Introduction: In this episode: How To Lower Lactic Acid Burn, Should Multivitamins Have Fish Oil, Can Digestive Enzymes Make You Gain Weight, How Muscle Testing Works, and How To Get Rid of Water Retention.
Welcome to the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast. We provide you with free exercise, nutrition, weight loss, triathlon, and wellness advice from the top fitness experts in the nation. So whether you’re an ironman tri-athlete, or you’re just trying to shed a few pounds, get ready for non-run-of-the-mill, cutting edge content from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
Brock: So what the heck, where have you been?
Ben: Where I’ve been. Oh…
Brock: Where you’ve been there buddy?
Ben: Yeah, we’ve kinda strayed from our usual podcast episodes. I just been travelling a lot, well, I took my family over to Montana. Over to big fork Montana. Everything’s big in Montana by the way. They just name, you know, big pancakes…
Brock: I just know they do. Isn’t there like big fish and big mountain.
Ben: Yup. Big sky country, big rocky mountain oyster festival. Everything’s big in Montana and Montana itself…
Brock: Did you have some oysters? Did you have some those oysters?
Ben: I didn’t have any of the rocky mountain oysters. Apparently they aren’t in season…
Brock: They’re not in season?
Ben: … so to speak. For those folks out there who don’t know what rocky mountain oysters are over in Montana, they have this…
Brock: they’re testicles.
Ben: …this annual celebration in which they eat – I believe they’re sheep testicles. So, anyways though I had a Spartan Race over there which went great until I lost my shoe in a mud pit and wind up completing the race clad in one shoe. I guess…
Brock: Oh you actually like lost it, lost it.
Ben: Oh lost it, lost it.
Brock: Now it came off and you put it back and you just like abandoned it.
Ben: Yeah, exactly.
Brock: Yeah, you’re hard core.
Ben: Hmm, and then I flew over to New York City the next day and I’ve been shooting videos of…
Brock: New York City!
Ben: New York City, yeah!
Brock: You remember that commercial?
Ben: (laughs) Which one?
Brock: I hear some sort of, I don’t know, it’s like a hot sauce or something at that would say, “New York City”!
Ben: Oh, now I am not familiar with that commercial.
Brock: Yeah, maybe you’re too young for that. I’ll ask old folks listening to the podcast. You know what I’m talking about.
Ben: They’re all reminiscing now with a tear in their eye.
Brock: Yeah, totally. Anyway, sorry, I interrupted you. You are in New York City all week and what the heck were you doing there?
Ben: Well, shooting some videos for a – one of the video series I was doing for my get fit guy podcast and it was kinda funny because we realized right before we started the shooties exercise videos and I’ll be putting them online soon but we didn’t have dumb bells to demonstrate a bunch of the dumb bell exercises that I wanted to do, so I actually walked about 8 blocks over to the department store in New York City down from the studio. Bought dumb bells and basically carried dumb bells through downtown New York City and shot the video and then return the dumb bells with the excuse that they were too light. (laughs) Literally.
Brock: These things are for weaklings.
Ben: Way too light.
Brock: So lots of news flashes this week. I think we could probably go on for like a month. I don’t know about you but I was like totally in undated with studies all week.
Ben: I figured we could just talk about stretching, red bull, and poop. Those are the 3 biggies.
Brock: Those are the 3 biggies pretty much always.
Ben: And there was of course that huge “to do” that came out about gluten but I think we’ll…
Brock: Yeah, that was I was thinking of.
Ben: Actually we’ll be talking about that next week I believe. If you wanna hit over to twitter.com/bengreenfield, that’s where I release news flashes based off of the latest and greatest exercise science and nutrition research, all week long in three… drum roll please… brrrrrrr.
Brock: That was terrible drum roll. This is a real drum roll…
Ben: Three of the biggies this week. The first is about stretching. So I think probably most of our listeners and a lot of people who are kinda on the pointy edge of exercise probably have heard by now that stretching might decrease the amount of strength and the amount of power that you can produce when you’re exercising. Right. Like they’ve done all these studies…
Brock: Wait, are you talking about stretching muscles or stretching the truth?
Ben: Yeah, like static stretching. Both. But stretching muscles like the – for example, they’ve done a study on runners where they showed that runners who do hill repeats run them much more slowly when they stretch before hand.
They’ve done studies in weight lifters showing that decreased squat, decreased bench press, all of these weren’t variables affected deleteriously by stretching when it comes to strength and power. But there was a very interesting article that appeared this week over on Biohacks Blog that static stretching on off days actually increases strength. This was really interesting…
Brock: Increases strength! Hmm.
Ben: Increases strength. So they took a bunch of these college students and they have them do weight lifting program and the only difference between the two groups was that one group stretched on the off days and the other group didn’t. So this was a three day week weight training program and the group that stretched on the off days, they were stretching a long time. Like we’re talking like, yogi style stretching like they were on 30 solid minutes of static stretching not the fancy dynamic stretching but the actual stretch and hold and release. And breathe…
Brock: And breathe…
Ben: And what is it that you said at the end of the yoga class again?
Ben: Namaste! That’s right. Namaste! So anyways…
Ben: … after they namasted and aummed a week for eight solid weeks, what they found was that both groups gained muscle but in the group that did the stretching, they actually increased their leg press one rep max as well as a couple of other things that they measured in the study particularly knee flexion and knee extension by up to over 30%. The weight training plus the stretching group had gains that significantly exceeded that of the group that didn’t do the stretching and all that was needed for this large increases over the other group was that they added in the stretching. So basically…
Brock: And so – Was the group that was stretching, there were 30% more than the ones who weren’t stretching or just everybody was 30%?
Ben: The ones that were stretching got 30% stronger.
Ben: …so stretching turns out does not…
Brock: I reiterate my holy crap then.
Ben: Yes, reiterate that. Take it by…
Brock: Holy crap!
Ben: How do you say it backwards? So, stretching does not universally lead to less strength during exercise and in fact the opposite maybe true as the study shows. This is why – well, this isn’t why but this – so I stretch everyday. I do about 10 minutes of yoga every morning and what I’m careful to do is keep it separate from my actual hard training. So I do hard training in the afternoon or the early evening and I do a little bit of yoga in the morning. It turns out that that yoga is probably not deleteriously affecting my hard training later on of the day and may in fact be actually be making me stronger. So, really interesting study and I’ll link to that one over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/283. Now, there was another study that came out on Red Bull.
Brock: Hmm, gives you wings!
Ben: And it gives you wings.
Brock: Another study proof that it really does give you wings?
Ben: Well, there’s so many of these folks out there that are like, you know, whatever in this especial needs, bag of their Ironman triathlon bag keeping that red bull or slamming a red bull during a long cycling effort or using red bull as a pick-me-up specifically during endurance exercises you see this a lot. Of course, also see it in folks who are like slamming a red bull before they head to the gym. For me, back when I was doing a lot of body building, I was doing the Monster and the Rockstar energy drinks.
Brock: I used to see them all the time on the hockey bench too like old guys down on the red bull just keeping up with the younger guys.
Ben: Yeah, they’re pretty stereo typical blends, you know, they’ve got like taurine, caffeine, some carbohydrates, some B vitamins, I mean like a lot of these energy drinks are kinda the same recipe for the most part. They just did a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in which they used pre-exercise energy drink consumption, in this case, Red Bull. What they found was that before endurance cycling performance (meaning a very hard 25 miles simulated road race on a bicycle), they found that not only did red bull not improved cycling performance and actually slightly decrease cycling performance when it was consumed prior to exercise but there was a huge increase in inflammatory markers. Meaning this interleukin 6’s which are an inflammatory marker that you technically would not want to be highly elevated during exercise was increased; leukocytes number or basically a hyper immune response was increased and all of these was in response to the red bull.
They actually – they used a few placebos, they had a sparkling water placebo, they had a cola placebo that had the same amount of caffeine and carbohydrate as the red bull but didn’t have some of these other components like the taurine and there’s another one called glucuronolactone. So basically the cola had some of the stuff but it turns out it’s not just the caffeine in the red bull, it’s all the stuff put together in the red bull. Not only makes you less better at exercise but also causes inflammation. So, I would toss red bull right up there with Ibuprofen and Advil as something to really go out of your way to avoid when combined with exercise. Toss that one in the trash bin.
Brock: Alright, done.
Ben: Boom! And then the last thing of course, that I have to mention is this excellent article that was on livescience.com about 5 Tools for Tracking your Stools, that’s right. Poop apps and there are actually a variety of poop tracking apps out there that allow you to keep track of the health of your gut by looking at the condition of your poo. I’ll link to this in the show notes but ….
Brock: Please don’t tell you take pictures.
Ben: Here are the poop track apps that you have access to should you desire to use them. The first is called…
Brock: This one is called insta-poop? (laughs) or poopstagram. Poopstagram there we go!
Ben: That’s just called Instagram and your toilet but they’ve got one called pooplog, which is a free android app…
Brock: (laughs) This is awesome!
Ben: Aha! It let you record your bowel movement using the Bristol stool scale which we actually talked about on this podcast before. It is very good!
Brock: I love the Bristol stool scale, yeah.
Ben: Yeah, it’s a great stool scale. We all know and love the Bristol stool scale. It let you classify your feces into 7 different categories based on shape and texture and even allows you to share it with a note to the social media platform of your choice. So, there’s that. There is another one, an android app again called the poop diary that let you track your stools and then provides… this one actually provides… statistics. Yes, not the diarrhea, the diary to allow you to clearly understand your poop condition and the app can actually tell you whether you’re constipated or you haven’t had a bowel movement for a while just in case you need an app to tell you that.
Brock: Just in case you didn’t notice.
Ben: They’ve got one called bowel mover pro and bowel mover pro is the one for iPhone and it let you track the number and the texture of your bowel movements but also your stress level, how many cups of water you’ve had and whether your meals were gluten-free. So you could see how lifestyle choices that you make affect your bowels. Now, a couple of others are kinda interesting. These are the last two: one is called “places I’ve pooped” and it’s simply an app that lets you keep track of the places where you’ve gone “number two”. These seem like the least science-y of the app that they listed.
Brock: Yeah, that doesn’t seem really helpful at all.
Ben: But I supposed if you wanna post an update of places that you pooped, that is an option. And then finally, poopMD because bowel problems can signal deadly diseases and poop. Brock, it’s not always a laughing matter…
Brock: It’s not always funny…
Ben: That’s right, sometimes it’s very serious. There’s this new smart phone app called poopMD and they said that their program can detect signs of severe liver diseases that affect new born babies because this liver diseases are marked by white or clay colored poop which is an abnormality that many parents aren’t actually want to watch out for and so this app allow parents to snap photos of their babies diaper contents. And then it’s got color recognition software in it that sends the doctor feedback about the parents poo and also gives the parents feedback and the parents can share the photos with their child’s pediatrician, etc. so you could actually find out if you or your baby has some biliary or some liver issues, so, really interesting, color recognition software for poo. So ultimately we’ll link to that as well as all the other cool research that we just got on talking about over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/283.
So, check it out and look for the scene – lots of places that you’ve poop over on the Ben Greenfield fitness facebook page.
Brock: If there’s one place you can share it, it’s with us.
Brock: I know you’re posting all of your workouts over at the Inner Circle but can you share with us your craziest workout in the last week.
Ben: That’s right and that’s a new thing that I’m doing out. Every single day I’m writing down my exact workout and posting it to all of our members over at the bengreenfieldfitnessinnercircle and I’m also doing food photos. I’m not to include food photos yet but I’m doing food photos.
Brock: Please don’t do food photos, not there.
Ben: And of course since I’ve been travelling a bunch, I’ve got a bunch of really good travel workouts log. So here’s one of them for example, this is at the hotel – this is the one that you can do at the hotel that has the gym that so crappy that there aren’t even any hand weights and all of the weight machines are broken but there is a decent bicycle. So, for this workout, you do 5 rounds of this. So…
Brock: It’s a very specific hotel.
Ben: Uhmm, you do a one mile on the indoor bike as fast as you can. Usually it takes 2-4 minutes but basically that’s what your goal is – one mile. Then you get off the bike and you get into a hand stand position on the wall which is easier than a lot of people would think like once you get the hang of it, it’s not that hard to do a hand stand pushup and you just go as low as you can go for 5 hand stand pushups and if you can even do one hand stand pushup, just get into a hand stand position and hold it for about 10-20 seconds. You’ll still get some shoulder strengthening effect from that. And then you come down out of that hand stand pushup position and you do one 60 second lunges per leg. So just like you’re down and like this isometric lunge hold position. Sixty seconds for the right leg, 60 seconds for the left leg and you go through that 5 times, so one mile by sprint, 5 hand stand pushups, 60 seconds lunge hold per leg. So that’s the…
Brock: Oh, when you’re doing the lunge holds, do you try to squeeze your legs together or push them out or you just worry about holding it?
Ben: Hmm, great question. For the leg that’s out in front of your body when you’re in the lunge, you wanna make sure that the knee stays more towards the little toe than the big toe. So you don’t want that adaptor collapse so to speak so you keep that leg kinda externally rotated – so that was one. Here’s another one – I was on the 15th floor on one of the hotels that I stayed at, so you go to the bottom of the stairwell and what you do is you go 15 floors and you alternate each landing that you get to as you sprint up the stairs by doing 20 mountain climbers on one landing and then when you get to the next landing, you do 20 body weight squats and then you run to the next landing, 20 mountain climbers then you run to the next landing and you do 20 body weight squats and you do that and you can do that just once for just like a really quick metabolic booster. For my workout that day I did it three times, those like a 20, 25 minute workout. So alternating each landing on the stairs with a difference body exercise.
Ben: That one was pretty good and then the last one, here’s another idea for you. This is about a 15 minute long workout – I do this when I’m at conferences, I will choose 3 different exercises and do as many rounds as possible for 15 minutes because usually at a beginning of a conference when you’ve gotten out of bed before you go to the conference in the morning, usually you can find 15 minutes. You can make it happen. At the end of the day, let’s say the conference ends and you meet a bunch of people for dinner, whatever, usually you can also find 15 minutes at the end of the day. To slip up to your room and get in that quick 15 minutes. So the workout that I did actually both morning and evening that I was at the conference because I didn’t want that mental barrier having a make-up a new workout so I just stuck to the same exercises. So, it’s 10 lunge jumps per leg – that’s where you get down in lunging position and you jump and you switch legs and you jump and you switch legs, so 10 per leg and then you get down on to your back on the ground, you do 50 flutter kicks and then you flip over and you do 50 mountain climbers and you just repeat that as many rounds as you can do for 15 minutes.
Ben: That was another one at the hotel workouts that I did. So anyways, for that and all the other workouts that I’m now logging, you can go over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle and check it out. It’s 10 bucks a month to join the inner circle – so it’s a cool way to kinda stay at the cutting edge of everything that I’m kinda doing that I talked about in this podcast and incorporate into my own life including the – I’m teaching a conference to my inner circle members on coffee enemas next week and…
Brock: Ah, I was wondering if we ever gonna hear about what happened with the coffee enemas.
Ben: Yeah, and I even talk to Dave Asprey at the conference that I was at over in New York and he did give me permission to brand as the bulletproof coffee enemas since I’m using bulletproof coffee in my coffee enemas.
Brock: Yes! Oh yeah, you don’t wanna have microtoxins in your enema.
Ben: That’s right! I don’t know if the poop app would be able to identify that. Okay so, couple of other quick special announcements for those who are in the Minneapolis St. Paul area, June 10th (mark your calendars) I’m gonna be speaking at Concordia University over there and the title of my talk is Ten Tips for Achieving the Most out of Business, Body, and Life. Eh, how you like that? Catchy title ha.
Brock: So is it 3 and a 3rd tips per topic?
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Three point 3, 3 tips per topic. Yup. So that’s gonna be at 7 0’clock pm, Central time, that’s a Tuesday night and that’s at Concordia University which is on the St. Paul campus. There’s also gonna be a live broadcast online and I’ll put a link in the show notes. That’s all totally free, so you can check that one out and again that’s June 10th over in Minneapolis. Then finally last night I spent an hour on Spreecast answering questions about multivitamins. Lots of really good questions about multivitamins that came through like about whether it’s a bad thing or good thing, if your pee changes color, whether you actually should take extra vitamin D over and above what’s in a multivitamin if you’re a vitamin D deficient or if there’s a toxicity issue with that, whether you should add things in a multivitamin if you’re above 60 years old, lots of really good questions that I got during that session. I spent an hour just jamming and getting to as many questions as possible. If you didn’t get the chance to attend that, then what you can do is, I just embedded the entire video in the show notes for this episode. So that’s over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/283, you can download it as an audio or you can watch as a video whatever you want. If you watch the beginning of the video, there is even a quick little interview with my wife as she’s making coconut macaroons with her hair tied up in that big giant towel like women mysteriously do. That’s all over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/283. Check it out.
Thea: Hi Ben, it’s Thea. I wanted to know why it is that within minutes of starting to exercise whether I’m spend cycling or running or even just climbing a stairs, I get what feels like a massive lactic acid burn in my quads and I haven’t even done anything yet. Can you tell me why this is and if there’s anything I can do to stop it so that this beginning of my exercise is more pleasant. Thanks, love the podcast.
Brock: I hate that! You’re in really good shape, you know you’re in good shape but you’re like climbing up quite a stairs and your leg start to burn. What is up with that?
Ben: It burns! Well, first of all it’s not lactic acid, could be lack of lactic acid.
Brock: Lactic acid is good. It’s a helpful thing.
Ben: Let me begin by dispelling three pretty significant myths here about lactic acid.
Brock: Do it.
Ben: So myth number one is that lactic acid is what is actually burning and the buildup of lactic acid is what’s holding back your performance. Lactic acid is just this end product of metabolism. You’ve got – your different types of metabolism and one of them is the one called glycolysis and glycolysis is breaking down sugar basically stored sugar or sugar that’s circulating in your bloodstream and turning in to ATP and one of the by-products of that is the generation of lactic acid but also what are called hydrogen ions or free hydrogen ions. Hydrogen ions can lead to that burn being felt but even though lactic acid is being generated at the same time with those hydrogen ions being generated, it’s the hydrogen ions as the by-product of glycolysis where the breakdown of sugar that are causing that burning sensation. It’s not the lactic acid. So the reality is that lactic acid is actually a fuel source. There’s actually this really interesting study that was done where they took radioactive lactate and they injected in the rats during exercise and they trace that lactate and what happens to it.
And what happens is a lactic acid easily travels through all of your different cell membranes throughout your blood. What they discovered in this particular experiment was this lactate show which is, it’s called the cori cycle and what happens with this lactate show is lactate that’s produce via metabolism or in this case produced by being injected into your body. It gets transported into the liver and it gets converted into glucose and it gets sent to the bloodstream into whatever area needs to tap into glucose. Lactate acid is a fuel source, doesn’t cause a burn, it’s the hydrogenise that cause the burn.
Brock: Next time when I went in the gym and I’m like helping some guy do bench press, like spotting a guy I’m gonna stand there and yell, “Feel the hydrogen burn”.
Ben: Hydrogen. That’s right. So the next thing, the next myth out there is that lactic acid or lactate is what causes muscle soreness. The fact is that muscle soreness is caused by the activation of what are called nociceptors which are pain receptors. Nociceptors get activated by inflammation and inflammation is what’s caused when a muscle fiber gets damaged, literal structural damage from tearing of muscle fibers whether that’s running or just weight training. The idea here is that it’s the buildup of inflammation and the stimulation of those nociceptors from the pressure caused by inflammation that causes soreness and lactic acid is typically long gone by the time it happens. Like lactic acid is gone within like 30 to 2 hours max like it’s just gone. So it doesn’t cause that soreness at all. The final thing is that you’re supposed to somehow avoid this lactic acid buildup or that this lactic acid buildup isn’t a good thing, and the fact is that figuring out ways to hack as much as lactic acid buildup into your muscle tissue as possible is one of the best ways to massively upregulate this buffering enzymes at a responsible for not only buffering hydrogen ions but also responsible for shuddering lactic acid up to your liver to get converted into glucose. That’s why I talk about weird biohacks in my book like I have this one biohack where you get one of this electrostim machine like a compact for example that will deliver electric stimulation in muscle tissue and then you get in to one of those isometric positions like that lunge I was talking about earlier that I was doing at the gym or travelling. You electrostim the muscle while holding it in this isometric position and this builds up massive amount of lactic acid. It allows you to be able to buffer more lactic acid and be able to upregulate a bunch of these enzymes and basically hack your way into this increase buffering capacity even more quickly than you’d be able to do if you’re doing like threshold or tempo efforts on a treadmill or bicycle or something like that. In the absence of electrostim and isometrics, you can certainly do short but basically anything that’s below about it, 2-3 minute effort but short efforts that caused that burn to occur, tap into glycolysis, buildup lactic acid and then rest and recovery and do it again. That’s a really, really good way to train because you upregulate mictochondrial density and fat oxidation and everything else you to get better at exercise.
Brock: It’s also a really great way to get warmed up for a really short intense race.
Ben: Exactly,yup, exactly. That’s one of the best ways to warm up if you’re gonna go to a triathlon or 5k, you want to pre-initiate the production of lactic acid so those buffering enzymes are already working. It’s the whole philosophy behind like – there’s even supplements out there like there’s one called Sportleg or something like that where it actually is lactate like you’re ingesting lactate so that you’re loading yourself with lactate before you even start to increase the activity of those enzymes. The beef I have with sportlegs, those you know, why not save yourself 20, 30 bucks and just do some stride, do a good warmup. Exactly, do some strides. So, the question is what can cause this burn and how to stop this burn. Back to the question. I just wanted to make sure we didn’t totally vilify lactic acid. So first of all, it’s not a lactic acid burn, it’s a hydrogen ion burn. Some of the things that can cause this though: the first is hypoxia. Lack of oxygen delivery to muscle tissue can reduce your ability to buffer this hydrogen ions and a couple of the issues that I’ve seen when it comes to hypoxia is number one, just not paying attention to deep diaphragmatic breathing throughout the day.
Many of us spend our entire day in the state of hypoxia and then once we do start exercising, climbing stairs, etc. we’re so deoxygenated that we just get a burn all the time. So that’s one thing that can cause this. Another thing that can cause this is buildup of inflammation that causes pressure on those nociceptors that causes a very similar type of burn. Again, when I’m testing athletes or working with folks and will do like s hscrp blood test, so many people because of stress, lack of sleep, exposure to emp signals all day long, they just walk around in this constantly inflamed state and that can cause that burn when you know, you climb a flight of stairs and you’re fatigue from climbing that flight of stairs right away, that can cause this well. Lack of ATP and muscle glycogen depletion can cause this. I see these lots of times on folks who are eating a really low carbohydrate diet and or over training. So, you actually need enough ATP to be able to buffer this hydrogen ions efficiently and if you’re walking around with constantly depleted levels of ATP and or constantly depleted levels of glycogen or creatine for that matter (that’s another metabolize used in many cases) you are in a condition where you simply gonna feel that burn no matter what. I tend to see this again on folks who are not eating enough food or severely restricting carbohydrates or who are simply doing so many hard sessions day after day that they’re walking around in a constantly depleted state when it comes to ATP stores. On the flipside that’s why I like one of the things that I load with before really important race – I’ve been talking about this X2performance stuff that I take for example and it’s got a bunch of different buffering enzymes and stuff in it but one of the things that it has in it is just disodium ATP. You’re literally just like drinking ATP to be able to reduce a lot of that burn that might happen when you’re exercising.
Brock: It’s just d-ribose, right?
Ben: Yeah, well it’s d-ribose, it’s disodium ATP, there’s some like trace amount of caffeine, it’s got a little bit like an insulin precursor and chelated dry glucose in a muscle tissue, it’s interesting stuff and I don’t use it everyday. Like I use it about once every couple of months, I load with it for about a week, week and a half going into like a hard race.
Ben: What else can cause lactic acid acidosis? Dehydration. You need adequate amounts of water to be able to buffer this hydrogen ions. So the more hydrated you are, the less like you are to feel that burn during a workout or burn when you’re climbing a flight of stairs, so that’s another big one, is dehydration. If you’re walking around in dehydrated state and inflamed state or you’re simply not engage in deep diaphragmatic breathing, all that stuff can cause that premature burn when you’re just walking around. There are medical conditions…
Brock: Drink more, breath more.
Brock: Inflame less.
Ben: Inflame less. So there are deficiencies – there are certain enzymes responsible that can assist with buffering and lactate like glucose 6 phosphatase is one. There’s another one called fructose 1,6 bisphosphate and these are simply enzymes that some people can be deficient in as like a genetic condition. Diabetes is another condition that can actually cause this in some causes. This lactic acidosis is the actual technical term for it but it’s this excessive buildup of hydrogen ions. Drinking, like having alcohol in your bloodstream can cause you to be able to buffer this hydrogen ions a little bit less. That’s one of the reasons that exercise hurt so much and seems to burn so much more if you have been drinking. And there even some drugs interestingly that can decrease your ability to be able to buffer hydrogen ions during exercise like metformin – a popular diabetic drug that can cause this type of issue. Most of these are less prevalent than simply being over trained, low on ATP, low on glycogen, dehydrated, not breathing the right way. The other thing, the final thing to bear in mind when it comes to hypoxia or inadequate oxygen delivery to tissues, is fascial adhesions and lack of soft tissue integrity meaning that you’re not getting any massage work done, you’re not doing any foam rolling, you’re not paying attention to any of your soft tissue work and you’re walking around with muscles that are constantly adheased that can really affect your ability to deliver oxygen and metabolize the tissue and can contribute to this buildup of hydrogen ions. So that’s another thing I’d really focus on to be to make sure that you’re not just completely neglecting soft tissue work.
Fishy: Hey Ben and Brock, I know you really like this new Thorne FX Multivitamin but from everything you’ve ever said, if feels like there should be some fish oil in it. It wouldn’t have been better if it had some fish oil in it? Thanks.
Ben: Actually you know, what you’re really supposed to do with multivitamins, Brock?
Brock: What’s that?
Ben: You’re supposed to feed them to fish and then eat the fish. Like that’s kind of the best of both worlds. I actually have a bowl of goldfish on my kitchen counter that I use specifically for that.
Brock: Oh, so nice small fish like just you’re able to pop them in your mouth?
Ben: Yeah, you just shove that capsule down their throats and you literally just swallow the fish or you want to, you could fillet it I guess if you’re not a sushi person.
Brock: or a frat boy.
Ben: So yeah, if you use a multivitamin, you have to take a fish oil along with it, if you’re going to the fish oil. I’m a fan of fish oil, (I’ll get into why that is in a second) but for example this multivitamin that I’m taking and I’m recommending now. It’s called the multi-complex – it’s 3 capsules in the morning, 3 in the evening and it’s a blend of vitamins and minerals but you can’t include oil in that formula. The reason is because if you were to try and combine a fish oil inside the capsule with all those capsular ingredients, it displaces huge amount of the actual oil in order to actually get all that oil into a dry capsule based environment. It’s very difficult to mix dry capsule ingredients in an oil base environment and expect them to retain their efficacy.
Brock: So this is more of a manufacturing issue than it is anything else.
Ben: Exactly. You’re essentially combining two different delivery technologies that don’t work very well together. The FDA is actually now cracking down on this claims made by multivitamins that try to combine oil components with dry capsule components because they are many claims made out there about absorbability that simply aren’t true. I’ve been researching this for the past year trying to come up with what the good multivitamins are and what the not so good ones are and ultimately no matter what multivitamin you’re taking should have fish oil mixed in with the dry capsule components. What you do is you take a multivitamin and then you take a fish oil in addition to the multivitamin.
Brock: So that’s not gonna make any malabsorption in your gut then, is it?
Ben: Right. You simply can’t have the oil mixed in with the capsule. You can take both of them at the same time and that’s ideal. You take the fish oil with a fat containing meal which is going to increase absorption of that actual fish oil and then you take a vitamin along with that vitamin as well if you wanna increase your actual intake of nutrients and botanicals and vitamins. So you just don’t want the oil components mixed in with the capsule components because that’s where you get some issues in terms of the actual efficacy of the vitamin, its ability to maintain potency and shelf life like there’s a lot of issues that happen when you combine an oil with a dry capsule ingredients. Now as far as actual fish oil, the reason I’m fan of fish oil is because for you to get the amount of EPA and DHA that gives you really step up when it comes to fighting inflammation, from exercise and in many cases unnaturally high levels of exercise like going out and pounding the pavement for 45 minutes a day, going out and lifting weights, or training for an ironman or training for Spartan or training for marathon like all of these things require a pretty high amount of anti-inflammatory essential omega 3 fatty acids and you have to eat anywhere from about 6-10 ounces of wild caught fish a day in order to get the amount of EPA and DHA for ideal neurological health and anti-inflammatory activity. If you’re able to do that everyday, great! Don’t take a fish oil. I personally, I’m not able to do that even the can of sardines that I do, it’s still technically only giving about half of the amount of EPA and DHA that I technically need. Unless I’m eating a big fillet of fish like wild caught salmon…
Brock: Not the Mcdonald’s fillet of fish?
Ben: Yeah, I just take a fish oil. So there are some issues though when it comes to fish oil like over fishing and fish farming, sustainability and
the actual extraction process of the fish oil and whether or not it’s rancid, whether it’s been exposed to heat, how much it’s been exposed to light, you do want to be careful with the type of fish oil that you actually use. And again, this is something that I researched, I’ve talked about that that Thorne FX Multivitamin that I take. I’ll talk about Super Essentials for example like that’s a good fish oil – it’s a fish liver oil, it’s cold process, it’s mixed with astaxanthin and vitamin E to protect it from oxidation, that’s a really good one. I also nowam recommending this Thorne FX one and you check it out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/fishoil. It comes from fish that are caught off the coast of Chile and they’re processed and plants along the coast of Chile. Many of the other fish oil products that contain fish oil sourced from Chile, they get processed in Norway or another country and that requires to get the oil transported in barrels and shipped several thousand miles before it’s actually processed. Here, it’s processed right where it was harvested and they’re actually certified by what’s called the IFFO and what that certification does is it guaranteed what’s called the traceability of an oil. In short…
Brock: Is that the international fishy fishy oil?
Ben: Exactly. The international fishy fishy oil organization, basically what it does is it assures that the fish has been raised and caught using sustainable practices and that it came where the manufacturer says that it actually comes from. You’ve also got into that particular one it’s called the Super EPA, the one from Thorne FX, it’s got the higher concentrations of EPA in it and the reason I like that is because this entire line that I’m now using from Thorne, that’s design for athletes and specifically the higher concentration of EPA stimulates protein synthesis so it can allow for greater levels of muscle recovery when you got higher levels of EPA in a compound like that. Ultimately, I recommend you use fish oil on days when you’re not eating a lot of fish, I recommend you use something that’s similar to the stuff that I just got on talking about, that’s certified, that’s source from a good place and I recommend that you take it not mixed into the same capsule as like a multivitamin but you take it separately from multivitamin.
Diane: Hi Ben, Hi Brock, this is Diane from Toronto. I listened to your recent review of the Thorne FX Multivitamin and I had a question along with a lot of other people, I’m wondering how the Thorne FX compares to the “anti-competition” multivitamin technology that’s in the Jayson and Mira Calton’s Nutrience Multivitamin? That one is a 2 a day powder for morning and evening and I’m curious as to how it compares to the Thorne FX. Thanks a lot! Always enjoyed the show.
Brock: I’m not familiar with the Nutrience stuff itself.
Ben: More, more multivitamin questions. I’m really…
Brock: You opened a can of whoop ass on yourself.
Ben: I know. I know I opened a can of worms by coming out of the closet and admitting to the fact that I now take a multivitamin everyday.
Brock: Hey, can I – can I ask you a question before we get in to Diane’s question because I know some people have been curious, and you may have answered this during your pre-cast but – so does this mean- now that you’ve teamed up with Thorne FX that your brand that you’ve been working on for the last couple years, the Rev Vitamin, is that done? Is that a dead deal now?
Ben: Yep! Basically, yeah. So, I…
Brock: Basically, Thorne was good enough for you just by- you know what, this is it.
Ben: Yeah, we’re working on developing an endurance formula now. I’m pretty much- I’m on their board of advisers now and we are working on developing new formulas and enhancing their current formulas and they’re pretty much tapping into what I do, the research I do, what I know about competition and performance and we’re trying to do the best stuff on the face of the planet specifically for active folks who are really beating up their bodies. So that’s the idea behind this. So this Nutrience formula– I got a lot of – I think a lot of our listeners must use this nutrients multivitamin by, and maybe that’s because one of my favorite books on the face of the planet is called Rich Food Poor Food and it’s by Jayson and Mira Calton and it is a grocery shopping guide, what I tell people is it allows you to walk into Walmart and still shop healthy. Great book! And they also, the folks who authored this book, they have a multivitamin. And it’s a good multivitamin, I’ve used it before. And Mira and Jayson are also really cool. I actually had dinner with them when I was in New York a couple of days ago. They’re awesome people. They’ve got a really cool story.
They’ve travelled the globe for seven years, delving into the diet protocols of every population on the face of the planet, and their wealth of knowledge, and they’re really cool folks. But ultimately, I think that the Thorne FX multivitamin is better than their multivitamin. It’s got higher amounts of what’s called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate which is the super absorbable form of folic acid. It’s got higher amounts of bio available B12. For athletes, I mean the Thorne FX one was specifically designed for athletes. So it’s got 200mg of curcumin phytosome which is the most bio available, most absorbable form of curcumin that you can get. And most curcumin, unless you’re using a liquid essential curcumin oil type of extract, is simply isn’t absorbable. And so this is a phytosome-based form of curcumin that’s super absorbable and incredible for athletes for helping to manage inflammation.
Brock: Would that be more effective than say, the curcumin that’s in something like phenocane.
Ben: Even more effective than that.
Ben: Exactly! Yeah! And there’s only 200mg in it whereas you’d have 1,000 mg from something like phenocane. So it’s even better than that and it’s already wrapped into the multi. It’s also got relora in it which is really, really good for increasing testosterone and decreasing cortisol. And that’s all in the actual multi, which is great. So even though I like the Nutrience Multivitamin, it wasn’t specifically designed for athletes and everything that I just talked about in terms of the bio available folic acid which you’re gonna turn over very quickly when you’re training, higher amounts of the B12, higher amounts of the curcumin, higher amounts of the stuff for balancing stress hormones. I’m a big, big fan. Now there is this anti-competition technology that gets talked about with this Nutrience Multivitamin. Basically, they say that by separating things that could cause competitive absorption like, say the most famous example would be like calcium and iron. If you take calcium at the same time as iron, what folks say is that it decreases your iron absorption by anything from 40-70% depending on who you ask. And the fact is that that is not really how real life works. So what they look at is – most studies on competitive absorption, they look at what’s called the AUC or the area under the curve for absorption. When minerals are given together in one single meal or in one single what’s called dose, this mixed bolus dose. And the fact is that if you actually look at absorption over a multi-day period of time – and I’ll put links in the show notes to research that have actually been done on this. What happens is that in real life for people who are eating everyday, where they’re taking their multivitamin everyday, usually after about 48-72 hours, absorption seems to catch up. So we get the absorption of the amino acids. We get the absorption of the vitamins and the nutrients and the minerals, and this whole idea of separating them into different doses at different times doesn’t make quite as much sense. And I’ve been guilty in the past in saying time this at this time, time this at this time, but it turns out that as long as you are for example, like I mentioned earlier, taking fish oil with a meal. So you increase absorption in that sense. Or taking multivitamin with a meal so that you increase absorption of the vitamin and you also get nauseous taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach. As long as you’re actually taking the things with a meal that are going to help it get absorbed, and keeping the things separate from a meal that are going to potentially get affected by that particular meal, like say, say you’re using proteolytic enzymes for soreness, if you take proteolytic enzymes with a protein-containing meal, the enzymes are gonna act to breakdown the protein in the meal rather than specifically acting to breakdown the fibrinogen that would produce soreness. So that’s an example if you want to take some things separate from a meal. But ultimately as far as the actual components specifically the minerals and the amino acids which are the two things that really get talked about when it comes to nutrient competition and the use of something like anti-competitive technology in a multivitamin, it all comes out to be kinda wash. It comes out to be a moot point as long as you’re eating a nutrient-dense diet and you’re taking something like a multivitamin every day. It really doesn’t matter. So there are some other differences between the Nutrience Multivitamin and the Thorne FX Multivitamins I use. So for example, they’ve got higher amounts of calcium and magnesium in the Nutrience vitamin, but they’re also using relatively cheap forms of those minerals. So primarily a carbonate form whereas the amino acids and, or the calcium and the magnesium used in the Thorne FX multi AM PM complex, the multivitamin that I’m recommending now, those are chelated to amino acids.
So they’re way, way more absorbable. So they don’t have to use as much. So and then there are some things that are present in the Nutrience Multivitamin that aren’t present in the Thorne FX like high dose antioxidants like Co-Q 10 and ALA and grape seed extract and quercetin and some of these stuff. My issue with that is we’re all kind of aware of these studies that show that antioxidants can actually blunt the hormetic response to exercise. Meaning that if you take high dose antioxidants every single day, you may actually get less fit than if you allow you body to produce its own antioxidant response to exercise. So I take my antioxidants and my antioxidant-rich nutrients separate from my multivitamin and only on days where I’ve been exposed to swimming in a heavily-chlorinated pool, exposed to pollutants, toxins, doing a lot of airline travel or putting myself in situations where I’m getting exposed to lots of free radicals. But I don’t think that you should be taking high dose antioxidants every day. I think that those are not necessarily a beneficial thing to be taking every day and in many cases may actually make you less able to grow stronger in response to the type of tear down that you’re putting on your body during an exercise. So I use antioxidants like a sniper rifle, only in situations where they specifically need to be used to knock out specific issues. And there are certain nutrients that I do like to shotgun every day – vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin K, some of these adaptogenic herbs that help to stabilize hormone levels, things of that nature, yeah I’ll use those every day. But antioxidants I use only in situation where I need to use them. Same thing with probiotics. I only take probiotics on days where I’m not eating fermented foods which are few and far between. Or like colostrum for example. I only use colostrums for about two weeks. I’ll load with it before a race where I have to be in hot weather because I know that exercise and hot weather will increase intestinal permeability and can contribute to almost like this leaky gut symptoms. So I’ll load with colostrums to decrease that for a couple weeks but I won’t use it year-round ‘cause it’s a growth potentiator. And anything that causes increased cell growth could potentially have a pro-carcinogenic effect if you’re taking it all the time. It’s like I don’t take colostrums 365 days a year so yeah, there’s certain things that I don’t think should be in a multivitamin. If present, it doesn’t necessarily make it better. I mean, and ultimately, I know that – Mira and Jayson like I mentioned, they’re awesome people. I really like them. I love their book. I just think that for active individuals, the Thorne FX multivitamins is better and I’ve used the Nutrience formula, it’s not bad. But I just –I think that what I’m recommending now is superior, to be said with an English accent, of course.
Brock: Yes! It has to be.
Cathy: Hello, Ben and Brock! This is Cathy from Oregon. Thanks so much for an awesome podcast. Today I have a question about amylase inhibitors. I’ve recently been reading about amylase inhibitors and how it may be used for weight loss. The theory being that it will slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and therefore lead to, I’m supposing- assuming better blood sugar balance and better insulin sensitivity. So my question is –by that logic, I would think that digestive enzymes therefore would lead to weight gain or would have the opposite effect as an amylase inhibitor. So I just wanted to get your thoughts on this. Both amylase inhibitors and digestive enzymes in general because this seems to be super contradictory and I don’t know if amylase inhibitors actually work or on the flipside, if a digestive enzyme would be a negative thing to take in a sugar. So, kind of an odd question but just wanted to hear what your thoughts were. Thanks very much. Love the podcast.
Ben: This is a really interesting question.
Brock: Yes, I like her stunning display of logic.
Ben: Stunning display of logic. So…
Brock: I mean that sincerely.
Ben: No, amylase inhibitors, there’s some really interesting studies that have been done on this. So the idea behind amylases is that, or behind amylase inhibitors is that they prevent certain starches from getting absorbed by the body. So you produce for example, a really famous example would be salivary amylase. You produce that in your mouth. It starts to break down carbohydrates as soon as you consume them in your mouth and you go on and produce other amylases in your gut that help you to digest carbohydrates. And so by taking something like an amylase inhibitor, what you would do is you would keep yourself from breaking down those carbohydrates and potentially allow yourself to not get that pronounced blood sugar response to carbohydrate consumption specifically from starchy meals. So they’ve actually done some really interesting studies. There was one study back in 2000 which was a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial of an amylase inhibitor. And it was actually found that there was a significant difference over 12 weeks in weight reduction in the group that was consuming the amylase inhibitor versus the group that wasn’t. In this case, one group lost about 4 lbs. The group that was using the amylase inhibitor lost about 6 lbs. And that’s probably due to the fact that they had less glucose getting shuttled into fat cells or less formation of new fat cells because there was less of a pronounced response to carbohydrate ingestion or to starch ingestion.
Brock: Now what’s an example of an amylase inhibitor? Is that something like a bitter melon? Would that be one?
Ben: No. Usually amylase inhibitors are actually derived from kidney beans. They’re usually – there’s a white kidney bean extract and beans, and this is kinda the ironic…
Brock: Isn’t this like rice that this is made from? That really potent poison?
Ben: I don’t know.
Brock: Made famous by the television show Breaking Bad?
Ben: I don’t know. That could be. But I don’t watch TV, so I gotta ask. So anyways though, the interesting thing about this is this is one of the reasons that you get a lot of paleo folks for example avoiding beans. You hear about digestive inhibitors and stuff like this. One of those “digestive inhibitors” is this amylase inhibitor which keeps carbohydrates from getting broken down. And when you keep carbohydrates from getting broken down, potentially you get a lot of those oligosaccharides and polysaccharides and other longer chain carbohydrates winding up in your colon undigested where they ferment and produce gas and bloating and digestive distress and you get potential for gut inflammation. Anytime you’re taking something that keeps you from digesting a food that you eat so that that food passes through your digestive tract undigested, you are in fact putting your body in the relatively unnatural situation. It’s like that weight loss drug Alli with – it kept you from breaking down and absorbing fat. So folks are winding up having to use diapers when they use this stuff because you get this fatty stool that you don’t even need a poop app to know it’s gonna cause some serious issues down there. Yeah, and that’s one of the biggest issues with these amylase inhibitors is you get a lot of folks complaining of the gas and the bloating and everything. And that happens because you just wind up with a bunch of putrefication in your colon of undigested carbohydrate.
Brock: That’s why they call it a musical fruit.
Ben: That’s right! So my take on the amylase inhibitors is yes, they could potentially cause you to have decreased fat because you are shoveling less glucose into fat cells or producing fewer fat cells to store away the excess energy that you’re producing from absorption of these carbohydrate-containing foods. But you’re also getting a bunch of gas, bloating, indigestion, and potential – it’s not proven research but I would say potential for some gut inflammation due to a lot of these undigested carbohydrates. And you’re just not gonna be a very pleasant person to be around aromatically or otherwise. I say why not just have some damn self-control. Don’t eat as many starches. Time your starch intake to take place when you’re in an insulin-sensitive state such as after exercise and quit using something like an amylase inhibitor as a Band-Aid, you know what I’m saying? To cover up lack of self-control. So that’s my take on amylase inhibitors is that even though yes, they have been shown in multiple research studies to enhance weight loss, I think that the cons outweigh the pros.
And then when it comes to digestive enzymes, the interesting thing is that we see just the flipside in that if you take digestive enzymes, they can speed up the rate at which foods are digested or even the rate at which carbohydrates are broken down and so they could potentially cause a higher elevation in blood sugar than if you hadn’t taken the digestive enzyme with that meal. Now here’s the deal, though. I do recommend digestive enzymes at some cases. I specifically recommend them for – and I talk about this in my multivitamin Q and A – aging folks who are producing less hydrochloric acid specifically if you’re above about 60 years old, and in many cases you may notice this even once you’re above 45-50 years old, you just don’t digest protein quite as efficiently. And if you’re still wanting to exercise and beat up your body, and weigh training and all this stuff, and you’re still trying to get that adequate level of protein necessary for the repair and recovery of muscles, sometimes taking hydrochloric acid or some kind of an enzyme complex to help you digest protein can help out. If you had your gallbladder removed, that’s another situation where using a digestive enzyme like an ox bile type of extract can help out with digestion of proteins and digestion of fats. If you are eating a high amount of food to put on weight, to put on muscle for example like you’re a high schooler and you wanna make the football team and you know you gotta gain 20 lbs, you’re eating 6,000 calories a day, that’s another situation where digestive enzymes would help you out. Like this Thorne FX company now, they make this enzyme complex. You can see it. It’s over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/enzymes but it’s basically HCl, pepsin, pancreatin, and ox bile. And it’s literally for digestion of proteins, and carbs and fats. Again, not something you’d wanna take everyday. Something that you’d use if you were eating a large high protein meal and you’re older. You’re eating thousands and thousands of calories a day and you’re trying to gain weight, or you’re finding that you’re going through a period of time where you’re having difficulty digesting food due to travel, or stress, or forced amount of eating quickly, let’s say you’re going in the military and you know you’re just gonna be eating quick meals on the go, that’s where an enzyme might help you out a little bit.
Brock: How about when you’re eating grains and you’re sensitive to grains. Would that help them, too?
Ben: Well that would be a situation where I would say don’t eat grains unless someone’s force feeding them to eat. In which case, it could help. So, yeah, if you’re eating a cheap meal, enzymes can help in that situation, too. It’s kind of funny, I was at the Consumer Health Summit last week. I was at New York and I sat down at one table to eat. And I was with a bunch of physicians and health experts at that table. And I won’t drop any names but there were four people at that table all at one time who were all taking digestive enzymes prior to their meal. So there’s lots of people using these things but ultimately when it comes to digestive enzymes breaking down the carbohydrates in your meal so quickly that it’s causing a blood sugar spike that could cause weight gain, my take on this again is this – if you’re eating a meal with enough carbohydrates in it where that would be an issue, then that meal should only be consumed when you’re in an insulin-sensitive state anyways, specifically before, during, or after an exercise. I which case, it’s not gonna matter. And it’s a wash out. So this comes to this whole concept of carbohydrate timing and carbohydrate volume, and as long as you’re controlling that, timing it properly, you shouldn’t have to worry about this whole need to take amylase inhibitors or this whole risk of potential blood sugar spiking effect o digestive enzymes. So again, it all comes down to whether or not you’re using this stuff as like a Band Aid, and whether or not you’re consuming carbohydrates at the right time during the day. And I mean if you really, really wanna delve in the hardcore science of this stuff, go read John Keefer’s Carb Backloading Book. He really does a good job getting into the science of why carbohydrate timing matters so, so much. And I can put a link to his carb backloading book in the show notes for if you wanna check it out. It really is a good read. So I mean ultimately that’s my take on the amylase inhibitors and the enzymes.
Erin: Hi, Ben. I was wondering if you could speak a little bit about muscle testing or applied kinesiology that practitioners use to test for nutritional deficiencies? Thanks.
Brock: I do remember talking about this in the past. Maybe I’ll dig in to the website, see if I can find the link to put in the show notes last time we talked about it.
Ben: Muscle testing is this thing where you’re at the health expo or at the fair or whatever and someone has you wear a bracelet or has you put something underneath, they have you hold your arm out and test you to see whether or not it decreased or increased your strength. Or they’ll have you stand on one foot to see whether it decreases or increases your balance for example. It’s also called…
Brock: Do they show you pictures of food?
Ben: I had one person do this to me. They wrote specific names of vitamins down on post it notes and had me hold the Post It notes to see if that made me stronger or weaker. Made me weaker that I shouldn’t be using that particular vitamin, really, yeah, woowoo. So applied kinesiology is this technique widely used in alternative medicine. You see a lot of chiropractic docs use it. And there’s very, very little actual scientific research behind most of the ways that applied kinesiology is actually used. It was developed back in the 1960s by this chiropractor in Michigan who is named George Goodhart. And the whole idea behind it is that certain things that you’re exposed to are going to affect certain organs or glands. They’re going to affect your nervous system, response in some cases like your meridians, your blood supply to certain areas, thus affecting the way that your muscles response. So if you do muscle strength testing in response to exposure to some of those things that would affect you. Interestingly, if you actually go and look at the International College of Applied Kinesiology which is the body that actually certifies these applied kinesiologists, one of the things that they readily admit to on their website is they actually say that testing of substances by any method other than the stimulation of what are called gustatory receptors on the tongue or olfactory receptors in the nose are outside the realm of applied kinesiology.
Ben: Meaning that the actual board that oversees this whole concept of applied kinesiology, they admit that unless you’re actually tasting or smelling the actual thing that’s supposed to be affecting you, that there is no actual research to back up applied kinesiology. And this makes a great deal of sense to me. I mean anybody who’s used lavender to help them fall asleep knows that certain smells can affect your body response. Anyone who has tasted something extremely bitter and almost felt it to decrease your awareness would’ve caused this hyperactive response knows that when you taste something, it can also affect your muscle response. And so I think that if you are –if you’re doing gustatory or olfactory testing of certain compounds and finding that they affect the body, then yeah, if you find out that the smell of lemon essential oil makes you stronger, then I mean by all means, grab some lemon essential oil and smear some of that stuff underneath your nose before you go weight training. Or if you’re finding that the taste of Stevia makes you weaker then don’t drink your Zevia soda before you head to the weight room. These are the type of things that makes sense to means when it comes to applied kinesiology. And these are the type of things that the International College of Applied Kinesiology certainly endorses. What they don’t endorse are holding Post It notes with the name of a vitamin written on them. Or saying the name or being in the presence of certain things in the room and testing weaker or stronger, and that’s where there’s very low amounts of actual research and or no research on any of the stuff. So I from personal experience have not found muscle testing to really work for me aside from this taste and smell stuff, period. I just –any time anybody’s ever tested any of these stuff on me, it simply hasn’t worked. Maybe it’s ‘cause I don’t believe in it. So it doesn’t have that placebo effect, I don’t know. But ultimately, muscle testing doesn’t really work for me. Even like the Superhuman Encoder bracelet, which I think some people are aware of that. There is this one wristband that I endorse. It’s a wrist band that’s got basically one of those negative ion-emitting crystals inside the actual wristband to mitigate some of the positive ion build up that occurs when you’re working on computers, or exposed to wifi routers, helps to mitigate some of the inflammation that can occur when you’re exposed to toxins or pollutants, things like that.
Just basic negative ion exposure, the same as you’d get from grounding or earthing or something along those lines.
Brock: Or one of those I fall walls.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. I do find that I sleep better when I use it. I feel better. I feel I get less brain fog in the afternoon, that type of thing. But I’ve even done muscle testing, like traditional “muscle testing” like this applied kinesiology for that. And even that, I haven’t noticed the difference with muscle testing. And I specifically it’s just because the protocols used in muscle testing are really, or only proven to work and do work when we’re talking about literally tasting or smelling certain substances that have this direct instant effect on nerves and muscles.
Brock: You just haven’t been sprinkled with enough fairy dust.
Susan: Hey, Ben and Brock! My name is Susan and I’m in desperate need of your help. I’m gonna get to my question right away since you renewed your interest in building. I am 2 weeks post-contest and I am experiencing severe water retention and worse than that is this belly distension. I’ve put on 10 lbs in 2 weeks. Some of that was expected with the water retained but it’s all in my belly. It’s- I look like I’m 6 months pregnant. Nothing seems to help. I did not binge after the contest, I went right back to my pre-contest diet. So nothing changed in that regard. I’m not trying to regain my pre contest weight but this weight gain all in my belly is just driving me crazy. So if you have any suggestion that would be wonderful. Thank you very much. Bye.
Ben: I wonder what – I wonder if her contest was a water-drinking contest? Might be it.
Brock: It’s horrible. Or a salt horking contest.
Ben: That’s the issue right there. Okay, so as an ex-body builder, I’m suspecting that Susan is a figure competitor or a body builder and when she’s talking about a contest, that’s the post contest that she’s talking about.
Brock: Yeah! That’s what I was assuming, too.
Ben: Now anybody who gets water retention or bloating or ends up looking soft, there’s pretty much three issues that are causing it. And I’ll get into why specifically in body building, like how folks get ripped before they step on body building stage and how if they do that wrong that can cause bloating, cause this information can come in handy for you if you just wanted to biohack things that you look good on the beach. But ultimately, the three things that can cause bloating –one would be excess sodium. So excess sodium and this no surprise there, it’s gonna cause water retention just like excess glycogen and carbohydrate can cause water retention, and that can cause you to appear soft. And typically I find that in folks who are having a high amount of sodium intake specifically from processed foods rich in sodium in the absence of other minerals. So, TV-dinner style packaged processed foods, when you look on the package label, it’s got a hundred, 200, 3o0, 400% of your daily sodium needs. And you see this a lot of times ironically in folks who are eating packaged, pre-packaged foods designed for a diet, like Weight Watchers style diet. That stuff needs a ton of sodium ion it as a preservative, and that could cause bloating. So eat real food, not food out of the package. And that’s one of the things that can help this out quite a bit. Over training specifically high amounts of cortisol, high amounts of estrogen, low progesterone, low testosterone, overstimulation of adrenal glands, all that stuff can cause water retention specifically due to up regulation of some of the specific hormones responsible for causing you to retain water, retain sodium, retain potassium. And that’s why bloating is one of the things that goes hand in hand with adrenal fatigue. And I realized that I am skimming the surface in the details of this one because we’ve gotten into that particular component in detail in previous podcasts. And I also talk about it in detail in my book Beyond Training. And then the final thing is emotional stress. Inflammatory cytokines from emotional stress can also cause water retention, bloating, and this would be like lack of sleep, stress, and in many cases that has this effect on the adrenals as well. And ultimately creates this one-two combo. So most folks who get bloating, it’s excess sodium, it’s over training, or its emotional stress. And a lot of times, it’s all three. Now when you look at body builders specifically, there’s a pretty good misconception out there and you’ll see a lot of this trickle down to folks who just wanna look good on the beach, or figure competitors too, that if you somehow cut water and you dehydrate yourself, and I did this when I was a body builder. I took dandelion extract and all these stuff to cause dieresis and pee off much water that I looked more shredded.
And the fact is that this is actually a myth, is it bad for your liver and kidneys, but it’s actually a myth. So here’s what you need to understand, your body stores water inside and outside of your body cells. So the stuff inside is called your intracellular water and then you’ve got your extracellular water. And extracellular water is technically what would make you look softer or what would cause bloating. Now your body tends to maintain about a 70 to 30 ratio of intracellular to extracellular water. And that ratio gets pretty tightly controlled by your internal systems like your kidneys. And that’s because your body’s water balance is crucial to things like cell function and your ion balance and you blood volume and your blood pressure. So any time your pulling water away from the intracellular component to the extracellular component or vice versa, you’re gonna affect that delicate balance. So for example, if you take a diuretic or quit drinking waters that you look ripped or you look shredded before a show, you’ll lose extracellular water but to maintain homeostasis and blood pressure and some of these other things, you also lose some intracellular water as that intracellular water moves out into those extracellular spaces and that’s why you gotta be pretty careful with this type of water depletion and sodium depletion protocols that get recommended to a lot of folks. For example, one typical thing that a lot of figure competitor and body builders will do is they’ll cut sodium and what that does it affects the blood pressure. So your kidneys will regulate your blood sodium levels really, really tightly. So if you eat more sodium than normal, then the kidneys would cause more urinary excretion. This is a lot of times why a high electrolyte intake during exercise doesn’t work. Your kidneys simply sense that increase in sodium and cause increase excretion of urinary sodium. And so if you start to reduce sodium or do what’s called sodium-cutting to try and somehow keep yourself from retaining water, what happens is your kidney cells simply reverse that. They conserve sodium by reabsorbing more sodium back into circulation, and by peeing out less sodium. So your body maintains these concentrations in a pretty delicate balance. So what does happen though if you cut sodium or you deplete sodium in the way that a lot of these figure competitors or body builders will do, is that increase levels of a hormone called aldosterone. And aldosterone’s job is to cause reabsorption and retention of water and retention of sodium. So if you deplete sodium before a body building show or figure competition, aldosterone levels will double within a couple of days. And if you’re cutting out sodium for a week, which is what a lot of these people do, aldosterone levels will even triple. And what happens is when you get these huge increases in aldosterone once you do start drinking water, once you do start taking in more sodium, you get this really increased levels of water retention because your kidneys are reabsorbing both sodium and water back into circulation. And so you almost get this overloading effect and you’ll tend this to see in this in folks who’ll finish up a show all bloated and stuff ‘cause they’re retaining a ton of sodium and a ton of water. And so interestingly, this same elevation in aldosterone is one of the things that can occur when you’re over trained when you’ve got way too much cortisol circulating. So you can get that same type of sodium reabsorption and water reabsorption and bloating effect in that case, too. So it’s kind of a few different ways to skin that cat. So the interesting thing is that when you sodium-deplete, the other thing that happens is that it reduces the activity of a specific protein. There’s this protein that you have called SLGT-1 and it’s responsible for glucose absorption. So it allows you to absorb glucose and basically be able to digest glucose. So in the same way that we talked about this amylase inhibitors keeping you from digesting glucose, if you’re going through one of these intense sodium-depletion protocols prior to a body building show, that also will reduce your ability to digest glucose. So all that undigested glucose hangs around in your small intestine and your colon, pulls a bunch of water in those areas and cause gut bloating. So that’s another issue with trying to play around with sodium depletion, water depletion prior to a figure completion show or a body building competition. So my recommendations now to body builders and figure competitors are don’t mess around with that at all. You keep water and sodium intake just constant throughout the entire show.
And all you do want to do is take things that are gonna increase your blood dilation like dark chocolate, wine, and stuff like that back stage. Or before you hit the beach, any nitric oxide precursors – arugula, beet juice, stuff like that. That’s the stuff that can actually really increase vascularity and make you look more shredded and more vascular and more fit. So that’s better way to do it than to deplete sodium and deplete water. So kind of an interesting science. Hopefully I didn’t create more questions than I answered with that. But ultimately those are some of the things to think about when it comes to water retention and bloating.
Brock: You know what else you need to think about?
Brock: You need to think about how you might be able to get a gift from Ben.
Ben: A gift? That’s right. A free gift.
Brock: We haven’t talked about that in a long time.
Ben: Yeah! So, I don’t even remember. What gift are we giving away?
Brock: The gift from Ben is a video!
Ben: Oh, that’s right!
Brock: It’s a video of you and me fooling around in Whistler.
Ben: That’s right! Where you go to is it giftfromben.com?
Brock: Yeah! giftfromben.com.
Ben: Not free. I guess free would be redundant.
Ben: giftfromben.com. There’s a free training video that Brock and I created when we were up in Canada. So you can go check that out over at giftfromben. But then if you want me to send you straight to your front doorstep.
Brock: Oh, speaking of gifts, yeah!
Ben: An awesome tech t-shirt, a sweet Ben Greenfield Fitness beanie, and a BPA-free water bottle, well, you could go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear and you could buy that entire package- the shirt, the beanie, the water bottle. It’s 47 bucks. We use that directly to support this podcast. But if you wanted to just- maybe instead of just buying one, get one for free, then all you gotta do is leave a review in iTunes. And we choose one review a week from iTunes. And if you hear us read your review on the show, and then you email us your address. Just email your address to Ben at bengreenfieldfitness.com.com, I will send you one of these gear packages lovingly caressed by me and then placed into a box and shipped to your house. So, so, that being said Brock, who won the swag this week?
Brock: This week it was Ryan Talley. Usually we have crazy names on these things but that seems pretty legit.
Ben: Ryan’s kind of disappointingly normal. What does he have to say?
Brock: Alright, lets’ see. It’s a five star review and it says, “For a few years now my family and I have made fun of my dad for how much he talks about Ben Greenfield. However, when I listened to one podcast, I was hooked. And I realized this guy knows his stuff. I’m a college baseball player and eating and working out the Greenfield way has changed my life.”
Ben: Wait, we have to patent that- the Greenfield way. TM.
Brock: TM. Yeah.
Brock: “My fridge and pantry look totally different than they did a few months ago as well as my body.”
Ben: Hopefully in a good way.
Brock: Not like 300 lbs and covered in hair. “Although I am the one who gets made- I am the one who gets made fun of now by my team mates, slowly and surely more and more of the guys have begun to bring sardines to our games, attend yoga, and ask me health questions. Thanks for everything, Ben. Can’t wait to start the 8 Weeks to See You Fit this summer as well.” Holy crap!
Ben: So we are responsible for a dugout somewhere smelling like fish. Basically is what Ryan’s trying to say.
Brock: Filled with a whole bunch of really flexible baseball players eating fish.
Ben: Yes! So here’ the deal, folks. I do rec – and thank you by the way Ryan for the kind words. I do recommend sardines but baseball games and also airplanes or buses, be careful where you whip those bad boys out. Yeah! So sardines, kinda be careful. There are other things like pamecan and avocados that are slightly less aromatic than sardines.
Brock: You know it’s funny. I was getting on the plane with John Durant when we’re leaving Mexico. A paleo manifesto guy. And they actually confiscated three cans of sardines from him before we got on the plane.
Ben: Does he have crack cocaine in…
Brock: I think he may have had some stuffed in those sardines.
Ben: In a zip lock bag? Yeah, interesting. That’s a funny story.
Brock: Anyways, be careful bringing sardines on the plane especially in Mexico.
Ben: Cool! Obviously we talked about a lot on today’s show. So we’ll put links to everything over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/283. I know we talked about multivitamins a lot so if you want to inspect the ingredient label of what I was talking about, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/multi.
Ben: We’ve got some really cool episodes coming for June because Brock’s gonna be gone in June.
Brock: I’m taking a real vacation without my computer.
Ben: This podcast is gonna get way better. Actually Jessa, my wife, is probably gonna be my sidekick for June.
Brock: Oh, sweet! It actually will be.
Ben: That’s right! And, yeah! So check it all out. It’s at bengreenfieldfitness.com/283.
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