Episode #226 – Full Transcript

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Introduction:  In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast:  How to make our immune system bullet-proof and shorten the duration of a colds. Also: IGF1 and Testosterone Levels, what to do during long commutes, preparing for a hard race on a low carb diet, can altitude affect PMS, the best Personal Trainer certification, and how a high fat diet can irritate your throat.

Brock:  All right, Ben, here we are.  I’m back.  You’re at home.  Everything is the way it should be.

Ben:  I’ve escaped my Russian prison from last week.

Brock:  It was really that bad.

Ben:  It was a strange bed and breakfast. It really was like the spare bedroom of somebody’s house with a mini fridge in the corner and all that jazz.  I’m happy to be back in my office. We’re not recording at our usual time so my morning voice has disappeared.

Brock:  Yeah. You sound a little more spry than usual but not too different.

Ben:  Yeah. Spry is a good word. I’ll actually hop up and do some jumping heel taps in between each question. If you guys hear any tapping going on, that’s what’s up.  That’s my spryness.

Brock:  I expect you to do some running like super Mario.

Ben:  And I’ve got chai. My wife makes chai everyday. She uses ginger and cloves and all that stuff and I happen to score a glass of that before I came in here. Chai watered down with a little bit of coconut milk if you can call that watering down.  And I’m ready to podcast, dude.

Brock:  Might just do it.

News Flashes:

Brock:  To get these and other interesting news flashes every week, make sure to follow Ben on Twitter at twitter.com/bengreenfield and also go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and find all the other links to places like FacebookGoogle+.

Ben:  It wouldn’t be a podcast if we didn’t talk about one thing and you know what that is, Brock?

Brock:  It’s beer, isn’t it?

Ben:  Close. Poop actually.

Brock:  That would’ve been my second guess.

Ben:  Of course. And I tweeted earlier that there’s an interesting article on Scientific American this week on Poop Transplants for Serious Digestive Issues.  And those of you listeners who are perhaps on the pointy end of health may have heard of fecal transplants before but this article delved quite deeply. There are no puns intended at any point throughout my explanation of this article.

Brock:  There are so many of those.

Ben:  There’s a condition though that’s pretty serious in the US alone, that about half a million people suffer from and about 15000 people a year die from and it is basically diarrhea caused by something called C difficile which is a bacteria. And this article goes into how an emerging treatment to get rid of C difficile extremely effectively without the use of antibiotics which C difficile has become resistant to is called fecal bacteria therapy or a poop transplant where they take the donor poop from a healthy patient and they insert it into your gut using basically this tube that gets inserted into your butt or down your mouth and it sounds really gross but that healthy helpful bacteria that you get inserted can actually completely get rid this issue. And as a matter of fact, fecal transplants are being used now to treat a bunch of stuff like irritable bowel syndrome, even some neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, constipation.  So it’s really, really interesting and of course, I was happy to see towards the end of this article that over at the University of Guelph, which I believe is in Germany, (but I’m not sure and the only reason I said it is that Guelph sounds German) is that they’re creating synthetic poop and this fake feces which they called (quite disappointingly actually because it doesn’t sound very scientific) re-poopulate.


Brock:  That’s fantastic.

Ben:  Anyways, it’s a super probiotic stool substitute that can be substituted into the GI tract in a similar manner as a fecal transplant and potentially be a little bit more settling to folks who are concerned about someone else’s poop vs. fake poop being inserted in their bodies even though I think from a biochemical standpoint, it’s really the same thing.

Brock:  They’re not just digging into somebody’s toilet and pulling it out like it gets treated and cleaned up and stuff before it gets inserted.

Ben:  Exactly. And the term that they use in the article to describe the bacterial mixture of the fake feces is, they say it’s more palatable.  And I’m just curious who writing the article is was comparing the palatability of the real poop vs. the fake poop. But there you go.  For those of you who are interested in the stuff, in all seriousness, I think that we’re going to see this type of transplants being something used more and more for digestive issues.

Brock:  Yeah. We’re having a good laugh but it’s actually, yeah, it’s been around for a while but it’s certainly becoming a much more practiced and effective procedure.  So it’s awesome.

Ben:  Yeah. Exactly.  And the next thing that I tweeted was an interesting investigation that they did to B12 deficiencies.  This study was in the Nutrition Reviews Journal.  The title of it is How Prevalent is Vitamin B12 Deficiency among Vegetarians and they looked at a wide range of vegetarians including those who are pregnant, adolescents, elderly, children, etc. and found extremely high levels of B12 deficiencies is up into an average of close to 80% across the board for vegetarians.  And this should probably not as a surprise to a lot of people who are vegetarians and vegans because vitamin B12 deficiencies are one of the big issues when you’re not consuming really the highest sources of vitamin B12 which would be meat. By the way, for those of you who are scratching your head over vitamin B12, it also goes by the name cobalamin.  If you’re not getting B12 in your diet, there are a variety of signs and symptoms that manifest.  Here’s the cool thing though: there’s a really useful vitamin B12 signs and symptoms assessment checklist that one of my Twitter followers (whose name I’m blanking on right now), tweeted after seeing me talk about this study and I’m going to link to it in the show notes.  Of course, we link to a ton of stuff in the show notes and this is Episode #226, right?

Brock:  Yup!

Ben:  So normally, if you wanted to really test vitamin B12, you get what’s called the blood serum vitamin B12 test and you’d wanna make sure that you’re above what’s called 200 nanograms per liter if you’re measuring in nanograms per liter. But what this test can actually do and they looked at this is they noticed that when someone indicates B12 deficiency on this test which is simply a bunch of items that you go in and checklist, it tends to correlate quite well with the drop in blood serum vitamin B12 values when you do both the test online following up with a blood test. So I’ll put a link to that test online where you could go and see if you might be at risk of deficiency from vitamin B12.  And then you’ve kinda got 2 ways to go. You could (if you’re vegetarian) use a sublingual Vitamin B12 Spray.  That’s honestly probably the best way to do it. And there’s one I believe is by Nano Pharmaceuticals. I’ll link to it in the show notes.  It’s super affordable. You can get it off at Amazon or wherever but it’s just a sublingual spray that you can use for helping out your vitamin B12 levels. That would be if you’re vegetarian or if you’re vegan. The other way that you could do it and I went over this in last week’s episode as there’s a bunch of stuff that happens to be kind of fun or at least novel to eat that you could use to jack up your vitamin B12 levels to the roof.  And some of those things are like liver, shellfish, fish eggs or what we know as caviar. I suspect that most people probably go for the caviar over the liver. But I’m not sure. You’ll never know with the Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners.  Octopus, crab, lobster, I think most people definitely go for lobster over liver.

Brock:  I’m getting so hungry.

Ben:  Beef, lamb, (go get yourself a sugar of mutton, Brock and we’ll take a quick pause here), cheese and eggs. So there you go.


If you have that stuff as staples in your diet, you probably don’t need to worry about B12 but especially for vegans and vegetarians, just be careful and be aware of that checklist that would allow you to go and easily measure something like this because B12 deficiency is something that really affect your energy levels.  And interestingly, because I had someone whom I was working with, a vegan athlete who I got on the B12, their sleep got crazy good all of a sudden after they got on B12 and I suspect it was because they had a B12 deficiency.

Brock:  B12 will certainly make you spry.

Ben:  That’s right. The next thing is that there was an interesting article in Scientific American also about intermittent fasting. And I thought that this was a cool article and I’ll get a link to it in the show notes for this episode over at bengreenfieldfitness.com because it really went into all the different ways that intermittent fasting might help us to live longer, for example, increased levels of what are called chaperone proteins which help the molecules in your cell to assemble properly. Higher levels of what’s called brain derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF which is the special protein that prevents your brain neurons from dying and can help you get smarter. It ramps up what’s called autophagy which is basically your body’s garbage disposal system that gets rid of damaged molecules and helps you with cellular turnover clean up, basically.  And all this stuff happens when you are doing this type of intermittent fasting like for me, it’s usually a 12-hour period throughout the day that I try not to eat.  For some people, they get up to a 16-hour period and while long-term studies are kinda sparse in terms of how this affects folks, we know from an ancestral or an evolutionary perspective that eating regularly, snacking regularly, grazing, even eating 3 meals a day is relatively new phenomenon.  We actually do okay and some cool things happen when we do have periods of time during which we don’t necessarily eat and you may just set that up as like one day a month where you fast, where all you have is maybe a greens drink and some water and a little bit of amino acids or something like that. You don’t have to do this everyday or even every week. But I think having a little bit of fasting here and there could certainly help you out.  Let’s put it this way:  if you’re to fast one day a month, that gives you 12 days a year of a complete fast where you take advantage of some of this kind of stuff like a 24-hour fast. I’ll link to the article in the show notes but I thought it was pretty interesting.

Brock:  Yeah. I think even just looking at the evolution of our language, the fact that we call it breakfast – we’re breaking the fast every morning, that points to the fact that we were built that way.  That’s the way that our history of eating has evolved.

Ben:  Yes. You just have to walk a fine line because who wants to live longer if you’re like chewing your fingernails and biting the inside of your cheek the whole time.

Brock:  Yeah.  There are prices to everything.

Ben:  One last thing I wanted to mention that I thought was funny and it was a study on tomato juice in which they found that the use of tomato juice actually beat out traditional sports drinks when you use that as a sports drink during exercise. This was in the Journal of Food Chemistry and Toxicology. And what they found was that when they looked at 2 things – creatine phosphokinase and lactate dehyrogenase which are really important markers of basically, how much exercises beat you up. They were significantly controlled when tomato juice was used during an exercise session compared to (this was in trained good athletes) traditional carbohydrate sports drinks. This was a study over 2-month period of time and it’s because the lycopene – that natural antioxidant in tomatoes. But these folks, they exercised just as well. They just used tomato juice instead of sports drinks.

Brock:  Is this like Mott’s tomato juice or was this juiced at home like smashed up nice organic tomatoes?

Ben:  I don’t really know but I would imagine you could probably just go out and grab some of the V8 tomato juice and do okay in terms of you need some anti inflammatory in a pinch, you’re driving home from a workout, you aren’t gonna get a chance to have dinner, technically, it might not be the best thing in the world. You could pull over on to the gas station and grab yourself some V8 tomato juice and it’s be better that grabbing a Gatorade or a Powerade.  Let’s put it that way.


Brock:  So we’re talking post exercise, not during.

Ben:  Well, a lot of these things that have an effect during exercise or also gonna have an effect if you take them pre exercise or post exercise because let’s face it, it’s still gonna be in the bloodstream.  Ultimately, with a lot of these stuff, it doesn’t matter.

Brock:  If you’re on a 2-hour bike ride and you’re gulping down warm V8 to your water bottle, that’s not very pleasant.

Ben:  Yeah.  I actually like that but I’m pretty masochistic.

Special Announcements:

Brock:  Okay. As always, tons of stuff going on at bengreenfieldfitness.com and I know this week was maybe, would you call it your most controversial post ever?

Ben:  The 12 Myths about Fiber. It certainly did strike a chord among folks and without drawing too long on the post itself.  I’d encourage you to go over and read the post The 12 Myths about Fiber written by a fellow named Konstantin, a guest post. I didn’t write the article.  He did. But he really goes into how we perhaps been mis-educated a little bit about the benefits of fiber and there is quite a good discussion under the post but he’s really not a fan of any of these types of fiber supplements that I use like  psyllium seeds, stuff like this that has kind of whistled its way into the health industry as being the cat’s meow when it comes to clearing up digestive issues and reducing risk of colon cancer and stuff like that. He goes into how it may actually have the opposite effect and a lot of the deleterious effects too. Interesting article that I’d recommend that you read. And then another is also an article this week about how to get ready if you’re doing like a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race or something like that. Two completely different articles but there are some good reads for you this week over at bengreenfieldfitness.com. A couple other things that we should mention: First of all, this podcast is brought to you by AudiblePodcast.com/ben and I know that Brock found a book on Audible that he wanted to mention to you.

Brock:  Yeah.  First, we should mention if you go to audiblepodcast.com/ben and sign up, you get a free book. You don’t have to pay for your first book. You can download one. Give it a try and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to stick around but if you do, you get a free book and I’m gonna recommend Fat Chance:  Beating the Odds against Sugar by a guy named Robert Lustig. I heard him interviewed the other day on Science Friday and some of the stuff he was saying was really interesting and he talks about to help us lose weight and recover our health, Lustig presents personal strategies to re-adjust the key hormones that regulate hunger, reward and stress. He spends a lot of time talking about how the food industry responded to the government-mandated lowering of fat in the 1970’s by pouring in more sugar into all of our food. So it’s an interesting read, I think and I think it’s mostly in line with what you’ll hear in this podcast, too.

Ben:  Yeah. I got a chance to meet Dr. Lustig 0ver at the Ancestral Health Symposium. He’s a pretty sharp guy.  I’m really keeping my fingers crossed he’s not a podcast listener here but he might do himself a favor if he lost a few pounds.  It might improve credibility there. Who knows   maybe he’s just jacked underneath his suit and that’s the poorliness that I saw but he’s not obese or anything but anyways, just a thought.  But either way, I’m sure his book’s great.  You could check that out at AudiblePodcast.com/ben.  The Fat Chance – great title for a book.  A few other things:  We get all of these podcasts transcribed and a lot of people read the transcriptions because sometimes it’s useful when you just wanna go to a search for a term, not listen to a full hour-long podcast but just go read up on something quick that I was talking about or copy and paste something to a friend and send it to him via e-mail, you know that type of thing. Ever since we started transcribing the podcast, it got really popular. Lots of folks read them and you can find them right there on the right side of the page of bengreenfieldfitness.com.  They’re also all uploaded as PDFs to our slide show account.  The issue is that it’s kind of expensive to have a real person actually go through and type all the episodes and these automatic computer programs that are supposed to be able to transcribe stuff, let’s just say that they do a super crappy job with any word that’s more than about 2 syllables long.

Brock:  They don’t deal with accents well either and being that I’m Canadian, it would just make a mess of me.


Ben:  It just put a bunch of gibberish when it comes to Brock.  We’re looking for anybody/any business in the health or the fitness or nutritions-based that wants to get a banner and an advertisement up on our “Transcript” pages and basically sponsor the transcripts. Our costs range from about $400-500 a month to paying how much we blabber to get the podcast transcribed and I think a real win-win here would be if we can find somebody who can get some advertisement supplement transcript and kick in that amount on a monthly basis.  So if you know of a business who’d be interested in doing this or you’re interested in doing it yourself, let us know and we’ll work something out with you.  Just send me an e-mail. Really, it’d be the easiest way to do it. E-mail me at [email protected] so we can keep on providing transcripts ‘cause right now, I am essentially paying for that out on my own pocket and it’s breaking the bank. I’m having to eat bread and old cheese everyday for dinner and breakfast and lunch.

Brock:  I was gonna say I hear that you’ve signed up somebody else to come and speak at your Become Superhuman Live event as well.

Ben:  Yes. I wanted to mention that and Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body Primal Mind is going to be joining a host of other speakers like Phil Maffetone and David Minkoff and Monica Reinagel, the nutrition diva and a bunch of other folks.  I will put a link in the show notes to the full page but she’s gonna be talking about Cultivating a Natural Mental Edge for Peak Performance.  She’s really good at biofeedback and neurotransmitters and stuff like that so she’s gonna be teaching us all that and anybody who shows up, of course, will get to meet Nora and go to some of the after-party events with her.  And it’s gonna be quite the event that keeps on getting better and better but it’s filling up and you need to register if you’re gonna go to that.  I talked to a ton of people and they’re like “yeah, I’m coming”.  And you do register so that you can get your hotel room because we’ve only got a limited number of discounted hotel room slots available and so that we can get your goody bag prepped and everything like that ‘cause it’s coming up quick – March 8th and 9th.  Spokane is easier to get to than you might think and people are coming in from all over the world so check that out. We’ll put a link in the show notes to the live event over at bengreenfieldfitness.com. That’s called Become Superhuman.  Speaking of a transcript sponsor, we are also looking for title sponsors for that event.  You want your banner hung at the event.  You want your logo on the powerpoint.  You want your stuff in the goody bags, hand it out to all the attendees and everything.  You can get hooked up as an event title sponsor so if you’re interested in that opportunity also, e-mail me:  [email protected] and we’ve got a ton of other updates, camps, clinics, upcoming speaking events that I’m gonna be at, all sorts of goodies for you.  So if you want to drink the Cool Aid and just check out all the different opportunities.  They’re all over there at bengreenfieldfitness.com.  You just click you like this episode, Episode #226.  Peruse them, you’re gonna find some cool stuff whether you’re an Ironman triathlete or you just to shed a few pounds.  And then the last thing, of course, that you should know is that as we’re about to jump in to the Q and A here, we have a MyList that we put up for every single episode and that’s over at MyList.com/bengreenfield. And when you go to MyList.com/bengreenfield, you’ll be able to access pretty much a list of anything I talk about.  So as we go to the Q and A, if you hear me mention this and that, you get confused, if you’re not gonna remember stuff, check out with MyList because we go out of our way to make a handy dandy list for you in every episode.

Brock:  We also, if you do go to bengreenfieldfitness.com, find the episode, scroll down to the section with the Listener Q and A and I know a lot of people find this really handy but I don’t think we’ve ever mentioned that we do this on the show.  I put the time code in next to every question so if you’re looking back, you’ve come back 3 weeks later and you’re wanting to figure out or find that question that we talked about the testosterone levels in, you can go to the show notes, find that it happened at 45 minutes and 32 seconds and that makes it easier for you to find that in the future.

Ben:  Awesome. You know what? Between the news flashes and the special announcements, I’m already out of chai, which means that this thing is gonna be long for you and jump into the Q and A.


Wanna get personal access to all of Ben Greenfield’s secrets life? This March in Spokane, Washington. Ben is bringing the world’s best speakers straight to you. You’re gonna get step by step blueprints for performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep, and hormone optimization and get inside or access to private parties special sessions for podcast listeners only. And of course, delicious locally grown organic meals. The conference is called Become Super Human and it’s already filling up fast. But you can get in now at bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman. You’ll come away from this live 2 day event completely set for life  to achieve everything you want for your body, mind and performance. Whether you want to maximize fat loss, achieve an ironman triathlon, or push your body and mind to the absolutely limits of human performance. So visit bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman and we’ll see you live and in person March 8th and 9th, 2013.

Listener Q & A:

Clay:   Hi Ben!  This is Clay Anderson from South Dakota.  You can kinda tell from my voice I’m starting to get the lung crud.  I’ve got a cold, a sinus headache and cold going on and just wondered if…you know, I’m getting a green mucus and I’m assuming that’s viral and normally, antibiotics would be used to kill that.  Is there anything that I could be looking on a different kind of shelf rather than a traditional antibiotic to cure this and possibly just throughout all the good flora I’ve tried to achieve was the Probiotic if you know more about that.  Thanks.

Brock:  Okay. I guess one of us has to say it and I’m gonna be that one.  Viruses are not affected by antibiotics.

Ben:  Yeah. Exactly. Perhaps Clay, it was just a semantics issue there.  But either way, if you’ve got lung crud and sinus headache and a cold and this mucus, you definitely got likely some kind of an infection going on and so let’s talk about some ways that you could for example, not only shorten the duration of a cold but potentially make your immune system a little bit more bullet-proof.  Before we do though, let’s talk about snot.  A lot of times in the winter and in the cold season, a lot of people do get green snot (green mucus) and while green mucus in the morning is no cause for warning, constant green-colored mucus throughout the day can a lot of times, mean that you are suffering from a bacterial infection and it can be an indication of an infection. And the reason that it turns green is you’ve got these white blood cells that are part of your body’s defense system and those die as they fight the bacteria and when the part of that white blood cell called the white corpuscle dies, it turns green in color and you also get some bacteria and some fungi that begin to multiply and cause swelling and could contribute for example, to this headache that Clay is getting and it’s a classic upper respiratory tract infection type of thing. And sometimes you’re gonna find that snot is yellow when this happens and a lot of times when it’s yellow, it can be more of a viral infection than a bacterial infection, interestingly.

Brock:  If the snot is yellow, just stay mellow.

Ben:  Don’t give up your day job, dude.

Brock:  Damn.

Ben:  Yeah. Keep working on that one. Maybe if you did it with your accordion.  And then the mucus should really be white and clear most of the time.  The only other color you’re gonna see sometimes is just reddish pink which could happen if you got punched in the nose or like me the other day, snowboarding and your nose gets so dry from that super cold air and get a little bit of bleeding in that case.  But the green a lot of times, that is a bacterial infection. And so antibiotics are probably not gonna be the way to go unless you were diagnosed with an actual viral issue going on. But let’s say that you did have the need to take antibiotics, I will link to an article that I wrote about how to mitigate the effects of taking antibiotics because they do kill off the good bacteria in your GI tract.  You could (and a lot of people do this) take a bunch of probiotics while they are on an antibiotics regimen and the fact is that doesn’t really do much for you because the antiobiotics pretty much nuke those probiotics as soon as you take them in.


There’s certainly quite a bit of benefit to starting into a good antibiotic regimen as soon as you get off the antibiotics but there’s not gonna be much that’s gonna stand up to antibiotics aside from one probiotic strain and that’s called saccharomyces boulardii.  You’ll find it in some probiotic compounds but saccharomyces boulardii is one probiotic strain that can do a decent job maintaining some amount of gut flora while you’re on antibiotics but most of the probiotics are just gonna get killed off by the antibiotics either way. However, as soon as you get off that antibiotic regimen, you’d only wanna start on the fermented foods like kombucha and kiefer and  sauerkraut and pickled things, kimchi, stuff like that.  But usually, I also start in like a good probiotic.  I’m also a fan of teeming up the probiotics with some type of an anti yeast compound.  I’m a big fan of Oil of Oregano for this like a few drops of Oil of Oregano everyday because yeast and fungus can, a lot of times churn up in the digestive tract when you have a bacterial imbalance such as would be created when you finished up an antibiotic regimen. That’ll be one thing:  get on a good probiotic and a good oil of oregano after you finish that antibiotic regimen and look for something like saccharomyces boulardii during. You’re gonna wanna protect your organs when you’re on antibiotics and just a basic liver detox, probably best too will be like milk thistle extract is a really, really good liver detox.  Another one is acetylcysteine.  That’s one that they’ll use in hospitals a lot of times for supporting the liver and protecting it in the presence of high amounts of pharmaceutical intake or alcohol and stuff like that.  Ginger can help settle the stomach and limit the nausea a little bit from antibiotics.  So that’s something to do as well.  You can just peel ginger and slice into small sizes and boil it and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes and just chew on it or drink the ginger tea that you just made.

Brock:  Would you chew on it or just swallow it?

Ben:  You could chew on it or swallow.  I mean you could take ginger pills, whatever.  I like to chew on gingers that are boiled.  I think it’s good.   And then glutamine is another one to look into. Glutamine helps you to repair your intestinal lining and also could help to (similarly to oil of oregano) eliminate yeast infections. Similar to glutamine like a bone broth would have an effect as well. A lot of people don’t wanna make a bone broth when they’re sick though so you could just use a glutamine supplement or a gelatin supplement or something of that nature. But either way, those are some of the things that you can do to mitigate the effects of antibiotics.  But let’s talk about not getting sick in the first place, shall we?

Brock:  That sounds like a great plan.

Ben:  All right. Wellness FX recently had a really good article on their website. And in that article, they interviewed all the different practitioners and physicians about what they would do and what their favorite things are that they recommend to their patients and their clients to help them not get sick and also to get over sickness more quickly.  Some of the more interesting ones that folks may not be aware of…

Brock:  Yeah. There are a bunch in that article, there were just sort of obvious things like wash your hands, cough into your shoulder or into your elbow that kind of stuff. But then there are some interesting ones as well.

Ben:  Yeah.  Get enough sleep, whatever. We don’t care about this stuff.  We’re not the weird stuff. Pure ascorbic acid – Dr. Daniel Chong recommended you take 1-2 grams of pure ascorbic acid during flu season or cold season and if you’re getting sick or you’re over stressed, you take that amount every waking hour of the day until you get loose stools and then when you’re well again, you go back to the standard dose. And for anybody who’s taking 1-2 grams of vitamin C, taking that amount every waking hour until you get loose stools is a lot of vitamin C but he says it can help you get better faster. And when you’re using it, just that much per day, not every hour that it can help boost your immune system. So there’s an option. Dr. Hernandez, a naturopathic physician over at Wellness FX recommended a Astragalus. Taking astragalus twice a day during flu and cold season and astragalus is just basically an herb.  There was a recommendation on there for Elderberry Tincture, which is something I tried a little bit and  found that when I’m starting to get sick (when I’m just staring to get the sniffles and everything), I’ve got some Elderberry Tincture that I keep in my bathroom and a few drops of that and knock on wood, right as rain.  So I like the Elderberry Tincture and I’ve noticed the same effect with an Echinacea Tincture.  And for those who don’t know what a tincture is, it’s just like the oil (the extract).  Another thing that was in there that I thought was interesting was Colloidal Silver Spray.


Colloidal Silver Spray was recommended by Dr. Justin Mager. He’s actually coming up to speak at the Superhuman event and he recommends Colloidal Silver Spray for topical anti-microbial activity. This would be like using it on cat’s wounds, scrape, stuff like that during cold and flu season. But also something called DHEA which a lot of times is recommended as a hormonal precursor or hormone really. He recommends about 20 mg of DHEA for women and 50 mg for men to boost your immune function the day before and the day of travel like when you going to do airplane travel or something like that – DHEA.  I thought that was an interesting suggestion, one that I wasn’t familiar with.  Another physician, Dr.  Nibbe – she recommends a homeopathic remedy that has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the days that you stay sick.  And the name of this remedy is oscillococcinum. It’s a homeopathic remedy.  You take just a little bit of it and it’s supposed to not prevent flues and colds from recurring but possibly to reduce the number of days that you stay sick.  So those were some of I thought the interesting remedies that were recommended and I did  produce a MyList for all this stuff – all the 21 tips that were in that article and I’ll link to the article and also to the MyList for that in the show notes.  For people, you know, ‘cause we’re recording this during January which is still kinda cold and flu season, those are some of the things to try. What I personally do is I use Oil of Oregano. I use Elder Berry and I use Echinacea.  Those are kinda my three.  But there’s more than one way to skin a cat – more than one way to boost your immune system and you could take advantage of any of these methods that I just run over.

Scott:  Hey Ben! This is Scott. I’m a 29 year-old male and had been training for about 5 months for my first power lifting meet. I decided to have some blood work done for tracking purposes.  I have both lab results done first thing in the morning in a fasted state and about 8 weeks apart. Both show low free testosterone levels. The first one, 3.9 ____[0:37:19.7]grams per ml and the other one, 4.7 _____[0:37:22.8]grams per ml. Both (we’re told) were extremely low and both tests also showed high IGF1 levels of 332 and 300 nanograms per ml.  The way I interpreted these results are that I’m making 20th HGH because of the steadily high IGF1 levels which seems to be conducive to putting on size and gaining strength. However, I’m afraid much of it is being wasted by such low testosterone.  Am I interpreting this correctly?  That even with high IGF1 levels leading to high indigenous HGH production that extremely low testosterone could be counteracting it. What other markers could I use to test that maybe give more information?  Thanks and happy 2013.

Ben:  Wow! We’ve got some smart listeners, don’t we, Brock?

Brock:  Yeah. I was just gonna say maybe we should start by explaining what IGF1 is.

Ben:  Everything that Scott just went over. Yeah, IGF1 is insulin-like growth factor and that’s something that you may see elevated, for example, when someone has eaten a diet high in starches and sugars and things that may boost insulin.  But you can also see IGF1 go up when there is a high amount of growth hormone.  And growth hormone is something that could be released by everything from heavy weight lifting to adequate amount of sleep, etc. What’s not normal though is if you have high insulin-like growth factor and high growth hormone and the 2 do tend to go hand in hand, you should also at the same time have high testosterone because we’re talking about a bunch of different hormones that are anabolic, that promote muscle growth and promote muscle recovery. And if your IGF1 is up and your growth hormone is up and it’s likely that the high growth hormone is what will cause elevated IGF1 values if you’ve got a decent diet and not doing lots of sugar and you haven’t just eaten a container of yogurt or something else that could boost IGF1 levels.

Brock:  And you’re like Scott and are training for a power lifting competition.

Ben:  Exactly. There are a couple of things that you may want to consider. First of all and I don’t want to scare Scott off here. But back when we had Christopher Walker on the podcast to talk about hormone balances, Christopher had a testosterone deficiency that ended up, eventually, he found being the effect of a pituitary tumor.  Granted it was a benign pituitary tumor and what that means is that it was mild and it was non-cancer so it was not spreading but it was a tumor that was affecting the pituitary glands effect on these anabolic hormones.


And when you have this pituitary tumor, a lot of times, what you tend to see are increased concentrations of growth hormone and of IGF1 that elevate without them actually affecting your testosterone levels. So one of the things that you may want to consider is going back and listening to that episode with Christopher Walker where he talked about how he actually got his testosterone levels back up in the presence of pituitary tumor. And for him it was dietary modifications – eliminating sugars, eliminating starches, ensuring a lot of rests really not overworking the body, allowing the body to naturally get the testosterone levels back up.  Primarily, if you’re kind of like an R and R approach ‘cause he was a heavily exercising endurance triathlete and he never actually went in and got the tumor removed or anything like that. He just keeps _____[0:41:11.9] on it through medical imaging every now and again to make sure that it’s not growing.

Brock:  That was really cool that he actually never did go in for surgery to have it removed. He’s just managed to balance everything naturally.

Ben:  Yeah. And I’m not sure how common these pituitary tumors are but they certainly are benign and it’s not an incredibly risky type of state but certainly something that you should look into. And sometimes, they will surgically remove the tumor and when that happens, you may need to actually get on like an insulin-like growth factor therapy for a short period of time because it’s gonna significantly reduce your insulin-like growth factor levels and your growth hormone levels. That’s what I would throw out there for Scott if it is a matter of for example, let’s say the leydig cells and his testes are not properly producing testosterone, there can be any number of issues. There can be a zinc deficiency for example. It could be a biotin deficiency. There’s a bunch of different micronutrient deficiencies that may affect you ability to produce testosterone. And there are some precursors. I’ve actually got a guest article coming up here very soon on bengreenfieldfitness.com about some of the more common ways to increase testosterone when you’re in a state like this, when something like this happens.  And vitamin D, zinc, I believe boron is one of them. It’s in the article as well but just some basic things that you can take to help your body naturally increase its testosterone production so keep your eyes for that article to come out soon at bengreenfieldfitness.com ‘cause that’s gonna help you quite a bit too vs. a lot of these herbal testosterone boosters that don’t necessarily have a ton of research behind them.  You can always be better off supporting your body’s own indigenous internal ability to produce testosterone. Now, the reason that I’ve only really scratched the surface on Scott’s question is because when I’m doing a phone consult with somebody or something like that, we sit down and go through their full dietary protocol and their full supplement protocol and really look for the holes that might be causing an issue like this.  I’ll put a link as well to the (you know, I do 20-minute consultations and I do 60-minute consultations and that’s something that will certainly be prudent to use in a case like this ‘cause I don’t have a ton of information about Scott to really know what dietary and supplement and even exercise factors could be affecting the low free testosterone levels.

Driver:  For the last couple of weeks, I have been spending from 2-4 hours driving and it looks like that’s going to stay the same for a long time.  I noticed that since I’ve been spending so much time in the car, my running form has worsened and I’m even getting sore knees especially on my left leg. I wonder if there’s a relation. I think it is and do you have any recommendations? Anything I can do in the car or posture or a C-cord that I can use? Thank you for your time.  Bye.

Brock:  Oh…4 hours in the car everyday.

Ben:  I freaking hate road trips. I don’t even drive.  I have a truck and I in it once a week.

Brock:  I haven’t owned a car in almost 3 years now. I take my bicycle everywhere. I get really weird looks ‘cause I go to grocery store nowadays and I’ve got a scarf and a full face mask and they probably think I ‘m gonna rob the store.  Just what I do so I don’t freeze to death but I go everywhere on my bike in the snow, in the ice and…

Brock:  It doesn’t sound like this is an option in this case.

Ben:  I hate to drive. Yeah.  Replace that for our comment with the bike ride. The reason that your back hurts when you’re driving a car, when you’re in an airplane, whatever, is because of tight hip flexors.


That’s the most common reason.  What happens is when you work at a desk all day, you sit all day, not only does it weaken your hip flexors but they tend to shorten up when you’re in that seated position and it can cause back pain, it can increase your risk of foot and ankle and knee injuries.  And when you’re at your desk, the best way to do it is to stand up every hour and stretch. (Like I know Brock is probably doing jumping jacks or something in the background with his microphone on mute.)

Brock:  I’m doing lunges.

Ben:  Lunges. There you go. A lunging hip flexor stretch really is one of the great ways that you can help to work the hips and stretch the hip flexors.  It’s easier than hula hooping which also could stretch your hip flexors. But what I do when I’m on the road trip and forced to be in a car for a long period of time, is I try and stop when I can and do a lunging hip flexor stretch and you need to do it for at least 6 seconds per side to overcome what’s called your goggy tendon organ which is that stretch reflex that needs to actually get stimulated to get the muscle to lengthen.  So to overcome that, you need to hold a stretch for 6 seconds. You can hold it for 20-30 seconds if you want to but just a lunging stretch really, lifting you arms overhead and lunging and holding for one side and then lunging and holding for the other side. And that stretches the muscle on the front of your leg that attaches to your hip that’s where you wanna feel that.  And then kinda lean back and look up at the sky. You do that to intensify the stretch. Other stretches that you can do are bridging stretches where you’re lying on the ground on your back pushing your hips up toward the sky not quite as easy to do when you’re stopped at a gas station or hardware or something like that lest you want gasoline on your back of your T-shirt.

Brock:  Yeah. Don’t do it behind the truck stop.

Ben:  Yeah. But I usually do the lunging hip flexor stretch and then I do the swinging the leg from front to back and also form side to side to stretch out the hip flexors on a leg. Basically, I’ll do 10 leg swings on each side front to back like ballistic legs swings or I’m swinging the legs up and swinging it back.  And then I do the same thing side to side as well. The last thing you can do is you got to be careful with this that you don’t hyper extend your lower back and you can just kneel on the ground and then lean back putting your hands behind you for support and arch your back just a little bit and look for the sky as you’re leaning back and you’ll feel that in the front of both legs. And that’s a really quick one that you can do in a pinch when you don’t have long to stretch.  I do all of those when I’m on a road trip and whenever I stop, I stretch my hip flexors quite intensively and it helps a lot. Now, you can also tilt your pelvis to the point where you’ve got a little bit of a hip flexor stretch by simply using one of those seats that you put in the car like one of those seat attachments that has a lumbar support for the low back.  That’s one of the ways that that works.  It keeps your hip flexors just slightly more lengthened when you’re in that seated position.  It’s not gonna hold a candle to lunging or leg swings or any of that other stuff that  I talked about but it can certainly help a little bit when you just don’t have the option of getting out of your car.  So that’s another thing that you could do as well as just use one of those lumbar hip flexor supports.  But the most important thing for you to realize is that you’ve got to keep flexors stretched and stopping as much as you can to stretch them or if stopping isn’t an option, using a lumbar back support and then stretching your hip flexor both before and after your trip is gonna help a ton.

Brock:  And I find when I’m driving for a long time, my right IT bend gets really tight and I think it’s because your right foot is constantly either holding the gas pedal down or briefly shifting over to the brake pedal so this probably isn’t very safe but occasionally, when my IT bend gets really sore, I actually switch to use my left foot on the gas pedal if you don’t have cruise control. And I find that gives your leg just  a bit of a break and you do sort of shift around in the seat as well so you’re not just sitting in exactly the same position the entire time that you’re in the car.

Ben:  Yeah. That or you could get a Harley. That’d be another option.  Just get a hog.  That’ll allow you to lean back in a lounge position.  That might be an option, too.  He sounds like a guy with probably be able to grab a Harley Davidson and just jet to it that way.

Brock:  Yeah.  I think I heard those handle bar mustache in his voice.

Ben:  I think I did hear a handle bar. And by the way, I’ll put a link to an article that has some really good hip flexor exercises in the show notes for 226.  So there you go.

Vince:   Hey Ben! This is Vince from San Francisco.  So with the 24th cycling season winding down toward the end of summer, I started to embark on a low carb diet and I’m _____[0:50:04.0] with 30-50 grams carbs a day and I sort of tapered off my intensive cycling and spends more time in the gym lifting and I’ve lost significant body fat.


I also feel great.  I don’t feel hungry.  I have plenty of energy in the gym and plenty of energy when I do hop on my bike although the time I spend on my bike in the past 4 months has not been as competitive as it might be during the racing season.  Is this the type of eating that I can maintain as I start to ramp up for the 2013 competitive cycling season?  I’m usually racing at least just a few times a month. I’m concerned that a low car diet is not gonna provide that sort of boost of instantly accessible energy that you need in something like a crit.  Any thoughts on that topic would be much appreciated.  Thanks.

Brock:  People are always worried about the low carbs not giving them enough energy.

Ben:  That’s right.  A bike crit, for those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s total number of laps over total time and it’s usually relatively short and intense.  You’re not gonna be out there for 2 or 3 hours in most cases unless you’re like Gram Oslo. But it is intense whereas this isn’t an issue where glycogen depletion or carbohydrate depletion is an issue as much as it is the fact that you’re using fast twitch muscle which relies primarily on glucose as a fuel is an issue.  It is certainly true that you just can’t achieve certain intensities, burn certain matches so to speak unless you are using a certain percentage of glucose as a fuel.  And if you went into an event like this completely glycogen depleted, meaning that your muscle glycogen levels are extremely low, you could risk not having that energy that you need. But there’s a couple of things to consider here.  First of all, on a good low carb diet, not only are you still taking in a range of 400-600 calories of carbohydrate on a daily basis which is combined with other food sources gonna be pretty adequate for keeping your muscle glycogen levels topped off.  But you’re also getting some glucose conversion from proteins that you eat.  Those can get converted into glycogens. You can get some amount of glycogen conversion from the backbone of free fatty acids from the glycerol backbone of fatty acids and so don’t think that just because you’re only taking in, say, a 100 or 150 grams of carbohydrates or 400-600 calories of carbohydrates per day, that that’s all that your body has to rely on.

Brock:  He said that he’s doing a lot lower. He’s doing 30-50 grams per day.

Ben:  He’s on 30-50?

Brock:  He’s on a super low carb.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s gonna relate to what I am about to say and that is the same thing that I mentioned.  I believe I mentioned this recently on Richwell’s podcast and we talked about the use of carbohydrates and basic physiology which you can delve into.
We geeked out for a good 2 hours on that stuff.  But sugar is a sometimes drug, meaning that when we’re talking about taking this low carbohydrate diet approach.  You do get to a point where if you wanna go out and do something like something that’s unnatural like running from a lion not just once but multiple times like you’re gonna be doing during a crit.  Running from a lion for many, many times around the block.  And sometimes, you do need to give your body a relatively unnatural source of fuel and certainly, if I was taking in 30-50 grams a day for about 48 hours or a minimum of 24 hours prior to that event, I would consider tweaking up to closer to 100-150 grams of carbohydrate for those last couple of days so that you do go in with a little bit more topped off muscle glycogen storage because a lot of times, someone is taking in 30-50 grams of carbohydrate per day, they are potentially in a state of ketosis, meaning that they’re burning fatty acids primarily as a fuel.  They probably have a slightly lower muscle glycogen source in the average person.  They do have lower muscle glycogen source in the average person walking around. And it could help if you wanna have your cake and eat it, too to just slightly up that carbon take for this last couple of days before an intense event like this.  This crit was 100-mile bike ride like a century ride in aerobic pace or hiking up the pacific crest trail or something like that.  You’d do just fine just utilizing fatty acids as a fuel.  Maybe using some chia seeds or maybe some super starch or something like that but if this were me, I would be jacking up the carb intake just a little bit for that final 24-48 hours, don’t need to go ape nuts on it.


And then before the event, taking in a little bit of carbohydrate source like a sports drink or a couple of sweet potatoes or yams or something of that nature.  I’d slam a gel right beforehand and then I’d go all out.  The fact is that there’s really not gonna be much of an effect for a short period of time with this.  It’s the people whose guts get ravaged and it create in that state of acidity and inflammation who are doing something like the sugar approach for 10 hours in a row during Ironman and also loading up with sugars for 6 months leading up to that event. Getting a little bit of extra carbs into the body before a crit so you can really be as explosive as possible and use your glycolytic energy system tapped into that as much as possible, there’s no gonna be much of a health effect from doing something like that.

Brock:  You’re talking about being like I had a 150-200 grams is still like quarter of what the general population is getting as far as carbohydrate per day goes.  It’s still a low carb.

Ben:  Yeah.  The way I lay this out in my Low Carb Fueling Package and you can check it out at lowcarbtriathlete.com/lowcarbpackage.  It’s not just for triathletes. It’s for any active person.  I have a fat adaptation week. I have a maintenance phase.  The fat adaptation week is very ketogenic.  The maintenance phase is closer to 100-150 grams per day of carbs which a lot of endurance athletes do better on vs. that ketogenic approach.  And then there’s also a race week phase which has that gradual amping up of carbs just slightly going into a race – just a little bit extra and a special bit of extra on race days. That’s the scenario that I personally use and that’s what I would recommend to Vince.

Chris: Hi Ben and Brock!  I have a question about the topic all men love to talk about – menstruation. My girlfriend has been experiencing increasingly severe symptoms associated with her period and has noticed that has got much worse since she lived in Utah for school.   She’s 19 years old.  She’s been living at about 5000 feet of elevation but didn’t seem to have quite the same issues when she came back to Southern California last summer where she grew up at around 1000 feet elevation. The symptoms range from usual emotional sensitivity and bloating to extreme or complete loss of appetite, lower back pain and sharp stomach pains, sometimes to the point where she can’t tolerate the pain to get out of bed in the morning.  We were wondering if this could be a result of just getting a little older, the elevation change or the different climate or just anything else.  I want to see if you have any insight on a holistic approach to minimizing the extremes of the symptoms.  No disrespect to you or Brock, but I was wondering if you could talk Jessa and giving her insights as well.  Thanks.  I love the show.

Ben:  You know, I asked Jessa about this. You know what she said?

Brock:  In can’t even guess.

Ben:  She was like, “I have no idea why you’re asking me this”.  Chris, I did delve into the research to look at an answer for your question and it turns out this stuff has been investigated.  The International Journal of Gynecology looked at hormone profiles during the menstrual cycle at high altitude.  And they found some interesting effects. They found that estradiol which is basically going to affect your estrogen levels that was higher at altitude and also during the actual cycle itself on days 5, days 8 and days 12. Progesterone was also significantly higher and this type of hormonal fluctuations can certainly affect not only menstruation, the time you have the menstrual cycle, the period of time that menstruation takes place or the length that it lasts, but also I feel psychologically and from a stress standpoint in terms of nervous tension and mood swings and irritability and anxiety and insomnia and stuff like that can happen with menstruation or PMS.  There are bunch of different types of PMS. And many of them are related to either progesterone deficiencies or excesses or estrogen deficiencies or excesses and all of those affect your dopamine levels, your serotonin levels and your neurotransmitter levels. What that means is that there is a significant psychological and mental effect when your hormones are fluctuating like this and there are certainly things that you can do from a neurotransmitter standpoint.


Now, PMS tends to be classified into several different subtypes and one of the subtypes that is associated with a relative progesterone excess (which is what can happen at altitude) is that there is a deficiency of norepinephrine in the central nervous system and the deficiency of norepinephrine can be slightly addressed by getting adequate tyrosine into the diet.  So if your girlfriend has insufficient dietary tyrosine, she may benefit from using a tyrosine supplement.  One really, really good combo when you’re trying to stabilize neurotransmitters is a combination of something called 5HTP with tyrosine typically in about 1:10 ratio, like 300 mg of 5HTP along with 3000 mg of tyrosine on a daily basis. That could be something to experiment with a little bit just to see how you’ll feel or something like that. I’m not a physician. I don’t want you to perceive this as medical advice.

Brock:  Ben is not a doctor and the content provided on this podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical or health care advice.

Ben:  There’s something that I would certainly consider.  I actually have a 5HTP supplements combined with tyrosine in my cupboard here that my wife used the last time she had her cycle just to see if it affected her mood at all and she liked it and felt that it works a little bit. That’s something to look into is a combination of HTP and tyrosine. But there’s another study that was more of a Chinese medical approach and this was a study of 2 different populations in China:  one living at lower altitude and one living at high altitude.  I believe one was that about 6000, one was that about 12000 feet.  What they looked at was menstruation and the instance of abdominal pain and body temperature and symptoms of PMS.  And they found that the symptoms in the high altitude group what was called the Zadou population was much more serious – much higher.  The mechanism of pathology that they used (to describe the issue though), the Chinese medical terms and now I can link to the article in the show notes. But basically, it was a deficiency of chi which is kinda like life force energy in Chinese medicine and so what they recommended in this case was invigorating, chi promoting the flow of chi.  And when you’re looking at promoting the flow of chi or balancing emotions in Chinese medicine, some of the ways that you would improve chi, interestingly, kinda go hand in hand with some of the traditional recommendations that are out there from a natural medicine standpoint for addressing PMS.  So some of the things that are recommended to increase your chi are deep breathing exercises and yoga would count to something like that as would simply having like a 5-minute period of time that you go through where you do deep breathing.  And if you don’t know how to do this there’s all sorts of phone apps out there that can help you with deep breathing like Azumio. Check out azumio.com.  They’ve got a suite of different phone apps that help you with stress and train you how to do deep breathing and stuff like that.  Things that would be considered to be chi robbing or chi stealing activities would be watching a lot of TV, talking a lot or engaging in a lot of physical interactions, spending a lot of time in crowded places.  These are all things that you may want to consider avoiding as much as possible when you’re in your menstrual phase simply because they may rob chi that is already deficient during that phase of your cycle.  All the foods recommended are as (wouldn’t surprise you here but none of the processed preservative laden foods, avoiding starches, sugars, things of that nature).  Stretching is highly recommended as is Chi Gong or martial arts classes which I know might be a little bit of stretch for you but yoga would be a perfect example, something that you could do. Decent sleep and avoidance of caffeine especially in conjunction with your cycle that would be something that would be important for managing chi.  And there’s some interesting things like wearing bright colors, listening to uplifting music, surrounding yourself with paintings or with pictures or with actual flowers and plants and things that help to improve the mood from that standpoint.  Some of that stuff may sound kinda woowoo but is established in Chinese medicine as a good way to improve life force, to improve chi.  A couple of different ways that you can combo this from that I would recommend that under our transmitter standpoint, in terms of making sure that you’re getting adequate HTP and tyrosine and in the chi standpoint, in terms of really making sure that you’re stabilizing yourself – deep breathing, yoga, positive emotions, positive colors, even using some of these biofeedback phone apps if you need to  and wanting to combo that would certainly be worth a try.


Brock:  Can you train your PMS at altitude like what it actually is sort of…would there be adaptations that happen over time, do you think?

Ben:  I couldn’t find any studies that showed what happens when someone goes from low altitude to high altitude as far as if the effects eventually drop over time as far as deleterious effects or negative effects during the menstrual cycle or during menstruation.  But it’s likely because people act on it to a high altitude, right?  So, it’s certainly possible that a lot of the things that are affecting FH, LSH, progesterone, estradiol, a lot of these things will potentially stabilize along with the amount of time spent to altitude.

Brock:  And just one last thing, Chris, Don’t ever suggest that your girlfriend is getting older.  Just don’t.

Ben:  Yeah. That’s doghouse material. And something I just realized based off of what I just said about acclimating.  One thing that you should pay attention to is that in this study that was done in this Chinese culture is the people living at low altitude for a long period of time vs. living at high altitude and despite that these people in the high altitude group had been living and grown up at a high altitude, their symptoms of PMS are still worse.  Part of it might just be that high altitude hypoxic environment affecting physiology to the extent where some of these stuff is not something that you get used to over time.

Tony:  Hi Ben!  Hi!  I just saw your website and I’m thinking about going to a Personal Training or getting a Personal Training certification.  I know there’s a lot out there.  I’d actually done the NASM.  I wasn’t very impressed with that one.  There’s one called National Personal Training Institute.  It’s a chain.  They’re around the United States (most states).  It’s a 6-month course. You go to school on like 9:00 to 3:00, 5 days a week.  It seems pretty thorough.  I’ve actually talked to one of the teachers here at Dallas, Texas.  My problem is about $6000 which I find a little pricey.  But a few form of information supposedly they cover a lot of different routines, workout regimens, a lot of anatomy, physiology which sounded good to me because it’s a classroom setting as opposed to getting something online or just reading from a textbook.  So anyway, I was just wondering what your thoughts on getting a Personal Training certification, preferably, a national certification.  Thanks, man.

Brock:  I think it’s kind of a case if you get what you pay for in this circumstance.

Ben:  Yeah.  $6000 is pricey, though.  Here’s the deal. I took a look at the National Personal Training Institute. I love the idea of doing an internship to get your Personal Trainer certification because in most cases, if you wander into a gym to hire a personal trainer, it’s very likely that they might have some weekend Mickey Mouse certification that the gym that you’re waltzing into has accepted as adequate because that personal trainer is going to settle for a lower hourly pay based off of the status of their certification. But you don’t see all that behind the scene stuff.  All you do is walk in, you see that they’re the most affordable personal trainer or they’re the one who has the most available hours or whatever and you hire them and you get hurt, you get messed up, and perhaps you get messed up for life because they don’t know what they were doing.  And it is certainly possible to sit for a weekend open book internet exam and get a Personal Training certification.  And a lot of times, it can be a tough sell for something like the National Personal Training Institute to sell a $6000 certification when you can get one of these weekend open book certifications in a weekend vs. studying for 6 months vs. being required to have a university degree or something of that nature to be personal trainer.  Their certification program, the Personal Fitness Training program through the National Personal Training Institute, it looks like what you do is you gotta have 3oo hours of classroom instruction, 200 hours of supervised hands-on gym time, and essentially like a real kind of hands-on internship practical type of learning process that I really like to see compared to the average Personal Trainer certification.  In my case, my Personal Trainer certification require me to have at least an undergraduate degree in exercise Science and have completed certain exercise courses at the undergraduate level while going through that certification. And so what you always wanna look for, you usually can’t go wrong if you’re getting somebody who’s NSCA, NASM or ACSM.  Those are 3 really good ones to look for -National Science and Conditioning Association, National Academy of Sports Medicine or American College of Sports Medicine.


Brock:  In Canada, we’ve got the NCCP, the National Coaching Certification.

Ben:  Yeah. And so, $6000 is a lot of money but it’s less expensive than going and getting an undergraduate degree and you probably come out with just about as much if not more instruction as someone who has gone through an Exercise Science program.  But the science part of things physiology, biomechanics, nutrition – you might be a little weak in those areas vs. the practical hands-on here’s how to do and how to instruct a dead lift type of thing. You may wanna be aware of the fact that you might have to go outside the bounds of this particular certification if you end up doing it and top it off with Institute for Integrated Nutrition or like the Check Institute or my own SuperhumanCoach.com Mentorship program or something that lets you learn a little bit more about hormones and physiology and nutrition and food and all these other things that are gonna pop up, that are gonna allow you to get more benefit the works that you do with your clients.  But ultimately, it looks like a good program.  If you didn’t do this program and you ended up going for less expensive Personal Training certification, if I were one of your clients, I will certainly be more comfortable if you still went through some kind of an internship or something like that. You gotta put the time in somehow.  US Weight Lifting would be another example of a certification that you could go through.  There are different ways to do this, for example, for me, most of my Olympic weight training instruction came from me interning with a football team for a year because they were coached by another weight training coach.  And so everytime he was coaching them, I was getting coached and a lot of hands-on stuff and that’s how I learned. But whenever we’re talking of something like this, think of personal training like surgery.  You can’t just read about it.  You gotta go and then actually get some hands-on time.  You gotta hold the tools.  You gotta watch people doing it.  You can’t just have your nose on a book and expect to be a good surgeon.  The same goes for something like personal training.  So what I would recommend ultimately is you either get the NASM or the ACSM or the NSCA or something like that then you go on and you do an internship somewhere assuming you’re not going to college or you pay the money and you get this National Personal Training Institute certification but then you top that off by going through my mentorship program at SuperhumanCoach.com. I work with a bunch of personal trainers to teach more advanced nutritional concepts or you go through like Check Institute or Integrative Medicine, Integrative Nutrition, Precision Nutrition is another one.  One of those kinda top off your knowledge of some of the stuff that’s probably not gonna get addressed by this institute.

Brock:  And I think that’s an ongoing process too like personally, pretty much every year, I take another type of certification or attend another type of seminar or something just so you’re always learning and building on that information and not getting stuck.  And as you know from the show, things change rapidly over for running out more information about how the body actually works so if you’ve taken an amazing certification but it was 6 years ago and you haven’t taken anything since, you’re missing out like that too.  So really continue to learn every chance you get.

Ben:  Yeah. Plus humans are evolving at a rapid pace and we probably have a third arm and green eyes here before we know it.

Brock:  Yeah.  I’ve had my…wait…did you say green eyes?

Ben:  Well, what I mean by green eyes are the kind that grows on the top of your head that attached to the end of antennas?

Brock:  Of course!  Yes, those ones.

Ben:  So yeah.  You wanna stay on top of these things.

Keerthi:  Hi Ben!  This is Keerthi from San Diego. I’m on a high fat diet for a while now and I observe that whenever I eat a lot of fat in my diet even from healthy sources like grass with butter, coconut oil, etc. I have irritation in my throat.  Do you know the reason behind this and is there any remedy for this? Thank you.

Ben:  Irritation in the throat from fats or fatty foods or greasy foods.  I hate to be too simple here but usually it just means that you’re not digesting them well.  And this can be for many number of reasons like you don’t have the digestive enzymes responsible for doing something like that and that can be completely genetic.  Agents, for example, get a blood flush on their face when they drink alcohol and feel crappy because they don’t have much alcohol dehydrogenase on board. And by popping some alcohol dehydrogenase prior to drinking, they can mitigate some of the effects of that.  Someone who has inadequate enzymes for digesting fat could benefit prior to a high fat meal by popping some digestive enzymes or by using for example, some lipase or something like that.  So that can definitely be one of the reasons…


Brock:  So is that like an acid reflux kind of an idea?

Ben:  Well, not necessarily.

Brock:  Like instead of digesting it, it’s coming back up?

Ben:  I find a lot of people who seem to have relatively healthy guts and do just fine with other foods, don’t have heart burn, don’t appear to have gut flora imbalances and stuff like that that could cause heart burn.  They just need a little bit of extra help digesting fat and I suspect that a big part of it could be genetic – low indigenous levels of digestive enzymes, needing some help in that department.

Brock:  I’m just wondering how it reaches the throat.  How does it become a throat irritation?

Ben:  Well, because if you’ve got undigested food, it’s going to create inter abdominal pressure that pushes things back up and into the esophagus.

Brock:  Okay.  That’s what I was getting at.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s just a pressure issue.  It could also be a bile issue.  Bile is the digested food that’s stored in your gallbladder and it’s used to break down fats during digestion and turn them into little fatty acids that get absorbed by your digestive tract.  A bunch of stuff makes bile primarily cholesterol, bile salts, water, and what’s called bilirubin which is a product of red blood cells. There certainly is potential for nutritional deficiencies in particular like mineral deficiencies or dehydration specifically to cause inadequate production of bile or you may simply need to use some bile stimulating strategies prior to consuming a high fat meal.  So there are things that you can eat to promote the flow of bile.  Lemon juice is one example.  Lemon juice helps a lot of people who don’t do a good job with digesting foods, just using a little bit of lemon juice on food or drinking some lemon juice prior to eating food. That helps to promote bile flow and that will be one thing that you could try.  Antioxidants also can help with bile flow and that would just be including things like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or just an antioxidant blend on a daily basis. Artichoke extract or artichokes themselves – those are considered to be what’s called the choleretic, meaning that they can improve bile production and they can relieve gallbladder discomfort and relieve some of the discomfort that you might get from eating fatty meals which is why dipping your artichoke in butter or eating artichoke hearts in oil can be quite pleasant.  It’s like turkey in cranberry.  So you can cope with artichokes. You can use an artichoke supplement but that would be something you could include is artichokes.  Beets – the next time you use beets, you can save the leafy green tops from the leaves and beet leaves are something you can add to a salad or you can steam.  And beet leaves are also really good choleretic agent for stimulating bile production.  And pretty much anything bitter like bitters.  You can buy bitter herbs, bitter leafy salad greens.  Beet leaves are bitter.  Any of these type of things waltzes with bile production.  So if it’s bitter, it helps.  The last thing would be garlic.  The allicin in garlic is a sulfur-based compound that can help not only with you liver but also with the production of bile.  Onions to a lesser extent, but onions can also help with that. You could introduce some onions and garlic into the diet.  Include more the bitters like the leafy greens, throw in some artichokes, throw in some antioxidants, get some lemon juice in there, some digestive enzymes and those would be some of the ways that you’d step up your body’s ability to be able to digest fats if fats are kinda throwing your growth ball.

Brock:  Okay.  So that finishes it up for today.  So everybody, make sure, if you’re in during the podcast, go over to iTunes and leave us a ranking, leave a comment.  It really helps out.  And if you do have a question, go over to bengreenfieldfitness.com and use the handy dandy little tab on the right hand side of the screen or you can always just record an audio file and e-mail to [email protected] or you can use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of the page.

Ben:  Or you could send a talking greeting card.  That would be a really unique and cool way to do it.

Brock:  I don’t know how we’d put that on the show but go for it.  I’ll figure it out.

Ben:  I’ll just open it in front of my microphone.  I’ll be, this week, down at (for those of you listening just when it comes out) San Francisco a week for A Day that’s Breeze Bulletproof Bio Hacking conference.  So if any of you guys are down there, say “hello”, be sure to check audiblepodcast.com/ben and grab Fat Chance by Robert Lustig or whatever else you fancy ‘cause you get it for free.  Make sure you check out the show notes where I’ve got links to  some of the opportunities in there for example, e-mailing me if you’d like to be a transcript sponsor  and also letting me know if you’re interested in coming on as an event title sponsor for the Become Superhuman Live event. And of course, if you haven’t yet registered for that event, be sure to do so and I look forward to seeing lots of awesome and fantastic listeners this March.  So leave a rating and review in iTunes and we’ll check you later.

Special Announcement:

At first glance, triathletes appear to be a pretty fit group at least with clothes on but it’s pretty common for triathletes to have tiny arms, a thin and weak neck, a stick-like midsection and a body that’s just too skinny.  But just imagine if your arms were cut in the fight, your chest and shoulders were ripped, your waistline was tapered like a V, your stomach was flat and hard and your legs were sleek and courageous.  In other words,  what if you have the ultimate triathlon body.  Now you can.  Learn how to swim, bike and run fast and look incredibly sexy doing it.  Go to tri-ripped .com to start today.  That’s tri-ripped.com.



Jan 16, 2013 free podcast: How To Make Your Immune System Bulletproof (And Shorten The Duration Of A Cold). Also: IGF1 and Testosterone levels, pain from long commutes, how to fuel for a hard race on a low carb diet, can altitude affect PMS, the best Personal Trainer certification, and how a high fat diet can irritate your throat.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right side of this page, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or scroll down to the “Ask Ben” form.

Please don’t forget to leave the podcast a ranking in iTunes – it only takes a minute of your time and it helps grow our healthy community!


News Flashes:

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Special Announcements:

DATE CHANGE – Thursday, January 31, 12pm PST: Heat Prep For Cold Climate Athletes. In this webinar presentation, Ben Greenfield will teach you the science of the body’s physiological response to heat. You’ll learn how cold climate athletes who are non heat-acclimated can prepare for hot races via the research-proven use of body cooling gear, heat acclimation strategies, hydration strategies, dietary supplements, food choices and more. All USAT coaches are eligible for CEU’s from this course. Get in now.

Thursday, January 31: Join Ben for a LIVE Q&A on Jimmy Moore’s “Ask The Low Carb Experts to discuss low carb diets and performance. Tune in Thursday night at 4PST/7EST! Call 712-432-0900 or Skype freeconferencing. 7124320900. Use access code 848908.

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Want to get lots of new customers in the health, fitness and nutrition industries?Sponsor Ben’s upcoming “Become Superhuman” Live Event? Full event sponsor details.

“Become Superhuman” Live Event With Ben Greenfield Coming To Spokane, WA, March 8 & 9, 2013 – Reserve your spot now! The video below tells you all about it and/or you can listen to this audio interview from the Wide World Of Health to learn more.
2013 training camps:


Listener Q&A:

As compiled, edited and sometimes read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Audio Question from Clay @ 00:26:17
Has some “lung crud”, sinus headache and a cold. Wants to know if there is anything other than antibiotics that he can use to cure this? Probiotics?

~ In my response to Clay, I mention this article and also my article on how to mitigate effects of antibiotics.

Audio Question from Scott @ 00:37:01
Has tested his IGF1 and Testosterone levels, first thing in the morning in a fasted state about 8 weeks apart. Both tests showed low free testosterone levels (3.9 and 4.7) and high IGF1 levels (332 and 300). He is wondering how you would interpret these results (he has his own ideas too). He’s 29 years old and is training for a power lifting competition.

~ In my response to Scott, I mention private consultations with me, at pacificfit.net. I also reference my podcast with Christopher Walker on how to balance your hormones and alsolab testing via WellnessFX.

Audio Question from a full-time driver @ 00:43:48
Has been spending a lot of time in his car (2 to 4 hours per day) and has noticed that his running form is getting bad and his knees are hurting (especially on the left). Is there anything he can do or anything he can use to minimize the damage of being in the car so long everyday?

~ In my response I mention this set of stretches.

Audio Question from Vince @ 00:49:50
Has gone low-carb (30 to 50 grams per day) and is doing less cycling and more weight lifting (off-season). He currently feels great, doesn’t feel hungry, has lots of energy in the gym and on the bike. Is this the type of eating that he can maintain when the cycling season starts up again? He is concerned that a low-carb diet is good for the off-season but will not give enough “burst of energy” fuel that is necessary for a crit.

~ In my response to Vince, I recommend my Low Carb Fueling Package at www.lowcarbtriathlete.com.

Audio Question from Chris @ 00:56:56
His girlfriend has been experiencing increasingly severe symptoms associated with her period since she moved to Utah for school. She is 19 years old, she’s been living at 5000 feet elevation and didn’t seem to get as bad symptoms when she was at 1000 feet. She gets emotional, bloated, lack of appetite, back pain and stomach cramps/pain (to the point of not wanting to get out of bed). She’s not an athlete but is healthy and eats ok. Could this be happening because she is getting older, because of the elevation change, or the climate, or something else? Is there a holistic approach she could take to help with this?

~ In my response to Chris, I mention Chinese Adaptogenic Herbs like TianChi.

Audio Question from Troy @ 01:06:40
Is thinking of getting a Personal Trainer certification. Has done the NASM and wasn’t very impressed. The one called Nation Personal Training Institute. It is a 6 month course, 5 days a week, 9 to 5. It is about $6000 (pricey?). Seems comprehensive and is a classroom format rather than online or by mail. What would you recommend or suggest?

~ In my response to Troy, I recommend my mentorship at www.SuperhumanCoach.com.

Audio Question from Keerthi @ 01:13:49
Has been following a high fat diet for a while now but he has noticed that when he eats a lot of healthy fats (like coconut oil or grass fed butter) he sometimes gets an irritation in his throat. Do you know why this might happen and what would be a possible remedy?

~ In my response to Keerthi, I recommend including lipase, or digestive enzymes like Caprazymes.


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