Podcast #354 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/06/354/
[2:15] Ben’s mini air purifier
[4:03] The rise and fall of Theranos
[7:57] A study on how to grow muscles faster
[9:12] The book called Neuromass
[11:34] An interesting study about barefoot running
[13:30] Earth Runners Sandals
[14:38] A cool study about spending in wilderness will able to strip over inches of fat waist and boost insulin sensitivity
[19:33] How to maximize your mitochondria
[21:19] Look Good Naked/Longevity Plan
[24:40] NBA is catching on some ‘weirdo’ biohacks
[29:03] Another NBA biohack – Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation or TDCS
[34:21] An article by Dr. Jack Kruse, “Time Subtraction”
[35:13] Great tips of Dr. Jack Kruse to enhance vagus nerve
[39:24] Know why we need to avoid sunglasses
[41:25] About Ryan Hall
[43:13] What is better for the body, 5K or marathon?
[45:59] How to boost your performance gains by more than 600%
[50:55] Ben on Snapchat
[54:20] Cricket Protein Bars
[56:00] Natural Grocers/Spartan Race/Ancestral Health Symposium
[59:37] How much sun is too much?
[1:14:04] Does a sauna shrink your sperm?
[1:24:20] How to live long if your cholesterol level is high?
[1:33:05] How to stop grinding your teeth
[1:44:26] End of Podcast
Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show: How To Grow Muscles Faster, Pro-athlete Biohacks, How Much Sun is Too Much, Does a Sauna Shrink your Sperm, How to Live Long if Your Cholesterol Levels are High, 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 the natural movement, get out there! When you’re working 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: Oh Rachel, I feel like one big giant piece of minty gum right now.
Rachel: Oh you do? Why is that? What’s going on over there at the Greenfield house?
Ben: I’m cold air defusing spearmint essential oil into my office because it’s like a wakefulness oil, you know, vanilla is a good wakefulness oil and sandalwood is another good one. Actually, I mix vanilla and sandalwood, and I make like a homemade cologne but mint is also a nice one to diffuse in the office.
Rachel: Nice! And is it helping you feeling all excited and ready to go for a massive podcast that we have today?
Ben: Oh! It’s amazing. It’s not quite as good as the 63 cups of coffee that we podcasted about over the weekend but it’s pretty good, and as you know, I’m a big fan of optimizing your water intake and your light and your electricity, and then your air.
Ben: And so, in addition to this little cold air diffuser and the new mint flavor I’ve been experimenting with, I also have this thing sitting on my desk called a Plasma Air Purifier. Have you heard of this?
Rachel: I have! Yeah, I have. Uhm.
Ben: Yeah, it basically neutralizes volatile organic compounds. Not that that I’m sitting here in my office sniffing paint, but it does is it cleans out viruses and bacteria, and mold and dust and pollen and just basically cleans that air that you’re breathing. It’s called a Breathe Save. So, I’ve got the essential oil diffuser on one side of my desk and the Breathe Save on the other. So, I’m basically, I’m simulating the equivalent of me being on a pristine Himalayan mountain top right now. I swear.
Ben: Oh Rachel, I hope that you and all of our listeners are prepared for a monster news flashes because with as much as I’ve been traveling lately and as few Q and A episodes as we’ve been doing, I think that the news flashes, the research studies, and all the interesting things I like to fill people on, if kinda been piling up, haven’t they?
Rachel: They have been piling up and they, we have a massive pile to get through today.
Ben: Well, I’m actually, I’m kind of excited ‘cause there’s a lot of interesting things. So if any of you listening in and you’re into weirdo biohacks that professional athletes do or grounding or earthing, or fat loss or anything else related to human, body and brain performance, brace yourself, hold on tight ‘cause we’re about to generate some serious Gs in todays’ news flashes.
Rachel: (chuckles) Alright.
Ben: First of all, blood testing. So, I thought that this one company that was an up and rising company in the whole blood testing self-quantification realm was gonna be pretty dang sexy. It was called Theranos. Had you heard about this?
Rachel: Uhmm. I, you pause this a little while ago actually. So I’m really excited to hear what you have to say about it.
Ben: Yeah, one drop of blood on your finger tip, and you’re walking into a Walgreen or CVS and it theoretically would allow you to have a host of variables starting up of several dozens and leaning up to hundreds, you know, everything from testosterone to all your cholesterol particles, red blood cells, white blood cells, everything. And all of a sudden a few weeks ago this company got completely shut down. This hyped up blood testing technology actually got shut down by the FDA.
Rachel: Wow. And why?
Ben: Well, the reason for this in a nutshell, and I’ll link to this article along with everything else over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/354. That’s for the show notes are gonna be for this episode. Bengreenfieldfitness.com/354.
The idea is this. When you collect blood from a fingertip drop, you can get information about a few little things like blood glucose is probably the most common one, right? And some people are now doing ketones quite a bit. Those are two things, but there’s a lot of really other medically important molecules, like proteins or lipids, right, like your cholesterol particles and those are not found in uniformed concentrations throughout the body. They’re gonna vary quite a bit and what this means is that the concentration of molecules taken from blood that’s in a fingertip is gonna be way, way different than the actual concentration of molecules. The accurate concentration of molecules that you would get when you stick a needle into someone’s vein and take it under vein. And so, the idea here is it was very, very inaccurate data they were generation.
Rachel: And so, did people know that to begin with ‘cause it was quite a big setup that got quite a little funding?
Ben: Well, that’s the problem, is that not only was it a little bit of a kinda like jumping the gun, I guess so to speak when it comes to everybody getting excited about being able to self-quantify everything with a single drop of blood, but there may have also been a bit of foul play in terms of this company’s charismatic young female founder who everybody seem to be infatuated with. This some kind of like a medical genius, you know, it turned out that they may have been misleading some people.
So I’d recommend that you read the article and by the way, this is related to a company, you know, I’d, three years ago was very excited about a company called Talking 20 in which you put a drop of blood unto little envelope and you mail it in into this company called Talking 20, and they theoretically give you back hundreds of variables, well it turns out that this company got shut down too. So…
Ben: The FDA is shutting down these bad companies right and left.
Rachel: That‘s a bummer! It’s a brilliant idea if they can make it work. (chuckles)
Ben: Yeah, but it turns out that for any of these tests like cholesterol or thyroid hormones or anything else like that you’re gonna wonder in your local lab and actually have them stick a needle into your vein…
Rachel: Needle in your arm, doing it the old fashioned way.
Ben: Yup, yup exactly. So, and listen in to this weekend podcast. I geeked out on lab test for about 2 hours with a couple of physicians. We have a quite comprehensive interview on blood testing coming up in this weekend podcast if that little snippet wasn’t enough for you.
So, next I wanted to delve into this new form of training, and this is relevant because I actually just posted a workout that I did this morning on the Snapchat, and this study is called ‘A single set of exhaustive exercise before resistance training improves muscular performance in young men’. And what this study looked at was, if you do a very, very kinda easy, slow set prior to jumping into like a strained training set or a power training set, meaning you’re going to do 10 repetitions of 10 seconds down, and 10 seconds up prior to doing like a heavy deadlift or a powerful squat jump.
The idea is you build greater amounts of both strength as well as if this is something you’re pursuing, muscle size when you do like this pre-exhausting set, and the reason for this is that you pre-exhaust all the slow twitch muscle fibers and this cause you to recruit a bunch more of the fast twitch muscle fibers. And I have been experimenting a bunch with this approach using this book called “Neuromass”, and it’s an excellent book. It’s relatively short read, it’s like $2.99 on Amazon, and I’m getting the guy who wrote it on a podcast, but it’s a real cool way to train.
So here’s what you do, and I’m actually doing this form of training just this morning. I posted it to Snapchat. Basically, what you do is something very, very slow. So let’s say, like a super-duper slow squat. And it could be a body weight squat, the entire book is just body weight or kettlebell. So it could be body weight squat or maybe you’d hoist 1 to 2 kettlebells up to shoulder height and do a very, very slow kettlebell squat.
And then you would do something that recruits all that fast twitch muscle fiber after you’ve pre-exhausted the slow twitch muscle fiber. So you would do like a squat jump with the kettlebell or squat jump with body weight or a box jump or a set of lunge jump or something like that. And then, for this particular program in the book, what you do is you finish off the muscle with an isometric hold. Meaning that you drop into like a squat position, and you hold that while doing deep diaphragmatic breathing for like 10 seconds or 20 seconds. And then you move on. You do hamstrings and then you go into chest, and you do back, and I’ve been doing this workout in hotel rooms while I travel, I did it in my driveway this morning, I like it ‘cause all I need was a yoga mat and a kettlebell. But it was a very, very cool way to train and this most recent study shows that you actually get this pretty cool breakthroughs in both strength and size when you do it.
Rachel: Yeah, and it sounds really accessible as well.
Ben: Extremely accessible.
Rachel: Something that you can do from anywhere with little amounts of things and…
Ben: Yeah, and the other cool thing about it is there are instructions on the book on how you can use a towel like a giant bath towel from like your hotel room to do all sorts of isometric training like hangs and deadlifts, and Romanian deadlifts and polls using just a common bath towel, so.
Rachel: That is so cool.
Ben: Yeah, so check out the study I’ll link to that one in the show notes. It just came out in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, and I’ll link to that book, “Neuromass” as well, and like I mentioned, I might get this guy on the show to interview him.
Another interesting study that I tweeted was about barefoot running. So, I don’t know if you saw this one, Rachel, but it turns out that working memory is enhanced when you go for a barefoot run.
Rachel: Isn’t that fascinating.
Ben: It’s really cool. Working memory is your ability to recall and process information. It’s something that would be enhance say with sleep would probably be the most common thing up until this point that we know will enhance working memory. But in this case…
Rachel: Or that caffeine…
Ben: Uh, caffeine possibly, yeah. Caffeine could potentially do it as well, and there’s something else that can help out with it too that I’ll mention in a second here. But the idea is that they enlisted a whole bunch of participants in this study ages 18 to 44, and they had them run both barefoot as well as wearing shoes. They put them into groups and they tested working memory. And what they found was a significant increase, about 16% of an increased in working memory when folks were running barefoot and the hypothesis here by the researchers was that the extra tactile and proprioceptive demands associated with barefoot running may allow for an improvement in working memory.
Rachel: What does that mean?
Ben: That means that for some reason it seems to be stimulating more neurons or nerve endings in a bottom of the feet which is a good reason to run barefoot anyways. It helps to enhance your foot strike and in your feel for the ground.
Rachel: Walk barefoot as well.
Ben: Or walk barefoot. Now my own personal hypothesis is that this might be related to the earthing or the grounding effect that you get when your skin is in contact with the planet, and in this case, for example even if I’m not walking around barefoot, I’ll often wear this geeky, I call them my high-tech Jesus sandals. (laughs) They’re called Earth Runners, have you seen this?
Rachel: Yeah. I’ve got a pair. I loved them.
Ben: Okay. Yeah, their sandals that have a copper plug in the sole and then the lacing is lined with copper and so, even if you’re not barefoot it allows the electricity generated by the surface of the earth to basically get absorbed into your body through the sole of your shoe a little bit better than what you’d get if you’re say wearing a normal rubber pair of running shoes.
So, ultimately it turns out that barefoot may enhance working memory and I suspect it might have something to do with the grounding or the earthing effects just as much as perhaps the tactile or the proprioceptive demands but either way, if you wanna become a smart cookie, one thing you should consider doing is getting out and walking or running barefoot more often, so.
Rachel: Love it.
Ben: Yes, and this is definitely related to another really cool study that went into living, you know, in a very ancestral way. And in this case, spending 10 days in the wilderness. What they found was that these folks who spend 10 days in the wilderness will able to strip over 7 inches of fat off their waist and boost their insulin sensitivity by over 53%.
Ben: This one was pretty fascinating. What they did was they had this group and this was in Spain. They have them spend 10 days in the wilderness basically walking. They’re walking about 7-9 miles a day, they were walking from what they call water hole to water hole which makes the participants sound like a group of baison or buffalo.
Rachel: (laughs) it’s us.
Ben: But they were in fact humans. They’re wearing backpacks, so each of them had about 16 pounds or so in their backpack. They were sleeping, just a camping situation, right, so going to bed close to sunset, rising close to sun up. The temperature is actually were dipping at night down to about 50-60 degrees, so it got a little bit chilly during the night, and they actually got exposed to decent temperatures during the day buried between about 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. These water holes that they were arriving to drink at, it was just clean non-chlorinated water and they were eating twice a day, almost like this intermittent fasting type of approach.
And what I mean by that is that they were feeding them a diet very similar to what’s called the Hadza Diet which was seeds and nuts, and berries and some citrus fruits, and then they bring them animals like ducks and chickens and turkeys and rabbits and fish, and they would prepare this at the, about halfway through their walk during the day and then again when they arrive to their destination, right?
Rachel: Uhm, interesting.
Ben: So we’ve got a combination of 100% exposure to the elements, right, which the researchers hypothesize would kinda resynchronize the circadian rhythm or the internal clock. You know, everything from sleeping outside to being exposed to extremes of cold and heat, cyclic water intake meaning that they were drinking really good clean water but they were actually going for long periods of time during the day without water and then drinking a bunch when they would get to this water holes, and they’ve actually shown that experiencing thirst during movement can cause a release of an anti-inflammatory hormone called oxytocin. The same type of hormone that get released during hugging or sex for some strangeries and also gets release from your thirst. So, they observed that.
They also of course, they were intermittent fasting, right, they’re eating only 2 meals a day can increase your mitochondrial density, it can increase your ability to tap into your won body’s fatty acids or adipose tissue and it can also as you would suspect, increase your insulin sensitivity. So they saw that and of course they resist the, you know, rather than doing like a crossfit workout, right or a triathlon training session or body building or something like that at the beginning or the end of the day, this also is just walking with a little bit of weight all day long, right. And apparently as part of their deal with the Spanish government, they were doing a little bit of like repairing the roads as they’re walking. And then the last thing I should mention is that they were not allowed to have their mobile phones or their electronic devices, so.
Rachel: Hmmp. The cool thing about this is, well, this could also be applied to just everyday life aside from walking water hole to water hole. (laughs)
Ben: Right. That’s the thing, you don’t have to go out of the wilderness and walk from water hole to water hole to get these benefits. Think about it. Don’t eat, don’t snack in grace frequently, right, allow yourself perhaps when you are exercising or working out to get a little bit thirsty, right, so don’t necessarily go out with your giant Nargene water bottle and maybe try doing your workout with no water and just drink at the end.
Ben: Go to bed when it gets dark and wake up when it gets light, and let your room be a little bit cold and maybe get a little bit hot during the day, and then don’t snack or grace all day long like I mentioned, and engage with low level physical activity all day long, a little bit of walking, a little bit of light weight bearing, and the results in the study were just astounding. I’ll link to it in the show notes but quite interesting what happens when you implement these simple things that our ancestors might have done.
Rachel: Right, yeah. This is my favorite study so far I think.
Ben: Ten days of Paleo life in the wilderness.
Rachel: Sound fun! Every week I can organize over a tree.
Ben: That’s sound kinda fun. Let’s go cleanup the roads in Spain and walk water hole to water hole. This next one I thought was really interesting. It looked at the best way to build mitochondria which of course you know, I just mentioned and which our cells powerhouses. Did you happen to listen to the podcast with Dr. David Minkoff last week, Rachel?
Rachel: I haven’t yet.
Ben: Okay. It was on why we get cancer…
Ben: … and how the concept of getting cancer is far different than what modern medicine seems to think which is that it’s simply DNA mutations causing undifferentiated cell growth, and that in fact cancer begins when mitochondria become defunct. When the cells mitochondria are no longer able to take oxygen and produce ATP, and produce water as a byproduct, and instead produce a bunch of energy in the absence of oxygen and create a bunch of toxic lactic acid in the process.
So, that podcast is in my opinion a must listen for anyone who wants to stay healthy ‘cause we delve in into how to take care of your mitochondria, etcetera. But this particular article that I’ll link to delves into what’s the best way to trigger the formation of new mitochondria, or to allow the mitochondria to become more powerful like how efficient can you make each unit of mitochondria to create as much as energy as possible.
Rachel: And it’s specifically for training?
Ben: Uhm, yup. Specifically related to training. So they find out that when it comes to making mitochondria more powerful, right, to boosting the output of the mitochondria that you must do sprint workouts as part of your training routine. In this case, sprint workouts comprise about 30 seconds. And this is something that I’ve talked about a lot, this is something that worked into this Look Good Naked and Longevity Program that I created. It’s a very popular PDF that we sell for about, I think it’s about $27 over at greenfieldfitnessystems.com, and in that program I tried to grab all the different research studies and all the different things you could steam with exercise, right, like fat loss, and VO2max and mitochondrial density, and one of the things that I do in there is I try to stimulate the phosphagenic energy system.
The energy system of the body that puts creatine to create energy and that means that you are doing very short burst of 10-30 seconds. And it turns out that that does the best job boosting the overall mitochondrial output but does not actually increase the mitochondrial density quite as efficiently as doing exercise sessions that are at slightly longer, more medium pace, right. In this case, what they found was that to actually increase mitochondrial density, they were doing for example 4 sets of 5 minutes of cardio vascular exercise with about a 2:1 work to rest ratio, right? So you go 5 minutes hard, 2 and a half minute easy and sure, it’s not as quite as hard as you’d be going during to a 10 to 30 second effort but this kinda like lower level, high intensity interval training with 2:1 work to rest ratio. When paired with short very, very hard efforts with 4 recovery gave you this 1-2 combo of both increasing the density of your mitochondria as well as how much energy your mitochondria could actually produce.
So, take away message here is you know, if you were to do like let’s say, 2 cardiovascular training session per week, you do 1 that’s like you know, 4 by 5 minute efforts with a 2:1 work to rest ratio, right? Like 2 and a half minute long recovery periods and then you’d also have a session where you do just like 10, 20 second very hard efforts like a tabata protocol or somethin’ like that. So ultimately, really interesting in terms of actual research that shows how we can maximize our mitochondria, you know whether it’s better to go farther or faster, or both, then it turns out, it’s both.
Rachel: And we still wanna maximize our mitochondria just to stay healthy.
Ben: Exactly, just to stay healthy and of course Dr. David Minkoff and I in that podcast episode talk about how just having dense mitochondria or efficient mitochondria doesn’t solve all your problems. You need to for example, limit the amount of radiation that you’re exposed to. You need to limit the amount of electrical pollution that you’re exposed to, you need to get exposed to lots of really good oxygen by potentially using things like ozonated water or hyperbaric oxygen chambers, you know, we kinda geeked out on all the things you could do to reduce your risk of cancer especially if you’re genetically predisposed to it. But of course, you could start by simply making sure that you’re including these 2 different types of interval training sessions in your routine, so.
Rachel: Love it.
Ben: Yeah! Okay, let’s talk NBA. The NBA finals just ended and there’s been a few articles on the internet that have gone into the professional athletes in the NBA and all the weird little biohacks that they’re now getting into. And the first article that I’ll link to in the show notes, and again everything we’re talking about, if you guys really like to read or if you’re like me and you use the send to Kindle button on your browser, like crazy, I hit that thing like it’s cocaine all day long, send the Kindle sign…
Ben: And then at the end of the day, I just read everything that I send to my Kindle. With the sleep mode activated on my Kindle of course, so I don’t get iPad insomnia. But this, speaking of insomnia, this first study was on or this first article is on NBA players and how much they’re geeking out on improving their sleep habit.
So they’ve gone way above and beyond just you know, all of the players on most of the teams wearing Fitbit and things like that to self-quantify their sleep. But now they’re actually hiring sleep specialists who are working with the players to really dial on their sleep especially when they’re traveling. I thought it was fascinating in the article. Some of the things they are doing. For example, many of them are now using sleep tracker called Whoop which is a wristband that has 5 sensors on it. That’s w-h-o-o-p, and it samples the player’s biorhythms 100 times per second, and it gives them a recovery score every morning based on their heart rate variability.
So they get like the green is go, yellow is be careful this day, and red is you know, make this a completely easy day. Very similar to what I personally recommend for folks do for example the Nature Beat heart rate variability measurement in the morning or the use of this Oura Ring that I’ve been using to track sleep.
But they also get into some of the things that they’ve been doing in terms of the players actually taking things with them to allow them to sleep better. So for example, if you look at this one team, they’re doing a lot of chamomile and lavender teas, and lavender oils before bed, sound familiar. They’re doing tart cherry juice and microdosing with melatonin. You’ve got others that are now traveling with blackout curtains as well as special devices that they fit over the air vents in hotel rooms to filter out dust. You know, very similar to this breeze safe device that’s on my desk or similar to some of the air cleaning protocols that we’ve talked about in previous podcasts.
They’re even traveling with like wooden boards to firm up matresses for different players, right, so they can sleep on a more firm surface if the bed is too soft. They’re customizing pillows for players like custom-fit pillows, and by the way, we had a whole podcast on this with this guy named Dr. Nick Littlehales who works with European soccer players on this, but you know, and I’ve always said this European soccer players seem to, and Tour De France cyclists, those two athletes or sports are way ahead of the curve when it comes to everything from heart rate variability to optimizing sleep, to self-quantification, and now it seems that the NBA is finally catching on as far as the implementing a lot of these geeked out sleep strategies with their players.
Rachel: Yeah, that’s awesome and it’s said that, I mean, one player being injured can cause them a hundred million dollars, so that was the bottom line that really spark them to start looking into recovery and sleep.
Ben: Yeah. That’s why it has always shocked me when a team will focus on movement, and will focus on diet for players. And even those are sometimes not all that great, you know, a lot of times like the NFL for example, still the good ‘ol boys network like players are still bench pressing and drinking Gatorade because that is where the money at or that is where tradition is at. But it always baffles me when players or teams will spend millions, and millions, and millions, and millions of dollars on an athlete and then shorten their career by 6 years by not optimizing things like air, and water, and light, electricity, and sleep.
And so, this other article actually goes, I think it delves even more deeply into the realm of nerdiness when it comes to what some of these players are doing and this is in, was the Golden State Warriors who are playing in this most recent NBA. You know, they lost in game 7, but they were using a device made by Halo Neuroscience and what this company makes are headphones with this little soft plastic spikes that go above each ear that press into your skull and deliver this pulses of electric current to your brain.
And the idea here is that these halo headsets are using a technique called Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation or TDCS. So what TDCS does is it’s based off a couple of electrodes that are attached to a battery, and you’re typically attaching a headphone looking device to your head, and it’s actually sending this little mild current like 500 to 1000 times smaller than the current you’d use during electro shock therapy through your brain. And the idea is that current changes the excitability of different neurons making those neurons a little bit more or less likely to fire. They call it neuro priming, and the idea here is that when you wear them for example 20 minutes prior to a warm up for a game or a practice, that your brain is able to deliver stronger, more synchronized signals to your body.
So they’re actually using this strategy to prime their players prior to performance. And there’s some really interesting studies, I mean, they’ve been studying TDCS in athletes since about 2007 when a group of Italian researchers show that when you stimulate the motor cortex with TDCS, actually talked about this in my book Beyond Training, there’s a study done in cyclists. Those cyclists experienced significantly lower levels of neuromuscular fatigue, and increased endurance during their performance when they were essentially shock prior to performing. And it turns out that when you use prior to something like basketball or let’s say before tennis or baseball or something like that, that TDCS could improve focus and subsequently performance when you use it prior to going out to do what it is you wanna do.
Rachel: Yeah, and something that I really like about it as well was that it can, they’re looking at how it can help addiction and depression. And it’s gonna be a potentially really powerful thing for that too.
Ben: Well, wrap your head around this. Pun intended. We posted a photo to Instagram, you can see it over at Instagram.com/bengreenfieldfitness. In that photo I’m wearing a $25,000 QEEG cap.
Ben: This cap measures the frequency and the speed of your brainwaves, and looks at each of your different lobes of your brain and the activation of each of those lobes. Now, I recorded an hour and a half long podcast with Dr. Andrew Hill and that podcast is gonna get released in a couple of weeks. While wearing this cap as it measured my brain, we actually discovered some different areas of my brain that are hyper excitable or hyper focused.
Rachel: Oh Wow! What are the hyper excitable ones?
Ben: Well, basically I have a tendency towards hyper attentiveness and the idea here is that when you’re hard-wired like that, you can have difficulty relaxing, slowing down, in some cases sleeping or falling back to sleep after you wake up. And I certainly have been able to overcome many of those things through strategies such as transcendental meditation, the use of lavender oil, the use of pulse electromagnetic field frequency in microdoses while sleeping, etcetera.
But we were actually going to deal this summer is, I’m gonna be traveling to LA for 3 days and we’re going to spend 3 days re-training my brain and then I’ll travel back to Spokane with the same electrodes that you attached to your head and spends several months actually building myself a new brain using neurofeedback and EEG.
Rachel: Oh my god, that is crazy!
Ben: Yeah, it’s going to actually cost a pretty penny, but I think it’s gonna be worth the information I’ll be able to give our listeners in terms of how we can use modern science to reprogram our brains that are either affected by you know, in my case things like multiple concussions while playing sports because we did find damaged areas of my brain to just basically having to fighting uphill battle against living in a modern post-industrialized era. So anyways, fascinating stuff. So stay tuned for more as I retrain my brain. And stay tuned for that podcast too.
Okay, I realized the news flashes are going on and on but I’ve got a few more things that I wanted to share because there’s so much that’s coming down the pipeline this week.
My friend, Dr. Jack Kruse wrote a very interesting article. As is the case with all his blogposts, it will make your head hurt. This one is called…
Rachel: Hey dude, make my head hurt.
Ben: This one is called, the title of this one is called Time Subtraction. And the article goes into everything from you know, cancer to mitochondria, to activation of your mile and sheaves, to enhance your nerve function, etcetera. You know, Jack Kruse is a great guy but I’ll always like to scroll to the end of his blogpost because there, he tends to give some really good practical suggestions.
And in this case when it comes to enhancing the health of your vagus nerve which we’ve talked about on the show before as being the most important nerve when it comes to stabilizing your nervous system, recovering, sleeping better, thinking better, etcetera. He has some great tips. So, you wanna hear some of my favorite tips from this one?
Rachel: I love it. Yup, bring it.
Ben: Okay. So, first of all, one of the things that he talks about is that you must reconnect with natural light and he is a huge fan of not just going out of your way to look directly into natural sunlight in the morning, or in my case, if it’s gray or cloudy, I’ll even hack that with something like greenish-blue light producing glasses, right, like I talked about this every time instead of glasses I’ve been using, but he also highly recommends that at night you see some form of red light such as the sunset or in our case, what Jessa did was she’s taken a bunch of wine bottles and she’s made fire torches out of those wine bottles so we can actually look at natural fire light at night without necessarily going in our house and starting out a fire in the fireplace.
So, looking into sun in the morning and then seeing some form of torch light or sunset at night. He’s also a huge fan of using water daily to generate negative ions and to also activate the vagus nerve. Just the sound of falling water and the sight and smell of falling water can activate the vagus nerve. I actually do not have a waterfall in my home but it is high up on the list of things that I want to add some form of moving water, right. So if you live in a place where you’re not getting exposed to ocean waves, to waterfalls, to moving rivers, go out of your way to figure out a way. Even if you buy like one of those little, I mean, even those cheesy little like, you know the waterfalls I’m talking about you can like buy…
Rachel: Yeah, they’re like desk on your desk and they’re like have pretty LED lights and they change color, and, I usually spurt water everywhere as well by the way.
Ben: But you know what? Just like cold air diffusers that diffuses essential oils, just like Himalayan rock salt lamps that produced negative ions, these little forms of moving water if you can figure out a way to have that in your house, or in your garden or in your yard, big benefit for your vagus nerve.
Rachel: Love it. Yup.
Ben: Another one that he recommends is sound. The use of sound for your vagus nerve. Now, he recommends using something like a cords sounding bowl or even doing chanting, you know, using the sound uhm……. Like a monk-mike dude to train the vagus nerve. You know, I personally talked about chanting, gargling, singing, all of those as being excellent for the vagus nerve. But sound and sound frequencies, I’m glad to see that he recommends it. He recommends the cord sounding bowl if you’re into technology, I would also recommend, there are CDs that I’m now using, they’re called Wholetones, w-h-o-l-e tones, and these tones are set at specific frequency that activate vagus nerve. When you put the CD in and you just sit there in front of your speakers, you can do it while you’re doing yoga or while you’re reading, but they actually create the specific sound frequencies that activate this vagus nerve. It’s basically sound therapy.
Ben: Yeah. So basically sound and sound frequencies are also important. He goes in to cold water face immersion, right, which we’ve also talked about before on the show but deciding splashing cold water on your face or jumping into cold water or immersing yourself in cold water. I made a very good point to someone whose asking me about the difference between cryotherapy and cold water when it comes to cold thermogenesis. And one thing that I mentioned is of cryotherapy, this chambers that you go and stand inside that decrease the body temperature and decrease inflammation, etcetera, the one thing that you miss out on with the cryotherapy chamber is activation of your vagus nerve because your face isn’t getting wet. You’re activating that mammalian dive reflex.
So, Jack in his article, he said you should consider to learn free diving, you should consider filling your mouth with ice cold water, or putting your face underwater, figuring out ways to expose your body to cold water. So that was another really, really good tip that he goes into here.
You know, the article goes on and on, but a couple of other important ones that I like that he goes into, one is to avoid sunglasses. And I’ve talked before about avoiding sunglasses because they shutdown the melanin on the skin. When you wear sunglasses, you’re actually blocking photoreceptors in your eye that are sensitive to light. This down regulates melanin production in your skin to makes you more likely to burn in response to sunlight.
Ben: Yeah, ironically when you wear sunglasses outdoors in the bright sun, you’re more likely to burn but also and Jack makes this point in the article, when you block sunlight from actually coming in direct contact with the rods and the cones in your eyes, it desensitizes your vagus nerve. And he talks about how you can resensitize your vagus nerve with like stimulating your eyes by rubbing your eyes, like vigorous rubbing of your eyes making a fist in rubbing both eyes. But it turns out that wearing sunglasses is actually doing yourself quite a disservice when it comes to stimulation of the vagus nerve.
Rachel: That’s good to know.
Ben: And then finally, the sound of water, just the sound of the ocean or waves crushing or water, or for me when I sleep I actually use the sound of raindrops. I use this app called Sleep Stream, and it lets you make ocean wave sounds or raindrop sounds, that also can activate the vagus nerve via the tiny little hairs in your ears. So, it turns out that there’s a lot of different ways to stimulate your nervous system.
And I would recommend that folks read this article, but a lot of these things are not that difficult to kinda work into your daily routine like getting exposed to moving water, and getting little cold water in your face each day, and not wearing sunglasses out in the sun, trying to get a little natural sunlight in the morning, seeing a little torch light at night, doing some chanting or humming or singing, you know, I like practical tips like these that improve the performance of your body and brain.
Rachel: Totally. Love it. I’m gonna do all of those.
Ben: Yup. Okay.
Rachel: Super easy.
Ben: Cool. Now, moving on. Perhaps this is a little bit more paparazzi ask, but have you seen skinning little Ryan Hall lately? The very good marathoner that quit marathoning due to complete andropause or you know, hypogonadism. His testosterone levels dropped to extremely low and if you see pictures of him, it was small and weak, and skinny and all these photos of him out running. But have you seen him lately?
Rachel: I haven’t. What does he look like?
Ben: He is jacked.
Rachel: Is he Wolverine?
Ben: He is jacked. Now granted, I’m guessing he’s probably on testosterone replacement therapy, and I’m not necessarily a fan of that as much I am a fan of things like you know, peptides or sarms or other things that are gonna shutdown your own endogenous testosterone production, but I’ll put a link in the show notes to an article in Runner’s World that shows Ryan Hall. The dude looks amazing. I mean, it is profound the difference between what he looks like as a professional marathoner like skinny, emaciated, you know, sunken cheeks just like nothing and he is actually one muscle bound dude now. And I mean, we’re talking like, it’s less than a year since, I mean, he’s put on 40 pounds of muscles since he quit marathoning. Just solid muscles.
Ben: Yeah. It’s pretty crazy. So, go check out the photos. I’ll link to ‘em, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/354. Check out what happened to Ryan Hall, and they have his workout that he’s been doing in there as well. I think probably his workout is less significant than the fact that he’s no longer marathoning, but quite interesting. And you should go, check him out ladies, and guys, interesting case study.
Related to that, there was an article in Science and Health that compared the 5K to the marathon, and ask the question: Which would you expect to be more healthy? And Rachel, I would have to guess that you as a non-marathoner would likely have your own answer this question.
Rachel: (laughs) Am I that obvious?
Ben: Yeah. You’re probably…
Rachel: I’m pretty obvious. I like running but I just can’t see how doing that sort of distances good for your body.
Ben: Well, what they’ve found was that compared to running marathons when you run a 5K, you actually achieve greater benefits for just about every reason that you would want to run aside from adding 26 point to miles, you know, as a feather in your cap. What they found was that when you look at reductions in body mass index improve cholesterol, reduce cancer risk, decrease gallbladder disease, decrease cataracts, decrease cardiovascular disease, decrease Alzheimer’s, decrease risk of mortality, decrease respiratory disease, adding additional mileage has a law of diminishing returns and once you get above right around the training for 5K type of mileage, and especially training for a 5K using high intensity interval training, you actually begin to see diminishing returns, right, like decreased drive, decreased hormones, increased risk of injury, and a drop of many of these health benefits that we go after when we’re doing something like running.
Rachel: And the reason we exercise is to be healthy. Yeah.
Ben: Yup. So it turns out, and I’ll link to this article but when you compare a 5K and a marathon across almost all categories, a 5K comes out winning. Now, I know that we have many marathoners and ultra-runners listening, I’m not trying to throw that sport under the bus, right, like I’ve done marathons and beyond when it comes to the amount of time that I’ve spent out running. And these people doing 50 and 100 and 200 mile races, and when it comes to mental fortitude, and when it comes to showing that you’re able to go out and climb a very serious personal Mt. Everest, and you’re able to suffer and you’re able to display enormous amount of human stamina, etcetera, good on you, but…
Rachel: Totally, and my respect.
Ben: … I’m not gonna say that it’s healthy, and I don’t think a lot of marathoners are throwing us to claim that it’s not so healthy. It may be healthier than being sedentary but if we want ultimate health, you know, it comes down to things like a 5K. So…
Rachel: Yeah. And I imagine those people on actually running those races to be healthy by doing it to …. climb the Mt. Everest.
Ben: Exactly, exactly. Alright. I’ve got one more for you.
Rachel: Last one Ben! Go make it a good one!
Ben: Okay. How to boost your performance gains by more than 600%.
Rachel: That is awesome.
Ben: Okay. This study looked at DNA. Now, here’s the background on this: there are a host of genes that different people have different copies of that are responsible for the way that you respond to resistance training. There’s a bunch of known genetic variance that influence your adaptation to resistance training. Meaning, the frequency of resistance training, alright, whether you’re a person who genetically produces more endogenous antioxidants, meaning that you’d be a person who will respond best to daily, consistent training vs. say like, too monster training sessions per week with longer recovery times.
There are enzymes responsible for the expression of fast twitch muscle fibers vs. slow twitch muscle fibers. Meaning that if you express more fast twitch muscle fibers, you know, like I personally do, I’m what is called a power responder, meaning that my body responds very well to strength and power-based sets to short heavy sets with high weight rather than longer sets of 12-20, 25 repetitions with lighter weights. So I’m a power responder not an endurance responder.
There are genes responsible for determining how well you would respond to say, high intensity cardio training vs. low intensity longer endurance training. What they did in this study and this was through an organization called DNA Fit, and that’s a DNA testing organization that I’ve personally gone through them and had both my exercise and my nutrition accessed in terms of enhancing my genetic response to training, and this was entitled, the study was entitled “A Genetic Based Algorithm for Personalized Resistance Training”. It was very simple.
All they did was they took two different groups, they tested their genes and they had 1 group just do a basic standard exercise protocol. They had the other group doing exercise protocol that was having them train according to their genotype. Meaning, doing power vs. endurance training, training frequently vs. infrequently, etcetera. So, for example, if you have a power genotype, you train with high intensity. If you have an endurance genotype, you train with low intensity. And they found that the group that trained according to their genotype experienced performance gains of more than 600%. And performance gains that dwarf the folks who were not training according to what their genes were actually dictating they should be training like.
Rachel: That is most unbelievable. Holy Moly!
Ben: I mean, if that does not influence to shell over the 100 to 200 box to drip saliva into a tube, right, to smell a jar of peanut butter to make yourself salivate and drips saliva into a tube to get your DNA tested. If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what does. And granted, there is this technology called CRISPR, this new gene splicing tweeking technology coming down the pipeline in which you may actually be able to change your genes, but until CRISPR is well proven and has a long safety record behind it in more than just say, fruit flies, I plan on training according to my genes, not changing my genes and taking advantage of the things that studies like these have actually shown. So, check this one out. Check everything that we just talked about. I’ve got a link to every single thing that we’ve talked about from this book Neuromass that I’ve been using, to this articles on the NBA to this article on DNA Fit, to the pictures of Ryan Hall doing selfies with his shirt off, and much more over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/354.
What do you think Rachel, do we spend enough time on the news flashes?
Rachel: I think we did.
Ben: Alright. Let’s move on.
Ben: Rachel, have you seen the kettlebells that have the face of a monkey on them?
Rachel: I have. They’re your favorite, aren’t they?
Ben: Uhmm, they are my fav, those in the zombie kettlebells. And I have 5 of the monkey kettlebells in a wide variety of sizes from user friendly and kid friendly, all the way up to ‘you can barely lift it off the ground’, but I was actually using one of those kettlebells. I Snapchatted my workout this morning and again, if you’re aren’t following me on Snapchat, I’m getting pretty into it. Have you seen my Snapchat?
Rachel: You are so into it! Oh my god, I love it. And I love your use of. Are there filters on Snapchat?
Ben: Stickers, filters… it’s quite entertaining.
Rachel: Stickers… oh my gosh! Okay.
Ben: I’m trying not to be that useless snapchat person who just like snapping photos of my food, but for example…
Rachel: Or your abs…
Ben: Yeah! Just this week I snapchatted how to do a clay mask on your face ‘cause twice a month I do a clay mask as an anti-aging technique for my face. I snapchatted workout you can do at a playground, I snapchatted a big change up I made to my morning routine and how to do these things called foundation exercises, I snapchatted some salad making tips, and this morning I snapchatted my workout as well as how to use a car buffer to enhance your morning poop. So, all sort of snaps. So, go over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/snapchat.
Did you just bark, Rachel?
Rachel: No! (laughs) My dog did.
Ben: (chuckles) Just making sure. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/snapchat. Check that out. But one of things that you’ll notice on this morning’s snapchat are the monkey kettlebells. Now, one of the workouts that I did during this morning’s workout was I did super slow sit-ups to a press with a sandbag, or also called a Sandbell, and I did, I follow that up, my power set was thrusters with a medicine ball throw against the side of my house which my wife loves ‘em you know, it’s 5:30am while I’m throwing medicine ball.
Rachel: Your beautiful house with your reclaimed wood…
Ben: Yeah, exactly. My recycled snow fencing on the exterior house that cause on my leg and I’m out throwing the ball against that you know, against the bedroom where my wife is sleeping this morning. And then I finished that up with an isometric squat holding these 2 kettlebells to my chest. I get most of the fitness gear that I just told you about over at, one of the sponsors for today’s podcast Onnit. You can get 5% off on any of that stuff. You can get 10% off on any of their supplements, all you do is you go to onnit.com/bengreefield. So you go to onnit.com/bengreenfield. You too can shop for monkey kettlebells. And if you have any questions about how to use that stuff, just go ahead and shoo me a message in Snapchat, or I also posted that workout to Instagram and from variation of that. So, all sorts of ways.
Rachel: Snapchat stories only last 24 hours.
Ben: Uhm, what was my Snapchat story in the last 24 hours?
Rachel: No! They only last 24 hours. All of that awesome stuff that you’re posting, have to be falling Ben to get it.
Ben: Aha, they only last 24 hours or until I decide that I wanted to delete them ‘cause I could delete them even earlier than that if I wanted to.
Rachel: Oh my god!
Ben: So, they can go away.
Ben: Okay. Also, after you workout, what is one thing that you want to put into your body, Rachel?
Rachel: Uhmmm, protein.
Ben: Protein. That’s right
Rachel: Yey! (laughs)
Ben: Actually, to tell you the truth that’s not entirely accurate. You can actually not eat for an extended period of time after workout and experience an increase in growth hormone and testosterone. The same as you don’t want to necessarily do like cold soak right after strength training routine ‘cause it can shutdown the anabolic response. Stuffing your face with protein right after workout could actually shutdown some of the growth hormone response to a workout. However, at some point during the day, you should work in some protein, and one of the more unique ways to do that is with cricket protein. And there is this company that doesn’t just make like the sweet tasting cricket protein bars that you may have heard of like coco and apple cinnamon, and banana bread but they also make flavors like mango curry coconut protein bars. Barbequed-flavored coconut protein bars, Mediterranean, did I say coconut protein? I mean, cricket protein.
Ben: But this company called Exo, E-x-o, they make protein bars using cricket flour. An extremely sustainable source of protein. You might be turning up your nose right now but I guarantee that if you actually try this, it will knock your socks off how good these things can taste. So, you can just try a big sampler pack of it. Just try it. This is using the puppy technique, handing you a puppy and just telling you, go home. Just a few days with this puppy and try it out. Same thing with crickets specifically eating them. Don’t eat puppies but eat crickets. (chuckles) Go to exoprotein.com/ben. That’s e-x-o protein dot com slash Ben, and when you go there, you can get a sampler pack that has all their most popular flavors and it’s less than 10 bucks, and it’s free shipping, and they send it straight to your house, and that’s like 33% off. So it’s a pretty good deal.
Rachel: Awesome deal.
Ben: Yup. So you can lift your monkey kettlebells and stuff your face with protein afterwards. A few quick things coming up on the calendar before moving to this week’s Q and A. So, if you are listening to this particular episode in July when it comes out, first of all, Natural Grocers. I’ll be down in Arizona for those of you in the Phoenix area speaking at Natural Grocers in 2 different locations in Gilbert and Phoenix, Arizona. We will put links to both of those locations, the times, the details, I’ll be doing book signings at both of those. I’m actually one of the spoke people for Natural Grocers now. So you’ll see me at Natural Grocers all over the nation this year and July (what are the dates), July 12th and 13th. I’ll be at natural Grocers down in Phoenix, so check that out, we’ll put that in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/354.
I will also be at the Spartan Race in Portland, Oregon on August 6th. For those of you who wanna join me, I’ll be doing the hurricane heat there, which is like the 4-hour hurricane heat that they do the night before the race, and then I’ll be doing the Spartan Sprint the next day. So if you’re gonna be at the Portland’s Spartan, come out and see me there.
And then finally, the Ancestral Health Symposium, the Ancestral Health Symposium is August 11th through the 13th, and I’ll be speaking and that’s at Boulder, Colorado and it’s a very, very cool, it’s quite geeky. It’s basically a bunch of scientist. Where you at Paleo FX, Rachel, right?
Rachel: I was, yeah.
Ben: That’s kinda like one big party. This is like one big lecture. So, it’s a little bit different.
Rachel: So I went to the right one then.
Ben: There’s still some good parties but basically AHS or what is also known as the Ancestral Home Symposium is a very good place to strap on your propeller hat and go learn a lot as far as like ancestral nutrition, ancestral fitness, ancestral lifestyles, I don’t know if I can say the word ancestral anymore than that. But, we’ll link to that over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/354. That’s one in Boulder, and then the entire rest of the county, if you ever wanna look ahead and kinda see where you could meet me or we can do a book signing, etcetera, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar and you’ll be able to get all the goodness there.
Listener Q and A:
David: Hey Ben, first I’d like to thank you for all the amazing information you’re providing on your podcast and through your website. Second, I’d like to ask you a question. It’s in relation to Dermatology. It being summer I started to spend a lot of time in the sun to make sure my vitamin D levels are on point. I rarely use sunscreen instead opting to titrate up my sun exposure as the season goes on. Lately I’m noticing that I’m not getting burned. I’m getting a nice coloring when I spend 1-2 hours out the sun, but I am seeing some freckle and mole growth. I’m curious if you could speak to how this happened and the mechanisms that drive the growth of moles and freckles and that sort of thing on the skin. Would be greatly appreciate it. Thank you.
Ben: Rachel, did you listen to my podcast with Deepak Chopra’s brother that came out last weekend?
Rachel: I haven’t yet. I’m sounding terrible.
Ben: Ah, you got to catch up. You got to listen to cancer podcast, you got to listen to that one. That one was about coffee.
Rachel: Well, 63 cups of coffee. Of course, I’m gonna listen to that.
Ben: Oh yeah, it was about coffee, vitamin D, eating more nuts, meditating etc. One of the things we talked about in that particular episode and that he highlights in his book is that you can get just with about 20 minutes of sun exposure to the major areas of your skin, kinda towards the middle of the day, you can get 25,000 units or up to 25,000 international units of vitamin D. That would assume that you’re a white person, that you don’t have as quite as much of the melanin on the skin which is going to inhibit a little bit of that vitamin D absorption, but basically it’s shockingly effective for vitamin D to spend time in the sun.
Rachel: And when you say sun exposure, what does that mean for a cloudy day?
Ben: You’re still going to get some UVA and UVV when you’re getting the sun through the clouds but typically you want direct exposure to the actual sunlight. But if anything, you go out at about noon. So, noon is when UVV and vitamin D production at the highest. So, when all of the articles like Prevention Magazine tell you that sun exposure should be avoided for 3-5 hours around noon and postpone to the afternoon, as I’ll tell you, that’s actually wrong. You wanna go out at about noon. That’s to enhance UVV and vitamin D production or technically between about 10AM and 2PM, that’s the best time. I actually like to go outside and have my lunch out in the sun when I can. So, that’s a perfect time to do it.
Rachel: Right, exactly.
Ben: I wanna get into a few more little tips about the sun and shutter some myths about the sun. But first, the issue with the freckles and the moles. This certainly relevant because skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, and it’s certainly something that if you play your cards right, you can decrease your risk of. And it doesn’t come down necessarily to staying out of the sun, we’ll get into that in a second, but the idea here is that there’s a definite difference between moles and freckles. So, basically when you’re looking at freckles, those are the small light brown patches. Those are just kinda develop from ultraviolet exposure in anybody who has fair skin. So, if you have freckles, that simply means that you’re getting a combination of UVA and UVV exposure. It does not mean that you’re getting too much UVA and UVV exposure. It’s simply a natural melanin expression, this little light brown patches and you’ll see many recommendations out there to slather a bunch of sunscreen on your kids if they start to get freckles, on your babies if they start to get freckles, that’s not necessarily the case, okay. That’s really not something that you necessarily need to worry about. Now, when you get to moles, moles are a little bit different. And of course, I’m not a ….uh.. (what do you call a skin doctor?)
Ben: Yeah, dermatologist. Thank you, Rachel. Thank you. Sometimes I’m at a lost for words. But melanoma is typically appears as new spots about, well over 60% of the time, but the rest of the time they appear within birthmarks or moles, and if you are aware of the number of moles that you have, and the size of those moles and you start to see a new mole that looks different than the rest of the moles, that’s when you want to pay attention. And you can actually, it’s interesting, people who don’t have many moles are at a lower risk for having skin cancer. So, if you’ve got somewhere in the range of like less than 20 moles, you’ve got a really low risk. But if you’ve got a mole count greater than 50, you have an extremely high risk of melanoma. And you know, that’s a pretty large mole count. I actually haven’t seen a lot of people who have like 50 moles.
Rachel: I have a question.
Rachel: How do you distinguish a freckle from a mole? ‘Cause some of my freckles look a lot like moles.
Ben: Moles are like large dark spots, and again we’re gonna have dermatologist like leaping and screaming right now. Go read…
Rachel: Comments, yeah.
Ben: Go leave a comment. That’s what the comments are for, but yeah, moles typically the ones that you wanna worry about is they’re asymmetric, okay. So, you’d wanna worry from mole is not a perfect circle. If you can’t draw a line down the middle and match it both sides, right, an asymmetric mole, that’s something you wanna worry about.
Moles with fuzzy or ill-defined borders, that’s also something you’d wanna worry about. That’s potentially a melanoma. Moles with different irregular colors throughout or too toned moles, right, like moles that aren’t the same color throughout. That’s another thing you’d wanna worry about. Say case, little stick up on the skin a little bit, they’ll be a little fuzzy, they’ll be asymmetric, definitely moles that are big. Anything bigger than about 6 millimeters in terms of a mole, that’s when you’d want to start to worry. And then, moles that are changing, right, like moles shouldn’t change. It’s just be there and stay the same, but if you’re nursing a mole change in size or color or diameter, or shape or anything like that, that’s something to worry about. So, that’s kinda idea with moles.
And so, the answer is, it depends like a low number of symmetric moles that aren’t changing color, that aren’t changing size, that aren’t changing borders, you really don’t need to worry that much at all. And you also don’t need to worry about the little light brown patch freckles that can develop just from normal UVA and UVV exposure. What you need to worry about is what I just talked about. Does that make sense?
Rachel: It does make sense, yeah.
Ben: Okay. So, the idea here though if we get into radiation ‘cause I can’t talk about sun without mentioning this. The interesting thing is that first of all, we know that living in areas that get more UV radiation, that seems to be protective against the host of different cancers: prostate, lung, colorectal, leukemia cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, lymphoid cancer, etc. We know that in areas where people get UV radiation, it’s actually protective against those kinds of cancers.
Now, this may have something to do with what I mentioned in about mitochondria and how taking care of your mitochondria especially good exposure to light and the outdoors and frequencies of light may actually help with mitochondria. But when you look at skin cancers and at melanomas, typically there’s a lot of little facts that kinda muddy this neat tidy relationship between the sun and skin cancer. So for example, vitamin D that you get produced in response to UVV exposure, that’s kills melanoma cells and if you have vitamin D levels between about 40-80 nmol per liter if you test your blood vitamin D between 40 and 80, that’s actually optimal for protection against melanomas.
There are also studies that show that smart sun exposure has really good beneficial anti-cancer effects and anti-cancer effects at the skin level. And the idea behind this is that you’ve got RNA’s in your skin cells, and some of those RNA’s are non-coding RNA. They don’t synthesize protein. RNA would normally synthesize proteins. Some of it is non-coding, some of it does not synthesize proteins, and when DNA is produced in skin cells, it triggers these non-coding RNA to go into protective mode and that actually reduces their potential for cancer, and it induces what’s called tumor suppression. And so the idea is that when we get exposed to a good combination of UVA and UVV from the sun, it can actually decrease cancer risk by increasing vitamin D and by also causing these non-coding RNA to go into protective mode. So, go ahead…
Rachel: One question I have is, I mean, I grow up on the sunshine coast where the sun shines strong 365 days a year and most people, that’s not an office job kind of lifestyle, there’s no kind of corporate, it’s just straight coast. We worked on the beach, people are lifeguards, tradesmen, and so they’re getting kind of intense sun exposure for you know, 8 to 10 hours a day, so 365 days a year. So, is there such thing as overexposure and how does that impact skin cancer?
Ben: Well actually, occupational sun exposure, lifetime sun exposures actually associated with a lower risk of melanoma and outdoor workers are people who spend lots of time in the sun on a regular consistent basis, that’s actually associated with a lower rate of melanoma.
Rachel: So interesting…
Ben: The type of sun exposure associated with the higher risk of melanoma is recreational sun exposure. Meaning, you don’t go out in the sun and then you go out on a Saturday, and you get burnt, that’s actually associated with the greater melanoma risk even if that person might be spending literally 40 fewer hours in the sun that week than the occupational worker whose outdoors.
Ben: So that’s a biggie. So, in terms of how this placed out on a practical level. First of all, you need to get a combination of UVA and UVV. Okay, standing in front of your window or having an office or a car that has sun coming through, that blocks UVV. You’re only getting UVA. That actually increases your risk of skin cancer, and burning. So you need a combination of UVA and UVV. Meaning you actually need actual sunlight, even many of these tanning booze, they’ll produce excessive amounts of UVA and not a lot of UVV.
And so, you need to get natural exposure to radiation not artificial exposure to radiation or radiation that’s filtered through a window. You need a base tan. People who carry a base tan a lot during the year have a lower risk of melanoma because they’re less likely to burn. Burning is bad. I think most people know that if you get a skin burn that does indeed increase your risk of melanoma, but if you, like I mentioned with occupational workers spend a lot of time in the sun consistently and never get pasty whites, you never have to get burn, that’s actually good when it comes to decreasing risk for melanoma.
Like I mentioned, go out between 10Am and 2PM to maximize the amount of benefit that you get from the sun, from a vitamin D standpoint. Another thing is that they found that if a single body part is exposed to the sun, that one single body part if it’s exposed more than others, has a greater risk for melanoma. So, I’ll even do this. This sound stupid but when I’m eating, I’ll face one direction for half of my salad, and then I’ll turn and face the other direction for half of my salad ‘cause during summers I eat out of my patio.
Ben: I’m actually conscious to get you know, it’s not just esthetic wanting to look good on Snapchat with my nice…
Rachel: Completely even tan.
Ben: Symmetric non-farmer’s tan. It’s actually that I don’t want one specific body part to get more sun than the others. ‘Cause that’s one of the things that increases risk.
Rachel: And another place that this could show up is what we call in Australia ‘trucker’s arm’ where if you drive a lot and you have your kinda right arm on the door and the sun is beating down on for and all of a sudden that gets a tan and sun exposure and nothing else on your body does. We call it ‘trucker’s arm’ and that kinda become dangerous.
Ben: Yup, yup. Exactly. And then just take care of your skin. And some of the best things that you can do to take care of your skin: lycopene, that’s really, really good for the skin interestingly nature gives us clues. So right like, egg yolks are good for your eyes, and they look like an eye, walnuts are good for your brain, and they look like a little brain, and celery is actually good for erection, avocados are good for drive and they look like little testicles, raw tomatoes, the skin of tomatoes that looks like kinda like a sunburn, a little bit, right?
Ben: So, a little bit of lycopene, that’s a good one. So cooked tomatoes is really good especially during the summer, astaxanthin. So the fish oil that I use is called Super Essentials and it’s not a clear fish oil. It’s like blackish-red because there’s a bunch of astaxanthin in it, and when I used to go race Ironman Hawaii, I would load with 10-15 grams of astaxanthin per day leading up to that race because they’ve actually shown that that works almost like an internal sunscreen. So that’s another one that you definitely want to go out of your way to use if you’re concerned about excess sun exposure or melanoma, maybe you’re one of those people who has more than 50 moles for example.
Ben: And then any fats. Alright, saturated fats, mono-unsaturated fats, etc., fats that are a little bit skewed towards omega 3s. They actually did a study in Australia, Rachel, they’ve found that people who had the highest concentrations of DHA and EPA had the lowest levels of what is called cutaneous P53 expression. And cutaneous P53 expression is something that your skin upregulates in response to damage from the sun, and it can lead to melanoma. And the idea here is that good levels of omega 3 fatty acids actually drops that cutaneous P53 expression. So, spirulina, chlorella, fish oil, cold water fish, stuff like that.
And then the last thing would be of course antioxidants. And I’m getting a guy on a show whose talking about vegetables and how especially perennial vegetables tend to be really, really high in a lot of the type of antioxidants that can protect us from radiation damage, and so, we’re talking about things that have rhizomes and roots, you know, things like ginger for example or color greens, things along those lines that would be considered perennial type of vegetables or herbs. Those are really, really good to include in your diet. And if you wanted to get a jumpstart on that podcast, there’s a book called “How to Eat More Vegetables” by a doctor named Dr. Thomas Cowan, C-o-w-a-n. And he delves into some of the cool things about vegetables. I folded over a lot of pages in that book and I contacted him afterwards, I said come on the show and show the stuff with us. But in the meantime, eat your vegetables, get your omega 3s, get your fish oil, get your astaxanthin, eat some tomatoes, and some celeries and avocados of course too, now we know why. And that is, that’s what I would say to you David.
Claire: Hi, this is Claire from Bangor, Northern Ireland. Myself, my husband, enjoy using the sauna and steamer for hypothermic conditioning after a gym workout. Would this be detrimental to your chances of conceiving a child? Also, any biohacks for helping two 40+ year old’s to conceive? Many thanks and love the podcast.
Ben: Well, I can tell you one thing that that shrink your sperm, Rachel.
Rachel: Wearing super tight underwear?
Ben: Not your sperm. I don’t think you have sperm.
Rachel: I don’t have sperm. No.
Ben: Yeah. Super tight underwear can do it actually. But Tim Ferriss who’s been on the show a couple of times…
Rachel: Uhm. Tim Ferriss shrinks his sperm?
Ben: Yeah, he shrinks his sperm. (chuckles) Tim Ferriss shrink his sperm. Heard on the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast.
Rachel: Tweet in that a day.
Ben: No. In The 4-Hour Body, he actually goes into a little self-experiment that he did in which he carried around a cellphone in his pocket, and compared his sperm count when he didn’t carry around a cellphone in his pocket and found that just having a cellphone in your pocket significantly reduces sperm production. So…
Rachel: How did he eliminate all of the other variables?
Ben: I don’t know, but there are other studies that seem to backup what he says in terms of a link between cellphones and infertility. So, more on that in a second, and in terms of other things that can either increase or decrease your sperm count.
But one of the things, when we talk about saunas for example is that there is a definite effect. So they actually did one study over in Finland, of all places they do a sauna study. Imagine that.
Rachel: Did you the word ‘sauna’ comes? It’s actually a Finnish word.
Ben: Uh right, I spent my third time in Finnish saunas. I’ll be going back over to Helsinki for the Biohacker’s Summit. If anyone who would like to join me. I remember probably one of the highlights of that was there about, I believe at one time nearly 20 of us men and women, all naked shoved into a sauna out in, it was the royal, it was like called the King’s Sauna or something like that, and we were basically going into the sauna and then like running down the dock, buck naked, jumping into the Baltic sea, and then running back and getting in the sauna. It’s the most…
Rachel: Sounds incredible.
Ben: It’s the most skin and bouncin’, and boobs and balls…
Rachel: (laughs) Just a lot of bouncing.
Ben: Skin bounce, booba jimballs and the ball… Anyways though, the idea is that they did this study and participants did a 3 months sauna regimen. They did 15 minutes sauna sessions, so not that long, they did it twice a week. They provided blood and semen samples at each point in the study. They had their scrotal temperature recorded before and after each session. And that of course makes the sauna session very relaxing when you know that your scrotal temperature is being measured right before and after each of your sessions.
They showed that participant’s sperm counts and sperm concentration were significantly lower at the end of the 3-months sauna regimen, and they remained low for 3 months after these gentlemen had finished their twice a week sauna experiment. And after those 6 months total, sperm production went back up to normal levels, so it wasn’t permanent damage but the higher temperature definitely interfered with sperm production and regular exposure to sauna in this and other studies has been shown to lead to reduced sperm count, so.
Rachel: And I’d imagine, is that the same for cold, really cold temperatures?
Ben: No. It’s not the same for cold.
Ben: So your testicles hang down from your body in order to stay cool.
Rachel: They do?
Ben: They do. They hang down from your… what do you mean, they… I’ll show you a picture of a naked man sometime Rachel.
Rachel: (laughs) Are we gonna do the birds and the bees?
Ben: We are. The testicles hang down from the body to cool the testicles. And so, a cool testicle is actually able to produce sperm more efficiently. And once they get heated, by just a few degrees less than 5 degrees, sperm production will decline. That’s why sperm production can also get reduced when you wear tight pants, right, ‘cause it keeps the testicles from hanging down. When you use hot tubs frequently, even when you keep a laptop in your lap for prolong period or a cellphone in your pocket. All of these can increase the temperature of the sperm. That’s why studies have shown that sperm productions highest in the winter. Like if you wanna conceive, the best time to go about doing your business is in the winter. Plus it helps keep both you and your partner warm. So, there’s that benefit as well.
But the idea is that the shape and the speed of the sperm itself, the motility of the sperm may also be affected by the heat. So, it’s just not the production but it’s actually the quality of the sperm itself. So, definitely you wanna keep your testicles away from saunas and other heated environments for several months prior to whenever it is that you plan on conceiving.
But there are quite a few other things that you can do, and I’ll put a link in the show notes to 50 ways to boost your sperm count. There’s actually an article that goes in the 50 Ways to Boost your Sperm Count. You wanna hear some of the most interesting ones, Rachel?
Rachel: I love to!
Ben: Uhm, alright. Men and women who want to conceive, listen carefully. You want to avoid plastics and canned foods. BPA and phthalates that you find in plastic foods and canned foods like the non-BPA free ones, those have been shown for many, many years like the 60s to decrease sperm count. Even plastic receipts that you get from a gas station or grocery store, those have BPA levels or they’re shown that people who handle those have BPA levels 10 times higher when they’re simply handling unused… they’d actually did a study where they got a bunch of people to handle unused receipts and then eat a basket of French fries and they’d showed that after that test they had BPA levels that were 10 times higher than when they started. So, that’s something to be careful with.
Uhm, and uh, what are the few other ones that you’d wanna be careful with. Marijuana, studies have shown that marijuana smokers have less seminal fluid and a decreased sperm count. So, you would want to if you’re trying to conceive to be careful with smoking marijuana or using any form of marijuana really, in general. Wifi, I mentioned laptops but they’ve actually shown that wifi exposure can cause 1 quarter of sperm to stop swimming.
Ben: And it cause a significant decrease in sperm count. So, wifi, not just laptops but wifi itself can be significantly damaging. Unfortunately for all of you triathletes and cyclists out there, they have indeed shown that there was an inverse relationship between the shape of the sperm head, the tail, and the body of what are called the spermatozoids and the hours that one spends cycling per week. So, that would be another one to be careful with, would be long periods of time. Now do they make bikes saddles that have a little hole in the middle, so that would be one.
Rachel: That the balls can hang down.
Ben: Yup , exactly, exactly. And then, there are things that can increase sperm count, right, so lycopene like I just mentioned that you’ll gonna find in red fruits like tomatoes and also strawberries and cherries and peppers, those all increase the mobility and the morphology and the volume of sperm. As does cold showers which we’re all a fan of here at Ben Greenfield fitness.
Rachel: Just had one.
Ben: So, yeah! Just had one. So your sperm count is quite high I’m sure.
Rachel: Really high.
Ben: Right now, yeah.
Rachel: Anyone wanna make babies? (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Said Rachel. And there’s lots of quotables on today’s show. Eat garlic. So garlic is a natural aphrodisiac, a sexual superfood but it’s got selenium and allicin, and a lot of different antioxidants in it that assist with sperm count. Dark chocolate is another, oysters is another, asparagus is another, bananas are another, walnuts are another, pumpkin seeds are another, soy is not. Soy actually decreases sperm counts specifically unfermented soy. So that would be like tofu, soy milk, things along those lines.
Now, I will link to this full article in the show notes ‘cause it even delves into supplements like ginseng and maca, for as different like herbal supplements to increase sperm count. I would imagine if you did everything in this article, you know, take yourself from out of your pocket, stay out of the hot tub, take colds showers, eat tomatoes and walnuts, take ginseng, blah, blah, blah, you would probably have oddles and oddles of children. Triplets, quadruplets, the list goes on, but I’ll to that in the show notes for you and then perhaps you can send me some of you of your children for a trade ‘cause you’re gonna have a lot of ‘em in your hands.
Rick: Hey Ben, this is Rick. Just want to say, absolutely love listening to the podcast as I work on our family farm. And just also want to tell you thanks for causing me to reevaluate how I use fatty coffees in my diet since I know that I have high cholesterol. And then, testing it just tryin’ to see you know, like where it’s at as far as particle size and all the ins and outs of the cholesterol, and I just told today that I do have a really high count of the small particle size. The ones that need to worry about sticking to my arteries and causing problems, and I have a, my 9-year old son where he was just in for a yearly checkup and they tested his cholesterol. And they’re, doctors all been out of shape about his cholesterol being elevated and high, and tellin’ us that if we don’t get a handle on it, in the next 6 months that they wanna put him on Statin drugs.
And Statin drugs is something that I went on 10 years ago, and didn’t take ‘em very long because of the side effects, and that something my wife and I wouldn’t, we refuse to put him on just because of the side effects and just the complications that can come from that. And so, just trying to, just figure out, just, if you have any recommendations on like how we can stack the deck in my favor and my son’s favor just as we navigate just the health care system and just how to live a long and healthy life as we fight this elevated cholesterol levels that has not faired too well for my uncles, and great uncles and just look into, just trying to figure out how to just live a long, healthy life, and avoid those nasty Statin drugs.
Ben: Oh Rachel, I’m afraid we’re back to genes.
Rachel: Oh here we are again! All comes back to genes.
Ben: Not the Ti genes, not the Ti genes that we are use in sperm count. The genes with the G.
Rachel: You beat me to it.
Ben: And I’m not a doctor. This is not to be misconstrued as medical advice, blah, blah, blah, but Rick and his son, you know, it is likely that they may have the gene responsible for causing you to have what’s called familial hypercholesterolemia. So, there is a specific gene in the body called the Apoe gene, A-p-o-e, the Apoe gene.
An Apoe is a protein. It’s a component of lipoproteins, and lipoproteins are the particles that transport fats like cholesterol and triglycerides around the body and not everybody has the same type of apoe or the same type of apoe gene. There’s a bunch of different versions of the gene and the three most common versions E2, E3, and E4, and depending on which of those genes you have, you’re gonna have really small differences in the apoe protein but those differences are going to significantly alter the activity of that protein and the lipoproteins and the facts that they are transporting around the body. So, for example, there is a form of that gene that is called the E4E4 genotype, okay, the apoe E4E4 genotype and that particular genotype combination has been shown to give one an extremely increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A 3 to 5 fold increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease and it’s also been shown that that particular gene causes one to carry a lot of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
And you’ll find in modern medicine you know, many folks who have this apoe E4E4 genotype, they’re prescribed cholesterol lowering statin drugs because cholesterol skyrockets. And these people’s cholesterol, they’ll go, it will be elevated in even the absence of say like a high fat diet but it will go even higher in response to a high fat diet, and this may be the portion of the population that might need to be careful eating a lot of fats in general, right, like not just saturated fats but also mono-unsaturated fats, and poly-unsaturated fats. So, this is a case where you know we talked about genetic prescription for exercise, this may be the case where there’s also a genetic prescription for nutrition. And these people have this, this apoe E4E4 gene which is possible in Rick’s case. Might need to make some pretty significant dietary modifications.
Now, when it comes to dietary management of familial hypercholesterolemia, one of the things that I think we should look at is Papua New Guinea, okay, the island of Papua New Guinea. The reason for that is that most of the folks over there have this E4E4 gene, but the crazy thing is, cardiac death, stroke, exertion related chest pain, instance of Alzheimer’s, the list goes on and on, they don’t actually occur in the Catawba people in Papua New Guinea. And so, when we take this folks who have this gene in the typical Western or the typical America will actually cost some really significant issues; Alzheimer’s and cholesterol related, cardiovascular issues, plaque formation etcetera, we don’t see that in the same population while we should take a look at what it is that they’re eating.
Rachel: Yeah. What are they eating? Tell me.
Ben: When we take a look at their diet, it is not a high fat, low carb diet. It is a low fat, low cholesterol, high carbohydrate diet. The fats that they are consuming are mostly saturated because they’re coming from coconut, some of it is from fish, the carbohydrate comes from primarily starchy tubers, right, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, things like that, and a little bit of the carbohydrates come from fruit. It’s what the Kitavan diet, k-i-t-a-v-a-n diet, and they use dietary staples like I mentioned like tubers, yams, sweet potato, and taro. They use fruit, they use fish, they use coconut. What are they not use? They do not use dairy products, they really don’t use much alcohol or coffee or tea at all. I don’t necessarily think that the absence of coffee and tea is doing them any favors, the absence of alcohol especially like sweetened alcohol beverages is probably doing them some favors, the absence of dairy products may indeed be doing them some favors as far as controlling insulin levels. But they’ve actually noted that in response to this diet, this folks do not have this deleterious response to a gene that would probably normally not doing them any favors.
Now, one of the other things, I’m gonna link to a fascinating very geeked out podcast by guy who’ve had on the show before, Chris Masterjohn. In his podcast episode number 16, he talks about the best way to get to the root of the problem in familial hypercholesterolemia. And he said that what you’re really trying to do is you’re trying to upregulate the expression of what are called the LDL receptors, right, so you’re able to clear cholesterol from the bloodstream more quickly. And he talks about in addition to eating a low fat, high carbohydrate diet comprise of plenty of natural vegetables and plant-based matter with limited amounts of thing like coconut and fish.
The other things that you should do is, the other thing really that’s very important to do is to maximize the biological activity of thyroid hormone because there is a direct correlation between taking care of your thyroid and decrease risk of having high cholesterol be damaging to you. So we’re talking about me and making sure you get things like selenium and iodine, making sure you avoid things that might potentially damage the thyroid like say gluten, right, which is why you see the Kitavan’s perhaps getting more of their starches from tubers and fruits, and not necessarily breads and gluten containing grains. And so ultimately, it would appear that for Rick and doing something like ketosis diet might not be the best thing. Doing something more like the type of diet that these folks in Papua New Guinea are doing that might be a little bit smarter move in addition to keeping a finger on the pulse of your thyroid and taking care of your thyroid, and I will link to that podcast called The Daily Lipid. I’ll link to that particular episode as well so that Rick can take a listen to that to really delve into the details of how to manage this what’s called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia or Apoe E4E4 gene.
Rachel: Do you think you should get tested for the gene first?
Ben: Oh absolutely, absolutely. I would imagine he probably has been tested but if not I’d test for it anyways because you know, I would have it a guess that I bet you money, Rick. Let’s make a bet right here on the show, 100 bucks on your first born child.
Ben: Maybe this, 9 year old, you speak out that you probably have that gene. And again, I’m not a doctor, this is not to be misconstrued as medical advice, I’m just sayin’. So, that’s my recommendation and I’m stickin’ to it.
Gina: Hi Ben, my name is Gina. Long time listener and actually you read a couple of questions of my [1:32:07] podcast, so thank you very much that you do. My new question is that I’ve been recently diagnosed with the fact that I grind my teeth at night. And as you might know the Western medicine only solution to that is to design a plastic thing that I put in my mouth at night. So I’m still grinding my teeth, I’m just not grinding my enamel, I’m grinding on that plastic thing. And if you Google online, their recommendations they give you is to reduce the use of caffeine, and reduce the use of alcohol, and reduce your level of stress. I’m working on all those 3 things. I actually recently quit coffee, so I’m drinking very little caffeine. My alcohol consumption is also limited to a couple of glasses of wine in the weekend and well, with stress, you know, you can do all the limitation you want but I don’t think I have a zero stress life. Anyway, I’m just curious if there’s anything else you’ve heard of or anything else I can do to help me solve this. Thank you so much. Bye.
Ben: You know, I have a story about tossing and turning in ones bed. That doesn’t still involve teeth grinding but the first time that I think I can ever remember my kid came into my bedroom in the wee hours of the morning. I’m a very lucky guy, my kids never wake me up in the morning, but River showed up in the bed this morning and he walked in like 5AM. I think ‘cause he had soccer camp today. He was really excited and he said he couldn’t sleep. And of course he collapses in bed next to me and falls asleep. But he thrushes in his sleep. He kicked me, and I’m not saying this to be crass and he keep the balls discussion going on but he kicked me in the balls, full on, 3 times. Finally, I got out of bed. So you know, that’s why I was out in the driveway doing a kettlebell workout in the wee hours. But he does not grind his teeth, he obviously has other ball kicking issues, but a lot of people do, grind their teeth.
Rachel: Yeah, in their sleep. Uhm.
Ben: And I’m not gonna insult Gina’s intelligence by telling her to decrease stress ‘cause she’s obviously aware of that. She’s quit coffee, she’s limited alcohol consumption, she’s doing everything she can about stress, and stress is indeed typically stress and anxiety are the number things that cause teeth grinding during the night. You know, and everything from what we’ve talked about stress so much, right, like diffusing lavender essential oil or using CBD extract, or doing yoga before bed, things like you know, anything that can decrease stress and anxiety. Of course, that’s gonna be important ‘cause you don’t want chipped enamel and crude wind down teeth and cracked teeth.
Rachel: And well, the other thing is it can just be clenching your jaw not necessarily grinding your teeth. So even if you’re not a teeth grinder in your sleep ‘cause no one’s ever heard you do it you could still be sort of clenching you jaw pretty solidly.
Ben: Yup, and that leads me to my first recommendation. And this would be for anyone really, I sleep like a baby after I do this. And I’ll link to the YouTube video that I just uploaded in YouTube last week on how to do this but this is jaw realignment. Self-jaw realignment or actually Tracie, my massage therapist is coming over tonight. She comes over in the evening like 8, 8:30 at night. So my massage finishes up like right before I go to bed. It’s amazing! I put on my biomat, I put in on top of her massage table, and I lay on the biomat, I get infrared therapy from my biomat while she does like the jaw therapy, and I have reduced… like there are things I can do myself. Like I can foam roll my calves and I can get adhesions out of my IT Band but she does little areas, right, like she’ll do like my abdominals, right, like it’s really hard for me to detail work on my abdominals and she’ll do for example, like right underneath in the meat of my armpit, in that teeth grindingly tender area but it makes your shoulders fell so wide and open, and she then does the jaw and let all the craniosacral work.
And what you’ll find is that all that moving around when you get craniosacral work, that actually causes the plates in the skull to shift and adjust and this can help to treat teeth grinding because you release a lot of the tension that occurs in the cranium and so this craniosacral therapy and jaw realignment, I highly recommend that for any, not just teeth grinders but anybody who wants better sleep. And if you get it at least once a week, well worth it in my opinion, so. And it also, speaking of the vagus nerve, stimulates the vagus nerve. So there’s that.
Rachel: Yeah. And so you did that on yourself? You do some sort of….
Ben: Uhmm. Yeah, you can find tight areas in your jaw and pin those with your fingers and then open your jaw until your fingers kinda slip off that pinned area and then close your jaw, and you can do that over and over again in different areas of your mouth perfectly on both sides. But watch that video that I’ll link to over in the show notes.
The other things that I would recommend, first of all, mineral deficiency. Teeth grinding is associated with mineral deficiencies not just calcium but a lot of different minerals and you might need to add things like calcium and magnesium, and zinc but also I recommend the extensive use of things like Himalayan rock salt or Aztec salt or any of these forms of salt that are really, really high in a wide variety of minerals. You can also use trace liquid minerals. For example, ones of the ones that I have now and once you hear this weekend’s podcast, you’ll know why I’ve recently doubled my intake of minerals but I use this Natural Vitality plant-sourced traced liquid minerals so they’ve got lots of what’s called humic acid and fulvic acids in them and those support your body’s natural detox processes, but they’ve also got basically natural purified water extraction of plant-based mineral in a really, really high concentration. They’re sourced from this pre-historic plant deposit called senonian vegetate.
This is mineral-rich organic soil derived from plants and plant breakdown and they bottles this stuff and it’s called Plant-sourced Minerals, made by this company called Natural Vitality. I’ll link to that in the show notes but you can get out at a shot glass, right, the same one that you take your vodka in the evenings, and you can do a shot of trace liquid minerals a few time during the day. You can top that into a glass of water for along with liberal salting of the foods and of course consumption of mineral-rich foods and several mineral-rich would be things like sesame seeds and chia seeds, almond, bokchoy is really good, broccoli and turnip greens are really good. A lot of different forms of fish is really good. So, I would definitely include those in the diet as well.
And then the last thing I would mention is get a gut panel. This is kind sound really nasty but once I came back from Thailand, from racing triathlons in Thailand with parasites, and I didn’t know what the time. I got tested and I worked with a Chinese herbologist to get rid of the parasites. But every two weeks I would wake like clockwork and I later find out that when you have parasites, they actually they hatch according to the cycle of the moon, and this is really nasty but you wake up when they’re like hatching inside you, like you have like insomnia but it can cause teeth grinding, it can cause mood swings, and it’s weird, it’s like you have these creatures living on a cycle inside you. And in this case I started on this nasty, nasty tasting like Chinese herbal protocol and got rid of them. I had like this nasty weird like mucus filled poops for several weeks and then they were just gone.
Rachel: They worked.
Ben: So, looking into that, you can get a gut panel. I’ll put a link to a gut panel. You wanna do a gut panel this morning just like one poop, there’s a 3 day gut panel and that will ensure that you’re not just getting a snapshot at which time the parasites might get missed in the poop. You wanna poop lots, you wanna pop poop for 3 days in a row, and send it all on these little tubes off to the lab, and find it if you got any critters in your gut ‘cause interestingly that can affect your sleep and your teeth grinding.
And the cool thing is everything I just mentioned, if you don’t grind your teeth, right, it can help you sleep. Addressing mineral deficiencies can help you sleep. Fixing your jaw can help you sleep and definitely, destroying the little wormies and your gut can help you sleep. So, I think that is a perfect place parasites to end today’s massive podcast or at least to get close to ending it. What do you think?
Rachel: Couple more things.
Ben: Couple more things. We wanna do a giveaway, don’t we?
Rachel: Of course, it’s the best part.
Ben: Okay. So here’s the best part of the podcast. So, if you leave us a review on iTunes, if you dig the show, the effort we put into, the massive attempts we go through to either gross you out and more educate you, leave us a positive review on iTunes, ah five stars, if you have it in the goodness of your heart, along with saying something nice, and if you hear your review read on the show, all you need to do is email [email protected], that’s [email protected], include your t-shirt size and will send you a cool t-shirt, Ben Greenfield fitness water bottle, a beanie, all sorts of cool stuff. So, check that out on iTunes, and we have a review left today by Super Moo Doo. Wanna take this one away, Rachel?
Rachel: Yeah. The title is: Master Class in Life. And it’s 5 stars. Thanks Super Moo Doo! “This is the perfect combo of informative, unbiased, life-hacking genius I regret not finding in my teens! At a month from 40 years old, I can silently hunt any personal mid-life crisis put it down with my recurve takedown bow, and harvest it’s organs for all that vitamin and bio-available goodness. With a self-grown organic kale salad of course! Purely life changing!”
Ben: Wow! He kinda kiss up to both of us with that.
Rachel: Yeah! He did every….
Ben: To you with your organic kale salad…
Ben: To me with… yeah…
Rachel: Harvesting of the organs…
Ben: I don’t shoot a recurve bow, I shoot a compound but I do appreciate the gesture. Yeah, that’s awesome! Awesome review, awesome for a guy being at a month from 40 years old. I don’t know if you could suddenly hunt down any personal mid-life crisis. This podcast may not contrary to popular belief keep you from purchasing a Ferrari in mid-life or from going nuts on hookers or cocaine or from finding a new religion, but…
Rachel: But hopefully it does help, at least prevent all of those things.
Ben: well, at least teachin’ how to not shrink your sperm.
Ben: So, and how to biohack yourself like a professional athlete.
Rachel: And why your balls hang.
Ben: That’s right. All that and much more! Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/354, for the epic show notes to today’s episode and Rachel, thanks for putting up with all my peppermint-ey goodness this morning!
Rachel: I loved it! Thanks for having me.
Ben: You’re welcome! I’m gonna go breathe my plasma air purified air here. And recover a bit more from my massive kettlebell workout. So, enjoy the rest of your day!
Rachel: You too!
Ben: Alright folks, thanks for listening in. Have a healthy week!
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast. Go to bengreenfielfitness.com for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.
June 29, 2016 Podcast: 354: Grow Muscles Faster, Pro Athlete Biohacks, Living Long With High Cholesterol & 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.
- Ben is using a mini air purifier.
- The rise and fall of Theranos: so many lessons in a drop of blood
- Want a muscle to grow faster? “pre-exhaust” the slow-twitch fibers prior to strength training – and check out the book “Neuromass” by Jon Bruney.
- I’m guessing this has something to do with negative ions/grounding/earthing effect…try some EarthRunners perhaps?
- Yet another very good reason to camp and hunt (massive fat loss) this study ROCKS.
- This mitochondrial lesson is EXACTLY why I have “go fast” and “go slow” in my Look Good Naked/Longevity plan.
- I’m glad the NBA is finally catching on to all our “weirdo” biohacks.
- Another NBA biohack – transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) – professional athletes seem to be early adopters of what we scoff at.
- HIGHLY recommend you pay attention to the vagal nerve tips from @drjackkruse in this excellent article.
- After stopping marathoning @ryanhall3 is looking pretty bad ass, isn’t he?
- What do you think is better for the body? Hard, hard 5K or long, long marathon? Here’s a clue.
- Training in Line W/ Your Genetic Potential Can Boost Your Performance Gains More Than 600%, DNAFit™ Studies Say. Here is where to get DNAFit test for yourself.
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July 8-10, 2016: Join SEALFit and Ben Greenfield for a SEALFit 20X event at Ben Greenfield’s home in Spokane, WA – combined with Obstacle Course training with Ben Greenfield and Hunter McIntyre. Get all details here and get in soon because this one will fill up fast!
July 12, 2016: Ben is speaking on “Shattering Fat Loss and Diet Myths” at the Natural Grocers store in Gilbert, AZ from 6-7pm. Click here for details!
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August 11-13, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS) in Boulder, Colorado. AHS is a historic three-day event created to unite the ancestral health movement and to foster collaboration among scientists, health professionals, and laypersons who study and communicate about health from an evolutionary perspective to develop solutions to our health challenges. Click here to learn more or to register now.
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As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.
How Much Sun Is Too Much?
David says: Firstly, thank you for all the great information you provide. Secondly, he has a question in relation to dermatology. Being summer, he’s started to spend more time in the sun to make sure his vitamin D levels are on point. He rarely uses sunscreen, instead deciding to titrate up his sun exposure as the season goes on. Lately he’s been noticing he’s not getting burnt but developing nice coloring when he spends 1-2 hours in the sun. However, he is noticing a growth in freckles and moles. Can you speak to how this happens and the mechanisms that drive the growth of moles and freckles on the skin.
In my response, I recommend:
Does A Sauna Shrink Your Sperm?
Claire says: Claire is from Northern Ireland and her and her husband like to use the sauna and steam for hypothermic conditioning after a gym workout. Could this be detrimental to trying to convince a child? Also, any biohacks for two 40+ years old’s trying to conceive?
How To Live Long If Your Cholesterol Level Are High
Rick says: He loves listening to the podcast, and thanks for causing him to re-evaluate how he uses fatty coffee in his diet as he knows he has high cholesterol. He’s been testing and trying to see where it’s at as far as particle size goes, and was told today he has high count of small particles size, the ones that cause problems. His 9 year old son was in for his yearly checkup and they tested his cholesterol and it was also high. The doctor said if they don’t get a handle on it in the next 6 months they want to put him on statan drugs, which Rick went on 10 years ago and experienced bad side effects. They refuse to put their child on it, so they’re just trying to figure out how to stack the deck in their favor as they navigate the healthcare system. Any advice on how to live a long and healthy live with the elevated cholesterol levels?
In my response, I recommend:
–The Daily Lipid Podcast Episode 16: Dietary Management of Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HeFH)
How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth
Gina says: She’s a long time listener. She was recently diagnosed with grinding her teeth at night, and western medicine’s only solution to that is to design a plastic mouth guard, so she’s still grinding her teeth, just not on the enamel. If you google the average recommendations are reduce caffeine, alcohol and levels of stress, and she’s already working on all three. She’s quit coffee, alcohol consumption is limited and she’s doing everything she can about stress. Is there anything else you’ve heard of that can help her solve this?