February 3, 2024
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/qa-468/
[00:02:14] Gluten-free diet vs. FODMAP diet
[00:10:51] Mimosa Pudica and intestinal parasites
[00:16:09] Can cardio help increase muscle growth?
[00:23:38] Is micro-dosing of psychedelics unhealthy?
[00:30:50] Why do some people wake up during the night?
[00:41:42] Subscribe, Like, Or Rate
[01:10:03] End of Podcast
[01:10:26] Legal Disclaimer
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
Can cardio grow muscle, the dark side of micro-dosing psychedelics, gluten-free versus low FODMAP, and a whole lot more.
Fitness, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, life optimization, spirituality, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Life Show. Are you ready to hack your life? Let’s do this.
Welcome to the show. It’s nighttime in my office out here in Spokane; hence, I’m dawning my blue light blockers and, what am I drinking, ginger brew. This podcast proudly brought to you by TRU KAVA. Drinking TRU KAVA. I don’t think they’re a sponsor of the show but they’d better be now. Some kind of Southeast Pacific islander version of drinkable weed that doesn’t get you high during a podcast at least. So, yeah, stevia, water, pineapple juice concentrate, and kava, high-quality kava. So anyways, hello, once again, or welcome once again I should say if I can talk tonight to a solosode in which I reply to questions.
Now, here’s the deal. Before I jump into today’s news flashes, you ought know that I’m not replying to any questions because I’ve run out of questions to reply to. For some reason over the holidays, I wasn’t able to field and assimilate questions as efficiently as possible. But, if you have a question that you would like replied to in these frequently released Q&As, you can go to BenGreenfieldLife.com where you’ll find a handy dandy option to ask your question for the podcast and you can do so. I’d love to hear from you. So, head on over there. Leave your burning question about that strange growth on your right forearm that nobody can figure out but that looks just like your great-grandmother, same strange growth on her right forearm, and we can have a whole chat about genetics and forearms and strange grows and grandmas.
So, anyway that all out of the way, we are going to jump into this week’s news flashes, which is really the only section of today’s show. Let’s do this.
Alright, here we go. I suppose I’m known amongst my house as being probably the single soul member of the house who has a little bit of a princess gut. And, it’s been a blessing in disguise because I’ve been able, over the years, to learn a lot about the gut, about irritable bowel syndrome, and different types of colonoscopy and enema strategies, and different diets and low FODMAP, and gluten-free, and paleo, autoimmune, this and vegan fasting juice cleanse, rope worms in your stool, that. And, it turns out that there is an increasingly large body of literature that points out the fact that in many people who have irritable bowel syndrome that it’s really not gluten that tends to be the issue despite popular belief and gluten-free Cheetos and Doritos and bread and gluten-free steak and gluten-free water, big things in the health industry right now. It turns out that really it’s more of the fermentable nature of certain compounds called FODMAPs, which I think stands for fructans–I’m going to rip this out of the top of my head. Fructans, oligosaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. That’s what FODMAPs are. These tend to be more of an issue with IBS than gluten. And, when I say IBS, I’m not just saying diagnosable IBS, I’m saying if you get gas bloating, paint the back of the toilet seat after you go out for pizza with the kids, that type of thing.
So anyways, this latest study that I want to point out to you backs up what I just told you. It’s called “Gluten restriction in irritable bowel syndrome, yes or no?” And, what they did was they took a group of patients and they assessed their IBS symptoms and they also looked at the effect of a gluten-free diet on these patients. And, they also compared the trials that they looked at in this particular paper to other patients who followed what’s called a low fermentable diet. And, that would be a low FODMAP diet. Now, before I dive into what they found, please note that if you want what I would consider to be the best version of a low FODMAP diet, probably the number one researcher in the nutrition industry on any of this is Mark Pimentel, P-I-M-E-N-T-E-L. If you google his name plus low fermentation diet or low FODMAP diet, you will find a large amount of free literature; a fantastic book that he wrote also about a low fermentable diet and it gets into things a lot of other people won’t tell you. Like you’ll hear, “Oh, avoid apples and onions and garlic,” but you don’t hear about carrageenan and guar gum and your coconut milk or different sugar alcohols and your energy drinks or gums. And, there’s a lot that goes into a low FODMAP or at least a low fermentation diet.
So, what this particular paper looked into, and they were looking at a bunch of different trials on a gluten-free diet versus a gluten-containing diet versus a low FODMAP diet in IBS, is that in people who actually have true celiac disease and a high amount of what are called antigliadin antibodies, which is something you test, probably my favorite test out there for this is called a Zoomer test, Z-O-O-M-E-R. Look it up. Anyways, if people actually have a large amount of these antibodies to gluten, they’re going to experience symptom relief with gluten restriction. Duh? Right? If you know you’re allergic to gluten and you actually have a diagnosed gluten intolerance, avoiding gluten is a good idea.
However, if you have irritable bowel syndrome and you don’t necessarily show a lot of sensitivity to gluten, or maybe you do and you need to cut other things in addition to gluten out of your diet, then you should be looking into a low FODMAP diet. Because what this study or this study of studies found that agrees with a lot of other data in the past is that it is the fermentable compounds that you find in gluten-containing foods, like let’s say the fructans and wheat, that tend to be an issue not the gluten itself. And therefore, people who go on a gluten-free diet may not see symptom relief, but people who say limit gluten but also limit wheat, onions, garlic, apples and other highly fermentable compounds like artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes AKA fartichokes, then what you find is relief.
I have had a lot of people who have come to me recently for help with small intestine bacterial overgrowth, SIBO, which causes gas and bloating and all sorts of nasty issues after eating a lot of foods that would normally be considered healthy and they get relief from following this low fermentation or low FODMAP diet. You can test at home to see if you have SIBO. There’s a great little home device. It’s actually behind me on my bookshelf which you can’t see because there’s a green screen behind me because I’m fancy now. I got a high-technology podcast studio. Anyways though, I have this device called a Food Marble. It’s an at-home easy-to-use breath testing device that lets you see if you have SIBO. And, if you do, you’ll likely benefit from a low FODMAP diet. That device, by the way, also is tied to an app which helps you choose low-FODMAP foods more effectively and track your results when you do that.
Now, it turns out that the low FODMAP diet is something that can feel restrictive and burdensome to a lot of people because you find FODMAPs and wheat, and garlic, and apple, and blackberries, and Brussel sprouts, and honey, and avocado, and dairy products that contain lactose. And, that seems a lot that you would need to cut out. Now, I need to tell you this. First of all, there are major high FODMAP foods that are the largest defending foods that are the ones to work out the first. These are a few specific FODMAPs that regularly exacerbate symptoms. I’ll tell you what they are. Garlic, tomatoes, onions, and dairy. Okay, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and dairy. If you’re gluten intolerant or have celiac issues, you could throw wheat into that list and say garlic, tomatoes, onions, dairy, and wheat. The reason for this and the part about dairy is that the majority of adults have very low levels of lactase, especially people who had FODMAP issues. And, that’s the digestive enzyme that breaks down the natural lactose sugar in milk. So, a low FODMAP diet can feel restrictive, but again, I’d start with the most fermentable foods and just continue to remove some of these high FODMAP foods. And, by the way, you can google high FODMAP. You get one of these food marble devices. There’s a lot of different ways to see which diets or which foods are low versus high FODMAP. But, when you cut these out, you’ll often see a really, really positive result in issues if you tend to be a person who has gas, bloating, SIBO, IBS, et cetera.
I should name one other thing. There is a guy named Dr. William Davis. He wrote a book called the gut fix. And, in that book, he has a yogurt recipe that he’ll give to his patients to consume one cup of per day for four weeks. And, it’s three specific probiotic strains. And, you could google Dr. William Davis SIBO yogurt, or heck, I’ll save you the googling, go to my website, go to the shownotes, BenGreenfieldLife.com/468. And, I’ll link to Dr. William Davis’s SIBO yogurt recipe. He’s got two yogurt recipes. One that’s just fantastic for the gut and sleep and skin in general. And then, he’s got another one that he added two different probiotic strains to. We make it at our house. You basically take the milk medium, coconut milk or I bounce back and forth between coconut milk, goat milk, and right now my batch is rock house milk from a friend’s farm. And, what I do is that gets the three different probiotic strains added to it. I have a fantastic guy who hangs out in my house named Steve. Shout out to Chef Steve, biohacker Steve. And, he helps me make this stuff. He’ll sometimes help me run some of my ferments. And, it’s a 36-hour fermentation, then you stir gelatin into it to let it set nice and thick. And, I go through so much of that stuff. I think I’m probably at about eight big jars a month of yogurt that I go through. But, I love it. I feel great on it. So, that can also be really, really good, especially if you eat it consistently for four weeks in a row.
So anyways, that is probably all you ever thought you ever needed to know about gluten restriction versus low FODMAP, and the idea that going gluten-free often is not the answer, going low FODMAP more often is the answer.
Now, I would be remiss not to bring up another gut-related issue because somebody, a doctor whose house I was at, he held up a box and it was a box of a cleansing supplement. And, it was a cleansing supplement that has amongst other things an ingredient in it that’s pretty commonly found. So, these expensive parasite cleansing systems. They have an ingredient called mimosa pudica. And, mimosa pudica, look at the label of whatever cleansing agent that you’re using, it make giant long rope worm-looking things wind up in the toilet when you go to the bathroom afterwards and it’s very popular for cleansing because people look in the toilet and they’re like, “I had intestinal parasites.” My kid had intestinal parasites and I have literally seen people do this. They’ll take them out. They’ll lay them on a paper towel. They’ll probably take a picture of them. They’ll post to Facebook or Instagram or whatever the website is of the company that sponsored that person because they’re an influencer on Instagram. Their parasite photos to their social media channel with their affiliate link for the intestinal parasite-reducing company. And, it’ll show these rope worms, intestinal parasites. Look, they’re still even moving around and it’s horrific. Everybody’s got tapeworms and pinworms and hookworms and more. And yes, parasites are an issue. I think they’re a more serious issue than a lot of people think. I mean, I know people who are using horse dewormer and dog dewormer on a regular basis as a longevity-enhancing strategy because of the association with parasites and so many chronic diseases.
I interviewed a guy named, he’s from Cymbiotika, Chervin. Chervin, I interviewed, and he has a fantastic product called ParaX. I have some in my pantry just in case. I’m heading to India in a few days. I’ll probably take some when I get back. Anytime I travel internationally, especially to areas that I haven’t visited extensively like Asia, I’ll use an anti-parasitic afterwards. However, here is what I want to point out. When this person held up the box, I went to the company’s website and sure enough, they have all these pictures of different worms that are produced. And so, I looked at the main ingredient, this mimosa pudica and it turns out that there’s actually been a lot of studies on this. And, what they’ve found is that mimosa pudica causes the mucus buildup that has occurred in the intestinal lining to shed an intestinal mucus. That’s produced as a barrier to prevent harmful microorganisms from entering the bloodstream usually through the intestine. So, your intestinal barrier cells constantly turn over. And, if you’re doing things like coffee enemas and cleanses, they’re going to turn over more rapidly, which is why you want to be careful that you support your natural mucosal lining with glutamine and colostrum and bone broth and a lot of these things if you’re one of those biohackers who cleanses a lot and does their monthly juice fast.
So, routine shedding is normal, but excessive or altered shedding of the intestinal mucus can sometimes be a sign of inflammatory bowel disease or colon cancer. Doing too much colon hydrotherapy. Again, doing too many enemas. But, a lot of release of that mucus can also be initiated by this mimosa pudica, which is interesting because when they have tested the DNA of these rope worm specimens that researchers looked at that people put into the toilet after consuming mimosa pudica, which there’s one paper by a publisher or researcher named Dr. Alex Volinsky and they actually looked into this and tested rope worms and tested rope worm DNA. And, it turns out that when the DNA of the rope worm specimen is tested, consists of 99% human DNA, meaning it’s not a rope worm, it’s mucus, it’s intestinal mucus. I would say there’s a 1% chance that when you do a colon cleanser, when you do an enema or colonic or one of these fancy, what’s it called again, I’m forgetting the name of this stuff, mimosa pudica, sounds nasty. It is most likely mucus, it is not rope worms. So, if anybody at the average healthy biohacker longevity enthusiast cocktail party starts showing off their parasite pictures in the toilet or talking about their parasite cleanse or their intestinal parasites that keep showing up in their stool, please know that, especially if it’s mimosa pudica, this is the release of stringy ropes of mucus and not necessarily the rope worm.
Now, it might be a rope worm. There’s five stages of the rope worm life cycle, and all sorts of detox people will say there’s various methods of extraction for each developmental stage like salt milk enemas and baking soda enemas and eucalyptus and lemon juice and oregano. So, even ivermectin, even ivermectin can help out with parasites. I think I mentioned that earlier, but there’s very little scientific evidence that people are shedding parasites right and left. And, as a matter of fact, when they’ve tested these so-called parasites, it turns out to again mostly be human DNA, indicating that it’s not a rope worm, it’s mucus.
So, I think I’ve kicked that horse to death. Did I mention it’s not a parasite, it’s mucus? Again, there might be some people for whom it’s an actual parasite but doubtful.
Let’s move on to more interesting things than your poop and your rope worms. How about cardio? I get a lot of questions about this. Can cardio actually help increase muscle growth? So, this has actually been looked into. Now, there’s something in exercise physiology called the interference effect, which is basically the idea that when you do strength training and aerobic training together, that might lead to less muscle growth and smaller strength or muscle gains than doing weight training alone. But, there was a study that was conducted, and I’ll link to in the shownotes, it’s called short-term aerobic conditioning prior to resistance training augments muscle hypertrophy and satellite cell content in healthy young men and women. So, what they looked at was they had a group do six weeks of aerobic training followed by 10 weeks of weight training. Then, they had another group just do 10 weeks of weight training. And, in a typical, what’s called, concurrent training session where this interference effect might be something that happens, the resistance anaerobic training for the one group was performed at the same time.
Now, here’s what’s interesting. What they did in this study was they had one leg that was doing just the resistance training and then one leg that was doing the aerobic plus the resistance training. So, we’re literally talking about testing the same people’s legs and seeing which leg responds in terms of its muscle growth and satellite cell hypertrophy better. The leg that got to do single-leg cycling plus single-leg weight training or the leg that only got to do single-leg weight training. Okay. And then, what they did was they had all the subjects for 10 weeks after those six weeks of aerobic training do a standard bilateral like both legs resistance training intervention. And so, here’s what they found. They found that the capillary density, the amount of vascularity in a muscle increased to the greater extent, probably not a huge surprise here, in the legs that did the aerobic training or that came into a weight training protocol more aerobically trained. So, they look at the muscle cross-sectional area, they looked at the satellite cell at the myonuclear content, and it turns out that the legs that had kind of had some aerobic training and some concurrent training happening before going into strict weight training, they wound up having more hypertrophy and more muscle growth.
So, the reason for this is that you obviously have to feed muscle fibers as they grow and all the stuff, the contractile proteins and the organelles, et cetera, inside of a muscle fiber get farther away as the muscle fibers grow from the capillaries that provide those muscle fibers with oxygen and energetic substrates and fats and fatty acids and signaling molecules. So, it would make sense that a muscle either has to stop growing or it has to increase capillary density to allow for further growth.
So, if you’re trying to gain muscle, there’s a case to be made for figuring out a way to trigger capillary growth in the muscle. This is probably why a lot of bodybuilders in addition to doing it for the reasons of fat loss will do cardio in the morning, weight training in the afternoon. Or, some people will do concurrent training. There’s a term for that kind of sort of. I would say the closest term is functional bodybuilding. A lot of people do training where they’re doing kettlebell swings and pull-ups and squats and squat jumps. And, it’s almost similar to what I used to do when I was doing obstacle course racing. And then, you do weight training in addition to that cardio.
Now, I read this study and I thought, well, here’s the paradox. If you’re doing cardio, you’re burning metabolites, you’re getting a little catabolic, you’re increasing cortisol to a certain extent at least more than you might from weight training, and you’re essentially creating a scenario of slow twitch endurance muscles that might be smaller in size. And, especially if you’re lean or you’re a hard gainer and you’re trying to put on muscle, I know there’s a lot of, not to stereotype skinny guys who want to gain muscle, but they also want good rate of muscle growth, which we’ve established could require greater amounts of capillary density. Well, doing a bunch of cardio just doesn’t work.
So, here’s the trick. Here’s what I thought. Even though I haven’t necessarily seen this exact study done in the same way that they did the study that I just told you about, you could do blood flow restriction training. And specifically, you could even do an entire warm-up where you put on BFR bands or Katsu bands. And, I’ll link to some articles and podcasts I’ve done about what BFR and Katsu bands are and how they work, but you could use that prior to training. You could like what I do, and I realize this is a more expensive solution but I have one of those Vasper machines. It’s a full body exercise machine where you wear blood flow restriction cuffs, which in my opinion is one of the best ways, even better than cardio, to build capillary density. And then, it’s got cold water that circulates through the cuff and these copper foot pads where you’re grounded or earth. It’s a pretty slick machine but it’s expensive. You could also get cheapo $40 BFR bands on Amazon or a fancy $1,000 Japanese Katsu BFR band set. And, you do your cardio or your warm-up or your burpees or your body weight training or whatever, BFR bands on, and then you go into your strength training session without the BFR bands or okay I’m throwing a lot out there, I realized, you can do the BFR band training body weight on one day and then the heavier weight training on the next day. And basically, you’re avoiding the calorie burn and excessive potential catabolic effects of doing cardio, but then getting all of the capillary density of the BFR training.
Kind of nerding out here, but here’s the big picture just in case you didn’t follow all of that. Cardio can build muscle indirectly by increasing capillary density, but I think if you’re doing BFR training, blood flow restriction training, it’s an even better way to get that effect. I personally do very little cardio now. I do three 21-ish minute high-intensity interval training sets each week and then I walk a lot, which is more like zone 2 aerobic conversational movement. I wouldn’t classify it as cardio, but a typical cardio session for me or typical training session for me really is 21 minutes on the Vasper or an the AirDyne doing say 30 seconds hard, two-three minutes recovery several times through, little bursts, 15, 20, 30-second burst of high-intensity interval training. Occasionally, I use this thing called the CAR.O.L. bike in my office for this also. Shout out to CAR.O.L., fantastic minimum effective dose bicycle. And then, I go straight into weight training and I do one single set to failure, single set to failure for the deadlift, for the chest press, for the pull-down, for the squat, for the overhead press, and for the row. Meaning I get my full cardio concurrent strength and endurance session in within 45. And, if I throw in a few extra exercises and stretches and some of Ben Patrick‘s knees-over-toes stuff, an hour max. I’m done. And so, right now, I’m training with my sons, but I’m doing that two to three times a week and then I got a couple other days where I’ll swing some kettlebells and everything else is just walking. I do sauna and cold as well, of course. A little hot-cold contrast.
But anyways, that’s kind of my training routine. I think the BFR is a key to being able to maintain or build muscle and have really good capillary density simultaneously. So anyways, it was an interesting study and I get so many questions about whether you can build muscle and do cardio at the same time that I figured I’d reply to it.
Alright. So, this turned a lot of heads. I got to mention this. A lot of people microdose with psychedelics. Take a little bit magic mushrooms, maybe with some niacin and some lion’s mane if you’re going to do a Stamets stack or you take a micro dose of LSD or LSA, one of these lysergamides, 10 to 20 micrograms. And, I will admit I’ve done that before and I feel like there is an improvement in cognition, a relief from a little bit of a down feeling depression or what you might explain as anxiety. But, the question is, is there any evidence that this might be unhealthy? Well, this recent article and I’ll link to it in the shownotes over at BenGreenfieldLife.com/468, it presented compelling theoretical evidence to suggest that prolonged and repeated micro-dosing could cause valvular heart disease. I have to emphasize, this was theoretical evidence. So, valvular heart disease, let’s call it VHD and save ourselves some syllables here. VHD is characterized by damage to the heart valves. Those control the flow of blood into and away from the heart. It can cause shortness of breath, weakness, and of course most concerningly sudden cardiac death.
Now, there are medications that can cause VHD. Those medications have strong, what is called, 5-HT2B binding affinity, strong affinity to binding to the serotonin 2B receptor. There was even a recent FDA regulatory form toxicology expert review article that showed that a medications 5-HT2B binding affinity is considered a better predictor of VHD than measurements of functional activity such as a EKG or VO2 max or something like that. So, the problem is that LSD and psilocybin, two popular micro-dosing agents, they also bind to the 5-HT2B receptors. And, these people who wrote this paper, these scientists, they actually have concern that regular use of micro-dosing of psychedelics for many months or years could cause VHD in a very similar way as some of these medications that bind to the 5-HT2B receptors. Now, they have shown that there are some things very similar to LSD and psilocybin like methysergide, ergotamine, cabergoline, there’s one called fenfluramine or 25% of patients develop VHD and heart valve thickening that required heart surgery and resulted in death in using those medications. And again, they were not using these psychedelics but what these people are proposing is that because the psychedelics have the same mechanism of action that a few doses a week could cause VHD.
Now, they did show one case-control study of 29 MDMA users who are taking MDMA for six years three times a week. Okay. I don’t know a lot of people doing MDMA three times a week for six years, but they showed a VHD confirmed by echocardiography in 28% of these people. And, they suggested that this meant that a psychedelic when taken only a few times a week has been associated with VHD. Look, any of you psychonauts out there, you know it’s way different to take MDMA three times a week than a microdose with LSD or psilocybin. Yet, they’re still raising these concerns.
So, the other issue that the paper brings up, and this was on the Harvard Review website on Harvard’s Health website, is that a lot of recent evidence from randomized control trials evaluating LSD and psilocybin and micro-dosing has not shown that those demonstrated anti-depressants, anxiolytic or procognitive effects. What that means is that these might just be producing a placebo effect. As a matter of fact, in the largest self-blinding RCT, which is a randomized controlled trial to date with 191 people who are micro-dosing LSD or psilocybin every three to four days for four weeks, which is a standard micro-dosing protocol, they showed equal improvement for both the placebo and the micro-dosing group when it came to symptoms of anxiety and depression. They did another RCT where they placeboed people, then they gave some people 5 micrograms of LSD, 10 micrograms of LSD, and 20 micrograms, getting into fun range with 20. I don’t know. They demonstrated no differences in perception, mentation, or concentration. Although, they did in the LSD group have what’s called temporal dilation of super-second intervals in time perception, which basically means time slows down which is kind of cool. And, they also showed that the 20 micrograms of LSD decreased concentration while not affecting attention cognitive control or mood.
There are so many subtle variables here. I mean, you can be a dummy with your micro-dosing. I just recorded a podcast earlier today with the Neurohacker Collective guys. We were talking about this. You could micro dose psilocybin and simultaneously use lion’s mane, niacin, and then replete some of the fuel you’re burning with say choline and take some SAMe and eat a diet rich in walnuts and fish and eggs and have a much better effect than someone who say just kicks back a microdose of magic mushrooms in the morning. Similarly with LSD, you could take LSD and you could protect the brain with glutathione and n-acetylcysteine, also fuel the brain with choline, throw in DHA and oleic acid from fish oil, and extra virgin olive oil. And again, that type of stack is more effective, in my opinion, than just a microdose of a psychedelic on its own.
The issue here is that nothing I just said has been proven by research and this is all deep dark underground form-style stacking and hacking done by biohackers and psychonauts, not necessarily randomized control trials. I would say the main thing to take away from this study is that you should be careful, especially with excess use of psychedelics and entheogens due to their binding to this 5-HT2B receptor. And, if you are micro-dosing, you should be aware of how often you’re doing it. I wouldn’t recommend more than every once or once every three to four days, which is a pretty standard protocol anyways. And, don’t overdo it. A microdose is supposed to be sub-perceptual. You’re not supposed to notice any type of psychedelic effects. Okay, that is moving beyond the realm of safety in my opinion or at least serving a purpose during the day in terms of focus and creativity, et cetera.
The other thing I would say is that if you are going to use these substances, do your research. At least refuel the brain with things like choline or SAMe or 5-HT2B, protect the brain with things like glutathione and n-acetylcysteine, eat a diet rich in brain-supporting compounds like fish oil, or if you’re vegan algae like spirulina or chlorella, extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, avocado oil, eggs, walnuts, especially black walnuts richer in polyphenols. And, that’s a much, much more intelligent way to mess around with substances that kind of speed up the brain for example. So, put premium gasoline in the fuel tank and don’t just pedal to the metal consistently and expect valvular heart disease to not be an issue, or at least expect wasting your money on those magic mushrooms that didn’t work because you didn’t do them right.
Let’s go ahead and cover one more topic, one more topic that I want to get into. This is a topic of why you wake in the wee hours, waking up at 3:00 a.m., and finding it difficult to fall asleep. That can be a frustrating experience. I’ve gotten it. Many other people deal with this.
Now, there are several proven reasons that this happens. As you move through your periods of light and deep and rapid eye movement sleep, more time is spent in light sleep as the night progresses. And, nighttime noise like outdoor traffic or televisions or cell phones or a partner especially or pet or a garage door opening or a garbage truck growing by, these tend to have more and more potential to wake you after around 3:00 a.m. or so. Okay. This is why you’ll have a lot of those early nighttime awakenings. That’s called sleep environment disturbance.
In addition to that, bathroom breaks, especially any of us dudes that are getting older are going to get up at night to pee, it’s called nocturia, N-O-C-T-U-R-I-A, nocturia. Sometimes that can be drinking too much liquid near bedtime, especially if it’s coffee or alcohol. Sometimes it can be a bladder condition, urinary issues, prostate swelling, obstructive sleep apnea. And, of course, in women, it’s also quite common during pregnancy and sometimes during periods of incontinence or poor pelvic floor musculature, as well as menopause in women. Menopause can also cause nighttime awakenings not due to peeing per se, but due to hot flashes and temperature fluctuations and the insomnia that can be related to menopause.
And then, there are other sleep disorders. There’s obstructive sleep apnea. Very common. A lot of people solve that with something as simple as something I’ve gotten into, shout out to Rogue tape. I’m on this kick where I’ve been mouth-taping and nose-taping for over a month now, and I feel like I sleep way better. And, the metric of this by the way is just test whether your resting heart rate at night is lower if you mouth tape and preferably nasal tape also to open up the nasal passages. A lot of people, it is. And, that’s a sign that you’re better oxygenating your body and in a more parasympathetic state while sleeping. So, shout out for mouth taping or nose taping especially if obstructive sleep apnea is an issue.
Also, for obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Eniko Loud in Phoenix is the dentist of my wife and mine. We have two dentists. We have her. She’s the genius who’s reshaping our mouths using her crazy cone scans and X-rays. And, she does these custom mouthpieces and just fixes the whole mouth jaw cervical spine area. She’s amazing. I have a podcast with her, which you can listen to and I’ll link to it in the shownotes. And then, we have a local dentist who’s just kind of the go-to guy for random things that pop up like a tooth hurting and that’s Craig Collins. He’s a holistic natural dentist here in town, which means he uses all biologically compatible materials, low mercury, very clean environment, not a lot of toxins in the mouth, et cetera.
So anyways, I’m digressing. You can also wake earlier as you age due to a drop in melatonin production and a change in circadian rhythmicity, which is obviously solvable by using melatonin prior to sleep which I think a lot of people, especially people over the age of 45 tend to benefit quite a bit from. There can be pain, there can be neurological disorders, there can be withdrawal. You quit using kratom or you quit using coffee and all of a sudden you got restless leg syndrome and difficulty falling asleep. Nicotine is another one you’ll get withdrawal of during the night. I’m naming some things I know that a lot of people use and of trying to bust themselves out of. And, one of the reasons they get back into it is because they start waking up at night or they have poor rest and they’re like, “Yeah, I got to start using my kratom again, my nicotine or my coffee.” If you get through a week or so of the withdrawal symptoms, all that will go away. But, a lot of people aren’t willing to put up with that pain and just kind of breathe their way through or meditate their way through or even Yoga Nidra their way through that type of discomfort.
So anyways, the article that I’m getting this from, it’s fantastic because it gives a lot of easy tips. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Increase your daytime light exposure to deal with circadian rhythm and melatonin issues. Exercise. Do yoga. Avoid heavy evening meals or very spicy foods before bed. Keep the bedroom dark and quiet. Normal sleep hygiene stuff that I’ve done a lot of podcasts about before in the past. I’m even waking up less at night to pee now after coming back from Sarasota, Florida, where I had my prostate injected. Anybody who’s proven allopathic medicine, plug your ears, you’re to hate this, I suppose it was a biohack. It was done by Dr. John Lieurance down in Sarasota, Florida, at Advanced Rejuvenation Clinic. And, there’s a video of it on my Instagram. I had my prostate injected with methylene blue and ozone. That’s something a guy would do to decrease PSA potentially even though it’s not proven, lower the risk of prostate cancer in the future, and decrease incidences of nocturia.
And, sure enough, I’m waking up at night to pee once every two to three nights now once. Whereas, I got to a point where I was waking up about twice a night every night to pee, and just that one protocol fixed it. So, yeah, call John’s office down in Sarasota, Florida if you want to get that fixed. And again, that’s totally unproven. I’m not a doctor. Don’t take this as medical advice. I did it and there’s not a lot of say peer-reviewed PubMed clinically relevant studies on humans that have looked at getting your prostate injected with a giant long needle using ozone and methylene blue. But, I’m just saying it worked for me and I don’t wake up at night to pee anymore. And, my orgasms are better also. And supposedly, it improves sperm and semen quality. Anyways, I digress.
So, a lot of different reasons that you would wake up in the middle of the night, but again, just to make sure that I’m equipping you with good helpful knowledge for this podcast, A, address sleep hygiene. Dark room, cold room, no business in bed, no laptop in bed, preferably no TV in the bedroom, low level of lighting, and some type of sound-producing device or earplugs to block out outdoor noise. Don’t drink too much before bed, especially coffee or alcohol late into the day. Empty your bladder before you go to bed. Mouth tape and also nose tape. I’m using the stuff from Hostage tape because it sticks really well. I’m going to warn you, purse your lips before you put it on because it sticks so well. You can get chapped lips ripping it off in the morning. It’s kind of funny because I oil pull in the morning with ozonated olive oil. Use this stuff from a company called Simply 03 to clean out my mouth. And, I will go into the bathroom with my mouth tape still on. Put a little bit of the oil over the lips, remove the mouth tape, then put the oil into my mouth to begin oil pulling. It’s the details that count, folks. It’s the details that count.
So, mouth tape and nose tape. Consider the idea of what I discussed about daytime light exposure and even consider using a little bit of melatonin before bed. A lot of people ask me what my pre-sleep stack is. And, for me right now, I use Kion Sleep. I use Element Health CBD. And, when I’m traveling, I throw melatonin into the mix. And, if I wake up in the wee hours, then I do something that will increase my gamma amino butyric acid production, GABA production. This will include ashwagandha or lemon balm or another serving of Kion Sleep or there’s even this topical device or topical cream that you can put right on your temples. It’s called Somnium. It’s made by Dr. Christine over in Seattle. And, she sent me some and it’s really nice. My wife and I both have a little bottle of Somnium next to the bedside, and we’ll kind of smear that onto the side of our temples if we wake up at night.
So anyways, I’ll link to the article if you want to take a deeper dive into it. And, just for entertainment’s sake, I will also link to an article that tells you the spiritual meaning of waking up at 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m., and 5:00 a.m.
Just for a quick overview. If you wake up at 1:00 a.m. it signifies that you are attuned to the spiritual world receiving messages from other realms and you’re able to interpret them in a way that can help you grow spiritually. If you’re waking up at 2:00 a.m., then it’s a sign that you’re physically very tired, you work too hard, your whole body is tense and there’s not a lot in the article about the spiritual meaning of 2:00 a.m. But, 3:00 a.m. is known as the witching hour or the devil’s hour and apparently, that’s when the veil between the living and the dead becomes thinner allowing for free passage between the two dimensions. And so, if you wake up at 3:00 a.m., that’s because you have heightened agitation due to some type of visitation in your room. It’s kind of creepy.
If you wake up at 3:33 a.m., apparently that’s an angel waking you up and it’s a message from your guardian angel. If you wake up at 4:00 a.m. according to traditional Chinese medicine, that’s when the lungs regenerate. So, you might have apnea issues, you might have air pollution issues. But apparently, nothing super spiritual about 4:00 a.m., it’s just lungs I suppose. 5:00 a.m. can be digestive difficulties. It can be stomach pain. It can be constipation. I guess coming full circle it can be irritable bowel syndrome. And look, there is no research behind just about anything that I just said. And so, please know that there’s a difference between research-based claims as to when you wake up and the spiritual meaning of when you wake up.
And look, I’m a Christian. I believe weird things like the world was created in six days and the story for my life was written by a higher power. And, I pray and talk to what many people tell me is a giant old white-bearded man in the sky even though I don’t necessarily think God is a giant white-bearded man in the sky. And so, I don’t want to completely dismiss the idea that when you wake up at night there might be spiritual reasons for that or that God might be trying to tell you something or that you’ve got some things that you need to think about and address spiritually. However, don’t worry if you wake up at 3:33 a.m., it does not necessarily mean an angel or a demon is visiting you, it might just mean that you have to pee and you should get your prostate injected with methylene blue and ozone.
I think that is enough for today and that’s about all the time that I have for today’s podcast. All of the shownotes and the news flashes are at BenGreenfieldLife.com/468. If you dig the show, go leave it a ranking or review, wherever fine podcast or halfway fine podcast like mine are found. And, I thank you so much for being a loyal listener. Leave comments, questions, feedback over in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/468. I read it all. I love to hear from you. Thanks for listening. Until next time. I’m Ben Greenfield. Have an amazing week.
Do you want free access to comprehensive shownotes, my weekly roundup newsletter, cutting-edge research and articles, top recommendations from me for everything that you need to hack your life, and a whole lot more? Check out BenGreenfieldLife.com. It’s all there, BenGreenfieldLife.com. See you over there.
Most of you who listen don’t subscribe, like, or rate this show. If you’re one of those people who do, then huge thank you. But, here’s why it’s important to subscribe, like, and/or rate this show. If you do that, that means we get more eyeballs, we get higher rankings. And, the bigger the Ben Greenfield Life show gets, the bigger and better the guest get and the better the content I’m able to deliver to you. So, hit Subscribe and leave a ranking. Leave a review if you got a little extra time. It means way more than you might think. Thank you so much.
Want free access to comprehensive shownotes, my weekly roundup, cutting-edge research and articles, my top recommendations for everything that you need to hack your life, and much more? Visit BenGreenfieldLife.com.
In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about links and posts on this site. Most of the links going to products are often affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you and sometimes I even get to share a unique and somewhat significant discount with you.
In some cases, I might also be an investor in a company I mentioned. I’m the founder, for example, of Kion LLC, the makers of Kion-branded supplements and products which I talk about quite a bit. Regardless of that relationship, if I post or talk about an affiliate link to a product, it is indeed something I personally use, support, and with full authenticity and transparency recommend in good conscience. I personally vet each and every product that I talk about.
My first priority is providing valuable information and resources to you that help you positively optimize your mind, body, and spirit. And, I’ll only ever link to products or resources, affiliate or otherwise that fit within this purpose. So, there’s your fancy legal disclaimer.
Before asking your question, search in the upper right-hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Life!
- Brain Rejuvenation Retreat: February 15–16, 2024
Join me from February 15th to the 16th at the Brain Rejuvenation Retreat, where world-leading peptide expert Regan Archibald and I will merge our knowledge in longevity, peptides, and fitness. This unique collaboration offers a transformative health experience, propelling you forward on your path to optimal health and vitality. Discover more about the Brain Rejuvenation Retreat and how these insights can shape your journey to complete well-being here.
- Unlock Longevity: February 24, 2024
Meet me in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, February 24, 2024, for the Unlock Longevity event, where I’ll present “The 5 Elements in Your Environment That Will Make or Break Your Health.” Check out more at bengreenfieldlife.com/unlock-longevity (use code Greenfield10 for $10 off your ticket).
BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough: The 7 essential forms of magnesium included in this full spectrum serving help you relax, unwind, and turn off your active brain after a long and stressful day so you can rest peacefully and wake up feeling refreshed, vibrant, and alert. Go to bioptimizers.com/ben now and use code BEN10 to get 10% off any order.
BON CHARGE: BON CHARGE is a holistic wellness brand with a wide range of products that naturally address the issues of the modern way of life. They can help you sleep better, perform better, recover faster, balance your hormones, reduce inflammation, and so much more. Go to boncharge.com/GREENFIELD and use coupon code GREENFIELD to save 15%.
Clearlight Sauna: If you want to sweat buckets in the privacy of your own home, go to HealwithHeat.com and use code: BEN for a discount and free shipping — the free shipping alone is a huge savings because these saunas are big, heavy, and well-made!
Organifi: Get the restful sleep you need with the most soothing ingredients! Organifi is a delicious tea with powerful superfoods and mushrooms to help you sleep and recover so you can wake up refreshed and energized. Go to Organifi.com/Ben for 20% off your order.