Introduction: In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: How to understand your genotype, are multivitamins a waste of money, should you use orthotics, how to rebuild nerves, how to use fermented foods, and substitutes for foam-rolling.
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Brock: Well, shalom, Ben!
Ben: Shalom, Brock!
Brock: And that is the end of my Israeli.
Ben: I just rolled in from Israel like…
Brock: How many hours ago?
Ben: Late last night. I think it was like seven hours ago and pretty much woke up out of bed and sat up and walk toward this microphone stuck in front of my face. So this should be interesting. But I do know I’ve picked up in the past week that I’ve been in Israel for the Israman Triathlon – shalom. And also this smothered, very important Israel words like falafel and hummus and some more of that yoghurt. What’s it called the yoghurt stuff – tzatziki? tahini? It’s like being in a giant Mediterranean restaurant over there. It’s fantastic!
Brock: It’s a delicious country!
Ben: So folks, if you wanna know what I was doing over there go over to everymantri.com. I went and did one of the hardest half ironman triathlons in the world and took part in a pretty cool cultural experience over there. They brought a bunch of us fitness and health and nutrition triathlon bloggers over there to kind of experience Israel and all the goodness it has to offer.
Brock: That’s very cool. So was it actually that hard of a race? Does it live up to its reputation?
Ben: I am still sore, like I’m hobbling. I’m supposed to go down to California and race the Super Spartan on Saturday and the Spartan Sprint on Sunday.
Brock: So you got three days to go running left.
Ben: I’ve got some foam rolling to do today.
Brock: So what makes it so hard, just quickly not to drag yourself too much.
Ben: You bike straight uphill and there’s this net elevation gain because when you transition into running, the T2 is up in the mountains. So you try up, up, up into the mountains. You never get a chance to descend. So it’s not kinda one of those “what goes up must come down” things. And then you run straight downhill which just trashes your…
Brock: Trash your quads…
Ben: Eats your legs, everything. I wrote a pretty race report over at everymantri so folks can go check that out and yeah, this should be an interesting podcast. I’m beat up. I’m jet lagged but let’s do it.
Brock: News flashes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/268 is where you’ll find these news flashes.
Ben: That’s right. This is the segment where we dig in to all the stuff that raised my eyebrows this week, or that I at least found…
Brock: Oh? Was that –when you raised your eyebrow, did you go, Huh???
Ben: Actually, I do need to say that – when my eyebrows go up, they automatically make a – (sound). It’s interesting. It’s a sound effect I was born with. So there is an article that someone pointed me out to over at forbes.com and the name of the article – the original article was The Top Five Vitamins You Shouldn’t Take. It was published last year and just updated to be the Top Six Vitamins You Shouldn’t Take this week. And it was written by a guy who’s name’s Steven Salzberg, He covers what he says is pseudoscience and bad medicine. I thought this is an interesting article because someone sent me a tweet over to it and I went and checked it out. And there’s a lot of bull in this article and that’s why I tweeted and said I’d mention it in the podcast, so here I am mentioning it in the podcast. So, he lists six vitamins that you shouldn’t take. Are you ready for this, Brock?
Brock: Six very specific vitamins that you should not be taking.
Ben: Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, multivitamins, and vitamin D – which I think covers most vitamins.
Brock: Multivitamins, that’s kind of all of them. And the ones he already mentioned.
Ben: Yeah. I’ll link to this article in the show notes. But I have a big issue with it. First of all, he gets on to vitamin C. He says that vitamin C does not prevent or cure colds, that mega doses of vitamin C simply do not work, and that vitamin C can increase the risk of kidney stones.
Brock: Well, we have talked about that in the past – that high dosage vitamin C not being the best idea. You have agreed to that in the past.
Ben: I have agreed with that but there’s a caveat to that. What I’ve agreed with is that the widely reported study that came out of UCLA on vitamin C was basically that men who take 800 mg a day of vitamin C lived six-years longer than men who take the recommended daily allowance of 60mg of vitamin C. And this study looked at over 11,000 people over a 10-year period of time and showed that higher vitamin C reduced cardiovascular risk mortality by over 42%. Now what you need to contrast that great news about vitamin C with are two kinda issues of vitamin C is high, high doses of synthetic sources of ascorbic acid that people are taking, meaning like Airborne and these effervescent electrolyte tablets and mega doses of synthetic vitamin C which I certainly do agree are not necessarily efficacious with like a whole foods vitamin C source. So for example, I actually took vitamin C this morning because it’s something that I use to kinda help my immune system bounce back from the rigors of airline travel and lack of sleep and things of that nature. And it’s got some fantastic antioxidant properties. It’s something that’s used by natural physicians around the world and has been used for thousands of years. And I understand that it can be a logical fallacy saying that other people use it and that it’s been around for a long time. But the fact is that natural sources of vitamin C from fruits, from vegetables, and from powdered plant extracts is actually quite efficacious and any of these studies that have shown vitamin C to cause kidney stones or to for example not be effective, either use very small doses of vitamin C or mega doses of synthetic vitamin C.
Brock: So what’s the stuff that you took? Where are you getting this whole foods brand?
Ben: There’s a few different ways you can get it. The stuff that I have is called Natural Vitality, I believe that’s the name. It’s up in my cover, dude. It was recommended to me by Dr.Minkoff. He’s been on the show before and that’s what he gives to his patients. So that’s the deal with vitamin C. Get a natural source. Don’t overdose with synthetic mega doses, and also understand that in most cases, 800mg+ per day is what’s mentioned to be effective. Then he talks about vitamin A and beta carotene and he says that too much vitamin A can be toxic and cause multiple serious side effects. And this is actually true. Now what you need to understand, though, when it comes to vitamin A is that vitamin A and vitamin D need to be balanced. So if you’re taking high dose vitamin A or you’re taking a beta carotene supplement, vitamin A, vitamin D, and actually vitamin K too as well, all need to be taken in good ratios. So for example, most studies suggest that an optimal vitamin A to vitamin D ratio is between 4 and 8 and most people aren’t getting anywhere near that, meaning that they are vitamin D deficient and that increases risk for beta carotene or vitamin A toxicity if you’re taking a multivitamin that has a lot of vitamin A in it but not a lot of vitamin D, or if you’re just taking a bunch of vitamin A. So one of the things that you need to realize if you’re gonna take vitamin A or beta carotene supplement, you need to also make sure that you’re getting adequate sources of vitamin K, like 100-150mcg of that per day, along with adequate sources of vitamin D. That’s usually up around 2,000IU a day. So I agree with this guy that vitamin A can be toxic but in most cases that’s because people aren’t getting it from a whole foods source, like cod liver oil, or liver marine or some kind of natural fat source like that where you’re getting some vitamin D and some vitamin K and other fat soluble vitamins along with it. Or you’re vitamin D deficient. So, that’s the skinny on that one. Vitamin E, he also gets into vitamin E and says that evidence suggests that regular use of high dose of vitamin E can increase the risk of death by all causes and vitamin E is similar to vitamin C in that respect. A lot of the vitamin E that you get is in its synthetic form. So here’s how you can know if you’re taking natural or synthetic vitamin E.
Ben: Turn over the label of your multivitamin or whatever source of vitamin E you’re using. And natural vitamin E is usually stated as what’s called the D-form vitamin E. Like D-alpha tocopherol. Or D-sometimes it’s something different, like D-alpha tocopherol succinate, things of that nature. But D-L indicates a synthetic forms, like D-L alpha tocopherol. Look for the natural form, the D-form. Natural vitamin E gets distributed through your body a lot better than the synthetic form because there’s this specific carrier proteins in your liver that bind to natural vitamin E and transport it to the blood, to the cells throughout your body, and those carrier proteins only recognize just a small portion of synthetic vitamin E. So synthetic vitamin E can not only result into some toxicity issues but I suspect that un-metabolized synthetic vitamin E is what increases the risk of mortality, not the natural form of vitamin E. In terms of vitamin E dosage, usually you‘re looking at anywhere from 100 to as high as 400 IU per day. So, it’s not as high as vitamin D, but understand that vitamin E, yes, once again the article is correct if we’re talking about synthetic doses of vitamin E.
Brock: So what I’m hearing so far is basically it’s kinda like food, like if you’re eating the real food, if you’re eating the whole food that’s grown in the ground and picked and not processed too much then you’re good. But as soon as you move into the processed or the fake stuff, then it’s not so good. Basically the same sort of rule goes for vitamins by the sounds of things.
Ben: And a lot of people are going to wonder, if you’re listening in right now, you might wonder why not just take, why not just eat real food? We’ll get into that a little bit later in this podcast ‘cause I think we have a question about multivitamins in general. We’ll kinda dig into that topic. It’s a little bit controversial right now, so we’ll get into it ‘cause we love controversy here on the Ben Greenfield show.
Brock: You love controversy. It makes me nervous.
Ben: That’s right, we love politics and controversy. So vitamin B6 let’s kinda also talk about vitamin B6 and says that vitamin B6 in high levels can cause severe nerve damage. Now the issue with this is that vitamin B6 which is also known as pyridoxine is this really good vitamin that helps support your adrenal function and maintain a healthy nervous system. The fact is that it can be toxic but you’re looking at levels that are far in excess of the current recommended maximum daily intake for toxicity. The current recommended maximum daily intake is about 100mg. And the NIH in America recommends that folks get somewhere in the range of about 1-2mg per day. So you’d have to be taking a ton of vitamin B6 in order for it to be toxic so anything in high high amounts is toxic. From the pole this one out I don’t really understand ‘cause water is toxic if you take enough of it.
Brock: Vitamin B6 is toxic if you take enough of it.
Ben: If you’re concerned about vitamin B6 just don’t exceed a hundred milligrams per day. And if you’re an athlete or a hard-charging person, a lot of times your metabolism is high enough and you’re burning through your vitamins and your nutrients and your minerals at a high enough rate where even that can be okay in some case. Yeah, taking high levels of vitamin B6 from supplements can cause some issues but it’s gotta be like 100 mg++. In most cases, you’re not even touching that. Now then he says – number 5 is multivitamins, Now I’m not even gonna really comment on this because I’ve got more to say about multivitamins later on in this podcast. But what he says is that multivitamins don’t boost your immune system, they don’t promote joint health, they don’t reduce stress and they don’t help prevent colds and other common ailment. We’ll get in to that a little bit later about why that’s an issue, why studies in sedentary hospitalized folks or the average people really don’t apply to everyone across the board. Or specifically, the 30,000 women that were studied over 25 years with the major multivitamins that they- yeah, the one that most people quote, there are some pretty serious issues with that study.
Brock: Alright, let’s put that on the back shelf.
Ben: Finally, he says vitamin D and he says that vitamin D is a waste of time because there is no evidence that vitamin D can actually increase bone density or reduce risk of osteoporosis. Now there are some pretty big issues with this. Number one thing being that vitamin D has been shown to in studies in just the past three years to increase everything from testosterone and growth hormone, to improve muscle recovery when taken directly after a workout- that study just came out- to a whole range of benefits especially when balanced again with vitamin A and vitamin K.
Ben: Now the other thing is that the studies that looked at bone density were not looking at vitamin D levels that like I’ll look at in, for example, folks I do consults with when I’m looking at their blood values, I typically like vitamin D to be between 40 and 70 and these studies weren’t looking at vitamin D levels anywhere near that range to see if it gave benefits. They were down to around 20-30ng/mL of vitamin D. Now that’s…
Brock: That’s free-floating vitamin D in the blood?
Ben: Right, exactly. Now I would agree that vitamin D levels that are that low, if you’re taking a vitamin D supplement may not result in much benefit shown for anything from bone density to any of the other benefits of vitamin D. But if you actually get vitamin D up into that 40-70ng/mL range, then you’re gonna begin to see a lot of these optimal benefits that have been shown for vitamin D in studies. But the issue is in the study, especially on bone density, they weren’t giving people enough vitamin D to even get them close to getting adequate levels anyway. So I’m not surprised that they didn’t see any benefits when it comes to osteoporosis. Again, let’s just say that sure, vitamin D doesn’t prevent osteoporosis, but there are a lot of other benefits from vitamin D that go way above and beyond kinda non-skeletal disorders, or skeletal disorders, So, yeah, that’s my take on this study and remember, folks, whenever you see a headline like that, like the top six vitamins you shouldn’t take, take that with a grain of salt. Sometimes Forbes runs an article like that to stir up controversy and to get ads, and again, nothing wrong with stirring up controversy, but I just wanted to make sure that I get a chance to say my two cents on that particular article.
Brock: And your two cents equals ball. There you go.
Ben: Alright. What else did I tweet out? Oh, really good up to date sleep article. I’ll link to that fro folks who want to read it. But, really interesting things about sleep article over at Suppversity, because we are obsessed with sleep here at the Ben Greenfield podcast. I certainly didn’t get enough of that last night. But what they found was a few things. First of all, they found that when you restrict sleep, there are some pretty interesting biochemical issues that go on. They found that there were elevations in fatty acids and in the circulating levels of glucose in folks who were sleep-restricted in one study and that means that you’re increasing risk for diabetes and obesity. They found that the –low levels of sleep can actually cause a bunch of different side effects but specifically what this particular article goes into is that you snack more, you have increased psychologically distress that you attempt to alleviate with foods because you have increased sensitivity to food reward, meaning that any food tastes better when you’re low on sleep, and you just get this dopamine release that you use to shut down the psychological distress from lack of sleep. You get lower dietary restraints, you need more calories necessary to sustain extended wakefulness and of course you have an increase in your natural production of hunger hormones, or what’s called your homeostatic drive to eat. So this is why from a variety of standpoints folks who don’t sleep enough tend to overeat and also gain weight. So you’re not only naturally having increased levels of glucose and circulating fatty acids, but you’re piling more food on top of that. So that was interesting. They also found – double whammy. So exercise attenuates the metabolic effects of light exposure at night, meaning we’ve talked before on the show about how lights and stuff in your house can shut down melatonin production or decrease melatonin production at night.
Brock: Especially the blue light spectrum.
Ben: But exercise can mitigate some of those effects. So that was an interesting study that was done just last year. Specifically on…
Brock: Let’s see- you can read books on your iPad as long as you’re jogging on the spot?
Ben: Yes, exactly. Exactly. You can shine a bright light in your face before you go to bed as long as you’ve done some bench press beforehand. What it actually gets into is if you’ve done a short high intensity interval session like in the afternoon or the early evening, that it can help attenuate a lot of the decrease in melatonin that occurs from light exposure and that’s because exercise regulates your circadian rhythm.
Ben: It’s like one of the first things I’ll do when we finish this podcast is I’ll do a short exercise session, probably some yoga to get my circadian rhythm back in line. And for as really on top of things, I’ll be doing some burpies and stuff right now or podcasting.
Brock: Go for it.
Ben: Yeah. And the next one is, the next thing to go over is melatonin supplements. Not only did they find that melatonin supplements reduce sleep latency, or how long it takes for you to get to sleep once you get into bed at night, but they increase total sleep time, they increase overall sleep quality or your ability to get in the kinda deep rapid eye movement sleep by over 20% and there were no issues in the studies that they were starting on melatonin with you actually losing the efficacy of the melatonin over time. So, basically you can take melatonin and it can increase sleep levels and you don’t become sensitive to it over time. Now what I found is that I feel that I personally tend to do best with melatonin when I’m in a situation like I’m in right now where I’ve traveled multiple time zones and I take it before I go to bed at night, I took it last night before I went to bed, and use it for a short period of time when you’re travelling or when you need increased sleep and then you don’t use it. I personally feel that, it’s kinda like that no biological free pass type of thing where I suspect that they may find at some point that a lot of melatonin supplementation may decrease a little bit your pineal glands on production of melatonin. But as far as this study goes, or as far as the multiple studies they go over in this article, that doesn’t appear to be an issue that’s actually been proven by science. That’s just something that I suspect. But either way, you should have some melatonin around if you travel a lot, or if you have some sleep issues, if you’re one of those people who rely on Ambien, Valium, and these other sleep compounds, try experimenting on melatonin a little bit. You don’t need much. One to three milligrams is efficacious if you really wanna get. We talked about it a few weeks ago and we’re like lucid dreaming ultra deep sleep… You can take 10, 15, 20mg but ultimately melatonin is a pretty efficacious supplement for sleep and we’ll link to that article in the show notes for those listening in.
Brock: I think the big issue right now, the only thing that stops me from taking melatonin on a really regular basis is that fear that my ______ [0:22:37.9] building of it myself will die out so if somebody can just finally figure that out once and for all, then we’ll know…
Ben: What we do know is that you decrease melatonin production as you age, so it may be something that as you get older, increasing melatonin just slightly same as like digestive enzyme production decreases, and hydrochloric acid production decreases and some of these other things decrease as you age. It could just be better living through science, to get a little bit of it into your system, before you get into bed at night as you get older. Like my mom for example, I have her taking about 1-3mg in the evening.
Brock: Every night?
Ben: Uh-hm. So, the last thing that I thought was interesting was an article that came out that showed that Tylenol can kill the pain during exercise and help you to achieve a higher rating of perceived exertion, or allows you to go harder. And this the title of the study was the influence of acetaminophen on repeated sprint cycling performance and they showed that it improved performance by reducing pain allowing participants to exercise closer to their true physiological limits. And the issue with this is an issue that I’ve written about before and I’ll link to pretty comprehensive article that I wrote about the issues with taking Ibuprofen and certain anti-inflammatory drugs, other sources of acetaminophen or pain killers on the body during exercise. The problem is that especially during exercise, these compounds increase what’s called your gastrointestinal permeability which is a sign that your gut is becoming leaky. So you get much increased risk of gut distress as well as intestinal injury. But you also do a huge number on your liver and your kidneys and what they showed was a lot of the metabolic markers of kidney damage and liver damage like increased creatine kinase, things of that nature, are vastly increased when you take a pain killer especially during exercise and especially during exercise in the heat. So the fact is that even though it may actually shut down a little bit of pain, and allowing you to go harder, the question is, is tanning of your liver or one of your kidneys worth that or is destroying your gut worth that.
Ben: So I would say when you see a study like this, you gotta realize it’s not just about performance.
Brock: Yeah, but I recall you saying in the past that acetaminophen wasn’t as bad as the NSAIDS that we’re definitely supposed to stay away from Ibuprofen but I thought the acetaminophen was safe to pop.
Ben: No, you get a similar effect especially on the liver and the kidney. Ibuprofen is the one that’s a big deal when it comes to your gut just due to the issue with –Ibuprofen essentially is decreasing the levels of an enzyme that helps to protect your gut barrier, along with decreasing pain, Acetaminophen doesn’t have that much effect but it certainly is just as bad if not worse for your liver and your kidneys. So just something to bear in mind –if you need to shut down pain, I recommend high dose curcumin, that works really well. There’s this one supplement called phenocane, it’s got curcumin, it’s got some other natural pain killers in it, natokinase, phenylalanine, some of these things that more naturally decrease pain without doing the same type of damage to your gut. So check that out, we’ll link to those articles in the show notes along with all the other handy-dandy news flashes that we talked about.
Brock: I recommend a hot bath and a shot of vodka.
Ben: For everything.
Brock: So we’ve got a paleo con and we’ve got a primal con. Cons all over.
Ben: That’s right. Cons everywhere. So PrimalCon I hope folks are brushing upon their Mexican because myself, Jessa, Mark Sisson, Rob Wolf, Kate Shanahan, a bunch of real leaders in the paleo, the primal and the ancestral health community along with Brock, one of the more famous folks in this whole community.
Brock: No, thanks.
Ben: Brock Jason Skywalker Armstrong is gonna be there as well. And that’s for those of you who don’t know Brock’s full name.
Brock: That’s me.
Ben: Yeah, that’s Brock. So that is gonna take place March 1st to the 6th. It’s at Tulum, Mexico, awesome getaway if you want to just get steeped in luxurious health food and outdoor fitness workouts, and beach time and fun in the sun and of course things like exploring Mayan ruins, and potentially getting a chance to brush up on your Mexican, and who doesn’t want to order a shot of tequila with Mark Sisson and Rob Wolf.
Brock: I’m a little bit worried that I’ll be the only one ordering shots of tequila. Everybody else will be like sipping out of coconuts.
Ben: We’ll put a link in the show notes for those of you who want to get into that and go drink tequila with Brock in Mexico, March 1st to the 6th. So check that out, that’s PrimalCon, There’s another thing going on, it’s called PaleoCon. And PaleoCon is not in Mexico. That’s an online event. And it’s folks like Dr.Loren Cordain, and Dave Asprey, and Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet. Some real brilliant minds in kind of like the again the ancestral living kind of circle. You don’t have to be paleo to go to this paleo con event. But if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleocon, you get the chance to check it out like Mark Sisson is talking about low carb training and endurance, Dave Asprey is talking about paleo problems for high performers, Chris Kesser’s talk is called the Top Three Mainstream in Paleo Nutrition Myths Debunked, Abel James is talking about intermittent fasting and feasting for enhancing fat loss, Denise Minger who recently wrote a really good article over at bengreenfieldfitness.com is doing one called the Truth about the Chinese study. So lots of really good presentations, 25+ free cookbooks, bunch of cool stuff over there. Check that out over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleocon and I think it’s gonna be pretty cool. These online events usually pick up a bunch of stuff that you don’t get in kind of like the free podcast.
Brock: It’s pretty neat too ‘cause you can tune in live and hear all the stuff or you can for I think for an extra few bucks, ‘cause it‘s free otherwise, but you pay a few bucks and you can watch it basically forever.
Ben: Yeah, that’s why most of these online events go. It’s free to tune in live and you can also watch afterwards. I don’t know how much it costs. Usually it’s like 37 or 47 or 57 or something 7, so anyways, yeah those are a couple things to check out –paleo con and primal con and then finally if you haven’t yet been over to beyondtrainingbook.com, just a few more weeks until my 540+ page hardcopy manual of human performance and nutrition ships. And you can still get in on the pre-orders, the raffles, the swag. That’s at beyondtrainingbook.com. So check that out if you want a really, really heavy paperweight.
Brock: And for those of you who’ve been hanging on waiting for the raffle to be drawn so you can see if you’ve won any of the awesome stuff, that’s when it will happen, when the book comes out.
Ben: First week of March.
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Listener Q and A:
Allie: Hi, Ben! I was wondering if you could give me some guidance about that ApoE genotype 3-4 which my brother has and he also has high cholesterol and I guess that genotype which is more rare means he’s more likely to respond to dietary changes in fat and whatever ideas to lower his cholesterol. He should be eating a low fat diet but he doesn’t really discuss what low fat means and what kind doesn’t really discuss the quantity of the fat. And I was wondering if you could weigh in on if you think a low fat diet is good for that genotype, or if it’s more important to eat good quality fats like you’ve been doing. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed what you did on the blood work that you had. That was a really helpful video. Thanks!
Brock: This is kinda a timely question, you actually addressed this ApoE 3/4 genotype in the blog that came out earlier this week.
Ben: Denise Minger talked about the apo E gene. Specifically she was talking about how to figure out what kind of diet is gonna work well for you. This is a nice timely question. We didn’t plan that but there you go. The apo E test, this is a genetic test. And you could get something like this through like 23andme.com genetic testing, that’d be one way to do it. And the test for Apo E is usually ordered to help physicians or help healthcare practitioners to guide their treatment of cholesterol issues because what happens and the reason that Apo E testing kind of became popular in the first place, is that when you treat people with statins, some people are sensitive to lipid-lowering drugs like statins, and some aren’t. And that’s in part influenced by a specific genotype called the apo E genotype. So some people who have like what’s called an apo E4 genotype are less likely to respond to statins than people who have what’s called the apo E 2 genotype. So of course I’m not a fan of statins in the first place but that’s kinda how genotyping got popular. It’s also used in Alzheimer’s disease. There are also certain people who tend to have increased likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease and technically those are people who have this apo E4 genotype. You can go and get your 23andme.com genetic testing and go see what your genotype is or what’s called your allele is which is basically an allele is any of the possible kinda forms of which specific gene can occur. So you have like the apo E, E4 E4 allele and the apo E E2 E2 or in this case the, she has the 3,4. So the thing with apo E is in addition to kinda dictating how sensitive you might be to a statin or what your risk of something like Alzheimer’s disease might be is apo E is technically this lipoprotein and it carries cholesterol to the bloodstream. So the type of apo E genotype that you have can influence how you actually metabolize cholesterol. So when we look at some folks, they do have what’s called this 3,4 apo E 3,4 gene. It sits anywhere from about 20-30% of people have this apo E 3,4 gene.
Ben: And what we tend to see is that some of those folks tend to have higher levels of circulating cholesterol, specifically higher levels of some of the small dense cholesterol. And those could be people who might have an issue with a high level of fat intake because a lot of these cholesterols spanning a longer period of time in the bloodstream and that’s kind of an issue with cholesterols. When it spends a long period of time in the bloodstream, it’s more likely to become oxidized and more likely to cause issues in terms of cardiovascular risk disease. That’s why I think that genetic typing can really come in handy when it comes to figuring out what kind of diet is right for you because your apo E genotype is gonna be largely dependent on your ancestors and what they were exposed to as far as what was available to them as a diet for thousands of years. So there’ a really interesting book about this, by the way, it’s called The Apo E Gene Diet. I’ll link to it in the show notes. It’s written by this lady called Pamela McDonald. What she does is she helps you match your genetic type with the correct nutrition. I’m not necessarily a fan of everything that’s in the book but if you really want to wrap your head around like how your body responds to certain foods based on your apo E genotype, it’d be an interesting one for you to go check out. It’s called the Apo E Gene Diet. I’ll link to it in the show notes. But if you do indeed have this apo E 3,4 genotype, and you’ve decided that you want to actually start into a lower fat type of diet, I would recommend that you be really careful. I would say if I was personally gonna go out and eat a low fat diet, I would do kinda something relatively close to an almost like a raw vegan type of diet. But I would supplement with a lot of fat soluble vitamins. I would do like a traditional raw vegan diet and I would go after a diet that’s kinda modeled along the lines of like Bredan Brazier Thrive Diet, for example, is a really good one. And the reason I say it is because it’s got a lot of sprouts, it’s got a lot of raw seeds and nuts, a lot of kinda like coconut oils and some of these healthy fats that a lot of times you tend to miss out on when you switch to a raw plant food based diet. These kind of fats are gonna be less likely to spend longer periods of time in your bloodstream compared to animal-based saturated fats, or some animal-based fats that people with the apo E3,4 gene specifically may not do well with. So do like a raw vegan diet, higher in a lot of your dark leafy greens and things of that nature, I would supplement with vitamin K2, vitamin D3, and vitamin A, or I’ll choose a fermented cod liver oil. I would make sure that you’re doing a lot of sprouting and soaking and fermenting and so you’re getting a lot of those fatty acids but you’re also decreasing a lot of the enzyme-inhibitors or a lot of the gut-damaging compounds that you can get when you’re increasing your intake of plants and grasses and things that are gonna naturally cause some issues in the digestive tract just because plants want to get pooped out. So when you’re eating a lot of plants, they tend to do a number unless you properly prepare them through soaking, and sprouting and fermentation and things of that nature. I would also make sure that you use a couple of things that tend to be deficient in folks with a plant based diet, like iodine for example is one biggie, vitamin B12 is another big one, and then taurine is specifically an amino acid that you only find in animal foods. It’s really important for brain development and blood glucose stability and fighting free radicals, and protecting your eyes. So taurine is another one I’d throw in there. And if you’re an athlete, I’d include creatine, I’ll include a component called L-carnitine, and also beta alanine. Creatine, L-carnitine and beta alanine if you’re eating like a low fat kinda vegan plant based diet because of the apo E 3, 4 genotype. I don’t recommend that type of diet for everyone but this might be an issue where genes actually make it so that a high fat diet might not be right for you. Now there’s not a lot of evidence that shows that apo E 3,4 genotypes who are eating a high fat diet necessarily get heart disease. But if’ you’re on to be super careful until the research on genotypes and heart disease and diets comes out, that’s the way that I would do it.
Brock: Interesting! So all those supplements that you were talking about are really things that would just be filling in for the lack of meat?
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Like if you’re gonna eat a low fat diet because you’re trying to control the levels of specifically like saturated fats and some of the things that are gonna naturally increase the levels of cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream, you would still want to get a lot of the vitamins you’re gonna miss out on. Some of the nutrients you’re gonna miss out on by not getting those in the diet. Now of course there’s a lot of other benefits of saturated fats when it comes to cholesterol membrane stability and things of that nature that you’re so gonna miss out on but this is one of those areas where I’m not a genotyping expert. And I’m sure there’s a little bit, I’m sure there’s a lot of research that’s left to be done on genotyping and diet but that’s at least where I’d start if you decide that you want to look into this. And then I’d also test, do like wellness FX testing or do some kind of testing where you’re able to look at the levels of very low density lipoproteins, low density lipoproteins, inflammation and basically check and see if you’re even responding to changes in diet because again genotype expression is really important and if you’re eating a high fat animal based diet, eating lots of coconut oil and steak and fatty fish and things of that nature, and your nice large fluffy LDL particles are high, your small dense LDL particles your VLDL is low, then that genotype isn’t causing any issues for you. So that’s another thing is that you can test your cholesterol particle size and check and see if it’s even creating issues for you or not.
Brock: The last thing I want to bring out is the 23andme, I think the last time we checked in on that during the show anyway, there were some problems with the FDA was stopping them from being able to deliver the results for your test. I assume that’s been taken care of, since you’re recommending it again?
Ben: Well, 23andme is actually not really giving you a lot of data right now in terms of the health data or health recommendations based on your data, but you can for example go to 23andme.com, you can do the test, it’s like a $99 saliva test and you’d get your raw genetic data and you could download that raw data, and there are websites that would actually take that raw data and give you some really good health information based on that. One is called the sterling’s app, so if you go to this website, it’s kind of a mouthful it’s called mthfrsupport.com. That’s mthfrsupport.com you can upload your raw data from 23andme.com and that will give you really good health interpretation. Another good one is called the, kind of a funny name, but the genetic genie’s methylation analysis and detox profile. You can also upload your raw data to that and that would kinda spit out all the unique specifically what are called SMPs, basically what it tells you is where some of your health issues might lie. If you do tend to have some what are called methylation issues in your genetics. We don’t have time to get into that too thoroughly but sterlingsapp.mthfrsupport.com or the genetic genie’s methylation analysis and detox profile, just google that. I’ll put a link in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/268 if you want to kinda dig into those a little bit more where you can take your 23andme.com data, where you have it, where you’re gonna get it and you can download the raw data and look into that one.
Jason: I saw this article at cnn.com and it was talking about how my multivitamins are a waste of money. It was about an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine and I was just wondering what your take was on it. Thanks!
Brock: Alright, so this is what you were alluding to in the news flashes, that you’re gonna dig in into the whole multivitamins being a waste of money article that has been circulating in the last few weeks.
Ben: Yeah, a couple of podcasts ago, I think it was number 266, I believe and maybe we could look that up while I’m talking, Brock. But we spent a little bit of time on multivitamins and this recent paper that came out in the Annals of Internal Medicine which reported basically that you should stop wasting your money on vitamin and mineral supplementation, I think the title of the article was actually relatively provocative. It was Enough is Enough – Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. We already talked about some of the issues with the studies that were cherry-picked on that article, the fact that some of these studies were just done on just physicians, which are relatively a unique portion of the population, and the fact that in many cases they were using very, very low levels of the specific vitamins that you actually need which we kinda touched on earlier. But there’s a few other things that you got to consider.
Ben: First of all, they ignore specific diets and this body of data that’s used to look at multivitamins, and when you look at specific diets, a lot of times you find that most are not providing even close to the recommended daily intake of your nutrients or your micronutrients or your vitamins or you’re very deficient. So for example if you look at some popular diets like the DASH diet. The DASH diet is only 51% sufficient in terms of providing your 27 essential micronutrients and micronutrients if you read the book, what’s the book by the Caltons? Mira and Jason Calton wrote a book called, Rich Food Poor Food. They get in to what all the 27 essential micronutrients are but the DASH diet which is a popular low fat diet, that’s only 51% sufficient in your micronutrients. Mediterranean type diet, called The Best Life Diet is only 55% sufficient in micronutrients. The Atkins Diet, the high fat, low carb diet, that’s only 40% sufficient in your micronutrients. The South Beach Diet, shockingly is only 22% sufficient in your micronutrients. Now all of these popular diet plans, they don’t get close to providing a 100% sufficiency for all these micronutrients but this article on whether or not multivitamins are efficacious didn’t look in any of these micronutrients. When I say micronutrients, that includes stuff like vitamin D, vitamin E, but also includes things like iodine, chromium, vitamin B7 or what’s called biotin which flies under the radar but which is very important for your eyes, for your hormones. So, that’s one thing to consider, is that micronutrients are not taken into consideration and specific diets which a lot of people are on are not taken into consideration. The other thing they don’t look at is athletes. Athletic populations tend to create kinda their own unique set of problems, like body builders when you look at body builders there’ve been studies that have examined dietary habits of both male and female body builders and found for example that female body builders are extremely deficient in calcium and magnesium. That’s probably because of the amount of muscle cell damage and muscle cell turnover that’s occurring in that population. Male body builders tend to consume only 46% on their body building diet of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin D, and women are even lower than that. And those are just things that are done specifically in like figure competitors and body builders. Other athletes are flying through magnesium like it’s going out of style. Whereas the general population may not have a deficiency in magnesium, many athletes actually do. And again this multivitamin study didn’t look at that as well. And the high, high turnover in athletes. So we’ve got dieters, we’ve got athletes. And then the other thing is that there is some bias here too. So, common thread among a lot of these vitamin and mineral supplementation analysis show that we’ve got a little bit of potential for political foul play going on. There was this recent study that found that when you ingest a multivitamin and an omega-3 supplement together like an omega-3 fish oil type of supplement together, that it can lower levels of inflammation like c-reactive protein, and homocysteine and triglyceride levels. But a lot of times, these non-pharmaceutical therapies like fish oil supplementation, these are usually either ignored or not reported by a lot of journals. And I think that there may be some political foul play going on there as far as like the drug industry and the fact that it generates way more revenue than something like fish oil. But I think that some of the results like the synergistic effect of for example combining fish oil with a multivitamin, we just don’t get to see a lot of that stuff reported unless we’re really paying attention to the alternative health industry and a lot of the research that’s coming out there. So if I could end here with like kind of an idea of people who could benefit from the multivitamin, think about some of these things like women of childbearing age, they tend to be deficient in folate, in vitamin D and in iron. That’s a population that would potentially benefit from those type of compounds. A pregnant woman or a lactating woman, they tend to be deficient in vitamin B6, and folate, and vitamin D, and iron. If you read this article over at Forbes that we talked about earlier, vitamin B6 it tells you you shouldn’t go near it and that it’s toxic but pregnant and lactating women tend to be deficient in vitamin B6. So they along with folate and vitamin D and iron, they could benefit from those.
Ben: You tend to see infants and children, and adolescents benefit quite a bit from vitamin D supplementation, so do people with dark-colored skin, people who spend a lot of time indoors, a lot of these folks are not specifically studied but there’s vitamin D would come in,. You tend to see a lot of older adults being deficient in vitamin B12 and zinc. So aging populations, we talked about digestive enzymes and melatonin, those two other things that those type of people can benefit from. Some people have fat malabsorption syndromes or had their gallbladder removed. For those people, fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D vitamin E and vitamin K may come in even more handy than for the general population. People who smoke, they tend to be deficient in vitamin C, in vitamin E because of the high level of turnover vitamin C and vitamin E to fight a lot of the oxidative damage from smoking. So if you wanna kinda have your cake and eat it too, if you wanna light up, you want to take vitamin C and vitamin E, and go out of your way to do so. There are certain medications that a lot of people are on that can interfere with the absorption or the metabolism of micronutrients like proton-pump inhibitors that you find to, a lot of people are on for treating heartburn. Those impaired vitamin B12 absorption, and so people who’ve been on proton pump inhibitor maybe tend to be pretty deficient in vitamin B12 and while I don’t recommend a proton pump inhibitor to treat heartburn, even if you’ve been on one, you decide you’re gonna get off one, you’re probably vitamin B12 deficient. Frequent aspirin use can lower your vitamin C levels so that’s another population who would benefit from vitamin C supplementation. So I hope you’re getting the idea here that you are a unique snowflake so depending on what category you fall into, there are specific targeted supplements that are going to specifically help you and your needs and well a cheap fillered multivitamin from Costco may not be the best pick for you, depending on what category what population, athletic, pregnant, young, old, etc., chain smoker that you fall into, it’s really gonna affect what you take. I personally don’t take a multivitamin. I just take targeted supplements like vitamin D, I use some like I mentioned melatonin every now and again. I sometimes use some digestive enzymes depending on the meal I’m eating. I just pick and choose as I go. That’s my take on the whole multivitamins waste of money article in addition to what I said on, was it 266, Brock?
Brock: You know what, I wasn’t able to find it. I cruised around and came up with nothing.
Ben: Well, if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and actually just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/268 and we’ll put a link to that one in the show notes as well. So put a little source of goodness in the show notes for you.
Amy: Hi, Ben! My name’s Amy. I’m calling because I am just coming back from a foot injury. I’m a half marathon runner generally and I’m completely hooked on my 30miles a week or whatever I normally do. It’s been 3 ½ months off the road for me. Finally, I had been able to go back out on the road for a couple of weeks and now I’ve got a new issue with my foot in spite of starting up slowly the way that was recommended. I just wonder if you have a tip for what kind of health professional I would be best off consulting. Went to a podiatrist, I felt like that particular podiatrist was a glorified orthotics salesman. I have orthotics and I think they may be part of the problem. And I would like to get my feet strong again. I’d like to get diagnosed quickly but not spend a fortune. So where do you start when you’re trying to be holistic and efficient with mechanical musculoskeletal issue? Thanks for your time!
Brock: I’m glad that Amy mentioned that she also thinks that the orthotics she has are may be causing the problem ‘cause I know I spend a lot of time trying to get my runners to not necessarily throw out their orthotics but to just get to being comfortable without them.
Ben: I’m not a fan of orthotics. I think they weaken your feet. They dampen your foot senses. You‘ve got a huge number of proprioceptors on the bottom of your feet and when you look at custom orthotics –heel lifts, arch supports, you’re talking to a guy who’s literally had $400-$600 custom orthotics comp for me just for reviews. I have never had success with that type of stuff. They negatively affect your proprioception, your feel for the ground, they support muscles and tendons and ligaments in such a way that those muscles, and tendons and ligaments don’t have the need to function as they normally would so your foot gets weaker and that spreads to other areas of your body like again your nervous system and your feel for the ground.
Ben: And that can put you into a situation where you not only get foot pain, but you have decreased balanced, you have decreased performance and so I’m not a huge fan, even if you have something like a leg length discrepancy. A lot of times the muscle imbalance that create a leg length discrepancy, those can be fixed with things like trigger point therapy and reflexive therapy and even in some cases eliminating certain foods that can cause issues with your digestive tract specially on your right side where your liver’s at, an autoimmune type of diet. So when you’re looking at using orthotics as a band-aid and that nature, not a huge fan. There’s some other issues though with orthotics as well. So when you’re altering your feel for the ground, that’s altering what’s called your somatosensory system. And your somatosensory system is how your joints actually send a message to your brain about where your body’s at in space. So when you’re messing with your somatosensory system by dampening the amount of nervous system stimulation to your feet, that’s also going to affect things higher up the kinetic chain, like your knees and your hips. So that’s another thing to bear in mind as we’re not just talking about the feet, we’re talking about knees, hip, back, everything of that nature. Dr. Phil Maffetone who is a frequent podcast guest over at Endurance Planet, he is on the board of our Superhuman Coach network and he’s the author of the Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing. He’s also the author of the book called Complimentary Sports Medicine. And in that particular book, he gets into something called muscle testing. And when you look at muscle testing essentially it’s a form of testing a muscle to see whether it is inhibited by certain things or strengthened by certain things. And a lot of chiropractics who do muscle testing find that folks who are wearing orthotics a lot of times tend to have inhibited muscles because of those orthotics. So when you look at for example like your tibialis posterior muscle, that muscle supports the main arch of your foot and it’s responsible for proper pronation and for the overall foot stability in your foot. Now in some people that tibialis posterior muscle might be inhibited because of an injury to the muscle. But it can also be inhibited when you are wearing orthotics and so that’s another issue is that you can get this muscle inhibition or turning off of certain muscle when you’re changing the way that the foot is in contact with the ground. And that’s something that can be looked at via muscle testing by Dr. Maffetone or someone who’s been through his program but it’s also something that a lot of times that you can just a lot of times get a feel for when you’re wearing orthotic versus when you have it out. So there are some gait disturbances that go on. There’s also some issues with arch support. So a lot of people wear arch support because they have flat feet or they get some kind of pain on their arch, now flat feet are pretty normal in little kids and as kids get older the tendons in their feet strengthen, they tighten to form what’s called your medial longitudinal arch and that usually happens by the time a kid is around 3 years old. Some kids because they’re putting footwear from an early age and I just wrote about this in a paleo magazine they don’t actually develop that arch in their foot and so you get adults with flat feet or with muscle or tendon or ligament weakness in their foot. Now you can actually redevelop that arch by getting rid of orthotics and getting rid of big built up shoes or by doing like barefoot or minimalist shoe running or walking or just standing around in bare feet. But it’s something that takes time to rebuild and simply putting in orthotics which supports that dysfunction, it’s a band-aid but eventually you’re gonna have to fix the actual foot. So there is this one device called a correct toes that can help to fix a lot of structural misalignments that are due to years of poor foot health or improper footwear, overuse of orthotics, and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes but it’s basically this little spreaders that you put between your toes. I think that when I had Katy Meyers on, she talked about the Happy Feet socks that you can sleep with. This is similar to that. But if you just want to put these on with the normal pair of socks, or with shoes you didn’t want to get funny looks by wearing your funky looking happy socks, you can put like this Correct Toes on so we’ll put a link to those in the show notes.
Ben: The Correct Toes but the idea is that you really do need to let your feet just be feet and no matter how fancy orthotics are, they’re not properly supporting the tendons and ligaments in your feet. They are supporting them but you don’t necessarily want them supported in the same way you don’t want to go lift weights in the gym every time with like a big low back brace ‘cause all you’re doing is not allowing your back to become stronger. So ultimately, Amy, as far as your feet go, what I would suggest that you do is a lot of soft tissue work on the bottom of your feet like rolling a golf ball, doing a lot of stretching of your toes, training your feet by doing something like putting a cup on the ground and spreading some marbles around that cup and using your toes to pick up the marbles and put them in the cup. You need to treat this injury like you treat any type of condition or injury, you need to fix the underlying issue, retrain those muscles and eventually get yourself to the point where you can function without orthotics. But it takes patience, it takes time. And a lot of times, people use orthotics as a quick fix when in fact, you need more than that. It’s just annoying this whole quick fix thing, like all the people rushing out to get back surgery, everything else is like a lot of times all these stuff can be fixed just by going after the underlying issue and getting rid of everything from built up shoes to orthotics to chairs to everything else that are causing these issues.
Brock: So it’s more than just letting her foot heal. It’s letting it heal then addressing the problem.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly.
Katy: Hi, Ben! My dad was just released after 42 days in the hospital and rehab center due to Guillan Barre syndrome as result of a flu shot. Her currently is in a wheelchair and can’t walk and I’m wondering if you know of any supplements or homeopathic methods for nerve regeneration that I can pass on to him to help speed his healing. Thank you!
Brock: So Katy’s dad was incredibly unlucky. That’s 1 in 100,000 I think is what the Mayo clinic says is the odds of getting that.
Ben: Yeah. Guillan Barre is a nerve based issue, is a disorder where your immune system damages your own nerve cells. It cause muscle weakness, it can cause muscle paralysis. Some people can recover from it but some people can get permanent nerve damage. It’s kinda similar to polio in that respect where it can cause some almost like multiple sclerosis scarring in the nerves. But it is kinda blown out of proportion. It’s like there are some issues that I have with flu shots but it’s not like everybody who gets a flu shot is gonna get Guillan Barre and there were…
Brock: I have had a flu shot every year of my life and I haven’t had it.
Ben: Yeah, the reports are pretty few and far between. My issue with the flu shot is more due to like the heavy metal issues and a lot of the other kinda things you’re gonna find in a lot of these influenza vaccines and flu shots. I personally haven’t never gotten one in my life and don’t ever plan on it and my kids and my wife don’t get it either. But…
Brock: I have a feeling I get a lot worse things in my body from other places.
Ben: Yeah. I’m still not a fan. You’re gonna have to stop. Brock and I are gonna have a conversation off air about heavy metal toxicity. But let’s address Katy’s question. Now, Katy, first of all, you should go listen to podcast number 235 where we talked about healing nerves and rebuilding nerves because I get into that in detail. We geeked out for like 20minutes. I’ll put a link to podcast number 235 in the show notes. But ultimately, what comes out of that is that some of the things that are gonna be necessary for your nerves to heal properly, number one would be a really good intake of omega 3 fatty acids and specifically what’s called gamma linoleic acid which you’re gonna get from, one thing that’s really high in that for example is borage oil. You’re gonna find borage oil in – there’s one type of fish oil, the other that I use is called Super Essentials omega 3 fatty acids. That one has fish oil, acid it’s also got a source of borage oil in it. So gamma linoleic acid intake is really important so you can be on, if you’re trying to fix a nerve issue, up around like 8-10mg/day of a good high quality fish oil that not only has the omega 3 fatty acids but also has something like borage oil in it. Natural pain killers, I talked about phenocane and how it’s high in that anti-inflammatory curcumin.
Ben: Getting about 1 gram or so of curcumin on a daily basis as a natural pain killer and a natural anti-inflammatory, really important as well. Few other things that really help support nerve healing would be a really good level of magnesium intake. So I’ll be looking at around 400-6-00mg of magnesium per day. Zinc can be really helpful as well. So I would consider using a zinc type of supplement or kinda upping the amount of shellfish in the diet. And then glutathione, glutathione you can get that in like, I like the spray that Dave Asprey sells on his upgraded self website. But you would take glutathione and you do about 4-6 sprays of this sublingual glutathione for really good absorption, that’s another one that I recommend. And then finally, the last thing I talked about, I give a little bit more of kinda like a scientific explanation of all of these in that podcast. One other thing is the whole food antioxidant. I’m a fan of this pack that you can take on a daily basis. It’s got vitamin D, vitamin E, a bunch of really good wild plant based antioxidants in it. That one’s called Lifeshotz .That’s another one that I recommend for this. Now because Guillan Barre is an autoimmune issue, I also recommend that you really get rid of things that are going to contribute to the immune system being hypersensitive in the first place. So I would consider doing something like an autoimmune diet in which you eliminate specifically not for life but for a good 4-8 weeks initially, wheat, dairy, eggs, and soy. My favorite kinda done for you autoimmune diet like that is called the paleo autoimmune diet, I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. That’d be a really good one to check out. But the autoimmune paleo diet, go back and listen in on podcast 235 and including the fish oil, the curcumin, magnesium, zinc, glutathione and antioxidants, would be what I’d go after when it comes to kinda like a natural approach to helping you heal from this. Now I always have to put in my medical disclaimer that I am not a medical doctor. I don’t want this to be misconstrued as medical advice. We’re not trying to manage disease or medical conditions on this show. But that’s what I would do if I were in your shoes. And for those who are listening in and thinking of getting flu vaccines or flu shots, Brock, I would avoid those. We don’t have enough time to get into the nitty gritty on that but I would start by going and reading the book called- it’s not a book it’s a DVD- it’s called Flu and Flu Vaccines, What’s Coming Through That Needle. So, The Flu and Flu Vaccines: What’s Coming Through That Needle. I’ll just put a link to that one in that show notes if you want to go check it out. But it’s a little bit disturbing when it comes to the problematic ingredients like animal cells, and detergents, and formaldehyde and gelatin, and mercury and all the other stuff that is in a flu vaccine.
Kelly: Hi, Ben! Kelly here. I’m listening to your podcast about the top five reasons athletes get fat. And I noticed that you wanted to encourage people to have more fermented foods and a variety of fermented foods. I make my own kombucha so it’s essentially the same brew every day. Is that a problem? Should I add different fermented foods to my diet? Thanks, Ben!
Brock: This is a really interesting question because I know like personally I tend to eat the same yoghurt constantly and we make the yoghurt from the previous batch of yoghurt so in essence I’m doing exactly the same thing as Kelly.
Ben: Yeah, you can go and look at the range of bacteria in your gut, you can go and get a comprehensive gastrointestinal profile from a company like Direct Labs and it will show you all of the different bacteria in your colon, in your small intestine, what kind of range of flora that you have, what you might be deficient in, what you might not have enough of, what you might have excess of, really interesting test. I’m gonna be doing a blog post here pretty soon ‘cause I do that test once a year and I just got my results back literally this morning. I noticed that there’s a pdf in my email with my results. There are really some interesting stuff in there. I haven’t had the chance to dig in to it too thoroughly but, for example, I’m deficient in a couple forms of flora that I can actually repopulate with. For example saccharomyces boulardii is one form of probiotic that looks like I need to do a little bit more of. That’s just something that I know just based on a yearly test. But you can also kinda wrap your head around it this way – you’ve got three different kinds of bacteria that play different roles in your body. You’ve got your beneficial flora, your essential flora, and those are the good guys we always hear about- the friendly bacteria that you get from probiotics and fermented foods like bifido bacteria and lacto bacteria and even some strains of E.coli can be friendly and help you in your digestive tract.
Ben: You’ve also got the bad guys who are called the opportunistic flora and there’s about 500 different species of microbes in your gut that fall under that category. Bu these opportunistic flora, they’re controlled by the beneficial flora, so they can overgrow, they can basically cause bacterial overgrowth issues, small intestine bacterial overgrowth , yeast and fungus infection, things of that nature. If you don’t have them controlled properly by a wide variety of beneficial flora because some opportunistic flora are controlled by some beneficial flora and some aren’t. So then you also have your third type of flora and these are kinda like the drifters. They’re microbes from the outside environment, stuff you take in through food or drink. And some of them can take hold and damage your gut and cause disease. Again it’s the beneficial bacteria, the good guys in your gut that keep a lot of those transitional flora from creating issues. Technically it’s just a checks and balance as game in all of these different forms of bacteria are working together. So you’ve got your beneficial bacteria that’s controlling the opportunistic bacteria from getting out of control and protecting you so that like the opportunistic bacteria, the transitional bacteria, they can take hold inside your gut. But at the same time, a little bit of this opportunistic bacteria and transitional bacteria exposure here and there helps to strengthen your immune system and has kind of this hormetic response just like parasite exposure in some cases can actually be a good thing. So, it’s one of those things where as long as you’re getting enough good bacteria from a wide variety of sources, you’re gonna be able to control a lot of these other bacterial issues. So the thing with probiotics and kinda how to use them the right way is that you need to introduce a wide variety and Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride has a really good book called Gut and Psychology Syndrome, more widely known as the Gaps Diet. And what she says in that book is that a good probiotic should have as many different species of beneficial bacteria as possible because the human gut contains hundreds of different species of bacteria. So you want to try and get as close to that as you can in your diet and she recommends you make sure there are strains from different groups of probiotic bacteria rather than just one group. So for example with just yoghurt you’re getting a lot of times few billion units of lactobacillus acidophilus. And if that’s all you’re doing you may not only benefit from doing like a multi strain probiotic like the one that I take when I’m traveling and I’m not taking a wide variety of fermented foods is Caprobiotics. It’s got 10billion plus strains of a bunch of different types of probiotics. But I also eat yoghurt and yoghurt cheese when I’m at home and I eat sauerkraut and kombucha and kimchi and kefir and a lot of these different types of foods that help to introduce a wide variety of probiotics into your immune system. Even cheese, and wine, and chocolate, those are all byproducts of fermentation. And you’re getting a lot of different strains of probiotics when you’re using those. I’m gonna give you access to few different websites here that are going to give you kind of done-for-you probiotics if you don’t want to make your own at home or if you’re having trouble finding the natural stuff in the grocery store. There’s one called immunutrition.com and at immunutrition.com, they’ll actually send you this mason jars full of fermented vegetables and you can order those without necessarily having to make them yourself. There’s another company called Rejuvenated Foods and they not only have vegetables that are raw and cultured but they also have condiments –they’ve got like probiotic ketchup and sauces and dressing. All sorts of stuff that again kinda gives you a good selection of a wide variety of fermented products. There’s another website if you wanted to kinda make your own homemade fermented product but get really detailed instructions on how to make your own kefir or how to make your own kombucha, that’s at culturesforhealth.com And again I’ll put a link to all these stuff at bengreenfieldfitness.com/268 But those are a few of the sources that you can use –culturesforhealth.com, immunutrition.com rejuvenative.com that kinda will give you some good starting points and introduce a wide variety of probiotics into your body. And then just like at the grocery store you can get kefir which is a yoghurt type drink, get the sugar-free stuff if you can.
Ben: You can find a ton of different brands and type of kombucha and that can be helpful if you swing in the grocery store just play around with different brands and try different ones. Kavida, that’s like, it’s kind of a newer drink. I’m a big fan of kavida and that’s a bottled fermented drink, it’s like this 16oz glass bottle and that one’s really good. Sometimes you might find a little bit off stomach upset if you launch into all this stuff at once. So you can just do like, get like the kombucha tea or the kevita drink and just a drink a little bit of it and kinda spread it out over the day. Don’t go nuts, filling your face with sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir and kevita, and yoghurt all on one day, but begin to introduce just like a little bit of the stuff throughout the week. And that’s really really important for your immune system and the control of the opportunistic bacteria to do that and to not just say use yoghurt. You can even. If you’re using yoghurt, switch brands every couple of months so you’re always introducing these new compounds into your diet. It really is super important. So, in addition to getting Brock off his flu vaccine, we need to have him switch yoghurt brands, right Brock?
Brock: It’s homemade actually.
Ben: I hope you’re taking notes.
Brock: Maybe I’ve got some extra bacteria just dropping into it as we go.
Hugo: Hi, Ben! This is Hugo from Portugal I have a question regarding foam roller. I know you like to use foam roller but getting it here in Portugal, it’s really expensive. I have used tight things using a simple OPVC tube. Could it do the same trick? Do you know of any problems in just using that PVC tube? Are there any non-commercial foam rollers. Love your show. Thanks!
Brock: Now this is a fun question. I have used some crazy things. I’ve even used a beer bottle as a foam roller in hotel rooms.
Ben: There are so many things that you can use to get rid of like fascial adhesions and muscle tissue issues. You don’t need a fancy foam roller. I’m a fan of the Rumble Roller just ‘cause it’s like a really good done-for-you hard foam roller with the ridges coming off it. They make these little balls now called the Beastie Balls, sounds kinda nasty and like something that you might buy at an S and M shop but they’re actually for your muscles.
Brock: Actually, it just makes me wanna rap.
Ben: That’s right. But – or rap, yes…
Brock: Beastie balls!
Ben: You might go there too. You can make your own stuff, for sure. I’ll put a link to a homemade foam roller recipe in the show notes but all you need is a PVC pipe, like a big PVC pipe, like a 4-6inch diameter PVC pipe.
Brock: Not the skinny one but the one you use for the main stack in your house.
Ben: Exactly, like a 2-4 foot long PVBC pipe. You need some duct tape. You need some pipe insulation foam, few bucks in the hardware store. You basically, in a nutshell, the article that I’ll link to will dig into this a little bit more, but you’re just wrapping the foam around the PVC pipe using duct tape as an adhesive and bam! You’re done! So that’s one way to do it. It doesn’t involve ridges sticking up out of it but it’s super duper hard, harder than most of those cheapo foam rollers you’re gonna get from the sporting goods store. And they’re really easy to put together. If you’d do that and just grab a couple of tennis balls, or lacrosse balls, duct tape them together, and you’re good to go. homemadestrength.blogspot.com has a really good article on making your own foam roller, doing your own trigger point therapy balls. That’s one thing that I’d do. Another thing is that there are all sorts of hard things around your house that you can use. In Kelly Starrett’s book, Becoming a Supple Leopard is really good for this. It shows you how you can use like a stick, like a broomstick or any like a barbell or anything like that to like mobilize your shoulder by kinda pinning your shoulder between the broomstick and the wall. You can sit with your butt on the handle of a kettle bell or the edge of a dumbbell and kinda do some butt works that way. You can again use lacrosse balls, tennis balls, you can use door frames to mobilize your shoulders.
Brock. I love door frames.
Ben: Yeah, like literally leaning into the side of the doorframe and dig in your shoulder. By the way, that rumble roller, those beastie balls that they make, they have this wall unit and I’ve got it. You can just attach it to the wall and it’s got the two little beastie balls on it and you can literally just roll up and down that thing and find hot spots in your back. We can do the same thing if you want to like to a freaking tree or leg post if you really want to be like Blue the Bear in Jungle Book, rubbing his back against a tree. So, there’s…
Brock: His back.
Ben: His butt, yeah. So, his glutes. But there’s all sorts of things you can use from kettle bells to dumbbells, to barbells to broomsticks to tress. I mean, like –what you’re going after is actually putting pressure on really, really tight spots anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes of pressure against the really tight spot until you feel that knot release. Or you’re actually working an area of fascia over and over again. Ten to twenty passes is pretty typical as far as like how many times you pass a hard object over that joint –not joint but over that area of tight fascial tissue. And that’s all it takes so I personally twice a week do a full body foam rolling session using the rumble roller and then I keep the golf ball underneath my desk and I’d roll the golf ball, usually that’s couple times a week that I’d do like all along my foot for about five minutes per foot on the golf ball. And then I’ve also got lacrosse ball that I use specifically in my glutes and my hips typically on a Saturday or Sunday I’d just do about 2 minutes per hip, just grab my lacrosse ball from my desk and that’s about it. So I just kinda have a system where I’d go out of my way to get this soft tissue work. I used to get a massage once a week. I rarely if ever get a massage now because I can skip the drive time to a massage therapist. I can sit there with my MP3 player through a podcast, do my foam rolling and call it good. My injury rate is just as low doing that as it was when I was paying money and going to a massage therapist. So there you go.
Brock: I think it’s important to mention to that even if you spend like 40, or 60, or 80 bucks on these foam rollers, they have a life span as well. So not only are you making the initial investment, if you’ve had it for like 2 or 3 years, you’ll notice it just doesn’t have the rigidity left in it. So you’re gonna have to go and pick up another one anyway. So if you can figure out ways to do it not costing you 40, 60, 80 bucks, then that’s even better for all of us. You don’t have to live in Brazil.
Ben: PVC pipe, baby.
Brock: Awesome! Well, let’s – should we jump into reading today’s iTune review?
Ben: Let’s give some gear away. So we got this Ben Greenfield Fitness gear package. You could check it out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear but you get a sweet tech shirt that’s a really cool exercise shirt, not a cheapo cotton tent. You get a Ben Greenfield Fitness beanie which is just bad ass. The beanies are really cool.
Brock: You can put it under your bike helmet, too. So this time of year if you’re riding your bike around, that’s perfect.
Ben: Yup, and then BPA-free water bottle. So there you go, and who’s the winner this week, Brock?
Brock: Alright, it’s a guy, I’m assuming it’s a guy with the name Wasper 007. Is that a play on vesper?
Ben: Could be.
Brock: Perhaps. Anyway, the title is Lack of Talent. Not sure about that. Five starts though so it’s a good sign. Okay, so Wasper007 says, “No, I’m not referring to Ben Greenfield’s lack of talent, but that of this generation’s music. So I’ve turned to the podcast entertainment for my car rides. I’m a middle school health and physical education teacher as well as a part time personal trainer and although my clientele is far from tri athletes, the information you give is awesome. Keep up the good work!”
Ben: So, he managed to basically diss this generation’s music and give us props on one review.
Ben: That’s fantastic!
Brock: It’s really solidifying yourself as an old guy.
Ben: That’s right! If he’s referring to…
Brock: Ahh, music these days! It’s terrible! Kids don’t know music! But the podcast, I love these podcasts! Nice! More my speed! They talk slowly.
Ben: Wasper, if you want to get a sweet kit from us, just email Ben@ bengreenfieldfitness.com. Let us know your address that we read your podcast review on the show and we’ll send you out a sweet package.
Brock: Don’t worry, we won’t email it to you, we’ll send it by post office. No offense, we don’t send by email.
Ben: If you can, if you’re listening on the review over at iTunes. I think that being said that myself and my geriatric sidekick.
Brock: Hey, get off my lawn.
Ben: We’ll sign out, until next week!
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