[00:00:30] Catching up with Jay
[00:03:42] News Flashes
[00:04:17] The Recent Blue Zone Study
[00:10:40] Natural Alternatives to Metformin – A New Study
[00:17:00] Minimal Effective Dose of Exercise Type of Protocol
[00:22:11] Eating Meat Is NOT Destroying the Planet
[00:35:50] Special Announcements
[00:38:22] Podcast Sponsors
[00:43:50] Bone Broth vs. Eating Bones
[00:52:24] Spot-Reducing Belly Fat?
[01:03:56] How to Recover from A TBI/Concussion Fast
[01:19:53] Giveaways & Goodies
[01:21:14] Talking About Coffee Enema
[01:22:47] Closing the Podcast
[01:23:28] End of Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show.
What’s worse for the planet, vegetarianism or carnivore? How to recover from a TBI or a concussion fast, the minimal effective dose of exercise for muscle, and much more.
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Yow, yow, Jay. What’s up?
Jay: What’s up? I’m back, baby.
Ben: I like how we talk like gangsters.
Jay: I know, I know. I think when your voice goes lower, my voice goes lower. So, the next thing we’re now, we’re going to sound like Thanos from Infinity War.
Ben: Yeah. We’re just middle-aged health enthusiasts trying to sound cool. How’s life been, man?
Jay: Life’s been fast-paced, brother. I mean, there’s a lot been going on since I’ve seen you last, actually.
Ben: Yeah. I had to record my last Q&A podcast without you, Podcast 401. I have to admit I might need your help today to keep this thing rolling. I’m going on about eight hours of sleep for the past two days.
Jay: Whoa. Tell me why, what caused this.
Ben: It’s complicated, but let me open up my Zevia here and take a sip.
Jay: I thought it was going to be the Essenza again because I’ve been drinking those things like crazy.
Ben: Oh, the Essenza, the stuff from Costco? That sparkling–
Jay: Yeah. When you can buy like 36 of them or whatever, 38 of them for like 10.99, it’s a bit of a deal.
Ben: Yeah. I still like Zevia better, but that stuff is pretty good. I’ve been immersed in a plant medicine retreat for the past couple of days, which means that I’ve basically burned through as many neurotransmitters as I’d normally burned through in a week in a couple of days. And of course, when you do those things, you don’t really sleep either. I think a lot of our listeners know I no way endorse people going out and doing 40 ayahuasca ceremonies in their lives to go find themselves. But at the same time, every once in a while, very similar to Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal’s book, “Stealing Fire,” I will engage in what one might label as a relatively, not hedonistic but intensive immersion into some pretty intensive and extreme plant medicine protocols. I was not at Burning Man, which actually happens to be going on right now, but I was–
Jay: Yeah. I knew that was going on now.
Ben: It’s kind of in my own little private version of Burning Man all overseen by medical professional, of course, but I’m a little bit toasted, I will admit.
Jay: I bet, man. Well, I’ll help you through it. So, have you had a guide on this there with you or just someone that you can contact just in case shit hits the fan?
Ben: No. Whenever I go as deep as I go in a real session, I have to have a medical professional around, someone who knows CPR, et cetera. So, yeah.
Ben: Because these things can be pretty dangerous.
Jay: Yeah, and it makes sense. I was wondering why you’re putting off all these crazy Instagram videos this week and now I know why.
Ben: That’s not why. I literally just got back like nine hours ago. I’ve slept a couple hours and here I am. So, anyways, that being said, that’s why I might need a little lift from my ducky duck sidekick. What do you think? Shall we jump into these newsflashes?
Jay: Let’s jump into these, man.
Ben: So, everything you hear Jay and I talk about on today’s show we’re going to put over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/402 where we keep some very comprehensive shownotes for you all. But this is the part of the show where we go over some newsflashes. And before I jump into some of the things we’re going to talk about regarding plants and animals and plant-based milks versus animal-based milks, a few other things that I really want to dive into. The first thing is this whole Blue Zone study that recently hit the fan. Did you see this one, Jay?
Jay: Yeah. I saw this, which kind of like threw me a little bit for a loop until I started thinking a little bit more about it and I can give you my thoughts on this as we go. But yeah, yeah, it’s an interesting one.
Ben: Yeah. So, the title of this study was a mouthful. It’s a horrible title. “Supercentenarians and the oldest-old are concentrated into regions with no birth certificates and short lifespans.” Essentially, what that means is that these reported Blue Zones or so-called Blue Zones, as they named them in the abstract of the study, might have no credibility behind them because of very poor birth certificates and anthropologic data that was collected, areas of low incomes, low literacy, high crime rate, poor record-keeping, relatively short life expectancy, when we’re talking about places like Sardinia and Okinawa and Ikaria.
And so this hit the internet and a bunch of people basically reported that this whole Blue Zone thing is a scam because it comes from areas with very poor record-keeping and poor birth certificate-keeping. And basically, that’s it in a nutshell. That’s what this report was reporting. But when you look into it a little bit more deeply, there were some issues. So, first of all, they’re reporting on these areas where there are so-called centenarians, but the whole idea behind the Blue Zones was it never claims to be reporting on regions with supercentenarians. And Blue Zone areas are actually just places with the highest life expectancy where people can reach their 90s or so with low rates of chronic disease and where they have a high probability to reach 100 years old. And a supercentenarian is technically someone who’s living 110 years old plus, all right? So, the Blue Zones never actually claimed to be areas where you’d see folks living like Methuselah as much as people living a pretty dang long time with relatively high health span.
Jay: I think people just made the assumption that it was a place where there was the highest concentration of centenarians. But I think it’s a valuable piece of information to lay out there because I’ve seen so many people talk about this online as there’s a bunch of BS like we can take nothing from the Blue Zones. And I know you’re about to get into this here in a second, but I think that’s a completely wrong way to look at this study.
Ben: Yeah. And when they actually wrote that book, “The Blue Zones,” and Dan Buettner went and did all of his research on this, they actually traveled to all these areas. They didn’t do data crunching from afar. They actually visited each of these regions, Sardinian, Okinawan, Loma Linda, et cetera, and they checked birth certificates, and they cross-referenced those with things like church baptism records and local records, and they were like boots on the ground in these regions. They weren’t studying anthropologic data from sitting over here in a lab in the United States. So, they actually went over to each of these regions and they dove in to the civil registrar’s, and they dove into the military registrar’s, and they interviewed people, and they dug into actual birth certificates, and verified survival status, and verified things like rates of chronic disease, and all of this is reported on their website at bluezones.com and also in the book. So, they actually did do some pretty good age verification in the Blue Zone’s research.
And then the other thing is that the abstract of this controversial study that just came out reports relative poverty and short lifespan in these areas. But you can’t synonymize poverty with short lifespan because when you look at America and a lot of these westernized societies, people are going to die, and they are dying from diseases of affluence like heart disease, and cancer, and diabetes. And in many cases, poor people are walking more than they’re driving. They’re in many cases eating more things like legumes and plants and vegetables from the garden, at least especially in poverty-stricken areas that aren’t westernized compared to like more processed foods and fast foods. They’re spending more time connecting in their neighborhoods and forming relationships more than they are, say, sitting in front of the television or staring at their phones. And so you again can’t just say because people are poor, they’re not going to live long because it’s often the case that poor people, farmers, and ranchers, and hunters, and gatherers, et cetera, they’re actually engaged in a lifestyle that allows them to live a longer time and have that good combination of health span and lifespan.
Jay: Yeah. It’s a good point.
Jay: Yeah. No. I totally agree with that because I think that we have this notion, especially when we look at American-based studies and we see this correlation between poverty and poorer health outcomes. And while there are some truths to that, there are always trade-offs like the ones that you just mentioned.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, once again, as we seem to visit over and over again on this podcast, don’t look at a study headline and swallow a hook, line, and sinker.
Jay: Yeah. I was going to say one last thing too is that, I know that you’ve talked about this a lot, is that even let’s say if all these data were correct and we could take it for the title that we see here, there’s still so many aspects that we can take from Blue Zones that we know from other science-based research studies are going to be effective, like what you’ve mentioned here. So, it’s the idea of like we don’t want to just take the title for what it is, but we also have to keep in mind that there are always things that we can take from these Blue Zones that have been out there. And so yeah, yeah, it’s one of those things that I just–I hate the idea of looking at a title and then just taking it for what it is.
Ben: Yeah. I agree. Alright. So, now we’ve kicked that horse to death. Another really interesting study, because I’m always looking at natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals, and there’s one very popular pharmaceutical for diabetes that’s now being used as an off-label drug and anti-aging/longevity protocol, and that’s of course metformin. So, a really great researcher who actually has written some really good books, and another good researcher that has some great YouTube videos, TED Talks, and research out there on exercise and longevity, the first being James DiNicolantonio. I don’t even know if I’m pronouncing his last name right, but you can look up some of his books. He’s got a great title that he co-wrote with Dr. Mercola about healthy fats. It’s probably found on Amazon. And then, James O’Keefe, who did a lot of the research on kind of like how much exercise is good enough for endurance exercise, and then how much is going to cause arterial stiffness, or cardiovascular issues, or heart arrhythmias, et cetera.
Well, these two guys teamed up and recently put out a report in the journal Open Heart about natural alternatives to metformin, basically, a nutraceutical strategy that would replicate what metformin does for things like metabolic syndrome and cholesterol issues. So, what they studied was essentially a blend of astaxanthin, which is something that you’d get from say like krill oil. It’s in the SuperEssentials fish oil that I take. You can buy it as a standalone supplement. And then they combined that with berberine and red yeast rice. What they found when they looked into the research on these three compounds stacked was when it comes to things like mitochondrial biogenesis, almost like a caloric restriction mimicking protocol, this so-called exercise in a pill type of routine that metformin seems to simulate as well.
All of that was achieved with this combination of astaxanthin and berberine. And then when you add red yeast rice extract into the mix, it actually improved the metabolic profile when it came to lowering triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol in a very similar manner as like a metformin-statin combination.
Jay: That’s pretty incredible.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, extremely incredible. So, there are a lot of physicians now prescribing metformin, or a lot of anti-aging enthusiasts taking metformin. And the problem with this that I have a whole article about over on my website is that metformin can suppress your VO2 max. It can, based on recent research, impair the mitochondrial response to exercise, thus, reducing your fitness response if you’re engaged in an exercise regimen. It can cause some issues that could be taken care of via supplementation like B12 deficiencies, for example. It causes some pretty extreme gut discomfort in people. And it turns out that we can replicate that via natural methods in a very effective manner with things that don’t seem to have the same type of impact, particularly, astaxanthin, berberine, and there are other things that act very similar to berberine like bitter melon extracts, like organ grapefruit extract. But berberine is probably at the top of the list as far as a pretty effective strategy for this. And then this red yeast rice extract, which has some pretty favorable impacts on metabolic profile, particularly, on lipids.
So, I’ll link to this study in the shownotes. But we’re not just talking about something that could improve metabolic syndrome, but also something that could be added to like an anti-aging or longevity stack. And indeed, when I talked to Dr. Sandra Kaufmann, when I interviewed her on the podcast a few weeks ago, like astaxanthin, I think it was astaxanthin and NAD were at the top of the list of natural supplements in her book about longevity as far as things that hit almost every pathway of improving health span and lifespan simultaneously.
Jay: It’s super interesting.
Ben: It was pretty cool to read this. Again, people out there taking metformin, I’m not a doctor. Don’t misconstrue this as medical advice, but it turns out that this would be a pretty cool herbal protocol to look into.
Jay: I would totally agree. I think that it’s super interesting that you can have the nutraceutical effects and not have the pharmaceutical side effects. And one of the things that I wanted to ask you about, Ben, is that I’ve done berberine, done astaxanthin, and I managed to say I take those actually on a regular daily basis. But the red yeast rice extract or red–is it red yeast, right? What is it again?
Ben: Yeah, RYR.
Jay: Yeah. RYR. Is that something that you get just like in powder form encapsulated? I haven’t even seen that.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, you can buy it in a capsule. You can buy it in powder. I’m not necessarily convinced that modulating cholesterol in someone who does not have safe familial hypercholesterolemia or some pretty significant, say like, high levels of particle counts, for example, I’m not convinced that red yeast rice extract is necessary and that lowering LDL cholesterol should be the holy grail for improving metabolic profile because there’s not a lot of evidence that that in isolation is a true cardiovascular risk factor. But stacking astaxanthin and berberine appears to be a pretty cool combination for anti-aging. And then if you have lipid issues, or if you have familial hypercholesterolemia, et cetera, adding red yeast rice extract on top of that could also be a good strategy compared to, say, taking metformin and a statin.
Jay: Yeah, yeah. No. I would absolutely agree with that because I think with the RYR, I would be concerned with myself without a history of hypercholesterolemia with that, high cholesterol, genetic form of high cholesterol. I would be afraid of lowering my LDL too much, yeah. So, I might just try the berberine and the astaxanthin combination.
Ben: Yup. Cool. Well, we’ll link to that one in the shownotes as well. And then, here’s a cool study that came out for those of you who are into the whole minimal effective dose of exercise type of protocol. This was recently in the Journal of Strength, Conditioning Research. And what they did was they compared high-frequency weight training with low-frequency weight training to see if there was any difference between the two when it came to increasing muscle mass and strength. And even more interestingly, they did this in trained individuals. A lot of these studies are done in untrained individuals who were going to respond to just about any exercise protocol. But this was done in trained individuals. In this case, men. And what they did was they compared working out at a low frequency versus working out at a high frequency. And I just realized, because I subscribed to this journal, it’s four feet away from me in my office. So, I’m going to duck away from my microphone here and grab it, so I can tell folks about it.
Jay: Do it.
Ben: Oh, I’m back. So, this study–let me see which page this was on. We’re opening the kimono for those of you listening in as I scroll through this. Yeah, page 2,104. Here we go. So, I want to tell you the exact protocol that they did because a lot of the news outlets that reported on this study, they didn’t talk about the actual protocol. But the folks who were training at a low frequency, they’re working out twice a week on a Monday and a Thursday. And what they were doing was kind of like a push protocol on a Monday, and it was bench press, dumbbell fly, cable triceps, back squat and leg extension. And then they were doing a pull routine on Thursday, lat pulldown, straight arm pulldown, bicep curl and leg curl.
Now, the group that was doing the high frequency, they were doing a push-pull protocol too, but they are pushing on Monday, pulling on Tuesday, pushing on Thursday, pulling on Friday. Alright, so it was a Monday, Thursday push-pull protocol versus a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday push-pull protocol. What they, in a nutshell, found was that there was almost an identical improvement in both strength and muscle mass between the two groups, although of course, the group that was training twice a week was spending twice as much time in the gym. So, the thing that I think people need to know about that they didn’t do a very good job of reporting in the news was these were some pretty intensive weight training protocols. Both the–or not both the groups, but the low-frequency group, they were doing eight sets, like eight sets of bench press, eight sets of–
Jay: That’s a ton, man.
Ben: Yeah. They were doing a lot of sets. And the group that was doing the lower, or the higher frequency protocol, they were only doing four sets, right? So, we aren’t talking about a lower volume of training; we’re talking about a lower frequency of training. So, think of this as spending two hours in the gym on Monday and Thursday, or spending one hour in the gym on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. So, yes, you can get the same results with low-frequency training as high-frequency training, but you need to understand that that low-frequency training is going to be twice as long, right?
Ben: So, it was a cool study. I mean, for people who are working hard and maybe have just two days a week with a longer period of time to be able to hit the gym, fine, go do it, but don’t think that you can get away with, say like, the same time length of training as you could with training more days of the week. And I’m personally, just from a pure metabolic blood sugar management movement standpoint, I’m into moving more frequently lower volume than I am into just crushing myself a couple of times a week. So, I still think that this is not necessarily minimal effective dose of exercise as much as the same dose of exercise just compressed into just a couple of days a week if that makes sense.
Jay: Yeah. No, that makes total sense. I would just be worried on the low-frequency days doing that many sets all at once, that timeframe. I’d just be worried about more prone to injury just because I would be so gassed doing 8 to 12 of sets of bench press that I would be afraid that I’d just overdo it and then end up injuring myself because I was trying to push too hard.
Ben: Yeah, or just piss in Coca-Cola from rhabdo. That’s the other issue. You can do some serious muscle damage. But ultimately, let’s just say that you are super busy and there are just like one or two days a week you’re getting at the gym. Just go crush it really hard for a really long time, and you could actually simulate the same effects if you’d hit the gym five times during the week. So, interesting study, but once again, don’t swallow hook, line, and sinker when you see the news headlines that say, “Hey, training twice a week is just as good as training four times a week.” Yeah, there’s that.
Now, I also wanted to cover a few studies that came out, really more articles than studies, but reports on this whole meat versus vegetable thing, both when it comes to milk, but also when it comes to greenhouse gases, when it comes to vegetarianism versus a carnivore diet. So, I’ll link to all of these articles in the shownotes because they were all pretty interesting. But the first was about whether or not animal agriculture actually affects our climate as intensively as some would claim that it is, because there are a lot of advocates that are urging folks to eat less meat to save the environment or even taxing meats to reduce the consumption of it to save the environment.
Jay: Please don’t.
Ben: Now, the issue here is that one of the bad raps that meat gets is based on the assertion that livestock is the biggest source of greenhouse gases worldwide. And that’s simply not true. There is often the comparison made to livestock versus transportation, and they’ll say that livestock produces more greenhouse gases than do cars, for example. But it’s kind of a misconception because when you look at agriculture and compare that to animal agriculture, basically, animal agriculture will produce about 4% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. And when you look at growing plants and the electricity, the transportation in the industry necessary for agriculture versus animal agriculture, it’s actually closer to 9%. So, we see almost double the amount of greenhouse gas emissions with growth of crops versus growth of cattle. That’s one issue is that some of the reporting is not that accurate.
Jay: Well, people don’t think about the production-related issues. You’re right. I mean, the utilization of so many production tools for agriculture is just astronomical, and that’s why it’s going to upregulate the amount of emissions that are produced.
Ben: Yeah. And when you look at transportation’s carbon footprint, they ignore impacts from manufacturing the vehicle material in parts, they ignore assembling vehicles and maintaining roads, and bridges, and airports. All they look at is the exhaust emitted by the cars, the trucks, the trains, and the planes, and not the greenhouse gas produced by the actual production of those. So, that’s another issue when you say like transportation produces far less greenhouse gases than, say like, livestock productions. It’s simply an inaccurate comparison. And they delved into this in this article that I’ll link to in the shownotes.
The other issue is that a lot of people will say, “If we give up meat, we could save the climate.” But there are some issues with that as well. So, if all Americans eliminated all animal proteins from their diets, we would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by about 2.5%. And it’s really not that significant. And when you look at population growth worldwide and the projected need for meat and per capita meat consumption, there’s going to be a huge shortage of food if we decide to tax meat heavily, or somehow make meat production lower due to the potential for greenhouse gas emission.
I’ll get into, shortly, a different article that goes into grass-fed versus feedlot beef. But what’s interesting is that meat is far more nutrient-dense per serving than any vegetarian or plant-based option. All meat is far more nutrient-dense. So, we can actually get per, whatever you want to call it, acre of grass-fed or grazing land, far more calories, far more nutrients to feed, far more people than we can from plants, period. And Paul Saladino and I discussed this quite a bit when I did a carnivore podcast episode with him about this idea that plant food is–it’s essentially poor food that requires far more land, far more acreage to grow enough nutrients and calories to feed as many people as the equivalent amount of livestock, especially if that livestock is raised in a manner that takes into consideration, the soil and the planet, and a lot of other considerations that come to how we actually raise those animals.
Which gets into this other article that was actually–it appeared on NPR’s website and it went into the difference between grass-fed beef and feedlot beef. And this was also really, really interesting because when you look at the environmental argument for grass-fed beef, they actually do produce a little bit more methane, which incidentally, if you feed anything like a cow, or a goat, or a chicken a little bit of seaweed along with their feed, you can actually reduce methane production significantly. The same thing can be said for humans. If you give humans activated charcoal or spirulina or chlorella, the amount of methanogenic bacteria activity decreases significantly, which is a good trick. If you’re ever hopping on a plane and concerned about gas, pop some activated charcoal, or you take some spirulina or some chlorella. You do that after you have a meal that’s heavy in beans or cruciferous vegetables and they can control that quite a bit. But it can do so in cattle or really any animal as well.
Yeah. It’s interesting because even though a grass-fed cow, for example, is going to produce more methane, the actual carbon that’s sequestered through the process of things like what the Savory Institute teaches, which is rotating the areas where animals are grazing and using more sustainable agricultural practices, and doing a lot of things that lower the environmental footprint, and then when you look at the fact that the grass-fed beef is healthier, it’s more concentrated in nutrients, et cetera, you actually see lower carbon emissions overall when you look at grass-fed versus feedlot beef. You see better landscape health, you see better soil health, and you see a much, much more favorable impact on the planet versus feedlot beef.
So, again, this comes down to taking into consideration a lot more than just something like methane production, or something like comparing the growth of plants to feeding cattle. You have to look at everything from the amount of transportation that’s required. You have to look at what the actual impact on the planet is, et cetera. But it turns out that overall, when it comes to the health of the environment, and when it comes to feeding more people, and when it comes to carbon sequestration–am I saying that right, sequestration, sequestration?
Jay: Sounds about right to me. Let’s go with it.
Ben: I don’t know. I’m just going to make up words. Grass-fed livestock production is the way to go. And I think if everybody were to do something like grow a few of their own plants on a patio, or a backyard, or whatever, raise a few chickens, buy grass-fed beef when they can get their hands on grass-fed beef, it’d be just far better for the planet and affect much, much greater change versus a combination of feedlot beef and/or vegetarianism and large, large acreages that are used for agricultural production. And there are companies or organizations like the Savory Institute, for example, or you can look into any of the books, or the work by Joel Salatin that take a much deeper dive into this.
Jay: Yeah, yeah. Great points, I would say, too that I know a while back, Robb Wolf wrote a, I guess, a report on this. It might even have been a rebuttal to that movie What the Health, and talked a lot about the information that you’ve listed here and discussed. So, if anybody wants to google his article, I’m sure it’s flying around there. But I remember it was a really potent one. And the other thing, Ben, little known fact actually is, did you know about 10% to 15% of greenhouse emissions are actually protein-based bodybuilding flatulence?
Ben: What do you mean protein-based bodybuilding flatulence?
Jay: I’m totally just kidding. It was bodybuilding farts.
Ben: Oh, bodybuilding farts, oh, my gosh, dude. When I was a bodybuilder and I go to those shows, you step onto an elevator, it smelled like a bunch of animals died. Yeah, bodybuilding farts are horrible.
Jay: It’s so bad.
Ben: Yeah. I think I did some pretty significant impact to my gut back in the day when I was having four cans of tuna fish for dinner and five ABB bodybuilding whey protein shakes per day. I can’t even eat a whey protein bar, or like smell away protein shake now without getting gaseous. It’s horrible.
Jay: Yeah. No. It’s pretty bad, yeah. I used to take like about 75 to 100 grams of whey protein after workout and it was the worst thing. I would have to go lay down in the fetal position for an hour or two because I felt so bad.
Ben: Yeah. If I ever went back and did bodybuilding again, I would basically do a largely ketogenic approach, like high-calorie ketogenic approach with a little bit of a carb refeed, like a clean carb refeed in the evening. And then I’d just eat like 40 grams of either amino acids or collagen a day, instead of whey protein, and I could just get swole. Maybe I’ll do that someday.
Jay: Oh, yeah.
Ben: Somebody just dare me. And then finally, plant-based milks versus animal-based milks. This one’s interesting because a lot of people will drink like soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, et cetera, because they think they’re better for the environment. But when you actually look at the nutritional value of these, they can be anywhere from 30% to 50% lower as far as the actual nutritional quality and the absorbability of the plant-based proteins compared to an animal protein. So, you have to sacrifice far more plants, use far more soil, kill more small rodents as you’re growing all of these plants and agriculture-based compounds to create the milk, and getting far less nutrients per ounce when you’re feeding these to people.
So, when you take into consideration the greenhouse gas footprint of plant-based milks like oat, and almond, and rice, and soy versus animal-based milk, animal-based milk far and above is better for the environment and is far more nutrient-dense. And I realize that a lot of people might be lactose intolerant or may just not do well with like a cow-based milk. And there are ways around that. For example, many, many people who can’t process cow milk do just fine with goat milk, or camel milk, or–people will snicker at this, but it’s extremely nutrient-dense, and water buffalo milk.
I personally still don’t do that well with milk. And so I just consume any form of dairy that I consume. I consume it either fermented, or I do okay if it’s raw because with a raw milk, a lot of the proteins are combined with the fat globules and less likely to cross the blood gut barrier and wind up causing any type of autoimmune issues. So, sometimes it depends on the way that you consume the actual milk, whether it’s fermented, or whether it’s raw, et cetera. But ultimately, plant-based milks are not better for the environment once you consider the nutrient-density, and once you consider the damage to the environment from actually growing all the plants.
So, three different articles on plant-based milks versus animal-based milks, on feedlot cattle versus grass-fed cattle, and on the environmental impact of animal agriculture versus something like a plant-based agricultural approach. These three articles I think we’re the best I’ve read recently on this whole idea behind what’s better for the environment, animals versus plants. I really do think that animals are getting a much badder rap than they deserve, especially like a natural grass-fed sustainable approach to raising animals for food.
Jay: Agreed. Do you know how many almonds it takes? Do you just happen to know how many almonds it takes to make like a glass of almond milk?
Ben: A shit-ton because my wife makes almond milk sometimes.
Jay: Yeah. I figured it’d have to be a ton. Do you happen to know like weight-wise? Is it like a pound of almonds in order to make a glass of milk?
Ben: Well, I just said a shit-ton. So, I don’t know what that is.
Jay: Okay. I got you right.
Jay: Well, I mean, I guess it’s a ton because–
Ben: Yeah, 2,000 pounds of shit. So, yeah. Anyways, those are the newsflashes for this week. Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/402 to check them out and get more.
Well, well, well, a few special announcements. First of all, my massive 600-page book that is a guide to everything, brain, body, and even spirit, like gratitude, sex, love, relationships. I cover a ton on mold, mycotoxin, Lyme, fixing the gut, building muscle, burning fat. This book is about three years’ worth of research and writing for me, and it finally hit Amazon for pre-order, even though it doesn’t come out ’til January. And also, all these bonuses, prizes, a bunch of sponsors have come onboard for people who want to buy multiple copies, et cetera, this is a big–if I can talk, big, bold, beautiful hardcover coffee table style book. I wanted to go big or go home on this one.
Probably one of the most unique health books that you are ever going to get your hands on, if any of you read “4-Hour Body,” for example, by Tim Ferriss, it’s kind of like that but fully upgraded, and that is all available. The book’s called “Boundless.” Upgrade your brain, optimize your body, and defy aging. The chapter on anti-aging alone is over 100 pages long. I mean, it’s got [00:37:14] ______ like peptides, SARMs, stem cells. I mean, I cover everything and it’s the most cutting-edge shit that I’ve been able to discover over the past three years. So, that’s at boundlessbook.com. If anybody wants to get in on the pre-order or find out when the book comes out, you can also just go to Amazon and search for “Boundless Ben Greenfield,” and you’ll find it. So, I’m excited to announce that.
Jay: Nice, man. Dude, is it all loose-leaf, or did you actually end up bounding the book?
Ben: Oh yeah, it’s bound.
Jay: Okay. I didn’t know if you were going like full hardcore, this boundless type thing.
Ben: Yeah. It has many pages as we could get with binding it. And then even though the original manuscript is over 1,000 pages long, what we’ve done is given access within the book to anything that we cut from the book because it wouldn’t fit. So, I have tons of extra exercise plans, nutrition plans, research, everything available on the book website, and anybody who gets the book will get access to all of that. So, boundlessbook.com.
Jay: Nice. Send it over my way a signed copy.
Ben: I will. Don’t worry.
This podcast is, of course, brought to you by Kion. We’ve been up to a whole bunch of stuff over at Kion and we’re working on a bunch of different formulas for you guys behind the scenes. But right now, anybody who’s listening to this podcast can get 10% off site-wide at Kion. You go to getkion.com. And we have amazing eBooks over there now. We have a brand-new meditation eBook you can get for less than 10 bucks. We have of course our coffee, our amazing chocolatey, coconutty goodness mouthful of Kion Clean Energy Bar. We’ve got our Lean fat loss supplement. We’ve got our flex, joint fixing supplement. Everything’s over there. So, getkion.com and the code you can use as a podcast listener is BGF10. That saves you 10% site-wide.
This podcast is also brought to you by a new supplement from my friends at Organifi. So, what they did was they put together this new collagen formula but they threw in hyaluronic acid and a special mushroom called tremella mushroom, which helps to hydrate the skin. And then they put a plant-based bamboo silica, which has been shown to support collagen production. And basically, what this thing does is it increases the amount of collagen that you get, but it is specifically designed as almost like something you eat for your skin. So, it smooths fine lines and wrinkles. It repairs your skin. It protects against sun damage. So, it’s perfect for these summer days. And it tastes really good. It’s raspberry-lemon flavored. You mix it in water like any of the Organifi powders. You save a ton of money compared to going to the cold-pressed juicery, and this stuff just tastes fantastic. You can consume it on an empty stomach with a meal. It doesn’t matter. Everybody listening gets 20% off of that one. So, that’s called Organifi Glow. So, you go to organifi.com/ben, Organifi with an “I”, organifi.com/ben and you use code BENG20 to get 20% off of anything from Organifi.
Jay: And if anybody hadn’t listened to it yet, and if you have not listened to the Drew Canole Podcast, you really should. It was a good one, dude.
Ben: Yeah. I just interviewed Drew, and you could go find that at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, search for Drew Canole. Good guy.
This podcast is also brought to you by Clearlight, Clearlight Infrared Saunas, same sauna I own that I can have a bunch of buddies over and sit in there. I can fit four or five. I’ve had six people in there before, my Clearlight Sanctuary sauna. They make small saunas, they make big saunas, but this is a full-on infrared sauna that does not microwave you like a lot of these high EMF saunas do. So, don’t just go out and buy your bargain bin infrared sauna because a lot of them, even though you get your sweat on and you detox like you do in any infrared sauna, they just basically bombard you with dirty electricity. Clearlight sauna–
Jay: Frying your cells.
Ben: Yeah. Clearlight sauna doesn’t do that. You get all the anti-aging benefits that they showed in the Finnish men’s aging study, the decrease in the risk of diabetes, decrease in risk of Alzheimer’s. These things come with a lifetime warranty. And any of my listeners get a $500 off discount at healwithheat.com if you use code BENGREENFIELD at healwithheat.com. And that’s a Clearlight. The one that I have is the Sanctuary. It’s the one in my basement. And they’re coming out with this fancy new saltwater infusion thing that you can put in there that I’m getting installed this week where you can breathe water like you do in these lung healing salt mines, but they’ve added that into their Clearlight. So, all sorts of goodies.
Jay: That’s badass. So, if you want to breathe salt and get sweaty with five other men, oh, I know whatever it floats your bone.
Ben: It’s what I’m into. Then finally, our last sponsor for today’s show is NetSuite. So, NetSuite, what they do is they produce a business management software, but it does everything for you with one piece of software. It’s all in a cloud platform. They have everything put together for accounting, for sales, for inventory. And rather than having a different software program for each, which is this big inefficient mess, NetSuite just combines it all together. So, you save time, you save money, you save unneeded headaches. They manage sales, finance, accounting, orders, HR, everything. You can even do it all from your phone. It also comes with a desktop. And it is the world’s number one ranked cloud business system.
So, they’re giving all of my listeners a free guide if you go to netsuite.com/ben. And that guide is called Seven Key Strategies to Grow Your Profits, netsuite.com/ben. You can go there. Download your free guide and get access to NetSuite, which is an amazing way to run your business without having a hodgepodge of business systems. So, check that one out.
Jay: Ribbit at a hodgepodge.
Ben: Yeah. I think that’s about it for our special announcements unless you have anything to share, Jay.
Jay: No. I think you covered it for the both of us.
Ben: Yehey. Alright. Let’s go jump into these questions.
Jay: Let’s do it.
Kevin: Hey, Ben. This is Kevin calling from San Rafael, California. I, like you also, like to eat a lot of tendons, cartilage, bone marrow, stuff like that. I’m wondering if that’s as an effective way of getting the nutrients as doing a bone broth, say, pressure cooking these same bones for two to three hours and drinking the broth from there. Thanks a lot. Appreciate your expertise and response.
Ben: Well, Jay, I don’t know if I ever told you this. I think I may have mentioned on a podcast before, but occasionally, I’ll make a beer can chicken out on the Traeger grill. I literally just shove a beer can up the butt of a chicken after I’ve emptied about half the beer out, poked a few holes in the top.
Jay: Dude, that’s like what you see down in my country. The Southern Lions do that.
Ben: It’s so good. You get such good–and you don’t have to use beer. I don’t know if you could Zevia soda or whatever. But it’s the moisture that comes out of the can that really gives it the flavor. I’ve never done with anything except beer. But anyway, so I’ll make that, or my wife will occasionally make a roast chicken. We always take the carcass right after we’ve eaten it, and we make bone broth out of that. But what I’ll do is I’ll take all of the bones after we’ve made the bone broth and I save them because those bones are so moist and you can almost chew through the entire bone, you can suck the marrow out. I’ll save the bones and cook them up in a cast-iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil, and I’ll throw some pepper, or some turmeric, or some sea salt on there, drizzle a little bit like primal kitchen dressing on there, and it’s like I will literally eat a pile of bones for lunch sometimes.
Jay: I thought you were going to say you did it for dessert. I was like, “That sounds like some great dessert after you’re done eating your roast chicken.”
Ben: No, I have not yet made bone ice cream. But bones themselves, they’re highly nutritious. I annoy people at restaurants sometimes because I’ll go out to a bistro and get one of those Mary’s organic chickens, and I’ll sit there and eat it. But I actually gnaw like the knuckles off the ends of each bone then suck the marrow out. I absolutely love bones. Once you get used to it and you get past the fact that people look at you funny when you’re holding a bone and eating it like finger food, it’s a great way to eat, and it results in less food waste because you’re getting every last bit of nutrition out of that animal.
But bones are–they have collagen. That’s the main thing. When you cook the collagen, it turns into gelatin, which is a really great source of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. And then the bone marrow itself is very high in iron, in vitamin A and K, fatty acid, selenium, zinc, manganese. And when you add other ingredients to a bone broth like vegetables, for example, you add additional nutrients that just ferment in that stockpot along with the water. It’s a wonderful, wonderful way to just mainline nutrients in your body. It’s like drinking vitamins. But you can get a lot of that from just chewing the knuckles and sucking the marrow out of the bones.
Now, they’ve shown that this gelatin can break down into collagen in the body. And there are studies that show that gelatin supplementation directly increases the amount of collagen in tissues. So, it’s wonderful for the joints, especially for athletes. There was another study in the Journal of Nutrition that actually looked the collagen from the connective tissue of chickens and showed a significant improvement in knee joint pain, especially in people with osteoarthritis. So, it has a healing effect as well on the joints, or at least an anti-pain effect. There was a study on glutamine, which is an amino acid in very high concentrations in bone broth, and they found that it helped to heal the intestinal barrier in both human and animal models. And people with inflammatory bowel disease were also shown to be able to get a lot of benefits out of glutamine.
Now, some people will have bone broth prior to sleep. There was another study that the glycine that you’re going to find in bone broth helps to improve deep sleep levels. So, this could be another strategy if your deep sleep scores, if you’re measuring that with something like an Oura ring, for example, a cup of bone broth with dinner or chewing a little bit of knuckles off that bone of chicken when you’re having roast chicken for dinner, getting access to the glycine, which can help with sleep.
Jay: It does some wonders for the sleep.
Ben: Yeah. Very high in protein, being relatively low in calories. When I drink bone broth, because what I do is if my wife hasn’t made bone broth during the week, I drink a carton of that Kettle & Fire stuff. And I’ve actually–
Jay: That’s so good.
Ben: My wife hasn’t been making bone broth lately. So, I drink a whole carton of Kettle & Fire, which is actually, they’re one of the few companies that combine marrow bones with organic vegetables, and then they filter it through steel kettles, they slow simmer it for 24 hours, so you get a ton of nutrients in collagen and amino acids soaking into the broth. And then they ship it to your house and just drinking one carton of this stuff, and it’s extremely shelf-stable. You can almost feel it in your gut as soon as you drink it. I’m not trying to do an advertisement for Kettle & Fire, but I drink a lot of bone broth, and I swear, it helps with sleep, it helps with joints, ton of benefits. But I also chew bones. So, I’m getting the best of both worlds.
Now, there’s one interesting study that appeared in the Journal of Cell Metabolism that shows that there’s actually an effect on the endocrine system, too. The bone marrow that you’re going to find in bone broth, or when you chew into a bone and suck the marrow out, or order bone marrow at a restaurant that comes out of the femur bone of the animal, that actually helps you to produce something called adiponectin. It’s a significant source of the hormone, adiponectin, and that helps to maintain insulin sensitivity, it helps to break down fat, it’s been linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, and obesity-associated cancers.
There’s actually a very interesting effect on the endocrine system that relatively new research has shown that you’re going to get from particularly the marrow in bone. It’s called bone marrow adipose tissue, and that’s a source of adiponectin, which is something that helps out a lot of humans from an endocrine function and a metabolic stabilization standpoint. So, that’s another benefit to either chewing the bones or sucking the marrow out of the bones.
Ben: So, yeah. I mean, you’re getting a ton of benefits out of chewing, but you’re not getting the enormous concentrations of collagen, gelatin, amino acids, some of the extra nutrients you’ll get from the vegetables if you’re throwing vegetables into the bone broth. You aren’t getting the hydrating effect of the bone broth itself when you’re just eating the bones versus making the bone broth. So, in my opinion, you get the best of both worlds, right? You make your–
Jay: Yeah, most definitely.
Ben: –chicken or whatever, you eat whatever, or the bones you can, you make bone broth after that to get even more of the goodness from the bones, and then you cook up what’s left over in cast iron skillet like I do and actually eat the rest of the bones and you’re going to get ton of benefits. But yeah. I mean, I chew bones all the time, I dig them, I get strange looks, but man, I’m super into bones.
Jay: Strange looks are well worth it. When you do Kettle & Fire, do you order the chicken broth or do you do like a beef broth?
Ben: I get half chicken and half beef. So, I just ordered the boxes and I get one box of chicken, one box of beef. They have a whole bunch of different flavors like turmeric, ginger, and mushroom chicken, and coconut curry. They’re doing soups now. They’ve got keto soups. So, I’ll put a link to Kettle & Fire on the shownotes. People are too lazy to make bone broth, but yeah, eat the bones. They’re good.
Jay: Eat the bones, drink the broth. I first had such a repulsion to eating tendons, cartilage, sucking out bone marrow, but now it’s one of my favorite things. I hated bone broth the first time I tried it. I was a little bit of a baby about it and I could only do chicken, I could not do beef, but now, I actually prefer beef.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, yes on the bone broth.
John: Hey, Ben. After being introduced to a low-carb, high-fat diet, and intermittent fasting several years ago, I found it quite easy to maintain an ideal body weight between 160 and 170 pounds. Most of my body is pretty lean, but when I measure my stomach fat using a caliper, I come in around 15%. I’ve always heard that belly fat is one of the last places men lose fat, but I’d rather not drop to 145 pounds just to see abs. There seems to be a community of people online who believe you can spot-reduce fat. Do you think that’s possible? And if so, what techniques would you recommend? Thanks.
Ben: So, can you spot-reduce? This one’s interesting because they actually did a study on this, like if you could exercise one body part and actually lose fat in that one body part. So, they had like one group train one leg using the leg press exercise, and they did this for 12 weeks. Three times per week, they were just doing leg press exercises with one leg and–
Jay: It’s like that movie, “Lady in the Water.” Have you ever seen that one, where the guy only works out one arm, so he’s jacked on like one side and got a baby little skinny arm on the other? Yeah, that’s what it sounds like.
Ben: No, it sounds pretty effed up.
Jay: It was.
Ben: Yeah. No, I never trained like that. I’m almost like OCD when I train, like if one muscle doesn’t feel like it’s getting as exhausted as the other muscle–for example, I use those blood flow restriction bands sometimes when I train, and if one just feels like slightly tighter than the other, I’ll mess around with them and make them just perfect. I am totally symmetrical with all of my trainings.
Jay: Such a neurotic perfection.
Ben: I know. I’m very neurotic. I rank very high in the perfectionist score on my Enneagram evaluation.
Jay: Now, I need to.
Ben: Anyways though, these folks are doing like 900 to 1200 repetitions of the leg press exercise with just that one leg in a training session. So, we’re talking about very high rep with the leg press exercise, with just one leg. And despite that enormous number of repetitions, that one leg they were training didn’t lose any more fat at all than the leg that wasn’t exercising. Now, the people were losing fat, but the fat was actually coming from their trunk and their arms, not their leg. So, I’m really not losing more fat in one leg than the other, but the fat was coming from somewhere completely different. That study was called Regional fat changes induced by localized muscle endurance resistance training. So, essentially, the fancy scientific name for spot reduction is regional fat changes, and they didn’t see anything in this study.
Jay: I would not have predicted that.
Ben: Yeah. The reason for that is when you exercise, especially if you’re exercising to reduce fat, your body tends to mobilize fat from different regions. Particularly, it’ll use the fatter on the waistline quite significantly, but it’s not going to spot-reduce in one specific area if you’re using just an exercise strategy. Now that being said, there are a lot of newer medical methods that can spot-reduce. And I didn’t have time before this podcast and I felt bad because I know for a fact that I tweeted this out, I forget where I tweeted it out, I couldn’t find the tweet, but I had found a research study recently that looked into a form of electrical muscle stimulation. I’m trying to remember what it was. No, it wasn’t electrical muscle stimulation; it was hyperthermia, like localized heat treatment. It was pulsed short-wave diathermy. I think I’m remembering that correctly.
Jay: It’s a mouthful.
Ben: And what they found was that with pulsed short-wave diathermy, they could actually get a little bit of a spot reduction effect. And this was like a localized heat treatment. And very similarly, they’ve also shown with this CoolSculpting, which is like an FDA-cleared–they call it cryolipolysis that that actually can destroy fat cells in a localized area. It’s expensive. It’s like 750 bucks per treatment.
Jay: I know. It is crazy-expensive. And doesn’t it like a plastic surgeon have to perform that procedure?
Ben: Yeah, I think so. You can’t just buy one of these for your house. There’s another one called Zerona, which is an FDA-cleared cold laser technology. And very similar to CoolSculpting, this can actually cause localized fat loss. Now, I suspect, even though I haven’t tried this and I haven’t found any studies on it, that some of these things like the cool fat burner vest or the cool gut burner device that you wear around your waist that you pack cold into, I suspect you could probably spot-reduce with any of those if you were to apply them in localized areas like wrap the cool gut burner around your thigh instead of your abs, for example. But I haven’t seen any studies and I haven’t tried that myself. But based on the fact that CoolSculpting and this Zerona Cold Laser technology can both burn fat in localized areas or cause fat reduction or lipolysis in localized areas, I suspect you could probably hack something like that together at home, which is like a cold treatment, as long as you could do it without burning the skin, which I think would be the biggest risk.
There’s another one called SculpSure that you could look up, S-C-U-L-PSure, and that’s also an FDA-cleared device that is used almost like a hyperthermic laser. So, this one would again be like a heat-based treatment. And a lot of these take a while. We’re talking like 6 to 12 weeks to get the full effect. I question whether you might just be able to get the same thing through full-body exercise and go at it that way.
Jay: Hell of a lot cheaper.
Ben: Oh yeah, yeah, versus spot reduction. So, that’s another thing that you could look into. Liposuction and thigh lifts and things like that, again like using surgery. I’m not a huge fan of. There’s also something that’s called UltraShape, and that’s an FDA-approved ultrasound technology, and that’s used to treat fat on the hips, or the thighs, or the upper arms, or the belly. And that also has been shown to be effective for diet reduction, or I’m sorry, for spot reduction. But stepping back and looking at this big picture, I think a lot of people are just psychologically in the wrong place if they’re going after spot reduction in a specific area. Like, you were built a specific way. There are a variety of different body shapes. Some people are going to have bigger calves. Some people, as they age, are going to develop more fat in the thighs, or around the waist, or in the upper neck.
And I mean, yeah, I think everybody should be physically active, should exercise, should have some amount of caloric restriction or periods of intermittent fasting, and should just move functionally throughout the day with some amount of attention paid to how much food they’re stuffing into their gaping maw. And then at that point, just let your body be the best body it’s going to be based on your genetics and whatever you inherited from your parents rather than trying to have the thighs that your next-door neighbor has, or have the calves that your favorite celebrity or athlete has, or–
Jay: The abs of Ben Greenfield.
Ben: –have the waistline that you crave. Yeah. Like, I have a tiny waist. I just do. I have a tiny waist and big shoulders. It’s the way I was built. And I’m pretty happy about that, but I also have pretty skinny calves, right? And sometimes I’ll see somebody walking around just like rippling calves, I’ll be like, “Man, I wish I would have had those calves when I was bodybuilding. I wish I had the vert that that person probably gets from their calves.” But you know what, it’s the wrong way to think. I’m not going to go get calf implants in the same way that I don’t think somebody who’s got like big old thunder thighs should go after some kind of a spot reduction protocol for their thighs. That’s how you were built, right? Great. You can squat more, you can leg press more, you probably have a very strong foundation if you’re going to play football or engage in a sport where you need to have stronger legs.
I mean, just don’t have that grass is always greener syndrome and be happy with the way that your body is built to a certain extent. Even though I’m telling you about some of these medical protocols you can use, like CoolSculpting and Zerona and UltraShape, et cetera, I mean think about how many people in your local community you could feed by taking those $4,000 you’re going to spend on 12 weeks of CoolSculpting to fix that little bit of fat in your thighs that annoys you and just be happy with your body and go move, go physically exercise, restrict your calories to a certain extent, live healthy, and then let your body be the body that God gave you, you know.
Jay: Yeah. No. I totally agree. I think one thing too, Ben, that I was thinking about as we were talking about this is that I’ll have a lot of patients who come to me in clinic and they’re not happy with the shape they’re in and they’re interested in, let’s say, gastric bypass surgery, they’re interested in these quick fix weight-loss mechanisms without engaging in behavioral change. And so some people will go out and do CoolSculpting, do all these things that cost a lot of money and don’t require a ton of time and effort necessarily. And then yes, it works for a little bit of time, but because behavioral change wasn’t made or because too their motivation is just so way off in this aspect, they end up either just gaining the weight back or they don’t feel really good about what they did.
And so I think you speak to a key component of what it is to be human, which is looking at what is our motivation for doing this? Are we doing this because yes, we want to see our abs and look like the centerfold model? Or are we doing this because we truly care about our health and our well-being and we want to feel as optimally as we can? So, it’s a question we all have to ask ourselves.
Ben: Yeah. And one interesting thing, just for people who are interested in like physiology and performance, is that you can glycogen-deplete in specific areas. And this is something, for example, that–I know that the Tour de France cyclists will do this sometimes, is you can exercise specific muscle and glycogen-deplete that muscle, and then reload it at the end of the exercise to cause specific growth in that muscle area. So, for example, let’s say you want to build your legs but not your upper body, or build your upper body but not your legs, you can actually go and do an exhaustive exercise protocol for the upper body, or an exhaustive exercise protocol for the lower body in a fasted state or in a low-carbohydrate state.
And then after that exercise protocol, reload on carbohydrates and you’ll get muscle growth in that specific area that you worked. And that’s an interesting–for people who want like a bigger upper body and a smaller lower body, or they feel like their legs are bigger than their upper body, or their upper body is bigger than their legs, you actually just train in a low-carb state, then refuel with a high-carb post-workout feed, and you can actually get muscle growth in that specific area. Well, the area that you didn’t train doesn’t get the muscle growth. So, that is something that actually has been looked at in physiology and it’s a cool little trick for people who do want to tweak their physiology. It’s not spot reduction per se as much as like muscle spot growth, but that’s a cool strategy, too.
Jay: Yeah. It is cool.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Alright, what do you think? One more question?
Jay: Let’s do one more.
Mark: Hi, Ben. Mark here, a long time listener, amateur biohacker. A good friend of mine just got in a really serious car accident and she’s been told she has some minor brain damage that’s going to be permanent and some spinal injuries. And I was thinking back to some interviews you’ve had with Rhonda Patrick and some other experts, and I knew there was some nutritional advice you gave regarding brain injuries, but I’ve only been able to find some of them. Could you give a brief summary of what you would advise for a recovery program nutritionally? Thanks so much, man. Bye.
Ben: Man, oh, man, oh, man. I have a lot for this. I have a lot for the TBI concussion issue because–frankly again, I’m not doc. Don’t misconstrue this as medical advice. I do a lot of consults, and a lot of coaching, and a lot of personal work with people who have had head injuries, TBIs, concussions, and it’s a passion of mine. I really like to help people with this issue, or at least connect them with solutions. And I have a lot of them. I’ve done interviews in many cases with people who have put out really good books and have really good information on a multimodal approach to TBI and concussion issues like Dr. Dan Engle is one. He wrote the “Concussion Repair Manual.” And it’s a very comprehensive manual when it comes to pulling out all the stops from plant medicine to hyperbaric therapy for managing TBI concussion issues. That was called the “Concussion Repair Manual.” I’ve also interviewed a couple of guys in New York City who have some really good protocols for concussion.
What I’ll do is I’ll just collect all the podcasts I’ve ever done on concussions and TBI. Probably the two areas that I’ve done the most amount of podcasts on when it comes to medical issues is cancer and concussions, for some reason. I think it’s because I’m personally interested in both of those, but I’ve had a lot of interviews on both of those issues. So, I’ll put a link to all of those in the shownotes. But recently, I had a friend who had a pretty significant concussion. He was actually doing like a Wim Hof breathwork protocol and passed out, fainted, which is why you should always be laying on your back or sitting cross-legged and never underwater if you’re doing Wim Hof breath training.
Ben: Yeah. He got a pretty significant concussion. I was actually at his house a couple of days after he got it and we were talking about this. And he eventually wrote over to me because he’s a really smart, intelligent, connected guy. He talked to a ton of different physicians and doctors and visited with me for a while, and put together a very comprehensive multimodal protocol that I think was really good. I took notes on that and I collected a bunch of other protocols that I’ve looked at. I’m going to walk Mark and the rest of the listeners through exactly what I would do if I wanted to pull out all the stops to repair my brain as fast as possible. And interestingly, many of these tactics are the same ones that could be used to stave off dementia, or Alzheimer’s, or to just enhance cognition in general.
Jay: Just give it to him, man.
Ben: So, here we go. And I’m going to put this full list over in the shownotes too at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/402. So, first of all, you want a little bit of like sensory deprivation. So, a lot of sleep and doing nothing in a dark room, like no TV, no reading, no typing, just being in a dark room or with a full darkness eye mask like a Mindfold, and you just basically cut yourself off from a high amount of sensory and neurotransmitter stimulation. When you are out and about, you use blue light blocking glasses like orange-tinted or red-tinted glasses or sunglasses, and you’re essentially just blocking out light and stimulation as much as possible. The same thing with sound. As much as possible, use noise-blocking headphones, use earplugs, limit your access to music, to MP3s, to podcasts, to emails, to technology. You essentially just want to cut yourself off from stimulus. And I would do this for a good two to three days after the concussion, so you’re not overstimulating your brain.
Blue light blocking, especially on monitors and on your phone. I would put blue light blocking software like f.lux on the phone. I would put Iris, which is a really good blue light blocking software on all the monitors, and that also can really help. And I do that anyways in all my clients. When I help out with just general sleep issues, et cetera, we all do that, the blue light blocking technology.
Jay: Oh, yeah.
Ben: Vagus nerve stimulation. That can help out quite a bit with settling down some of the nerve issues that happen from a concussion or a TBI. There’s the NuCalm device. There’s also the Circadia device made by Fisher Wallace. Both of those forms of vagus nerve stimulation can be very effective. So, I would get a vagal nerve stimulator and use that. I would also use what’s called low-level–I think it’s LLLT. It’s low-level light therapy.
Jay: Low-level laser therapy.
Ben: Low-level light therapy.
Jay: Yeah. I think it used to be laser, but then it’s turned to light now because most of them are LEDs.
Ben: I don’t know. I’m sleep-deprived. I’m useless.
Jay: I got your back, buddy.
Ben: Thank you. But the Vielight. So, Vielight makes two devices, one called an alpha, one called a gamma. It’s a combination of intranasal and cranial light stimulation. And I own one. I did that this morning actually because I was so sleep-deprived and felt like I had a lot of neural inflammation. So, their gamma device is more powerful. It’s the one that has more research on it for things like dementia, and Alzheimer’s, and brain inflammation. So, I think the gamma is a little bit better. That’s a 40 Hertz stimulus.
Jay: They have a dual one.
Ben: Yeah. Well, they have two.
Jay: Well, they actually have a dual one, and it has both alpha and gamma built-in. It’s like another 500 bucks. So, instead of paying whatever it is, $1500 for two of them, it’s just an extra $500 and you get both gamma and alpha now.
Ben: Cool, cool. I dig it. Alright, so low-level light therapy, the Vielight is the device that I like for that. If you have access to a float tank or a sensory deprivation chamber, using that daily in addition to just like blocking yourself off from the world for a few days, that daily float tank use can be very effective as well, really good research behind float tank use and sensory deprivation and management of TBI concussion. So, that’s something you look up in your local community in addition to hyperbaric oxygen therapy. That one is incredibly effective.
Doing hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber 30 to 40 sessions is typically what it takes. So, we’re talking about like daily in that thing for an hour to an hour and a half. But if you can hunt one down, some companies will sell like portable ones that you can use for your house. But HBOT, that’s very, very healing for the brain, it’s healing for the body as well, tissue injuries, et cetera. But I would definitely look up HBOT also. Full-on ketosis, definitely a strict ketotic diet for at least four weeks after the injury has occurred. And that would include the use of ketone esters or ketone salts, like supplemented with ketone esters or ketone salts in addition to a full ketogenic diet. That would be a non-negotiable for me if I ever had it–
Jay: Would you just go straight carnivore then?
Ben: No, I wouldn’t necessarily eliminate plants. I think that there are some benefits to the antioxidants and the phytonutrients that you’re going to get from a plant-based protocol. But it would be a plant-rich ketogenic diet. I would not go full carnivore because I’ve seen more evidence that a plant-rich ketogenic diet is good for the brain, TBI concussion, neural inflammation, compared to a carnivore diet.
Ben: I just think it’s going to be better. As a matter of fact, I’ll link to it in the shownotes, but my buddy actually developed this comprehensive brain-enhancing shake, and it’s a ton of different–like mushrooms. Some of the alkaloids and mushrooms can be very healing for the brain, some different probiotics, spirulina, chlorella, some different greens, sprouts, et cetera, kind of like a, well, I mean as the name implies, a brain shake. So, I’ll put a link to that full thing in the shownotes, but it’s really just designed for neural inflammation to heal the brain, and it does have plants in it. And he was having that daily, I believe.
A couple of other things when it comes to more fringe things, and I realized some of these things are more expensive. You don’t have to do them all, but again, if you just wanted to pull out all the stops, it’s what I would do. I would do a short course of HGH or like an HGH precursor-like ipamorelin, or tesamorelin, or just straight-up HGH. It’s just like a one to two-week max course of that. You don’t want to overuse something like that, but at the same time, that can assist greatly with healing. So, getting your hands on a growth hormone peptide or just straight growth hormone itself, that’d be another thing. That would be an injectable.
There are also peptides that you can use. Specifically, there’s a peptide stack that–I actually use this sometimes. I did some of it this morning. But there are five different peptides that are incredible for neural inflammation. Some are topical, some are injectable, and some are intranasal. So, the intranasal one is called C-Max. It’s also known as Cerebrolysin. You could go to peptidesociety.org to look up a doctor in your local community who can prescribe any of these. Dihexa, which is like a topical peptide that you apply to either side of your neck, right around the carotid artery.
Two other peptides for the brain, Cortagen and Pinealon, which would be injections into the abdominal area. And then BPC 157, which is also like a neural anti-inflammatory that would be a straight-up injectable into the abdominal area. So, peptides would be another one that I would consider. In addition to the peptides and the growth hormone, there’s also a lot of evidence now that using stem cells, either V cells, or exosomes, or umbilical, or amniotic stem cells that you snort, like intranasal stem cells in addition to intranasal C-Max that just goes straight into the brain and can help a ton with concussion, TBI issues, neural inflammation, et cetera. And again, a lot of this stuff can just be used as general cognition-enhancing strategy.
A few other things I would consider in terms of neurogenesis, there’s a lot of evidence that psilocybin, and that cannabis, and that lion’s mane, especially if all three are stacked together, this would be something you could do prior to the float tank. Those can all be effective and safe treatments for head trauma, for concussions, for enhancing the regrowth and the healing of neurons. So, we’re talking about like a microdose of psilocybin combined with lion’s mane, combined with a little bit of cannabis. That also can be an effective treatment. So, I’ll look into that. Also, I know a lot of this stuff flies under the radar, but it comes down to a lot more than just like rest, for example.
Ben: Cold thermogenesis, like cold water head dips, or just like full-on cold shower, cold bath, that can enhance a little bit with cardiovascular flow, with capillarization, with healing of the blood-brain barrier. So, some element of cold thermogenesis as well. There are a few other things that my buddy did that I will put into the shownotes, but the other main thing that I wanted to point out to folks was that there are some really good clinics now that are popping up that do a really good job with the brain. Dr. Dan Engle’s clinic in Boulder, Colorado. He does a lot of brainwork, incredibly smart guy.
There’s also the Peak Brain Institute in L.A. that does pre- and post-QEEGs and uses neurofeedback to treat TBI and concussion issues. And they also work with people with ADD, ADHD, distractibility, sleep issues, et cetera. And I’ve done some podcasts with them as well. So, it’s the Peak Brain Institute in L.A. And then one–
Jay: Neurofeedback is a huge one for TBI. I figured you would probably mention it, but of course, since it’s my wheelhouse too, I would definitely say that if you have a TBI, it doesn’t matter if it’s a minor concussion or a major concussion, neurofeedback is like a must.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then there’s a clinic that I have not been to, but it’s supposed to be one of the best ones in the U.S. I think they’re located in Utah, in Provo, Utah. They’re called Cognitive FX. And they have something called their EPIC Treatment. And what it involves is you go there for a week. It’s a week-long program designed to treat post-concussion syndrome and post-concussion syndrome symptoms. So, they start off with what’s called an fNCI scan, neck and brain MRI, and then they follow that up with a week of intensive therapy that’s specific to the brain injury and the symptoms.
So, you’re there for a whole week. And they do a bunch of different treatments. They’ve got like occupational and sensory-motor therapies. They’ve got physical exercises, neuromuscular rehabilitation, psychological support, like the whole diet supplementation, medical piece. Their website is cognitivefxusa.com. Again, I haven’t been there yet, but it is supposedly like the bee’s knees when it comes to concussion treatments. And like if I had a concussion, I want to actually go to a clinic and have somebody oversee all of this for me. I would either go to Dr. Dan Engle’s clinic in Boulder, or I would go to this Cognitive FX place in Provo, Utah, if you had the money and wanted to fly and just go spend a week completely healing your brain.
Jay: It looks pretty sweet.
Ben: There is a whole stack of supplements from like curcumin and turmeric to like a Chinese adaptogenic herb blend called TianChi, glutathione, taurine, creatine, high-dose melatonin before bed, a lot of other supplements that have been shown to heal the brain as well. But we’re getting a little long in the tooth, and I took a ton of notes on this whole protocol, and I’m just going to put them all–you can consider this to be like the complete protocol for concussion and TBI. I’m going to put it all in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/402, if Mark or anybody else listening in want to go and check that one out. So, I’ll put everything over there.
Jay: Yeah. No. That’s great, man. And another thing to add to “Boundless,” too, right?
Ben: That’s right, that’s right. I actually have a lot in the “Boundless” book as well on just brain enhancement. There are 10 chapters on the brain and mind enhancement as well in that book.
Ben: So, yeah.
Jay: Yeah. I’ll say one thing, and one thing that you have mentioned, but I wanted to talk about because again it falls right in my wheelhouse, is that when I see a lot of individuals with TBI, there is just a lot of emotional pain that comes secondary to having a concussion or having traumatic brain injury. And so a lot of people will beat themselves down and have this mentality that, “Things will never get better. I’m never going to recover.” But with the research that we have on brain neurogenesis and the ability for impaired areas of the brain to be either repaired or for other areas of the brain to take over the functioning of that area, it’s pretty significant. And I think from the protocol that you’ve listed here, which again I’m looking at the notes now, it is quite extensive. And I think that people may look at this and think, “I don’t know how I’m going to do all this, but I think it is well worth giving most of this a try,” because you want to do the best–give your brain the best shot and best chance to heal itself because you only have one brain. So, give it your best go.
Ben: Yup, they’re not like the kidneys. There are a couple.
Jay: Yeah, right. Yeah, you can get rid of one of those. You don’t need both.
Ben: I get my organs mixed up. But anyways, what do you think? Should we give something away, give some swag away to wrap this baby up?
Jay: Let’s wrap that up. Alright, man. So, I got one here that I’m going to read to you from–
Ben: Alright. So, this is the part of the show where Jay reads a review. So, if you go to Apple podcasts and you leave your review–you can leave your view on anything, Overcast or Spotify or Pandora or wherever you listen to this podcast, but you leave your review. And if we read your review, and we like it, and we read it out loud on the show, we will send you a whole swag bag. All you got to do is email [email protected] with your t-shirt size. So, if you hear your review read on the show, you email [email protected] with your T-shirt size and we’re going to send you a swag bag.
Alright, take it away, Jay.
Jay: Alright, man. So, I’ve got one from SamT1618 who titled his review, or her review, I guess Sam could go both ways, inspiring five-star review. And Sam says, “In high school, I used to help my ability to eat copious amounts of junk.” I did the same thing. “This podcast has caused me to make a complete U-turn. Through the knowledge brought by Ben, I have been inspired to be a label reader and to eat natural. This podcast has helped me to feel better and be enthused to eat healthier. I’m not quite to the level of coffee enemas,” you’ll get there, and he says it, “but perhaps I’ll get there.” I think you will. It’s just kind of a natural progression.
Ben: Yeah. You know what, not to rabbit hole too much because I know we got to wrap this thing up, but the whole coffee enema thing, I know I catch a lot of flak for that, and people think I just talk about coffee enemas or do a coffee enema occasionally, video someone on Instagram to just generate attention and do something gross that makes me stand out. But I actually do have genetically a high risk for colon cancer. And for me, it actually is a preventive strategy, like I do this to care–and I’ve gotten two–I’m 37. I’ve gotten two colonoscopies already, which typically starts ’til you’re after 40. And I’m squeaky clean, squeaky clean, no polyps, nothing at all, and I attribute some of that to the fact that I’ve been doing several times per week, usually about three times a week coffee enema for years.
Ben: And not only does it improve peristalsis, and liver, and gallbladder function, but it can decrease some of the risk for colon cancer. And so yeah, it’s not just a stick, it’s actually preventive method for me.
Jay: So, quit giving Ben a hard time, people.
Ben: Yeah. Quit giving me a hard time. I’m just taking care of myself. Pay attention to my genetics, take care of my body. And the only thing I need to do now is sleep. So, at some point today, I’ll make it happen. I literally have a guy knocking on my door in 10 minutes who wants to show me some brand-new exercise device that he invented, and so I have to go exercise for the next hour, then I’ll get a nap–
Jay: It sounds so appealing when you want to sleep.
Ben: I know. So, anyways though, everybody, thank you so much for listening in. Leave your comments, your questions, your feedback, we’ll jump in and reply to everything over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/402. We’ll put the whole concussion protocol on there, everything else that we talked about, Kettle & Fire bone broth, all the studies, the metformin protocol, or the metformin alternative protocol, all those studies I mentioned on meat, plants, everything over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/402.
Jay, awesome talking to you, man.
Jay: Good talking to you, too, man. Go get some sleep after your four-hour workout.
Ben: Alright. Bye, everybody.
Ben: Well, thanks for listening to today’s show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over 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 402
- It is true that poor record-keeping has probably inflated the actual number of centenarians in these so-called “Blue Zones,” but I still think there’s plenty of ancestral wisdom and practices to be derived from many of these places.
- Natural alternatives to metformin – a new study
- Superfuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health by James Dinicolantonio and Joe Mercola
- Training 1x/week just as good as 2x/week for muscle strength and size BUT note that in the study they were using push/pull routine with EIGHT freaking sets…so these were tough workouts.
- Eating meat is NOT destroying the planet…and here are two good reasons why:
- Plant milks are worse for the planet than animal milk…
Here’s where I’m speaking and traveling around the world in the near future…
–September 12 – 15, 2019: RUNGA Immersion, Napa Valley, California. I attend this total mind-body reboot retreat each year with my wife, Jessa, to connect with a handful of friends and YOU can one of them! I would love if you could join me at this retreat. Click here for details on this incredible event!
–September 27 – 29, 2019: Spartan World Championships, Squaw Valley, California. Right beside Lake Tahoe, this epic venue was once host to the 1960 Olympic Winter Games. Join me there for the greatest obstacle course race in North Tahoe Lake, Olympic Village, CA. Sign up here!
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Bone Broth vs. Eating Bones
Kevin asks: Hi Ben, I like to eat a lot of tendons, cartilage, bone marrow, and whatnot, as I know you like to. But I wonder if that’s as effective a way of getting the nutrients as making a bone broth in the pressure cooker for 2~3 hours.
In my response, I recommend:
- Kettle & Fire Bone Broth (code: GREENFIELD for 10% off)
Spot-reducing belly fat?
Matt asks: After being introduced to a high fat, low carb, and intermittent fasting diet several years ago, I found it was easy to maintain an ideal body weight. Most of my body is pretty lean (160~170 pounds) but when I measure my stomach using a caliper, it seems to come in around 15%. I’ve always heard that belly fat is one of the last places men lose fat, but I’d rather not drop to 145 pounds just to see abs. There seems to be a community of people online who think you can spot-reduce fat. Do you think that’s possible, and if so, what techniques would you recommend?
In my response, I recommend:
- Glycogen depletion/exercise combo protocols (e.g. Tour De France riders)
- Localized Cryo
- Localized Photobiomodulation
- Localized EMS
How To Recover From A TBI/Concussion Fast
Mark asks: A good friend of mine just got into a really serious car accident. She’s been told she has some minor brain damage that’s going to be permanent as well as some spinal injuries. I was thinking about some of the interviews you’ve had with Rhonda Patrick and other experts, and I knew there was some nutritional advice you gave regarding brain injuries. Can you give a brief summary of what you would advise for a recovery program for my friend?
In my response, I recommend:
- A lot of sleep and doing nothing in a dark room (no TV, no reading, no typing – just eyes closed)
- Constant use of orange-tinted, red-tinted or standard ray ban sunglasses. Full darkness via eye mask.
- Constant use of earplugs
- Limited access to emails and technology
- Blue light blockers (e.g. Ra Optics) with Iris on all monitors
- Daily use of a Vagus nerve stimulation device
- Daily use of a wearable Brain Photobiomodulation device (LLLT)
- Daily Sensory deprivation chamber –Zen Float or Blue Light Floatation
- Daily Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber / HBOT
- Full Ketosis / no carb diet / no sugar – read my article on ketosis here
- Water with 20mg of Ketone Ester added in it sipped throughout the day
- Short (1~2 week max) course only of HGH
- Intranasal V Cell stem cells or umbilical amniotic – here is my latest podcast about stem cells with Dr. Tami Meraglia
Sample morning routine:
- Wake up as late as possible
- Take 10ml of ketone ester such as KetoneAid or HVMN
- Consider also use of Lion’s mane/Psilocybin blend
- Do 20~30 minutes of light cardio or sauna/cold
- Use full body photobiomodulation 10~20 minutes (e.g. JOOVV)
- 1 cup of green juice (with tons of greens) such as Organifi (20% by using BENG) or Athletic Greens
- 25 minutes of Vielight (LLLT therapy)
- Consume a comprehensive “brain-enhancing” shake –
- Complete biocharger on a concussion setting or PulseCenters PEMF cranial stimulation protocol
- Have one cup of green tea (Use discount code: GREEN15 and get a 15% discount on any order)
- Have one ginger shot
- Nap / sleep
- Use Nucalm (BEN500 for a $500 discount on the Performance and the Pro) or go to HBOT and/or float sensory deprivation tank
- Spend 1 hour of emails
- Sleep more if possible
- Meditate in HBOT and/or float sensory deprivation tank
- Second PEMF or biocharger session on a concussion setting
- 12~16 hour intermittent fast
- 2 meals per day
- First meal is a specially made brain focused shake as above
- Second meal is an antioxidant rich salad with mixed greens, broccoli, olive oil, sardines or salmon, shrimp, boiled egg, olives, jalapeños and 2 cloves of garlic
- EPA/DHA – 10g+/day (e.g. Superessentials Fish Oil)
- Curcumin / Turmeric – such as Thorne Meriva, daily.
- TianChi – One to two packets per day
- Alpha Lipoic Acid – 600mg or 1 tablet
- Folic Acid in good form, such as Thorne Multi – 3AM/3PM
- Vitamin C – 1500mg ~ 2000mg in the morning and again in the afternoon evening (e.g. Jigsaw Health or American Nutraceuticals)
- Vitamin D – 5000mg before bed
- Magnesium – e.g MagSRT before bed
- NAD/NMN or NR – once morning, once evening – or daily NAD Patch or IV
- Acetyl L Carnitine – with breakfast
- Resveracel OR Niacel – 3 in the morning
- AlmsBIO Glutathione – 1 serving/day
- B Complex – b50 – 1 tablet at lunch
- Four Sigmatic 10 Mushroom Blend – with any coffee or tea during day
- Taurine & Creatine: with main meal of day
- High dose Melatonin (e.g. Quicksilver) before bed
- EWOT (e.g. LIVEO2)(use code BEN for a $300 discount)
- Gonstead Chiropractic adjustments
- Visit to Peak Brain Institute or CognitiveFX
- Acupressure and/or acupuncture
- Peptides: Semax/DiHexa/Cortagen/Pinealon/BPC-157 – click here to listen to my latest peptides podcast with Dr. William Seeds
My podcasts about TBI/Concussion:
- Concussions: A Must-Listen Podcast If You Or A Loved One Have Ever Had A Head Injury.
- Nasal Glutathione, Psychedelics, Dynavision & More – The Concussion Repair Manual: A Practical Guide to Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.
- Why You May Have A Head Injury Or Concussion (Even If You Don’t Know It) And What To Do About It.
Book on concussion and TBI: The Concussion Repair Manual by Dr. Dan Engle