[0:00:00] Podcast Sponsors
[0:04:11] My Self-administered IVs
[0:05:34] Guest Introduction
[0:07:09] What is Performance Medicine?
[0:08:34] The Idea of IVs
[0:15:01] What are in the IVs?
[0:24:15] Getting Your Hands on Koniver’s IVs without Flying to His Clinic
[0:26:26] About Brain Refuel
[0:33:04] Podcasts Sponsors
[0:36:30] Unpleasant Experience of Injecting the IV
[0:38:43] Absorption Issues and Research
[0:43:30] Agents with NAD
[0:47:57] Stem Cell Infusions
[0:51:01] Safety Concerns on Stem Cells Infusions
[0:54:16] Stem Cells Regulation
[0:57:57] Aid in the Absorption and Utility of Stem Cells
[1:02:25] Infectible Peptides
[1:07:10] Growth Hormones
[1:10:28] Dr. Koniver’s Distance Medicine and Physician Programs
[1:13:50] Disclaimer and Advice
[1:14:55] Closing the Podcast
[1:16:07] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, what’s up? If you like to stick needles in your arms, this podcast today is for you. Well, I’m actually not totally joking. I’ll let the podcast guest explain, but I honestly think this is one of the better podcast episodes I’ve released in quite some time. I personally was on the edge of my seat. I actually wasn’t sitting down. I was kind of on a stool thing, but I was on the edge of my stand-up stool thing. So anyways, I’ll let you be enchanted by this guest the same way that I was. His name is Dr. Craig Koniver. Today’s show is brought to you by something that you may not be aware of but that exists over–well, I’ll tell you where it exists in just a moment but it’s got pretty much anything that could ever be used to heal one’s joints or to allow one’s muscles to recover more quickly. We’re talking cherry juice, ginger, turmeric, white willow bark, hyaluronic acid which is one of the main components of synovial fluid, Boswellia which is also known by its more popular name frankincense. They gave it to baby Jesus. It must be good enough to put into this stuff. And even cetyl myristoleate, which a lot of people don’t know about but it’s a naturally occurring fatty acid that has some really fantastic research on it, particularly, regarding knee pain. So really good blend. It’s got a ton of enzymes in there to help to break fibrinogen, the type of things that cause soreness, and it’s called Kion Flex. I’m going to give you a 10% discount on this stuff. You get it over at getkion.com. That’s getK-I-O-N.com. Just go to getkion.com and the discount code that you can use, drumroll please, is BENFLEX10. That’s BENFLEX10 at getkion.com.
This podcast is also brought to you by, this is when I adopt my sexy, sultry radio announcer voice, seared chicken and honey mustard sauce with roasted sweet potatoes, chipotle black bean quesadillas with caramelized onions, and even a zesty chickpea and kale sauté with the tzatziki and a sunny-side-up egg. These and many other fantastic recipes are able to be delivered to your house every week by this company called Blue Apron. The cool thing about it is you don’t have to know how to cook but you can learn how to cook as these recipes get sent to you because they come with cards, they come with ingredients. My children make them. My kids have actually learned a ton of cookery techniques using these fantastic Blue Apron meals that just arrive at your house. They even have different things going on. For example, like a Bob’s Burgers inspired chef designed recipe and a whole 30 approved meal plan, and it’s just super-duper convenient. It allows you to skip a lot of meal planning and shopping and just get straight to cooking. What they’re doing is they’re going to give everybody who’s listening in right now a chance to get your first three meals free. Not a chance to. They’re just going to give you your first three meals free. You go to blueapron.com/BEN. That’s blueapron.com/BEN to get your first three meals for free. Blue Apron, better way to cook.
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, the 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 and 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.
Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield here, and I don’t think it’s any secret that for quite some time I’ve been doing a weekly, admittedly self-administered, although that’s not necessarily advised, push IV, a push IV with this potent cocktail of vitamins and glutathione. And I’ve also talked about how I actually have been doing a weekly NAD IV as well. That’s that really powerful anti-aging molecule I’ve discussed before on the show, but it’s something that I inject. And while you may not be quite willing to hunt down a vein in your arm and administer your own IV, which again, I do not recommend, the doctor who I actually get these IVs from and who also has people fly in from all over the globe to see him, who also trains practitioners and this whole idea of how to implement this style of what he calls performance medicine into his practice, well he’s finally making his first appearance on my podcast because I’ve got a lot of questions from my listeners about IVs and stem cell infusions and NAD, all of which this guy is an expert in.
He’s going to blow your mind. He has a very broad range of knowledge on these topics. There are just a few selected people who I tend to either text or Facebook message back and forth with about a lot of these health concepts and he’s one of them. He’s one of the guys who I definitely listen to when it comes to health advice, and specifically, some of the cutting-edge medical concepts that can help us to live longer and to perform a lot better. So, his name is Dr. Craig Koniver, and he’s a founder of what’s called Koniver Wellness in Charleston, South Carolina. He’s been doing this for almost two decades. He does what is called, like I mentioned, performance medicine, everything is science-driven, everything is tested. And he’s also the founder and creator of FastVitaminIV and these NAD protocols, as well as a program that we’ll talk about today called Brain Refuel. He works with Navy SEALs, NFL, PGA, NHL, Fortune 100 execs, a whole bunch of celebrities and TV personalities who we actually aren’t able to talk about on the show due to patient-physician confidentiality. But, regardless, I happen to know he’s working with some pretty high-level folks. So, he’s definitely the man when it comes to this stuff.
So, Dr. Koniver, welcome to the show, dude.
Craig: Thank you so much, Ben. Thanks for having me.
Ben: Yeah. And I just threw out a term that I don’t think a lot of people are familiar with. So, I figure that’s a pretty good jumping off point for us, and that’s this idea of performance medicine. So, what is performance medicine? And also, I’m curious how you got into it. Just being a physician, how did you kind of get down the road of doing what you do now?
Craig: Yeah. I mean, it’s a good question. So, I’m family medicine trained, so after my residency, I did something unique and that I wanted to practice medicine my own way, set up in my own practice, and quickly dove into this integrative alternative. One of the main things that drew me to that was these IVs, which we’ll get into. But practicing that type of medicine, which a lot of practitioners align with now, more of the functional medicine, alternative medicine, it made sense to me but there was also this element that I didn’t like or don’t philosophically align with in terms of functional medicine. It’s almost like robotic. It’s almost like we’re robots and everyone has to be the same way. What dawned on me one day was we’re humans who were in our health. We’re actually trying to perform our best. How can we help people not only live longer, have more quality of life, but also perform better? I think that’s what most people are aligned to, anyway. So, that’s kind of the edge we took with that, not just we want everything balanced and functioning well, we want to help you perform your best.
Ben: So, what point did you get into this whole idea of using IVs?
Craig: Yeah. You know, IVs, we started early and what really stuck out to me with IVs is we’re able to move the needle with folks very quickly. And so, in the world I work in, I see a lot are used to and still do actually see a lot of complicated medical problems, people who are really sick, who are on multiple medications, who have seen lots of doctors, who are not getting anywhere with conventional medicine. What stands out to me is that what most doctors forget about is what most people want is just to feel better. That’s it and they can jump on-board with all these other plans and schemes we have for them. And so, IVs, specifically nutritional IVs, in my opinion, are the fastest way to move that needle. And so, that’s what I kind of started focusing on that’s led to a host of other therapies and whatnot.
Ben: So, with IVs, why is it that they would be more effective? And I understand that any doc listening in might yawn at this question. But I think a lot of people really don’t grasp this idea behind just shoving something into the bloodstream versus say taking it orally.
Craig: The number I use is 20%. We only absorb about 20% of nutrients orally. That’s through supplements. That’s through food. That’s an average. But if you think about it–
Ben: Well, less–sorry to interrupt, but like less. If you have leaky gut, compromised gut, imbalanced gut flora, you’ll get some people who absorb almost–I mean these are the same kind of people who get–as Fat Bastard from Austin Powers would say, “[00:10:12] ______ crap.” You look at your stool and you’ve got a whole bunch of undigested food matter. A lot of people will even see like the vitamin capsules that they’re taking in their stool. There are so many people who I think absorb near nothing from their food.
Craig: No. I agree with that. And so, if you’re only absorbing 20%, or like you mentioned, a lot of people less than that, and we verify this because we’ve done a ton over the years, a ton of nutrient testing with almost every patient who becomes our patient. And so, we see–okay, you may be taking all these vitamins and supplements that are “good for you,” but in your bloodstream and your tissue, you’re not absorbing it. When we do that and we’ve done that over the years, we say, “You know what? It doesn’t make sense to keep throwing all these capsules and pills at people.” From a very basic science standpoint, when we give something intravenously, the absorption rate is much higher, close to 100%. What I tell people to simplify pneumonia is I think six or seven leading cause of death in this country, still a prominent disease for a lot of people every winter. For most people, we can give them oral antibiotics. We can’t treat it orally. They have to go into the hospital. Why? To get intravenous antibiotics because they need that absorption and get those antibiotics to the bacteria in their lungs to treat that pneumonia. Well, same thing with IV nutrients, getting those IV nutrients in quantities that are much higher than we ever could with an oral supplement or food.
Ben: Yeah. The same could be said for vitamin C like I actually right now go down to Dr. Jason West clinic in Pocatello, Idaho and do a high-dose vitamin C injection. And when I say high dose, I mean high dose. It’s like, I guess it would come out close to 100,000 milligrams of vitamin C. And to put that in perspective for folks, typically, a high dose orally is like 200 to 500 milligrams, so literally, hundreds and hundreds of times, the actual amount that I could even absorb orally without gastric distress. That’s the thing with a lot of these molecules is even if some of them are getting absorbed to get to the level that you’d want to get. For me, I do that because of some of the research on vitamin C and its effect on autoimmunity, its ability to be able to protect against cancer and heart disease and a few other chronic illnesses. I mean, saturating yourself with ascorbic acid despite some physicians thinking that that’s bunk and that it doesn’t work.
I actually have seen some pretty good research out of, for example, the Linus Pauling Institute that compels me to actually do a regular high, high-dose vitamin C, particularly for my immune system. And so, that’s a perfect example of a case where I would just–you know, there are good Whole Foods based forms of vitamin C. And of course, I can eat kiwis and oranges all day long. But for me to use better living through science and just mainline a whole bunch of the stuff into my bloodstream and walk out feeling like Superman, there’s a night and day difference between that and me taking like high-dose vitamin C orally.
Craig: Oh, sure. And you bring up a good point about people not believing. I think people don’t totally get, certainly with IV nutrients. We are not talking about doing double-blind randomized controlled trials like they do in the pharmaceutical world. So, we may at some point have clinical data, and actually like you point out with vitamin C, intravenous vitamin C, we do have clinical data, but the rest of it we don’t. So, we’re dealing with a ton, a ton, a ton of anecdotal data, which to me works very well. Like you said, there’s night and day difference on how you feel, and I could tell you years and years of patients’ same thing. And so, it’s tough for people. Some people, especially the mainstream, the academics say, “Well, you haven’t proven it.”
Ben: Now, we haven’t but there’s a lot of N equals one. I mean for me, particularly, when I return from jetlag and I open up my refrigerator, I’ve got that little Ziploc bag you send me with the IVs in it. I mean, when I inject one of those after a bout of hefty travel and I want to get into the actual ingredients of some of the active ingredients that you put into them, I mean I feel like a million bucks, night and day difference. Then when I add the NAD on top of that, and I’ve talked about this before in a podcast, I mean I can–and this might not be healthy. And I do try to sleep seven to nine hours a night but I can wake up and crush the day on four to six hours of sleep. When I’m using these NAD IVs, it’s almost unfair.
So, I don’t want to make this sound like some big sales spiel for IVs but I’m just kind of backing up that N equals one experience that I’ve had. So, I want to talk about these ingredients, like what’s actually in these IVs? What are the actual formulas that you use and why?
Craig: Yeah. Well, it came about. We used to do a lot of IV chelation with calcium EDTA. Those IVs were three-hour protocols, people sitting in a chair for three hours. Long time ago, I got my hands on the European administration of calcium EDTA, which is 3,000 milligrams pushed. That’s a 10-second push. When I started to do that, my patients felt better, their labs reflected it, and they’d much rather be in my office for three minutes versus three hours. And so, I started thinking, you know–and again at this time, people weren’t doing these vitamin IVs like they are now. It wasn’t trendy. There weren’t all these IV centers. It was people who were sick, people with chronic fatigue, things like that. And so, I thought there’s got to be–because these IVs work so well, there’s got to be a way to do this proactively instead of reactively. I’m lucky I have a lot of patients who like to experiment. We just tried it out in terms of different nutrients and would use a host of different vitamins, minerals, lots and lots of amino acids and we just tested. And by testing in years and years, thousands and thousands of patients and really documented what works and what doesn’t work.
Ben: So, Craig, we were just getting into the actual ingredients of these IVs because if I understand correctly, there’s kind of like some different mixes for specific goals and I’d like to take a deep dive into these actual formulas and what they’re designed for.
Craig: Sure. Some of it was based on, since we do a lot of nutrient testing, the three big arenas where people are most commonly deficient would be B vitamins, minerals like magnesium, and then amino acids. And so, when I put this together, I thought, “Let’s shoot for the low-hanging fruit because that’s what people need most.” And, we also wanted to use things, agents that are water-soluble because we really don’t want to deal with anything. And honestly, you can give fat-soluble nutrients intravenously, but you’re talking about a central line and things. It’s so much easier just to deal with water-soluble nutrients, very, very, very safe. Meaning, there’s no ceiling in terms of a lot of these things we keep and see. You can give 100,000, 200,000 milligrams. If you do it right, you’re not going to run into any safety issues. So, the core of all the formulas we have has those three arenas included. A full array of B vitamin, so B complex which has vitamin B1, B2, B3. We use a lot of vitamin B5 primarily because a lot of people walking around today are stressed out and have adrenal issues and vitamin B5 seems to be the most important B vitamin for adrenal health. We use some vitamin B6. We use methylated B12 that kind of rounds out to B vitamins.
Ben: Okay. By the way, isn’t vitamin B12–is it not nicotinamide riboside?
Craig: You’re thinking of like vitamin B3?
Ben: That’s right.
Craig: Yeah. Vitamin B3 is niacin or niacinamide, and we chose niacinamide, which is like a chemical cousin to niacin because niacinamide, there’s a host of data saying how it helps with mood better than just niacin. So, niacinamide, people are thinking about taking something. You could take niacinamide orally and get a nice bounce to your mood, helps with people who are depressed or feeling kind of blue. So, niacinamide is what we chose for vitamin B3. And then NAD is a chemical cousin to those as well. So, we’ll get into that.
Ben: Yeah. Okay, got it. So, you got your whole vitamin B complex. And by the way, before we delve into the rest of what’s in here, is this all in just one–like is it one IV or do people have multiple options for the type of IV that they get?
Craig: So, we have a couple different formulas but by and large, we do best with our main, what we call our core formula that just seems to be what people kind of align with and get the best results from.
Ben: So, that’s what you’re referring to right now as you’re describing these ingredients, all these things are in the core formula?
Craig: Correct, yeah. And then in terms of minerals we use–oh, and you said in terms of one IV, yeah. So, one of the keys to what we found over the years is what separates all the other conventional or even nutrient IVs is we give this as a push. And through our testing, we found that when we push these nutrients–and by push, I mean 30 seconds, 45 seconds, sometimes 60 seconds versus 45, 60, 90 minutes, we got a much more robust response. So, the total volume that we use for these IVs is only 30 cc versus a drip IV, maybe 500 to 1,000 cc, which is mostly water, right? So, our idea is we flip the script. We focus on the nutrients, not the water.
Ben: Yeah. And I think that’s also important for people to know because I get called out and a lot people are like, “You’re illegally doping, right?” Because I compete in Spartan races, I have a lot of triathletes who listen in, a lot of UFC fighters who listen in, and a lot of these folks are concerned about the issue with IVs being banned by WADA but the thing is–and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes if you guys want to see what the WADA description of this actually is. You’re not supposed to get a fluid volume of IV like a drip IV that’s over 100 milliliters. We’re talking 30 ml. So, you’re not like sitting under a big bag of fluid for 15 minutes or an hour or something like that. This is literally like this tiny little 30 ml push IV that takes, as Craig just said, 45 to 60 seconds to push into your vein then it’s done. And there’s nothing illegal going in. It’s basically like taking a multivitamin but you’re putting the multivitamin into your vein instead of pop it on your mouth.
Craig: Yeah, exactly. So, really for any professional sports entity, they all seem to follow somewhat with the WADA or you saw the recommendations, their official statement is like you said, less than 100 cc of fluid. And as long as you’re not using any adulterating substance, which we don’t use, we’re just using vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, so this is technically the only way for people to professionally get an IV, a vitamin IV. You just have to be less than that fluid quantity.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Okay. So, you have the full vitamin B complex that you got into, and what else is in this core formula?
Craig: We use a lot of magnesium. We use a full gram of magnesium, which at first, blush scares a lot of people because they think, “Well, that’s going to bottom people out in terms of blood pressure because magnesium is a vasodilator.” But again, I think that’s the conventional teaching is with any of these nutrients, and most things in general, you have to go slowly. That’s how the teaching is. So, there are all these IV courses that these doctors put on across country who say, “Go slowly. Don’t irritate the vein. Don’t harm the patient.” And we found just the opposite. When we go faster, people get more out of it and buy more out of it. Their sense of wellbeing is increased, their sleep is better. Their recovery from exercise is enhanced. They just feel better overall. There’s an amplification to things. So, we are very, very comfortable using the full gram magnesium. To be completely honest, we’ve never ever had an adverse reaction, like never ever. We’ve never had anyone call saying, “I had to go to the ER. I got a rash. I got short of breath.” Nothing. Very, very, very safe. And so–
Ben: Yeah. Well, we’ll talk about the shortness of breath later on when we talk about the NAD. That might be a different beast altogether. But go ahead and keep filling us in on the ingredients in these IVs.
Craig: Yeah. And then, I think a key part through them is the range of amino acids we use. Early on, I started including these amino acids. And people are familiar with the amino acids, especially in the fitness and sports world in terms of like post-workout drinks. They’ll get their whey protein or they’ll get their BCAAs or they’ll get their glutamine. We use all of them intravenously. Now, we don’t need to use high dosages, right, because they’re being absorbed intravenously. For example, we use acetyl-L-carnitine. That I think is 200 milligrams. We use glutamine, 30 milligrams. We’ll use all the branched-chain amino acids, valine, leucine, isoleucine. We give tryptophan, tyrosine, serine. All of them are given intravenously. So, as a sum total, there are about 19 different nutrients in that 30 cc of fluid. So, it’s very potent.
Ben: Wow. Okay. So, you would basically just take this, and I know that you guys do it at your clinic where people can go in there and get these things overseen. But obviously, that’s horribly inconvenient for everybody listening in to fly to South Carolina even though I know you have like more intensive protocols we’ll talk about later. So, how does this work exactly with the athletes or the folks who are anti-aging enthusiasts, et cetera, who want to just basically get their hands on these IVs and figure out a way to get them to administer themselves?
Craig: Yeah. It’s a good question. So, we have a growing number of nurses in our network around the country who we’ve trained, who we feel comfortable can administer. But certainly, there’s going to be a lot of other metropolitan areas, which we haven’t tapped into yet. For people interested, what we do is we just make sure that their nurse is trained in how we like to administer this, not that this is technically difficult but it is very different than administering any other type of IV. And so, for us, that’s safety comes first. Once we kind of sign off on that, make sure to talk to the nurses. Just run through a little training protocol. Then people, wherever they are, can purchase these IVs, hook up with their nurse and have them done once or twice a week.
Ben: Okay. Got it. The part about the nurse practitioner, does this mean that if someone gets the IVs, they would be able to get a nurse to actually come to their house?
Craig: Potentially. I mean, that’s when it works well. And so, the different professional athletes or high-octane people who are already doing this, that’s what they do. They don’t want to be inconvenienced. They’d say, “Hey, we just started with one of the Houston Texans on Wednesday. Have a nurse in Houston?” It’s exactly what happens. They get a group of guys together. The nurse goes to the house. In 10 minutes, they’ve all been treated.
Ben: Yeah. That makes sense. I know when I go and hang out on it, I know Onnit uses a lot of your IVs. They just have a nurse practitioner there who comes by. On which day, she comes by but she administers the NAD, she administers the push IVs and you just sit there on a chair and she does and then she leaves that easy. Unless you have a friend who’s an EMT or a doctor or paramedic or something like that and then you’re good to go because they can just do it for you. Yeah. Okay.
So, the next question that I have for you is you also have this thing called Brain Refuel. Is that also an IV?
Craig: Yeah. So, Brain Refuel is really the combination of NAD, intravenous NAD+ plus the FastVitamin. Years ago, when I got my hands on the NAD protocol–and if we back up a little bit, NAD, B3 vitamin derivative, by and large, is used mostly in this country for addiction. That’s how it grew up from the 1930s, actually. That was the science then, was helpful for addiction, really turns off cravings, whether we’re talking opiates, alcohol, you name it, but almost better than anything, and it does it quickly. But those protocols were very long arduous 10 straight days of intravenous NAD, and each day would last six to eight hours, which is crazy. And so, when we got our hands on the protocol, the first thing I did was say, “There’s no way it’s going be feasible for most people to get the benefits if it’s going to take six to eight hours. People just won’t come back to the office.” And so, we did a lot of testing in my office. Again, I’m lucky I have a lot of patients who like to experiment and try stuff. And so, we played around with all the different dosages and came up with what we call or what we think is the sweet spot in terms of dosage where people will get the benefits but be able to tolerate the IV. And really for most people, the drip IV takes about an hour, hour and a half. That was the first big change we made.
If you talk to the people, the original people who brought the NAD IV protocols to this country, and there’s one gentleman in particular who purchased the distribution rights for NAD back in around 2005 or after–at that time, there’s only one company in South Africa making NAD and injectable NAD. The thought then was that NAD has to stay in the body, or the only way it’ll be effective is it stays in the body as long as possible. We don’t believe that to be true at all. That doesn’t make much sense. So, we encourage people to go fast as they’re able to. And for most people, it works out to be an hour or an hour and a half. That was the first change we made.
The second change we made was NAD cannot be mixed with any other nutrient. We put it in saline. It has to drip in. But then we pushed at the end the FastVitamin which has a host of, really like I alluded to, amino acids, things like glutamine and acetyl-L-carnitine, which help transport the NAD into the mitochondria or into the cell to get to the mitochondria. And so, that’s really what Brain Refuel is our naming of the combination of intravenous NAD and the FastVitamin Push.
Ben: Okay. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. So, I do the NAD once a week, but as soon as the NAD finishes up, and I realized that again, as I’ve already warned people, this is not something I endorse doing. But I literally just unscrew the same syringe that I used for the NAD and screw in the FastVitaminIV into that same butterfly needle and then just push it in right after. So, the whole thing, start to finish, takes me about 20/25 minutes to do. You notice a big difference when you follow up the NAD with the IV. You still notice quite a bit with just the NAD but man, it’s like rocket fuel when you combine it with the vitamin cocktail right after.
Craig: Yeah. And the reason I came up with the NAD push is there’s a lot of good hard science data about the role of NAD in the acute setting of a concussion. I thought, “How great would this be to be available, whether it’s on the football field, the hockey rink, the battlefield for someone who gets concussed and to be able to immediately give them intravenous NAD?” Because the hard science supports that. And so, that’s really where we came up with the push and then it really became a novelty because it’s really challenging to get through, especially if someone’s never had any sort of intravenous NAD. It’s uncomfortable to say the least.
Ben: Oh, yeah. It’s very uncomfortable. I mean obviously, doing the traditional six to eight-hour, sitting in an NAD clinic, getting the drip IV, people complain that sometimes they feel a little bit of butterflies in the stomach or a little bit of pressure in the chest, but dude, the push IV is a different experience altogether. When you do it for an hour via a drip IV, you feel–when you do the push IV–I mean I have to box breathe and go into this deep meditative state. I realize this is horrible advertising for an NAD push IV but I bring like a trash can next to my chair while I’m doing it so in case I need to puke. Honestly, it’s almost like a form of meditation. It kind of increases your pain tolerance. It makes everything you do that day seem a lot easier. After you do the NAD, and then I follow that up with a vitamin, by the time I finish that 60-second vitamin push after the NAD, pretty much all the stomach queasiness is gone. But there are 20 minutes. So, start to finish, it takes me about 20 minutes and I’m just box breathing. Typically, I put on some peaceful music in my MP3 player to distract me a little bit and then I just push it. But yeah, it’s difficult. Why do you feel that way?
Craig: Yeah. I mean, so one of the keys I think to NAD, which I think most people don’t totally realize, so when we give people NAD, and this is going to get into the technical side, but when we give people NAD, we increase the NAD to NADH ratio. And that simulates a process called mitochondrial fission. Fission is splitting. And that is the quality control where we’re cleaning up the defective mitochondrial DNA. And really, this is the true benefit of NAD because this is really how we rid our body of potential cancer, we clean up, again defective mitochondrial DNA, and that process is a very negative energetic process. That is why we think we get those harsh feelings. I like people to experience those feelings. So, here in our practice and everyone we work with around the country, we don’t like to dampen that down. There are a lot of clinics who say, “Oh, we’re going to use this agent or that agent so you don’t feel it. We’re going to go as long as possible so you don’t feel anything.” And I tell people, “I want you to feel it because I want you to understand that you’re actually doing some housekeeping for your cells, literally, and that is the true benefit of NAD.”
Ben: Hey, I want to interrupt today’s show to tell you about Birdwell Beach Britches. That’s right, Birdwell Beach Britches. I don’t know why I talked like a redneck when I talk about Birdwell Beach Britches but basically, what they do is they take the same stuff that they make sailboat sails out of, and they have developed this stuff called SurfNyl fabric, which is a two-ply nylon fabric that can survive rock scrapes and reef slashes and tons of wear, and they literally were inspired by the sails of these boats anchored at California’s Newport Beach. Since 1961, they’ve been making these breeches. For those of you who don’t know what breeches are, they’re like shorts, basically, at their Santa Ana factory and craftspeople have been working on perfecting these breeches for over 40 years. So, you don’t get breeches that are much more breechy than this. Breech, breech, breech. Yeah, that’s right. Birdwell Beach Britches just paid for me to say breech seven times.
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You know, what’s interesting that seems to kind of back that up is any time that I’ve been beating up my body a lot, especially when I do this after I return from a hefty bout of travel, it’s more uncomfortable. If I’m sleep-deprived, it’s more uncomfortable. If I’m stressed out, it’s more uncomfortable. But if I’m in a good place mentally and emotionally and from a recovery standpoint, it’s not that bad. I actually save my injections when I can for when I’m already feeling pretty good because it’s so much easier. I’ve tried it a couple times when my kids are back from school and things are happening at the house and there’s like noises around and people rushing. It’s horrible. It’s literally like trying to meditate in a freaking subway with trains running around. It’s difficult.
But some of the breath work tips that you gave to me, listening to the music, all of that seems to help quite a bit. And then also just knowing that this too shall pass, like when it’s over, it’s over and you feel like a million bucks. It’s kind of like a workout. It sucks doing a workout a lot of times, same thing with a sauna session like a hefty bout in the sauna. It kind of sucks, like I want to bang down the doors and climb out of that thing because I’m sweating so hard and it feels like my whole body is on fire. And then, when I walk out of the sauna, I just feel amazing. So, it’s kind of like a lot of things in life. You got to put in the hard work and then once you put in the hard work, you feel pretty good afterwards.
Craig: Yeah. I think that’s a good way of putting it, especially with the workout. Really, it’s like you’re working out your cells. I think though if you can, and that’s what we try to teach people and educate people, hang in there, the first NAD treatment is always the worst because people psychologically have never felt these types of pains or discomfort. But after that, not only do you know it’s going to end but you know it’s safe and you know you’re not doing any harm to your body, just like with the FastVitamin. We’ve never had an adverse reaction with NAD. Meaning, yeah, it’s uncomfortable. We expect it to be an uncomfortable treatment, but nothing bad happens. We’ve never ever had an allergic reaction. No one’s ever gotten really sick or gone to the emergency room, nothing like that. So, very, very, safe.
Ben: Yeah. Now, the absorption issues, of course, something that’s come up quite a bit on this podcast, and they know it goes back and forth between producers of the supplements, nicotinamide riboside or NR, most of whom will claim, including Dr. Charles Brenner who I had on the podcast before–and by the way, I’ll put a link to all my previous podcasts on NAD. If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/IVpodcast, that’s where the shownotes are going to be for this and I’ll link to Dr. Koniver’s website if you want to order IVs or anything like that. But anyways, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/IVpodcast. That’s where that’ll be. The thing about NAD is that of course, we have these NR supplement manufacturers claiming that NAD, when administered via IV, is not actually absorbed into the cell. Now, you alluded to the fact that not only is it absorbed in the cell but it’s absorbed even better when you follow it up with something like a vitamin cocktail IV. But do you have any research to actually back that up?
Craig: Yeah. I mean, this is an article I found, I think the main researchers are from University of Pennsylvania, that was published I think in–I’ll find the date but it was 2018. Basically, what they showed is they wanted to find out this issue. The title of the article is “Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide is transported into mammalian mitochondria.” Basically, until they had published this article, there’s just been some references of NAD being transported into lower life form. So, yeast, for example. They thought, “Okay. There’s an NAD transport molecule but we haven’t identified that molecule in mammals and humans.”
Well, in this article, they did and what is so awesome is they’ve shown clearly, and this article outlines the whole process, how NAD is literally taken out from outside the mitochondria and taken inside the mitochondria by a certain transport molecule. They weren’t able to clearly identify what that transport molecule is but they were able to clearly identify because they were able to tag the NAD molecule outside the cell and then they served the concentration inside the cell.
Ben: So, they don’t know at all, sorry to interrupt, anything about the identity of the actual transport molecule?
Craig: Right. That still has to be figured out.
Ben: Huh. It seems to me that that would be a pretty profound finding because this is something that, if they did find that out, seems like it could be a compound that you could potentially include in like the IgE afterwards or even people who are, say like supplementing some form of NR could supplement with something like that to enhance absorption.
Craig: Oh, absolutely. I think that’s what—we’re wading for that.
Ben: That’s interesting. The study of “Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide is transported into mammalian mitochondria.” That’s the one you’re referring to?
Ben: Okay. I’m going to link to that in the shownotes for people to read. So, basically, what it turns out based on this most recent research is that you can restore depleted mitochondrial NAD levels and they cross the plasma membrane, the NAD does and enters the mitochondria directly.
Craig: Correct. And what they also showed was that it was more profound or a greater response when there was a higher gradient outside the membrane versus inside the membrane, which seems to go right in line with what we feel when we give intravenous NAD because we are loading up the extracellular outside the mitochondrial space with NAD. And then that NAD is being transported right across the membrane into the mitochondria where it’s going to be used to make ATP energy. And they also seem to allude, and the NAD precursor people are not going to like this, but they allude to how that is a much more efficient mechanism than using any sort of NAD precursor in that article.
Ben: Fascinating. Now, you mentioned that the IV cocktail, and this is my last question on NAD, is one way to enhance the absorption afterwards. I believe that at some point, as we were text messaging back and forth the past few months, you had mentioned a–was it phosphatidylserine that you had mentioned to me as being something else that could be co-administered?
Craig: Well, phosphatidylcholine.
Ben: Okay. Yeah, phosphatidylcholine.
Craig: Yeah, PC. Phosphatidylcholine, we use sometimes as a pretreatment for glutathione. What we’ll do is we’ll put some phosphatidylcholine in the syringe. We’ll draw back the patient’s blood, agitate their blood, mix it with the phosphatidylcholine, push that into the vein and then immediately switch out the syringe and push in glutathione. And the thought there is the phosphatidylcholine makes the cell membrane more slippery. And by making it more slippery, you allow things that come after it to get into the cell better.
We’ve tried that a little bit with NAD. I think there has been some more work done. Interestingly, another agent which we’re starting to recommend is quercetin because quercetin, we’d get into this about other things with how quercetin works, but quercetin seems to turn off one of the enzymes that destroy NAD extracellular in the extracellular space. I’ve had a few people try that recently where we’ll give quercetin orally at the same time as giving intravenous NAD and we’re going to kind of chart and see how that plays out, see how that works for them.
Ben: And then, you would potentially add that to the IV as well if it turns out that it would work well?
Craig: As far as I know so far, no one’s making intravenous quercetin. So, that will be a challenge. We’ll work on that one, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That would be ideal. That would be ideal though.
Ben: Make it happen.
Ben: The glutathione that you mentioned though, from what I understand, is that not to be co-administered along with the NAD?
Craig: Correct. So, we don’t like to give any antioxidants really at the time of administering NAD. And the reason is, as I alluded to before, I talked about NAD stimulating mitochondrial fission, antioxidants will dampen the fission response. And so, when we administer glutathione, we’ll do it on a separate day than NAD. There are lots of benefits for glutathione. We just don’t like to mix the two.
Ben: I began to do that after you told me. I don’t take my glutathione supplement. Neither do I do–I recently interviewed Dr. Karim Dhanani on my show. We talked about genetics and he revealed that both myself and my twin boys don’t actually produce glutathione. So, he sent me glutathione powder to inject. Actually, that’s an IV injection but before that, I was doing intramuscular glutathione injections, which for anybody who doesn’t produce glutathione, that’s just–and I totally understand there are some people rolling their eyes now and saying, “Dude, how many things can you freaking inject?”
I understand. I get it, but this is just better living through scientists, taking better care of the body. And as I explain this to people, like if I can be around 50 extra years to be able to fulfill my purpose in life and to help more people and to feel amazing doing it, if that means like once a week, I’d take an extra minute to do a push IV, 20 minutes to do an NAD, and then five minutes at some point during the week to do a glutathione. This stuff is not that inconvenient, especially when you consider the fact that if you do have some kind of YouTube video or documentary or something you want to watch where you’re sitting there getting the IV, fine. Kill two birds with one stone.
So anyways though, I digress and I’ll link to that podcast with Karim about glutathione in the shownotes, but what I do is I now don’t go near that stuff within 24 hours before or 24 hours after I’ve done my NAD based on your recommendations. And, it sounds like what I could do though with that glutathione is at least include something like phosphatidylcholine. Could I just take that orally, for example?
Craig: I mean, you could but I mean it’s better to—again, from absorption, you’d better do that intravenously. So, I’ll send you some and you can try it. There’s been some trouble for us–
Ben: Thank you, [00:47:02] ______.
Craig: Yeah. There’s been some–like a lot of these nutrients, there are waves where it’s more difficult to get them. That’s what’s happened with phosphatidylcholine, but it should be back and ready to go. Basically, what you’ll do is you’ll just, as opposed to pushing first, you’ll draw back, agitate your blood first with the phosphatidylcholine and then push that, switch out the syringe, push glutathione. Phosphatidylcholine is one of these stellar nutrients that help with the liver, helps with brain health, helps with all of our cellular membranes that people often forget about. It’s one of these key nutrients though.
Ben: Interesting. I know that there are some other things that you do in addition to the Brain Refuel program and these FastVitaminIVs. One that you told me about that I haven’t done with you at all but that I’ve certainly done in other scenarios is stem cell infusions. I’m curious what you’re doing as far as stem cell infusions are concerned and how exactly that works.
Craig: Well, for me personally, I kind of held off on getting into the stem cell world for a while. It seemed like the Wild, Wild West. Last winter, about a year ago now, the FDA changed the classification of umbilical stem cells, umbilical cord stem cells from a live cell to a biologic and gave a three-year window for where we could use these cells. And that’s where I kind of jumped in because to me, umbilical cord stem cells are really the most potential. They are the freshest, the most potent, and the youngest, right? So, if you take an umbilical cord stem cell, it’s aged zero versus a lot of people getting stem cells in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. Those cells are aged 40, 50, or 60. And so, we’d like how these umbilical cord stem cells work. What I do, because I obviously love NAD, my research showed that in order to kind of prime the body or one of the best ways for our stem cells to be absorbed and then work is to up-level the mitochondria because the mitochondria seem to direct how stem cells work. Something I read, something I researched said stem cells are best infused during mitochondrial fusion. What we do is we do a three-day program where we start NAD three days ahead of the stem cells. Because we want to up-level the mitochondria, we’re going to stimulate mitochondrial fission and then mitochondrial fission then stimulates mitochondrial fusion. So, by day three, when we’re ready to give the stem cells, we have those mitochondria kind of primed and ready for those stem cells to be received.
Ben: That’s very similar to a protocol that I was talking about recently and that I even wrote a blog post on with Dr. Halland Chen over in New York City who’s doing like a muscle gain protocol. He’s using coenzyme Q10, NAD and injectable stem cells. He’s actually using autologous stem cells. I think he’s using like a bone marrow aspirate along with V cells, which are basically like a signaling molecule that can assist with the stem cell efficacy. But, when it comes to these umbilical stem cell cords, I have–or umbilical cord stem cells, I have concerns because I have been told that you don’t know if it’s safe since it’s coming from foreign tissue and that there might be yet unidentified viruses or prions or proteins or other things that you could be injecting into yourself, or I know there are some clinics like East West clinic in Salt Lake. They administer them even intranasally, which you use for like TBI or concussion. I’ve begun to steer clear of some of that because of my concerns about the safety profile. Can you speak to that at all?
Craig: Yeah. I mean, I think that that comes up commonly when patients say, “What type of stem cells?” and that’s the biggest thing or, “Are these stem cells filtered? Are they clean? How do we know it’s different genetic material?” So, here’s what I go back to, and I’d try to simplify things. Number one, the umbilical cord stem cells are immune naïve. So, they haven’t formed any immune antigenicity. So, you’re not going to react to them. Now, does that mean 100% of the time you won’t react to them? Of course, not because everyone’s a little bit different. But by and large, and we’ve done a ton of these stem cell treatments now, we have no reactions. Meaning, people aren’t having any sort of rejection. There’s no rash. There’s no any sort of adverse event from using these stem cells.
Number two, I think the main issue that’s going to come up certainly over the next few years is there’s going to be a lot of stem cell banks or stem cell companies jumping into this arena because they say, “Hey, this is a popular way of regenerative medicine and we have to be very careful of where we get these stem cells from.” So, there are, as I know, several public tissue banks, several companies that offer these stem cells. For me, in my practice, my patients, we’re going to be really scrupulous about only using cells that come from a company that’s been around for a while who’s been doing this for a while. And I think that’s an issue. I remember talking to a client out in Los Angeles. I was asking him if he’s interested in getting them and he said, well, he had a friend who had umbilical cord stem cells injected into his disk, one of his disks in his lumbar spine. It got infected. He was in the intensive care unit. And to me, I think that’s taking it too far like I think there are people who will inject the heart with stem cells. I think there are people who inject intrathecally into the spinal cord. I think that some of that is–yeah, I’m sure there’s hope and potential. Some of that, you just have to be careful of. So, we’re going to be very reasonable about what we do. We’re going to choose companies that only give us data in terms of how these stem cells are filtered, screen-tested.
The other thing I’ll say is once these stem cells are taken and made into what is the vial, so to speak, they are frozen in liquid nitrogen where really nothing can live, right? It is so cold. So, I’m not concerned as long as we–and this is how we do it here. We have a tank of liquid nitrogen where we keep the stem cells. When we’re ready to do a treatment, I mean I just did a treatment this morning, we’ll take the stem cells out, fall them out, and give them immediately. In doing it that way, we don’t worry about, “Oh, is there going to be some virus or some pathogen that gets in there? Could there be? Anytime you inject anything, there’s a risk of infection for sure. But I think if you follow a really good protocol and do your homework in terms of the company that is selling you the stem cells, I really minimize that risk.
Ben: Is it regulated at all by the government as far as screening?
Ben: I mean, do companies, such as yours or medical clinics, need to actually choose sources that have been screened properly? I mean, I get the impressions to Wild, Wild West. But fill me in on what’s going on as far as governmental regulations of that.
Craig: No. I don’t think so. I really don’t think like if you’re a doctor and you order stem cells, you could order from stem cell company X. It could be horrible. You could perform stem cell infusions on patients. And, potentially using bad lines of stem cells are not doing your homework. I don’t think there’s much government regulation in terms of that. Now, what they ask us to do, the stem cell companies, we have to fill out a form and document the batch, the lot, everything about that where that vial came from, and keep that so that in case a patient comes back three days, three weeks and said, “I had this happen,” we can go back to that company and say, “Hey, it came from this vial specifically. Please research this.”
The company we use is Predictive Biologics, and I feel very confident in every aspect of how they go about their business in terms of showing us data again and then providing high high-quality product and giving us all the tools we need to ensure the safety of the stem cells.
Ben: That’s good to know. So, basically, if people are going out and getting umbilical stem cells, they are ideally obtained from a healthy newborn baby. They are screened properly and they’re stored properly.
Craig: Correct. And then, as well is the doctor who’s administering them has done this before and follows a good protocol to ensure that, “Okay. The stem cells arrive where you take them out of the tank and they’re not just sitting there for two days at room temperature.”
Craig: You know what I mean? Like, it’s got to be done in the right way. You’re talking about, number one, very expensive material. But number two, it is a big safety concern and we’d never want to put people at risk. That guy out in Los Angeles who had his friend got–was in the intensive care unit, my comment was I don’t think doctors should be injecting inside a disk with stem cells.
Ben: What happened in California?
Craig: Yeah. That happened in Los Angeles. A doctor, orthopedic surgeon, injected the guys into a disk, an intra-disc injection because he had a bad–maybe a herniated disk. I just think that’s pushing the limits a little bit.
Ben: I didn’t know about that. So, I feel a little bit more comfortable, actually, hearing you talk about this umbilical cord stem cell infusion, I didn’t realize that the screening process was that intensive. But I guess a big part of this it sounds to me is still that process of patient self-education and actually figuring out whether or not the doc is actually getting this stuff from a clean source, storing it properly, et cetera.
Craig: I think so. I think again, I think in the next couple of years, we’re going to see where there will probably be some stem cell companies that go under or get closed down because they don’t have good practices and they’re into it to make a quick buck, like anything, right, like people who have shortcuts. In this process, we want zero shortcuts. To the most rigorous treatment, we want the most rigorous filtering screening, everything possible.
Ben: Okay. What about things similar to what you could inject with NAD to enhance NAD absorption like quercetin or these vitamins or phosphatidylcholine with glutathione? What could you administer along with stem cells to aid in the absorption or utility of stem cells?
Craig: Yeah. So, what we do as part of our protocol, so we start intravenous NAD. That’s day one. We also start intranasal oxytocin because oxytocin has an effect on the brain to help prime and direct stem cells as well. So, people are familiar with oxytocin. It’s kind of the social bonding hormone. It also increases nitric oxide in the brain, but it also has a role potentially in the hypothalamus where a lot of what we think are kind of the master control stem cells are regulated. And so, we just like to start intranasal oxytocin. We also start some injectable peptides at the same time. And that’s really what we found to be a really amazing mix or triad is intravenous NAD, the peptides and then followed up by the stem cells.
Ben: I want to ask you about the peptides in a minute because that’s a hot topic but intranasal oxytocin, we can’t just skim over that. So, this is the hormone, like the trust hormone, the bonding hormone that gets released during sex, during breastfeeding, and during human touch. You’re actually administering that intranasal like people snort it.
Craig: Yeah. We compound it into a nasal spray and then people spray that into their nose a couple of times a day. And actually, most people feel kind of more relaxed, happier from just doing that. Again, we’re not really using it for that purpose. We’re using it kind of from the stem cell aspect, but that’s an added bonus. So, sure. We compound a lot of things intranasally because again, going back to–you had mentioned, “Oh, people are going to–you shouldn’t be doing all these injections,” well, I would argue. We’re sitting here taking all these things orally that just don’t work. So, why not look at some alternative delivery systems? And that’s what we like. We do a lot of things intranasally, intravenously, injections, topically because we want to get into the system. That’s what matters most.
Ben: There’s a lot of research on oxytocin for a pretty wide variety of benefits that go beyond like stem cells or uplifting mood. I mean like I know it’s a potent anti-inflammatory and it’s something that has been studied for a lot of different issues, but this idea of administering it intranasally, I guess in the past, the only other way to do it aside from naturally it should get through sex would be like an injection. It’s not something you could take orally, right?
Craig: You don’t want to take it orally. We used to try it as a sublingual too under the tongue and that just didn’t seem to work as well. And so, we’d like a lot of intranasal things. We make actually NAD into an intranasal spray. We use ketamine as an intranasal spray. We have a couple of things that we’re trying as well that we’re putting together. We have actually coming up as NAD and CBD oil sublingual. We’ll try that intranasally. Yeah, we’ll try that intranasally as well. I mean, the idea with intranasal is you’re close to the brain. You have the mucous membranes that are very permeable. So, you spray up the substance and it gets right to where we want it to, which is the brain. And that’s the hope. Now, some of it being lost for sure, but if we can again avoid the digestive tract and have a different delivery system and get something that potent, that works all the better.
Ben: Yeah. The other thing is a good appetite suppressant is good for diet. I know that oxytocin neurons in the hypothalamus help to suppress appetite. That’s one reason sometimes. I don’t know if anyone has actually tried this out, but like if you’re hungry at night, a lot of times–and there’s probably quite a bit of dopamine and serotonin at play here too but sex at night like–you know, if I have the option between having a bunch of dark chocolate and some coconut ice cream or having sex, ideally, it would be both. But I’ve noticed like after I have sex, I’m ready for bed.
Craig: You’re good.
Ben: Like my appetite is gone and then I suspect part of that is due to that oxytocin release. So, it’s got a lot of interesting uses. I love that you guys are forward-thinking on some of this stuff. And again, if you guys are listening in, I think that’s something that people can also work with you to have like compounded for them, right?
Craig: For sure, yeah. I mean, we work with people across the country and we do this quite routinely. Again, our philosophy is if we’re going to move the needle, we have to have agents that actually work. We’re just not interested in giving people lists. So, take these 16 supplements. That just doesn’t work anymore.
Ben: Yeah. Okay, peptides. I’ve talked about BPC-157. It’s something you can inject in the joints, or TB-500 to enhance healing. I don’t know if I’ve talked about on the show before but there are a lot of these anti-aging peptides like epithalon or humanin or MOTS-c that are almost like exercise in a bottle that you can inject subcutaneously around the abdominals for both longevity and mitochondria, and also things like fat loss and muscle gain. I’m actually working on a new book on longevity where I explore some of those peptides. But I’m curious what the injectable peptides you’re administering along with these stem cells or along with NID to enhance the effects.
Craig: We certainly use BPC-157. It’s just a potent anti-inflammatory peptide. And we use it just systemically, so you can inject it anywhere and get a systemic effect from that. Probably more than that though, we use the growth hormone releasing peptides, which are things like ipamorelin, GHRP-6, GHRP-2, and then we couple that with something called CJC-1295, which is really a fragment of the growth hormone molecule. But what it does is it–the way I think about it is the peptide portion, which is we’ll say ipamorelin, that–and again, a peptide is a small molecule. It’s a chain of amino acids. What it does is it will go up to the pituitary gland, which secretes growth hormone, and it will bind to that growth hormone receptor and say put out growth hormone. So, we’re using the body’s own tools. We’re not adding anything exogenously. We cannot suppress our pituitary output because we’re just giving ourselves a little push. So, we use ipamorelin. We coupled that with something like CJC, which helps that growth hormone to stay in the system longer. So, you’re pulsing it. So, we have people do it two times a day when they first wake up in the morning and right before bed because those are where we think you get the biggest pulse of growth hormone anyway outside of exercise or resistance training. And then, we couple that with the CJC. It’s one liquid that comes together. And what you’re going to do is post that growth hormone and growth hormone being such an anabolic hormone is going to not only calm down inflammation, help rejuvenate tissue, but it’s going to help with the structure of the cells as well. The way I think about it is we start these peptides, we start NAD as ways to be potent anti-inflammatory while we’re waiting for the stem cells to kick in. And then, that takes a couple of weeks, but these peptides are really fascinating. Like you mentioned, there’s a host of peptides being explored.
The other one we use in conjunction with stem cells is this one called GHK-Cu, which kind of grew up in the wound healing world. We have people do that at the time of the stem cell infusion and they take it for three weeks straight because again, the whole concept is we want healing, right? We want rejuvenation, and that seems to help promote that as well.
Ben: So that would be like something to promote things like collagen synthesis or joint healing?
Craig: Exactly. Absolutely. Yeah. For example, I injected a guy in the soft tissue of his back around his lumbar spine and he’s had herniated disk and nerve root pain, facet issues. I think a lot of it with people with their spine is they don’t maintain the structural integrity of the tissue around the spine. They lose that integrity of the tissue and then they end up using things like NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, Motrin, and sometimes even steroids which can calm down inflammation. Problem is they delay wound healing. They destroy, and that’s a strong word, but they impair, I should say, the structural integrity of the tissue. When we give stem cells like that, our goal, and peptides, we’re helping to rebuild the structural integrity of tissue to help the joints, like the spine.
Ben: Yeah. Most peptides, not BPC-157 but most of them are banned by WADA, but a ton of pro-athletes use them still because they’re so rapidly metabolized. They’re not legal but they also can’t be detected. I’m not saying that I endorse their use or anything like that but a shocking number of folks in the NFL, for example, these more anabolic sports freaking like–I would estimate probably 80% of the league is on peptides. So, it’s something that is widely used in sports because of its potency and effectiveness. Do you have any concerns? Because I know we’ll probably get this question about undifferentiated cell growth and the potential for carcinogenicity or something like that along with the use of growth hormone.
Craig: I think growth hormone is tricky. I mean, we have some patients on growth hormone. I think what happens with growth hormone in my experience, and I’ve been using it with patients for a long time, is patients get the sense that if a little is good, a lot is better. I think that’s where people get in trouble because I think you can use a very moderate dose of growth hormone in a reasonable way without manipulating that hormonal pathway. If we stick to that–you know, the issue is, and this is an interesting topic anyway, is what happens with insulin-like growth factor 1 or IGF-1, and I know there’s this kind of rivalry almost with the fitness versus longevity in terms of IGF-1. I think with growth hormone, you have to be careful because if you accelerate IGF-1 too quickly, you can signal for cell growth at times you don’t want cell growth. Whereas, the peptides don’t seem to elevate IGF-1 unless–you mean there is a peptide of IGF-1. I have a patient on right now. But you really, with the peptides, especially the growth hormone releasing peptides, you’re not increasing IGF-1, you’re just making your IGF-1 more efficient. That’s the big difference. So, people who use growth hormone, the challenge is that, in my opinion, the way we do is we monitor their IGF-1 levels because if we see them rapidly going up, we know there potentially is–that’s the cell signaling, telling the cells to accelerate growth where we probably don’t want that.
Ben: Okay. Got it.
Ben: So basically, you want to test pretty intensively on their supervision when you’re using these things, not like–
Craig: It’s growth hormone, yeah. I just think people–
Ben: Order it from a website and just administer willy-nilly.
Craig: Yeah. And I think of growth hormone being much more valuable if you’re 78 years old, right? And you really do need growth hormone replacement. Just like testosterone declines, as we get older, growth hormone certainly declines. But for my patients, I’d want to reserve that ’til the very end. I think the peptides offer way too much potential. They’re not as potent, but again, we’re fine with that because we don’t want to trigger this cell signaling the cell growth. At times, we’re not supposed to have cell growth. And the peptides don’t do that. They make your IGF-1 more efficient but they’re not going to accelerate your IGF-1, and I know that because we’ve been using them for years and we measure people all the time.
Ben: Okay. Good to know. Again, as you guys are listening to me, and we’re going through this, I’m taking notes. If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/IVpodcast, I will link to some of the programs that Dr. Koniver has, for example, for his umbilical stem cell program. You can go to his clinic and do the stem cells combined with the NAD and the injectable peptides that he was talking about. He’s also got a program where you can do NAD IV therapy. Pretty much every single program he has, he’s giving every single one of my listeners a 20% discount, which is massive on any of these protocols, including just like ordering the IVs to your house if you didn’t want to fly down to the clinic and use a nurse practitioner for some of this stuff. But one of the other things that you have is this idea of distance medicine. You’re doing distance medicine and phone calls. How exactly does that work?
Craig: Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t work for everyone but I think in this day and age where we have technologies, cell phones, and we can text and call and email, it can work really well for people who want that kind of advice in terms of, whether it’d be starting peptides or nutrition. What really ends up happening practically is we’ll start working with them remotely and then they will eventually come here to Charleston to be a patient in person. It’s really just starting off and it may be three months, six months until they’re able to get here, but we’ll start them off with different programs in terms of counseling them, giving them advice. Again, not for everyone but for a lot of people, it’s hard to find a doctor who’s open to these kinds of concepts. And so, they’re looking for ways to, again optimize their health and performance. And so, we want to offer that service.
Ben: Okay. Now, what about the idea of training other physicians to do the same kind of performance medicine that you do? We have a lot of docs who listen in in some of this stuff that they’ve never even heard of before or want to do kind of like what you do in their community but don’t know how to get started. Tell me about your physician programs.
Craig: Yeah. And so, one of the things I really enjoy doing, like you mentioned, is working with other doctors. I think doctors are in this interesting place, especially the ones who understand optimization of health and performance, and there’s not a lot of us. A lot of it is being led by other people who, for example, as a family medicine doctor, I can help people optimize their health but I can also clean up when they get sick, and I’m here to deal with both sides of the aisle. I think doctors who embrace that can do very well and can offer a tremendous amount of unique advice for people because we have a different perspective. We know what sickness and disease look like. Not that we focus on that but we know how it works and we can prescribe medicine if needed.
For the doctors who then want to take it to a different level and shift their mindset from a disease-oriented place to a health and performance perspective, we offer different training programs from phone calls to personal. They come to our office and do a full day or more of training, where we go over everything. We’re an open book. We like to provide all the protocols that we use that we’ve discovered to help physicians. Honestly, we like to collaborate because then these physicians go out in their communities. They try things and we learn from them. It’s just building a network of physicians who want to collaborate together and do things differently than the regular conventional doctors.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, this is cool. This is cutting-edge to it. So, I really dig in, as you know. I love all this cutting-edge medicine and I want to warn people once again because I know I get kicked back on this all the time, I’m not saying like order a bunch of IVs and start sticking stuff in your veins willy-nilly. You have to proceed with caution. I realize I’m kind of a cowboy with some of this stuff but proceed with caution. That’s why I want to get Dr. Koniver on the podcast talk about how you could do some of the same things I’m doing but do it under medical supervision or do with the nurse practitioner. I think a lot of people especially would be very interested in at least the vitamin cocktails and the NAD. I would save all the stuff we talked about like that stuff is the most simple, straightforward, and both effective and legal to just do right away for anybody. So, this is all fascinating stuff.
Craig: No. I love it too. And I tell people all the time like if you’re really interested in optimizing your health and performance, like NAD has to be a part of that conversation because NAD is so foundational on the cellular level. Beyond hormones, beyond nutrients, NAD is really critical, and I think we are just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding how NAD works and all the benefits that it provides. So, there’s a host of ways for people to optimize their health and performance that are well beyond just taking oral supplements and eating a good diet.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. It’s better living through science, baby. Well, I’m going to put links to everything over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/IVpodcast. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/IVpodcast. Check out the shownotes there. I’ll link to all my previous podcasts on NAD. I mean, you could just go to KoniverWellness.com. It’s K-O-N-I-V-E-R, KoniverWellness.com. Anything there, if you use discount code BEN, will knock 20% off; the umbilical cord program, the NAD therapy, the distance phone call with him, the physician phone call where a physician can hop on the phone with him, the IVs, code BEN covers it all. You have 20% off of anything there. But you can also go to the shownotes where I’ll link to everything that we talked about too, and that’s at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/IVpodcast.
Well, Dr. Koniver, first of all, thanks for coming on the show. Keep doing what you’re doing and keep us all posted on all this crazy new cutting-edge stuff you’re looking into, like the quercetin and the peptides and everything else. Anytime you come across something interesting, let me know and I’ll pass it on to the audience.
Craig: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
Ben: Cool, folks. I’m Ben Greenfield along with Dr. Craig Koniver of KoniverWellness.com signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
It’s no secret that for quite some time I’ve been doing a weekly self-administered 30ml “Push IV” (fully legal for athletes, by the way) with a potent cocktail of vitamins and glutathione, along with a weekly NAD IV.
And while you may not be quite willing to hunt down a vein in your arm and administer your own IV, the doctor who I’ve been getting these IVs from is finally making his first appearance on my podcast. I’ve received plenty of questions about IVs (and stem cell infusions, and NAD IVs), and he’s going to blow your mind with his broad range of knowledge on these topics.
His name is Dr. Craig Koniver.
Dr. Koniver has been practicing Performance Medicine for over 18 years and is the founder of Koniver Wellness in Charleston, South Carolina. Not satisfied with the disease-based model of modern medicine, Dr. Koniver seeks to help his clients optimize their health and performance through time-tested, nutrient and science-driven protocols that are the cutting-edge of medicine. He is the founder and creator of the patent-pending FastVitaminIV® as well as re-engineering the NAD+ IV protocols, now called Brain Refuel™.
Dr. Koniver’s client list includes Navy SEALs, NFL players, PGA golfers, Hall of Fame NHL players, world-class professional athletes, Fortune 100 Executives, well-known celebrities and TV personalities. In addition, Dr. Koniver offers a comprehensive training program of the Koniver Wellness Model to physician practices across the country.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-What is performance medicine, and how did you get into it?…7:15
- Family medicine trained; wanted to open his own practice.
- Saw an opportunity to meet a need in the market by focusing primarily on IV’s.
- Realized that people just want to feel better; focus on that, and they’ll be receptive to outside the box solutions.
-Why is injecting into the bloodstream more efficacious than other means of injection (oral, etc.)?…9:40
- We only absorb around 20% of nutrients we take orally via food, supplements,etc. (even less with gut issues)
- IVs are a more sure way of ensuring the nutrients make it into the bloodstream.
- Pneumonia is a high cause of death; you treat it via intravenous antibiotics.
- Same principle applies with nutrients.
-What ingredients are in the different types of IVs that you make, and what do they do?…14:50
- Biggest deficiencies in people are:
- B vitamins
- Amino acids.
- Craig focuses primarily on these ingredients in his “core” IV, rather than having a large variety of options to choose from.
- The difference between a push IV and a drip IV, and which one is more effective:
- A push IV gets a much more robust response.
- 30 CCs vs. 500-1000 CCs.
- Focuses more on the nutrients than the water.
- It’s technically the only way to get a professional vitamin IV.
- Conventional wisdom says to go slow, play it safe.
- Craig has found the opposite to be true.
- Never had an adverse reaction to it.
- Amino acids:
- Whey protein, BCAA, glutamine.
- A total of 19 different nutrients in the 30 CCs of fluid.
-How people can administer these IVs without flying to Dr. Koniver’s clinic in Charleston…24:17
- There’s a network of certified nurses around the country.
- People can purchase from the nurses and administer themselves, either at a clinic or in their home.
-What is the Brain Refuel?…26:18
- Combination of Intravenous NAD Plus, and the Fast Vitamin.
- Achieves the “sweet spot” where people can tolerate the IV (length of treatment) and derive the most benefits from it.
- NAD can’t be mixed with any other nutrient, but the Fast Vitamin IV helped transport the NAD to the mitochondria.
-How to deal with the unpleasant experience of injecting the IV…36:30
- Don’t do it while you’re stressed out, or just finished traveling; do it while you’re in a “good place” mentally and physically.
- Breathwork; relaxing music.
- “This too shall pass”. Just like a workout sucks while you’re doing it, you feel great afterward.
- An IV is basically a workout for your cells.
- First NAD treatment is always the worst; once you realize it’s safe, it’s more tolerable in the future.
- No adverse side effects.
-Whether or not the NAD treatment is absorbable into the cells, and any proof to back it up…41:40
- Article: Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is transported into mammalian mitochondria
- Glutathione is not to be mixed with NAD.
-Dr. Koniver’s work with stem cell infusions…47:40
- Umbilical stem cells are freshest, most potent.
- Mitochondria directs how stem cells work.
- NAD 3 day program; inject NAD 3 days prior to stem cells.
- Safety concerns: Cleanliness, foreign cells, etc.
- Umbilical stem cells are immune naive; very low likelihood of a reaction.
- Stem cell banks, private companies developing safer practices.
- Frozen in liquid nitrogen, where nothing can live. Injected immediately after thawing out.
- Follow a clear protocol, do your due diligence to minimize risk.
- Are stem cells regulated by the government?
- Nothing significant.
- Stem cell companies require thorough documentation.
- Doctors administering are well-trained. Clear protocol.
- Companies who cut corners will be weeded out when they produce a subpar product.
- What can you administer to aid in the absorption and utility of stem cells?
- Intravenous NAD
- Intranasal oxytocin
- Injectable peptides
-More detail on the injectable peptides…1:06:56
- BPC 157 systemically; inject anywhere.
- Growth hormone releasing peptides; coupled with CJC-1295.
- Helps to stay in the system longer.
- 3-week treatment promotes healing
-How Dr. Koniver engages in “distance medicine” and trains other doctors in the practice of IV treatment…1:10:20
- Enables people to receive the treatment they need remotely.
- Patients often eventually travel to Charleston to continue treatment.
- Doctors don’t receive this type of training in med school.
- Different mindset: disease treatment vs. health and performance perspective.
-Ben’s word of advice: Don’t be like me! Proceed with Caution…1:13:15
And much more!
Resources from this podcast:
-30-minute patient phone call with Dr. Koniver to review health goals. At end of the call, Dr. Koniver will outline a strategic game plan for optimizing patient health and performance. Click here and use code: BEN for a 20% discount (brings $400 to $320)
-1-hour physician practitioner phone call with Dr. Koniver to discuss how to implement Performance Medicine into your practice. At end of the call, Dr. Koniver will outline specific steps to start. Click here and use code: BEN for 20% discount (brings $500 to $420)
-4 Day NAD IV Therapy (Brain Refuel Program). Patient flies to Dr. Koniver’s office in Charleston, South Carolina to receive the loading dose. Click here and use code: BEN for a 20% discount (brings $400 to $320)
-Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Program. 3 days of NAD IV Therapy followed by an umbilical cord stem cell infusion. Includes injectable peptides as well as select nutrients to aid in the absorption of stem cells. Click here and use code: BEN for a 20% discount (brings $8750 to $7000)
–Kion Flex A bioavailable blend to support joint comfort, mobility and flexibility, and bone health. Use code: BENFLEX10 to receive 10% off your order.
–Blue Apron guarantees the freshness of all their ingredients and will deliver them in an insulated box right to your door. Get your first 3 meals free when you use my link!
–Birdwell Beach Britches Expert craftsmen have been hand cutting and sewing every product at Birdwell Britches since 1961. Use code: BEN and receive 10% off your order.
–Gosha’s Organics is a recognized leader in Innovative PHYTO Herbal Honey Infusions. Use promo code: BEN10% and receive 10% off your order!