[0:01:04] Talking About Meditation
[0:03:23] About EcoMeditation
[0:08:06] News Flashes
[0:15:25] Effects of Quercetin on Eccentric Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage
[0:23:05] Strike Against Strict Carnivore Diet
[0:26:12] Research on The Consumption of Vegetable Oils
[0:31:23] Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?
[0:36:15] Special Announcements
[0:42:38] Ben’s Adventures
[0:44:29] Listener Q&A: How to Maintain Focus During Long Workouts
[0:56:56] Does Cholesterol Go Up on A Ketogenic Diet (& Is That Bad?)
[1:10:20] Is Testosterone Bad for Your Prostate
[1:13:53] Giveaways & Goodies
[1:16:30] Closing the Podcast
[1:17:21] End of Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast, does cholesterol go up on a ketogenic diet? How to maintain your focus during long workouts? Is testosterone bad for your prostate? The latest on NAD, quercetin, and a whole lot more.
I have a master’s degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I’ve spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet, from SEALFIT Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and The World’s Toughest Mudder, do 13 Ironman Triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world’s top experts in performance, fat loss, recovery, gut hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
Well, Brock, it’s been a little while since we’ve had an official Q&A episode with me and you. We have a whole lot of new listeners. So, you, I will clarify my, podcast sidekick, Brock, who joins me for these Q&A sessions.
Brock: Hey, everybody. You’re new folks, anyway. Hey.
Ben: That’s the rollicking sound of Brock’s Canadian voice.
Brock: Good day.
Ben: Since our last Q&A episode session have transformed myself into a toga-donning Jesus sandal-wearing meditative yoga-[00:01:44] ______.
Brock: You have. Do tell.
Ben: Yes, I actually discovered a new form of meditation.
Brock: You discovered it?
Ben: Yes, I discovered it. I’ve actually F’ed around with a whole lot of different forms of meditation. I’ve taken Transcendental Meditation.
Brock: That’s the one you do on your teeth, right? Transcendental.
Ben: I don’t get it. Explain that joke.
Brock: It’s such a dead joke, yes. That’s the worst dead joke.
Ben: Oh, dental. Oh, my gosh. I’m slow on the uptake.
Brock: Sorry, folks.
Ben: Yes, transcendental, toyed around with all these light sound devices like the BrainTap and the DAVID Delight Mind Alive. I’m trying this new calm thing now, where you tie technology into your meditation, which I’m trying to determine whether or not actually like. I’ve done mindfulness meditation and Native American sit spots and some of that neurofeedback stuff with the Peak Brain Institute down in LA.
Brock: I like that stuff.
Ben: – which is similar to the 40 years of Zen that a lot of people talk about or the Biocybernaut training, which is the other version of that. What I like is this new form of meditation based on a really fantastic book I read called, “Mind to Matter,” which was written by this fellow named Dawson Church, and also a guy named Joe Dispenza. I’ll put a link to that book in the shownotes. The shownotes are at–where are the shownotes, Brock?
Brock: They’re at bengreenfieldfitness.com/394.
Ben: 394, okay. Thanks. The book is called, “Mind to Matter.” Fantastic book about how our emotions affect our biology but really not presented in that woo of a manner. They’re actually drawing upon scientific research to show that our brain waves can affect things like epigenetic expression or our emotions can affect things like the activity of the immune system. We certainly know this to be true, but the book ties in a lot of the good research. In the book, couched within the pages, I found this fantastic form of meditation called EcoMeditation. They’ve looked at this for producing different endorphins and neurotransmitters like serotonin and oxytocin. What I like about it is I’m a huge fan of the shotgun formula. I like this idea of tapping or EFT, even though a lot of people think it’s a little bit fringe and not proven by science. I get something out of it. Actually, I’ve interviewed Nick. What’s his name, Nick Ortner?
Ben: I think his name is, who developed this form of tapping or EFT. I also am a fan of just pure mindfulness meditation. Then, there’s also this research done by the HeartMath Institute that looks into directly controlling your heart rate variability by breathing and directing motions of love and gratitude and peace into your heart, into your heart center. That company, HeartMath, even trains you how to affect those around you with your brain’s electrical signals and your heart’s electrical signals, based on research like how, when a jockey walks into a horse stable, the heart rate variability or the heart rate signals of the jockey and the horse align. You see this in couples who are in love, et cetera. This form of meditation called EcoMeditation, you do all these during the session. You’ve got the tapping, you do the coherence, you have the gratitude, you have just the mindfulness-based meditation. It works in breathwork, of course, which is another really, really good skill to add to your skills repertoire. You got num-chuck skills. You’ve got, what else do we get from the Napoleon Dynamite and his num-chuck skills?
Brock: Dancing in the moon.
Ben: Dancing skills. Then, breathing skills and meditation skills. If you want to up your skills, this thing’s called EcoMeditation. I found a place where you could download the whole 21-minute meditation for free. Hopefully, we don’t crash their servers by announcing this, but I found the free downloadable audio version. I’ll link to it in the shownotes. I’ve just been sitting, either in the mornings, at which time it seems to give you a lot of energy for the rest of the day; and also, in the evenings, at which time it seems to really enhance my sleep quality, even my deep sleep quality, which is a nut that a lot of people try to crack when it comes to their deep sleep. This thing seems to cover the bases.
I know there’s a lot of different ways to meditate. I know there’s eight billion different meditation apps out there, but just the ability to be able to download a simple clunky mp3 and put it on my mp3 player and have no other distractions or apps to toy around with, I just sit there and do this 21-minute form of EcoMeditation. I’ve done it eight times now in the past month, and I really like it. Actually, I like it so much I’m doing it with my children, with my twin boys. This Sunday, I’m going to teach it to them. It’s on my calendar to teach it to them this Sunday because I like it so much. I’d like to pass it on to my young ones, so that it could become a part of the Greenfield legacy, perhaps.
Brock: Perhaps, maybe you can white label it. Can you do that with meditation?
Ben: Yes. Are you meditating a lot?
Brock: Yes, I always do that. I haven’t actually bought into any particular brand of meditation, because I have it in mind that you can’t really do it wrong as long as you’re quieting your mind and spending some time without distractions.
Ben: I could think of ways to do it wrong, like with a toaster and a bathtub, for example.
Brock: That’s just doing life wrong, really.
Ben: It could be a wrong way to meditate. Yes, that’s doing life wrong.
Brock: You’ve got a lot more problems than that, just not good meditation practice at that point. Yes, I definitely do meditation pretty much every day.
Ben: Let’s do life wrong a little bit and delve into a whole bunch of science and see how much we can confuse people
This is the part of the show where I take a deep dive into a few of the more interesting or compelling items of science or news or research, that I think that all of you listening will find interesting. These are all the things I tend to tweet during the week. You can think of my Twitter account, which you can get at twitter.com/BenGreenfield, is like a portal for all of all the interesting studies that I come across.
Brock: It’s almost like an aggregate, an aggregator.
Ben: An aggregate, yes. Thank you. I rely upon Brock for the polysyllabism in this podcast. I’m an aggregate. One of the first things that I found was this idea of a specific molecule that I’ve been seeing pop up over and over again in the research on anti-aging and longevity. We know about NAD, right? Everybody is rushing out to get their NAD IV’s and their NAD injections and their NAD lip jobs and boob jobs and whatever else you can do with this molecule.
Brock: What does it stand for, again? I think it’s nimorides. No?
Ben: What did you say? My turn to get polysyllabic. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. You’ve got companies like Thorne. They’ve got NiaCel or Tru Niagen or Elysium by Basis. There’s a lot of companies now using forms of NR NAD. Then, there are a lot of physicians now, of course, administering NAD IV’s for those who would want to enhance their mitochondrial health, or their overall longevity as a whole, based on the fact that NAD is a crucial part of the mitochondria’s electron transport chain. This study, it was titled, “The Flavonoid apigenin is an inhibitor of NAD+ase CD38.”
Ben: I realized it’s a mouthful, but yes, snappy. What NAD+ase is that’s something that would cause more accelerated breakdown of NAD. If you could somehow inhibit that protein CD38, then you would allow yourself to have higher levels of just your own endogenous NAD. What they found was that a couple of interesting molecules actually did a very good job inhibiting NAD+ase. I like this idea because the two molecules that they looked at also have a host of other protective antioxidant mechanisms in the human body. One, in particular, quercetin, is one that I’ve been studying up on lately. It’s one of those antioxidant or anti-inflammatory molecules that seems to hydrogen-rich water or green tea polyphenols induce this protective antioxidant activity without necessarily blunting hormesis, without blunting your body’s ability to, say, be able to build new mitochondria or lay down new muscle fibers in response to a workout. This is an antioxidant you could take post-workout. It seems to act out a lot of different anti-aging pathways.
Quercetin, which in most studies is supplemented in a dose of about 500 to 1,000 milligrams, not a lot more than that. It actually might cause a little bit of damage. I don’t have time to get into that right now, but I’ve got a physician coming on the show in a few weeks to talk about anti-aging and quercetin and some of these other molecules and where the law of diminishing returns or damage might actually come in, especially with a lot of these antioxidants like resveratrol and quercetin. There’s another very popular one called pterostilbene. Anyways, quercetin at about 500 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams seems to induce a lot of benefits, including this ability to be able to regulate mitochondrial NAD levels, and also what’s called sirtuin activity. Sirtuins are what you get from dark chocolate, and blueberries, and red wine, and all these dark purply blue and dark red foods that we’d find in nature. Quercetin is one that has some really good action. The other one that they looked at in this study was apigenin. Have you ever heard of apigenin?
Ben: It’s a color compound. It naturally occurs in plants. You find it in things like parsley, in high amounts of parsley, chamomile tea, sprouts like green sprouts, those are really high in apigenin. Onions have a decent amount of apigenin. Apigenin also has a lot of good research behind it for decreasing inflammation, for having a little bit of a neuroprotective effect. It might lower cortisol. I’m not convinced that it’s one that would need to be supplemented with, as opposed to just eating a lot more plants and some of these, like doing something like green sprouts every day with your salad, or having a cup of chamomile tea, or along with the green sprouts on your salad, using a good dose of parsley. Anyways, apigenin and quercetin seem to really act on these NAD pathways quite effectively, which is good news for anybody who’s looking into anti-aging molecules, or who perhaps is very interested in this whole infatuation with NAD but wants to take the most natural route possible. It was a cool study, a relatively new one. I do not, by the way, at this point in my life, supplement with quercetin, but I am very interested in beginning to do so, based on some of this research that I’m now seeing on it, as well as the research study that I’m about to get into. Thorne, actually, has a decent brand of quercetin that I’ll link to in the shownotes, but I’m on the cusp of ordering that beginning to add quercetin into my anti-aging protocol. It’s just something I take on a daily basis, or at least cycle in throughout the year.
Brock: The supplementation would either way to go because you’d have to eat it a ridiculous amount of parsley when you want to get the dosage that’s efficacious.
Ben: That’s apigenin. That’s apigenin. It’s the one that you’d get from the parsley and everything else. Quercetin, you would find in apples, onions, red wine has some. Green tea is a decent source of quercetin as well, and then berries. Berries are very good. One thing that flies under the radar, but it’s a lesser-known tea called buckwheat tea. That actually has a lot of quercetin in it as well. Do not worry, it says wheat, but that’s not like you’re drinking gluten. Buckwheat tea, I believe is relatively gluten-free.
Brock: [00:14:53] ______.
Ben: For those of you who are orthorexically afraid of gluten. Anyways, buckwheat tea is another one. Quercetin is not in extremely high amounts in terms of the dosages they would use in these studies in some of those compounds. It’s one that, if you’re looking for the full-on anti-aging and longevity effect, you’d supplement with. It’s silly to eat plants. Geez. Who needs plants in this era of capsules and powders as pills?
Brock: It’s true. No, it’s not.
Ben: I like both. I like to eat my whole foods, but then, also, for the stuff that you need a little bit of extra for better living through science, you throw some of those into the mix. There’s other study on quercetin, that I’ll also link to in the shownotes, looked at the effects of quercetin on eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage.
Brock: Yes, this eccentric.
Ben: Yes. That’s the type of muscle damage that would, of course, result in soreness. In this study, they used about 1,000 milligrams a day and compared it to a placebo in a randomized double-blind crossover control study. What they found was that just a couple weeks of quercetin supplementation seemed to kick in and be able to significantly attenuate the muscle weakness that you get after a workout, particularly the muscle weakness caused by eccentric muscle damage. In Sports Sciences, this is called myofibrillar disruption.
Also, there’s impairment of what’s called your sarcolemmal action. All you need to think about this is when you’ve worked out hard, when you’ve lifted weights, the next day, let’s say you’re going to go play basketball or tennis, or you’re going to go roll and do some jiu-jitsu, or you’ve got some other sport that you’re going to compete in, and it almost feels as though you’re not able to move, from a biomechanical standpoint as effectively. Well, a lot of that is due to that muscle damage and that myofibrillar disruption and due to the sarcolemmal damage, some of the inability to be able to get your nervous system to call upon muscles in the way that they’re supposed to, it appears that quercetin protects you from a lot of these issues. But like I mentioned when I was talking about that other study, it doesn’t if you were to take it post-workout, seemed to inhibit your ability to be able to build new mitochondria or to build new muscle in response to that workout. I would say that, as part of an anti-aging protocol or as part of a post-workout soreness protocol, somewhere in the range of 500 to 1,000 milligrams of quercetin seems to be a really cool strategy.
Again, this might not be something you do every day, but let’s say you’re doing a weight training workout, two or three times a week you could add in your post-workout supplement stack something like quercetin. So, there you have it. quercetin, by the way, for those of you who haven’t heard of this before and don’t know it, it’s Q-U-E-R-C-E-T-I-N. That’s quercetin. Then, that other one that I mentioned, apigenin, that’s A-P-I-G-E-N-I-N. I thought those are some pretty interesting takeaways. I’m seeing more come out about quercetin these days. The book, by the way, that I mentioned and the doc I’m going to get on the show is “The Kaufman Protocol.” Why we age and how to stop it. If you guys want to delve into that book, I don’t recommend you buy the Kindle version. I bought the Kindle version and the way that it’s packaged is like, for some reason the Kindle version looks like a very hard to read PDF on your Kindle device. So, buy the actual real paperback version if you’re going to get it. That book is very interesting and also discusses quercetin. That’s “The Kaufman Protocol.”
Brock: Just because I know there’s going to be some very smart folks out there, they want to give this a try, it looks like in the study they took the quercetin after the workout at breakfast, and then another dose of it 12 hours later. If any [00:18:55] ______ to try.
Ben: Two 500 milligram doses. Yes, exactly.
Brock: I know people are going to be clamoring to give it a shot, so there you go.
Ben: While we’re talking about plants, this is another interesting one that Dr. David Perlmutter was recently discussing. I looked up the study and it’s very interesting. This one is about exosomes. Now, I have gotten some publicity for exosomes, because I’ve had them injected into all the different joints of my body and my face and infused into my bloodstream because it’s a cell- signaling molecule that, especially, when co-administered with stem cells essentially upgrade your stem cells. It enhances their ability to be able to communicate with other cells or to travel throughout the body.
One of the more popular forms of exosomes is produced by this company called Kimera Labs. A lot of doctors will use that form of exosomes as an anti-aging protocol and also as a joint repair protocol. This study looked at the gut microbiota, and particularly the intake of wild plant matter. Things like parsley, or cilantro, or thyme, or rosemary, or nettle, or mint would all be very good examples of the type of plants that could do this. These plants contain exosomes, or what are called exosome-like nanoparticles. These get taken up by your gut microbiota and they actually contain RNA that alters your own physiology, meaning that you can think of this as if you’re almost eating your own exosomes because these things serve as cell-signaling molecules. Very similar to this idea of getting exosomes from something like Kimera Labs, inject in your bloodstream or used in the joint.
Again, I’m not saying this would replace something like a stem cell protocol or an anti-aging injection protocol. But again, in combination with something like that, it could be a very, very good way, not only to influence the health of the gut. Because we know that these wild plants can induce what’s called Zeno hormesis, which makes your cells stronger and can allow your gut to repair in a very robust manner, especially when they’re not overdone. Not like boatloads of kale, but used as a condiment in your foods, in your salads, with your cooking with your meat, et cetera. It’s based on this concept of microRNAs. Now, I have a whole section on microRNAs in the new book that I’m working on because they’re very interesting. MicroRNAs can actually influence your emotions, your character development, the expression of certain genes. It appears that they’re also transmitted via saliva, via breath, via urine. There’re even some hypotheses that when you look at a married couple who have been married a long time and you look at a sequence of photographs from their early days of marriage to their later days of marriage, and it looks like they’re looking more the same. The couple, the husband and the wife developed some similar facial characteristics and physical characteristics. Some of that might be due to the exchange of microRNA and saliva when they’re kissing, or the exchange of microRNA in the breath when they’re living together.
If you’re listening in and you haven’t looked into microRNA and you find this stuff fascinating, just Google microRNA, because it’s very cool what these things are capable of. It appears that the consumption of wild plants is a very good way to introduce them into the gut.
One last thing I should mention for this study is the main one that they used in this study was ginger. Ginger, which you could consider to be another wild plant extract or root extract. That’s the deal with eating plants. It actually influences your microRNA, which could influence your genome, which could give you more exosomes, and which can influence your gut microbiota.
Brock: Score another one for a wild-plant matter.
Ben: Another one for salads, another strike against a strict carnivore diet, I suppose.
Brock: Yes. Oops. Sorry, folks.
Ben: Yes, I caught a lot of flack on that Joe Rogan Episode I was on for talking about the carnivore diet and some of its potential failings. I stand by most of my words. I think I mentioned that it was lazy, and I should have said that it was just excessively restriction.
Brock: It’s reductionist.
Ben: It’s not lazy. Yes, it’s very reductionist. I think, if you were to do a carnivore diet, just at least have some green sprouts and a few little wild plant extracts, and some rosemary and thyme, along with those ribeye steaks, and you’ll fill in a few of those bases.
Brock: Anything that’s so restrictive. It doesn’t even stand reason that that would be the best way for us to eat.
Ben: Yes, exactly.
Brock: Just millions of years on this planet. We’re built to be omnivores.
Ben: Yes. I guess, one other thing I should say about the carnivore diet is one of the things that is very interesting is a lot of people will say, the Inuits and several Native American tribes, and the Maasai tribes in Africa. They eat a strict carnivore diet, but when you look at the Maasai, or the Samburu, or any of these tribes from East Africa, yes, they eat meat and blood as a primary component of their diet. But, when you look at a lot of their warriors and their young men, they’re also eating herbs and tree barks. A lot of the women and the older men, they eat a significant amount of fruit, and tubers, and raw honey. You look at the Inuit, and yes, they’re eating walrus, and whale meat, and seal, and fish but they also are foraging wild berries and sea vegetables, and even fermenting many of these plant foods to preserve them for when they might not be able to hunt them down or when they’re not growing. Or, you look at these Native American tribes, like the Sioux tribes, they would eat buffalo meat but while they’re foraging the buffalo meat, they’re eating wild fruit, and nuts, and seeds as there tracking down these buffalo herds. The nomadic tribes in Mongolia are another tribe where they’re often called out as a tribe that’s carnivorous, but they’re also eating dairy, which is important for the vitamin K and the vitamin A, that you might not get high amounts of on a carnivore diet. They’re also eating wild onions, and garlic, and tubers, and roots, and seeds, and berries. Even these populations that are identified as supposedly carnivorous ancestral populations, they’re also eating plants, and tubers, and honey, and leafy greens. I agree, Brock, there’s just not a whole lot of evidence of long livid, not just long livid carnivorous populations, but long livid strict vegan populations, or long livid keto populations, right? Any of these reductionistic, dogmatic diets, don’t seem to manifest themselves in terms of populations who followed those diets and been around for really long time.
Brock: [00:26:08] ______.
Ben: Yes, it is good for zoning diet.
Brock: It really is.
Ben: There was also a really cool article that I’ve read on a blog. It dug into some of the epidemiological research on the consumption of vegetable oils. This one, the takeaway from this, ultimately, is if you are eating a high intake of PUFAs, polyunsaturated vegetable oil, especially processed rancid vegetable oil, and going out into the sun, you are actually increasing your risk for damage from UVA and, to a lesser extent, UVB radiation. They dug into a whole bunch of different studies on different populations and skin cancers and in the use of PUFAs. In particular, one fascinating takeaway was from New Zealand sailors. What they found was that as margarine and vegetable oils began to replace things like butter and coconut oil, and even lard, and beef, and lamb drippings, and a lot of these more ancestral fats, there was a significant increase, these soldiers who were spent a long time in the sun, in skin cancer and melanoma development.
Then, this article goes on to identify a lot of the skin repair mechanisms that are inhibited by a high-PUFA diet, and also the increase in radiation damage that can occur when you have a lot of these oxidized oils in your body. The worst thing you could do is go eat French fries or fried chicken or even battered fish on the beach, and then go out in the sun. It’s actually horrible for your skin versus eating butter, or cheese, or full-fat yogurt, or fatty fish, or a good avocado oil– based mayonnaise, or lard, or ghee, or any of these more very natural forms of highly stable fats that are often somewhat solid at room temperature. They have a protective mechanism for the skin, whereas these PUFAs seem to actually spell Bad News Bears, especially if you’re going to be out in the sunshine.
Brock: I’m just thinking, what if you rub that piece of fish and chips on your skin instead of ingesting?
Ben: I think it would make it even worse because then you’ve got oxidized oil on your skin, which is the amount that the skin is a delivery mechanism from any drugs and pharmaceuticals and supplements. So, probably not a good idea. Whereas we know that a lot of these more stable fats are not only protective but there are other things that you can do, especially from an antioxidant standpoint. It’s the same idea of returning to the ribeye steak. Cook your ribeye steak with rosemary and thyme, or cayenne pepper, turmeric, or a lot of these protective antioxidants that reduce the form of carcinogens in the meat. Do the same for your body when you’re heating it up. Don’t just make sure you’ve got lots of good healthy fats coming in, but also try to consume a lot of natural antioxidants. Not only things like I was talking about before, quercetin or some of these apigenin-rich plants. Another one is astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is what fish consume, primarily from, I believe they’re getting astaxanthin–
Brock: From algae.
Ben: What’s that? Yes, it’s found in algae but there’s, it’s like this pink, red colored substance. It’s technically a carotenoid, but I think it’s krill. That is another thing that fish eat that contains astaxanthin. Algae is another. Then, shellfish have a lot of astaxanthin. A good fish oil will be packaged with astaxanthin. There are companies, there’s one in Hawaii, and I used to consume. I think it was somewhere in the range of 10 milligrams of astaxanthin prior to my Ironman Hawaii competitions because they always used to have this stuff at the expo down in Kona. Once I started doing that, my skin was not as burnt after 10 hours out in the Hawaiian sun. Astaxanthin, of all the different forms of almost edible sunscreen, is probably the highest, in terms of something you could consume along with really good fats to offer you protection against the sun. Then, the other thing that I would also recommend is anytime you’re consuming fish oil, I would consider a really good antioxidant, not just vitamin E or vitamin C, but something more natural like astaxanthin along with the fish oil. I’ll link to that article also over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/394 along with one other about sunscreen. Did you see this outside magazine article on sunscreen being the new margarine?
Brock: Yes, or the new cigarettes. There was a line in there that I thought was really–let’s see if I can find it.
Ben: What the study gets into is, it starts off with vitamin D and how vitamin D supplementation is something that seems to have failed in a lot of clinical trials. Part of that might be due to folks like me who have genetic issues that don’t allow us to get as much vitamin D from sunlight as we can. Some of them might be due to the fact that vitamin D supplementation is often something that’s done in the absence of all the other fat-soluble vitamins like A, and E, and K that can allow the vitamin D to become more bioavailable. Then, part of it too is, likely, due to the excess use of sunscreen when people are getting out in the sun. This article goes into some very interesting long-term studies that look into the effects of sunlight on lowering blood pressure, reducing all cause risk of mortality, reducing the risk of prostate, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. Sunlight improving virtually every mental condition you can think of. Reducing inflammation, dampening autoimmune responses, and how slathering sunscreen on your skin not only keeps a lot of those mechanisms from happening, but there’s actually a lot of evidence now that people who use sunscreen every time they go out in the sun can have a significantly increased risk of skin cancer. That’s probably due to all of these oxybenzones in the sunscreen which can mutate the DNA when applied to the skin. A lot of the other endocrine disruptors, the phytoestrogens that are found in a lot of these sunscreens.
I’ve always stood by the idea of using sunscreen as minimally as possible, using something astaxanthin before you go out in the sun for long periods of time. Then, just educating yourself on natural forms of sunscreen that you can use. There’s some really good information on the website for the environment, the working group over at ewg.org. They have some great sunscreen articles on there and a lot of data about the nanoparticles and the hormone-disrupting elements in sunscreen. What I like even more is they’ve identified a host of actual healthy sunscreens. Do you know how many sunscreens are out there that actually meet EWG’s criteria that aren’t slathering a bunch of chemicals on your skin, that off you some amount of skin or protection from excess UVA and UVB damage but that don’t cause you all the issues with the average sunscreen that you’d grab from the grocery store?
Brock: Actually, there’s more than there was maybe two or three years ago, but still not very many, I’m guessing.
Ben: No, there’s actually a lot.
Brock: How is that?
Ben: There are 243 different products, from Tom’s of Maine to Suntribe, to Badger. All these companies now. There’s a lot. Just freaking go. I’ll link to the environment the working groups list. There is absolutely no excuse that you should not be using natural sunscreen. By the way, I don’t know why we’re talking about this in the middle of the winter.
Brock: I am going to a vacation in two weeks, so I could use this.
Ben: Anyway, I’ll be going to Hawaii in a few weeks as well to hunt. Again, I don’t use sunscreen. I do use natural plant-based antioxidants. Then, if I am going to do something dumb and just put on my Speedo and go spearfish for three hours, or back in the day do an Ironman Triathlon, I’ll use a sunscreen, but I’ll either use something like coconut oil which has a natural SPF, I think of around 6, something like that. Or else, I’ll just use one of these natural sunscreens that would meet EWG’s criteria you can get from the website. We used to make our own, but it’s a pain in the ass. Honestly, you got to do it. You got to cook, and you got to get yourselves a zinc oxide, titanium oxide, and coconut oil, and all these other elements. It’s almost just as easy to buy. As cool as it feels going all hippie-dippy and making sunscreen in your kitchen, honestly, it’s easier to buy.
Brock: Right next to your kombucha and your yoghurt station.
Ben: Yes, exactly. Too much. Anyways, I hope that’s helpful for folks. What I’ll do is, in the shownotes if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/394, for everything discussed in today’s News Flashes, I’ll give you, guys, links to that, like that EcoMeditation podcast and some of these books, some of the quercetin I talked about and some other things that’ll be helpful for you. You’ll find those in the newsflashes section near the top of the shownotes.
Brock, I can’t keep quiet about this. Have you tried the berry aminos yet?
Brock: Ah, the Kion Aminos that tastes like delicious, what is it, blueberry and raspberry?
Ben: Yes, they’re good. They’re really good. They’re like eating crack cocaine if one could eat that.
Brock: That’s not a good comparison.
Ben: Yeah. Essential amino acids, as I think many people listen to this podcast for a while now, are one of the most potent shots in the arm you can use before workout. Or if you’re fasting and you don’t want to lose muscle, or if you need some extra neurotransmitters to help you sleep, or if you want something that’s about it’s nearly 200% more effective than collagen due to the fact that collagen only contains about 50% of the amino acids that you’d need. Whereas, this contains all of them. Over at Kion, we just launched, we already had a Cool Lime powdered version. We’ve got the berry version now.
If you slam 5 to 10 grams of that pre-workout, especially pre-fasted workout, it is absolutely amazing. If you’re injured and you take around 40 grams a day during an injury, you heal up so much faster. We have a big special going on right now because it just launched. You just go to getkion.com. That’s getk-i-o-n.com, and the code you can use on the new berry aminos is BGF10. That’s actually a 10% off site-wide discount. BGF10 for the Kion Aminos absolutely amazing, that new berry flavor. I cannot recommend it highly enough, so that each and every podcast episode is brought to you by Kion. I’m especially excited about this new berry flavor. They’re flying off the shelves right now because people just love these things. What do they say, flapjacks? Line off the shelves like flapjacks.
Brock: Like flapjacks, yes, I think.
Ben: The same goes. Anyways, check that out a getkion.com. Your code is BGF10. Then, this podcast is also brought to you by my friends at Clearlight Infrared Saunas. Someone just this morning brought to my attention a brand-new study that came out that showed that one of the key mechanisms for increasing testosterone, increasing, particularly the activity of the Leydig cells in the testes is how much brain-derived neurotrophic factor that you have available. BDNF is something that can be increased by learning new things, by mentally stimulating yourself. It appears that aerobic exercise, or even just doing a regular walk every day can increase BDNF. But heat is a very potent way to boost BDNF. Now, there’s a direct link between that and a significant up-regulation of testosterone production, which is cool news for guys or girls who want to balance their hormones. But based on that and based on all the detoxification studies that are coming out about saunas, since your skin is your largest detox organ, the fact that if you do it post-workout, which is a lot of times and I’ll hit the sauna, it produces red blood cells in a very similar manner like EPO use, like illegal blood performance doping.
There are hosts of reasons for you to consider the use of a sauna. The folks at Clearlight have one of the only infrared saunas out there that don’t microwave you and produce a bunch of EMFs while you’re in it. They have a big one called The Sanctuary that I own. It’s in my basement that I’ll go in there and do everything from yoga to kettlebell swings inside of. If you want to sweat like I do, you just go to healwithheat.com and use code BEN GREENFIELD. That gives you $500 off. They also throw in some free goodies with your purchase. That one’s healwithheat.com. Clearlight saunas. You use code BEN GREENFIELD to get your sweat on.
Then, finally, this podcast is brought to you by something I mentioned earlier, hydrogen-rich water. A lot of people ask me how I consume hydrogen-rich water. It’s very simple. I do a big glass Mason jar in the morning, big glass Mason jar in the evening. There’re over 1,100 different peer-reviewed studies on the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and therapeutic benefits of hydrogen-rich water, very similar to the exosomes I was talking about earlier. The hydrogen can act as a cell signaling molecule. It improves mitochondrial function, very similar to quercetin. Like I was talking about, it’s something you can drink after work out or before work out to control inflammation without blunting your response to the actual work out.
Brock: That’s my favorite part. You can actually get [00:41:11] ______ without blunting all your hard work.
Ben: It seems to respond best to a dual pulsing. You take some in the morning and then some in the late afternoon or the evening. It’s called hydrogen-rich water. I travel with the tablets. Then, I also have, just basically, it’s like a collagen or like [00:41:31] ______ of water.
Brock: Like a Brita. It sits on your counter.
Ben: Yes, it’s on my counter. I just pull the tap and I just take a big dose of it in the morning and dose in the evening. If you want one of these water systems like I have, or if you want the water tablets, the company that I go for all my hydrogen-rich water stuff is Trusii . They’re a sponsor of today’s show as well. The Trusii is T-R-U-S-I-I. If you go to trusiih2. It’s like hydrogen. trusiih2.com/ben, that gives you 30% off of their stuff. It’s trusiih2.com/ben. Then, if you enter code BEN, that actually gives you an additional 10% off. There’s a lot of savings on the Trusii stuff if you use our code. I’ll put this in the shownotes as well. If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/394 if you can’t keep track of all this. I’ll put links to all of our sponsors in the show, but I do highly recommend the Trusii water system and also traveling with their tablets. Check that out.
Then, the only other things are there’s a lot of stuff going on the calendar. My next stop is I’m headed down to LA, again, LA area, for this event called Cal Jam. We’re also be doing some podcasts including the Adam Carolla Show, which should be an interesting one. I haven’t chatted with that cat before.
Brock: His podcast, Ben, is super cool. You’re going to love it.
Ben: Really? You’ve been in his studios?
Brock: Yes, there’s racecars in the back. It’s like going into an old-style garage. Then, there’s a studio [00:43:10] ______.
Ben: I have been to those studios because I was on the Dr. Drew Show. They record out of the Adam Carolla Studios. Probably, not as cool as a Joe Rogan studio.
Brock: I haven’t been there.
Ben: He’s studio is pretty sick. He’s got archery and a whole gym outfitted with a ton of rogue fitness stuff, and like a car shop with Porsche.
Brock: When are we going to get our cools in podcasting studio like that? Come on.
Ben: Right now, we’re still stuck in our bedrooms, but let’s see. Maybe someday. Anyways, though, I will put a link to all the different places I’ll be. Next up is California for Cal Jam, which is a really cool event that’s like a blend between a rock concert and a bunch of nutritionists and chiropractic docs and fitness gurus, et cetera. Kind of listening to lectures and listening to rock concerts, and have amazing parties at night. That one’s called Cal Jam.
Then, I’ll also be headed down to the FitCon Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you want to get in on that, I’ll be there as well. Kion will have a booth there. I’ll put a link to all the different places I’ll be gallivanting to across the globe if you want to come see me over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar. What do you think, Brock? Jump into some Q&A?
Brock: Bring it on.
Tom: Hi, Ben. My name is Tom. I’m 45-year-old adult from England. In May, I’ll be taking part in a 264-mile ultra marathon in Wales, called Cake or Death. I’ll probably be doing this without a support crew. I wondered if you could have recommend anything to help me combat the inevitable cognitive decline that occurs in events of this length. There are sleep stations around 80, 140, and 200 and I will be looking to take advantage of these. Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Ben: What I think is, probably, the toughest part about this ultra marathon that Tom is doing, is the fact that there are opportunities to sleep because the hardest thing about doing any of these events is sleeping and then somehow forcing yourself to wake up and keep going.
Brock: You just have to just not even think about it. Just get up and go or just don’t sleep.
Ben: No. When I’ve done some of these three, or four, or five date events, I didn’t sleep. I just couldn’t and I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to just down regulate my amped up nervous system. I just wouldn’t sleep. Even that Spartan Agoge, where we had opportunities with our sleeping bags and our biddies, I didn’t sleep. I just stayed up, tended the fire. I’ve always found that for these longer events if I sleep, the same thing I get World’s Toughest Mudder. I decided to crawl into the tent for a quick catnap at mile 45, and I was cold, I fell asleep, curled up next to my wife who was crewing for me in our tent. I think I crawled in there 2 a.m. I woke up at 4 a.m. and I was like, “Screw that.” I did go back out there, but I think I did 14 more miles. That was it.
Brock: That would zap you.
Ben: Just zapped after you sleep. Careful with that sleep. I know you plan to take advantage of them, but I would tell you to just push through and sleep at the end. Anyway, the cognitive decline. You’ve got a while to train for this between now and May. There are some cool tricks that you can use. I would start by training your mind like you would train a muscle. This is very useful for anybody listening, not even folks who are just going to do a crazy ultramarathon in Wales, but anybody who wants to improve their focus, their attention span, reduce symptoms of things like ADD or ADHD.
There’re some very cool tricks that you can use. One would be something that we’ve already alluded to, and that would be begin meditating. They’ve done studies, one very interesting study that involved an eight-week course of meditation, where after eight weeks, and this was decent in size, they had 140, 150 folks in this study, they saw a measurable very significant improvement in attention span after just 10 to 20 minutes of meditation performed over the course of eight weeks. I would, as much of a disconnect that seems to be between going on running a marathon and meditating, I think that meditating is a very good tactic, especially for endurance athletes and focus and attention span.
Another one is memorization. They’ve shown that brain training games can boost attention levels. When you play things like Lumosity, Your Brainscape, or things like that, all they seem to boost your attention levels for those actual games themselves. You get better at that actual game. There is one type of app or game that you can use that does seem to cross over to other cognitive challenges. You can get this for free in the App Store. It’s called N1, N1 training or end-back training. This involves, basically, seeing a number, or a color, or a letter, or some other form of a cue, and then going through a few cycles where you’re shown other numbers, or letters, or signals, or colors, or cues, and then you have to recall the signal that appeared one instance ago; or as you get better, the game two instances ago, or three instances ago. You can work through all the way up to being able to remember whatever signal appeared, like 10 cues back. It’s free. It’s simple to figure out. That’s another one, that if you do consistently between now and May, can also improve your attention span or your time span. I realize this isn’t strength and conditioning. This is just mind training, but you can think of it as strength conditioning for your mind.
Brock: It goes hand-in-hand.
Ben: I would do those. Another one would be Neurofeedback. There’s the Peak Brain Institute in LA, which I mentioned early in this podcast, that I’ve gone down to and done a QEEG brain scan at. Identified areas in the brain that have, for example, excess beta brainwave, distractibility style brainwave production. They use Neurofeedback to fix that, meaning that you hook up electrodes to your head which monitor your brainwaves. Any time that your brain strays into a distracted state, or a state of, say, excess beta brainwave production, what happens is any game that you happen to be playing at the time, because you’ll play spaceship games, or racecar driving games, or what-have-you, you’ll actually get a subconscious slap in the wrist, like your car will slow down, or the ignition will stop coming out of the spaceship, or the music will stop playing. This can actually passively train your brain to become focused. I thought it was gimmicky when I first heard about it. Then, I went and did it. I did it for three months. I actually went down to Peak Brain Institute. I bought some of their equipment. I took it back. I trained with it. Then, I went back down for a follow-up QEEG, and all of my scores were off the charts. But in addition to that, I would experience things like walking into a cocktail party I used to get distracted by all the different conversations occurring. I could just hear 10 different conversations and would not be able to focus on what the person right in front of me was saying. That all just melted away after this Neurofeedback. It significantly improved focus. Train your mind like you would train a muscle when it comes to preparing yourself to stave off that cognitive decline that would occur during that event. I would recommend that.
Then, we could also turn to the world of nutraceuticals or supplements. Probably, the ones that I think work best is, A, any wakey-wakey type of supplements. When I did Kokoro, which was about, I think that was about 72 hours of just beat down and no sleep, and ocean, and burpees, and 26-mile night hikes. I’ll link to a whole article that I wrote about that event and how to prep for it. I actually just slipped some No-doz caffeine tablets in one pocket. Then, I had some theanine. You can combine caffeine with theanine to take some of the edge in the jitteriness and the heart rate racing off of the caffeine. If you do, let’s say 200 milligrams of caffeine, about a two-to-one ratio can work well. So, you take around 100 milligrams of theanine. Both of those are available in supplemental form. I would do that. Then, I also use this, and this is very good also for stabilizing your hormones and for lowering some of the cortisol during exercise, I took this Chinese adaptogenic herb blend, I was popping two a day, called TianChi. I would just open the packet and dumped it into my mouth and chased that with a squirt of water from water bottle or a canteen. Between the No-doz tablets combined with the L-theanine, and then also doing some TianChi, my nervous system was really up to ready, but I didn’t feel like I was just jittery, or that I was getting a come down crash after the No-doz caffeine tablets. The reason you do that is there’s no time to make a cup of coffee at these events, but caffeine is a very good aid. If I could go back and do it again, I would even consider chewing some nicotine gum during that event, or during any long-term event, just because that seems to be able to maintain alertness and focus for longer periods of time as well. You just need to be aware that in some people, it can make your heart race a little bit. That would be the stack, would be No-doz caffeine with L-theanine. Then, throw in some TianChi if you can. I’ll link to all these in the shownotes. Then, nicotine would be another one I would consider thrown into the mix.
Then, you should also consider the fact that when you look at central nervous system fatigue, it’s very interesting because what happens is there are exercise-induced changes in serotonin and dopamine and noradrenaline. A lot of these things, most notably tryptophan, they can cross into the blood-brain barrier. What you can see is, almost like a lethargy that develops as a lot of these compounds cross the blood-brain barrier. One of the main issues that can cause this fatigue to occur is a drop in blood levels of amino acids, because there’s nothing to compete with tryptophan to cross that blood-brain barrier. If you were to consume amino acids like essential amino acids during a long event, and this is what I began to do in 2013 when I was racing Ironman’s and I found it to be incredibly effective, that a dosage of five to 10 grams per hour, you can stave off the central nervous system fatigue. In many cases, people think that when they get lethargic or feel almost like hypoglycemic or sleepy during very long exercise sessions, it’s not an exhaustion of your carbohydrates. It’s instead a build-up of some of these amino acids or neurotransmitters in the brain that can lead to excess fatigue. You fight that by just slow bleeding amino acids into your bloodstream during exercise. I think that in a case like this, branch chain amino acids can actually work, and have been shown to work, in terms of staving off central fatigue but the problem is that even though they’re cheaper and they’re easier to get, they also do not help with things like preventing excess muscle breakdown. They don’t seem to offer the same type of ergogenic sports performance aid. It’s something like essential amino acids do. I’ve compared both. I used the BioSteel’s BCAAs for a while when I was racing. Then, I switched to EAAs, or essential amino acids. I found essential amino acids to be far more effective. I don’t want this to be like a commercial for aminos because I own a company that makes amino acids, but I would definitely consider using something like an amino acid supplement or essential amino acid supplement.
Then, the other final thing that I would consider because it’s a preferred fuel for the liver, for the heart, for the diaphragm, it allows for a very stable mental function during exercise, and that would be the use of exogenous ketones. I have a whole article called, “How to Get Into Ketosis.” It’s all focused on how the best blends of nutrients for, especially, endurance athletes to use during exercise, and either ketone salts or ketone esters are a huge part of that. I would consider the use of essential amino acids stacked with ketones, some of those central nervous system stimulants. Then, I don’t want to get into something that I already have for free on an article that you can just read, but I also list what you’d use for a carbohydrate and what you’d use for fats during an event like that. You can go read the article that I’ll link to in the shownotes to take an even deeper dive. Those are a few of my basic tips for maintaining focus and staving off central nervous system fatigue during these long, long hours workouts.
Glenn: I’m a 60-year-old man. I’ve been paleo for about five years. I tried keto recently and my cholesterol went from 280 to 350 and my LDL from 180 to 250. My triglycerides are low, my blood sugar is low, my CRP is very low. My question is was I better off on paleo?
Ben: Do you experience any issues with cholesterol on a high-fat diet, Brock? Or, have you tested that or messed around with it at all?
Brock: I have and I’m in the same boat as Glenn. My LDL and my overall cholesterol, actually everything except for triglycerides, went way up when I even experimented with keto. I have that gene. I have that what is the Apo-A1, something like that.
Ben: You mean familial hypercholesterolemia?
Brock: Yes. I got the gene. Really, I just had to switch from saturated fats to just avoid the saturated fat. I can keep my monounsaturated.
Ben: Your MUFAs. You were eating more Mediterranean-style fats.
Ben: Got it.
Brock: More coconut oil and less butter.
Ben: Yes, more coconut oil and more extra-virgin olive oil, more avocado oil, more of your Mediterranean fats versus a lot of these very solid brick fats. One could argue even coconut oil has a higher amount of the saturated. Basically, you’d want to just take a lot of those fats that are solid at room temp. Then, I realize this might fly in the face of what I was saying earlier about sunscreen and sun damage but what I’m getting at is that if you do have something like a gene that would cause very high cholesterol or an inflammatory response to a high intake of saturated fats, then that would be a situation in which you actually should shift towards very stable Mediterranean fats and have only 10% of your total fat intake come from some of these more saturated fats.
Going back to Glenn’s question, it is not uncommon for LDL and cholesterol to skyrocket on a ketogenic diet. Especially, if you’re not an incredibly active athlete, or especially an endurance athlete. I’ll get into why I would say that in a moment here. High cholesterol on a ketogenic diet is, first of all, not necessarily something that is inherently bad. We know that cholesterol serves a number of important roles in the body. It’s a critical structural element in tissues like the brain or the nervous system. It is one of those things that act as a transport molecule that shuttle fat-soluble nutrients into cells. It’s a building block for progesterone, and estrogen, and testosterone, and cortisol, and vitamin D.
There’s very little evidence that cholesterol, in and of itself, is something that would increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, or heart damage, or cholesterol buildup in the arteries. In fact, cholesterol buildup in the arteries is simply a sign that inflammation is present, and the cholesterol buildup in the arteries is a protective mechanism.
There’s a study called the Framingham Heart Study that was done in Framingham, Massachusetts that monitored a group of over 5,000 people for heart disease risk factors. That study’s been ongoing since 1948. There’s a lot of longitudinal data from that study. They showed that over 40% of heart attacks occur in people with desirable cholesterol levels, like lower than 200, and having a total cholesterol lower than 180 can triple your chances of suffering from a stroke. They also showed total cholesterol levels below 200, which is again the range that’s considered desirable by the American Heart Association, that’s associated with poor cognitive function in old age compared to people who have borderline high, or even high, like 240 plus cholesterol. There’s a host of data that shows that cholesterol can have a highly cardioprotective effect and can also increase intelligence, increase your endocrine function.
When you look at LDL, which is one that does tend to go up in many cases on a ketogenic diet, it’s really, when you’re looking at LDL, one of those situations where if you’re getting a lipid test or looking at a lipid panel, it’s the type of LDL that you need to look at, not the total LDL count. What matters is the particle size, because there are two different patterns for LDL. One’s pattern A and one’s pattern B. Pattern A is usually a larger particle size and these tend to carry more fat-soluble nutrients. They tend to carry more antioxidants, pattern A LDL. They’re highly cardioprotective. When you look at pattern B LDL; that’s a very small particle size, it’s a lot more prone to oxidation, especially if you also have high blood sugar; it’s small enough to enter into the endothelial any of the artery, where it’s more likely to be oxidized and more likely to form plaque. There is a high association between pattern B LDL and cardiovascular disease. You also need to pay attention to your pattern. I should note that studies have shown that a ketogenic diet reduces the number of pattern B LDL particles, and increases the number of pattern A LDL particles. When you’re looking at your lipid panel, you need to get a lipid panel, a full lipid panel that looks at both pattern A LDL and also pattern B LDL.
Then, of course, HDL is another one that you should pay attention to. Particularly, what’s called your HDL to triglyceride ratio, because high levels of triglyceride in the blood are often a byproduct of insulin resistance. They’re often something that can indicate excess energy consumption, and when paired with low HDL, that’s a risk factor. You need to look at not just the pattern of your LDL, but also your HDL to triglyceride ratio. Finally, if your LDL or your cholesterol is elevated, you should make sure that you don’t have chronic inflammation. You should test your inflammation, make sure that if you’re on a ketogenic diet and cholesterol is high, that inflammatory elements, particularly things like hs-CRP, or fibrinogen, or cytokines, or homocysteine, that these are all low. That would be an ideal scenario. Generally, what you see in a well-structured ketogenic diet in the absence of inflammation is you get increased LDL particle size because there’s less oxidation from high sugar throughput. You get increased HDL because you need that to recycle LDL from the blood before it has a chance to become oxidized. You get a better lowering of triglycerides and an improved triglyceride to HDL ratio. All of these things are technically favorable under most circumstances.
Now, there are some other reasons, though, that you might have high cholesterol on a ketogenic diet that you would want to pay attention to. I would say there are five things that you’d want to look at. One would be your actual thyroid conversion, the active version of thyroid which is T3. That activates the LDL receptors on your cells. If your thyroid is dysregulated, or if you’re consuming foods that you have an autoimmune reaction to, in many cases they’ll be like wheat, or soy, or dairy, if you have liver or if you have gut issues, if you’re restricting your carbohydrates to such an extent, especially when combined with heavy exercise that your thyroid is downregulated, you might not be able to activate LDL receptors and your LDL might skyrocket too. You’d also notice a change in the pattern of that LDL, the pattern B type LDL. That would be one thing to pay attention to, your thyroid. If your cholesterol is high, check out your thyroid. Inflammation, I already mentioned. If your LDL is high, make sure that you don’t have very high levels of inflammation which can oxidize those LDL particles and damage the arterial walls. Technically, it signals the manufacture of more cholesterol to heal those damaged cells so you get an increased risk of plaque formation. Pay attention to inflammation. Pay attention to thyroid.
Another one that you’d want to pay attention to that I already mentioned is your HDL levels. In many cases, you’ll see low HDL on a ketogenic diet, in people who are not eating enough plant matter, or who are not consuming enough fiber on that ketogenic diet. That’s why I’m a big fan of a plant-rich approach to a ketogenic diet, not just putting butter in your coffee and spoonfuls of coconut oil.
Another thing that can increase cholesterol in a very extreme fashion when you’re on a ketogenic diet is if you’re combining a ketogenic diet with a lot of caloric restriction that causes rapid weight loss because what happens is your adipose tissue will begin to mobilize a lot of triglycerides and you’ll see, basically, a high increase in both LDL and triglycerides. I’m not quite sure if that would be atherosclerotic. I’m not a huge fan of excess calorie restriction and a very crash diet approach to ketosis. I’m a bigger fan of cyclic ketosis or making sure that you’re engaging in some refeeds every now and again.
Then, the final thing that you’d want to be careful with is insulin resistance, meaning, let’s say you’ve got high blood glucose or low insulin sensitivity due to following a high starch, high sugar diet for a long period of time, you would want to be careful because that can cause a higher total cholesterol number. That would be something you could manage by working a lot of bitters, and herbs, and spices, like bitter melon extract or berberine or Ceylon cinnamon, or apple cider vinegar, or a lot of these things that are known insulin sensitizers. You would want to include those in a ketogenic diet as well.
When I’m sitting down and writing a nutrition plan for someone and I’ve decided that a ketogenic diet is going to be right for them, I’m working in a lot of these bitters, and herbs, and spices. I’m working in a lot of cyclic ketoses where there’s refeed days or carbohydrate refeeds. I’m also including a lot of plant matter, a lot of wild plants, a lot of salads, and a lot of fiber, because I care more about the net carbohydrate intake than the gross carbohydrate intake, for example. Those are a few of the things that I would consider.
Then, the final very interesting thing that I would note is the fact that in many people who adopt a ketogenic diet, their cholesterol actually drops significantly. This is something that you can read about over on the website of Dave Feldman. It’s at CholesterolCode.com. In very active people, what can happen is as you’re limiting your carbohydrate intake and your fat intake goes up, there’s a lot more trafficking of fat-based energy in the form of triglycerides. When that happens, when you’re almost burning through your fats very readily, and you’re a lean active person on a ketogenic diet, sometimes you’ll see what Dave refers to as the inversion pattern, an actual drop in LDL in response to high-fat intake. This is something that he even has shown on his website from, I think, over 300 people who have followed, who have been active, who have followed a high-fat diet, and then also at the same time doing a lot of exercises. They found that this inversion pattern takes place. It’s very interesting. He did a whole podcast with Peter Attia on it. I haven’t seen it happen to a lot of people, but I guess it is something that happens quite a bit. Sometimes, the ketogenic diet can actually lower LDL, not raise LDL, and you’ll tend to see that when you’re just using a lot of fats as a fuel. That’s a whole discussion for another day because Dave has a whole podcast and website devoted to this idea of this inversion pattern in response to a ketogenic diet.
Now, ultimately, those are a few things to consider, Glenn. Then, like Brock had mentioned, check out your genes. Make sure that you’re not one of those people who might be genetically susceptible to having any issues on a ketogenic diet. For that, what I would do is go listen to my podcast with Karim Dhanani where we talk about genetic testing, where we talk about the specific genetic snips that could put you at a higher risk if you’re on a ketogenic diet comprised of a lot of saturated fats. That’s where I’d start as far as that’s concerned. Ultimately, long story short is don’t worry too much about the LDL, but take into consideration some of these other things that I talked about. There you have it.
Brock: Remember, the human is a complete organism. We’re not just a walking cholesterol machine. There’s a lot of other factors to take into consideration. It’s not just about cholesterol. Do you smoke? Do you exercise? Are you overweight? All these things factor in.
Female 1: Hi, Ben. My husband and I are interested in red light therapy for a variety of reasons, especially sexual enhancement. However, he read an article that linked increased testosterone with BPH or enlarged prostate. He has a mild BPH. I was wondering what you think about that. Thanks for any help you can give us.
Ben: I’m going to keep my response to this one pretty brief because this is a myth, for the most part, this idea of testosterone and even testosterone replacement therapy, not just high testosterone exacerbating your risk for prostate cancer. There was a whole study done on this that I can link to in the shownotes that looked into this idea that one of the major risk factors associated with testosterone supplementation is its effect on the prostate. There have been randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials on this. They found that testosterone supplementation may cause a slight increase in prostate size. Again, not an increase in testosterone, but actual testosterone supplementation using hormone replacement therapy.
Brock: Like [01:11:34] ______?
Ben: Yes, exactly. I don’t know what the form of testosterone replacement therapy that they used was, but a slight increase in prostate size. And, in people who already have pre-existing prostate cancer, the potential for tumor growth, if you already have prostate cancer. This is the protein causes cancer thing, like in the China study. It’s only been shown to cause tumor growth if you already have a cancer. In the case, the China study, I believe via some type of toxin-induced cancer rodent models fed them a bunch of protein and lo and behold, their cancer was deleteriously affected, or their cancer became more of an issue, became a faster-growing cancer. That’s not something that you need to worry about if you don’t already have cancer. Testosterone replacement therapy for men who have been treated or have prostate cancer is something that should be avoided. In all other situations, there is no link between high testosterone and increased risk of prostate cancer, or increased PSH. It’s just a non-issue. It’s one of those things that I think some people speculate on. It’s one of those rumors that tends to fly around but it’s really not an issue, especially when you’re using a lot of these natural testosterone replacement methods, like the red-light that she refers to, or any of these other natural means. Short answer to the question, but ultimately, don’t worry too much. Also, go listen to the recent podcast that I did on natural methods to increase your testosterone status. I will link to that. It came out last week. I’ll put a link to that in the shownotes as well. It was on 32 different ways to increase testosterone. Check that one out, and don’t worry. Keep on pulling down your pants and shining that red light on your balls.
Brock: Don’t worry. Nobody’s going to look at you funny.
Ben: Your neighbors. What do you think? Should we give something away on the show?
Brock: Yes, let’s give some people a hat, a shirt, and a water bottle.
Ben: Cool. This is the part of the show where if you’ve left us a review on iTunes, you’re here right on the show, and remember going and leaving five stars and positive reviews on iTunes is one of the best ways to support the show. Anyways, though, if you go leave us a review, and you hear it right on the show, then we will send you a handy dandy gear pack chock-full of BGF swag, a Ben Greenfield Fitness swag. The only thing is if you hear your review read and we’re about to read the review, you need to email [email protected], that’s [email protected], with your T-shirt size so we make sure that we don’t send you a T-shirt that’s going to cut off blood flow to your brain or fit you like a giant tent. That being said, Brock, you want to take this one away?
Brock: Sure. This one’s by BCL64, which sounds SARMs, sounds like a peptide name, doesn’t it? BCL64.
Brock: The title is “There were many…and now there is one.” It goes like this. “I joined to the throng of listeners seeking to slake our thirst for primal, ancestral, and hi-tech information on how to hack, extend, and optimize our time on this rock. I downloaded and listened to many voices. Those voices were good.” I like this. It’s very biblical sounding. “Brilliant people with a wealth of information, but cream always rises to the top. Ben Greenfield and his podcast is just that. Ben continues to amaze and deliver insights that are real recommendations that have value and are tested by him, guinea pig, that he is. The bottom line is, folks, the information you get here is real. It’s valuable. It’s never-ending. It’s life-changing. Get on board and live, love optimally.” And live love optimally?
Ben: I don’t know.
Brock: Live, love.
Ben: Anyway, I like the point where he says, “I listen to many voices.”
Brock: And, “they were good.”
Ben: And, “those voices were good.” It’s like God, who created the world.
Brock: And it was good.
Ben: In seven days, and I forget how it goes. He said it was good.
Brock: Something like that.
Ben: He looked on it. I need to go back. Apparently, I need to read the Bible.
Brock: “He looked down on His creation and it was good.”
Ben: It was good.
Brock: I don’t know why. That was my Gandalf voice there. “You shall not ask.”
Ben: Sorry. Wow, I like that. I’m a little bit more of a Voldemort guy these days. I’m going through Harry Potter, or I guess for the good wizard, it would be Dumbledore. I’m more of a Dumbledore than a Gandalf guy.
Brock: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Ben: Dumbledore fans, rise up. Alright, folks, well that’s all the time we have. All the shownotes are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/394. From sunscreen being the new margarine, to quercetin, to amino acids, to the cholesterol website, the genetic testing, the 32 ways to increase testosterone podcast I did last week. We’re going to link to all that in the shownotes. Leave the comments. Leave your questions. We always jump in and reply. Check out the calendar, so you can see where I’ll be in the globe if you want to come and go to some interesting events. That’s at bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar. Shownotes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/394. What was the old guy named, Paul, who used to do radio shows? What was his name? Paul…
Ben: You know what I’m talking about? Anyways, he would say, “Good day.”
Thanks for listening to today’s show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned at bengreenfieldfitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I’ve ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
Q&A Episode 394
News Flashes [8:05]
- Good way to naturally increase your NAD levels:
- Interesting implications for recovery: The Effects of Quercetin Supplementation on Eccentric Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage.
- Everybody seems to be into Exosomes these days, but fact is, you can consume them in the form of wild plants, and they help your biome and possibly other health markers too. Read more here.
- Is sunscreen the new margarine?
- For goodness sake, don’t consume vegetable oil and then go out in the sun.
*Here is the Thorne Quercetin Ben recommends.
***Book: Mind To Matter
****Book: The Kaufman Protocol
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 [38:40]
This podcast is brought to you by:
–Kion: The Kion Aminos provides building blocks for muscle recovery, reduced cravings, better cognition, immunity, and more. Now available in the delicious Berry flavor. Use discount code: BGF10 for a 10% discount on your order.
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–Click here to follow Ben on Snapchat , and get ready for some epic stories about his morning, day and evening routine!
Ben’s Adventures: [42:37]
– February 22-24, 2019: CalJam: The Rebel Yell Tour. California Jam combines a TED talk format with a rock n’ roll show in-between! The driving objective of the event is to get attendees up to date on chiropractic research, scientific studies, and useful practice management strategy. The hope is that attendees bring all they learn at Cal Jam back to their communities to implement real, rippling change. Get your tickets here before the prices go up!
– April 3-7, 2019: The Kentucky Castle. Ben Greenfield will share his vast knowledge of nutrition and exercise science to help you figure out how to hack your biology and get the most out of the genetics you were born with. This will happen at the amazing Kentucky Castle. Interactive discussions and presentations will take place from 9am – 1pm on April 6th.
– April 12-13, 2019: FitCon Summit, Salt Lake City, Utah. FitCon® encourages everyone to Find Their Fit. It does not matter whether it is powerlifting, Crossfit, bodybuilding, roller derby, or even axe throwing. Be sure to visit the Kion booth in the expo! Register here and use code: BEN50 for $50 off!
– April 26 – 28, 2019: Paleo f(x) Conference, Austin, Texas. Join me, staff from my company, Kion, and the rest of your tribe at Paleo f(x)™ 2019, the largest gathering of Paleo / ancestral health / keto / functional medicine / strength & conditioning experts in the world… see everything you’ll get out of this enriching, enlightening event. Besides, April is a wonderful time of year to visit Austin, TX….Get your tickets here.
– June 23 – July 7, 2019: European Detox Retreat, Paracelsus al Ronc, Switzerland. At this 2019 liver detox and R&R at the beautiful Swiss Mountain Clinic (formerly Paracelsus al Ronc) in the Italian quarter of Switzerland, you will stay on-site and receive diagnostics and treatments from the best doctors of biological medicine to detox your liver and your soul. Plus you’re going to have a wonderful time hiking, sightseeing and enjoying one of the most beautiful places in the world. Here’s the link to more info. *this event is sold out, waitlist is available
Giveaways & Goodies
-This week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!
As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick.
How To Maintain Focus During Long Workouts [44:30]
Tom says: “I’m preparing for an ultramarathon (264 miles) in Wales this May. I will most likely do it without a support crew. There will be sleep stations at miles 80, 140, and 200 and I plan to take advantage of these. What tips do you have to prepare myself for the inevitable cognitive decline that accompanies events of this nature?”
In my response, I recommend:
–Amino acids to stave off central nervous system fatigue
–No-doz caffeine + L-theanine + TianChi + nicotine (what I did during the Kokoro event you can read about here)
–My “How To Get Into Ketosis” podcast
Does Cholesterol Go Up On A Ketogenic Diet (& Is That Bad?) [56:55]
Glenn says: I’m a 60-year-old man. I went to a paleo diet about 5 years ago. I recently tried the keto diet and everything seems off. My cholesterol and LDL skyrocketed. My triglycerides are low, my blood sugar is low, my CRP is low. So was I better off on paleo?
Is Testosterone Bad For Your Prostate [1:10:20]
Hi Ben, my husband and I are interested in red light therapy for enhancing the sexual experience. However, my husband read an article that linked increased testosterone with BPH, or enlarged prostate. My husband has mild BPH. What are your thoughts on that?
In my response, I recommend:
–Risks of testosterone replacement therapy in men
–32 different ways to increase testosterone podcast