Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show, the myth about antioxidants blunting the exercise response, does red meat really give you cancer, how to make coffee healthier, are pre-workout supplements addictive, the brand-new Ben Greenfield Podcast co-host and much more.
I have a master’s degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I’ve spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world’s toughest mudder, 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 in performance, fat loss, recovery, hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
Well, if you were listening super-duper carefully to the intro in my movie, what’s it called, The Movie Previewer Voice? Jay, what do you call the guy who does the movie announcing? Is it the movie announcer voice?
Jay: I think it’s “Epic Dude with Epic Voice.”
Ben: Yes. The Epic Dude with the Epic Voice. If you’re listening to the Epic Dude with the Epic Voice intro, in which I try to sound really sexy and movie announcer-ish, you may have noted that I mentioned something about a new podcast co-host. And yes, we have a new podcast co-host. If you are an old-timey podcast listener, if you’re an OG or you may remember Brock, my Canadian podcast sidekick who has moved on to greener pastures, I don’t know, eating poutine and playing more hockey up in Canada. You may even remember Rachel, my lovely, beautiful Australian vegan sidekick. And so, what I’ve decided to do is get a Canadian Australian, vegan hockey player, poutine eating sidekick, and just combine Rachel and Brock. And therefore, I give to you, Doctor–he’s a doctor, Jay Wiles. He’s not Canadian Australian. I’m kidding. What’s up, Jay?
Jay: What’s up, Ben? Yeah. I was trying to think of a good nickname that I could go by, but I think that’s just going to have to come organically because I can’t think of one, but it will come in time.
Ben: Yeah. And I went through like a boatload of resumes. I was about to blow my brains out overall of freaking videos people sent me. Amazing people. Don’t be offended. Those of you who sent in videos, you’re all amazing. But I went through a ton of different videos of people who wanted to come and riff with me on these Q&As, which admittedly, we haven’t been doing a lot of lately but we’re back at now. They’re very popular. I never want to stop doing the Q&As. But when I saw you, Jay, it was love at first sight. It was Unicorn Tears in, very twinkles coming from my computer.
Jay: Wasn’t the name of my YouTube video I put is for like my sweet dear Ben or something like that? I just wanted to make sure that you knew that because I just felt like we’d have that beautiful connection at first.
Ben: Yeah, it was pretty creepy. But anyways, you’re a doctor, which is kind of weird, like we’ve never actually had a certified doctor on this unit, and you’re a real doctor. You’re an MD?
Jay: No, I’m not a real doctor. I’m a doctor, just not an MD. We can stick within the PhD world and still be cool, right?
Ben: Oh, you’re a PhD. Geez. Everybody is let down now.
Jay: Everybody leaves. They just turned off the podcast.
Ben: No, I’m just kidding. Okay. So, you’re PhD, clinical health psychologist and nutritional psychology consultant, is that right?
Jay: Yes, you got that right. Nobody knows what that is but you got that right.
Ben: Okay. Yeah, it sounds like somebody with brains.
Jay: Yeah. Or maybe someone who knows something about brains, but I don’t know if they actually have the brain.
Ben: Yeah. Well, there’s a picture of you on the front page of your website. If you guys want to go stalk Jay, it’s drjaywiles.com. Maybe we can link to that in the show notes, drjaywiles.com. I’ll put a link in the show notes. By the way, the shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/396. We work our ass off on the shownotes. So, somebody better go read them. There’s a picture on the front of your website with you with a laser light stuck up your nose. So, you must not be a normal PhD psychologist.
Jay: No. Unconventional is kind of what I go by. Fringy. I was called fringy this past weekend at a conference. I’m okay with that term unconventional.
Ben: Fringy works. I’ll be epic you’d be fringy. So, what exactly do you do?
Jay: Man, that’s multifaceted. So, in an effort to not drive everybody crazy, I’ll just give you the brief overview. Basically, I’m a health psychologist, which means that my doctoral work was trained as a clinical psychologist, but instead of worrying about people’s emotions, I worry about people’s health. And so, I spend majority of my time working with the Department of Veterans Affairs, where I have a specialty background in building complementary and integrative health program. I work out of the Upstate of Greenville, South Carolina. So, I should say that in a much southern voice.
Ben: I thought I heard a southern twine.
Jay: Did you hear it? Well, I could speak like the governor of South Carolina, Governor McMaster.
Ben: Is that how he talks?
Jay: Oh man, go Google it. You’ll hear Governor McMaster talking straight like this about our education in South Cackalacky.
Ben: That’s pretty good.
Jay: Or Frank Underwood, if anybody is a “House of Cards” fan. Where was I?
Ben: You’re talking, so you have this nutrition clinic and you have this holistic approach on your website. You say you use things like ketogenic, paleo, anti-inflammatory, elimination type of lifestyle changes, and you throw in things like mindfulness meditation, tai chi and qi gong and yoga and biofeedback and acupuncture. So, you have a pretty holistic approach to managing people who have effed up brains?
Jay: Yeah, basically, basically. I see the entire realm of veteran population. By entire realm, it’s a quite diverse group of individuals. And so, I do work from an integrative and holistic perspective. We would like to think that’s the predominant paradigm, but of course, we know the conventional medical models, still the predominant paradigm. But things are slowly changing, so my job is to bring those things out, incorporate those things into the VA healthcare system, especially within South Carolina, and do so in a rockstar fashion.
Ben: I dig it. Well, that’s the question I’m sure all the ladies are already wondering. Are you married? Do you have kids? What’s up with that?
Jay: Good question. I have to be careful with my answer because my wife listens to your podcast, too. So, there, you gave it away. But yeah, I’ve been married for almost 10 years now. I’ve been with my wife for close to, I guess 11 or 12 years. We dated a little bit before we got married. Have a 15-month-old son, who is a little organic hippy baby. We keep him outdoors as much as possible and he is pretty much–well, he’d do everything.
Ben: Covered in dirt and dog feces like a young boy should be?
Jay: All day, every day.
Ben: Good. How old are you?
Jay: I am immediately going to lose fans or win fans with this one. I’m pretty young, 31.
Ben: Oh, baby.
Jay: Yeah. A little baby.
Ben: I feel so wise and old. Okay. So, your website says you quantify your sleep, your food, your HRV, you stand on an earthing and grounding mat while you work. You wear air tube headphones and protect yourself from EMF. You put infrared and red lights up your nose. You take cold showers and sit in ice baths. You rarely wear sunglasses. You spend time outside barefoot. You wear blue light blocking glasses. You wear red light glasses. You meditate every day and you consider yourself to be a biohacker. So, I think you’ll fit right in.
Jay: I think so, yeah. I mean, that’s kind of an overview of my day right then and there, and Pomodoro breaks and swinging kettlebells, do a lot of functional training. That’s my life.
Ben: Do you jump on a mini trampoline wearing a training mask?
Jay: Oh no, I don’t. That sounds like something you would do though.
Ben: You can add that into your protocol.
Ben: Preferably with a coffee enema tube stuck up your ass.
Jay: It sounds like the greatest protocol ever made.
Ben: Well, folks, now that you know who Dr. Jay T. Wiles is, we think, Jay, shall we jump into today’s news flashes?
Jay: Let’s jump into some news flashes.
Ben: Alright. So, the internet, of course, has been exploding recently about the latest “red meat gives you cancer” study. Did you see this study?
Jay: Yeah, I saw this study. Yeah, yeah, I saw this study.
Ben: Okay. So, the official title was “Diet and Colorectal Cancer in UK Biobank: A Prospective Study.” This was all based on what they call Cox regression models, where they’re looking at hazard ratios for colorectal cancer. And they were specifically looking at meat consumption and they had a pretty good population size and a five-and-a-half-year follow-up in the study. And it looked at first glance to have big boy pants on and be a pretty respectable study. So, they had 175,000 or so people who were asked to recall what they ate.
They used a food frequency questionnaire. You can even go find the food questionnaire online if you wanted to. And they looked at everything going on in these people’s lives. And what the study showed according to media is that people who ate moderate amounts of red meat had a 20% higher chance of getting cancer, which caught my attention because I’m in this phase right now where I’m eating a couple of ribeye steaks a day and liver and Braunschweiger and head cheese, dressing that up with a bunch of sardines and anchovies. I’m doing a little bit of a bastardized version of a carnivore diet.
Jay: Gaining some weight. Good. It’s a good one.
Ben: Yeah. And I’m getting swole eating meat and lifting weights. Life is good.
Jay: I saw you lost a few pounds in your face though. Ended up shaving, didn’t you?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I shaved my beard off. For those of you want to follow that story, go check out my Instagram. But anyways, so if you look at the actual increase in risk, that 20% is what’s called a relative increase in risk. Meaning, everybody in this study started off with about a 0.5% risk of getting bowel cancer. And in the people who ate the most red meat, that risk increased by about 20% up to, drum roll, please, 0.6%. So, 0.6%; 0.5% to 0.6%. And yes, that’s an increase but it’s a pretty tiny, tiny 0.1% increase. And furthermore, and this is the kicker, only processed meat was the one that was significantly linked to colon cancer. Meaning, meat that has been heavily processed, combined with artificial compounds, had added nitrates, been heavily smoked, been heavily treated. I mean, it’s like–just like we could say about a seed-based oil versus a seed that it’s far different when it’s exposed to oxidation and pressure and everything else.
So, A, only a 0.1% absolute increase. B, this only happened with processed meat. C, there was no effect on women, only men. So, ladies, keep on mowing down that beef jerky. And then when we look at what a lot of these studies leave out in my opinion is that the most carcinogenic thing that’s been found to increase the carcinogenic potential of red meat, and I’ll try to say carcinogenic a few more times just because it makes me sound smart and I can pronounce it, we know that when you combine heme-based iron, which is the compound that’s unique to red meat that is the part–that’s probably the part of red meat that’s most likely to cause the oxidative pathways that lead to process meat causing cancer, it’s only that carcinogenic when it is consumed alongside seed oils, like high omega-6 seed oils, meaning like safflower oil or sunflower oil or canola oil or other oxidized vegetable oil or very concentrated sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
And so, I think the takeaway from this study really is that, A, the media is stupid because they throw stuff away out of proportion. B, eat your red meat but try and eat it in as processed and unadulterated form as possible and see if you’re going to do this whole carnivore diet, or even eating appreciable amount of red meat freaking limit your oxidized post-industrial processed vegetable oils ruthlessly, and you’re probably going to be all right, granted we could get into genetic factors that could potentially put you into a category that might not be conducive to a carnivore diet. And perhaps, that’s a discussion for another day because there are some genetic pathways that you can test that might indicate a lesser or greater need for something like meat. But I think the big takeaway is if you’re going to eat it, eat it as unprocessed as possible and limit the freaking seed oils.
Jay: Yeah. And when you’re saying limit the seed oils, you’re referring mainly to how you’re cooking and what wheels you’re cooking with?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Yeah. And I mean, a lot of folks like my friend Dr. Paul Saladino who was on the podcast, he doesn’t even use–like he came over to my house and cooked his steak and just tossed in the cast iron skillet with a little salt and that was it. I’ve been gradually progressing towards that route and also just extra virgin olive oil grass-fed butter and of course a little olive oil and macadamia nut oil and avoiding even these days the whole food salad bar with the–that’s cold-pressed expeller or expeller cold-pressed organic canola oil, but it’s a seed oil, nonetheless.
Jay: Right. Do you ever cook with avocado oil?
Ben: I do.
Jay: Okay. I like it. I use it a lot.
Ben: It’s good. Yeah. I just squeeze an avocado with my hand and squeeze the oil, so I’m making it.
Jay: That’s pretty–
Ben: Because I’m swole, like we mentioned it. So, we’ll link to that study in the shownotes. You can check it out.
Another really, really interesting paper that I found, I thought this was fascinating, Human Adaptation to Extreme Environmental Conditions. This paper went into how human beings specifically genetically adapt to things that we are all very interested in these days with the emergence of Wim Hof and that wonderful book by Scott Carney who I interviewed called What Doesn’t Kill You. This concept of hormesis, using things like cold and free diving, or spearfishing, or temperature exposure, or using altitude or hyperbaric oxygen chambers or exercise with oxygen therapy. It’s like people are kind of catching on to this idea that things that could completely crush us in small amounts are pretty good for us in–or it could crush us in large amounts are good for us than small amounts.
But what this paper looked at was human adaptations to life in the Arctic or extreme cold to high altitude and to diving or underwater, long periods of time spent underwater, and it was really, really interesting. Like for example, with the cold part of things, what they did in the paper was they looked at Northeast Siberian populations. And these folks actually consumed a very high-fat diet a lot of these Arctic populations do, and this high-fat diet appears to be something that, A, they’re kind of self-selected for because it’s tough to find kale growing in the snow, but B, it’s something that seems to allow them to kind of have a little bit of that extra body fat or insulation yet they seem to have pretty favorable lipid profiles despite eating a high-fat diet.
So, they looked at these folks’ genes, and one of the things that they’re able to do is–you look like the Inuits who eat a diet primarily based on fish and marine mammals and what would be a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs. What they found was they have specific mutations that are adaptations to a high-fat diet that allow them to somehow concentrate those PUFAs more readily. There are some kind of like rate-limiting enzymes where they’re very much able to decrease the endogenous synthesis of what are called long-chain PUFAs, and that builds up the short-chain PUFAs that one would normally get from vegetables.
So, essentially, they’re able to take a high-fat diet and produce the same type of fatty acids they’d normally be getting from eating vegetables. And that’s just this genetic adaptation that they’ve gotten that appears to provide not only protection against the cold but also their ability to be able to get what they’d normally be getting from vegetables by eating just a bunch of animal-based fats instead.
And so, that was just one of the mechanisms that we see in these cold environments, and the paper goes into some more, but that was one interesting takeaway. Another one was they looked at the Tibetan populations. Now, here’s the deal. People like the Tibetans who live at very high altitudes, normally, you’d see the human body, when it gets exposed to high altitude, produce a lot of what’s called hypoxia-inducible factor. It’s called HIF. And that causes you to produce more erythropoietin or EPO, which allows you to produce more red blood cells.
Now, there’s a problem with that because if you have that mechanism going on all the time, it gives you a bunch of excess red blood cells which increases oxygen delivery to the tissues but, and this is why Tour de France writers will like die of exploding hearts when they use EPO, it increases blood viscosity. So, it puts a lot more strain on the cardiovascular system.
Jay: That makes a lot more sense.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. But it turns out with these Tibetans, you would expect them to have like hypoxia-inducible factors that go through the roof, but they actually express a certain gene that limits that HIF pathway and they have developed other genetic pathways that allow their body to be able to mitigate the deleterious response to chronic altitude exposure, or to be able to consume more oxygen at altitude without necessarily doing it by producing more red blood cells. So, they don’t get things like the atrial fibrillation or cardiovascular issues. You see some humans experience, when they’re at high altitude, instead, these people have grown the ability to be able to genetically adapt to high altitude based on mutations without actually producing more EPO or red blood cells. I mean, the human body is just fascinating.
Jay: It’s so adaptive.
Ben: Yeah, the diving one.
Jay: It’s ridiculously adaptive.
Ben: I don’t know if you read this study, Jay, but the diving one, this one was really interesting. So, they looked at a bunch of sea nomads in Thailand, and that was actually what I was originally getting to in college was I was taking the sea nomad electives because I really wanted to be a sea nomad. It just sounds like a cool thing.
Jay: You already sound like you’re a sea nomad.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. So, these sea nomads who get repeated underwater training activity, they essentially just live this diving, free diving lifestyle, and a lot of times, there are deaths over 100 feet for minutes. What they’ve actually done when they’ve genetically analyzed them is, they have this adaptive mechanism, particularly in their spleen, and they have extremely large spleens, and the spleen is compressed when you go underwater like that, and that expulses a bunch of new red blood cells and gives them an oxygen boost. It’s a gene called PDE10, and it affects signaling pathways, and even affects the thyroid hormone. So, they express more levels of T4, the thyroid hormone T4, and that dramatically affects their spleen size. So, these people who dive a lot, they have high thyroid hormone production and higher spleen sizes.
I think the big takeaway for this is that, yeah, you may not be able to change your body to a huge spleen or to less red blood cell viscosity but the ability to be able to perform it at high altitudes, or even be able to never eat vegetables again because you produce a bunch of the regular short-chain fatty acids from fats. But what you may want to consider is that your body appears able to favorably adapt to cold exposure, to some elements of high altitude or periods of low and high oxygen intermittent, and also to diving or going underwater, or even just getting subjected to pressures using let’s say an HBOT chamber or one of those–I forget. I think they call them like a CPAP machine, something like that. But ultimately, it’s a pretty cool article, when it goes into how the body adapts to these extreme environmental conditions. I’ll link to it in the shownotes, but I think it’s kind of worth of read.
Jay: Yeah. And it is pretty incredible. One of the things I was thinking about, Ben, I want to get your take on this, is that, let’s say, for instance, adaptation to the life in the Arctic. So, this is the Inuit. The Inuit is a group of individuals that the ketogenic community really comes back to their huge fan boys of, and I’m going to say ketogenic community. I would kind of put myself along that side, but I don’t know if I’m an Inuit fan boy. We’ll see. But I’m just thinking now and looking through this article, is do you think this is a–I don’t even know if I could say it the best way other than like, is this support for us using the Inuit as a good example as people who were adaptive and how we can become more adaptive like them or does this kind of spoil the argument for the Inuit as an example of how a ketogenic diet is considered ancestral? If that makes sense.
Ben: I think all it says is that if you’re going to eat a ketogenic diet, you should get your genes analyzed to see what kind of genes you possess. In this case, it would be the FADS genes, the fatty acid desaturase genes. I actually talked about this in my very recent podcast with a gal who wrote “The Wildatarian Diet,” and we came up with like four or five different genetic snips that would dictate an inflammatory response to a ketogenic diet or an unfavorable lipid panel in response to a ketogenic diet. So, I think all it tells you really is that before you choose any specific diet, at least freaking get your genes analyzed and see what you’re able to handle.
Jay: Yeah, indeed. I think that’s such an underutilized kind of avenue for many people who engage in a ketogenic diet, which has become so many with how popularized it’s gotten.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. And then one other article I think is kind of fun, there was an article on biohacking. And since we’ve established the fact that both you and I are biohackers, Jay, very, very good biohackers, but probably, not as good as some of the people in this article. The title is Biohackers Are Implanting Everything from Magnets to Sex Toys. And in my opinion, I’ve said this before, that’s a true biohacker, right?
Jay: That is. That’s a grinder.
Ben: Right. Yeah. You put a little cinnamon and butter in your coffee or you–I don’t know. Yeah. You jump up and down on the trampoline with the training mask on or do your handstands on your vibration platform, or whatever the case may be. I don’t think that’s biohacking. It’s playing with fun toys and cooking. But biohacking, originally, was these people called the grinders, and they would treat their body as wetware, they called it, and then they would install hardware into the wetware. And this continues.
The true underground biohacking scene, it talks about a guy named Patrick Kramer, who injects these microchips about the size of a grain of rice under the skin on people and he call it–he basically turns them into cyborgs. He implants these chips that these folks can use to unlock doors, to store digital business cards. He’ll put them in cats and dogs and livestock and humans as well. And apparently, he’s implanted like thousands of chips in the past year alone. He has three in his own hands; one to open his office door, one to store medical data, and one to seamlessly share his contact information with other people.
And apparently, there are about 100,000 people, these so-called biohacking cyborgs now walking around with chips implanted in their body that could potentially include things like bionic limbs and computer brain connections, which of course we know–I think it’s Elon Musk who’s working on the whole computer brain connection piece of things. There’s a gal named Moon Ribas, a Spanish gal who has a chip in her arm that’s connected to seismic sensor. So, she’s kind of a, I guess like an avenger or a mutant. She’ll know automatically anywhere in the world when there’s an earthquake that’s going to occur or that has occurred.
Jay: She’s in the newest movie.
Ben: Really? She’s in it?
Jay: No. She might be. She might be in the background. I mean, hell, there’s a thousand characters in the movie.
Ben: I heard it was good.
Jay: I actually haven’t seen them. I’m just staying away from the internet though because they’ll give it away.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. No spoilers, folks. If you reach out to stalk Jay in his website. Don’t tell him what happens in the Avenger movie. Do ask him about the laser lights in his nose though. There’s another guy who installed an antenna in his head that lets him hear colors, like he could hear pink or blue or whatever else. There’s a guy named Rich Lee in Utah. I’ve talked about him before. I think he’s the guy who had like an earpiece implanted in his ear to be able to hear better. But now, he’s developed a cyborg sex toy, which is like a vibrating device you can implant in your pelvis, which I think sounds lovely.
Jay: It’s called the Lovetron9000.
Ben: Yeah, it is. Yeah. Jay isn’t making that up, folks. It’s actually called the Lovetron9000. I think it could probably double up as like–you know, people will use like compression socks or like vibrating things for recovery. You could probably use it on an airplane for recovery, kind of keep the blood flowing. You flip it on. You try and keep a straight face when the airline stewardess comes around.
Jay: Right. That’s worth $15,000.
Ben: You join your own mile-high club. Implanted cyborg sex toy. And there’s a whole bunch of other interesting gadgets that are talked about in the article. And yeah, it’s a neural link. That’s the one that Elon Musk is working on that he’s developing the brain-computer interfaces that will allow you to just interact with your computer. So, there you have it.
Jay: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: I think we should have him on our show to smoke marijuana and see if that holds him back at all. I guess he got in pretty big trouble. He was on the Joe Rogan podcast smoking marijuana.
Jay: Yeah. I think [00:27:58] ______ dips like crazy that day, but I think it’s back.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Now all the stoners are driving Teslas. So, anyways, those are few news flashes for you guys, and I’ll link to all of these in the shownotes. But every single day, usually twice a day, any interesting study I find, any research article, even anything about biohacked/implanted sex toys, I tweet. So, if you want to get these research studies hot off the presses, just go over to twitter.com/bengreenfield, and you can check them out there.
Ben: Well, since it’s been so long since we’ve done a Q&A episode, it’s been also so long since I’ve let all you fine folks know where I’ll be at in the world, where you can come connect with me, where we can go do things like drink ketogenic coffee and play with our implanted chips and stick laser lights up our nose together singing Kumbaya. I’m going to be in Thailand. I’m teaching a sea nomad course over–no, I’m just kidding. Let’s see.
Jay: I actually thought you were serious on that one.
Ben: I did used to teach triathlon camps in Thailand definitely like six years in a row.
Jay: Triathlon, sea nomading, same thing.
Ben: Been Greenfield’s triathlon adventures in the Andaman Sea. Anyways though, May 29th, I will be in South Carolina. I guess down there you, Mr. Jay T. Wiles. I’ll be in Charleston, South Carolina giving a talk at the wonderful offices of Dr. Craig Koniver, who’s been a podcast guest before. He’s the guy who sends me things like NAD and vitamin injection patches or vitamin injection like push IVs, and he specializes in kind of like high-end, I guess like performance health, as well as stem cells in this whole stem cell–or this whole conference. He’s doing this on stem cells and it’s called a community talk on stem cells. So, it’s going to be at some big dinner room. It’s a private dinner for over 80 guests, but you could still sign up and come to this small and intimate event down in South Carolina. So, we’ll link to that one in the shownotes. That’s coming up May 29th.
I will also be at the MaxLiving Conference on June 6. That’s going to be in Denver, Colorado. It’s called “An Afternoon of Transformation with Ben Greenfield” in Denver, Colorado. That’s on June 6.
On June 15th, for those of you in the Spokane, Washington area, me and my family are going to go do something called the Ultimate Fitness Run, which is like this huge obstacle course up on Mount Spokane. It’ll be a ton of fun. It’s like a Spartan Race but it’s not a Spartan Race; it’s just like an independently run event. But anybody wants to come out to Spokane, Washington, come join me and my family in that event. Who knows? I’m crazy. So, maybe I’ll throw some big barbecue at my house or something if enough people ping me and tell me they’re going to come, and we can do a meet-up at my house.
June 23rd through July 7th, two-week detox retreat in Switzerland. And I think we still have a couple rooms left in that, if you want to come and do colonics with me for two solid weeks. I don’t know if solid would be the right adjective there. For two liquid blown out your ass weeks, you can come over to Switzerland, over to Switzerland, and I’ll put links to that over in the shownotes as well.
And then finally, those who don’t know, I’ve got my Spartan Pro Racing contract signed and I’ll be jumping back into races here in August. So, those of you want to join me with that kickoff, it’ll be at the L.A. Stadium Race in August of 2019.
Those are just a few of the places that I’ll be over the next few months. If you want to come join me, we’ll put a link to that and everything else. So, you could just also go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/calendar for that.
Also, this is the time on the show when my voice softens and I slow down because this is the time when we tell you who this podcast is brought to you by. So, our sponsor of every single podcast is, of course, Kion. Kion is my company that I created to scratch my own itch, to take all the supplements that I take and all the foods and the coffees and the bars that I eat and develop the healthiest, most unique versions of those. And we have everything from shotgun formulations for immune system support to super antioxidant rich coffee. Well, do you use any Kion products, Jay?
Jay: Man, you’ve put me on the spot.
Ben: You bastard. You don’t do. Not even–
Jay: Well, now that I’m a part of the Kion family–no, the Aminos is something that I’ve been planning on using, and I just haven’t yet, I’d be honest with you, but they’re on the docket. I got to get–
Ben: Planning. You need to pull the trigger. I know somebody who could get you some. I know somebody. But everybody listening in, if you don’t go shop at Kion, it’s a fun website, we got a lot of cool content over there too, including my gratitude journal, my books, daily articles. So, 10% off everything at Kion. You go to getkion.com and you use code BGF10. That gets you 10% off site-wide at Kion.
This podcast is also brought to you by Joovv. Joovv is the photobiomodulation panel that you can use on your balls. Jay, do you use one of these?
Jay: Oh man, of course, I do, on my balls.
Ben: Yes. Yeah. So, the Joovv is a big old photobiomodulation panel. Do you have the big panel or do you have the little travel one?
Jay: I got the Quad and the Go.
Ben: Wow. Okay. So, you’re equipped. So, of all the different ways to expose your body to lots of red and infrared light, I like the Joovv because it’s high power. You could use it for like 10 or 20 minutes versus an hour with a lot of these other devices. It’s low EMF. It doesn’t produce a lot of flickers. So, it’s healthy at the same times that you’re using it. And again, it works on the gonads for testosterone, or for women, for blood flow, works for collagen, works for pain, inflammation, gives you a big release of nitric oxide so you can do it before workout. And Joovv is giving all of our listeners nice little bonus gift. You just go to joovv.com/ben. That’s J-O-O-V-V.com/ben.
This podcast, also speaking of meet, giving you colon cancer, it’s brought to you by ButcherBox. I’m sure ButcherBox is going to love that. No. ButcherBox does have the good stuff. No processed shit from ButcherBox. It’s all 100% grass-fed grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, meaning that it’s old-world pork, before they bred out all the fat and the flavor to make it the other white meat. So, it’s the way that pigs are meant to taste. If you’ve never had heritage breed pork, you’re missing out on a very important aspect of life.
They even have wild Alaskan sockeye salmon. This stuff gets shipped to you in a box every month. And what they’re giving all of our listeners–are you ready for this, Jay?
Jay: Mm-hmm. Drumroll?
Ben: Two packages of bacon and two pounds of breakfast sausages and $20 off your first box. They call it their ultimate breakfast bundle. Yeah, that’s right. You get free bacon, free breakfast sausages, and $20 off your first box. Every box comes with 9 to 11 pounds of meat. They say that’s enough for 24 individual sides of meals, or if you’re me, two meals. But anyways, very, very easy. Go to butcherbox.com/ben. That’s butcherbox.com/ben. That gives you the whole breakfast bundle for free and $20 off your first box.
And then finally, I did not hire Jay using this website, but I probably should have because it would have saved me a lot of time. It’s ZipRecruiter. So, ZipRecruiter, because I’m supposed to say it like that, is the one place you can go where hiring is simple and fast and smart. You have to watch doctors doing crazy things on YouTube videos. Anyways, what they do is they do everything for you. You don’t have to go to multiple job sites or dig through stacks of resumes or figure out this confusing review process. They screen everybody for you. They match thousands of resumes to find people with the right experience. They invite them to apply to your job. Eighty percent of folks who post on ZipRecruiter get a quality candidate through the site in just one teeny-tiny day. And you get to try ZipRecruiter for free. You go to ziprecruiter.com/green. That’s ziprecruiter.com/green. You got anybody you need to hire, Jay?
Jay: You want to get hired for me as a consultant?
Ben: No. I thought maybe you need like an office secretary or somebody to hold your lights up for you or something.
Jay: The light thing I can definitely do. So, I don’t know how I’d list that photobiomodulation grip, I guess.
Ben: Mm-hmm. Grip. Yeah.
Ben: You know all the movie terms. Anyways, you go to ziprecruiter.com/green, boom, isn’t like flint, do it. And I think we’ve gotten a little housekeeping out of the way, and now we get to see what kind of odd questions have piled up over the past two months since we’ve done an episode. What do you think? You want to dive in?
Jay: Let’s dive into these.
Sartell: Hello, Ben. My name is Sartell, and I’m from Salt Lake City. I’ve been listening to your shows for many years and really appreciate it. I wanted to ask, I purchased recently a supplement, the Polyarchies ant extract. And I took this prior to a workout and I really felt an analgesic effect. I’ve had many shoulder surgeries and it felt a lot better when I took this. So, I did some more research and noticed that this is touted to have anti-inflammatory effects and be an antioxidant. I know that antioxidants can blunt the hormetic effect of exercise. So, I’m wondering if I need to worry about that with this supplement. Thanks for all you do and for many informative podcasts. Appreciate it.
Ben: So, black ant extract. Have you ever used black ant extracts, Jay?
Jay: I’ve never used it. I’ve heard you talk about it. Is this that same stuff you brought on to the Joe Rogan Experience when you went?
Ben: You call yourself a biohacking doctor and you’ve never eaten black ant extract.
Jay: I’ll hang up my mic now.
Ben: Yeah. I did have a bottle of this when I went on the Joe Rogan podcast. I was down in L.A. and I was traveling and I needed to pick me up and I’d had a cup of coffee. His episodes last like three hours. And so, I was taking this black ant extract in a little side room. And he walked in there, I had this dropper bottle up to my mouth, and so he whipped out his phone and took a photo of me taking black ant extract and then everybody, and their dog wanted black ant extract. It’s actually called Polyrachis. Polyrachis I think is how you pronounce it. Apparently, Sartell got his hands on this stuff, too.
But the idea behind ant powder or black ant extract–you know, it’s kind of like this doctrine of signatures. You eat an avocado. It’s supposed to be good for your testicles, or you eat something red like pomegranate or tomato and it’s supposedly good for cardiovascular health. You eat the meat of a big huge animal like an elk or a bison or buffalo and you feel powerful and full of lifeblood. And you eat a teeny-tiny little ant and they’re very hardworking and full of endurance. And so, apparently, it’s like a mild pick-me-up, and especially good for endurance. And these things live amongst the ginseng roots high up in the mountain. So, it’s a perfect story of course for a nutrition supplement company to sell overpriced insect powdered up as a nutritional superfood.
You know, it actually does have something to it, this ant extract. There are a few different universities that have done studies on the nutritional value of black ants, and they found some interesting things. They actually have a very high content of palmitic and oleic and linoleic acid. You could consider these as like tiny little seeds and nuts, but actually a little bit more digestible, less of the phytic acid inhibitors and more of some of the beneficial fatty acids that we’d get in seeds and nuts. They also, in the studies that they’ve done on the ant extract, they’ve found them to be pretty high in of all things, and this could potentially put my entire company out of business, essential amino acids. They’ve got all the essential amino acids in them. So, they double up as an essential amino acid supplement as well.
Jay: Well, why don’t you just add that to your Kion Aminos? I mean, it doesn’t have to put you out of business. We’re just going to throw some Polyarchies ant extract in there.
Ben: That’s true. I might upset some insect lovers, and I’m not quite sure how scalable that supply chain is with ants, but it would definitely be a unique selling point, if I were to add that to the Kion Aminos. Very high in zinc, like 10 times higher in zinc than shellfish. I honestly think that’s the biggest thing. Ant extract has going for it is it’s just super high in zinc, which of course is fantastic, especially for men who want to increase their testosterone levels.
But then the head of the ant has some really interesting nootropic compounds in it. I’m blanking now on the name of the specific fatty acid that’s present in their heads. It gives it this bitter flavor but it’s actually–I used to mix this stuff with coffee. I don’t have any in my pantry right now, but it’s got that and then also this thing called ecdysterone, which is a growth hormone that you find in the insect kingdom that could have an anabolic effect in humans. Now, that hasn’t been studied but it is high in these sterones. Wouldn’t that suck getting kicked out of your NCAA sanctioned sport for steroid use and all you were doing was picking ants out of the backyard because you’re a poor college student and couldn’t afford the cafeteria food?
Jay: Well, just trying to imagine explaining that to the board, these ants, yeah.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I swear it was ants. I haven’t gone near Victor Conte. Anyways though, so ants are pretty rich in a lot of these, and they’re also very high in minerals, surprisingly high in minerals. So, you’re getting something like a sea salt, zinc, essential amino acid, fatty acid, a nootropic supplement when you use black ant extract. I get it from this company called Lost Empire Herbs, which you’d probably have to order from pretty quickly because they’ll be–I think they were out of stock for like two months after that Joe Rogan episode.
But I’ll link to them in the shownotes. They brag in their website that their compounds have not been found to have sildenafil or the active ingredient of Viagra in them. So, apparently, at some point in the past, somebody must have been putting Viagra in with the ants for them to need to claim that, or maybe that just gives you boners. I don’t know. I don’t remember that being in effect when I took it.
Jay: [00:43:05] ______ going and getting it.
Ben: Yeah. It has some vitamin C and some vitamin E in it. And this is kind of the meat of the question that Sartell asked is it’s touted as having this anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect, and he knows that antioxidants can perhaps blunt the hormetic effect of exercise. Now, with ants, I’m just going to answer that question really quickly, but I want to get on the soapbox about hormesis here in general. But the amount of vitamin C and vitamin E found in ant extract is nowhere near. We’re talking like 1/10th to 1/100th the amount of synthetic high dose vitamin C and vitamin E that was used in the few studies that have been shown that high dose synthetic vitamin C or vitamin E could actually blunt the hormetic response to exercise.
So, you don’t need to worry about the ant issue, but I would like to kind of address this in a little bit greater detail. So, hormesis is, of course, this notion that low levels of stress can stimulate or upregulate these different molecular pathways that would improve the capacity of cells or living organisms to withstand greater stress. So, we’re talking about anything like plant toxins or things that produce reactive oxygen species or sunlight radiation or cold or heat or exercise or anything like that. Things that would kill you in large amounts or cause appreciable damage in large amounts can actually cause genetic adaptations and biochemical pathways to be expressed that make you stronger in small amounts.
The concept of this originated in the 16th century when the Swiss physician, Paracelsus, proposed that the dose determines that a thing is not a poison, or solely, the dose determines that a thing is not a poison. Then the term hormesis was coined back in the ’40s when they found that a natural antibiotic that was in cedar wood would inhibit the growth of wood-decaying fungi in large doses but had the opposite effect in low doses. And then there was an endocrinologist named Hans Selye, who showed again that things that stress you out in small doses actually help you to bounce back stronger, so to speak, or things that would kill you in large doses help you to bounce back stronger if you take them in small doses.
So, there’s been a lot of studies that have been done on hormesis. And particularly, when we look at exercise, for example, much of what we know about how exercise conditions the body is based on long-term adaptation to hormesis because during exercise, you get exposed to a bunch of different, what would be considered homeostatic perturbations. So, that would be like thermal stress and metabolic stress and hypoxic stress and oxidative stress and mechanical stress, and those stimulate the release of reactive oxygen species, and nitrogen species, and cytokines, and eicosanoids, and growth factors, and all these different things that could potentially be inflammatory.
And then those activate signaling pathways that control gene expression that causes an adaptive response to cause you to become stronger to being able to, whatever, produce your own endogenous antioxidants, or be able to remodel muscle more quickly, or be able to produce new mitochondria to be able to handle the excess energy requirements, et cetera. So, the idea is that there are certain things that have been studied to be able to enhance exercise-induced hormesis. There are certain things you can do that actually cause that adaptation to occur even more favorably. And many of these have been studied. I’m going to link to an interesting research paper over in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/396.
But for example, restricting dietary carbohydrate intake, meaning training in a low glycogen state can actually cause you to have an amplified stress mechanistic response to the exercise, and doing that in large amounts for long periods of time would be deleterious. But what happens is when you train in a low glycogen state, there’s reduced ATP supply and you actually upregulate not only when carbohydrates are present, your ability to be able to use them, but you also get a slight upregulation in oxidative damage. You can actually make exercise a little bit more difficult when you train in a low glycogen state. And of course, you also train your body how to more quickly oxidize fatty acids and something called triacylglycerol when you do that. And so, that’s one thing that can enhance the hormetic response to exercise. It would be training in a low glycogen state.
Another one that’s really interesting that’s been studied of late is training with blood flow restriction bands on. This is also called Kaatsu training, where you put tourniquets on your arms and your legs and they sell devices and bands now to do this. Have you ever done BFR training, Jay?
Jay: I have back in the day. That was when I was kind of going through more of my bodybuilding phase.
Jay: It was like 265.
Ben: Yeah. When I travel, I’ll have these bands in my suitcase. A lot of times, I’ll throw down like a push-up, pull-up, lunge, squat workout in my hotel room wearing these BFR bands. And it appears that satellite cell activation is similar to what you get from traditional heavy load strength training when you do this, and that satellite cell activation is accompanied by an increase in the number of my own nuclei, which means you can actually get your muscles bigger with just bodyweight training using BFR training, but it’s based on this concept that it actually enhances the hormetic effect of exercise when you train in a low blood flow state. You can actually produce slightly more damage and cause yourself to be able to bounce back even stronger than you would if you had a little bit more limited damage.
Another one would be exercising when the muscles are already hot. That would increase the thermal stress and increase the hormetic response to exercise. So, this would be, for example, probably one of the most popular forms of this would be what’s called heat preconditioning. And this is what most of the studies have been done on that when you heat precondition, not only can you express more EPO or red blood cells, but you could also increase the amount of hypertrophy that occurs.
And so, my studies have even shown that you can do this after the exercise session, like 20 to 30 minutes in a sauna after the exercise session. But preheating, and a lot of people don’t know this, that’s where most of the studies have been done. So, this would not only include a good warm-up before a strength training session, but for example, going and doing your warm-up in the sauna if the gym has a sauna prior to the workout, we all know that makes the workout a lot more uncomfortable, but it enhances the hormetic response to exercise.
In similar ways as heat pre-loading, there’s also the concept of mechanical pre-loading. So, they’ve also found that if you do, on the days in between you work out or right prior to the workout, maximal isometric contractions, meaning like you do like a squat hold to failure before you begin your set of squats, you do a push up hold to failure or fatigue before you start a set of bench press, et cetera, that also enhances the hormetic response and the hypertrophy response to the sets that you do afterwards.
And so, you can use this as something like in between days, in between your workouts, you can do like a 60-second squat hold, 60-second lunge hold for each leg, 60-second push-up hold and like a dead hang for time, and this would enhance the effects of the strength training routine that you did the day before. And you could also use that same routine and do each of those right before, like hang time to failure, drop, rest and then do your pull-ups, or push-up hold to failure, recover, and then do your bench press. So, that’s called mechanical pre-loading.
So, obviously, there are all sorts of ways. The most effective of which I just mentioned that you could make hormesis occur more readily and in the same way, there are things that dampen exercise-induced hormesis. And antioxidant supplementation is one that’s been studied and has been shown to create a disruption of redox signaling, meaning that oxidative stress that’s supposed to make you stronger could get held back if you supplement with antioxidants. And it’s also been shown that high-dose antioxidant supplementation, with high-dose being the key there, and in most studies, they’re using vitamin C or vitamin E.
There are a few other studies that have used beta carotene. One study used N-acetylcysteine. One used coenzyme Q10. Then there was another one that used alpha-lipoic acid. These are all very common antioxidants often sold as recovery supplements. They can attenuate things like mitochondrial biogenesis, hypertrophy, satellite cell response. And in most cases, these were given in high doses to folks who were exercising and they caused that response and that limit in hypertrophy. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, of course, like ibuprofen and Advil have been shown to do almost the exact same thing. And so, not only can those, of course, cause gut damage and potential exercise toxicity, particularly in conjunction with endurance exercise, but that’s another one that can blunt the hormetic response to exercise.
Cryotherapy is another. I get this question a lot. Ice massage, ice baths, cryotherapy chambers, et cetera, there is some evidence that those could also lower inflammation and oxidative stress to the extent where you may blunt the hormetic response to exercise. Those would be some of the top ones that have been studied for a blunted hormetic response, but here’s the kicker. You got to look at the studies in the same way you got to look at like the red meat causes colon cancer studies.
The antioxidant intake, for example, this is a very interesting one because what they’ve shown is that once you get to a point where you have excess levels of reactive oxygen species, those excess levels of reactive oxygen species can cause a suppressive effect on the response to exercise. Meaning, if you’re exercising very hard, and a lot of these studies, we’re talking about like people doing one-hour bike rides three times a week, or doing like a typical three sets of 10 with 70% 1RM, we’re not talking about hefty CrossFitters or Ironman athletes creating rampant oxidation, right?
So, one could make an argument that the rampant oxidation that occurs from hard and heavy exercise, if you’re a very serious athlete or a professional athlete, would actually dictate the need for some amount of antioxidant supplementation to be able to also not blunt the hormetic response to exercise. So, I think part of this is how hard are you exercising? And do you need to actually mitigate excess levels of reactive oxygen species because it’s almost like a parabolic curve? A certain amount is good. And when you get them very high and you’ve got rampant inflammation, you actually reduce your hormetic response to exercise.
So, part of it is kind of the doses to poison with antioxidants. But a big part of it is how much damage have you actually created? Do you truly have a need for the antioxidants or are you just kind of a recreational athlete? And a lot of people just with horse sense know. If you’re doing CrossFit five times a week and you’re exercising hard and heavy, you’re probably fine taking that antioxidant supplement, or doing cryotherapy, for example.
Another example of this would be cryotherapy. Most of the studies that have been shown that cryotherapy inhibits the hormetic response to exercise-induced a pretty significant decrease in core temperature and skin temperature that was only able to be induced with 10 plus minutes of cold exposure, usually, cold water immersion. Very few people are staying 10 minutes in a cryotherapy chamber. I don’t consider a two to a five-minute cold shower, or as I do, a quick plunge into the cold pool back behind my house to be anything near what you see in the studies that show that cryotherapy or cold thermogenesis can blunt the hormetic response to exercise.
So, again, like it really, really depends and you could probably even make an argument that once again, if you’re a bodybuilder or an Ironman triathlete or somebody doing like five/six CrossFit workouts a week, even then that amount of cryotherapy may be just fine for you because the amount of oxidation you’re creating is actually blunting the hormetic response to exercise, and you need to somehow nip that in the bud. I don’t know. Does all that make sense?
Jay: Yeah, a lot of things to take into consideration. And one of the biggest things too, Ben, that stands out to me is that so many people I think they hear, whether it’s from the news or from whatever avenue, their physician, that it’s like take as much antioxidants as you want, like it’s just resveratrol after resveratrol and not knowing the effects of overtaking antioxidants, especially kind of taking into consideration what their overall exertion level from a physical standpoint comes from. So, people need to–they need to know their numbers and they need to know the research.
Ben: Yeah. And I think another big part of this is that there are some antioxidants that are what are called selective antioxidants, that have some very interesting studies behind them that show that they don’t actually blunt the hormetic response to exercise, but they at the same time can reduce a significant amount of toxic reactive oxygen species. These are the same type of antioxidants that have been shown to have a selective effect on carcinogenesis and be able to limit a carcinogenic toxicity or the potential for cancer growth, but they only have cytotoxicity against cancer cells.
And of the ones that I’ve seen, the top three–and these would be three that I would be completely comfortable with people using after exercise. Even arguably after exercise, it’s not that difficult. That doesn’t fall under the categories I described earlier. And those three would be, A, water with hydrogen tablets or hydrogen-rich water. So, water with molecular hydrogen added. That hydrogen is a selective antioxidant. And I’ll link in the shownotes the whole podcast that I did on hydrogen-rich water.
Quercetin, using quercetin, that also appears to have a selective antioxidant effect. For example, I use trusii hydrogen tablets. The quercetin I get is made by Thorne. They make a quercetin phytosome. That’s really good and really absorbed well. And then green tea polyphenols. So, you can literally go to Amazon and get like organic green tea polyphenol capsules or powder. And those three of any of the antioxidants that you could use, if you just want to play it safe, hydrogen-rich water, quercetin or green tea polyphenols all seem to be able to blunt some of that free radical response to exercise without blunting the hormetic response to exercise.
So, you could still have some antioxidants. And of the ones probably to stay away from if you want to play it super safe would be high-dose synthetic vitamin C, high-dose synthetic vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, and N-acetylcysteine. Those would be the ones that you’d want to play it safe with if you really want to pay attention to what the research has told us about hormesis and the blunting of it.
Jay: But the other three you listed you think would be good for everyone in any case?
Ben: Yeah. I think they’re fine. And obviously, there are some people, I don’t know, maybe they get diarrhea from quercetin or something. But yeah, in most cases, those three are fine. I know green tea makes some people nauseous, too. So, that’s another thing. If you don’t want nauseous diarrhea, maybe know your body. But yeah, those are at least worth experimenting with. So, there you have it.
Female: Hi, Ben. My question is about coffee. I absolutely love coffee and excellent coffee at that. I do have a concern that I am stressing my adrenals constantly. So, what do you suggest about being able to still enjoy coffee and cleaning out adrenals? And if this is really an issue or not. Thank you.
Ben: Jay, are you a coffee drinker?
Jay: Quite the coffee drinker. I’m a bit of a coffee snob, if you will.
Ben: Really? How do you like your coffee?
Jay: Oh, man, black is my soul.
Ben: Yeah. I’m with you right there.
Jay: Yeah. Really, I don’t like to put anything in it. And you know, I’ll drink some coffee with butter and MCT oil every once in a while. Sometimes it upsets kind of my digestive system a little bit. It could be the MCTs. I do a pure C8, but really, I’m more of a fan of just drinking it black.
Ben: If you can’t drink copious amounts of MCT oil, you’re not a biohacker, my friend.
Jay: So, I’ve been told. I’m just going to drop that label.
Ben: Yeah. You probably should. Anyways, I do like my coffee black, but lately, I have been–and I just talked about this in today’s weekly roundup. Every Friday, I do a weekly roundup. I talk about my latest things I’ve been doing. I do and have been adding for insulin sensitivity a couple of teaspoons of Ceylon cinnamon. And also, for the reasons I’ll describe right now, some sea salt to my coffee, and I just put that in the NutriBullet and blend it. Sometimes there’s a little stevia in there too for flavor.
Jay: But does it taste like a Cinnamon Dolce Latte?
Ben: Yeah, it does a little bit, actually. I don’t know, what’s a Dolce?
Jay: I don’t remember. I just know they have it at Starbucks. I haven’t been to a Starbucks in a long time but I just remembered that they had them there. I have no idea. I know it’s got cinnamon and some frothiness.
Ben: Oh, I thought maybe it was named after that nutritionist guy who works with the UFC fighter, Mike Dolce.
Jay: No, I don’t think so.
Ben: I don’t know if Starbucks would name a latte after him, but yeah.
Ben: I want Starbucks name a latte after me. Call it the Greenfield Latte. Every gross superfood known to man blended in with your latte.
Jay: Organ meats.
Ben: You’re going to have to throw up your morning cup of coffee but you’re going to live ’til you’re 120, baby, with puke all over your car. Alright. So, anyways, yeah, caffeine, I mean it can stimulate neuronal activity in the brain that can send messages to your pituitary gland, which stimulates your adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol. That’s why when you drink a cup of coffee, it’ll temporarily spike your blood sugar because your liver dumps a bunch of glycogens to get glucose into your bloodstream to allow you to run from a lion. Long term, you could argue that constant activation of the fight-and-flight response could cause some type of a depletion of minerals, which would be responsible for assisting with adrenal function, or perhaps vitamin C, or perhaps even dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters that help to regulate the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.
But there’s not really scientific studies to back that up. There are no scientific studies actually on a loss of adrenal function caffeine intake, and there’s plenty of studies that suggest coffee protects against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. And oddly enough, even though it causes glucose to get released into the bloodstream, it’s very short and transient, so it protects against type 2 diabetes and liver disease. And so, I think that it is smart though, if you’re concerned about hypoadrenia. That is a condition which the adrenal glands can begin to lower the amount of production or something like glucocorticoid.
And if you’ve gotten, let’s say a good hormone test, like say a DUTCH test, like a urine test where you’re peeing on a strip five times during the course of the day and you get the results back and it shows that you have consistently low cortisol indicating some loss of adrenal function potentially, you may want to consider simply–as I do quite regularly, just shifting to like a good organic decaf once every one to two months, just taking about seven days or so and switching to decaf. That’s probably the simplest way to do this. Not all decaf is created equal. That’s one thing to consider.
Today, most processors use pretty safe methods to remove the caffeine from coffee. But there is a method called indirect caffeination. And basically, what they use is ethyl acetate, which is a lot of times derived from fruits but can be accompanied by other unnatural solvents such as methylene chloride. And they used to use trichloroethylene but they don’t use that anymore since it was found to be carcinogenic. There’s kind of like this myth on the internet that they’re still using that. They’re not.
But that is one method in which beans are decaffeinated. And I’m not as comfortable with that versus a method called Swiss water process. And that’s where they just–it’s another indirect method. They just soak the beans in water, softens the beans, removes the caffeine, then they usually will run that liquid through activated charcoal or through carbon filters and that decaffeinates it. And then the fluid that you get afterwards has been returned back to the beans. It’s dried. The beans retain a lot of their antioxidant potential. And you get all the benefits of caffeine from a medical standpoint or all the benefits of coffee from a medical standpoint without the caffeine.
And a similar process would be carbon dioxide where they soak the beans in compressed carbon dioxide, and that removes a lot of the caffeine. And then the solvent that contains the extra added caffeine evaporates and the beans return to room temperature. So, I would go a Swiss water process or CO2, if you were going to go with decaf. And ultimately, that could be helpful if you’re concerned about the long-term impact of coffee.
Jay: Ben, does the Swiss water process remove any of the polyphenols or any decaffing process, removing the beneficial polyphenols?
Ben: Both you remove some of the antioxidants and some of the polyphenols, which I suppose folks who are now arguing that the polyphenols in coffee could be cytotoxic, which I know Dr. Paul Saladino says that. I consider them potentially cytotoxic, but I also consider that to be a hormetic effect. And so, I would say if you’re drinking 10 cups of coffee a day, you may want to worry, but in small doses, it’s just fine. But yeah, the decaf has slightly lower amounts of antioxidants but it’s pretty slight. So, it’s not something you have to worry about too much.
And there are certain things you can do though, like you can blend your coffee with certain things or take certain extracts at the same time or at a different time of day to support your adrenal. So, for example, I mentioned that I put Ceylon cinnamon, which is really good for insulin sensitivity and managing blood glucose, which could lower that blood glucose response that you’d naturally get from the coffee. And then I put sea salt in because minerals are a key component of adrenal function. So, that’s one thing you can do, is just put a little Ceylon cinnamon and sea salt in your coffee. And I like that because that’s pretty cheap and easy, and most people can get their hands-on organic Ceylon cinnamon and a good sea salt, and it tastes pretty good.
Jay: Do you use any type of sea salt?
Ben: I use this stuff called Colima sea salt. It’s harvested off the Mexican coast from spring water that kind of goes down the rocks that go down to the coastline. So, it’s not from seawater, which could have some plastics and metals and stuff in it. It’s just from the rocks up above the sea.
Jay: Oh, gotcha. Because I’ve been using that Celtic salt for a while and didn’t know if you would recommend Celtic for that.
Ben: It’s really good, too. Celtic is actually even better than that. It’s even higher in minerals and cleaner. I just happen to have about 20 bags of that, that Colima salt. I think the Colima salt tastes better, honestly, but the Celtic is pretty good, too. Yeah, Celtic is up there.
Jay: Okay. Cool.
Ben: Then there are things you can mix with the coffee to actually cause the jitters to be lowered, or if you’re like a slow coffee oxidizer to allow the caffeine to get released over an extended period of time, or to be more relaxed when you take the caffeine. And probably, the top three would be theanine, reishi, or holy basil, which is also known as tulsi. So, theanine, reishi, or holy basil would all be things you could combine with coffee to make it healthier. I’ve even thought about at Kion–I might be giving away my business idea here. I’m shooting myself in the foot, but I really–
Jay: Watch yourself.
Ben: I don’t like the idea of mixing a bunch of stuff into the beans and then selling like the dried powdered bean with all the stuff mixed into it because I think it adulterates the flavor, adulterates the flavor of the bean. And I’m a coffee snob, like I want to taste really good. But I was thinking, people could order their Kion coffee and get all the flavor and the antioxidants and the purity of the bean, but then I could add in like a relaxation pack. Like I could take tulsi, and I could take reishi, and I could take theanine, and I could put that into like a pack for people, and they could add that into their shopping cart when they buy.
I could even do the same thing with like upgrade your coffee. I could have like a booster where it’s got like lion’s mane and maybe alpha-GPC and in Huperzine or something like that. And you get that as a way to make the coffee give you an extra boost. I think it’d be cool to dick around with giving people the option to do that. Yeah.
Jay: I’d buy it.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. My employees are just going to kill me though if I add another SKU at this point, but I think it’s a good idea. I want to do it. I want to do it. Nobody steal my business idea, please, or at least give me royalty. So, anyways, that’s what I’m thinking. Then there are alternatives to coffee. There are two that I really like. One is Dandy Tea. A lot of people like Dandy Tea because it tastes a little bit like coffee, but it’s wonderful for the liver. And you can get it off of Amazon, and it’s primarily made with dandelion, which is very good for you. It doesn’t have a lot of the acidity or the bitterness of coffee, but it does have a lot of the flavor and it tastes eerily like coffee, and it’s from dandelions.
Ben: Yeah. You should try it.
Jay: I feel like when I’m wanting a cup of coffee, like I’m wanting a damn cup of coffee, and so if I were to like sit down and try to drink this and it didn’t taste like coffee, I might be pretty pissed.
Ben: And you call yourself a hippie. Geez. Neither a hippie nor a biohacker are you, Jay?
Jay: Right. No, I’m a yuppie, let’s be honest.
Ben: Yeah. But actually, it’s dandelion root. But admittedly, it’s got roasted barley, rye, and chicory root in it as well. And they eliminate all the gluten from the barley and rye in the extraction process. So, there’s no actual gluten in it. But it might be kind of fun to have one of these around your pantry as an alternative coffee. The other one I like is MiCacao. This one is awesome. It’s cacao nibs and cacao shells, zero calories, and it tastes like you’re drinking freaking pure chocolate. I like it so much. I will sometimes make coffee and put two tablespoons of MiCacao in a NutriBullet and then pour the coffee over that and blend it and make myself like chocolate coffee. It’s really good.
Jay: That sounds really good.
Ben: My friend Tucker Max, he’s a super well-informed guy and a very famous author. He turned me on to this stuff because he doesn’t drink coffee; he drinks this. It’s so good. It’s basically tea made from the shell of a cacao bean, plus you get all the dopamine release that you get from cacao, so you feel really good after you drink it. So, that’s another one. That’s a pretty handy alternative to coffee.
Jay: Does it taste like a hot chocolate almost?
Ben: It does, but it’s really good, plus it’s almost guilt-free because there are no calories in it. So, that stuff is–damn, I want some right now and I’m actually talking to you about it.
Jay: It is on cart right now.
Ben: Yeah. MiCacao. And then the last thing I would consider would be vitamin C. Basically, vitamin C is also very important for the adrenals, and you could supplement with vitamin C. Like there’s a company called Jigsaw Health that makes a wonderful vitamin C lysine combo that I actually travel with because I like to keep my immune system supported when I’m traveling. It can also assist with your morning bowel movement if you mix it with a little magnesium.
There’s another company called American Nutriceuticals that makes like a really good Whole Foods vitamin C. These would be to, as we’ve discussed, to probably avoid after exercise. And I wouldn’t combine them with the caffeine because it just makes it taste like ass. But at some point, like before you go to bed at night, supplement with a little vitamin C that can be very, very good for the adrenals as well. So, I’d consider throwing that in there. And yeah, that’s where my thoughts go in the answer to this question. Hopefully, that’s helpful.
Jay: Yeah. Let’s say if you have not tried coffee with theanine–and I use Thorne’s brand as well. That’s the one you recommend as well. That is probably one of my favorite stacks of anything, like I could rid of any other type of, I guess you would say nootropic related supplements or adaptogens, and I would do caffeine plus or coffee plus theanine. That’s it for me.
Ben: Yeah. It’s a good mix. I think theanine coffee is at the top of the list. So, there you have it.
Female: Hi, Ben. What’s your take on pre-workout supplements? There are so many different brands in the market. I assume the answer depends on what kind of exercise the person is doing and what he or she is trying to achieve from this workout session. In general, do you recommend taking pre-workout supplements? Will my body become addictive to the extra “boost,” meaning, if I don’t take the pre-workout, I will be weaker and slower? Thank you.
Ben: Pre-workout supplements. I personally like to take a little caffeine, and then I’ll do some nicotine, some methylene blue, LSD, not a lot, like just enough so that I’m slightly tripping, and then THC, CBD, and beetroot, and Jack3D, and that makes out the Red Bull in the Vitamix. And that’s my pre-workout. It’s pretty safe, non-addictive. You sleep well by about 1:00 a.m. And it just works. Wonderful. Wonderful workout. You need to wear a diaper during your workout, but it works.
Jay: Right. When you say you fall asleep at 1:00 a.m., you mean you fall asleep on the bench as you’re bench-pressing?
Ben: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I’m still bench-pressing at that point. Yeah, 1,001, 1,002 and fall asleep.
Ben: Yeah. I was big. No. But seriously, I would take like Redline and coffee and like three shots of espresso. When I was bodybuilding, I would do a lot of pre-workouts ups and I’d be sipping them out of a shaker bottle while I was working out.
Jay: Oh, yeah. I mean, I did the exact same, man. I remember when I was bodybuilding back in my early 20s, we would take pre-workout supplements just way beyond kind of the directions. But I’d be shitting my pants all the time because of the amount of magnesium and stuff they’d just flood into it. There’s a company that put out something called SuperPump 250. I think they still make it nowadays, but we always call it SuperDump 250 because that is exactly what would happen as soon as you take it.
Ben: Yeah. I want to come up with a supplement and name it Super. I don’t know what it’s going to be yet but it’s going be Super something. It’d be like Super Poop or maybe Super Sleep.
Jay: Yeah. Super Awesome.
Ben: Yeah. Super Awesome. Super Epic. Anyways, so yeah, I mean this stuff can be bad news bears for some of the reasons we talked about earlier on the caffeine question for the adrenals, addictive potential, the feeling that you just can’t do your workout unless you have in your system. I mean, both psychological and physiological. But what I like is the idea of using pre-workouts that are either non-addictive or none kind of psychostimulant central nervous system based or both. And this would include devices as well. So, what do I mean by that? Well, when it comes to supplements, I’m a big fan of anything that increases blood flow in a similar way that Viagra would do, but without the actual central nervous system stimulants involved.
There’s one company–I’ve interviewed the founder of this company before. It’s called BioTropic Labs, and he does like all these blood-boosting compounds that literally do act like Viagra for the whole body, big amount of blood flow. He designed all these for altitude training athletes. But that would be a perfect example of–very similar to like beetroot but it’s just kind of like upgraded beetroot. And that would be one that would be appropriate, I think.
Another one would be, not to toot my own horn, but essential amino acids. I mean, those things are like a freaking shot in the arm because they stave off central nervous system fatigue by keeping tryptophan from crossing the blood-brain barrier and making me sleepy like Thanksgiving dinner during a workout, especially a hard workout. But they also stave off muscle catabolism. They give you a nice fuel to use as an alternative to carbohydrates and fats, and those just freaking work with no addictive potential or central nervous system stimulation. You could take them at 10:00 p.m. and be asleep at 10:10 p.m. They actually help with sleep.
Jay: And they won’t give you this shit.
Ben: Yeah. For supplements, I would consider that type of approach, either amino acids or some kind of blood flow precursor. Devices, right? There are devices–there’s this one company called the NuCalm. That thing is amazing. It’s for sleep, but they have like a separate audio track on it called Ignite that you could use for energy. And I’m a huge fan of the NuCalm device. I own one of those. It’s expensive. It’s like a $5,000 device. But I mean, it’s literally like having a nap in your pocket. And now, they’re rolling out like these pre-workout tracks. They’re like audio tracks.
Similarly, there are companies like Halo. It’s a headset. It’s called trans direct cranial stimulation. You put that on before workout. You get this huge increase in motor neuron recruitment, but you’re not having to drink three cups of coffee. So, you could use so-called biohacks to do this. You can even implant a–what’s it called? The Levitron 9000 pelvic–
Jay: LoveTron 9000.
Ben: Yeah, the LoveTron pelvic stimulator. Maybe that’ll get you pumped up for a workout. And you could, of course, use a couple other tactics. I’m a big fan of breathwork, like using the Wim Hof technique to activate your sympathetic nervous system, doing like three just 60-second rounds of Wim Hof. That type of breathwork, that can get you super pumped up for a workout. Again, no stimulants required. And then I’ll link to an article in the shownotes. But my friend Brad Kearn recently wrote an article about not pre-heat conditioning before workout but pre-cooling. Literally, jumping in an ice bath or a cold shower right before you go do your workout, that can be a huge shot in the arm and allow you to reduce your rating of perceived exertion and push harder during the workout. And research has flushed this out because you’re starting off with a lower core temperature and an endorphin release.
So, those are all examples, just a few examples that come to mind for me of ways that you can get a pre-workout supplement without taking a traditional, whatever, Redline or Jack3D or one of those type of supplements.
Jay: Yeah. Good points. I mean, and she asked, are these things addictive? And the answer to that is I mean absolutely they are. I mean, these are working on plenty of receptors in our brains that are enhanced addiction points in the brain. It’s staying away from the synthetically made stuff as much as possible. It’s just going to benefit you.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And there you guys go. I mean, the doctor said it. He’s a certified brain guy. Yeah. So, if he said it, it must be true.
Jay: I should market myself like a brain guy instead of a biohacker.
Ben: Brain guy. The brain dude. Alright. Well, we’re getting kind of long in the tooth for today’s show, but we cannot end this show without giving some goodies away. So, this is the part of the show and we want to give free swag. So, we love iTunes reviews. I haven’t solicited them for a while but they really helped the show. If you go over to iTunes, or really anywhere you listen to your favorite podcast, but iTunes is the most powerful, you leave a review.
If you leave us a nice solid review and we love your review and we read it on the show and you hear us read it on the show, we’re going to ship you a handy-dandy swag pack with a cool t-shirt, Ben Greenfield Fitness t-shirt, water bottle, a beanie, pretty much a whole–it will replace your whole wardrobe in your kitchen cabinet. And you just email your T-shirt size to gear at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. So, you email the gear at BenGreenfieldFitness.com if you hear us read your review, and you get a handy-dandy a swag pack. So, what do you think, Jay? You want to read this review?
Jay: Time to feel like Santa Claus. So, yeah. This one is from TonyRoseNC. I’m assuming he’s at my neck of the woods, NC, Ben. I’m just assuming North Carolina. And he called his review the “Best podcast in the ‘intranwebs.’” He says, “I listen to many podcasts but have never reviewed one. This is the only podcast I don’t fast-forward through the commercials because they are as informative as the show’s content. I’ve learned so much. I feel like I have a PhD in all matters of health, fitness, and nutrition since August.”
Ben: Just like you, Jay.
Jay: Indeed. Yeah, yeah. I mean, Tony, come take over. “Since August, following many of Ben’s tips, tricks, and hacks. I’ve lost over 140 pounds and shrunk from a 50-inch to 34-inch waist. Thanks, Ben.” That’s freaking incredible.
Ben: We are turning big old strong man into wimpy 34-inch waist, folks.
Ben: We’re around the world. That’s our job.
Jay: But a massive muscle mass. Massive muscle mass.
Ben: We shrink people, and now we have a shrink, who shrinks people.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Jay: That’s what I get paid the big bucks for.
Ben: Well, TonyRose in NC, if that’s where you’re at, email gear at Greenfield Fitness Systems. We’ll send you some swag. Let us know your t-shirt size. And the rest of you, go leave us a review. Well, we promise to read it if it’s really just bomb. It sucks, well, we still read it, just not on the show.
So, all the shownotes, everything I’ve talked about from pre-workout supplements to some of the coffee tips to black ant extract and beyond, all the articles you learned about, the full calendar of where I’ll be in the world, you can grab all that, and a link to our new podcast host, Jay Wiles’ website. Let me know what you think of Jay, too. Be kind. He’s probably going to read it as well. All the comments, you can leave, and access the shownotes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/396. And Jay, how do they say goodbye down there in South Carolina? North Carolina? South Carolina.
Jay: South Carolina. They say goodbye but just in a really strong redneck accent. So, like, “Goodbye.”
Ben: Oh, all right. Well, as we say up here in Washington State, toot-a-loo, good day.
Jay: Alright, goodbye.
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 396
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News Flashes [9:00]
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Special Announcements [28:30]
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Ben’s Adventures: [28:30]
– May 29, 2019: Community Talk on Stem Cell Procedure, Charleston, South Carolina. Sign up for an exclusive, semi-private event featuring myself and Dr. Craig Koniver of Koniver Wellness. The lively discussion will take place at Tradd’s downtown over dinner in a private room for 80 guests. Sign up here!
– June 6, 2019: An Afternoon of Transformation with Ben Greenfield, Denver, Colorado. A special event hosted by MaxLiving, which exists to transform lives through chiropractic.
– June 15, 2019: Ultimate Fitness Run, Mt. Spokane, Washington. Join me and my family for a fun, as-competitive-as-you-make-it day outside for an OCR-style challenge. Register here while you still can. This event sells out quickly each year. Save with code: BEN10UFR and register here.
– June 23 – July 7, 2019: European Detox Retreat, Paracelsus al Ronc, Switzerland. At this 2019 liver detox and R&R retreat at the beautiful Swiss Mountain Clinic in the Italian quarter of Switzerland, you’ll stay on-site and receive diagnostics and treatments from the best doctors of biological medicine to detox your liver and your soul. Here’s the link to more info.
– August 3, 2019: Spartan Sprint at the LA Stadium, Los Angeles, California. It’s Rally Time, Los Angeles. The Big A. Angel Stadium. Whatever you call it, this place is legendary. Now, Spartan is headed to this historic ballpark for an epic Stadion course. Get ready to take on 3 miles and 20 obstacles through nearly every part of the stadium. Sign up here!
– 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. Sign up here!
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Should You Eat Black Ant Extract? [37:20]
Sartell says: I recently purchased the polyrhachis ant supplement. I took it prior to a workout and I felt an analgesic effect. I’ve had many shoulder surgeries, and I felt a lot better when I took this. I did some more research and saw it is touted as having anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. I know that antioxidants can blunt the hormetic effect of exercise. So should I be worried about that with this supplement?
In my response, I recommend:
–Black Ant Extract from Lost Empire Herbs
–My podcast on hydrogen-rich water
–Thorne Quercetin phytosome
–Organic green tea polyphenol
–Blood flow restriction straps (BFR Bands)
–Study: Exercise, oxidants, and antioxidants change the shape of the bell-shaped hormesis curve
How To Keep Coffee From Giving You Adrenal Fatigue [59:40]
Unknown says: I’m a big fan of coffee, and excellent coffee at that. I have a concern that I am stressing my adrenals constantly. What do you suggest on how to enjoy my coffee and keep my adrenals in good shape, or am I worried for no reason?
In my response, I recommend:
–Organic decaf coffee
–Four Sigmatic Reishi
–Tulsi (holy basil) extract
–American Nutriceuticals Whole Foods Vitamin C
–Jigsaw Vitamin C + Lysine
–Colima Sea Salt
–Organic Ceylon Cinnamon
Are Pre-Workout Supplements Addictive? [1:13:15]
Unknown says: What’s your take on pre-workout supplements? I assume the answer has to do with what kind of exercise the person is doing and what he/she is trying to achieve. Do you recommend pre-workout supplements? Will my body become addicted to the extra “boost” meaning if I don’t take the supplement, I’ll feel weaker and slower?
In my response, I recommend:
–NuCalm (use code: BEN500 to get $500 off on the Performance Package or the PRO complete system)
–Biotropic Lab supplements (use code: BENA for 20% off + free shipping)
–Essential amino acids
–Wim Hof Breathwork
–Brad Kearn’s article on BGF about cold thermogenesis pre-workout
Giveaways & Goodies [1:20:15]
-This week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!