
–Sex / thyroid hormones testing
–Organic amino acids testing (Ion Profile with Metametrix from Direct Labs)
The Ultimate Guide To Preventing Alzheimers
Bryan says: When it comes to Alzheimer/Dementia, what would be your optimal protocol, including diet, lifestyle, supplementation and bio-hacking devices for reversing it? If you or a loved one were to be diagnosed, what would you do?
In my response, I recommend:
-Study: Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program
–Plant based ketosis diet
–Cognitive training (e.g. n-back, lumosity, Brainscape, etc.)
–Intranasal Light Therapy via Vielight
–Quantlet wearable wrist device
–Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
-Visit HealthHacksReviewed.com for discount on the Hyperbaric and PEMF devices (where you can use code bengreen15 for a 15% savings)
–Rule out sleep apnea
–PEMF via an ICES device-Other EMF studies/devices:
Transcranial electromagnetic treatment against Alzheimer’s disease: why it has the potential to trump Alzheimer’s disease drug development. Arendash GW. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;32(2):243-66. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-120943.Electromagnetic treatment to old Alzheimer’s mice reverses amyloid deposition, modifies cerebral blood flow, and provides selected cognitive benefit. Arendash GW, Mori T, Dorsey M, Gonzalez R, Tajiri N, Borlongan C. PLoS One. 2012;7(4).Long-term electromagnetic field treatment enhances brain mitochondrial function of both Alzheimer’s transgenic mice and normal mice: a mechanism for electromagnetic field-induced cognitive benefit? Neuroscience. 2011 Jun 30;185:135-49. Dragicevic N, Bradshaw PC, Mamcarz M, Lin X, Wang L, Cao C, Arendash GW.Transcranial magnetic stimulation in Alzheimer’s disease: a neurophysiological marker of cortical hyperexcitability. J Neural Transm. 2011 Apr;118(4):587-98. Pennisi G, Ferri R, Lanza G, Cantone M, Pennisi M, Puglisi V, Malaguarnera G, Bella R.
A phase I trial of deep brain stimulation of memory circuits in Alzheimer’s disease. Ann Neurol. 2010 Oct;68(4):521-34. Laxton AW, Tang-Wai DF, McAndrews MP, Zumsteg D, Wennberg R, Keren R, Wherrett J, Naglie G, Hamani C, Smith GS, Lozano AM.
Electromagnetic field treatment protects against and reverses cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease mice. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;19(1):191-210. Arendash GW, Sanchez-Ramos J, Mori T, Mamcarz M, Lin X, Runfeldt M, Wang L, Zhang G, Sava V, Tan J, Cao C.
Cognitive functioning after repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in patients with cerebrovascular disease without dementia: a pilot study of seven patients. J Neurol Sci. 2005 Mar 15;229-230:157-61. Epub 2004 Dec 16. Rektorova I, Megova S, Bares M, Rektor I.
Mapping distributed sources of cortical rhythms in mild Alzheimer’s disease. A multicentric EEG study. Neuroimage. 2004 May;22(1):57-67. Babiloni C, Binetti G, Cassetta E, Cerboneschi D, Dal Forno G, Del Percio C, Ferreri F, Ferri R, Lanuzza B, Miniussi C, Moretti DV, Nobili F, Pascual-Marqui RD, Rodriguez G, Romani GL, Salinari S, Tecchio F, Vitali P, Zanetti O, Zappasodi F, Rossini PM.
Weak, but complex pulsed magnetic fields may reduce depression following traumatic brain injury. Percept Mot Skills. 1996 Oct;83(2):491-8. Baker-Price LA, Persinger MA.
Alzheimer’s disease: improvement of visual memory and visuoconstructive performance by treatment with picotesla range magnetic fields. Int J Neurosci. 1994 Jun;76(3-4):185-225. Sandyk R.
–Axon Labs Mitogen
–Vitamin D/Vitamin K2
–American Nutraceuticals Vitamin C
–TianChi (for ashwagandha, resveratrol-like compounds, citicholine)
–NatureCBD (for cannabidiol + ashwaganda)
–EPA/DHA source with Vitamin E/antioxidants/tocopherols (e.g. SuperEssentials)
–Prebiotic/Probiotic blend (e.g. Caprobiotic Advanced)
–Creatine (Thorne Creapure)
–Thorne Zinc Picolinate
–Organic Bacopa extract
–Lion’s Mane mushroom
Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices: http://www.iqtest.dk
Cogtest website: Cogtest.com
N-back testing/training software: http://brainworkshop.sourceforge.net
Face recognition: http://www.bbc.co.uk…body/sleep/tmt/
Various tests: http://cognitivefun.net/
IQ test: http://www.iq-test.com/
Corsi-block tapping test: http://memory.uva.nl…si_geheugentest
5 Pieces Of Gear For Becoming A Stronger Swimmer (And How To Keep Chlorine Exposure From Damaging Your Body)
Jason says: His 15 y/o son is a competitive swimmer and he’s worried about chlorine exposure. Are there any dangers when it comes to chlorine exposure, and are there any tests to see if he’s toxic? If so, is there anything he can do to detox or counteract it? Also, he swims with folks who are older and stronger than he is, are there any workouts for exercises he can do to make him stronger and faster in the pool?
In my response, I recommend:
-Podcast: How To Reduce The Risk From Swimming in Chlorinated Pools and Drinking Chlorinated Water.
-Podcast: Chlorine Water Filter Tips
-Article: How To Keep Swimming Pool Chlorine From Destroying Your Body
–High Intensity/Low Volume Training
–Agility paddle and Freestyler paddle
–Drag Suit and/or Parachute
–Swim Snorkel + Cardio Cap
–The SwimSmooth book
Does Oil of Oregano Kill Probiotics?
David says: He knows oil of oregano is very potent, and wants to know does it kill probiotics? If he wants to take probiotics, how far apart should he take it from oil of oregano?
In my response, I recommend:
–This Wild Mediterranean Oil of Oregano
-Update on Ben’s answer, here is more comprehensive info below:
Medicinal plants and probiotics both have very high potential in terms of their antimicrobial activity against antibiotic-resistant enteric pathogens. The probiotics being enteric microorganism do not have any parasitic effect on human beings. They have been an integral part of daily food for centuries. They have been shown to have health beneficiary properties. The probiotics retard the growth of the microorganisms, while essential oil kills them. Combining the effect of medicinal plant extract and probiotics may be a new approach due to their complementary antimicrobial effects and practically no side effects. The synergistic effect of the essential oil and probiotics will be necessarily higher than using them alone as health product.
CONCLUSION: The most promising essential oils for the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis are Carum carvi, Lavandula angustifolia, Trachyspermum copticum, and Citrus aurantium var. amara. The herbs from which these oils are derived have long been used in the treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms and the in vitro results of this study suggest that their ingestion will have little detrimental impact on beneficial members of the GIT microflora. More research is needed, however, to investigate tolerability and safety concerns, and verify the selective action of these agents.
INTRODUCTION: Dysbiosis is associated with a number of gastrointestinal and systemic disorders. There is a need for selectively acting antimicrobial agents capable of inhibiting the growth of potentially pathogenic microorganisms, or those found to be out of balance, while not negatively impacting the bulk gastrointestinal tract microflora.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this in vitro study is to examine the potential of a selection of essential oils as agents to treat dysbiosis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eight essential oils were examined using the agar dilution method, including Carum carvi, Citrus aurantium var. amara, Foeniculum vulgare dulce, Illicium verum, Lavandula angustifolia, Mentha arvensis, Mentha x piperita, and Trachyspermum copticum. Doubling dilutions of the essential oils were tested against 12 species of intestinal bacteria, which represent the major genera found in the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT).
RESULTS: Carum carvi, Lavandula angustifolia, Trachyspermum copticum, and Citrus aurantium var. amara essential oils displayed the greatest degree of selectivity, inhibiting the growth of potential pathogens at concentrations that had no effect on the beneficial bacteria examined.