[0:04:10] News Flashes
[0:26:42] Listener Q & A/Joint Health Biohacks
[0:37:55] Increasing Body Symmetry
[0:47:30] Best Warmups and Cooldowns
[0:59:00] Healing Nerve Damage
[01:08:19] Five Star Review and Giveaways
Introduction: In this episode of the .Ben Greenfield Fitness show: the best biohacks for joint health, the best warm-ups and cool-downs, how to increase your body symmetry, healing nerve damage, and much more.
Ben: Well Brock, I made a drastic alteration to my morning routine this morning.
Brock: Oh. Did you hit snooze and order waffles, room service waffles?
Ben: I always do that. That wouldn’t be breaking my routine.
Ben: What I did do though was based on all of this talk, we’re even talking about this today, of intermittent fasting, and longevity, and ketones as a calorie restriction mimicker, and all these things that happen when you perhaps skip your, and I’m not saying I do this, well, I do this.
Ben: Skip your 800 to 1000 calorie big-ass smoothie in the morning and instead opt for a cup of caffeine and ketones with a little bit of oils and things thrown in.
Ben: I’m going to see how I fare. In the past, I’ve tried that strategy. And by the time you get to the afternoon hard work-out of the day, you’re a little bit drained. But at the same time I’m doing this more as a time hack. I’ve discovered that on some mornings, the process of making said smoothie, consuming said smoothie, and cleaning up the Wendy’s Frosty-esque mess on the counter after said smoothie kind of tacks on maybe an extra 20 minutes or so to my morning.
Ben: So instead I just brew back a quick, fast, piping hot cup of coffee, and here I am. So if I die of hypocaloric, low blood sugar…
Brock: Which is very likely. Very likely.
Ben: Right, it’s highly likely. No, I’m very fat-adapted, but I am a fan of a big breakfast for athletes and for maintaining circadian rhythm. So we’re going to see how this goes. I told my wife I’m going to try it or two reasons. I’m about to leave for Hawaii for a week anyway to hunt out at the base of the volcanoes down in Hawaii, so I’m not going to be making smoothies anyway. I’ll be throwing back a quick cup of coffee, probably same thing, with some ketones and…
Brock: Some poi.
Ben: Yeah, some poi. Some left over, refrigerated poi. It’s like cold pizza. It's the Hawaiian equivalent of cold pizza.
Ben: Yeah, no. I did a little bit of very, I guess, Bulletproof-esque, a little bit of MCT oil. I actually put a little bit of nut butter in there. I put little bits of vanilla Stevia in there. I put, of course, my coffee in there, a little bit of mushroom extract, a touch of cinnamon. And I may or may not have dropped a packet of fat fudge in there. So now that I think about it, it actually probably was about 1000 to 2000 calories.
Brock: Seriously. Yeah.
Ben: It’s good though.
Brock: And Dave Asprey’s rolling in his grave if you call that Bulletproof.
Ben: Well, it’s like drinking…
Brock: Not that he’s dead. I didn’t mean to spread the rumor that he was dead.
Ben: It’s like drinking a piping hot milkshake for breakfast, I guess is what it was.
Brock: There you go.
Ben: But backpedaling, I did save a lot of time, which was my initial goal. So there you go.
Ben: Brock, are you standing right now?
Brock: I’m always standing.
Brock: Pretty much, yes. I love standing.
Ben: I don’t. And I have this standing desk, and right now, I indeed am standing. I kind of have one foot up and one foot down in almost like a half, what do you call it? When your foot’s propped up on something?
Brock: Captain Morgan?
Ben: Like George Washington about to cross the Potomac River [0:04:45] ______ back in the history of the U.S. I’m in my stately one-foot-up-one-foot-down pose. But there was an interesting article that came out on the New York Daily News website about standing desks and what they call “brain drain.”
Ben: This was a small but somewhat provocative study that suggests that standing at a desk for a prolonged period of time can lead to significant discomfort and mental sluggishness. And they studied 20 people who did two hours of standing computer work in a controlled laboratory study. They found that discomfort significantly increased in all body areas and sustained attention-reaction time experienced a deterioration. I’ve personally found, and this is backed up by a 2016 report, an increase in back tightness. And other studies have shown an increase in the risk of varicose veins. And so the reason I’m saying this is not so that everyone…
Brock: Rushes back to their couch.
Ben: Takes a torch to their standing desk and rushes out to, yeah…
Brock: To their LaZBoy.
Ben: To crash on the couch with their laptop hovered over their gonads. But the idea here is that, as I’ve said before on shows, shift positions throughout the day to move into a variety of positions. And if you have a standing desk, even if you’re not going to lunge or kneel, do my George Washington pose or get one of these, there are different tuple mats, I got a board called a Fluid Stance. There’s all sorts of things you can stand on. And I recommend that for two reasons. Number one, of course, we get rid of some of these issues associated with brain drain and back pain. But two, when you’re balancing and you’re moving, my friend Paul Chek actually recently did a blog post on it. You get almost like a merging of left and right brain hemispheres. And so there’s, very similar to taking LSD, I suppose, which is what that’s purported to do to your brain when used as a microdosed smart drug, balancing, and shifting, and being in a position where you kind of have to, like brushing your teeth with your left hand instead of your right. It just kind of keeps the brain turned on. So there’s that.
Brock: Yeah. I pooh-pooh this whole thing about the brain drain thing. I kind of look it the same way as becoming fat adapted. Like if you’re used to sitting all the time and you start standing and somebody asks you a whole bunch of questions and you’re not used to it, of course it’s going to seem, you're going to seem like you’re not able to engage your brain more or focus more because you’re not used to it.
Brock: A lot like eating fat instead of sugar. If you’re a sugar burner, it’s not going to work for you very well. But after time, after a little while, and I experienced this, man, I started standing, about 7 or 8 years ago I had a standing desk, and I experienced that for the first two months. I felt like I was never completely engaged with my work because my body was like, “We’re standing. We must be on our way to go somewhere.” But then that shifted. Now 7 years later, I can focus just as well. And it didn’t take the full 7 years, don't get me wrong. It took a few…
Ben: I suspect, and this is why I hang from an inversion table or yoga swing in the morning is that part of it might be a little bit of extra blood pooling in the feet. Less to go up to the precious cranium. Less for your orange on the toothpick.
Ben: Did that joke just go over your head?
Ben: Haven’t you seen “So I Married an Axe Murderer”?
Brock: Oh, man. In 1982.
Ben: “But his head looks like a giant orange on a toothpick!” Alright. Well anyways…
Brock: I do type with my feet. So maybe that’s the whole difference right there.
Ben: That could be a problem, yeah. Anyway, the carnivorous diet, it turns out that this thing was getting studied way back in 2006. I came across a study, 'cause I’ve been looking into this carnivorous diet that’s so sexy of late, and it’s an interesting study. I’ll link to it in the show notes. But what they looked at specifically was the amount of something called carnosine that’s found exclusively in animal tissues, notoriously deficient in vegan and vegetarian bodies, and it suppresses things like protein oxidation and advanced glycation end product formation, which essentially can cause accelerated tissue and joint aging, cross-linking of fibers, and a whole host of other health effects that suggest the high amount of carnosine found in the carnivorous diets that they studied in this, it was a 2006 study, could suppress diabetic complications. And this was in a rodent model.
But they also suggested that the carnivore diet should be studied up on with respect to neurodegeneration. Because of course when you hear something like advanced glycation end product, that’s something that we tend to see in Alzheimer’s or in early dementia. So it’s very interesting, this idea of carnosine, and granted you probably could supplement with carnosine and save yourself some money on a giant rib-eye steak each night.
Brock: Hmm, but why?
Ben: I thought it was interesting, especially when paired with the idea that there was another study when I was looking up some of these carnivore diet research studies that showed that when you’re consuming a meat-rich diet, a lot of people get concerned about what in the presence of a meat-rich diet, Brock?
Brock: Nitrogen balance?
Ben: Hmm. Potentially, yes. I was thinking cancer.
Ben: Colorectal cancer, the idea that Elvis Presley died with 40 lbs of impacted fecal matter in his colon from excessive meat consumption. I don’t know if that’s an old wives’ tale but…
Brock: I thought he lived on fluffernutters.
Ben: Possibly. Anyway though, so the idea was that on a low-calcium diet, in this study it was found that the low-calcium diet actually promoted colorectal carcinogenesis, again in rats, 'cause they have to use rodents in these studies because everybody knows it’s cheaper to feed a rodent a tiny, tiny steak rather than a human a very large steak. The costs add up in these studies.
Brock: Exactly, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. So anyway, what they found was that the absence of some of these dairy based compounds, or specifically calcium-based compounds could actually cause some of the potentially carcinogenic effect of excessive meat consumption based on the interaction with calcium and hemoglobin that I won’t go into right now. But ultimately, it turns out that if you’re eating a meat-rich diet, I’ve said before the inclusion of polyphenols, and antioxidants, and even potentially some plant-rich compounds, and there was another study that showed even something like green tea polyphenols could protect against some of the carcinogenic effects of excessive meat consumption. It turns out that dairy might be the same case. If you look at, for example, the Maasai, do you know about the Maasai, Brock?
Brock: Yeah, the tribe in, I think it’s in Africa. Right?
Ben: Yes. They subsist on a high amount of cow’s blood, which obviously has a lot of this iron and hemoglobin in it that was of concern in the low calcium diet in that study. But what else do they subsist on?
Brock: I don’t know. What do they subsist…
Ben: The Maasai tribe, blood and milk is drunk raw as, milk is part of almost every meal. They drink the blood, it’s kind of nasty. They actually will drink the blood straight from the cow’s freakin’ vein on the side of the neck. And it doesn’t hurt the cow. They figured out how to open a hole, and get the blood, and drink it, and move on. Almost like a yogurt shop in America, right? You choose your flavor, chocolate, vanilla, chocolate-vanilla swirl, go up, pull down the handle, and put it into your cup. Similar thing except for it's cows, knives, and veins. Very similar. Anyway though, so they do quite well. I mean they’ve been studied up on when it comes to their own health, and of course they supplement with things like tubers, and raw honey, and foraged plants, and soups, and stews. But yes, they do quite a bit of blood and milk in a traditional Maasai diet. And it might be that they’re on to something, right? They’ve figured out that when you didn’t do the milk, maybe you got cancer, and when you did do the milk, you didn’t. I don’t know, but I’m just saying we can learn some things by observing ancestors who are tapping into cow’s necks.
Brock: I’m not doing that. I’m sorry.
Ben: Yeah, you can just keep getting yogurt. That probably works too.
Brock: Yeah, yes.
Ben: Anyway though, the last thing regarding this whole idea of a, I guess it’s kind of related to a carnivore diet, is a brand new article that came out, and again, I’ll link to all these. If you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/384, everything we talk about we’ll link to. High cholesterol is associated with a longer life.
Ben: And I remember, gosh. Remember that event that I put on, the “Becoming Superhuman” event, up in Spokane, Washington where we…
Brock: Do I ever.
Ben: You were there, and this was when I decided that live events are not for me, and they’re extremely stressful. But I put on, I lost about $30,000 putting on this event where I brought in, who did I bring in? Nora Gedgaudas, and Ray Cronise, and Dave Asprey…
Brock: Phil Maffetone, Monica Reinagel.
Ben: A host of people. We paid ‘em the big bucks, we flew ‘em up, they spoke from stage, we had this amazing theater, and amazing parties, and food. And I remember sitting there in the audience listening to Nora Gedgaudas give a talk and say that higher cholesterol, cholesterol above 200 is associated with an increased IQ, and that low cholesterol is associated with being more or less, stupid.
Ben: Probably because of the fatty acid deficits and the neural myelin sheath deficits that can build up when you go long term with the fatty acid deficits. Well it turns out that it might also be associated with longevity. So what I mean by that is in this recent study, they found that 3,090 adults aged 60 and up in a Swedish national study, when they had their cholesterol measured, there was a very significant inverse association between high total cholesterol and reduced all-cause mortality. And those with the highest cholesterol, meaning a cholesterol above 240, which would get you put on a statin over here in the States, they lived the longest. And those with 200 to 240 were in the middle, and those with cholesterol below 200 had the highest death rate. It’s quite interesting that those who had high cholesterol, but took cholesterol lowering drugs like statins, got zero survival advantage from that. So yeah, it’s pretty interesting. It just pumps out more of this fuel on the fire for shutting down cholesterol lowering insanity and realizing cholesterol is a natural molecule synthesized by our own bodies.
Brock: Yeah. I’m scrolling down trying to see if there is, I know they mentioned LDL cholesterol versus the other cholesterols 'cause the main take away was total cholesterol. But did they get further into whether or not the…
Ben: You mean like the measurement of LDLP, for example?
Ben: Or LPa? I believe that all they measured in this was low density lipoprotein, LDL cholesterol concentration. So granted they didn’t take a deep dive into cholesterol particle size, to my knowledge, or LPa, or some of these other factors that may make high cholesterol a potential mortality risk factor. But the big picture is that it turns out that high levels of LDL are definitely not an issue to be concerned with and you may instead, as I’ve said before on shows, if your cholesterol I high, want to look into making sure you have low blood glucose, and low inflammation, and low LPa and a, what’s the last one? A low hemoglobin A1c.
Ben: Those are some of the biggies, the good omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio. There’s a lot of things that you can look into. Probably one of the guys I like the best when it comes to this, I’ve been kind of seeing him around the internets quite a bit lately and he’s pretty smart on this stuff when it comes to cholesterol, this guy named Dave Feldman. Shoutout to Dave. Dave if you’re listening in, I like your website. Cholesterolcode is his website, he’s got a great website where he’s figured out that, long story short is when you eat a high fat diet, it seems the cholesterol, at least the deleterious cholesterol slightly lower. And when you eat a low fat diet, they kind of raise. And obviously that’s painted with a broad brush and there are people with familial hypercholesteremia and an inflammatory response to saturated fat and other issues. But ultimately it turns out that me putting those 8 billion different forms of fat into my coffee this morning was probably a good idea.
Brock: Probably. We’ll see.
Special Announcements: Ben's Calendar/Rover/Fisher Wallace/Onnit
Ben: Well Brock, like I mentioned, I am about to take off to hunt in Hawaii, to bow hunt in Hawaii. But I just realized that by the time this podcast is released, I will have already returned, hopefully victorious holding sheep, and goat, and pig, and scrub cattle…
Brock: Yeah, a chest freezer full of stuff.
Ben: I will. I will have a meat-a-palooza. And a couple of days, spear-fishing. I’m heading down there with Ryan Mickler, the host of The Order of Man podcast along with Seth Spears, who is Katie the Wellness Mama’s husband, and we are going to go out with bow and we’ll be up at 4 AM out of the base of the volcanoes. And then once the evening rolls around, we’ll be hunting pig that come out in the evening. They feed on mangoes, and avocados, and wild plants. Everything there is great, wonder ful place to hunt.
Brock: I want to be a pig. Damn.
Ben: Well, not if I’m hunting you, you don’t. Anyway though, a couple of things…
Brock: I don’t know. I’d be pretty wily. I think I’d fare okay.
Ben: Couple of things coming up that are not in the past. Probably my favorite event annually on the face of the planet, and there’s still time to get in: Paleo (f)x, it’s April 27th through the 29th in fabulous, fun Austin, Texas. It’s like the Woodstock of the health movement, and you don’t need to be paleo to be there. You may get punched in the face if you walk in slinging a baguette over your shoulder or holding a gallon of 2% milk. But aside from that, it’s a great event and you should come. It’s literally just one of the best places to eat, and party, and learn, and socialize with folks who are really on the cutting edge of wellness, and health, and nutrition, and fitness, and sustainability, and freakin’ everything from the ayahuasca to shamanism and beyond. So it’s a very interesting event, Paleo (f)x. We’ll put a link in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/384 along with a link to all of the different races that I’m going to be at over the next several months.
Ben: I’ll be out at Montana at the Spartan race out there. I’ll be out at Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, at The Train to Hunt competition out there. Awesomeness-Fest, which is a great name, in Sardinia, Italy. I'll head out to that.
Brock: That’s going to be awesome.
Ben: Plenty more, Biohacking Conference in Toronto in October. If you just want to see everywhere that I’ll be and the places that I find cool that I'd recommend you go to, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar. It’s all there, bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar. Now…
Brock: Did you say a Biohacking Conference in Toronto?
Ben: Ah, yeah. In Toronto. It’s new.
Brock: It’s my old hometown.
Ben: Yeah, we’ll have links in the show notes. I just found out about it and was invited to speak along with Jason Fung, and Ryan Laurey, and a whole host of folks who are a lot smarter than I am. So it’s going to be a lot of fun, I think.
Brock: A lot of fun for them.
Ben: Yeah, for them. Okay so this podcast, one of the things that it’s brought to you by is Rover. Do you know about Rover?
Both: [barking sounds]
Ben: Yeah. They give you a pet-sitter, a 5-star pet-sitter. So if you need pet-sitting, or dog-walking, or daycare, what they do is they connect you with a sitter who they vetted. Almost like a baby-sitter for your dog, except of course it’s called a pet-sitter. And they have premium insurance, they have 24-7 support, they have this super easy to use app, and you can even get photo updates of your pet while you’re away, and they will do everything from rub your pet’s belly, to play tug-of-war with it, to take it out in the middle of the night to pee if you happen to be out of town. Pretty much anything that would involve giving your pet Cadillac-level service, they do. And they’re called Rover, R-O-V-E-R. They’re the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet-sitters and dog-walkers. How cool is that?
Brock: It’s so cool, I actually applied for a job there. And you know what the one question was that they asked me before I got the job?
Ben: Do you understand the circadian rhythm of a dragon lizard?
Brock: Hmm, no. It was, “Who’s a god boy?” Who’s a good boy?
Ben: You’re good at that. Yeah, I’d hire ya.
Brock: Who’s a good boy?
Ben: Rover.com/ben. You get $25 off your first booking at rover.com/ben. Use promo code BEN during checkout, rover.com/ben and use promo code BEN. ANd whenever I repeat stuff over and over again like that, I feel like a used car salesman, but…
Brock: I get hypnotized when you do that. Rover.com/ben.
Ben: This podcast, it’s also brought to you by Fisher Wallace. So they make this stimulator that’s cleared by the FDA to treat depression, to lower cortisol, it fixes anxiety, it works on insomnia, which is great 'cause I travel with it, this little Fisher Wallace stimulator. I have the one called the Circadia. You just slap it on your head if you can’t sleep or you gotta duck away for a nap, and it settles you down in no time flat. They have a ton of research over the past decade, thousands of doctors have used this thing. It’s really one of the only sleep aids and anti-depression, anti-anxiety, anti-insomnia aids backed by the FDA or approved by the FDA and backed by clinical trials. It’s a medical device, but you can buy it without a prescription. And you can do so at fisherwallace.com/ben. You can try it for 30 days. If you don’t like it, you can just send it back. But you save 150 bucks over at fisherwallace.com/ben, and we’ll have a link in the show notes as well for that one.
This podcast is also brought to you by something I mentioned that I dumped into my coffee this morning. The one that I put into my coffee is called the Power of Ten Mushrooms, because sometimes I don’t want to worry about all the beta glucans, and adaptogens, and turkey tail versus chaga, versus reishi, versus maitake and shiitake. Instead, I just want to dump them all in one fell swoop into a cup. And that’s what the Power of Ten mushrooms does. It allows dummies like me to just basically take a whole host of mushrooms, keep our fingers crossed that we’re not going to get explosive diarrhea, and just dump it all into one coffee cup or blend it up with all those other things I blended this morning.
Brock: How are your bowels doing so far?
Ben: They’re great, my bowels are wonderful.
Ben: They’re twitching.
Brock: “Who’s a good bowel?”
Ben: The 10 mushroom blend they have is, like I mentioned, 10 of the most prestigious medicinal mushrooms on the face of the planet. And then they blend it with rosehip, which provides a natural source of vitamin C, and that helps you absorb the mushrooms so you don’t have to squeeze two lemons into your cup of coffee in the morning. These blends that they make are amazing. I have interacted with these folks quite a bit and even picked mushrooms with them in Finland. I should say harvested mushrooms in Finland, with a pocket knife from sides of trees. It’s a lot of fun. And there’s pictures of me doing it. If you go to foursigmatic.com/bengreenfield, foursigmatic.com/bengreenfield, and also over there, automatic discount code when you go to foursigmatic.com/bengreenfield. One other thing before we jump into this week’s Q&A, and that is the delicious cacao mint, paleo-friendly, gluten-free, GMO-free, soy-free, corn-free, no fluoride, so there’s no government mind-control going on here, no xylitol, so there’s no toothpaste farts, and no SLS, so there’s no man-boobs or female issues with excessive levels of estrogen mimickers.
Ben: It’s called MCT Oil toothpaste. MCT Oil toothpaste. I probably could’ve drank it in my cup of coffee this morning, as a matter of fact. In a pinch, I could likely just put a dab of that in there. It tastes really good. It’s a cacao mint flavor. It’s made by our friends at Onnit. And if you want to get 10% off of it, or any of the other fabulous personal care products from Onnit like the Defense Soap that my kids use after they go to jiu jitsu each week so that they don’t get flesh-eating bacteria eating away at their skulls. That’s how I got them to do that. You don’t want flesh-eating bacteria eating away at your skull, son. I love you. Now go shower.
Brock: Smart kids.
Ben: MCT Oil toothpaste. I travel with their Cedar Fresh Organic Deodorant. My wife loves it. She just loves to smell my pits. Much more, they have there. You just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/onnit. That saves you 10%, bengreenfieldfitness.com/onnit. Does that make you want to brush your teeth or what, Brock?
Brock: Everything makes me want to brush my teeth. I have a problem.
Kelly: Hi, Ben. I’m a long time listener of your podcast. I really enjoy it. Thanks for all the information. Here’s my question: I’m 52 and I’ve recently had two, not one, total hip replacements. I’m a former competitive tennis player and a long-time athlete, so my hips have had a lot of wear and tear. I also discovered through DNAFit that I have a genetic marker for osteoarthritis. So my question is about taking care of my joints moving forward in terms of what exercise you’d recommend, diet, as well as supplements. I’m particularly curious about diet and whether food sensitivities or allergies play any part in osteoarthritis. I haven’t found much good research on the links between diet and osteoarthritis except for typical studies that point out not to eat the standard American diet, which I really don’t. I’m lactose intolerant, so I’ve taken that out of my diet. I’ve taken gluten out, too. But I’d rather not be so restrictive, avoiding night shades and things like that if there’s no correlation between osteoarthritis and food sensitivity. So my question is, is there a connection between food sensitivities and osteoarthritis? And if so, what’s the best way to test for that? Also, what forms of exercise and supplements would you recommend to keep my joints healthy in the future? Thanks a lot.
Ben: That’s interesting that she has the genetic marker for osteoarthritis. Did you know that those exist, Brock?
Brock: You know what, I don’t think I did, actually. That one specifically. But it doesn’t surprise me that there is one.
Ben: Yeah. I found a pretty fascinating study, for those of your nerds out there. There’s over a dozen different genetic markers that are associated with osteoarthritis. This is not something that means that if you have that gene marker, you’re going to get it, but it does actually exist. You can thank your parents that your joints hurt, basically, is what it comes down to. And Kelly alluded to things like food sensitivities and allergies, and of course those play a role because there is an autoimmune reaction. And she also asked for recommendations for exercise, diet, supplements. So some of the things that I would recommend: first of all, one would be, of course, an anti-inflammatory diet. Now I don’t want to insult people’s intelligence by telling them not to eat gluten, and soy, and commercial dairy because most people know that those are associated with inflammation along with excessive soda, and coffee, and alcohol.
Brock: Sugar, refined sugars.
Ben: However, some of the things to include that I’m a really big fan of, one would be any of the very dark berries, especially the small ones. The small, ugly, dark berries that are somewhat tart and sour.
Brock: Why are they ugly?
Ben: Well, the ugly fruit is often better for you. It’s higher in antioxidants, it’s been attacked more, it’s been beat up at recess, and it’s just more hearty and passes on more of its hormetic benefits to you. So there are, of course, farmer’s markets where you can get the really small, ugly ones that aren't bred for huge size and large amounts of sugar. And that’s always better. But if you just have to go to the grocery store, of course, go organic because berries are part of the dirty dozen fruits that you definitely want to buy organic. Blueberries, blackberries, tart cherries, a lot of those are fantastic. Dark red grapes are another. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower are fine. If you have stomach issues such as sensitivity to what are called FODMAPS, some of these fermentable foods, you want to be somewhat careful with some of those cruciferous vegetables, along with some of the other things that can help like beans and lentils. But when soaked, and sprouted, and cooked properly, a lot of times…
Brock: Chopped up and left out for 90 minutes?
Ben: Exactly. Like we talked about in a previous podcast, chopped…
Brock: Was it 90 minutes?
Ben: It turns out that it was a range of time that was beneficial. But yes, you enhance the availability of things like sulfurophane and some of the antioxidants when you attack that plant prior to eating it. Turmeric, cinnamon, spices and herbs like that have been found to be beneficial of course for osteoarthritis. An anti-inflammatory diet, again you can, let me google that for you. There’s a great book, actually, “The Inflammation Free Diet Plan”. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Monica Reinagel, somebody else who spoke at that superhuman symposium that I put on. I think this is actually what she talked about at that symposium.
Brock: She did. That was her presentation.
Ben: Yeah. “The Inflammation Free Diet Plan”. She has a pretty good book. And some of the foods you would expect to be anti-inflammatory are in fact inflammatory in that book. I found it quite interesting. I’m trying to remember, there was one that really surprised me. I don’t remember if it was, it may have been kale, or bok choy, or something like that. Something that you would expect to be anti-inflammatory was inflammatory. So that’s an interesting book by Monica Reinagel. We’ll link to that one in the show notes, The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan. There are a lot of anti-inflammatory diets out there, but that one is a good one written by someone who we know and who we trust.
So that would, of course, be helpful. As far as supplementation is concerned, a high dose omega-3 fatty acid supplementation from a good, rancid-free fish oil source. I like Superessentials fish oil. Green Pastures does a fermented cod liver oil. Barlean’s does an omega swirl. When you look at folks like Charles Poliquin, for example, who's a really good strength coach and kind of on the cutting edge of a lot of the nutrition and strength research, he recommends, in some cases, 40 grams of fish oil, high-dose fish oil. And I ordered recently from my friends over at the place that makes Superessentials fish oil, which I actually also have available at Kion, I ordered 6 bottles because I’m going to gradually ramp myself up 40 grams a day of fish oil because I just want to see what happens and what it feels like. So I’ll report back on that. It’s kind of like my 40 grams of collagen dare that I took from my friend Mark Sisson. I started taking 40 grams of collagen, and my skin, and my hair, and my nails all started to get out of control.
Brock: You have like hooves now?
Ben: It’s weird. I’ve had to clip my nails about every 10 days, my skin feels good. I’m a fan of this, I don’t know how sustainable that is for the rest of my life. But right now, I like it. 40 grams of collagen a day. So there you have it.
Brock: I’m guessing with the fish oil thing, you’re going to grow gills.
Brock: That’s my guess.
Ben: Probably gills and antlers.
Ben: Mhmm, yes. So collagen is, of course, good. Speak of the devil. And you can indeed take up to 40 grams of collagen. And you want to split that up into a few different 10 to 20g portions throughout the day, but that’s another great supplement. I like some of the research I’ve seen on glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin. But in many cases, those need to be combined with polyphenols and antioxidants for them to work effectively. There are a variety of these antioxidants, polyphenols, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen precursors, a lot of stuff in the Flex supplement. And again, shameless plug, but I have a collagen blend, a Flex Pro blend, a mineral blend, and a enzyme blend all kind of mixed together. So it’s proteolytic enzymes which break down a lot of the fibrin and help with joint health. Mineral electrolyte extract from grass-fed goats over in western Washington. I’ve got that in there for a bunch of potassium, and magnesium, and phosphorus for the bones, which is really important. And then it’s got everything from boswellia and white willow bark, hyaluronic acid, turmeric, ginger, cherry juice, if you just want everything in one fell swoop. This is one I knock back about 12 capsules of if I get injured, but also as daily maintenance. And no, this is not a medical claim or anything like that. This isn’t going to fix arthritis in my opinion, but it can be supportive for joint health. I think I’m allowed to say that. It’s called Kion Flex and I’ll put a link to that. It’s over at getkion.com.
So that would be a few of the things I would recommend from a supplementation protocol. There are some other interesting things you can do. For example topical capsaicin cream, which is just what it sounds like. I used to use this when I would race in triathlons in cold water or in cold conditions, because it can actually keep muscles and joints warm. What I discovered was when you put it on, make sure that you’ve already used the pre-race port-a-potty. Because if you’ve got capsaicin cream on your hands and then you go to wipe and your hand kind of smears across your balls, bad stuff happens. Not comfortable.
Brock: Don't touch your junk!
Ben: You’re going to be running on hot coals. So my biggest recommendation for you, Kelly, would be that if you use topical capsaicin cream, don’t put your hands down in your crotch afterwards. Not that you would ever do so. I’m just suggesting though. So that’s another one. The type of training that I like. Big fan of Doug McGuff’s book, “Body by Science”, which is very super slow sets, single set to failure on the, for example, leg press, lat pulldown, chest press, seated row. There’s one other I’m forgetting now. What did I forget? The leg press, chest press, shoulder press, lat pulldown. I think seated row. Those five. But that’s a great program you could do two or three times a week. His book is called Body by Science. I’ll link to that one in the show notes. Not even moving the joints through range of motion can also help. It’s a little bit more expensive, I think it’s a $4000 to 5000 device. We get a little bit of a discount on it with our link that I’ll put in the show notes. There’s this device though that you may have seen me using before in videos as I grunt, and groan, and scream.
Ben: And drive all my neighbors crazy even though they live 10 acres away. It’s called PeakFitPro. Again single set to failure training. So you’re just pushing against this thing as hard as you can in different ranges of motion from anywhere from 10 seconds, which is an effective dose, surprisingly enough, up to 3 minutes, which is freakin’ hard. And then you’re done, and it’s a 12 to 20 minute workout. So I’m a fan of isometric single set to failure training, and also super slow single set to failure training. So either of those would work. Swimming, huge fan of swimming. When I’m injured, you’ll find me quite often near a pool or in a pool doing aquajogging, doing swimming. I think that it is one of those things that many athletes, especially, neglect as a really good part of a recovery protocol that allows you to train without beating up the musculoskeletal system. There’s still a little bit of a neuromuscular and a cardiovascular strain obviously, but swimming is very easy on the joints.
Brock: But you wouldn’t want to do that in isolation?
Ben: No, no.
Brock: You need to have the weight bearing or the isometric ones to keep the bones good and strong.
Ben: You want to get the bone density. So those are some of the biggies. If you could go for the lowest hanging fruit, I would say a whole bunch of collagen, a whole bunch of fish oil, about 8 to 12 or so of those Kion Flex capsules on a daily basis, an anti-inflammatory diet, and then your workout would primarily be swimming and super slow training or isometric training, either one, and then smear on some of that topical capsaicin cream if you have any workouts that hurt the joints a little bit. That’s where I would start.
Trent: Hey, guys. This is Trent. Love the show, keep up the great work. My question is this: I work out fairly regularly, usually three times a week, resistance training twice a week with high intensity interval training, and then once a week yoga. And I’ve noticed that all the muscles on the left side of my body seem to be a little bigger and have better definition than those on my right. I mean it’s all over my body, my back, chest, arms, legs, shoulder. Even my abs, too. So I was wondering is this maybe some type of hormonal imbalance or is it maybe something else I’m doing? Do you have any ideas or suggestions as to what could be causing this, it’d be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Ben.
Brock: Now pretty much everybody always has one leg that’s a little bit longer than another, or their arm is a little bit longer, and one eye is a little bit bigger. We’re just not perfectly symmetrical beasts, right?
Ben: Yeah. Things hang lower on one side than they hang on the other side, and fingernails grow longer on one finger than another. As a matter of fact, I was at dinner, I went down to Sacramento and recorded a podcast with Mark Bell and we had dinner with the guy who recorded the podcast before me, the founder of Quest Nutrition, Ron Penna. And Ron intrigued us at dinner by analyzing our fingers and noting that discrepancies in finger joints, specifically the ratio of the ring finger to the index finger, indicates the amount of testosterone that one can produce. And the shorter that the ring finger is relative to the index finger, the higher amount of testosterone that one typically was exposed to while in the womb. And when you look at males who have a shorter ring finger relative to their index finger, they tend to be very good at math, and direction-finding, and sports, and competition. And when you look at females who have a shorter ring finger relative to the index finger, they tend to be lesbian.
He actually did mention lesbian, but they tend to possess male competitiveness. It's like my wife, right? She’s a total tomboy and she fits that bill. And when your ring finger is longer than your index finger, you tend to be more yin, you tend to have more effeminate characteristics, you might have more creativity, you might be a little bit more emotional. And when they’re equal, mine are about equal, my ring finger’s slightly shorter, you just kind of have a balance of yin and yang, so it’s interesting. Kind of a rabbit hole.
Brock: Mine’s slightly longer. So I guess I’m a little more creative.
Ben: I might have to take a deep dive into that in a podcast in the future. But in the meantime you’re talking to a guy who spends two years of his life posing in front of a mirror for 20 minutes every night while my wife laughed at me. She lay in bed watching me practice my posing routine as a competitive bodybuilder. So I certainly analyze my body quite a bit to the point where, and yes, this exists, it’s a clinically diagnosable disorder in the DSM5 category, body dysmorphic disorder is something that I certainly dealt with for a long time.
Now it’s kind of weird. I’ll go for days and days without so much as glancing at my body in the mirror. I think I’ve kind of beat that body dysmorphic disorder by placing a lot more importance on functional fitness, on the way that I feel, on whether I can pull back my bow, or race my kids up the driveway than I do on my body, which I think is natural as you age, right? But ultimately, body dysmorphic disorder is something that you need to be careful with as we delve into this discussion. I will link to the Wikipedia page for that should you question its existence. It’s also known as dysmorphophobia, which is something that many people deal with these days. Dysmorphophobia. Not a mutant superpower.
So anyways, there are a few things that you can do. First of all, the idea of using free weights is a good one because you can target certain areas that have that discrepancy. So dumbbells, of course, force one side of the body to take full responsibility or most of the responsibility for that part in the movement. So what I mean by that is you can do uneven weights. On the weaker side or the side that needs more development, you can hold a dumbbell that is a little bit heavier and you can train that side a little bit harder. A 5 or a 10 pound difference is all you would need. So if your chest is smaller on your left side, you can do a laying dumbbell chest press with 40 on the right and 35 on the left.
You can also, of course, do an extra warmup set or just an extra set for the side that you want to work a little bit harder. So you could do, for example, for let’s say, I'm trying to think of a good example. Or we could even say curls, right? You’re going to warm up with curls, not that I’m a huge fan of curls, but let’s just say you want your biceps to be equal, maybe you’re bodybuilding. I don’t know. You would do your warmup set of dumbbell curls, and then you do an extra warmup set for, let’s say, the left side or the left bicep were smaller, and then you would do an extra set at the end of doing three rounds of 40 pound dumbbell curls. Most of that is pretty straight forward. It’s kind of intuitive. It’s not going to hurt your body or ruin your body to do those type of things. Although you need to understand that these discrepancies, in many cases, are perfectly normal. Humans are not necessarily completely symmetrical.
Now, there are things, and I've talked with Cate Shanahan before about this, lack of vitamin D and vitamin K as one grows up or even as one ages. The timing of birth, like babies born too close together can produce some asymmetries. Lack of adequate amounts of those cholesterol-supporting compounds that we talked about earlier, that can create asymmetries in the face, and especially in the teeth and the jaw. When it comes to muscles and bones, a lot of it really can be kind of like this nature versus nurture, a real, real big part of it can be nurture. My right side is stronger, my right shoulder is posed forward compared to my left shoulder, my right obliques are stronger, my right plank leg is stronger. Why? Because I was a competitive tennis player for 10 years, right?
I just torqued that right side over and over again like a baseball pitcher. And you know what? I’m cool with that. If I really wanted to, I suppose I could do a lot of kind of like free motion training and cable training with that left side and a lot of swinging with that left side and catch it up. But ultimately, I’m not too concerned because that would actually affect my tennis game. I still play tennis every Wednesday night and it helps me to be able to torque a little bit more with that right side. So that’s something to think about. Now of course, sometimes the muscle imbalance can be due to a lack of innervation, and we’ll talk about nerves here in a little bit. It can be due to a lock of circulation, it can be due to fascial adhesions. There could actually be anatomical issues that are causing the muscle imbalance or causing you to not use the muscle. Case in point, I recently posted to Facebook a video of me, and this is over in the Ben Greenfield Fitness Facebook page which you can just search for on Facebook, a video of me with Dr. Craig Buhler in Salt Lake City and he was doing muscle testing on my right and left gluteus max. My right gluteus max was extremely turned off, less developed than the left side. Well it turned out that that was actually due to some issues way up at T12. Like an actual nerve root depression up at T12 that was turning off the glute lower down.
So in many cases, nerve root issues up in the spine can affect ability to use or to what we would say recruit certain muscle groups, as can a lot of muscle adhesions. Like if you’re left hamstring has a lot of crosslinking and you’re not using it because your body is guarding against that and maybe using a little more of the external rotators or a little bit more of the calf muscles during an exercise, you would want to do deep tissue work on that left side and free up some of those crosslinking and adhesions. Nerve issues can also arise elsewhere, outside of the spine, and we’ll talk about nerve flossing and some of the things you can do to your nerves in a little bit. But ultimately it’s multifactorial. And I guess my biggest message I would send to Trent would be know that it’s somewhat normal to have a slight amount of asymmetries, look at your nerves and your spine, look at your deep tissue work, consider the idea that this just might be entirely natural based on your movement patterns. I don’t know what kind of athlete you are, what kind of history that you have. And then also consider looking into innervation issues, cardiovascular issues for blood flow, some of the things that might affect this. And then you can train just a little bit extra on the side you want to build up if you want. Just like I have poor balance on my left side compared to my right side, so I stand on my left leg when I brush my teeth. It’s as simple as that. Little things that you can do throughout the day. So hopefully that helps and hopefully you can very soon pose in a Speedo with perfect symmetry on stage like I used to be able to do.
Brock: Well, hopefully, unless this is really, really pronounced, I bet Trent’s the only one who notices this. It’s probably not somebody who’s walking down the street, and people are like, “Oh my God, look at that guy.”
Ben: Yeah. You’re your own worst critic, Trent.
Conor: Hi, Ben. I’m Conor from Australia. Love the podcast and all the work you do. Keep it up. So now my question is what are the best warmups and cooldowns? Do they differ depending on what you’re working, such as cardio, muscle endurance or strength? I would like to know how to best prime my body for a workout and then what to do afterwards to improve recovery. Thanks, Ben. Can’t wait to hear your response. Cheers.
Brock: Yeah, I am the biggest fan of the cooldown and I will soapbox about cooldowns, given the opportunity, at any time.
Brock: I think they’re the most neglected part of workouts.
Ben: So how do you cool down?
Brock: Well, and I guess this plays right into Conor’s question, it depends on the workout. But for the most part, it’s some sort of foam rolling, some sort of stretching, deep breathing, and also looking over, making some notes of your work out and looking over your next workout.
Ben: Sounds exhausting.
Brock: So you’re sort of winding down.
Ben: Sounds like a lot of stuff to do. I like to grab my Jamba Juice and go home.
Brock: Yeah. And that’s what everybody does and then they’re surprised by their workout the next day, and they haven’t taken any notes from their workout the day before, and how you’re supposed to make good. And this is, I guess partially me being a coach and being frustrated with the lack of data that my athletes or my clients are collecting for me. But it also just, I think you’re selling yourself short if you’re not spending that extra time.
Brock: It doesn’t take that long.
Ben: Until I actually started hanging out with some of those folks in Malibu.
Ben: Yeah, I went to one of these XPT events. Folks like Laird Hamilton, Brian Mackenzie, Darren Olayan, and that whole crowd that’s very into breathwork, right? And they originally came up with that 'cause Laird’s so into surfing and wanted to be able to hold his breath for a long time when got crushed underwater by a wave, and then it eventually became a recovery protocol and a training protocol.
Brock: I thought you were going to say whale there for a second. He got crushed underwater by a whale.
Ben: Anyways though, interval breathing recovery protocols. They’ll finish up a workout and do five sets of 20 seconds of hard breathing, followed by 40 seconds of easy breathing while laying on the ground. Or 10 sets of some type of breathwork protocol, for example, a deep Wim Hof style breathing, sometimes wearing a training mask and then taking that off and doing slow breathwork. I mean often like a 10 to 15 minute cooldown where you’re just laying on your back, breathing. I interviewed Brian Mackenzie and we actually talked about this, I’ll put a link in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/384. But simply laying on your back, doing breathwork to activate the parasympathetic nervous system after you’ve done some of the cooldown things that you just alluded to, Brock, and that I’ll mention here in a second, that’s something that’s quite popular with these folks. And if you have the time to do it, to activate the parasympathetic nervous system in that sense, even something as simple as elevating the legs inverted against the wall for minutes and doing deep breathing through the nose, in through the nose, out through the mouth, to activate parasympathetic. Something like that can be highly efficacious.
Brock: And grab a little piece of paper and a pen and write down what your workout was, how it went, and review what tomorrow’s workout is.
Ben: Right. Now backing up though. First of all, when it comes to the warmup, one of the best warmups that I have found of late was designed by my friend and former podcast guest, Chris Holder. It’s available online. And especially because I tend to have very tight hips and I tend to have a hard time turning on my glute needs and some of my glute muscles, like I mentioned.
Brock: I’m pretty sure you’re the only one who has that problem.
Ben: Only one. It’s called the Cal Poly Hip Flow. The Cal Poly Hip Flow. It’s about a five to six minute sequence. They use it with all the varsity teams there at Cal Poly. And it’s not just the hips, right? You start off with hip circles, then you’ll do a tall reach, a downward dog, you step your left foot through, you step your right foot through.
Both: Do the hokey-pokey.
Ben: Exactly. And you turn yourself around. Anyways though, the whole video’s online. You could memorize it. Probably if you did it, I would say one week, every day for one week before your workout, you’d have it memorized. That’s a really good one. I really dig that warmup. So that’s one that I would look into is the Cal Poly Hip Flow. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. Another thing that you should consider when it comes to the warmup, first of all, you actually want to, in the same way that you want to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system for the cooldown, you want to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system for the warmup. And so a proper warmup actually does get you anaerobic. And honestly one of my favorite ways, and I’ll explain why I don’t do an elaborate amount of stretching, swinging, and prepping prior to a workout, one of my favorite ways to activate the sympathetic nervous system is I do 30 burpees. Once I’ve done 30 burpees, I’m ready to go to battle.
Ben: Like I can take on the rest of the workout, my sympathetic is engaged, I’ve been down, I’ve been up, I’ve stood, I’ve jumped. That’s one of my favorite quick ways to warm up fast for a workout. Plus when I don’t feel like working out, I just tell myself, “All I gotta do is get to 30,” and once I’ve gotten to 30, I’m ready to take on the world. So that’s one thing. When you’re looking at a lot of the deep tissue work, or the extensions, or the balance work, or some of the things Brock alluded to, there’s a lot of mobility and stability drills that you can do prior to a workout, and it just depends on your specific body, your injury patterns. For me, I mentioned my hips. My vertebra up around my T12 is another one, so I’ll throw a little foam rolling peanut underneath T12 to L1 and L2, work some of those areas, and then sometimes just go straight into the 30 burpees and go.
But the idea is it should be more than just five minutes on the elliptical trainer. So some deep tissue work is good. Now like I mentioned, I don’t do a lot of that right before the work out because I spend the first 10 to 15 minutes of my morning stretching, breathing, and doing deep tissue work. Why? Because I am one of those guys that is active all day long. I hack my environment to be physically active all day long. So I view my entire day as a work out. Walking on the treadmill, going outside and swinging the kettlebell a few times in between phone calls. I have a hex bar deadlift in the room next to me that I’ll walk into and lift a few times. By the time the day has ended, a form of hard work out for me is an option and really only something I really highly prioritize if I have a big race or an event coming up, which is pretty much most of the time.
Ben: However, the idea is you should arrive at the end of the day with exercise, or a form of work out being an option rather than a necessity. And so I do a lot of these warmup things in the morning so that by the time I launch into a form of work out, sometimes it just 30 burpees and go. Alright? So we mentioned asymmetries and addressing weaknesses with isolation work. I’m a big fan of things like these, they call them crossover symmetry, shoulder rotation drills, shoulder internal rotation drills, shoulder extension, shoulder abduction, adduction, shoulder flexion. I really like those especially for upper body work, and you’ll see crossover symmetry bands at a lot of, for example, Crossfit gyms now. So that’s another one that I like. And those would be some of the biggies when it comes to the warmup. I guess the only other thing I would mention, and this is again, I mentioned the CEO, or the founder of Quest, Ron Penna, we were talking about this the other day, and as a matter of fact, I have a bet going with my twin boys right now about who can get it to the full splits first.
He was talking a lot to me about PNF stretching, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. Contract, relax, contract, relax. And every time you relax, you drop more deeply into a stretch. And apparently that really helps to prime the nervous system. That’s another one that, for example Charles Poliquin, is very into, this idea of PNF stretching. And you can just do a search for PNF stretching shoulders, PNF stretching quads, PNF stretching glutes, anything that you would want to stretch. It’s very similar to another form of stretching called resistance stretching, which is based on a book written by Bob Cooley that I’ll link to in the show notes that I keep on top of my sauna. When I go in my infrared sauna, I do Bob Cooley's resistance stretching a lot where you’ll, for example, grab your hamstring, resist it with your hands, get into as deep a stretch as you can, and move through a range of motion rather than statically stretching that hold. So that’s called resistance stretching, it’s a really great book written by Bob Cooley.
Anyways, obviously you could spend hours and hours just warming up. But the idea that I like, that I personally do if I’m going to throw my own flavor on this is I warmup in the morning, then I just don’t let my warmup subside the rest of the day. I just stay warmed up. It’s a great way to start the day. As far as the cooldown goes, we mentioned activating the parasympathetic nervous system with specific breathwork patterns. Another person that I would mention is Paul Chek, he calls this working in.
Brock: Instead of working out.
Ben: Yeah. He describes breathing as something that acts like the positive pole of magnet and water is something that acts like the negative pole of a magnet. And the way that he describes it is that your heart, after getting oxygen from your lungs, acts like a generator and it produces this electromagnetic field, and sends out energy and blood to the rest of the system, then the muscles energize by producing more electromagnetic energy and acting as pumps to assist the action of the heart and to get blood back to the heart. And actually, the muscles themselves, there’s a great book about this by Jerry Tennant called, I think it’s called “Healing is Voltage”. But when you place tension on the connective tissues and the fibers of the muscles, there is actually what’s called a piezoelectric current that’s produced. A piezoelectric current. So when you move, you’re creating this current, electromagnetic field, and that’s very related to the flow, in Eastern philosophy, of chi energy. It actually really is an electrical flow when you look at something like chi energy.
So what Paul is into is circulating that energy through the body by doing very slow tai chi or qigong-esque movements called working in. He has a whole list of them in his book called “How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy”, and these are things that he’ll use as movements to do in between sets, like a set of kettlebell swings followed by a set of very slow, smooth tai chi-esque movements, then back to the kettlebell swings. So you’re working out, then working in, working out then working in, and you’re assisting, and he describes it a lot better in his book, but you’re assisting this electrical current flow throughout the body when you do that. So I like that approach as well of just moving the body very slowly and systematically in a tai chi-esque movement as you are cooling down.
So biggest resources I would say for you would be Resistance Stretching by Bob Cooley, PNF Stretching, which you would just do a search, there’s not a book that I recommend on it just as much as an online Google search, Chris Holder’s Cal Poly Hip Flow, Paul Chek’s Eat, Move & Be Healthy book, especially the working in parts of that, my podcast with Brian Mackenzie. Those are the biggies. And then just considering using your morning as your warmup, so you can just jump right in your workout. Once you’re ready for your workout, assuming that you stay physically active throughout the day.
Brian: Hi, Ben. I have an acute spinal cord injury and severe nerve damage in my spine. In your research, have you found anything that can help heal nerves? I’ve completely dedicated my life to recovery, I use CBD daily, I adhere to an all raw and whole food diet, and work out every day. Please tell me you've found something in your travels that can help me. Thanks so much for everything you do, Ben.
Ben: Yeah. If you have an acute spinal injury and severe nerve damage in your spine, you may want to get that checked out. I’m just saying.
Brock: I assume that he did. I hope he did.
Ben: I don’t know.
Brock: Brian, I hope you did.
Ben: Yeah. If there’s a large growth forming on your rectum, don’t call that into a podcast.
Ben: Go to the doctor.
Brock: You can call later into the podcast. But first, go to the doctor.
Ben: Right. First of all, I have a whole podcast on nerve damage with a guy named Dr. Fletcher. I also have a whole podcast on nerve training with another really smart guy named Dr. Eric Cobb, who founded something called Z-Health, which in my opinion is one of the best ways to train the nerves. Z-Health is crazy. You can use it to wean yourself off glasses for example, based on nerves and small muscles in the eyes. The have something called the vision gym, but they have lots of other great training. And one of the things that Eric is into is what’s called nerve flow. And it’s kind of based on the concept of gliding the nerves or flossing the nerves. Now it’s hard for me to demonstrate, so I’ll link to some videos on this. But basically what it does when you nerve floss, it eases neural tension. It’s also known as nerve mobilization. And when you have hypersensitive nerves, and that can include hypersensitive nerves due to a nerve injury, if you’ve got pain, or tingling, or numbness, or weakness, or inactivation like we mentioned with muscle imbalances of the nerves, the body will protect the nerve by contracting the muscle that lies close to the affected area. And a lot of times, you think that it’s your muscle that hurts, and it’s basically an issue with the nerve more than it is the muscle.
You can also get what’s called nerve entrapment and nerve entrapment is when the nerve actually gets trapped within the surrounding tissue. And nerve flossing can also help with that as well. The way that you would do it is you, for example, let’s say you were going to do nerve flossing for your shoulder, right? So you would put one hand way out to one side and one hand way out to the other side, and then you would flex your wrists as far back as you can. I’m doing it right now, and then you would kind of imagine that a PVC pipe is going through your ears, and you’re moving the shoulders to one side of that PVC pipe, and then to the other side of the PVC pipe. If you’ve seen ELDOA stretching where you’re just getting into these intense positions and full extension or full, usually it’s not full flexion. Usually its full extension. So you’re putting the nerve on stretch, that can kind of stretch the nerves as well, and again, very difficult for me to podcast about it versus me saying look up nerve flossing.
Brock: Yeah, I’m confused.
Ben: Yeah. I’ll put links in the show notes, but nerve flossing is amazing. It’s amazing for fixing nerve pain. Before you pop all the fish oil and do all these other crazy nerve things, look at nerve mobilization and nerve flossing. I’ll put some very helpful links in the show notes to give you examples of nerve flow, examples of what’s called nerve glide, and kind of a nerve flossing guide that has a lot of this stuff in there. So that would be probably the number one thing I’d recommend for nerve pain, and I do some form of nerve flossing as I’m just going throughout the day. Like after recording this podcast with you, I’ll do probably one ELDOA move, a little bit of nerve flossing for the shoulder, a few kettlebell swings, then move on to my next appointment. Or just go drink a massive 1,000 calorie cup of coffee.
Brock: Yeah, more likely.
Ben: Yeah. So there are a few other things that are interesting. For example, acetyl L-carnitine. Some very interesting research on that and neuropathy. So researchers have looked at it and found that it’s a very natural way to make nerve pain completely subside. They had a study in over 1200 people that showed acetyl L-carnitine to be able to repair nerves. There’s another study that showed that it reduced nerve pain 5 times better than a placebo. Now you find it primarily in meat, it’s especially high in mutton.
Brock: Hmm, yum.
Ben: So hopefully, I’ll have a lot after I go bow hunting in Hawaii. Cod has a lot, chicken has a lot, asparagus has some. But ultimately you can just supplement with acetyl L-carnitine. Thorne has one called Carnityl that I like. I’ll put a link to that one in the show notes, but that’s one thing that I’ll highly recommend, would acetyl L-carnitine. That’s a biggie. There are a few others, for example Dr. Jack Kruse, who is a neurosurgeon, has a whole treatment protocol that he’s written about before for peripheral neuropathy. And some of the things that he highly recommends for peripheral neuropathy, one would be a high amount of what’s called gamma linoleic acid. You’re going to find that in borage oil, in black currant oil, in evening primrose oil. And when combined with fish oil, it’s very efficacious. Most of those compounds, remember how I mentioned that Superessentials fish oil I’m going to start megadosing with?
Ben: It’s got a lot of that stuff in it. It’s got the blend of oils along with the fish oil, along with astaxanthin. So it’s got quite a bit in it that could help reduce peroxide generation and it increases blood flow and what’s called the vasa nervora to decrease a lot of the cellular stress.
Brock: Okay, so that’s the connection. I was a little confused there, you were talking about peripheral neuropathy, in terms of nerves. That’s the narrowing of blood vessels, isn’t it?
Ben: Peripheral neuropathy involves a lot of nerve issues as well. I mean just based on the title of it, it’s a damage to a lot of nerve cells. So, yup. Now a few of the other things that I would look into, one would be iodine. Iodine is something else that can help reduce a lot of the cellular stress that occurs with nerve pain or with nerve damage. And when iodine is low in your nerves, over time, it causes low levels of vitamin D, low levels of vitamin K, and loss of proper nerve signaling. So iodine will be another one to look into. There’s a supplement called Lugol’s Iodine. That would be one that you could look into as well.
Liberal replacement of all your B complex vitamins, especially B12, the use a full vitamin B support. Again, Thorne has a great vitamin B complex that I would look into for all the vitamin Bs. Over and above a multivitamin, you want some extra vitamin B in my opinion. A few others I would look into, n-acetylcysteine. I mentioned acetyl L-carnitine, n-acetylcysteine is a little bit different. It’s a precursor for glutathione. It helps rid the nerve of a lot of the free radicals that are produced by what is called the polyol pathway, which is something that uses what are called polyhydroxyl alcohols. It’s one of the things that again allows for membranes of nerves to actually work properly. So that’s something else you should look into, either glutathione supplementation or n-acetylcysteine supplementation. And I’ll link to a few sources of this type of stuff in the show notes.
A few other things I would look into would be coenzyme Q10. That’s another thing that’s very important for proper nerve function. So coenzyme Q10 would be one. And then another one would be some form of resveratrol. Resveratrol appears to be quite helpful for nerves also, and Thorne again has one called Resveracel. I tend to rely upon some of these companies like Thorne just because they’re trustworthy, they have in them what they say is in ‘em, I’ve toured their facilities, I’ve seen their hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of chromatography equipment and filtration equipment, and the way that they label every single bottle and track every single bottle to make sure it has exactly in it what it says it has in it. So I’m a big, big fan of Thorne for a lot of this stuff. So I would say if you were to look at a stack, a perfect stack, you do a really good fish oil like the Superessentials, you do some iodine, then you do something like Thorne Carnityl, Thorne R-lipoic acid, Thorne Resveracel, Thorne Q-10 Plus, and Thorne Vitamin B Complex. So that’s basically, I know that’s seven supplements, but that would be the stack that I would use along with quite a bit of nerve flossing and nerve gliding. And I’ll put links to some of my favorite forms of doing that in the show notes.
Brock: Just to pick up on something you just said about liking Thorne because you trust their manufacturing, and their labeling, and stuff. A lot of people don’t understand how important that is, but there was actually a thing in the New York Times not that long ago where four out of five supplements found on the shelves of, and I’m not going to say the name of the place, but it’s three letters that sound like GNC, actually didn’t have what the label claimed to have in it. So you’re buying like vitamin D, it didn’t have any vitamin D in it. Four out of five of them. So when you find a company like Thorne that you really trust, it’s quite important.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. Same thing with other companies that we won’t mention, but it rhymes with Lolgreens. There’s another one that rhymes with PVS. No, C. Yes. Yeah, a lot of them out there. Anyways. So yeah, be careful.
Brock: You might be getting grass clippings.
Ben: Here’s something you don’t need to be careful with, and that would be going to iTunes and leaving the show a review. Now a 5-star review will definitely get you into the running for a free gift pack sent out from me to you to your front door step. But even a 4-star review, as is the case today, will get you in the running. So if you hear your review read on the show, all you need to do is email [email protected], that's [email protected] and we’ll hook you up with a t-shirt, a sexy little beanie and a bottle-bottle?
Ben: What were you going to say, Brock?
Brock: I was just going to say, and make sure to, I don’t know if people are trying to game the system or if they just don’t understand the rules, but you have to hear us read your review in order to write to [email protected] and get this stuff. You can’t just write to us.
Ben: Yeah. Although I’m tempted to start, I think that’s against iTunes rules to just start sending out goodies to everybody who leaves a review. It’s called bribing. Anyways though, we can of course, and this is kind of sorta bribing.
Brock: It’s kind of bribing.
Ben: But yeah, the reviews really, really help the show. It’s one of the top ways you can help the show, so we have a review left by RunningRhino who calls this “an informative and health centric podcast”. 4 stars. I don’t know why 4 stars, but take this one away, Brock.
Brock: Yeah, it doesn’t really elucidate why only 4, but okay. It goes like this: “I love this podcast because Ben is willing to try all kinds of stuff that most of us wouldn’t.” Ain’t that the truth? “And then report on the results. Always chockful of fitness and longevity data that I can't write down or remember.” Oh, come on RunningRhino. “But, it’s usually in the extensive show notes.”
Ben: The extensive show notes.
Brock: Which you can find at bengreenfieldfitness.com/384.
Ben: Yes, for today’s show. So I’m willing to try all kinds of stuff that most of us wouldn’t. Including all the headlines that went out recently that apparently I injected my junk with stem cells to make my junk bigger.
Brock: But you didn’t bother to measure it before or after.
Ben: No. I think my favorite headline was “Man injects perfectly healthy penis with stem cells in an attempt to make it bigger.”
Brock: I thought it actually said “Guy”, wasn’t even as respectful to say “Man”.
Ben: Yeah. The Gizmodo reporter called me up and asked me all these questions, and then she’s like, “Well did it get bigger?” And I’m like “Well, funny enough. I think it actually did get bigger.” She’s like, “Did you measure it?” And I’m like, “Well, no.” And she’s like, “Well, how do you know?” I’m like, “It just kind of looks bigger.” And so she takes a whole story is man attempts to make dick bigger, so there you have it. Gotta love journalism.
Brock: You shoulda known though. Gizmodo is just one step above National Inquirer, so you see their…
Ben: I don’t spend a lot of time on those websites.
Brock: Just don’t answer the phone if you see that on your call display.
Ben: Live and learn. Live and learn. If Gizmodo calls you, be careful. No, I love you Gizmodo. And honestly it probably drove a lot of traffic to my website, honestly. So I think everybody who wants more traffic to their website should just take needles to their junk. There you have it, there’s one thing that you learn. Anyways, thanks for the review RunningRhino. I really appreciate it. And of course, appreciate all the reviews that you guys can send. And you can check out everything that we talked about from the studies on meat, and carnivore, and drinking milk, and blood, to the best way to warmup and cooldown, videos on nerve flossing, the Kion Flex stuff that I talked about, how to increase your body symmetry, plenty more. Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/384. Check it out. And Brock, it’s time to go drink some more of my calorie-free coffee.
Ben: Hurray for calorie-free coffee!
April 12, 2018 podcast: 384 – The Best Biohacks For Joint Health, How To Increase Your Body Symmetry, The Best Way To Warm-Up & Cool-Down, and How To Heal Nerve Damage.
News Flashes [00:04:10]
Another reason I am NOT a fan of strict adherence to a standing desk.
Way back in 2006, researchers were exploring the role a carnivorous diet could play in anti-aging.
Going to have meat? Have dairy too (shocker!) – calcium protects against colon cancer in a meat-rich diet.
Older people with higher cholesterol live longer.
Ben mentions http://cholesterolcode.com/
You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on Twitter.com/BenGreenfield, Instagram.com/BenGreenfieldFitness, Facebook.com/BGFitness, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Snapchat, and Google+.
Special Announcements [00:17:46]
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– May 5-6, 2018: Montana Beast and Sprint Weekend, Bigfork MT. Join Spartan Race and Discover Kalispell as we attempt to make history by breaking the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS for most people performing burpees at one time.
– May 26, 2018: Train to Hunt / Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Whether you’re a flatlander, hunt out West, or past your prime, we want to make you a better hunter through fitness.
– May 31 to June 3, 2018: A-Fest / Sardinia, Italy. A-Fest is an invite-only transformational event that gathers a global tribe of change-makers and visionaries who are driven by epic ideas to impact the world. Apply now to get invited.
– June 28 to July 22, 2018: Mind Valley U / Tallinn, Estonia.
Giveaways & Goodies [01:08:20] –Click here to get your own GreenfieldFitnessSystems.com gift pack, handpicked by Ben and chock full of $300 worth of biohacks, supplements, books and more. All at 50% discount!
– Grab your Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.
– And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!
Listener Q&A [00:26:39] As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick.
The Best Biohacks For Joint Health [00:26:48]
Kelly says: My question is, how do I take care of my joints moving forward (I am 52). What do you recommend for exercise, diet, and supplements? I am particularly interested in diet and whether food sensitivities and allergies play a role in osteoarthritis. And if they do, how do I test for that? I have had both hips replaced and I am a former competitive tennis player and a long time athlete. I also found out from DNAFit that I have the genetic marker for osteoarthritis.
In my response, I recommend:
–Super slow or isometric training
How To Increase Your Body Symmetry [00:37:53]
Trent says: The muscles on my left side of my body are bigger and more defined than on my right side. This is true all over my body – my back, chest, arms, legs, shoulders and even my abs. Is this some sort of hormonal issue or maybe something else I am doing? I work out regularly (3 times per week) resistance training + HIIT twice a week, and yoga once per week.
In my response, I recommend:
The Best Way To Warm-Up & Cool-Down [00:47:28]
Conor says: What are the best warm-ups and cool-downs? Do they differ depending on what workout you are doing (cardio, muscular endurance or strength)? I would like to know how best to prime my body before a workout and how to cool down and recovery after.
In my response, I recommend:
–The TrainingMask – (use code GREEN1 for 20% discount)
–Brock’s “Get-Fit Guy” episode about cool-downs
How To Heal Nerve Damage [00:58:57]
Brian says: In all your research have you found anything that can heal nerves? I have an acute spinal injury and severe nerve damage in my spine. I use CBD daily, I adhere to a raw and whole food diet, and workout every day.
In my response, I recommend: