Introduction: In this episode: Can Heat Make You Burn More Fat? How To Run A Marathon With A Knee Injury, How To Do Magnesium Baths, Stevia vs. Artificial Sweeteners, Natural Remedies For Menstrual Cramps, Hidden Causes Of High Blood Sugar, and much more.
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 triathlete, 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: Hey, Ben! Is that olive oil I smell on your breath?
Ben: Seeping out of my pores, dude.
Brock: Have you been dipping into the olive oil this early in the morning?
Ben: I have. I’ve just finished uploading a video to YouTube called my Skinny Fat Shake and it’s this new…
Brock: Skinny fat?
Ben: My new veering away from dumping a bunch of kale into my blender in the morning, I’ve been trying out this shake where I mix up some protein with some coconut oil and olive oil, a little bit of chocolate Stevia and coffee and I just uploaded a video of it to YouTube. But basically this oil that I’m using, it’s a special kind of olive oil that has a bunch of the omega-6 fatty acids removed compared to traditional olive oils. And then it’s mixed up with MCT oil which of course we all know is an easily-absorbed readily available source of fat-based energy, and then some coconut oil as a little bit of an intestinal cleanse. So…
Brock: That’s a lot of oil.
Ben: Yeah, the oil I actually tried that when I was back in New York City, I sat next to Mira Calton who poured some of this on my salad and it was really good. So she sent me a couple of bottles. I’ve been using it. It’s called Skinny Fat and you could check it out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/skinnyfat. Or you can…
Brock: You should call it the Paradox Shake.
Ben: The Paradox Shake. That’s right, because of skinny and fat being a paradox, you mean?
Brock: Yeah, exactly.
Ben: Clever. See, I know what paradox means. And I shot a video in my underwear about an hour ago in my kitchen. And it’s already up on the YouTubes so you can check that out. And you know…
Brock: Oh, what an age we live in where you can upload your underwear videos in minutes.
Ben: Who was the guy from Sesame Street who was the news flashes guy? Do you remember who I’m talking about?
Brock: Was that Guy Smiley?
Ben: Guy Smiley! Why don’t we get Guy Smiley on to do the news
flashes? Are we able to do that without getting sued by PBS?
Brock: ah, I am not a lawyer.
Ben: Well, let’s…
Brock: But I think it’s just fine.
Ben: Let’s try it out. Hello! This is Guy Smiley. I’m hidden in this trash can because I’m about to give someone the surprise of their life.
Ben: So now that I feel like talking like Guy Smiley.
Brock: Who doesn’t want to talk like Guy Smiley?
Ben: Good evening! Let’s go over the – a few news flashes from this week and these are a few things I twitted over at twitter.com/bengreenfield. The first one is about treadmill running. I’ve used treadmill running before to train for Ironman triathlons, marathons, 10ks, etc. But I’ve always kind of wondered at the back of my mind how much performance I was sacrificing or whether there was a really big loss of benefits using a treadmill versus using any other type of surface that might be used in competition like road, or track, or grass or gravel or whatever.
Brock: I’d say if you look on the internet, the second most popular
question after ‘Is my cat the cutest?”…
Brock: …is “Is treadmill running effective?”
Ben: Exactly! There was a study that came out in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in which they put a bunch of pretty decent 10k runners on a treadmill and they had them run for a set distance in this case they’re 10k and they put them at a speed that was really challenging, a speed that was actually slightly faster than what these guys were able to run their 10k in. And then they studied what happened to their bodies as they’re almost forced to sustain a speed that would theoretically make them a little bit better, a little bit faster.
Brock: Or make them bust their guts.
Ben: That’s right! Or make them break the treadmill. So the first really interesting thing that I took away from this was they were able to last. And I thought that was cool because one of the things that the researchers mentioned as they go over the discussion study is that let’s say you want to run a marathon in a – let’s just throw a number, 4 hours. What’s your per mile pace that you would need to run a marathon in if you’re gonna do the total time for four hours? It’ll come out to like…
Brock: Eight thirty mile?
Ben: I think it’s a little bit quicker than that. It’s closer to nine…
Brock: I’m not good with miles.
Ben: Okay, let’s just say it’s an 8-minute – eight thirty mile. So you would set up the treadmill to be clicking away at 830 miles for the period of time that you want it to run for. And it turns out that that’s actually a pretty good way to train yourself to sustain a certain pace, to train your body how to maintain a pace and you can actually use the treadmill in that way as a way to keep you on pace for a steady state effort that may be slightly faster than what you’d be able to maintain outside on a running surface where fatigue and wind resistance and stride length and all these things are gonna slow you down a little bit. And affect your ability to maintain speed. So it turns out the treadmill’s pretty good if you need to train your body to just run at a steady state slightly faster than what you would be running at when you’re outdoors. Now they did notice a few little things in the study. They noticed that for example towards the end as these runners got more fatigued, their stride length started to increase and their stride cadence started to decrease. And so…
Brock: They’re relying on the advantage of the ground actually being propelled.
Ben: Exactly! So they had an increase in flight time. But nonetheless, their actual physiological efforts and how hard they were actually going was still maintained. And so even though there was a little bit of a sacrifice in quality, kind of the big takeaway message from this is that let’s say you’re running – let’s say you can run a 10K right now in 45 minutes and you wanna be able to run it in 40 minutes. Then set up that treadmill at a pace that’s gonna run it for 40 minutes, hop on the treadmill, do the run at that speed and it turns out that it can indeed train you to run at that speed and maybe better than going out and trying to do that same thing outdoors where fatigue is gonna slow you down prematurely because…
Brock: Pretty cool!
Ben: …no one wants premature treadmill fatigue. And by the way, speaking of premature treadmill fatigue, I just released over at bengreenfieldfitness.com the results of my University of Connecticut study where I had to run 22 miles on a treadmill. And…
Brock: Yes! You sure did release that in some broke beat internet.
Ben: Yeah! Our server crashed because of the amount of traffic that the website got.
Brock: Server crashed and so did my email and everything else.
Ben: It’s like- that was partially thanks to Tim Ferriss actually twitted out. He’s good at breaking servers. And by the way, Brock is gonna be disappearing for a few weeks because he’s on vacation and so…
Brock: Literally disappearing…
Ben: You may notice a few special guests, speaking of Tim Ferriss. We’re gonna have some other folks like Rhonda Patrick, Jessa Greenfield, Tom Nikkola, a super secret special guest from a super secret company that I will reveal in the future. But we’ll have all sorts of cool guests on when Brock is gone. And we may not ever have Brock back. So let’s go ahead and move on to the next interesting news flash and that is eleven factors that can increase or decrease the effects of caffeine and…
Brock: Why would you wanna do that?
Ben: I have no clue.
Brock: It’s kinda like that – it’s a study we talked about the drinking-beer-without-getting-drunk study. Why?
Ben: Yes! But notice I said increase. How some things can increase the effects of caffeine. And it’s not just MCT oil. But first of all, remember that as I’m talking any of these studies can be viewed over on the show notes for this episode. And that would be episode number 284. So if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/284 you’ll be able to grab any of these studies or articles. So this was one that appeared over at Subversity. And they went in to all the different things that could increase the clearance of caffeine or decrease the clearance of caffeine from your bloodstream after you consume say a cup of coffee. So here we go. Drum roll please. Things that will increase or decrease the effects of caffeine. So first of all, meat. Meat when it’s cooked at high temperatures increases the clearance of caffeine.
Ben: So if you have a cup of coffee and a nice carcinogen-filled barbecued steak for breakfast, you’re actually going to not feel the effects of that coffee for quite as long because when you increase the clearance of something, you lose it faster.
Brock: There, I think we confused – well at least you confused me with that. First you’re talking about increases the effect. Now you’re talking about increases the clearance. So those are actually…
Ben: Increases the clearance, yes.
Brock: …opposite things…
Ben: So decreases the clearance would mean increases the effect. So broccoli and cruciferous vegetables as a matter of fact a lot of things that are sulfurous-based antioxidants even like turmeric and cumin, all of these can increase the clearance of caffeine. So if you like to have broccoli with your coffee, you may actually increase the clearance of it and not feel it quite as much. Exercise as we would’ve expected will increase the clearance of caffeine significantly. And it specifically does that by up regulating the activity of a specific gene, or up regulating the expression of a specific gene called CPY182. And here’s the interesting thing, some people – like if you go out and do 23andme.com genetic testing, you may be one of those people, and I am, who has increased expression of CYP182 naturally. And what that means is I am what you would call a fast caffeine metabolizer. That means that after I have a cup of coffee, I’m pretty much done with feeling that coffee within about an hour or two. And exercise is another thing that can increase the expression of that gene. So, there you go. And by a whopping 70%, it can increase the clearance of caffeine.
Brock: I was just gonna ask what – I’m sure that’s much higher than the broccoli. The broccoli probably wasn’t 70%, was it?
Brock: Does it say how much the broccoli was? Just so they have that information.
Ben: It does not say. Eighteen percent. Yes, it does! So 18% compared to 70%. Green tea extract. Green tea extract can increase the turnover of caffeine and interestingly that’s one of the things that can help you if you had a cup of coffee in the afternoon and you don’t want it to affect your sleep, if you actually have a little bit of green tea, the theanine in that green tea, or you can always grab a theanine supplement, that’s another way to do it, just grab a theanine capsule, that can help to negate some of the sleep disregulating effects of caffeine. So, there’s that. Ginkgo Biloba will increase caffeine clearance. That’s another one for all of us who have ginkgo biloba leaves laying around our kitchen that we can chomp on with our cup of coffee. Insulin will actually reduce or increase the clearance of caffeine as well. So if you’re somehow increasing insulin either by, say like eating a higher carbohydrates diet or perhaps…
Brock: Doing your diabetic seedlings.
Ben: Yeah! Yep, if you’re diabetic cap taking your diabetic seedlings insulin, exactly. And by the way later on in this podcast, we’re gonna talk about a bunch of other hidden ways that your blood sugar can go up related to insulin and diabetes. So let’s talk about a few others that are listed here and then I’ll link over to the article in the show notes so that you can read the rest. So thing- let’s talk about some things that could increase the effects of caffeine and would basically be inhibitors of that one gene that is a fast caffeine metabolizer gene. So to increase the effects of caffeine, peppermint is one, interestingly. So peppermint is something that could increase the effects of caffeine. So you have a little peppermint latte for Christmas. Maybe that’s why you’re a little bit more robust. Grapefruit, interestingly. Grapefruit can extend the effects of caffeine specifically by reducing the clearance of caffeine. You should have a little grapefruit and maybe you could figure out how to squeeze a little bit of grapefruit essential oil into your morning French press.
Ben: Big gag factor there. So let’s go over one more. How about lutein? Lutein could decrease caffeine clearance. You know where you would get lutein?
Brock: Amino acids?
Ben: Well, yes! But also eggs. You have some scrambled eggs and you could decrease the clearance of caffeine unless you of course are that person who mixes up things like broccoli and meat into your scrambled eggs in which case, it’d be awash.
Brock: Yeah! Balance right there.
Ben: That’s right. So there you go. Factors that increase or decrease the clearance of caffeine, we’ll link to that one in the show notes. And then finally, at the risk of this turning in to an extremely controversial podcast, there’s a really interesting article and it was called “Why I Don’t Do Cross Fit”.
Ben: Why I don’t do cross fit. And this article is written by Erin Simmons who has a Master of Science in Biology and has worked as a coach and as an athlete and she had a very interesting article where she goes into a few issues that she has with cross fit. And it goes above and beyond the scariness of cross fit’s unofficial mascot which is Uncle Rhabdo, which is of course short for rhabdomyolysis. That’s’ extreme muscle damage that can prematurely destroy your kidneys. So she goes into for example the fat that – the folks who are trying to do cross fit to increase their cardiovascular fitness via just using weight training. Really interesting point that she makes. And that is that there’s this relationship between your heart rate and your oxygen consumption. Now the relationship is this. When you increase your heart rate, it decreases the time that’s available to fill the left ventricle of your heart. Okay, so when you’re doing 50 overhead push press and you’re using that instead of going for a run to increase your cardiovascular fitness, what that increased heart rate does by decreasing the time available to fill the left ventricle of your heart, it means that the left ventricle is going to contain and also eject less blood per contraction. So that means that the normal stretching of the heart wall that you actually need to do things like increase your stroke volume or increase your VO2 max, that simply doesn’t happen. So there is a component of cardiovascular training that you simply need to do cardio to do. And that’s why I recommend even for people who are using weigh training, cross fit, etc., to get that cardio/strength effects simultaneously, you still need to about once per week include some type of endurance effort, some type of stamina effort, some kind of shocker, long slow cardio effort that might be like a long swim or a nice hike uphill, like that type of thing. So really interesting thing that she gets into there. And that was probably one of the least controversial point that she makes. So for example, she also talks about how cross fits – a big, big part of cross fit is variety and randomness and throwing curve balls at your body. But in fact if you look at the training protocol of any of the best athletes on the face of the planet, any of the best teams, any of the best strength conditioning coaches, they’re not using variety, and randomness and throwing new exercises at your body every time you step into the gym. Usually it’s very structured. It’s very what’s called periodized where you have a specific protocol that you’re following comprised of a specific series of exercises that are performed typically with higher weights, lower amounts of reps, with very close attention paid to form. And they’re often stacked in such a way that you may be doing the same exercises and the same movements for many many weeks in a row. Getting very good at those movements, getting very sports-specific with those movements before you move on to the next period of training. Whereas with cross fit, it is getting in – hurt your body as much as possible, dip into the pain cave as much as possible and then get out. And so she makes the distinction that while that might be pretty good at achieving the final goal of making you store, it doesn’t really achieve the final goal of making you a better athlete per se. Now I do have a few issues with this article and I’ve only scratched the surface of some of the stuff that she gets into. I’ll put a link to the article if you wanna go read it. But a couple of thoughts that I have about this article. First, I do agree that if you’re gonna use cross fit for cardio, you still need to go out and do some traditional cardiovascular training just so that you get that increased filling of the ventricle in your heart that you’re not getting when you’re doing something like cross fit whether it be concept to interval row or whether it be push presses or thrustors or whatever. But where I kinda disagree with the author is that there are sports now that specifically do require you to have randomness variability and dip into the pain cave in a very similar way as cross fit like Spartan racing or obstacle racing, big, big relationship there between what you would experience in cross fit and what you would do in a Spartan race or an obstacle race with the exception that there’ a little bit more running in the obstacle race, or say like American ninja warrior, or something like that. A lot of these competitions that are popping up now that literally do have a pretty good crossover from cross fit style training granted they’re not sports like tennis or golf or basketball.
But there are sports now that cross fit can actually get you pretty fit if you consider this to be sports and not just more ways to beat up your body or maybe even a way to perpetuate the cycle of cross fit gyms, to give folks an excuse to go on and do cross fit. ‘Cause now competition exist where they can go out and use all that and use all that randomness and variability. So truly interesting. Spartan racing, cross fit racing, American ninja warrior. Cross fit racing. Cross fit- what do they call them? Cross fit games? Anyways, I mean like – I know we have a lot of cross fitters listening in so I feel like we’re drowning on about this article a little bit. But I’ll actually go read it. It’s kinda interesting. It’s one of those articles that make your head think. So check it out.
Brock: Did you pack your bug repellant?
Ben: My bug repellant, yes!
Brock: Maybe your bear whistle?
Ben: My bear whistle. For those of you who live near Oregon, or who are familiar with the Wild Canyon Games.
Brock: Is that how you pronounce it?
Ben: Oregon? I’ll be down in Oregon this weekend. The weekend that this podcast comes out, competing in the Wild Canyon Games. And they’re actually pretty cool There’s a triathlon, there’s a cliff jumping/rope climbing competition, mud run, a bunch of obstacle courses up in the trees, a zip line, high ropes course, there’s this half mile hill sprint with –which has 2,000+ feet of elevation over a half mile where you’re racing up and down, cold water swim competition, all sorts of stuff. So…
Ben: I’ll be over there competing on a team. Nike has actually put me on one of their corporate teams. So I’m going down there to the Wild Canyon games. So, if you plan on being at the Wild Canyon games, I’ll see you there. If I drop off the face of the map, it’s because apparently there’s no internet access or anything like that down there. But I’ll be down there for a couple days.
Brock: It’s not because you found some ayahuasca?
Ben: Ayahuasca. That’s right! That’s a great segue, Brock! Very, very tricky. Yes, we just released a podcast about ayahuasca. Basically everything that you’ve always wanted to know about ayahuasca but were afraid to ask. That’s actually kind of an interesting podcast.
Brock: Because you didn’t want to get thrown in jail.
Ben: I got this girl named Stephanie Holbrook on and Stephanie is actually a coach for Pacific Elite Fitness. She is certified by my Superhuman Mastermind program and I didn’t know this but she’s also in the ayahuasca. She does ayahuasca retreats and stuff like that. I just found this out. So I was like –you have to come on the podcast and answer all my dumb questions about ayahuasca ‘cause I’ve never done ayahuasca. I know a little bit about DHT and about monoamine oxidase inhibitors and some of the things that….
Ben: …that ayahuasca does. DMT, yeah! Dimethyltryptamine. Did I say DHT?
Ben: Sorry. I did not mean dihydrotestosterone. Dimethyltryptamine.
Brock: It doesn’t do anything for seeing visions….
Ben: The other “di” thing. Anyways, yeah! Ayahuasca 101. I can’t decide if after doing the interview I still would like to delve into the wonderful world of ayahuasca or whether I want to avoid it. I’m still processing that. But it’s a really interesting interview. It’s part of our premium podcast which is the special hidden podcast that we put out which it’s 10 bucks a year to listen to all of our hidden podcasts, hidden videos, download our hidden PDFs and that’s all over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium. So check that out. And then after I finish up in Oregon, I’m actually heading over to Minneapolis. For anybody who’s over in Minneapolis St. Paul area and I’ll be speaking at Concordia University over there. The title of my talk is Ten Tips for Achieving the Most Out of Business, Body and Life. So if you live in the Minneapolis St.Paul area. I’m not sure if we have many listeners over there. But if you are our listener, it’s a free event over at Concordia University. And even if you don’t live in Minneapolis, what are you thinking if you don’t? You can attend the live stream of that for free. It’s a live broadcast online. So we’ll put a link in the show notes for this episode over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/284 where you can do that. And then finally Brock I have a confession to make to you. I‘ve been cheating on you.
Brock: Why do you do that?
Ben: I’ve been recording a podcast with a completely different sidekick. A guy who is the number one ranked Spartan athlete and kind of a beast, Hunter McIntyre. And Hunter and I have been recording a brand new podcast called The Obstacle Dominator. And that’s at obstacledominator.com. The actual podcast, even though we’ve got a few recordings in the bank so to speak, the podcast won’t release for another three weeks or so. But we’re taking listener questions in a very similar way to how we take listener questions for this show except it has to be questions about Spartan tough matter, tough guy, warrior dash, mud runs, obstacle training, basically anything that has to do with obstacle training or obstacle racing, you can leave your questions over at obstacledominator.com. And Hunter, who I think has many, many more tattoos than Brock does, will answer your questions over at obstacledominator.com. Do you have any tattoos?
Brock: I just have the one big black that one from when I left the motorcycle club.
Ben: Oh, that one! The full back tattoo that you have lasered off.
Voice Over: Did you know that Ben Greenfield personally mentors trainers, coaches, physicians, and nutritionists from around the globe. From business-building tips to advanced human performance and health concepts. It’s all part of a private mastermind called the Superhuman Coach Network. When you join, you get instant access to monthly workshops with Ben, a Q and A forum, over 40 hours of cutting–edge audio and video education and much more. Check it out today and become one of the world’s leading health and fitness experts at superhumancoach.com/podcast. That’s superhumancoach.com/podcast.
Listener Q and A:
Tony: Hi, Ben and Brock! I’m a long time podcast listener and blog follower. I’m training for my first marathon. After making it past 18 miles, I started to develop pain on the side of my knee that completely sidelined me. It was diagnosed as IT band friction syndrome, correctly I believe. A few weeks of PT cleared that up however the pain persisted on the front of my knee just below the patella. I’ve done literally everything I know about to take care of this. I did PT for 8 weeks, tried straps and bands, I’ve taken every joint and anti-inflammatory supplement I know about. I got a Hoka One One which were recommended by a running store after they analyzed my gait, etc. I even got a cortisone shot last weekend which hasn’t done anything but added a ton of pressure to the knee. At this point I can run for about 45 minutes before it starts bugging me but the marathon is in about a week. My doctor says I won’t cause long term problems by running through the pain. My question is since I’m stubborn and I really want to complete the race, what can I do that I haven’t yet leading up to the race and on the race day to give myself the best chance of finishing. Thanks, guys!
Brock: Wow! So he actually went out and bought a pair of hokas. Tried some hokas?
Ben: Hoka! No, those are the super duper built up shoes that are like the size of three shoes in one, right?
Brock: I remember the – back in the 70s, people used to wear those with their bell bottoms. They’re called platform shoes back then.
Brock: People run in them. Crazy!
Ben: Yeah, yeah! I just like to see hoka. Yeah! I’m form Minnesota and I
Brock: Oh, geez!
Ben: So, let’s…
Brock: Sorry, Tony.
Ben: Regardless of whether or not hokas are good or not and I’m slightly convinced that they are a very built up shoe that pretty much trains your body how to not rely upon its natural foot strength, but that’s just me and I know there are some rabid hoka users who are out there.
Ben: Rabid! Let’s talk about- I mean even though we’ve talked quite a bit in the past about how to rehab IT band friction syndrome and how to fix some of those issues, I wanna get in to what you do if you got a run a marathon and you’re injured because let’s face it, I know the way people think and there’s a lot of folks who if you sign up for a marathon you have a knee injury, come hell or high water, you’re still gonna do that marathon.
Brock: Oh, yeah! I don’t think Tony – Tony didn’t sound like he was questioning whether he should do it or not. He’s doing it.
Ben: No, I’ve been in the same boat. I’ve rolled up to starting line of an Ironman triathlon injured and I’ve been like screw this, you know what, I’ve got 2 months to heal my body afterwards, I’m gonna go out and do as much damage to that joint as possible. So first of all, just really quickly, I do have a website called bulletproofknee.com and…
God bless Dave Asprey’s heart but I actually did get an email from Dave Asprey the other day questioning why I have a website called bulletproofknee.com and I…
Brock: I think it pre-dates his Bullet Proof…
Ben: I explained to him that I created that program in 2008 and I didn’t –by no means was trying to ride on the coat tails of Bullet Proof Coffee. Anyways, he’s got to protect his brand. So, it’s all good. Anyways though, in that program at bulletproofknee.com I created that because I dealt with IT band friction syndrome for about 6 months and I go in to the best stretches and the best exercises, the best way to fight the inflammation with specific changes to your diet, how to implement things like water running, how to use special bracing systems, the best type of orthotics, and literally how to get these heel pads that you could put in your shoes to temporarily change the height of one leg to allow you to run on that IT band friction syndrome and still be able to move, how to ice, where to ice, when to ice, the best physical therapy modalities, that’s really comprehensive program. Thirteen different modules that I created via video and text to help you get rid of IT band friction syndrome. So you can check that out but ultimately, I mean let’s be honest, if you got a marathon in a week, that program’s not gonna save your life.
Brock: That’s not gonna help.
Ben: You just gotta pull out the quick stops. So first thing that I’ll do is I’ll get knee brace. And I’ve experimented with a bunch of different knee braces to allow you to run through pain, so to speak. Again, not that I in any way endorse running a marathon with knee pain because you’re gonna screw yourself. But still, let’s say you want to do it, the trick is not to use one of these knee braces that is like the black elastic style braces that you’d get at a Sports Authority or at Big 5 and then also not to get one of these braces that has joints and metal and stuff built in to it because the former will slide off your leg every mile and it won’t provide much support. And then the latter is just too much. It’s too big. It doesn’t give you enough range of motion. So they do make these soft knee supports braces that are knit and they keep pressure off your knee cap and allow you to actually engage in a pretty good range of motion without falling off and it’s kind of like this sweet spot between a really good amount of bracing but not so much that you have reduced range of motion. So there’s this company called GenuTrain that makes one that I really like. And I discovered this when I was working at a sports medicine clinic. And the sports medicine doc who worked alongside me, he kept a bunch of these Bauerfeind Genutrain knee supports in the office to give to people ‘cause he liked them and I started to wear them when I had some knee pain and I was running. They’re made in Germany. They’re these comfortable light-weight, breathable knee braces. You can get them off at Amazon. I’ll put a link in the show notes at bengrrenfieldfitness.com/284 so you can check them out. They’re not cheap. They’re anywhere from 60-200 bucks. But if you’re injured and you wanna run that marathon, you could slap one of these bad boys on and again, you’re still gonna do some damage to your knee but you’ll be able to run and it makes a significant difference. So I’m a big fan of these. Again, they keep pressure off the knee. They help with increasing circulation a little bit. They can even help to reduce some of the swelling. So you’re still gonna be a little bit swollen, be a little bit painful, but I would use that brace. The other thing that I would do every single day if you’re able to is get some electrostim on there and do what I consider to be anti-inflammation on steroids which is basically you take some electrostim patches and these would be like the best device I could recommend to you for specifically for rehab and for controlling injuries is one called the Marc Pro. And check that out at markpro.com and we actually interviewed one of the guys who helped design the Marc Pro on a podcast. He gave all of our listeners a discount code. You can get 30 bucks off this electrostim device. But what it does is it grabs the muscle slowly, so gradually grabbing both slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers, causes that electrical contraction and then releases slowly, so it’s very good for therapeutic rehab. But you surround the injured area, in this case the outside of the knee with these electrodes and then you wanna wrap the knee in ice. So I use- I use this special frozen bags called Frozen Peaz, and they’re not like the literal vegetable but they’re just a brand of these tiny little ice in beads called Frozen Peaz. So you put the electrostim on, and then you surround the electrostim with the Frozen Peaz or some kind of icing, so that you get the combination of compression.
And also the ice will allow you t0 – just shock the hell out of your knee that much more because it gets on some of those nerves. And what you do is you run the electrostim plus the ice, you could do this 3 times a day for 10-15 minutes and this will suck inflammation right out of the area. I actually did this the other day after a heavy, heavy squat session ‘cause my knees were sore. And it makes a night and day difference. So electrostim combined with ice and pressure is my number one favorite injury control strategy. So that’s the next thing that I would recommend in addition to getting one of these soft knee braces. And then once you start running, you definitely are gonna benefit from using something like phenocane. Now phenocane is my number one choice as a natural anti-inflammatory that’s not gonna cause the same type of stomach damage as something like Ibuprofen or Advil might do. And it contains specifically a high, high dose of curcumin along with d-l-phenoalanine and the curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory. The d-l-phenoalanine and also another extract in there called boswellia that helps to shut down pain, helps to shut down some of the activation of those nociceptors in your knee. Again, it’s not gonna heal your knee. You’re still gonna do some damage but it’s at least gonna kill some of the pain without doing a number on your gut like Ibuprofen or Advil would. So if you combine about 8 capsules of that phenocane, you wore the brace during your marathon, and every single day between now and then ands then for a couple weeks after you do electrostim plus ice, that would be a way for you to be able to string yourself through this thing. Again, not that myself or Brock or Guy Smiley endorse running a marathon with a knee injury. But if you had to, let’s just say that’s what I would do.
Michael: Hi, Ben and Brock! This is Michael from the Netherlands. First of all, I love the show. I listen to a lot of podcast and read a lot of books but you are definitely in the top tier of health gurus out there. I also can’t wait to read the Beyond Training book I ordered last week. And I’m even thinking about becoming a superhuman Coach but my timetable hasn’t allowed that. So I was wondering, in Holland there are a lot of people using heat packs while doing cardio to burn those stomach fats. Now I haven’t found any research of my own that burning body fat in specific places is possible, so I’m really skeptical. And after reading your articles and podcast show on cold thermogenesis, I was wondering if heat packs really work or could even have adverse effects on burning body fat. So I really hope you can answer this question for me. Keep up the good work and I’ll keep listening. Thanks!
Brock: Isn’t there a character in that movie, the silver lining playbook? He wore a garbage bag over his sweat suit when he goes out running because he gets more hot, burn more fat.
Ben: Oh, yeah! That’s an interesting technique. It works, too! Well, let’s put it this way…
Brock: But don’t you just lose more water?
Ben: You do lose a lot of water, yeah! I mean that’s a big thing. But this whole doing cardio with heat packs on to burn off stomach fat, it’s an interesting concept. And when you delve into the literature, there’s actually a- there’s actually some studies that look into these effects of heat on fat oxidation. Because heat affects your body in a lot of different ways and one of them is your actual choice of substrates for utilization. And this study that I’ll link to in the show notes. It’s from 2010 and it’s entitled Aerobic Fitness Determines Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rate During Exercise in the Heat and it appeared in the Applied Physiology Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. What they found was that when folks are exercising in the heat, there’s increased muscle glycogen oxidation and reduced whole body fat oxidation. Okay, so what that means is that the hotter the environment that you’re exercising in, the hotter your body temperature when you’re exercising, the more of your muscle carbohydrate stores you’re gonna dig in to, and the less of your fat you’re gonna oxidize. So technically, exercising with a heat pack on would do just the opposite of say, doing something like putting cold over an area. It would actually decrease fat oxidation. Now at the same time, it’s pretty important to remember that one of the reasons that it’s a decrease in fat oxidation, increase in the amount of carbohydrates that you’re burning, is because it’s making your body work harder.
Okay, so heart rate is going up, muscle temperature is going up, metabolism is going up, the need to shuttle blood to different areas of your body to cool your body is going up and when all of that happens over all, intensity increases. When overall intensity increases, that means that the number of calories, the amount of oxygen that you consume for a few hours after that workout might actually go up. Okay, so this would be kind of like that argument between running a mile versus walking a mile. Sure, if you’re walking a mile, while you’re walking that mile, you’re gonna oxidize a higher amount of fat because you’re at a lower intensity. But by running the mile, you’re gonna increase your metabolism for a longer period of time after you’ve finished covering that mile. And so ultimately, running is going to result in better aesthetic benefits, or better calorie burning/fat oxidation benefits just because you’re working after you finished the workout so to speak. So by over heating or getting close to over heating during a workout, during the actual workout, you’re not gonna burn as much fat. But you may actually burn more fat afterwards although there are no studies that look into that. However, there are some other cool things that happen with heat. And this is something that when I get Rhonda Patrick on my podcast, we’re gonna dig in to a little bit more. But for example, if you acclimate your body to heat stress by using something like a heat pack or by using what’s called intermittent whole body hyperthermia, and that’s the fancy term for sitting in a sauna, what happens is you can enhance endurance specifically because you increase nutrient delivery to muscles. And you also reduce your heart rate and you reduce your core temperature during any workouts that you do outside of that sauna session. You can increase muscle hypertrophy which is basically muscle building by preventing protein degradation. And that happens because when you’re exposed to heat, you induce something called heat shock proteins. And heat shock proteins have been shown to lightly build muscle faster and also, interestingly, to increase longevity. You also get a big release of growth hormone and that’s why a lot of people are proponents of infrared saunas, infrared mats, hyperthermia exposure and saunas because of that growth hormone release. And then also, improved insulin sensitivity which has some pretty cool downstream fat loss effects. So again, even though you may not be burning more fat during the actual sauna session, or during the actual hot training session, it’s the physiologic effects that you have afterwards that may actually allow you to burn more fat or to improve body composition. And then there’s also some pretty cool effects on your brain. So you get a bigger release of brain-derived neurotropic factor which causes the growth of new brain cells when you are exposed to heat stress, you get an increased release of prolactin hormone which causes your brain to function faster by enhancing myelination which is the lubrication for all your nerve cells. You get increased storage and increase release of norepinephine which helps you with the attention and focus. And then you also get a release of dinorphine and that’s a specific endorphine that results in your body becoming more sensitive to a lot those excitatory endorphins that can enhance performance in that effect and also enhance your mental function. So a lot of cool effects that happen that go above and beyond just the potential physiological effects. And again, during the actual session, you’re not gonna burn more fat but I would say that anytime, you know similar to the reason that I recommend like the vest from coolfatburner.com or their new- they have this new cold device that goes across your gut called the Cool Gut Buster. Any time you’re increasing physiological stress and forcing your body to make temperature adjustments, it’s usually going to result in superior physiological adaptations to that workout. So I’m a fan but I got to tell you that just based off of the release of what’s called adaponectin which helps you to break down fat based off of the increased calorie burned, the increased activation of brown adipose tissue, and the suppression of a lot of inflammatory markers, I’m a much, much bigger fan if you’re gonna exercise for fat loss to exercising with cold rather than exercising with heat. So if your pure goal is fat oxidation, you would actually be better off using palm pulling devices, these cooling vests that you can wear, body cooling vests using the cool fat burner or the cool gut burner, exercising in cold water. My workout yesterday actually was jumping into the Spokane River which is at about 46 degrees right now. Swimming a 100 meters, getting out, doing a hill sprint, getting back into the water, swimming a 100 meters, getting out, doing a hill sprint, and you know, I could eat 6,000 calories after a workout like that and not gain a pound. So cold trumps heat when it comes to fat loss but heat may actually still help you burn more fat. Pretty much anything that takes you outside your temperature comfort zone can help.
Brock: You know what my workout was last night?
Ben: Uh hmm.
Brock: Sitting out on the couch wearing the fat burner vest.
Ben: Hmm, that sounds so much more pleasant than what I did.
Brock: It wasn’t incredibly pleasant because I was wearing a cold vest but it’s better than jumping in a lake or the river.
Ben: Were you watching a romantic movie and shedding tears…
Brock: I was watching a horror movie when…
Ben: That may actually be – we should hook you up to like a metabolic mask and figure out whether watching a horror movie or using the cool fat burner vest actually enhances fat oxidation and then if it does we can come up with a diet book. We can call it something – or what will we call it? Maybe…
Brock: Terrify Yourselves, Terrified Skinny.
Ben: Yes! The Thermogenesis Terror Diet.
Brock: There you go.
Ian: Hi Ben and Brock! This is just a question about natural calm magnesium bath salts and cold themogenesis. I was wondering – I’m using the natural calm bath salt and it’s been fantastic. I’ve been using it in warm baths or hot baths now I was wondering if it’s better to use it in a cold thermogenesis bath which I have outside, which I use after every hard workout before and after and I find it fantastic. Just wanted to know how long the magnesium bath salts last for in a cold thermogenesis pool ‘cause obviously after a hot bath, I drain all the water but if it’s a cold bath, I leave it for a few days. Just want to know if it’s worth it or if I have to drain it or the more I add is better. Good to hear your take in it. Thanks! Keep up the good work guys, awesome podcast, cheers!
Ben: I’m still thinking about the title of that diet. I’ve got another one, how about Scare Yourself Skinny.
Brock: I like it.
Ben: There you go, boom! Okay so Ian, magnesium baths. Yeah, first of all the whole idea behind doing magnesium baths in the first place is that when you use transdermal magnesium whether it is via a bath delivery, whether it’s via a gel or a lotion, a spray, whatever, you’re passing that magnesium directly into the tissues via your skin where it gets pretty quickly transported to the cells in your body and you avoid all the problems of gastrointestinal irritation, of diarrhea, of basically a lot of the issues that people complain about sometimes when they’re taking as much magnesium as is necessary to optimize cellular function. Supposed if you are an athlete whose got pretty rapid magnesium turnover and as I’ve seen a lot of times and I’ve tested athletes, relatively low levels of what called red blood cell magnesium stores. So magnesium deficiencies specifically are really widespread. So in most industrialized nations with people eating the average fruits, vegetables produce that has been grown in very mineral stripped soil, you tend to see about 75% plus magnesium deficiency and transdermal magnesium can work pretty well. When you look at actual dosages for daily intake of magnesium – so take your body weight, so let’s say you’re a small person just because I sucked at math, I’m gonna go somebody weighs a 100 pounds right? So the approximate rule is you need about 3-4 ml of magnesium per lb of body weight. You’re gonna get some of that from food. It’s not like there’s none in food but that’s still comes out to about 300-400ml of magnesium. So you know, if you’re 200 pounds, that’s’ 600-800ml of magnesium. If you try and get all of that from dietary sources, you may actually windup with diarrhea and GI upset, things of that nature and that’s why I’m a fan of transdermal magnesium. It’s not a natural. I mean, if you go out and soak in the ocean you’re getting some magnesium absorption, it’s like nature has given us mechanisms for increasing magnesium absorption especially in the presence of high magnesium turnover. So an athlete who lives near the ocean could go and soak in the ocean everyday especially if you live near the Dead Sea. Yeah! You could pay top dollar and basically go down to one of those little tourism associations at the Dead Sea and go float.
Brock: Go float.
Ben: Go float. I mean, there’s actually float tanks popping up all over the US too. I mean, that’s another option as well. And then of course you have these supplements like the one that Ian is using, this natural calm bath salts.
One of the issues here is that a lot of the sources of magnesium, whether it’s Epsom salt or like this natural calm bath salts, they are either subpar sources of magnesium or they’re not very absorbable forms of magnesium. So for example, I actually did a magnesium bath last night after that cold running sessions I talked about. Number one because I was very cold when I finished and one of the hot bath and number two because I wanted to shutdown some of the soreness that I know wasgonna happen. If you take the average Epsom salt or magnesium powder, you’re not gonna get much absorption at all. The actual magnesium flakes that I use are from a really natural and pure source of what’s called magnesium chloride and the source is from a seabed that’s called a Zechstein seabed and it’s got many of the characteristics of the Dead Sea that I talked about earlier but the main difference between the Dead Sea and the Zechstein Sea is that the Zechstein Sea was active prior to industrialization and pollution of water supplies which it’s an extremely pure source of magnesium that’s found in this old salt beds so the sea itself no longer exist. The Zechstein Sea no longer exists but they got these salt beds that are basically containing all this preserved, pure magnesium chloride. This company goes out and they harvest this magnesium from the sea beds and then they test it and it’s located about 2 miles beneath the surface of the earth and so it’s totally free in mercury, totally free of lead, arsenic fluoride, all that stuff. So it’s very strictly controlled, it comes with this laboratory certificate of analysis and it’s this pure, pure magnesium chloride flakes that you dump into your bath. That’s what I used and what I recommend. Now, the problem is that they’re not gonna dissolve if the bath is cold and you need a certain temperature that’s not too cold or too hot in order to get adequate delivery of the magnesium. You don’t want to exceed about a 103 degrees and once you get down to like kinda feels like lukewarm which is usually run 96 degrees or less (we’re talking Fahrenheit), you’re not gonna get much absorption. So the idea here is you don’t want the magnesium to sit around in your bath long time, you don’t want the temperature get too cold, you don’t want it to be too hot, so you wanted it to be – it should feel good and usually that somewhere between a 100 and 1 103 degrees like what your average kinda hot tub would be at. Ideally if you’re using this magnesium flakes most of them are gonna get absorbed. So you get a high amount of absorption which means that if you repeat a bath and the flakes, there’s not gonna be a whole lot left. That’s the thing is – you wouldn’t want a retake a bath in the magnesium flakes bath after you’ve already taken a bath. You would just used about 2-3 cups of this stuff in one bath and then drain the bath afterwards and you’d wanna use like a warm to slightly hot bath. So that’s the basic idea in terms of how to actually use magnesium flakes. If you look at topical magnesium, if you look at like, let’s say magnesium lotion, that’s another thing that I use. About a teaspoon of magnesium lotion gives you about 200ml of absorbable magnesium on your skin. It doesn’t take much transdermal magnesium to actually get absorption. If you take one of this magnesium flakes baths, one cup delivers about 15 hundred milligrams, okay, so that’s 15 hundred milligrams of highly absorbable magnesium that bypasses digestion and goes straight into your body so you don’t get any of the gastro intestinal effects and you are getting more than enough magnesium if you use something like a bath but the problem is bad as can sometimes be – well, let’s just face it not all of us have the time to soak in the bath for 20 or 30 minutes a day. Topical magnesium spray or magnesium gel works and then I personally do a magnesium bath about once a week just to get that huge dose of magnesium, the relaxation, the reversal of all the shrinkage that happens when I’m out swimming in a cold river. Yes, that’s the DIY magnesium bath, skinny.
Jessica: Hi Ben, so I’ve been curious about the difference between artificial sweeteners and Stevia. I read many articles on whether it’s good or bad for maintaining weight loss and cravings and whether it’s bad for overall health and the findings are pretty controversial.
I was also wondering if the chemical breakdowns are different. Thank you for your help and really enjoy your podcast. Good luck with Men’s Health.
Brock: I feel weird talking about Stevia without having a Zevia soda in one hand.
Ben: Hmm, yeah I’ve still been doing the Zevia, they’re cherry cola flavor in the afternoon. Yes, it’s nice to look at. I actually…
Brock: Yeah, I could see one. I have the black cherry…
Ben: I double up, I put chocolate stevia into the cherry cola so I make cherry chocolate cola.
Ben: If Stevia is indeed bad for you, I would be the first to die.
Brock: And I would be quickly afterwards.
Ben: The actual form of stevia that’s found in something like Zevia for example is actually called rebaudioside or reb – is a better way to describe it. So we don’t get tongue twisted as we’re talking about Stevia here. Reb is a glycoside of Stevia and I’ll explain what that is in a second. It gets extracted from the leaf and it is the FDA approved version of that Stevia. Not that everything that the FDA approves, I necessarily agree with or anything that they disapproved I avoid, but it is considered to be – it’s what the United States FDA issues generally recognized as safe as a form of Stevia or GRAS so it’s called Reb or Reb-A. The idea behind the glycosides in Stevia is that there’s two different types of glysocides that you’re gonna find in the Stevia plant. You’ve got Steviaside and…
Brock: Maybe we should explain first like you just said the Stevia plant. I don’t know of most people actually realize that it comes from a plant, that this is actually like the leaves of a plant, dried out, wash up…
Ben: It doesn’t come from a furry African mammal called the Stevia squirrel. It comes from a plant and…
Brock: Yeah, it doesn’t come from like some chemical factory, somewhere either, it’s actually a natural occur…
Ben: Yeah, I’ll get into this but it could come from a factory but Stevia is primarily gonna come from Brazil or Paraguay. Those are the two of the places where you’ll find this plant grown most frequently even though laboratories producing it now of course are just growing the plant and isolating it right there. You can grow Stevia in your backyard actually.
Brock: As long as you have no squirrels.
Ben: That’s right as long as you’re not – there’s no Stevia squirrels involved, exactly because that would be cruel. So, the idea here is that there are specific compounds called glycosides in Stevia that give it its sweet taste and there’s two different forms of this glycosides – one is called Steviaside and one is called rebaudioside or what we’re gonna called reb again so that we don’t windup sounding dumb as we try and say that over and over again. They’re about 300 times as sweet as like table sugar so you don’t need that much Stevia to actually get that sweetening taste. In most cases you’re gonna find the Reb form of Stevia uses as a commercial form because that Steviaside version is actually a little bit bitter and that reb version has the least bitterness of all the glycosides in a Stevia plant. The way that you produce that Reb, the way that you isolate it from the other glycosides and other components of the Stevia plant is you dry the plant and then you subject it to this water extraction process and you get this crude extract that has about 50% of the Reb version of the glycosides. Then you separate that using what’s called the crystallization technique and it’s simply done using an alcohol, usually ethanol or methanol as a solvent. So for anybody who’s been in Chem 101, this is a pretty straight forward isolation. It doesn’t require a lot of chemicals but it allows a manufacture to isolate this pure Reb compound and allow you to get more of the sweet form of Stevia. And if you had Stevia before and it tastes bitter, it’s probably because that Stevia hasn’t gone through this extraction process and it’s got both forms of the glycoside in it. And the issue here is actually because of a lack of long term safety studies that have been done on the whole Stevia plant extract itself with all the glycosides present. It actually is something that’s been banned before for example by the European Union that took a long time for any form of it to get approved as generally recognized as safe by the FDA but now just the Reb form is approved as safe. As far as the crude Stevia plant with all the glycosides – what the FDA says is that “they have not permitted the use of whole leaf Stevia or crude Stevia extracts because they have not been approved for use as a food additive.”
And they simply say that there haven’t been enough studies done on the potential effects on the reproductive, cardiovascular and renal systems whereas with this isolated Reb compound, there have been no studies that have shown to have any harm and they’ve done studies where they’ve looked at renal functioning, cardiovascular function, and reproductive function and found no issues with that form of Stevia. So with that isolated Reb form that you’re gonna found in most commercially Stevia sweetened compounds, that’s generally gonna be just fine as with most folks are using now anyways. So for example if you look at the stuff that’s used in like that Zevia soda that we’ve talked about, it’s all actually grown right here in the US. It’s actually – it requires pretty similar climate conditions what you use to grow tobacco and interestingly many of the old tobacco farms like in the South, they’re getting converted into Stevia fields. So they’re grown the Stevia, they’re using a methanol or ethanol to extract this Reb-a that gives you the sweetness without the bitter glycoside form of Stevia and you know, it’s calorie free, it’s natural, there are some potential health benefits that they found for things like hypertension or blood pressure and also diabetic control, you can use it in baking rather than like sugar alcohols which can cause gas or bloating sometimes, there’s no issue on…
Brock: Like it’s about all kinda thing.
Ben: Exactly, there’s no issue on your teeth, there’s no harmful effects on your gut flora like you get with for example sucralose and so that form is pretty good. There’s some other forms of Stevia that are out there that are mixed with sugar alcohols and a lot of people do complain of gas, bloating, and stuff like that from those forms of Stevia. You’ve got Truvia – that’s one that’s owned by the Coca Cola Company and that’s mixed with sugar alcohols and Purevia is another one – that one owned by Pepsi and that one also has – it’s basically Reb-a mixed with a form of sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are fermentable which means that if you have an issue with like Fodmaps like we’ve talked on the show before – like fermentable carbohydrates, stuff like that. Sugar alcohols can cause gas and bloating, you might find that if you use a Stevia from the form called Truvia for example vs. if you use like the liquid extract of Stevia which is what I use. For example, when I shot my video this morning on the Skinny Fat Coffee, I was using a chocolate liquid Stevia extract. That’s what I use ‘cause it’s just the Reb-a form, it’s just no bitterness and it’s not mixed with sugar alcohols. So that’s the one that I would recommend you use. Way different than astaphan potassium, aspartame or saccharin or sucralose, none of the potential neuro-toxic effects, none of the effects in terms of affecting your blood sugar or your gut flora. The only caveat here that I would warn you about is that anytime that we taste anything sweet we get a release of incretin hormones by our gut: cholecystokinin, gastric peptides and all sorts of things that prime our body to digest food because we’re sending a message to our body that calories are present. So whether it’s Stevia or any other form of artificial sweetener that doesn’t contain calories, you may find that it sparks your appetite. You may find if you drink a Zevia or you use some Stevia with some water, something like that to add sweetness, that you windup hungrier an hour to an hour and a half later than you would normally have been. I don’t find that to be the case and I think it’s because whenever I’m having Stevia, it’s with a great deal of liquid so like I will take a big cup of ice water, I put a little bit of peppermint oil extract and some Stevia in there. I’m drinking 16 ounces of water and that actually keeps me more full and I think that the liquid present in the compounds I’m drinking or in the case of Zevia like the carbonation and the bubbles and the liquid, all of that offsets any of those potential appetite stimulating effects of Stevia. That’s just what I find for myself like I find that keeping my stomach full of liquids actually keeps me from overeating and snacking at other times during the day. So even though there is theoretical potential for its appetite stimulating effects, I haven’t personally find that to be the case and I think the pros outweighs the cons.
Brock: Have you actually seen studies that say that there isn’t an insulin release when you have it?
Ben: You mean…
Brock: The reason I asked is ‘cause I actually heard our friend Dr. Cate Shanahan was talking about how our stomachs are finding more and more and those stomachs actually have the same type of taste buds that we have in our mouths and that the stomach actually is tasting the sweetness in the same way that your mouth does and it’s actually causing a bit of an insulin release. It’s not like if you hit it with like real sugar or not.
Ben: Yeah, but remember that insulin requires some type of a compound to be shoved into fat cells in order for it to grow fat cells or grow new fat cells.
So insulin in the absence of glucose, the issue there is potential for insulin insensitivity. If you’re constantly getting surges in insulin you may eventually find that the cell receptors surfaces for insulin become insensitive to its effects. Typically we need a great deal of insulin release by the pancreas in order for that to happen. The type surge that would occur say after eating a cinnamon roll. I really doubt that the volume of insulin released by the taste of Stevia is enough to cause insulin sensitivity and I guarantee that in the absence of glucose or fructose or anything else, any other compound that could get shoved into a fat cell, that it’s not actually going to make you fat so unless it’s a really large bullets of insulin that could cause insulin sensitivity or insensitivity, I wouldn’t be too concerned about that but I’ve seen the studies to show the actual volume of insulin released.
Brock: Yeah, so don’t have your Zevia soda with a chocolate bar.
Ben: Exactly, yup.
Peter: Ben and Brock, first thanks for the fabulous mix of nerdy and badass that you pull off in your show. I get a real kick out of it and of course I got so much helpful information. So I’ve been on a mission to keep my family healthy and active for some time now. Though my two teenage daughters and my wife would buy into it a lot, there’s one area where I find a real wall, it’s got to do with really tough menstrual cramps and I wanted to persuade them to stay away from things like naproxen and ibuprofen and sometimes on high doses, they just keep it up. I got everybody healthy doses of magnesium and it hasn’t gone away. Please suggest how to deal with this, by the way, how high a dose of magnesium should I push? Should you recommend phenocane and if so what doses? Any other suggestions? It seems to me that these cramps are masking something underlying the symptoms but I’m no expert. Thanks for your help.
Peter: Peter, you’re a good man.
Ben: That’s right. I like how he likes our mixture of nerdy and badass.
Ben: The only question is who’s the nerd and who’s the badass.
Brock: Screw you Peter!
Ben: That was the badass.
Brock: That’s the badass.
Ben: That’s the badass. That’s the badass with the motorcycle tattoo that’s been lasered off. Peter, I’m your friendly neighborhood nerd. So, I’m the guy you can talk to over defense about your wife’s menstrual cramps and your daughter’s menstrual cramps. Yeah, it’s basically two things Peter, hormones and inflammation. Hormones and inflammation, and there are variety of things that can disrupt hormones or cause inflammation that if you get optimized, you’re going to vastly lower the potential for you having a very unhappy household once a month or in your case assuming that they’re not timed twice a month. Oftentimes women who are all living together in the same house kinda like…
Brock: That’s what I’m gonna say. They’re probably synced up anyway.
Ben: Unless there is a male present who is a potential mate in which case they desynchronized. It’s kinda interesting – they’ve done this study on mice where when they put a bunch of female mice into like a cage together they all synchronize their hormones and their menstruation based off of typically it’s like a circadian rhythm cycle, like a moon cycle. But once you throw a V-rial male who is a potential mate into the mix, they all start to basically go on their own version of their own cycle so that each of them have potential for fertilizing at some point. I’m not in any way implying that Peter you’re a fertile male and your wife and daughter are rats in the cage, there are all sorts of…
Brock: Maybe that’s the badass you’re talking about.
Ben: Yeah, so anyways. What can you do? What can you do about the inflammation, what can you do about the hormones? So first of all, your big wins are gonna be, before you even pay any attention to nutrition or supplements or anything like that freaking clean up the house. You’re gonna find toxins and endocrine disruptors and pesticides that your neighbor or you or your yard keeper might be spraying on your lawn. You’re gonna find plastics, household chemicals, even mattresses like all these things contain hormone disrupting chemicals. Even like coated pans, like you wanna use no stick or non Teflon pans, you wanna avoid heating or storing foods and plastics like basically go all out for that. I mean, I’ve got a whole chapter in my book “Beyond Training” devoted to detoxing your home and there’s a reason for that.
And I suspect that’s – the reason that we live in a very clean home and we avoid a lot of these endocrine disruptors and we take a lot of the anti-inflammatory measures that I mean I’ve talked to you about. Probably one of the reasons that my wife really doesn’t have any issues when it comes to her time of the month like it’s just pretty much smooth sailing for the most part unless I really annoy her in which case I get my head shoved off, let’s put it that way. So anyways though, avoid chemicals in your food, avoid chemicals in your household. So avoid inflammatory foods as well: foods like grain, dairy, vegetables oil, all of that, okay. Grain-free, dairy-free diet is one of the best things that you can do, I should say grain-free commercial, dairy-free diet is one of the best things that you can do when it comes to optimizing hormones and reducing a lot of these symptoms and there are certain things that can really help to fix inflammation especially as you’re adjusting your home. So fixing up things like home made bone broth, grass-fed meats, really healthy fats like butter and coconut oil and chi. You know, my morning skinny fat coffee, all of that are the type of things that can help out here. Now, the other thing is you really wanna avoid specifically poly-unsaturated omega 6 fatty acids. So, this amazing dam, amazing that there’s no link here between PMS and vegetable oil but the fact is that when these specific oils get incorporated into cells in your reproductive tissue, it can cause problems like endometriosis like poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. A lot of the hormone disruption and a lot of the things that can contribute to menstrual cramps. Okay, so you want to completely get rid of vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, any of these chemically altered fats and the only fats hanging around your house should be like coconut oil, real grass-fed butter, olive oil or extra virgin olive oil that you don’t heat and then animal fats like tallow, and lard and wild caught fish and things of that nature. So, that’s gonna be another big, big win for you. And then you can get into supplements but I just hate it when I see somebody trying to fix hormone issues by whatever, taking a testosterone booster, taking some kind of adaptogenic herb and they’re living in a toxic environment because you’re just taking one step forward and two steps back. Don’t waste your money on supplements or anything like that until you’ve cleaned up your house and gotten rid of any inflammatory triggers. And then from there, few of the things that could help out: first of all, I would really consider adaptogenic herbs. So what happens is there are certain herbs that can help you to increase cortisol when cortisol is low, decrease cortisol when cortisol is high. Maca root is one that is available in powder form, that’s probably the least expensive of the adaptogens, it’s got a pretty good history of boosting hormone production and boosting libido and there’s been studies done on it where women have noticed less PMS, even increased fertility, it’s got a lot of essential fatty acids in it that are going to be great for fighting against. Just placing some of the cell surface receptors for some of these omega 6 fatty acids or inflammatory fatty acids that I just done talking about. Ultimately, I’ve experimented with Maca and I’ve also experimented with more potent adaptogenic herb blends and the biggest win would be something like the TianChi or the Inner Peace that I’ve talked about before in the show. Both of those are made by the same company, a small company in Portland, Oregon. They’re extremely high quality herbs and I’ve tried Maca and I’ve tried those and that’s like a blend of ashwagandha, eleuthero, rhodiola, a ton of adaptogens – it’s like the shock and approach to adaptogens. I think they blow Maca out of the water when it comes to adaptogens. So, I would be using something like TianChi and if you don’t want the caffeine in the TianChi, use something like Inner Peace which is made by that same company that makes TianChi. Another thing would be vitamin D. Now, vitamin D imbalance with proper amounts of vitamin K, so that’s absorbed and so you don’t get a lot of the toxicity issues associated with vitamin D. That’s a pre-hormone, that’s really support of a hormone function. Probably the best source that I would recommend for vitamin D would be the stuff from Thorne FX and I was in the process of wanting to private label my own botanical vitamin D3 formula but this Thorne FX stuff is a thousand international units of vitamin D in two drops and it’s balanced with vitamin K2 and the only other stuff in there are MCT oil and mixed tocopherols.
Both of which I really like for increasing absorption of vitamin D and vitamin K even more – so 200 micrograms of vitamin K, thousand of vitamin D3. Now, the multivitamin that I recommend has that much in anyways but if you wanted extra or if you are already taking a multivitamin or something like that, this stuff is – I’ll put a link to it in the show notes or you could just go over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/vitamind. It’s vitamin D3, vitamin K2 and a balanced formula with MCT oil and tocopherols, awesome stuff. That would be if you wanna get a little bit of extra vitamin D. And then the last thing that I looked into would be something called Vitex which is also known as Chaste Tree Berry. I would not encourage men to use this because it could decrease testosterone. In women though, it’s specifically helps to lengthen what’s called the luteal phase. So it lowers prolactin and it raises progesterone and prolactin excess and progesterone deficiency are two things that can contribute to PMS symptoms. It’s really gonna help out with the pituitary gland specifically in lowering prolactin and increase in progesterone and it goes by the name Vitex or Chaste Tree Berry. You can get it in a liquid extract or on a powdered form off of like Amazon, I’m a big fan of that compared to using progesterone cream because if you are not careful with the progesterone cream, you can create an imbalance where you’ve got too much progesterone and that can have some carcinogenic effects, so I’d be careful with that. Ultimately when we’re talking about a hormone balance and kinda keeping your finger on where your hormones are at, I really wouldn’t do a lot without testing. So you can get isolated hormone panels, that testings like DHEA, cortisol, estrodial, insulin like growth factor, and sex hormone binding globulin along with your testosterones and your progesterones. There’s one called a sex hormone balance test, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes for you but it’s a sex hormone balance test. You could also go to, (I’m trying to create easy to remember url’s for our podcast listeners now) bengreenfieldfitness.com/hormonetest and check that one out and it’s just a basic sex hormone balance test and you could also use that to just see what’s happening in terms of how environmental toxins, dietary choices, things like that are affecting hormones but ultimately your biggest wins, I would say the most potent one-two-three combo for you would be adaptogenic herbs, vitamin D balanced with vitamin K and then something like Vitex. ‘Cause if you just use a pain killer like phenocane or whatever, I mean, it’s kinda like that marathon runner (we’re talking about it earlier, right) it’s masking the pain but ultimately it’s not gonna fix the underlying issue. So that’s what I would do. My heart goes out to you Peter, it really does.
Brock: Mine doesn’t ‘cause I’m a badass.
Sanket: Hey Ben, hi, this is Sanket. I have a question about my fasting blood sugar levels. Recently I did a fasting blood test in which my HA1C came to 5.5. Right after the test I did a blood glucose which came to 116 after a 14 hour fast. Now, what I have observed is that if I engage in a moderate to high exercise, my fasting blood sugar remains high for at least 2-3 days after that. If I do not exercise, it’s usually in the range of 80-85. Now, I exercise more rarely once a week, sometimes I missed out as well, my job is pretty much sedentary. I’m off gluten for about 8 months and I have lots of fats with butter chi and coconut oil but now I also eat grains such as rice, so it’s sort of gluten and then I usually fast 11-12 hours each night. Now, I wanted to know if the elevated fasting blood sugar levels are normal. If you’re exercising once in a while and is there any way that I can bring the A1C numbers down. So, thanks, thanks much for your podcast and thanks for all that you do.
Brock: Now this American values don’t mean much to me. Is that a high value for A1C or a low value?
Ben: This American cowboy values! A1C generally you want to see it at 5.5 or under. A lot of times it’s a meaningless number in athletes though because your red blood cell turnover occurs more quickly than the three months snapshot that hemoglobin A1C is supposed to give you. I’m a bigger fan of, like Sanket says, kinda paying attention to blood glucose after meals, while you’re fasting, etc. If you’re already eating – let’s say you’re controlling carbohydrates, your controlling your intake of grains, you’re exercising, you’re physically active, you’re not snacking frequently, and you’re still seeing rapid fluctuations in blood sugar, like Sanket is, you may wanna look into some hidden causes of increased blood sugar that go above and beyond just say consumption of sugar.
The biggest contributor to like chronic hyper-glycemia would be that you are simply insensitive to insulin or you have low insulin levels. Either insulin resistance caused by something like diabetes type 2 or low insulin levels meaning your pancreas is simply not producing adequate insulin which would be kinda definition of diabetes type 1. You may want to consider going out and getting some insulin sensitivity testing done and looking at how much insulin you’re actually producing. You get an actual insulin hormone test just to check and see because if your pancreas isn’t producing insulin or you’ve got full blown insulin insensitivity, that may be a case where some of these things like bitter melon extract, or the diabetic drug metformin, things along those lines may actually allow you to avoid a lot of the potential nerve damaging and blood vessel damaging effects of chronic high blood sugar because I mean you simply may have a genetic risk for type 2 diabetes, you may have type 1 diabetes and that’s something you would have to go and get tested for. That’s step 1. You can be eating a high fat, low carb diet, doing everything right, exercise, etc. and still have diabetes. It just happens unfortunately. So that’s one thing that you may want to look into and you could go out and get an insulin test for example to look into whether or not you’ve got insulin resistance or low insulin levels.
Brock: Is that when the doctor just tells you that your pancreas is (sounds)?
Ben: Hmm, yeah, exactly. Yup. Pancreatic insufficiency would probably be a better term for us to use on the show. You can also, incidentally you can test your – a lot athletes have pancreatic insufficiency but not just of insulin but a lot of the pancreatic enzymes due to essentially having a pooped out pancreas to use another highly scientific term. That’s better than (sounds) pancreas. Anyways, a couple other things I would look out though that can also cause hyper-glycemia. First of all, thyroid disregulation, specifically dysfunction of your thyroid gland, your adrenal gland or even your pituitary gland, can cause disregulation and your ability to properly metabolize glucose or your insulin sensitivity. So I would – especially if you’re an athlete like go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/thyroid and read up some of my recommendations for thyroid testing and for taking care of your thyroid there making sure you’re getting adequate iodine, adequate selenium, sounds like you’re already avoiding foods that might cause some autoimmune issues as far as the thyroid is concerned but then there are also things that can for example inhibit conversion of inactive to active thyroid hormone such as high liver enzymes or inflamed gut. So lots of little things to dig in to from a thyroid standpoint, same thing with cortisol. Cortisol can cause mobilization of liver glycogen stores, upregulation of blood glucose, even in the absence of eating any glucose at all. So I would definitely look in to cortisol and stress control as well. Both thyroid as well as high cortisol can cause hyperglycemia even in the absence of diabetes, so that’s another one to look into. There are some medications that can cause this. I don’t know if you’re on any medications but for example like beta-blockers, cortico steroids, diuretics, high intake of niacin which a lot of people with cardiovascular issues tend to be on, protease inhibitors, there are some things that you might be on even some of the neuro anti-depressants and psychotropic medications, all of those can cause hyperglycemia. So that’s another thing to look into would be if you are on any medications, I would imagine pull it, tells us if you were ‘cause I would think that that would play into the picture but anyways if you’re taking any funky drugs or anything like that, Sanket, that could also affect it. Testing, I would – I’ll put a link for you to test for pancreatic insufficiency. There’s a pretty good Direct Labs panel that can do that and then I’ll also put a link for you to test for thyroid and test for hormones, make sure just one off test. You don’t have to pay to get everything tested, you can just kinda focus on those if you wanted to badge it out the testing so to speak. Those are some of the hidden causes of high blood sugar that even if you’re exercising and eating properly may still cause some issues.
Brock: Alright! You know what it’s time for?
Ben: That’s right! And I’m looking across my office right now at a big shelf full of the brand new Ben Greenfield Fitness tech t-shirts which comfortably, snuggly, hug against your body and make you look wildly ripped and sexy as you’re working out of the gym.
Brock: Yes! It’s amazing like I’ve seen like hideously fat people put those shirts on and look at them fine.
Ben: Hmm, it’s like an insty boob job tummy tuck, everything. So, you get one of those t-shirts and you get a Ben Greenfield fitness beanie, and you also get…
Brock: Which I hear will help you re-grow your lost hair.
Ben: Hmm, better than the propecia without the decrease in testosterone.
Brock: There you go.
Ben: And then finally a bpa-free water bottle which has been clinically proven to reduce menstrual cramps. So you get all of those…
Brock: And eventually help turn water into wine.
Ben: That’s right. You get all of those ships straight to you if we read your review on iTunes. Now, you could also purchase all of those as a pack and support the show if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear for 47 bucks. You can support the show and get all that ship straight to your house or you can leave a killer review on iTunes and we’ll also if we read your review on the show, we will send you one of those packs, you just need to email [email protected] and tell us that you heard us read your review. I have to say Brock, I think I wanna read this review ‘cause it’s for you.
Brock: Yeah, I think it would be uncomfortably if I read it. I feel weird.
Ben: Yes, it would be praising your own lips.
Brock: Yah, so murphi02…
Ben: Or letting your own lips praise you, I believe it’s the way it would go.
Brock: Isn’t that every man’s dream?
Ben: So, this review is a five star review that says; Sending Some Brock Love J
Brock: Smiley face.
Ben: Murphi02 says, “I’ve been a faithful listener for a long time and I have always enjoyed the great information supplied by Ben. However, I must say that ever since Brock came on board, the podcast has taken on a whole new life. His witty banter keeps me greatly entertained and I often find myself chuckling through my workouts. Mr. Skywalker (yes, I know that’s just your middle name) you’re the A-Number 1 sidekick!
Brock: That’s – If I’m gonna ever start a company, I’m gonna call it A-Number 1 Sidekick.
Ben: A-Number 1! Yeah, Brock is number 1, A-Number 1 Sidekick!
Brock: I’ll be at the top of the telephone booth that way.
Ben: That’s right. You’re not an asshole, you simply are the witty banterfield sidekick that keeps everyone out there chuckling through their workouts. Which is probably why our listeners aren’t getting anymore fit because of the Brock chuckling effect. Too distracting.
Brock: There’s too much chuckling actually I got accused on twitter the other day of causing somebody to drop a dumb bell on their head ‘cause of something I said during the podcast.
Ben: With your fishy, fishy oil comment. Yes, and if you wanna seemore crazy stuff from Brock, check out giftfromben.com and at giftfromben.com you can see Brock do all kinds of crazy things with a tennis ball.
Brock: And Ben made me do something uncomfortable things with a tennis ball.
Ben: With a tennis ball. Anyways, so from Stevia filled squirrels to hormone testing, to the frozen peaz, to everything else that we’d talked about on today’s show, head over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/284 and until next time this is guy smiley – Ben Greenfield signing off.
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