Episode #232 – Full Transcript

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Introduction: This is the live BenGreenfieldFitness.com podcast.  This is our third attempt to start this podcast because Brock and I are podcasting live from the lobby of the Double Three Hilton here in Spokane, Washington.  We’ve got live listeners on a live spreecast and we also are recording for publishing this thing out to you if you’re listening at a later time.  And the reason that we’re here together is for the Become Superhuman Live event.  We did not just decide to randomly meet in the hotel lobby in Spokane to record the podcast.  If you weren’t able to make it here to Spokane this weekend for the live event, you can still access it via online – Pay per View access where you can see all sorts of people duking it out.  And you have access to the play box, too.

Brock:  Metaphorically “duking it out”. There’s actually no _____[0:01:44.2].

Ben:  I just always think of UFC when I’m talking about Pay per View.  I don’t know why.  ‘Cause that’s probably the only thing I ever buy at pay per view considering I don’t get TV reception, makes it a little hard to do much pay per view on my end.  But apparently, internet does have pay per view capabilities.  So anyways, that being said, today…Should I do our topics, Brock?

Brock:  Sure!

Ben:  All right.  Folks, check this out:  Today, we are gonna be talking about fish vs. fish oil. How much should you pee on the bike?  Friction burns on the upper arms while running, any thoughts on drinking your own urine.  Is decaf coffee healthy?  Can you have too much iron and everything you need to know about heat stroke.

News Flashes:

Ben:  So, what do you think, Brock?  Should we just jump right in to this week’s news flashes?

Brock:  Yes.  I think we’ve bantered enough.

Ben:  All right. Cool. The first news flash for this week is that it is interesting (I tweeted) that basically, the packages that soda comes in may be as bad as the soda itself when it comes to blood sugar regulation.

Brock:  And when you say soda, you mean like pop, cans of…

Ben:  I don’t know what you guys mean up in Canada when you talk about soda.

Brock:  We don’t call pop soda. Soda is what you put in like baking soda or something like that but I know you crazy Americans, you’re talking about like Coke.

Ben:  Yeah. This was a study on BPA that’s not only in Coke cans but also soup cans, coconut milk, whatever.  What they found was that when you are consuming stuff that’s in a BPA-containing can or container, that it significantly influences your ability to regulate your blood glucose levels, meaning that part of the issue with drinking soda is not just the actual sugar spike from the soda itself but it’s also the fact that BPA basically, puts your insulin levels to a crap storm and decreases your insulin sensitivity and makes it way more difficult to regulate your blood glucose levels.

Brock:  So it’s like a one-two-punch.

Ben:  It’s like a one-two-punch.

Brock:  Take out your insulin and then hitting it with a bunch of sugar.

Ben:  Yup! Not that our listeners necessarily are chugging Mountain Dew while listening into the podcast but it’s something interesting to know that even if you’re doing something like dishwashing your Tupperware and your plastic. Just that alone increases the amount of BPA that leeches off the stuff by over 40%, meaning that you could, for example, think you’re eating healthy and have heated up leftovers in a plastic container or even be eating out of the plastic container that has been dishwashed, and you’re gonna throw your blood glucose levels out of wack along with getting mamboobs and…

Brock:  So that would be the same if you’re having a diet soda as well.  So you’re still doing the damage to your…

Ben:  Exactly.  Assuming that that diet soda has BPA in it.  I thought that was interesting.


Another study that I tweeted this week was that there was a study that came out that gives us a big fat clue when it comes to boosting testosterone levels and we’ll link to this study in the show notes.  It’s called Do Fat Supplements Increase Physical Performance? And they looked at 2 different types of fat supplements that you may be familiar with if you’re supplements geek as I know all our listeners  are, right?

Brock:   Yeah.

Ben:  A propeller hat geek on supplements. Basically, CLA or conjugated linoleic acid and fish oil and what this study found was that both fish oil and conjugated linoleic acid, 2 different forms of fatty acid that you can use as pre-workout supplements, as daily health supplements, they actually do a significant job boosting testosterone levels.  Fish oil, by being basically, a cholesterol precursor that allows you to create pregnenolone and then go from there into testosterone, a lot of your hormone downstreams, they’re gonna get out of that, and then also conjugated linoleic acid, because it can actually up-regulate the enzymes that are responsible for creating testosterone.  Any guy, especially, who’s serious about amping up testosterone levels or for example, a woman who is on the pill which incidentally, shoves your testosterone levels into the tank should look into not only fish oil supplementation or eating fish but also either conjugated linoleic acid or one of the richest sources of it from diet which is grass-fed beef. So there you have it. The interesting thing that I also tweeted this week, since we’re geeking out on fish is that even though fish oil is gonna give you a bunch of benefits like this, I’m not the biggest fan of relying on fish oil per se for a lot of these omega 3s and DHA and testosterone precursor because it can have issues.  And there’s a lot of talk about this especially in the Paleo community right now about how fish in its extracted form may be unnatural, maybe has a lot of these oxidized fatty acid that are in it and then maybe we shouldn’t be eating as many fish oil supplements as we’ve been led to believe that we should.

Brock:  Is that on account of like you always talk about of being rancid?

Ben:  No. That is my take on the whole fish oil thing is that fish oil needs to be in its natural form, meaning, it needs to be packaged cold, it needs to be preferably packaged with antioxidants that are going to basically make it not be rancid like astaxanthin or vitamin A.  And then the other thing that’s super important to make sure that you get a good natural ratio of fish oil is that it has vitamin E in it as well.  Now, if you can get all those components in the fish oil, you would be consuming a form of fish oil that is not what has been used in these studies that have found fish oil to be potentially dangerous.

Brock:  So is that the ethyl ester form?

Ben:  That would be the triglyceride form of fish oil. You want something that’s triglyceride form, something that has been cold processed, and packaged with antioxidants like astaxanthin and vitamin E.  If you’re just grabbing Kirkland brand Fish Oil off the shelf at Cosco, for example, or other bargain bend of your local supplements outlet, you probably are doing yourself more harm than good.  The other thing that I tweeted this week was another reason I’m a big fan of eating wild fish when you can as opposed to taking a fish oil supplement is that there was a new study that came out that showed that the actual protein component of fish when combined with the fatty acids that are in the fish does a fantastic job regulating your blood glucose levels and sensitizing you to insulin.  This all comes down to the fact that whole food is always gonna be better than the supplements.  The supplements aren’t necessarily bad but what you wanna make sure when you do take the supplements is that they’ve been treated as naturally as possible.

Brock:  And they’re in addition to eating some of the whole foods and not relying on that as the only source.

Ben:  Right.  One of the things that I do is, on days I eat fish, I don’t eat fish oil.  I supplement with cod liver oil so I’m getting some of that natural vitamin E and vitamin A as well.  And then the other thing is that I use the Super Essentials brand Fish Oil.  So a few good brands out there would be Pharmax, Nordic Naturals, Carlson’s is not bad and the other one would be the Super Essentials stuff from Living Fuel and that is, of course, available over on pacificfit.net.  2-4 capsules of that day as one of these ways to bump up your testosterone, give you that anti inflammatory potential without getting a lot of the oxidized fatty acids that a lot of fish oils have in them.


And we have a question from a listener, Valerie, who’s listening live right now, who says, “what about fish in a BPA-free can?”  If you’re buying canned fish, you’re definitely settling for plan B.  It’s not gonna be fresh. I am a big, big fan of eating your meats, especially, as fresh as possible, so you avoid a lot of the risks of microtoxins, molds, stuff like that. Yeah, when I’m traveling, sometimes I do grab salmon or tuna in one of those to-go packets but it’s definitely not as efficacious and potentially higher in metals, higher in toxins, higher in molds than just doing fresh fish.

Brock:  So frozen would be way better than out of a can?

Ben:  Flash frozen preferably.  Yeah.  The fresher you can get the meat, the better.  And then the other thing that one of my athletes whom I coach sent me this week, was that, it’s scary that the tuna that you’re eating at the grocery store isn’t actually tuna.  In fact, I pulled up a study.  I’m holding my Kindle right now.

Brock:  Tuna is not tuna.

Ben:  Tuna is not tuna.  Check this out.

Brock:  So cow is disguised as tuna wearing a tuna suit?

Ben:  No.  It’s not that a cow is disguised as a tuna.

Brock:  That’d be pretty awesome, though.

Ben:  Basically, they did this genetic evaluation of a ton of different restaurants and the tuna that they were serving.  And what they found was that in most cases, the tuna was not actually tuna.  It was some other form of fish, including one type of fish called Escobar, which interestingly, is not a very healthy fish and can in fact, in excess, cause not to candy coat it too much but basically in a leakage.  59% of America’s tuna is not actually tuna.  Pretty scary.

Brock:  Wow!

Ben:  Pretty scary stuff.  So there you go.

Brock:  So there must be a small portion that is tuna or they wouldn’t be able use tuna on the label.

Ben:  It could be that it’s mixed with tuna but we’re talking not just about tuna that’s used in tuna salad or blended up tuna derivatives but straight up tuna that’s on your plate that’s served as a fillet of tuna, is in many cases, not tuna.  So always be careful.  One thing that I do, of course, when I’m eating sushi, sashimi, tuna, fish, whatever, is I do the sauce with shellfish – activated charcoal.  That’s the way that you can mitigate some of the toxin exposure that you get from the stuff.  I finally got this pulled up on my Kindle – 59% of the fish labeled “tuna” sold at restaurants and grocery stores is not in fact tuna.  That’s on 1200 samples of fish from across the United States that this non-profit group genetically tested.  Pretty crazy stuff there and geeking out on fish – those are all the news flashes for this week.  It doesn’t look like any questions came through from our live listeners about any of that stuff that we just got talking about.  Thanks for coming back, by the way, everybody.  Let’s move on to this week’s Q & A.

Listener Q & A:

Brock:  Chris asks: “I have to urinate frequently while training and racing.  Last weekend, I have to go 3 times in the first 25 miles of a ride.  That will just annoy me in my Ironman in May.  What are some things I can try, eliminate or experiment with to get in front of this?  Is it just that I’m drinking too much water leading up to workouts, too much water the night before, maybe too much water and not enough electrolytes, maybe excessive sodium in my diet is causing me to over drink during the week?  Last year, I had to make pit stops in 2 of my A races.”  Chris, I feel your pain.  I had to make a pit stop in 70.3, which is, apparently, not necessary, usually.

Ben:  While you’re reading that question, somebody complemented me in the beany that I’m wearing on our live video feed right now.  I just rode my bike down here, that’s why.  And no, I did not pee on the ride.


I have done entire Ironman triathlons before without peeing one single time. A big, big part of how often you urinate is not only due to how much you are drinking and it certainly is true that excessive drinking and even hyponatremia can be an issue that would cause you to excessively urinate while you’re riding the bike.  But the other issue can basically be…when you’re amped up on adrenalin, when you’re really pushing yourself, your body begins to shut down a lot of that urinary type of function, that voiding type of function just because it’s extra energy that you would use. One thing that I’ve told people who are perhaps training for an Ironman and doing your long bike rides and finding out that they got to stop every half hour, every hour, every couple of hours to use the bathroom, is that a lot of that goes away once you’re racing just because of the adrenalin in the race condition.  One thing that you can rely on, is the fact that you’re gonna naturally have to pee a little bit less, anyways.  The other thing is, there is stuff that can cause more frequent urination.  There are some foods and some beverages, 2 which we’re familiar with – coffee and tea, so if you’re using a gel that has a caffeine in it or you’re drinking a lot of coffee before your race, that’s one thing that’s gonna be a diuretic. Not many of us utilize parsley or celery while we are in a triathlon or in a bike race, but those are 2 things that can be pretty potent diuretics as well. And it’s interesting that if you have a juicer, which I just got, by the way, but parsley and celery are 2 urinary detox type of compounds.  Speaking of voiding, by the way, did I tell you that I tried out that Mag 07, that oxygenated magnesium I was talking about last week?  Holy cow!

Brock:  Holy crap?

Ben:  Holy crap.  Few of the things that could cause more urination while cycling if you’re a guy, enlarged prostate can cause that and a lot of dudes have that and don’t realize.

Brock:  Especially us dudes who are now on the other side of 40.

Ben:  Exactly.  Getting on some licopene can help that out.  Getting on some zinc can help that out and basically, possibly even going in for a PSA test just to check on that because just from a preventive standpoint, it may be pretty important if you’re an older guy having issue with that.  And of course, hand in hand with that just genetically a smaller bladder can cause an issue as well.  By the way, we lost our live video feed just now, for the people watching this precast but we’re just gonna hope it comes back up.

Brock:  At least, hopefully, you can hear us.

Ben:  Yeah. In the meantime though, as far as peeing on the bike is concerned while you’re out there in a race, doing an Ironman, something like that, I’m a fan of just doing it on the fly. I personally just roll up the short a little bit or depending on which way I’m traveling.  If I’m going downhill, I’ll just pull it down a little bit and go that way.  If I’m running, I’ve had to go before an Ironman races, I will just literally go in my pants as I’m running.

Brock:  I’ve never been able to do that. I’ve actually been on the bike, nobody around going down a nice hill and haven’t been able like for 40 years of my life that I’ve spent trying not to pee in my pants.  I can’t override that part of my lizard brain.

Ben:  You just gotta go on the beast mode and not care.

Brock:  I guess I need to practice peeing in my pants more.  I have noticed that you’re mentioning at the beginning that during a race, you tend not to pee as much as when you’re on a long run or a long ride when you’re by yourself.  I’d even noticed during a long run or a long ride, if I am by myself for like 10 minutes I feel like “oh no, I have to go to the bathroom”, then you distract yourself for a while and all of a sudden you’re like “oh, I thought I had to go to the bathroom” and it just sort of disappears.  Sometimes you feel like you would need to pee but it’s really not that your bladder’s all that full.

Ben:  Interestingly, I know I have a lot of listeners with these issues.  Gonorrhea, clamydia and herpes could also cause you to have to urinate a little bit more frequently.

Brock:  Is that Jenna last week that had herpes?

Ben:  Cold sores folks.  Get that checked out, Chris. Real quick before we get into Angela’s question, Brock, are you on this live spreecast right now?  Because I could put you on screen potentially.  If you wanna log in, you could log in while I ask the next question.


Brock:  Actually since we’re talking about pee, why don’t we jump down to Misty’s question just to mess with the order a little bit?

Ben:  Okay.

Brock:  Chris has an excessive pee, maybe Misty could…

Ben:  Okay.  Did you wanna ask Misty’s question?

Brock:  Okay.  Misty says, “any thoughts on auto urine therapy?  I know it’s an ancient practice among some cultures and people have even survived on their own urine when there’s nothing else around.  I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on it for detox immune and general health.

Ben:  Yeah. This is something that kinda flies into the radar in alternative medicine a little bit but it certainly is something that especially in Ayurvedic medicine, is something that they do.  They literally will drink urine potentially for its possibility to re-mineralize you.  Potentially, some people argue that the antigens that are introduced are anti cancer antigens that would let your immune system create antibodies against cancer.  (We’ll put you on screen real quick here, Brock on this precast.) There are some African populations that use this medicinal mushroom. That’s basically like a shroom.  It’s like a hallucinogenic drug and the alkaloids that are in this mushroom get passed through in the urine and they come out intact.  And a lot of these tribes (I forgot the actual name of the tribe.) will drink the urine if they can’t afford to buy the mushroom. They’ll actually drink the other people who have taken the mushroom to get this hallucinogenic effect. The other thing, interestingly, is from a sleep hacking standpoint.  Melatonin, which is the hormone produced by your penial gland, when you gotta sleep, that actually also ends up in its whole form in the urine and so there are some alternative medical practitioners who will tell people, basically, to reset your circadian rhythm that what you do is you literally save your morning urine and drink it in the evening to get your melatonin levels back up.

Brock:  I’ve actually heard people do that with small children.

Ben:  Yeah.

Brock:  They get small children’s urine first thing in the morning and _____[0:23:02.2] that. Apparently, that’s maybe a cleaner urine or something.

Ben:  Yup.  And because of the effect that the urine can have on things like very, very non-acidic high ph type of poison or toxin like a jelly fish thing or something like that, it could technically be used for something along those lines as well.  However, the research on any anti-cancer benefits of urophagy, basically, there’s not a lot of research behind it.  There is some suggestions that this Presensky Clinic, which is the anti-cancer clinic down in Texas, originally was harvesting its antigen-based compounds from urine.  But again, there’s no research to show that that’s true, either.  The interesting thing is that women all over the world take horse serum everyday. That’s a premarinase. And so if you’re turning up your nose on this and you’re a woman and you’re using hormone replacement therapy in the form of premarin, you already kinda get that.  So there you go.

Brock:  There was a bunch of creams as well like some creams for…

Ben:  Like a progesterone cream?

Brock:  No.  Like just for dry skin.

Ben:  Yeah.  That actually has urea.

Brock:  Really?  For real hard core dermatitis kinda…

Ben:  Right.  Psoriasis, dermatitis…

Brock:  Interesting!

Ben:  I know a lot of our listeners are probably on the edge of their seats wondering when they could start drinking their own urine.  And the take on that is, try harvesting your morning urine and drink it at night and see if you’ll sleep better. For me, I’d lay awake tossing and turning until about 2:00 AM, guilty that I had just drank my own urine.


As far as the whole urophagy thing, not something I’m a big fan of.  By the way, live question from Morris here who asked (on our live spreecast):  “Would an algae like spirulina or chlorella help with binding to toxin from canned tuna?”  This is a really great point.  Because we just got on talking about fish and that is that your nature does have a lot of cool little fixes for things and if you look at a lot of marine-based compounds like spirulina and algae, they actually do have a lot of natural chelators in them that can help to detox from a lot of the metals – the mercury, the type of stuff you’re gonna get in fish.  So if you have fish with the side of seaweeds out or you’re having sushi wrapped in nori, you’re getting some of these basic detox compounds along with the fish anyways.  It’s the same thing with fish meat having high levels of selenium in it.  Selenium is a natural mercury-binding compound that can mitigate some (not all) of the effects of the metal or the mercury that is in the fish.  It’s interesting how nature kinda has some of this stuff hacked already.  So there you go.

Brock:  So a step beyond eating the whole food is actually eating food with its surroundings.

Ben:  That’s right.

Brock:  Okay. Let’s jump back to Angela and her friction burns.  Angela asks:  “I wanted to see if you had a solution for friction burns on the upper arms while running.  If I do any distance over 7 km., I seem to get burns under my arms and they’re so painful.”

Ben:  Definitely, something that I’ve run into before, everything from the bleeding nipples to the chaffed armpits.  It’s skin on skin and once you start to sweat, you get the mineral composition of the sweat causing even more of that friction because of those little tiny minerals on the sweat. The answer is kinda stupid and simple in one way that is that you ensure that you always have fabric on skin or fabric on fabric even better. That’s why guys always wanna wear the type of running shorts that have the lining on the inside to protect you from some of that chafing that can happen down under with the boys.  For women, you would want to wear some type of compound that allows you to have fabric on fabric like an undershirt that is literally a long-sleeved undershirt or even a short-sleeved undershirt where it’s fabric on fabric in the armpits like in the underarm of the shirt or something along those lines.

Brock:  Or the tank top that actually comes like up to (I’m gonna show on the spreecast) right up into the armpit, not insert it.

Ben:  Yeah. It’s kinda cool. When we’re doing this spreecast, we can demo. Basically, what you’re looking at is, wanting to invest in one of these shirts that are specifically designed for runners to reduce that type of friction. I have specific anti chafing compounds that I’m a fan of because they’re natural, because they’re not introducing a lot of benzene compounds on to your skin surface or you’re not basically creating a chemical cocktail in your armpits.

Brock:  What’s benzene?

Ben:  Benzene is basically, potentially carcinogenic hexagonal chemical compound that a lot of these sprays like the aerosol sprays that are considered anti chafing sprays.   I used to use some of that stuff for triathlon.  I don’t go near it now because I’m not gonna spray a bunch of carcinogens in my crotch before I go out and do a race.  I get stuff from Hammer Nutrition.  They’ve got some good stuff.  They’ve got Hammer Balm which would be more for after the damage has occurred.  They’ve got also Hammer Seat Saver.  That’s my favorite stuff which is all natural like clove-based extracts, some olive oil, really decent stuff. You can get a 15% discount from Hammer.  We’ll put the discount code in the link in the show notes for Episode 232 over at bengreenfieldfitness.com.  But I like the Hammer Seat Saver for during.  I like the Hammer Balm for after.  Coconut oil actually doesn’t work too badly in a pinch.  If you got a little coconut oil and you’ve also got some aloe vera, it works well to actually smear the coconut oil into the areas that you want the anti chafing.  Put a little aloe vera oil on top of that and you get a combination of decreasing some of the burn and some of the pain but also getting nice lubing effect.

Brock:  That’s a great idea.  It’s actually really hard to wash coconut oil off if you put it on your hands.  You have to use a significant amount of soap to get it to break down so that would hang around for most of the race.

Ben:  Just lick your fingers and then after the race, you could just lick yourself clean. It’s coconut oil. Well, post-race, medium chain triglyceride dosage. There you go. So those are my recommendations, Angela, as far as the friction burns go and yeah, it’s one of the things we just gotta get assured.  You gotta get some kind of an ointment.


Brock:  Yeah. All right. Dushan wrote: “I’ve always avoided decaf because I heard that the chemicals they use in the process are bad for you.  Then I heard about Swiss Water Decaf which doesn’t use chemicals but it’s expensive.  Then I talked to a coffee rep at Cosco who told me that they wash their decaffeinated coffee and none of these chemicals remain. My wife also read that the chemicals evaporate at 190 degrees and coffee gets roasted at about 350 degrees.  She also read that rats were tested with the chemical and there were no effects on the rats.

Ben:  This is really interesting. I have been a fan of decaf coffee for a while. I think I’ve mentioned on the show before that as I was growing up, my dad was a gourmet coffee roaster.  And by the time he got into that, he was relatively into health.  My dad and mom were separated now. My mom runs the company but because he was getting into health at the same time he was getting into coffee, the type of decaffeination process that he chose for his coffee was called the Swiss Water decaffeination process.  It’s just based almost on the concept of osmosis. You take coffee beans that are basically your regular coffee beans that have caffeine in them and you soak them in water that has previously been soaked also in coffee beans.  And what happens is, because the water that the coffee beans are soaking in have previously been exposed to coffee.  You get all the oils and the volatile compounds and the flavors and stuff in that water and that means that those same flavors in oils don’t leech out of the coffee beans that you’re soaking.   However, the caffeine does leech out.  So it’s essentially a soaking process.

Brock:  Crazy!

Ben:  Well, it’s like if you put a bean that has caffeine in it in a solution that is decaffeinated and you leave it in there, the caffeine is eventually gonna leech out.  Now, the only problem is that the oils and the flavors and stuff are gonna leech out, too, unless the water that you’re soaking it in already has the oils and the flavors added into it from having been previously soaked.

Brock:  So it’s just moving from a high to a low ratio.

Ben:  Exactly.  It’s just basic osmosis.  And you can speed up the process through another healthy way to decaffeinate coffee called carbon dioxide processing where the coffee is exposed under these higher pressures to natural carbon dioxide and it does the same caffeine extracting type of process but at a much, much faster rate so it’s a little bit easier to do.

Brock:  When you said carbon dioxide, I was thinking carbon monoxide.  That’s not a good alternative.

Ben:  No. Don’t shove coffee beans up your car pipe to decaf them.  There are other processes. The one that I just mentioned is natural.  It’s called the Swiss Water Process.  The decaffeinated coffee that I personally drink is from Bucer’s Coffee Pub in Moscow.  I’ll put a link to that in the show notes.

Brock:  Russia?

Ben:  No.  Idaho.  Close here actually – about 2 hours from where were podcasting right now.  And that’s the stuff that my mom makes.  And then you get the Bulletproof Coffee.   The Bulletproof Coffee is more expensive.  It’s like $18-20 a pound.

Brock:  That’s from Dave Asprey?

Ben:  That’s from Dave Asprey.  He’s somewhere here in the hotel right now, I think. He’s speaking at the event. Dave just launched decaf coffee as well. The cool thing is that Dave was recently writing about some recent studies on decaf coffee that find that it can basically, cross your blood brain barrier and cause a lot of these same brain antioxidant and anti inflammatory type of effects as caffeinated coffee. But the difference is that caffeine, especially if you’re doing a lot of it like before an afternoon workout or something like that, it actually decreases activity of what’s called your MTOR protein.

Brock:  MTOR pathway.

Ben:  Yeah. Your MTOR pathway.  And this whole MTOR pathway is partially responsible for building muscle.  So by guzzling a bunch of caffeinated coffee prior to workout, you may actually inhibit your ability to build muscle.  Whereas, if you take in decaf coffee, you’re still gonna get some of that decent brain anti inflammatory effect.

Brock:  But if you don’t take in the caffeinated coffee, are you gonna get a workout done?

Ben:  Well, here’s the deal.  All decaf coffee has caffeine in it.  There’s zero decaffeination processes that will result in all the caffeine being drawn out of the coffee.  So you’re gonna get a little bit of caffeine no matter what.  We’re also gonna get that placebo effect that we all know about where if you taste decaf, you still fell like it wakes you up a little bit better.


Brock:  Yeah.  So what is it?  It has to be below 3% caffeine in order to be called decaf?

Ben:  I don’t remember. I called up the Wikipedia on decaffeination and how much caffeine is actually in decaffeinated coffee and it says that drinking 5-10 cups of decaffeinated coffee would deliver as much caffeine as 1-2 cups of regular coffee.  But it doesn’t talk about the actual standards.  The type of decaffeination that you wanna avoid would be what most folks use which is called the direct or an indirect method of decaffeination.  And one is direct contact with dichloromethane or ethyl acetate to fairly harmful compounds and chemicals.  The other one is very, very similar but it’s with recycled water so it’s called an indirect method but you still get the ethyl acetate and the dichloromethane with those processes.  So basically, if you’re looking for decaffeinated coffee or you’re looking for Swiss Water process or carbon dioxide process, there’s one other process called the triglyceride method.  With the triglyceride method, what they do is, they soak the beans in a compound or in a solution that has triglycerides in it and this triglyceride oils can remove a lot of the caffeine and that’s another kind of safe method of decaffeination. My recommendation would be you get the Swiss Water decaf.  The stuff I drink is called Ingcognito Decaf.  I’ll put a link in the show notes. The other option, if you wanna go for the more expensive root but guarantee that it’s completely free of microtoxins and fungus and stuff like that, would be to grab the Dave Asprey stuff.  You’re gonna pay a little bit more for that but that one (We’ll put a link to it in the show notes as well.) will be the Bulletproof version of the decaf coffee.

Brock:  So the stuff I’m drinking from the hotel room that was in the weird little package, probably not…

Ben:  I am pretty careful with the decaffeinated coffee from hotels, restaurants.  Same thing as I was talking about with the fish like you can use activated charcoal as Brock put his…all our spreecast listeners just saw Brock ditch his Starbucks cup.  You could use the activated charcoal, you could use energy bits, spirulina algae tabs, stuff like that to detox but I personally am, more and more these days, careful with the source of my coffee.  And I’ve even gotten one of these Aeropress coffeemakers now where I can travel with that thing.  It’s tiny.  I can take a little ziplock bag full of the organic coffee from Bucer’s or from the Bulletproof and use that instead.

Brock:  The Aeropress is like a French press?

Ben:  It is a really, really tiny coffeemaker that requires you to have finely ground coffee beans which you can grind at home but you travel with it and you could press…It basically uses a pressure-based system/vacuum-based system and it’s like the size of a 12-ounce coffee cup and you press hot water down through the Aeropress and it basically pushes it through this micro filter and they get some fantastic dark rich coffee.

Brock:  So it’s like an upgraded French press.

Ben:  Exactly.  It’s called Aeropress.  Check that out and we’ll put a link to the 2 types of coffee that I recommend, the 2 types of decaffeinated coffee that pass our standards in the show notes there.  There you go.

Brock:  Our next question comes from Gareth and Gareth says:  “I recently got diagnosed with hemochromatosis, which means high iron levels with very high transferrin saturation but average ferritin levels.  It’s hereditary.  It’s easy to find a lot written online in relation to the impact of low iron levels on Endurance athletes but I cannot find much information on the impact of high iron levels. Can you offer any advice?  Is it a benefit or a drawback?  I’m a runner, doing mostly 5k and 10k distances and average about 70 miles a week.  So this is like he kinda goes back to a question we had a few weeks ago about…

Ben:  About iron overload?

Brock:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah. First of all, before we get into this much at all, be careful with the diagnosis because there’s a lot of different ways that you can diagnose iron overload. And one of the low cost readily available ways to diagnose iron overload is a serum ferritin test.  And that’s certainly cheap.  It’d certainly gonna tell your levels of iron storage protein but it doesn’t actually tell you whether or not you’ve got dangerous iron build-up happening in your organs.  All it tells you is you’ve got the capacity to be able to have that or the potential. It’s kind of an indirect method of saying you have hemochromatosis, whereas a liver biopsy would be a better way to go if you really wanna diagnose whether or not you’ve got one of these.  The cool thing is that they’ve got a new test now that they can do via MRI that allows them to look at the amount of iron that’s building up in the organs without actually doing a fall on biopsy.


It’s called the ferriscan.  And it’s an MRI test called the ferriscan.  That would be a way to double check if all that you’ve gotten done is a serum ferritin test to look into your iron or your hemochromatosis potential.

Brock:  So if they see that it’s in your blood already and it’s building up in the organs, then it’s pretty much guaranteed.

Ben:  Right.  Exactly. That being said, the gold standard for this would be phlebotomy – bloodletting, donating blood, which is good anyways, at least you’re doing mankind a service but not necessarily your endurance sports potential ‘cause obviously, every time that you ditch blood, you’re ditching iron but you’re also ditching a lot of oxygen and a lot of red blood cells so may decrease your oxygen carrying capacity, which is not all that great a prospect for somebody who’s running or biking or an endurance athlete.  Phlebotomy would be anywhere from once a month.  In serious cases, people are doing 8 times a month bloodletting – giving blood for serious levels of hemochromatosis. But the problem with this is that the iron will build up in your organs – in your kidney, in your liver, basically in all these places where it shouldn’t be if you don’t take care of this issue and then you can go on an organ failure and have some serious issues.  That being said, some of the more natural methods that you may wanna look into if you didn’t want to get a pharmaceutical chelating compound which would be one of the things that would be prescribed to you by a physician for hemochromatosis.  But the problem being with that is that it’s gonna chelate a lot of other metals, too so you essentially can go into mineral deficiency.  One would be to avoid taking in elements that are going to increase your iron absorption capacity and the big one would be vitamin C.  So if you’re concerned with hemochromatosis or excessive iron, levels, taking a vitamin C supplement because that’s gonna enhance iron absorption.  On the flipside, if you’ve got low iron, you would actually want to take a vitamin C supplement especially with high iron-containing food like spinach or red meat.  Otherwise, get your vitamin C from just basic fruits and vegetables, not from vitamin supplementation. Herbal supplements that you’d wanna be careful with if you didn’t wanna leech iron if you are concerned about your iron levels or concerned about anemia, but that you may want to include, if you’ve got really high iron levels or high risk of hemochromatosis, one would be dandelion root and one would be milk thistle extract – 2 well-known cleansers that also are going to do a pretty decent job like sucking iron out of the body.  And so if you overuse that kind of stuff, if you look at your supplements and you’re doing like a daily cleanser that has milk thistle extract or dandelion root or something like that and hyssop root is another commom cleansing ingredient that you’re gonna find in some “daily health type of tonics”.  The issue is that if you’re at high risk of anemia, if you’ve got low iron, if you’re an endurance athlete, that’s not gonna do you any favors at all.  That’s another thing that you’d wanna be careful with if you have low iron levels but that you’d actually wanna include if you’re trying to get rid of hemochromatosis naturally. Calcium is another thing that can inhibit iron absorption. So using a calcium supplement or eating lots of calcium-rich foods, again, is something that you’d wanna consider if you have hemochromatosis but you’ve gotta actually be careful with excessive calcium supplementation if you’re concerned about anemia or low iron levels.  What else?  Manganese is a compound that is actually gonna protect you against excessive iron build-up.  You’re gonna find manganese in a lot of antioxidant type of compounds.  A lot of multivitamins have manganese.  You can buy it in its regular form at a health food store.  That would be another one to look into. The other thing that blocks absorption of iron would be vitamin B6 especially if you combine it with vitamin C.  Again, something that you would want to be careful with, excessive vitamin B6 and excessive vitamin C if you had something like anemia or something like that but something that you may wanna consider if you don’t. And then the last thing would be like tea, coffee, stanins, stuff like that.  That stuff will all help to decrease iron absorption.   Again, something to be careful with if you have anemia but if you’re concerned about hemochromatosis, you may wanna consider a little bit extra black tea, a little bit extra coffee, milk thistle, hyssop root, dandelion root, being careful with or using calcium supplements, eating calcium-rich foods, looking into bloodletting potentially up to few times a month.  Those would be some of the main ones.


Brock:  Buy some leeches…

Ben:  Buy some leeches.

Brock:  Just attach them at the back of your neck and across your armpits.

Ben:  There you go.  Yup!  Those are the biggies when it comes to…Dr. Minkoff who’s also here, speaking this weekend, he has a supplement called Heavy Metal Detox.  He talked about that one on the show before and that one would be another one that you’d wanna consider.  He knows there’s a bunch of real basketball players walking around the lobby right now.

Brock:  Yes, I think.

Ben:  UCLA might be playing Gonzaga this weekend.

Brock:  So these are real basketball players.

Ben:  Oh yeah.

Brock:  They might be famous.

Ben:  Gonzaga’s right next door.  We’re literally like a stone’s throw from the whole bulldog stadium where the number one college basketball team in the country is playing.

Brock:  Okay.  So they’re not the millionaire basketball players there.

Ben:  They’re good, good school.  Yeah. We’ve got one more question here?

Brock:  One more from Cheri. If everybody on spreecast is wondering why I keep on leaning right in front of Ben, it’s just to make sure I’m getting on to the microphone.  “This year, I entered my 4th 100-mile race.  It was 93 degrees come race day and at mile 34, the Aid Stations ran out of water.  I went approximately 10 miles in 93 degrees but no water.  I continued on to mile 50 but stopped due to major brain fog and sweating heavily while walking.  It took me about 3 weeks to get mentally back to normal.  They say that once you’ve had heatstroke, you are more prone to having it again.  If I acclimatize myself prior to going into a race, if I know that it’s going to be hot, will I have the possibility of feeling the same even if I’m hydrated?”

Ben:  Yes. Having heatstroke once is definitely going to make heatstroke again in the future a little bit more likely of an issue.  The reason for that is that, a lot of people don’t realize that when you’re exercising in a hot environment, you’re gut permeability increases.  And if you get  yourself hot up to the point where you’ve actually gotten heatstroke, your gut permeability becomes so high that you get a ton of spillage of the components that are in your small intestine – toxins, bacteria, etc.  All that stuff winds up in the bloodstream and you can literally get almost like a sepsis reaction in the liver and in the kidneys, that in studies, have been shown to last for 4-6 months after that initial heatstroke.  And a lot of people don’t realize that they just look at their hydration levels. Some studies have just looked at core temperature a few months after heatstroke vs. not enough on a difference but if you look at the actual organ level, if you’ve had heatstroke before, you can have that organ inflammation and potential for sepsis for a long time after the heatstroke actually occurs. This is one of the reasons why like when I’m going on an Ironman Hawaii, a really hot race, I take step that actually decreases gut permeability and I stay away from stuff that’s going to increase the permeability of my gut lining.  For example, I take colostrums anytime I’m going out to do a hard event because that is going to decrease gut permeability and I double up on the amount of colostrums that I take the week of Ironman Hawaii or for example, I’m going over the Race Vietnam here, I’ll take it before that as well.

Brock:  For the folks out there who aren’t really up to date with what we’re talking about here, we’ve talked about colostrums before but colostrums is a piece of mother’s milk.

Ben:  Yeah. It’s the first part of the mother’s milk that its biolactic compound that when you’re exposed to it, helps to seal your gut lining, helps to activate these what are called zonulin proteins out to heal your gut lining.  It’s why children who are fed formula and not mother’s milk tend to be at higher risk for leaky gut syndrome.  But it’s also something you could take advantage of as a legal ergogenic aid and it can do stuff like boost growth hormone and help with muscle healing.  But the reason I do it is because of that decrease in gut permeability.

Brock:  And you can get that in a powder form or a liquid form?

Ben:  Yup. You can get it in powder.  Actually, not in liquid, I don’t think.  Not unless you wanna go suck on a goat’s tete or find a mom with a newborn baby and potentially get slapped in the face.  That’s the issue. It’s not like you can’t rehydrate yourself even though you can stay dehydrated for several days after each stroke.


It’s more of the organ and the sepsis issue due to the gut permeability that occurs when you get that heat stroke going on.  So that’s the big issue there.  Gosh!  We kinda flew through those.  I’ll put a recommendation, Cheri.  I taught a big webinar for USA Triathlon a few weeks ago and it was on how to acclimate yourself for hot weather exercise and some what are called that active acclimation and the passive acclimation things that you can do.  So check that out and we’ll link to that in the show notes along with some of these other stuff that we talked about like decaf coffee.  We’re also gonna create a MyList for this episode as we always do as well over at MyList.com/bengreenfield.  I’ll link to the Hammer Balm, the Seat Saver, just some more resource free, guys and of course, to all the studies that we talked about and also to a survey.  There’s an important survey. It’s just about basically, your income and your demographics so that we might be able to get better hosting prizes for this podcast ‘cause we gotta pay up the Wazoo to host this thing.

Brock:  It’s the single most expensive part of putting on this podcast aside from our time, it’s the bandwidth and the hosting that’s the hard cost.

Brock:  Than the pre podcast cocaine that adds up.  Sometimes we can get it for free.

Brock:  But we have to pay in other ways.

Ben:  All right.  So as Brock sips some of his toxified Starbucks coffee from the hotel lobby here, remember, there’s still time.  If you’re listening to this podcast when it comes out, which will basically be in a few hours, you could still get on the Pay Per View access to the live event that is this weekend – the reason that Brock and I are here – the Become Superhuman Live event.  It is going to change your life. I guarantee this is gonna be information that you can’t get anywhere else and it’s gonna be videos, you’re gonna be able to….even if you’re on the spreecast, ask your questions and Brock’s gonna be actually running this spreecast.

Brock:  I’ll be your virtual host.

Ben:  If you ask a question, Brock can literally ask it to one of our speakers during the event.  And even if you’re out of our time zone, you’re still going to be able to get access to all of the playbacks, basically, for the rest of all time.  So there you go.  And of course, if you’re listening in to the audio version of this podcast and you want instead the video version, where I have freshly cleaned the snot and dirt off my face from riding my mountain bike down to the hotel, and if you wanna see what Brock and I look like…

Brock:  I was hoping you’re gonna ride the ElliptiGO.  I was really excited…

Ben:  I was gonna ride the ElliptiGO but then I looked at the time and I think it’s slower than my mountain bike so… But watch the video.  We’re gonna embed this video on the podcast show notes for Episode #232.  So you can check that out as well.  A big hello…I see a lot of listeners watching right now.

Brock:  Hey!  Molly’s there. Molly, I will see you in 7 minutes for my training on spreecast.

Ben:  That’s right.  You gotta wrap this up soon.  All right.  Cool.  That’s it folks.  The next time that you see us, if you are taking this spreecast, I’m wearing my nice suit coat and doing an intro and that’s gonna be all official on stage in this beautiful auditorium and stuff but this was just the podcast live.  Doing it live.

Brock:  Doing it live again and again.  We’ve got 2 different cameras going so I’m not sure which one to look at.  Very confusing.  See you all on Pay Per View and you’ll hear us next week.

Ben:  Later…



March 7, 2013 free podcast: Is Decaf Coffee Healthy, Can You Have Too Much Iron, How Often Should You Pee On The Bike, How To Stop Chafing When You’re Running, What Happens To Your Gut When You Get Too Hot During Exercise, Fish vs. Fish Oil…and More!

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Listener Q&A:

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

Chris asks @ 00:14:10
I have to urinate frequently while training and racing, last weekend I had to go 3 times in the first 25 miles of a ride. That will just annoy me in my IM in may. What are some things I can try, eliminate or experiment with to get in front of this. Is it just too much water that I drink leading up to long workouts? Too much water the night before? Maybe too much water and not enough elecotrolytes? Maybe excess sodium in my diet is causing me over drink during the week? Last year I had to make pit stops in my two “A” races.

Misty asks 00:20:32
Any thoughts on auto urine therapy? I know its an ancient practice among some cultures, and people have even survived on their own urine when there was nothing else around. I am wondering if you have any thoughts on it for detox, immune and general health.

Angela asks 00:26:30
I wanted to see if you have a solution for friction burns on the upper arms while running. If I do any distance over 7km, I seem to get burns under my arms and they are so painful.

~ In my response to Angela, I recommend: Hammer Balm (use 15% discount code 80244), Hammer Seat Saver  (use 15% discount code 80244), and Coconut Oil (works better mixed with aloe).

Dushan wrote 00:30:10
I’ve always avoided decaf because I heard that the chemicals they use in the process are bad for you. Then I heard about Swiss water decaf, which doesn’t use chemicals, but is expensive. Then I talked to a coffee rep. at Costco who told me that they wash their decaffeinated coffee and none of the chemicals remain. My wife also read that the chemicals evaporate at 190 degrees and coffee gets roasted at 350. She also read that rats were tested with the chemical with no effects. Any thoughts?

~ In my response to Dushan, I recommend Bucer’s Incognito blend  or Bulletproof Decaf Coffee.

Gareth asks 00:38:47
I recently got diagnosed with Hemochromatosis (High Iron Levels) with  very high transferrin saturation but average ferritin levels. It’s hereditary.  It’s easy to find allot written online in relation to the impact of low Iron levels on Endurance athletes but I cant find much information on the impact of high Iron levels. Can you offer any advice?  Is it a benefit or drawback? I’m a runner doing mostly 5K and 10K distances and I average 70 miles a week.

Cheri asks 00:46:36
This year I entered a my 4th 100 mile race ~ It was 93 degrees come race day & at mile 34 the Aidstation ran out of water!!  I went approx 10 miles in 93 degrees with no water.  I continued on to mile 50 but stopped due major brain fog & sweating heavy when walking.  It took me about 3 weeks to get “mentally” back to normal.  They say that once you have “heatstroke” you are more prone to having it again.  If I acclimatize myself prior to going into a race (if I know it’ll be hot), Will I have the possibility of feeling the same even if i’m hydrated?

~ In my response to Cheri, I recommend my recent USAT webinar on heat acclimation methods.

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/03/232-is-decaf-coffee-healthy-can-you-have-too-much-iron-how-often-should-you-pee-on-the-bike-and-more/



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