Episode #279 – Full Transcript

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Podcast #279 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/04/279-how-to-track-every-element-of-your-fitness-is-vitamin-b12-megadosing-dangerous-red-light-exposure-before-bed


Introduction:   In  today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: The Science of the Runner’s High, Is Vitamin B12 Megadosing Dangerous, How To Track Every Element of Your Fitness, Best Natural Foods For Babies, Healing The Skin Naturally, and Is Creatine Safe?

Welcome to the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast.  We provide you with free exercise, nutrition, weight loss, triathlon, and wellness advice from the top fitness experts in the nation.  So whether you’re an ironman tri-athlete, or you’re just trying to shed a few pounds, get ready for non-run-of-the-mill, cutting edge content from bengreenfieldfitness.com.

Brock:  So I’m standing around, minding my own business, just checking my email on my phone….

Ben:  Yup, as you do.

Brock:  And, yeah, what pops up but a photo of 16 vials full of blood.

Ben:  Oh yeah.

Brock:  What the hell dude?

Ben:  I see….

Brock:  You’ve got to warn a guy where you open something like that.

Ben:  I went in to the lab this morning and gave 16 vials of blood. I took my kids, I think they almost passed out so much blood flying around in the lab. So, for when it’s worth I signed up for the Wellness FX premium panel and that’s the….

Brock:  The premium panel, is that….

Ben: The way they described it is, they say it gives you VIP level access to every biomarker we offer including performance, heart health, advance thyroid, omega systemic inflammation and all male reproductive health hormones along with omega 3 fatty acids but also they have in there fibrinogen, thyroid, cholesterol, metabolic hormones, complete blood count and advanced nutrient profile like pretty much the full meal shmeal deal and….

Brock:  It is a VIP. This is not Joe the Plumber’s blood panel.

Ben:  We’ll put a photo for folks….

Brock:  This is Kanye West blood panel.

Ben:  Let’s put a photo for folks of all the blood tubes up on the show notes.

Brock:  Okay.

Ben:  What is this, episode number 279?

Brock:  yeah!

Ben:  bengreenfieldfitness.com/279 and I will – as I in prone to do for folks who have the Ben Greenfield phone app or the premium podcast. I’ll do a follow up podcast with what the results show but in the meantime I once again have my Zevia soda because I’ve heard that it’s very important to dump a bunch of nutrients into your body if you give blood. So what better to do that than with soda!

Brock:  What flavor is that basically?

Ben:  Flavored by stevia! This flavor is called Dr. Zevia, it’s like Dr. Pepper except flavored with stevia.

Brock:  Sweetened with sweet stevia.

Ben:  Sweetened but stevia is not a sweetener. It’s just a….

Brock:  Yeah I guess, some people actually does taste sour too.

Ben:  It’s a root, may have fairy dust. We all know that. So, this podcast is brought to you by Dr. Zevia,  oh fairy dust.

News Flashes:

Brock:  twitter.com/bengreenfield is going pretty crazy actually mostly with book stuff lately.

Ben:  It’s crazy.

Brock:  Al the really fun people are taking awesome photos of themselves with books and then of course we feel compelled to re-tweet that but in between all the book photos, there’s been some really cool studies that have come out even highlighting there as well.

Ben:  Yeah and by the way, I should mention that for those of you who have been going to your bookstore and grabbing my new book Beyond Training or going to Amazon and getting it, we do have a place where you can upload photos and if you just so happen to go ape nuts and order more than one book, if you go to beyondtrainingbook.com, the other website, the other url, beyondtrainingbook.com/photo and you upload a photo of you holding more than one copy of your brand new book, then you get to take part in a two-hour Beyond Training video workshop with me. So, check that out.

Brock:  You accidentally jumped into the special announcements I think here.

Ben:  Well, actually I purposefully jumped into the special announcements.

Brock:  Good work!

Ben:  Yeah, so anyways….

Brock:  One thing I’d like to say is, I wish you had named the book “Training and Beyond”. That’s the only complain I have ‘cause then we could actually do something like this every time it comes up. Training and Beyond! In the 21st century! (laughs) And that would be way more fun.

Ben:  Anyways, let’s talk about news flashes.

Brock:  Yeah!


Ben:  We’ve got an interesting study that was highlighted over on the biohacks blog at biohacksblog.com – one of my favorite new websites for super nerdy information.

Brock:  Yeah, I didn’t know that existed. Cool!

Ben:  Well, this article was about how red light exposure enhances endurance performance and sleep quality. Now….

Brock:  I knew about sleep quality but I’ve never heard about endurance, performance.

Ben:  Yeah, me neither but this is why I’ve actually gotten for I don’t know, it was like for 6 or 7 bucks off of Amazon. I’ve got one of those infrared lamps and I just have a light stand next to my bed. I plug the lamp in the light stand and I turn it on at night. Not only do I get the infrared light exposure that I can have shining in the room while I’m reading at night because I like to read a book that kinda settles me down when I’m lying in bed at night. Not the kindle or an iPhone or any of these blue light producing devices that shutdown melatonin but just like a basic light and I shine it just a little bit away from my eyes so it’s not blaring right in my eyes but I’m getting some of the light hitting my body and by the way, when combined with a nice sexy Pandora channel in the bedroom, it does create a good sex mood too.

Brock:  I was gonna say if you had the light trigger some very white and at the same time it turn light on there ‘cause “Oh,yeah.”

Ben:  Yeah, and I’m actually not even joking. It’s warm and therapeutic but it also kinda makes the better, more sexier too so.

Brock:  Yeah I’m getting a little tingled….

Ben:  Mmm yeah, you’re creeping me out now. Anyways, so back to the study. What they showed was that when they took these athletes and they exposed them to red light for 14 days for 30 minutes before they went to bed at night, what they found was that the sleep improvement increased compared to a placebo group that didn’t get the red light exposure but that when they took these athletes out and had them do a Cooper test which is as many laps as possible as you can do on a 400 meter track doing a 12 minute test period, the groups who were exposed to the red light actually experience increased performance in the Cooper test covering over 5% greater distance over the 12 minutes.

Brock:  Crazy!

Ben:  What the researchers said and I quote, “Based on studies we can infer that red light treatment contributes to increased melatonin secretion in the pineal gland and muscle regeneration although more studies involving photo therapy sleep and exercise performance need to be performed, red light treatment is a possible not pharmacologic and none invasive therapy to prevent sleep disorders after training. So, it’s interesting. There’s a few little things here: first of all, better sleep quality, next, better sleep quality after hard training and finally, improvement in the actual quality of the training itself and that’s all for just a $5-6, 500 watt infrared heat light that you can get off at Amazon.

Brock:  That’s really cool.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s pretty cool. What else is cool is another study that was in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that was a little bit close to my heart because I’ve always been a fan of (well, not always) but in the past couple of years been a fan….

Brock:  The time you were born….

Ben:  The time I was born, of hypoxia and specifically….

Brock:  It’s a weird thing to be really into.

Ben:  I know it is weird, it’s a weird fetish, it is to be shoes and now it is hypoxia. Anyways though….

Brock:  And you’re not talking about auto erotic…. Hypoxia.

Ben:  This study looked into acute apnea swimming. So it would take swimmers and they had them do low frequency breathing to the point where they actually had a drop in arterial oxygen saturation. So for example, the way that I personally do this, is I get into the pool and I do 10 sets of 25 meter swims under water or free-style without breathing and the reason that I initially got into this was evidence that I’d seen in the past that hypoxia can actually increase the production of hormones specifically growth hormone. One of the ideas behind this is that hypoxia or long periods of time spent in the absence of oxygen may actually cause a little bit of muscle damage. It’s got like this hormetic effect and to repair that muscle damage and allow your body to become anabolic, you get a release of growth hormone and potentially some other hormone such as DHEA.


Now with these studies specifically looked at was testosterone, cortisol, and DHEA and they compared regular breath swimming with hypoxic swimming. And what they found was that even though there wasn’t any significant effect on testosterone or on cortisol, there is a significant increase in DHEA which is a highly anabolic hormone in both men and women and one that I tested incidentally when I went to give my 18 or 16 tubes of blood this morning. Anyways, it’s a highly anabolic hormone and it was increased with the hypoxic swimming versus the regular breath frequency swimming. So what this means is that not only could hypoxic swimming potentially cause an upregulation of DHEA if it’s something that you would include once a week or perhaps after a swim workout or even jump into your pool after you’ve lifted weights at the gym or something like that. But there maybe an effect of some of these other things like the elevation training mask or the powerlung or any of these other resisted breathing devices or potentially just holding your breath until you’re blue in the face.

Brock:  Yeah, study is not saying that you have to be swimming….

Ben:  Not necessarily.

Brock:  ….more about doing something but without oxygen.

Ben:  I find it’s for me, I feel the best when I do it after I’ve done at one swimming. So, I’ve been putting it on to my recovery days. When I have an easy workout day or easy recovery day, I try and do things that still get me fit. So for example, today, Wednesday is now a recovery day for me. It didn’t use to be but now that I’m doing this seal fit training, Wednesday is supposed to be an easy day. What that means is not that I’ll sit on my butt podcasting with you all day Brock, as much as I love to do that….

Brock:  Happy, so fun!

Ben:  I will do a couple of cold showers today. I don’t make them longer ‘cause a little bit more time to go ‘cause I’m not working out. So, I’ll do two 5 minute cold showers at some point today. So, I get some cold thermogenesis and some of the cardiovascular benefits of that, I will do one sauna session where I’ll go sit in the sauna for about 30 minutes and read a couple of magazines, sweat. Excellent article by the way wherein Tim Ferriss’s website this week (I don’t have the link handy) but we’ll put it in the show notes to a ton of the metabolic effects that occur when you expose yourself to heat in a sauna setting. So, I’ll do about 30 minutes of sauna and then after I finish the sauna, I’ll hop in the shower at the gym, I’ll go jump in the pool and I’ll do 10, I might even go as high as 20 of those hypoxic repeats for that DHEA effect that will help my body to recover faster and so all the other thing I’ll do is the foam rolling session. So, this is a recovery day for me, but doing foam rolling, cold thermogenesis, heat training, and then also hypoxic training. You know, a lot of these underground training tactics that I talked about in my book and all of that means that I’ve made myself a better person physical and from a performance standpoint by the end of the day without doing a traditional “workout”, but this acute apnea swimming study was really interesting and I’ll link to it in the show notes for folks who wanna check out the actual study.

Brock:  Not only it is effective but it draws attention to you in the pool as well.

Ben:  Hmm, there you go ‘cause you’re the only guy who’s blue in the face. And then, finally I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about this new form of iron made by EXOS called Iron bisgylcinate and it’s a highly absorbable form of iron which is interesting for athletes. You know, speaking of hypoxia, athletes who tend to get anemic like symptoms which are huge especially among endurance athletes. Low hemoglobin, low storage iron, low ferritin, etc. but the problem with a lot of these iron supplements is that they can be constipating which is extremely uncomfortable no matter how much Zevia flavored soda you drink. It won’t fix the constipating effects of iron supplements. The interesting thing is that related to that, a new study just came out in the Journal of Nutrition that looked at the effect of iron supplementation on exercise performance and this was one of the first studies of its kind that directly looked at whether or not – not just iron containing foods and not just sedentary individuals but natural iron supplement and exercising people. They took women specifically, they had them exercise the highest level at which they could achieve maximum capacity, 100% exertion and they also had them exercise at sub maximal exertion and women who were given the iron supplement were able to perform any given level of exercise at a lower heart rate and at a higher efficiency. So, this was one of the first times I’ve actually seen flashed out in research that even in the absence of something like iron deficiency or anemia, iron supplementation may actually help especially people who are training at high levels.


So, I thought that was interesting, I’m gonna put a link to that particular study from the Journal of Nutrition in the show notes along with a link over to this newer form of iron, this iron bisgylcinate that I think that folks should check out if they tend to get winded climbing a flight of stairs or kinda want to improve performance from an anemic standpoint so I’ll put all that over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/279.

Special Announcements:

Brock:  So you got two color run race entries burning a hole in your pocket eh.

Ben:  Burning a hole. For any of you who wanna go out and get multi-colored corn starch thrown in your face and all over your t-shirt. So you look all hot and sweaty and colorful – the finish line of….

Brock:  Look at that stinky, tied dyed hippie.

Ben:  The world famous Color Run, then we’ve got color run entries, two free color run entries for any color run anywhere in the world and you can check locations over at colorrun.com if you wanna see if there’s one near you that you can jump in to. All you need to do is leave a book review on Amazon over at – you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/review to do that and once you leave your book review over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/review and yes you can leave your review whether you’ve purchased the book at Barnes and Noble or you’ve got it on Amazon or whether your cousin Vinnie gave it to you but all you need to do is go over after you’ve left your review to the Ben Greenfield Facebook page, let us know that you left your review and name of the reviewer, copy and paste your review, everyone have to do it, and this week (the week that this podcast comes out) the week of whatever it is, April 23rd, we’re gonna choose two people for a free color run entry. The color run are – they actually are fun so if you’re….

Brock:  Yeah, I actually – I went and spectated at one last year and even that was fun.

Ben:  Yeah. We make fun of them but deep down inside we all love the Color Run.

Brock:  It is jealous.

Ben:  Uhmm, so we’ve got the color run going on and then one of the thing I wanted to mention is that over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/menshealth, the Men’s Health voting is still going on and you can still….

Brock:  Is it never gonna end? They’re just gonna keep collecting votes forever.

Ben:  You know what? As long as they’re collecting votes – let’s get out there and rock the boat people.

Brock:  Yeah, I guess so.

Ben:  So, bengreenfieldfitness.com/menshealth, you can vote for me to be the men’s health top personal trainer. I don’t know if that’s good for anything aside from perhaps as you’re thumbing through the fake perfume advertisements in men’s health. You may come across my smiling mug showing you how to do something like a medicine ball over head squat curl but there you go.

Brock:  They’re probably make you like pimp something you totally don’t believe in like chocolate milk or something.

Ben:  Exactly. The brand new sexy men’s health chocolate flavored peanut butter with added gluten powder. (laughs)

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Listener Q & A:

Celia:   Hello Ben and Brock! My name is Celia and I’m 54 years old and I’ve been running since 2012. There’ve only been a few times where I’ve experience the “Runner’s High” after either training run or race and I’ve bit unable to come up with a common denominator or a provoking trigger. Is there a way to increase my chances of creating one? Although I usually don’t have too much or a problem getting at the train, it seems it could be a very great motivator on those days but I need extra kick on the butt to get out there. Also, what is actually going on in the brain at the time of Runner’s high. I love listening and learning from you both, thanks and have a great day.

Brock:  (singing) You wanna get high. (laughs) Have you ever seen Tally on South Park?

Ben:  I actually have not seen that one.


Brock:  Oh, it’s little Tally that once, always wants the voice to get high. “If you wanna get high, it’s really good,” I was like “No, Tally we don’t want to get high.”

Ben:  Hey guys! That’s my big South Park impersonation and all I can do. Hey guys! So….

Brock:  That’s pretty good.

Ben: Let’s talk about the “Runner’s High” though. The “Runner’s High” is kinda interesting so the hypothesis of the runner’s high is based off of several studies that have shown that you get endorphins or what are called endogenous opioids released during intense physical activity. It doesn’t just have to be running even though chronic repetitive motion, because of the actual shift into alpha brain wave production that occurs during chronic repetitive motion can be more likely to shift you into that high or make you more sensitive to these endogenous opioids.

Brock:  So you could be working on an assembly line and get the same sort of thing?

Ben:  Technically although it does actually have to involve something that would require or that would make sense for those opioids to be released because they blunt pain. So if it was highly aerobic or physically….

Brock:  Oh, so there’s have to be physical exertion.

Ben:  Yes, if it took you great deal of physical exertion on your factory line, then yes. The idea here is that those endogenous opioids bind to the opioids receptors in your brain and one of the things that they do is they help to blunt pain as you might be experiencing during a long workout like pounding the pavement. Now, they also (these opioids receptors) they act in reward related areas. So there are couple areas of your brain called the straitum and the nucleus accumbens and both of those are reward related areas of your brain. And in those areas of the brain, these opioids can inhibit the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters. That would make you tired or sleepy so that you’re not getting excessively fatigued during exercise and they instead increase the release of dopamine which is one of the ways that exercise can in fact become kind of a positive addiction or even some cases of harmful attention to pain on how much you do it but it can make strenuous physical exercise actually become pleasurable. This has been shown in both humans as well as lab animals that we get this opioid release. Now….

Brock:  They’ve opened to happy little rats running on treadmills?

Ben:  Exactly, exactly.

Brock:  They’re giggling after a while…. Ngiii.

Ben: The smiles on their faces like little dolphins, now there’s also the cannabinoid hypothesis and this is that the brain not only releases its own forms of opioid chemicals but it also releasescannabinoids. Now, exactly. Now when we think aboutcannabinoids, a lot of times we think about marijuana or even some of these synthetic cannabinoids that have been derived from marijuana, but those are exogenous forms of cannabinoids and what we’re talking about here are what are called endogenous forms of cannabinoids or endo-cannabinoids. And those are things that your body produces itself, yes your body is capable of producing its own cannabinoids and those act on the same receptors, so they would act on the same receptors that something like weed or an edible or some other form of cannabinoids would act on and they do it during intense exercise. So you’ve got opioids and you’ve got cannonoids that are being released during the runner’s high and so if you’re having a difficult time achieving the runner’s high then there’s a couple of thoughts for you. First of all is, you may not actually be running at a high enough intensity to cause the physical discomfort that would require your body to actually release these opioids or these endo-cannabinoids. That’s one thing that you could think about. Another thing is that, it’s possible that you may have some kind of a receptor insensitivity to some of these opioids orcannabinoids, a lot of times if you’ve had addictions in the past, you do need greater amounts of a stimulant to be able to get those receptors, to activate to the same extent. So if you – I suspect that this is why you see sometimes people who were like ex-alcoholics, ex-drug addicts, they turn to something like ultra running or ultra-marathoning or ultra cycling to kinda get that same high but they gotta go out there and do it for a really long time, a lot of times at higher pain thresholds in order to get that fix, in order to get that high. So I don’t know if Celia used to be an addict or yeah, a big party or something like that, but that may influence this as well.


Now, the interesting thing is that you can get phytocannabinoids, exogenous phytocannabinoids without necessarily living in Washington or Colorado and get some of this same exposure without for example, smoking weed. So exactly. The interesting thing here is that when you are firstborn, you got exposed to a bunch of cannabinoids because breast milk is rife with this stuff. So it’s really, really interesting but children (when they’re babies, if they were fed with human breast milk) that’s actually a pretty abundant source of endocannabinoids. Now one of the reasons that it’s hypothesized that breast milk contains those is that there’s some kind of neuro modulation that teaches kids how to become almost like not addicted but extremely attracted to the suckling process and that if there were those cannanoids and breast milk that newborn children wouldn’t know how to eat or have a desire to eat that could result in malnourishment or death and it is very, very similar physiologically to the reason that adult individuals who smoke pot get the munchies because those doses of cannanoids trigger hunger and could potentially promote growth and development in children because they’re going to end up eating more. There’s a very interesting study in the European Journal of Pharmacology about this cannabinoid receptors system in babies and the activation of milk sucking specifically that can cause. This is also interesting because I was talking yesterday for a series of online videos that I’m in the processof creating for one of these – it’s like an online video conference I’mproducing this winter with 30 different experts who speaks in different areas about nutrition and fitness and things and a guy interviewed yesterday for this was John Kiefer who was actually on a panel with me for a couple of panels on a Paleo FX. We were talking about when it’s okay to cheat and what you can cheat on when you cheat on the meal and he brought up ice cream. And he pointed out to me that ice cream is actually a source of – because it is a mammalian based milk product – it’s a source of endocannabinoids and it’s one of the reasons that it’s so easy to over-eat ice cream because it has this cannabinoids in it – that’s one thing that silly you can think about is eating some ice cream. Just probably get to use ice cream than breast milk anyways, so you could go after ice cream or find a pregnant friend and go after breast milk, whatever is easiest for you or most comfortable for you and you could use that as a source of cannabinoids. Now, I’m gonna link to a fascinating paper that appeared in the Journal of Pharmacology called “Phytocannabinoids Beyond The Cannabis Plant” and this goes into a ton of additional sources of this endogenous cannabinoids. It turns out that there are a variety of plant derivatives that actually contain this. Tea for example is one thing. Other plant natural products that contain smaller amounts of this cannabinoids that might result in a similar high, one is Echinacea, which is great for the immune system but apparently Echinacea also has relatively high amounts of this cannabinoids. There’s a bunch of others in there, I’ll link to the studies. The study is a little bit nerdy, it goes in the Latin name of a lot of these plants and stuff but it’s kinda interesting. Of course, or you could just move to Washington or Colorado and ultimately what I would say is, when it comes to creating a runner’s high, you might need to run a little bit harder, you might want to include some endogenous cannabinoids in your diet if you really want to create the runner’s high. And then the other thing to think about is, in some cases neurotransmitter imbalances can exist. One of the best ways to find out whether or not you have neurotransmitter imbalances is, there is a panel you can get called a neuroendocrine panel and that’s offered by a company called Direct Labs and you can actually order that from Direct Labs and it will help you to determine any neurotransmitter like dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid, serotonin type of deficit that you might have, so it’s called the neuroendocrine panel and that’s over at Direct Labs that you could do something like that. I don’t think that you have to give 16 vials of blood, so don’t worry.

Brock: I think we just inadvertently explained the popularity of the post run brunch ‘cause everybody gets munchies from the runner’s high and then they would go of brunch.


Ben:  Yum, yum.

Brock:  Totally make sense!

Jim:  Hi Ben and Brock, this is Jim from Detroit. You’re my first podcast that I’ve ever listened to and still my favorite. I’ve listened to, I’ve downloaded a ton of old ones, most of your podcast and I’ve never heard anything about mega dose of B12. I am training for an  Ironman and I’m working out between 10 and maybe 18 hours a week and as part of my long gym workouts I generally used a product called ZipFizz which is kind of like a no sugar energy drink that have been mega dose of B12 which is – it’s says on the label it has 41,000% dose of our daily recommended need of that drug. So, is this beneficial to me? I mean, the drink tastes good and I feel like I get more energy but I don’t know if it’s just the placebo effect. So, thanks a lot and I’ll be a listener for life! Thanks, bye.

Brock:  Have you ever heard of ZipFizz?

Ben:  ShipFizz! Yeah, I see a fizz on the airplane. You know the issue with it though is, I think I remember ZipFizz, one of the reasons I quit using it was, it got a lot of – it has a ton of artificial ascorbic acid and phytanyl so bunch of like artificial sweetener. I think it’s like sucralose, or acesulfame potassium or ….

Brock:  It makes me think of those pop rocks.

Ben:  Uhm, yeah, yeah exactly. It’s like an effervescent like powder that you put into your water. Yeah, and it does have vitamin B12 mega doses in it. And the deal with….

Brock:  Forty one thousand percent of your recommended daily amount.

Ben:  Exactly. Now vitamin B12 – it is a pretty important vitamin. It’s actually in high doses, may actually act as a neurotrophic and this is something, this was actually for another….

Brock:  It that poisoning you?

Ben:  No, it actually – a full vitamin B complex has some pretty cool neurotropic effects when you’re able to mega dose with it in terms of – for people who don’t know what  a neurotrophic is, it’s basically can enhance mental performance. Vitamin B12 specifically is necessary for processing things like carbs and proteins and fats to help make blood cells. It’s required for the maintenance of your nerves shealth and it’s also co-enzyme that used in the synthesis and repair of DNA. And this is why you not only see higher amounts of vitamin B12 turnover in athletes but you also see athletes respond pretty well to B12 as an actual supplement. Now there are a couple of things that you should know about B12 though. First of all, it can’t be absorbed or used by the body unless it’s combined with a specific type of mucu protein that’s made in your stomach that’s called intrinsic factor and then once the B12 is bound to the intrinsic factor, it’s able to pass into the small intestine to be absorbed and used by the body. This is one of the reasons why you see for example, folks who use a vitamin B12 orally like a pill or a capsule or something like that, you tend not to see a very good effect from just like a basic oral form of vitamin B12 because that form of vitamin B12 is not very well combine with that mucu protein in the stomach.

Brock:  Is that why your pee changes colors so drastically there?

Ben:  Yeah, there’s not much absorption that occurs.

Brock:  That’s all just coming out of your urine?

Ben:  Now, there are two ways that you can get B12 in adequate form if you were to want to do something like mega dose with B12 and I’ll talk in a second whether or not it even recommend that or where you need to be careful. But sublingual, so you can take a B12 of capsule, you can take a B12 powder – I actually use a full vitamin B complex myself a few days a week. It’s that Lifeshotz stuff, that has about 5-6,000 percent of the daily value of B12 in it. I like it just because it also has the other B12 complex in it, it’s got quercetin and resveratrol and some other wild plant extracts in it and….

Brock:  I only tried that stuff once and I actually felt it working. I actually felt kind of warm and flesh and energetic.

Ben:  Yeah, I don’t use it everyday. I use it a few days of the week usually on the days where I go swimming because it has some pretty good effects against the cell membrane damaging effects of chlorine.

Brock:  Hmm, yeah!

Ben:  I dumped it in my mouth and I hold it in my mouth for about 60-90 seconds so I get sublingual absorption which is really good.


So if you get a sublingual like a vitamin B12 spray for example, or powder that you can put in your mouth, you’ll gonna get far better absorptability and if you really wanna take things to the next level, you would actually do like a vitamin B12 injection. That’s the whole idea behind these things called Myer’s cocktails, they bypass the whole issue with digestion and absorption of vitamin B12 and you just basically main line straight into your bloodstream.

Brock:  You call that the banana bag when you’re in the hospital.

Ben:  Uhmm, Yup. Exactly. One of my athletes this week was sick and had a pre-important business issue he had to deal with and I actually got him to his local naturopath for a couple of Myer’s cocktail this week with high dose vitamin C to get his immune system straightened up. I hope he’ll feel better and in some cases when you really wanna get a mega dose of this a lot of water soluble vitamins that are in fact okay, in this higher amounts that’s another way to do it, is to actually go to a local naturopathic physician or natural medical clinic that will do high dose IV’s and get something like a Myer’s cocktail. Anyways though, as far as vitamin B12 toxicity goes and whether or not you’re actually putting yourself at risk when you do it. There are a few things to think about when you’re looking at something called leber’s disease. L-e-b-e-r disease, that is where vitamin B12 mega doses would be contraindicated. You probably know if you’ve got leber’s disease, but it can cause damage to your optic nerve and that cause some issues. You may find that you get numbness or tingling in your arms, or your hands or your face and that would be an indication that you are taking an excess amounts of vitamin B12 and that would be another situation where I would definitely back off. I personally have not seen any studies that have shown much benefit in exceeding about 5,000% of the daily value and what did Jim say? He said about 40 something percent of the RDA, so I think it ZipFizz has actually gone overboard as far as that is concern. Now, the interesting thing about vitamin B12 though is that this and a lot of the other vitamins, especially if you’re not beating up your body on a daily basis, if it’s not a heavy exercise for you, if you have a healthy gut flora, your own gut flora makes just about all the vitamins that you need and much of the vitamin B12 specifically in your body is produced by your gut flora, by the good bacteria in your stomach. So if you are eating a wide variety of fermented foods, paying attention to your gut flora and taking care of your small intestine, you shouldn’t need to take that much vitamin B12 since the bacteria in your body are producing the B12 and that’s the most absorbable form that you could get. You know, it’s going to be bound very, very readily to intrinsic factor, it’s going to be absorbed and utilized very, very well. And so that’s why I don’t mega dose with vitamin B12 complex unless I know I’m exposing my body to some pretty serious stress such as soaking myself in chlorine for 30 minutes while I’m swimming or something like that. So ultimately my take on B12 is, use B12 mega dosing for example on days where you’re putting your body through the rear if you really seriously need a huge boost of water soluble vitamins for example like vitamin C and vitamin B12 to boost your immune system then probably you gonna need to look up something like an intravenous injection. For the most part, most days, just eat a wide variety of fermented foods and take care of your gut and you shouldn’t need to dose with an excess of vitamins anyways because your body is gonna make most of what it needs from fat soluble vitamins like vitamin K to water soluble vitamins like vitamin B12. That’s the deal with vitamin B, taking that much is not gonna hurt you necessarily and I should mention one other thing. There was one study that often people talk about that say that excess vitamin may cause prostate cancer. The thing with that particular study and it was one that appear in the International Journal of Cancer, anyways, Plasma Folate Vitamin B12: Homosystine and Prostate Cancer Risk, what they found in that study was that people who got prostate cancer did have higher blood levels of vitamin B12 but weren’t necessarily supplementing with mega doses of vitamin B12, they just had more in their bloodstream and I suspect it’s because of some type of a defense mechanism mounted by the body that upregulated vitamin B12 availability and not the fact that these folks who got prostate cancer were mega dosing with vitamin B12.


So always be careful and look at the actual source of information.

Brock:  Yes, take it all – correlation vs. causation.

Ben:  Exactly. So the prostate cancer B12 mixes is not valid. So that’s the skinny on B12.

Todd: Hello Ben and Brock, Todd calling from San Diego. I’m trying to – I made a commitment to myself to try and be in better shape at 50 than I am now at 46. I did the same thing when I was 30 and said I’d be in better shape at 35, 40 at 35, you get the picture. But I’m trying now instead of making it so subjective and leaving it to my opinion, come up with I don’t know what the number is -6, 8, 10, 12 difference in the metrics that I can test myself every 2 years to make sure I’m doing that, keeping in mind as I get older, obviously I’m not gonna be able to run a mile as quickly or lift this much or whatever it is but I wanna come up with set of criteria that I could use every 2 years or so to kinda measure where I am to see if I’m actually improving or not and so then I can adjust accordingly. Thanks.

Brock:  Todd, I like the cut of your jib. This is a good idea.

Ben:  Keep talking. I got to finish my drink of soda there. Tracking fitness, you know this is actually something that I talked about. I don’t know if you remember Brock at the Superhuman Conference, I talked a little bit about strength standard and ways – basically things that you should be able to do whether you’re a man or a woman, expectations you should have of yourself if you want to have the necessary amount of strength for performance, for hormone production, for lean body mass and for longevity. And these are strength standards that were designed by Dan John, who’s been on this podcast before. I’ll put a link in the show notes on this episode over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/279. You can go listen to my Mass Made Simple podcast with Dan John where we talked a little bit about this stuff but the first thing I would have are strength parameters. In my opinion when it comes to longevity and fitness, strength parameters are gonna trump VO2 max, blood lactate, some of these other parameters, I'll tell you about here in a second. I'm gonna give you the exact parameters for men and for women. So, for men: body weight bench press, you should be able to bench press your body weight. So if you weigh 175 pounds, you should be able to bench press 175 pounds.

Brock:  Just a single rep?

Ben:  Uh hmm. Yep. So I mean we're not talking about a huge parameters here    now. With Dan John he has the expected like what you should be able to do and the game changer. What you should be able to do if you want to, if you're serious and you want to be like on the elite end. So body weight bench press you should be able to do a rep of. Body weight bench press for 15 reps would be your game changer. Okay, pull-ups, you should be able to do five pull-ups bodyweight. Game changer would be 15 pull-ups. And this is again for guys.

Brock:  Is that overhand or underhand?

Ben:   That's uh, pull-up, chin-up is underhand pull-up is overhand.

Brock:   Gotcha.

Ben:  Yup. So deadlift, you should be able to do a hundred and fifty percent of your body weight. Take one point five multiply that by your body weight, you should be able to lift that off the ground. For the kinda more elite level game changer you should be able to do double your body weight.  It’s not 1.5 five times your body weight but two times your body weight lifting that off the ground. For the squat, again for guys, you should be able to squat your own body weight, okay, once. Now, game changer would be you can squat your own body weight 15 times. Next would be a loaded carrier, what's called a farmer's walk. So for a farmer's walk, you should be able to walk with half of your total body weight in each hand. So if you weigh 180 pounds, you should be able to take a 90 pound dumbbell in each hand and you need to be able to walk 20 feet with that. Okay, and if you want to perform the more elite level you should be able to actually walk 20 feet holding you body weight in each hand. So if you weigh 175 pounds you should be able to literally take 175 pounds in each hand and be able to move it 20 feet. And then finally from a mobility stand point, you should be able to do one get-up. Which means getting up from a lying position on the ground all the way up to standing with your arms held over your head and you should be able to do that on both your left side and on your right side while holding a cup of water over your head and not spilling the water.


Okay. So, I like those strength standards. For women, they're pretty similar, except for women for the pull-ups would be three instead of five. And for the, what's the other one, the squat, it would actually be, and I have no clue why he has this changed up for women for the squat, but he has rather than it being your body weight that you'll be able to squat, you'll be able to squat 135 pounds for 5 reps. That sounds kinda random to me. To me it seems easier to just remember and be able to do your body weight but for some reason that's the maybe it's because someone that's extremely light in squatting you know a hundred pounds is easy for them. So anyways those are strength standards and I really like those. I'll link over to the podcast we do with Dan John where we get into an even more detailed level. And I would say that if you were to do a test, you know every year to be able to see if you're able to do that that's a pretty good standard.

Brock:  Have you seen – I was just gonna say, there’s this, marksdailyapple   did a great round up of all the modern fitness standards. He's got the Utah police officers standards, there's the Marine Corps, SEALS, firefighters, football and basketball draft standards. It's kinda cool we should put that in the show notes.

Ben:  Yeah, link to that in the show notes. Love Mark's Sisson stuff, that’s great!

Brock:  Mark's got his own measurements that he calls the Primal Fitness Standards or something like that as well.

Ben:  Cool. Let's throw them in there.

Brock:  I think they're quite similar to Dan John's. I can't find them at the moment, but I'll find them and throw them in the show notes.

Ben:  So we'll put those in the show notes. Another few things I would look into, blood lactate testing and VO2 max testing those are both metabolic tests that if you are kinda looking for endurance for your triathlete marathoner or cyclist swimmer type of thing those are good parameters to measure. VO2 max is maximum oxygen utilization. blood lactate is the peak amount of lactic acid you produce at specific intensities. And I will put a link to an article that I wrote for Triathlete Magazine that delves into how to interpret those values and the best way to get that test or you could just google the name of your city plus metabolic testing and those are pretty good tests. So those would be again just about once a year that you would need to do something like that. I have some athletes that would do it up to four times a year to actually change their intensity as they go through out the training year but blood lactate and VO2 max testing especially if endurance is your bent would be another couple to look into. Daily, two things I test: heart rate variability, so when I wake up in the morning I do a heart rate variability test using my heart rate monitor and the  sweet beat phone app and then Pulsac Symmetry which is just a fingertip based measurement of my blood oxygenation. I look for that to be above 97% ideally. And it's just a basic Pulsac Symmeter test. Those are two things you can keep on your bedside that are super easy to test on a daily basis.

Brock:  Especially if you're already wearing your health patch.

Ben:  Exactly. If you have one of these…

Brock:  Just sit up and try to strap on your heart rate monitor.

Ben:  Yeah, for those of you who don't know what a health patch is, it's this new device that you can put on that will transmit to your phone your heart rate variability signal. It's a very low frequency signal it's not like having a cell phone next to your body all the time. You can actually have your cell phone in airplane mode with just bluetooth signal turned on and you would be able to communicate your heart rate variability to your phone really anytime during the day if you wanted to, while you're exercising whatever. Personally I kind of like just do it for five minutes in the morning kind of guy but that's just me. I like to be disconnected from technology as much as I can. Now the next thing or the last thing I would mention would be, there's a company called Restwise. Now Restwise will allow you each day to go in and log things like your mood, your sleep, your stress, your soreness. They even have an option there to put in that Pulsac Symmetry value that I talked about and then it will kick out a score for you for each day. Then again this would be a daily rather than an every couple of years type of test but that's another good way to keep track of daily metrics if you're really kind of a self quant person and you wanna just have this running algorithm of exactly how you're doing. You wanna be able to predict injury, stress over training. You wanna see when those numbers dip so that potentially you could step back on your training allow your nervous system and your muscle fibers to recover and then jump back in, but that would be another one to look into as well. And by the way a lot of this stuff is fresh on my mind because we're producing the audio book right now for Beyond Training and I just got done recording the chapter on how to identify whether you're overtrained or under recovered and some of these things I talked about in that chapter. So I spent about an hour in front of the microphone yesterday reading that chapter. So yeah, it's interesting stuff and those are some of the things I would recommend.


Emilie:  Hi Ben and Brock, this is Emilie calling to you from Sweden and I have a question regarding babies that are entering into the world of solid foods and what would you introduce first or what order would you do it? Do you think it's important for babies to be subjected to gluten at all to help them tolerate it further on. I would really appreciate your input. Thank you.

Brock:  You know not having any children whatsoever of my own I’m totally -just gonna put my headphones down and leave the room for a while because I have nothing to say about this.

Ben:  You were never even a baby were you? You have no experience…

Brock:  I grew up in a test tube basically.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly. You were born…

Brock:  I don't even have a belly button.

Ben:  I was gonna say you don't have a belly button do you?

Brock:  Yeah, nope.

Ben:  Okay. Well you know the conventional wisdom behind baby food is that you know you start with your rice cereal and then you go into your infant oatmeal and then maybe you have some processed fruits or some Gerber baby food you know some pureed veggies like….

Brock:  But those are just carbs.

Ben:  Squash or sweet potatoes and then you move into pudding. You know and then eventually of course like Cherrios and Rice Krispies and yogurt.

Brock:  Those are just full of sugar.

Ben:  Exactly. Which is really what that is and it's one of the things I've talked about before on this show is that we take our babies and we start them off with breast milk and fatty acids and their ketones and now that we know cannabinoids and then we gradually rip them away from that. Rip them out of being in that fatted adapted state and we shift them into a reliance on sugar and carbohydrates and I think that's just one of the worst things you can do for a child's metabolism. When you're looking at a better scenario, more natural scenario, it's not that I am against pureed blended foods and things of that nature but I think that we need to choose more nutrient dense foods. Those are some of the things that we did with our kids. We would get a lot of organic vegetables primarily. We’d go pretty easy on the fruits even though we did dark berries to some extent but pureed beets, pureed carrots, pureed spinach, sweet potatoes to a limited extent. Turnips, a little bit of berries things of that nature and what Jessa would do she would blend all of those, she would freeze them and then have those available as basically like easy to digest sources for the kids when they were under six months old.

Brock:  Like lollipops or popsicles?

Ben:  Well she'd take them out and thaw them.

Brock:  Like Spinach popsicles? mmmmm.

Ben:  What you can do is you wanna add specifically fatty acids on that. a lot of those vegetables have some natural amounts of amino acids in them they're good to get some amino acids and proteins from breast milk too but you wanna be sure to add fats. Couple of the good ways I like to add fats: one would be avocados, those are easy to blend in and add to those type of foods. Another one would be some type of nutrient dense organ source. I'm a fan of cod liver oil for something like that and there are companies like Peter Gillam's Natural Vitality, Omega Score or Green Pastures that make these cod liver oils or these rich fatty acids sources that are palatable for kids that can easily be added to these pureed mixes and they can actually give the kids some of these fatty acids that are necessary. Another thing that can work is to take eggs and to cook egg yolks specifically to offer a lot of really good essential cholesterol to kids and those are something else that can mix pretty well with fruits. So you've got some of your staples as being avocadoes, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and then you've got your pureed beets, pureed carrots, pureed spinach, some of the pureed dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, turnips, and some really nice dark antioxidant rich berries. So those are some of the things that I would definitely include as you're leading up to that six month period where then you're just eventually going to begin to move them towards solid food that you are eating and that's essentially what we did for about first six months along with breastfeeding. I forget up to what age Jessa did breast feeding I think it was it was right around a year or so when we are at the breast feeding stage.

Brock:  Really? That seems short.

Ben:  Pretty sure that's what she took them to. Even though like if we could go back and do it again we could probably go longer than that just based off of some of the benefits I've seen of breast feeding and also child attachment to parents going into later ages. But then….


Brock:  That’s why your kids are already moving out of the house.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah exactly. They’re gone. We screwed up. We didn’t breast feed for long enough.

Brock:  We’re six now, we’re out of here.

Ben:  Anyways though, the thing we did then was we would just basically cut into small pieces and give them the same foods that we were eating. You know, sardines, avocados, chicken, just basically anything that we ate. We did a lot of pastured, raw, dairy, organic meats, all that stuff and we just cut it into small pieces and have that there for the kids too. You can actually run meat through a food mill if you have a food mill and you wanna get even extra iron and protein. You can actually do meat that way too, I mean, technically you could blend meat if you wanted to but I don’t know.

Brock:   Bluuuu, doesn’t sound good.

Ben:  Another thing that Emilie asks about though was gluten and whether there was any point into introducing kids to gluten at all in an early stage they could tolerate it later. There’s some interesting research that is actually looked into this. What they found is that, when children are given gluten at an earlier age specifically prior to 4 months old, they actually show a greater oral tolerance to gluten antigens than if they were given after 6 months old. Now, general recommendations used to be actually was gluten not be given until the child is 6 months old or older and now that changed to about 4 months. It’s interesting that actually does indicate there maybe this window of opportunity for developing some tolerance to gluten and there may actually be some benefit to include some amount of gluten sources in a child’s diet. Somewhere between the 4 to 6 month old stage. Now, some people’s jaws maybe dropping you know and I’m not necessarily….

Brock:  Yeah, I think I just heard Dave Asprey jump off a roof.

Ben:  I’m not advocating that you feed wonder bread to your child. Remember that the main issue with wheat and with a lot of our modern grains is that they’ve been bread for high yield crop and this concentrates the amount of wheat germa glutenin that’s in that grain. Now wheat germa glutenin has this dye sulfide bonds in it that are very, very similar to the type of bonds that are in human hair. Makes it very flexible and durable but it also makes the wheat germa glutenin which is essentially a lectin extremely resistant to digestion and more capable of causing some pretty serious gut distress, leaky gut, small intestine inflammation, things of that nature. You’re gonna find this in a lot of modern forms of wheat. The same type of wheat that is used to make things like cheerios and a lot of these wheat cereals and a lot of gluten containing grains that are popular children’s items. Probably even pop tarts although I’m not sure that pop tarts actually have any real thing in them including wheat period. I think it’s just some type of coloring and a lot of chemicals.

Brock:  Speaking of fairy dusts….

Ben:  Yeah, so good in a toaster though. Anyways though, I used to do everything with pop tarts. I used to do catsup with my pop tarts. I was a total pop tarts, pizza, hamburger kid. Anyways though, this doesn’t mean that other sources of gluten, let’s say like oatmeal for example is gonna have a little bit of gluten in it or like a nice soaked and sprouted sour dough bread. That’s gonna be really easy for kid to chew if you know, you’re not giving it to him with the crust, things of that nature may actually be gluten sources that aren’t gonna be all that bad for kid to get expose to. It would be the modern sources of modified grains that you’d wanna be careful with primarily in the case of children. Traditional cereals would be a biggie and traditional breads would be a biggie. Those would be two gluten sources that if you are going to expose your child to gluten at 4-6 month old stage, I would not be exposing them too. So I’d be really careful with that. This is a consideration for adults too because for example I’m going to go do the Seal Fit Training Camp in August, and that’s kinda like the equivalent of hell week for civilians.


From what I understand you get some meal replacements there, you get some pizza, you get some – some things that are not necessarily primal foods or non-gluten containing foods and you’ll get folks who get into the military as well, who are gonna exposed to a lot of gluten. And that’s the case where you may want to consider actually going into a battle both literally and figuratively here with some type of gluten digestive enzyme. So, there are these enzymes called dipeptido, peptidases – those are digestive enzymes that you can actually take, dipeptido, peptidase. Anyways, you take these ddp’s and they can help you to digest cereal grains, things that have higher levels of gluten in them and typically you’ll get these combined with things like amylases and enzymes that assist in the breakdown of carbohydrates. I like the stuff by Now Foods, so if you’re gonna get gluten exposure, they can work after you’ve had gluten and cereal grains, they can work before but you would get these into your system at some point within about anywhere from 20-45 minutes before or after your exposure and they can help out quite a bit.

Brock:  I was thinking it was something you could kinda load with maybe like for like have them over the weekend and then you’re good for the next week.

Ben:  No, no, just like any enzyme that they need to be in your tummy at the time that you’re actually wanting them to work on the compound that you’re eating them with. The closer to the meal the better. But some type of ddp enzyme I think should be kinda something everybody has around as that just in case, not necessarily to justify digging in to a big bowl of pasta but kinda you know, in those situations where you’ve had a bunch of gluten, you know you’re gonna get a tummy ache, that type of thing and you want some help digesting that equivalent of human hair that you just ate. At some point, Jessa has done a lot of stuff over at the bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle for babies and kids, and baby foods and stuff like that. So you may wanna check out bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle and as an aside to that, I’ve also started logging my daily workouts over there. So folks who wanna see what I’m doing for my workouts, get some ideas for exercises, workouts, stuff like that, all my inner circle members can only get access to cool snapshots of the foods I’m eating but I’m also uploading my workouts now too. So that’s all over….

Brock:  That’s different than it has been in the past when you’re always training for triathlon? You did some cambuli, different kinda workout….

Ben:  Yeah, my workouts are kinda crazy and all over the place right now between Spartan and Seal Fit and all that jazz but they’re fun and they are challenging if you wanna go in and do what Ben is doing and eat what Ben eats then it’s all over there….

Brock:  And say, “Screwed, I’m heading for the forest instead of going to the gym.”

Ben:  And I just talked about myself in the third person, just really know.

Brock:  I didn’t notice that ehh.

Allysa:  Hi Ben and Brock, this is Allysa from Connecticut. I’m a huge fan of your website, podcast. You guys are fantastic. I was here all the time. I have a question about a skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris – it’s unsightly red bumps, also known as chicken skin that I’ve had in my upper arms. Some people grow out of it but I’m 26 and I don’t think I’m going to grow out of it. I was wondering if you know anything about the etiology of this condition and if it’s a dietary allergy, hormone imbalance, something like that and if you have any recommendations either food or creams, anything that could help to get rid of it. I’ve tried a few things but if anyone can help me out, I think it’s you guys. So thank you very much and have a wonderful day!

Brock:  You know, while I was getting these questions ready, my girlfriend was sitting in the back of the living room sort of vaguely paying attention and when this question came up, she almost having got really excited, run over and started pointing at my leg ‘cause I actually have blotch on my shin that she almost said like….

Ben:  Oh, I think maybe there’s cockroach on your leg or spider or something.

Brock:  Not quite that exciting but she almost said, “that’s what you’ve got,” so I’ve had this little blotch of exactly that like a chicken skin sort of blotch on my shin for a good 3 months since been – it’s not itchy, doesn’t do anything, it just look weird.

Ben:  Yeah, Keratosis Pilaris baby, KP. It’s like this red, brown or flesh colored goose bumpy type of things and a lot of people get them like 50% of folks have at some point experience this skin condition, this KP. So it happens when your skin makes excess keratin and keratin is a protein that helps to provide structure to your skin but if your body is unable to turn over old keratin or makes excess keratin, then that can clog pores, it can trap hair inside follicles and it can cause this discoloration.


There’s a few things that you can do: the first, and this goes for just about any skin condition out there from eczema to acne to keratosis is, you need to eliminate immune system triggers from your diet and heal your digestion. The reason that that is so important is that anytime you have immune system sensitivities, you are going to have that gut skin axis reaction. From a digestive standpoint, if you suffer from skin condition, allergies, weak in immune system, and since many neurotransmitters are made in your stomach or your gut, psychological imbalances, you know, cravings, things of that nature. It’s very likely linked to a digestive weakness or some kind of a gut flora imbalance and even if you may not have always been that way, you can go through a period of poor diet, a period of high stress, or course of antibiotics and all of a sudden be dealing with issues that you’ve never had to deal with before. Everything from depression to acne, to skin conditions, etc. It’s one of the reasons why going through high amounts of stress can all of a sudden cause you to breakout. So healing your gut is really, really important. I would recommend that you look into something like the Paleo autoimmune diet is really, really good. That’s a four up to how many you could follow diet for 12 weeks. You could follow for a year if you wanted to but I recommend people try it for at least 4 weeks to just eliminate all potential immune system triggers such as soy, wheat, commercial dairy, things of that nature and see how the skin response. If you wanna take that to the next level, this is really an excellent book that I actually read a couple of months ago and it is called The Hidden Plague. It was written for folks who suffer from a more serious disorder of the skin called Hydradenitis Suppurativa and that one is a lot more serious than this Keratosis issue and results in boils and scars and all sorts of nasty things. Cyst and ingrown hairs and some pretty serious acne but that is from an autoimmune standpoint and kinda like a getting rid of issues that can cause immune system bounce back on the skin specifically. One of the best books I’ve read as far as that goes, actually gave it to my sister-in-law because both her husband and her son, my nephew deal with some skin issues and so I thought it will help them out quite a bit and the reason for that is, it’s really as one of the best books on autoimmune. I met Tara down at the Paleo FX Conference, really nice person and it’s an excellent written book. I recommend you check out that book, The Hidden Plague. I of course also over the years that I’ve assisted people with healing their gut have developed a gut-fixing pack and that is colostrums, probiotics, oil of oregano, digestive enzymes, and then a really nourishing and non-irritating cleansing formula and that’s over at Pacific Elite Fitness, it’s just called the Gut Healing Pack or The Gut Fixing Pack and I’ll link to that for you as well in the show notes because that can help out from the gut standpoint as well. I would definitely pay attention to immunity in the gut before you start slathering stuff on your skin or doing anything of that nature. Now, another of couple of things to look into and I will tell you something to point to your skin to here in a second. One thing is vitamin C, now vitamin C is really important for collagen formation, it helps to maintain the integrity of your skin tissue, it counteracts free radicals, if you have a scar or cut or something, it’s kinda interesting if you start taking high dose vitamin C, you’ll notice that it heals faster and it can also reduce redness, it can also reduce inflammation, really, really good to take if you’re getting surgery, if you have like a scar or an injury that threatens to create a scar or the scappy, vitamin C is something I recommend. Now, you can get some vitamin C from fruit like an apple, it’s gonna give you 15 mg of vitamin C but I keep this stuff made by a company called American Neutriceuticals around and one tiny little spoonful of that is 5,000 mg of vitamin C….

Brock:  Boom!

Ben:  …. and I like to have it around because it has so many uses. So I can use it to bump up my immune system, I can use it when I’ve got a little bit of adrenal fatigue because a lot of vitamin C is use when you’re under adrenal stress.


I can use it when I’ve been cut and I need something to heal quickly or I don’t want to form a scar and another little trick you can use if you take some of these vitamin C about a teaspoon of it or about 5,000 mg and you mix it with some of the natural calm magnesium in a glass of warm water, if you are ever constipated or you wanna, you know, I’ll use this for example like I don’t like to have to go to the bathroom when I fly. So I’ve got like let say a 7 AM flight to go somewhere, I‘ll get up 5:00 or 5:30 or whatever, I’ll go to the airport, I’ll get up and drink a warm glass of water with this vitamin C and magnesium mixed in and within about 15 minutes it initiates a bowel movement and then you’re good to go for a day of travel without having to worry about going to the bathroom. So skip for that too.

Brock:  I’ll clean out.

Ben:  I’ll clean out in a healthy way. So, it’s that too, now I can….

Brock:  Just before we leave the vitamin C, would you use it for something like a strain or a sprain like you pull the muscle or something like that?

Ben:  Uh hmm, yup. Exactly. Any injury, anything like that, anything that needs a step up for collagen formation, I’m a fan. So I have that stuff around, it’s not cheap. It’s about 35 bucks for a little canister of it but it’s not something you use everyday but it’s something you could use in a case like this. So cheap ass ascorbic acid is not something I would get, this stuff is….

Brock:  Not the emergency tablets.

Ben:  Yeah, this is chelated highly absorbable stuff that was recommended to me by a physician who uses it in his natural medical practice. It’s called American Neutriceuticals, you can get off at Amazon, we’ll link to it in the show notes. Another thing would be liver or some type of a fish liver oil because of the vitamin A content. So without adequate vitamin A, skin cells will start to excrete an excess of carotene which can create this dry rough scaly bumps and yeah, you can get vitamin A from foods like carrots and spinach, sweet potatoes but the carotene that are in those plant foods are not going to get converted into adequate vitamin A. There’s not much conversion that takes place, it’s kinda like trying to get all your omega 3 fatty acids from flax seed for example, it’s just, it’s very inferior to something like wild caught fish. Eating liver once a week or so would be the best to do this. If you just can’t eat liver, you’re picky eater, you don’t like liver, you don’t want to go out of your way and eat it then the next best thing….

Brock:  There are people who don’t like liver?

Ben:  Uh hmm, believe or not.

Brock:  Seriously? Oh, people!

Ben:  I know, it’s weird. It’s really weird. Fish liver oil. So like I take when I’m not eating fish or eating liver, I will use the Super Essentials Fish Oil and I’ll just take four of those capsules and it’s got fish liver oil, astaxanthin, vitamin E, just like a lot of fat soluble cocktail in it and that stuff would be good. You could use a cod liver oil – of course you could eat liver like I mention but those are gonna be some of your best sources of vitamin A. So I would definitely go out of your way to get vitamin A into your system and on a similar note, pantothenic acid cream which is gonna be vitamin A rich cream is gonna help out quite a bit as well. This would be a cream that you can literally put on your skin and it’s not – pantothenic is technically vitamin B5 but a lot of these lotions that are pantothenic acid based lotions, they’re really vitamin A with some added pantothenic acid. Interesting though, one of the better more natural ways if you wanna avoid a lot of the things that wind up in this personal care products and lotions, if you wanna get something that’s got pantothenic acid and vitamin A in it and it’s completely natural would be avocado oil. You can just get a 100% pure undiluted, cold pressed, unrefined virgin avocado oil that’s got vitamin….

Brock:  So this is the stuff you’d cooked with.

Ben:  Yup, it’s got vitamin A, it’s got pantothenic acid, it’s got all the things that are gonna be effective against skin issues from eczema to acne to keratosis to scars and you just take avocado oil and you put it on the area that you wanna treat and that stuff can work really, really well. You should have avocado oil around anyways for high heat cooking because it’s really heat stable but you can also use it for the skin.

Hank:   Hey Ben and Brock, this is Hank. My question revolves around getting really, really pure sources of creatine that are pretty safe. There’s a disease called Huntington disease that runs in my family and some family members have unfortunately inherited the gene that causes Huntington disease and there’s no medical treatment for that in any way, there was a study that results are gonna be published this month where they were giving participants 15-30 grams of creatine and they were seeing some very positive effects in terms of slowing the degradation. Unfortunately that level of creatine would be able like eating a bottle a day from the types of creatine sources you get from the health store and so what I’m looking for are reputable, good, safe, very concentrated sources of creatine that I could direct my family members to and then also if there’s anything I wish to be telling the general practitioners in terms of things to watch out for, for taking the high doses of creatine. Thank you.

Brock:  It’s interesting study although 15-30 grams of creatine? It’s a lot!

Ben:  Yeah, that’s a lot of creatine. So from the sport performance….

Brock:  It’s an expensive habit.

Ben: Yeah, well actually you know, creatine is not super expensive but from a sport performance standpoint, creatine is the most studied supplement out there period. Creatine 101 is this molecule that can rapidly produce energy so creatine phosphate rapidly produces ATP and that supports cellular function but it also has some cool neuro protective properties as well and it is – it’s a no neurotropics similar to like you know, I talked earlier about a vitamin B12 complex and getting adequate vitamin B12 can have neuro protective properties and a neurotropic mental performance enhancing effect….

Brock:  You know where I just read about that?

Ben:  ….so can creatine. The Biohacks blog?

Brock:  No. A chapter in Beyond Training.

Ben:  Oh yeah, I do talk about that in Beyond Training….

Brock:  Uhmm, the brain section.

Ben:  The 21 Hacks to Fix Your Brain section. Yeah. So there you go.

Brock:  beyondtrainingbook.com We’re selling this book left and right.

Ben:  So creatine 5 grams a day, no loading period, you’re getting what you need. The stuff that I use and I cycle on this – I take it about 6 months out of the year, just because I like to cycle some of the supplements that I take not based on research but just based on the fact that I think it’s smart to not be taking something all the time.

Brock:  You’re taking 6 months on or 6 months off or….

Ben:  I take it – I generally have 6 months out of the year and it’s usually the spring and the summer for me where I’m extremely active and I go 5 grams of creatine a day. I use this stuff from Millennium Sports, it’s called Cre 02 and it’s an enteric coated creatine tablet. It’s about 5 grams or so in a serving but they throw some things in there like cordyceps and rhodiola, eleuthero, some of these things that assist with absorption. It’s chelated…

Brock:  Are those the bunch of the same stuff that’s in the tianchi?

Ben:  Uhmm yeah. Some,  kinda getting a lot of adaptogens so….

Brock:  You’re mega dosing.

Ben: Enteric coating though allows it to bypass destruction in the intestine, kinda allows it remain stable as it passes through the acidic environment in the stomach. So pretty absorbable form of creatine but if you’re doing like 15-30 grams a day, this stuff would get expensive. I would in that case would just go with the basic plain Jane creatine monohydrate assuming it is made in a CGMP facility. So Certified Good Manufacturing Practices facility, tested for verification and guaranteed purity, generally you wanna get something that’s like factory sealed, which is gonna be like kinda zip pouch type of deal. That’s the same way I get from some of the smart drugs like aniracetam and piracetam, and stuff like that but creatine in that form, there’s a company called Bulk Supplements, you should be able to find them on Amazon. We’ll find a link and put it in the show notes for you. Just a basic pure, what’s called a Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder. You can get that in a pretty big like 1 kilogram portion for 15, 20 bucks. So, that’s what I go with this, as far as actual toxicity, there is a lot mythage out there that creatine is somehow bad for your kidneys and there was one case study where a man who had one kidney, that has some damage to that one kidney supplemented a creatine at 20 grams a day for 5 days and then did a maintenance period for 30 days and despite still having a very high protein diet, still suffered no issues with his kidneys at all. So, there’s no evidence out there to show that creatine even in the presence of kidney dysfunction is dangerous at those type of doses.


However, there’s also none evidence from a performance standpoint to show that exceeding 5 grams a day is somehow gonna help you. As far as treating Huntington’s disease, I don’t know. This is not a medical podcast, I’m not qualified to give medical advice, I haven’t seen any of these researches that tell that you could slow the progress of Huntington’s by dosing 15-30 grams of creatine. I can tell you that if I were going down this road though, I would be sure to be doing a kidney panel pretty frequently. So, blood, urine, nitrogen, creatinine basically looking at familiar stress, looking at hydration, looking at electrolyte status just to make sure that nothing was going on from a kidney standpoint. So I would just basically be sure to be getting a kidney panel if you’re doing high dosing of creatine. That incidentally was part of the 16 tubes of blood that I gave this morning just to see how the old yield kidneys are holding up. Anyways though, ultimately creatine monohydrate powders is fine for high dosage, if you wanna get something a little bit more fancy go with the enteric coated form of creatine. No need to exceed 5 grams a day for most people possibly even though I don’t really know the answer for Hank if you’re trying to control Huntington’s disease, yeah, possibly may have some efficacy but I would definitely be doing a kidney panel once every month or so just to make sure especially in the initial phases if there’s nothing interesting going on from that standpoint.

Brock:  There you go.

Ben:  There you go and speaking of interesting things going on, iTunes has been rife with reviews and I saw a review called freak out your in-laws on there.

Brock:  Freak out your in-laws!

Ben:  Freak out your in-laws.

Brock:  That’s my favorite game to play…. every holiday.

Ben:  Let’s hear what they have to say – oh and by the way, we’re gonna read this review. If you hear your review get read then we are going to delve into the Ben Greenfield swag bag and send you a bpa-free water bottle, branded with bengreenfieldfitness.com, we are gonna send you a cool tech t-shirt, comfy tech t-shirt not those nasty cotton tense but a real cool t-shirt that actually makes you look good and then a beanie, bengreenfieldfitness.com stylish fashionable beanie. So if you leave a review on iTunes and you hear us read your review on the show, just email [email protected], we’ll send you your Ben Greenfield gear package alternatively or at the same time you could also just promote the show out of the goodness of your heart by going in and buying one of those gear packages at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear. So that being said, what do they ever say Brock?

Brock:  Alright, this one is from Twain5265. Twain 5265 says, “While the information provided by Ben and Brock is expansive and the benefits immeasurable, I find that the most satisfying of the myriad advantages to regularly listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast is the ability to freak out my in-laws. From a kitchen stocked with headcheese and sardines to bathrooms equipped with squatty potties to uncomfortable humping a foam roller,” Nice. “Your spouse’s parents will continue to wonder what’s wrong with you! Thanks to Ben and Brock for everything.”

Ben:  Why is he living with his in-laws? Ah, he, she? I don’t know….

Brock:  And between is a man or woman….

Ben:  I guess having a kitchen stocked with headcheese and sardines and a bathroom equipped with squatty potties is better than having a bathroom equipped with headcheese and sardines and the kitchen equipped with squatty potties.

Brock:  Yeah, although the humping with the foam roller I don’t care where you do that.

Ben:  You can do that anywhere.

Brock:  That’s always gonna be – that’s always gonna freak out.

Ben:  Freak out! Freak out! And you can get all the information for this episode over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/279 including links to everything that we talked about. Be sure to of course to grab the brand new book if you haven’t yet, 480 pages of absolute goodness over at beyondtrainingbook.com and….

Brock:  It will hold your door open like nothing you’ve ever owned.

Ben:  That’s right and it’s an excellent paper weight so check all that out and ‘til next time. Have a great week!

This is bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness, nutrition, and performance advice.


Apr 23, 2014 Podcast: The Science of the Runner’s High, Is Vitamin B12 Megadosing Dangerous, How To Track Every Element Of Your Fitness, Healing The Skin Naturally, and Is Creatine Safe?

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Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick/Ninja.

The Science of the Runner’s High

Celia asks: She is looking for a “Runner’s High”. She’s been running since 2012 and has only experienced it a few times (with no common denominator or trigger). Do you know what causes the high and how she might be able to create one? She usually doesn’t have trouble getting out the door for a training session but she can see how that might be a good motivator.

In my response I recommend:
Paper – Phytocannabinoids beyond the Cannabis plant – do they exist?
Neuroendocrine panel from DirectLabs

Is Vitamin B12 Megadosing Dangerous?

Jim asks: He has never heard us talk about mega-dosing with Vitamin B12. He is training hard and long for Ironman. He uses a drink called ZipFizz which has 41000% of the RDA of B12. The drink tastes good and it seems to give him an energy boost… but it could be placebo.

In my response I recommend:
Lifeshotz wild plant extract
High intake of fermented foods

How To Track Every Element Of Your Fitness

Todd asks: He made a commitment to himself to be in better shape at 50 than he currently is at 46. He did the same thing at 30 for 35 and 35 for 40. He is looking for a quantifiable criteria or some number of metrics that he can test himself for, every couple of years, so it isn’t just subjective.

In my response I recommend:
My Mass Made Simple podcast with Dan John
Blood Lactate and VO2 Max Testing
-HRV and Pulse Oximeter testing as described in chapter  7 of Beyond Training book
-Mark’s Daily Apple “Physical Fitness Standards

Best Natural Foods for Babies

Emilie asks: What food would you and Jessa introduce babies to, as they move towards the world of solid food, and in what order? Also, is there any point in introducing them to gluten at all so they might be able to tolerate it later on?

In my response I recommend:
NOW Foods Gluten Digesting Enzyme

Healing The Skin Naturally

Allysa asks: She has the skin condition Keratosis Pilaris (unsightly red bumps or “chicken skin”) on her upper arms. Some people grow out of it but she is 26 and doesn’t think that will happen. Do you know the etiology of this? Is it a dietary, allergy, or hormone imbalance? Do you know of any food, creams or anything else that can help out with it?

In my response I recommend:
-Book: The Hidden Plague
Gut Fix Pack
Vitamin C
-Liver or Fish Liver Oil
Pantothenic Acid Cream from avocado oil

Is Creatine Safe?

Hank asks: He is looking for a really pure source of Creatine. Members of his family have the gene for Huntington Disease. While there is no cure for it, he has seen a study where they slowed the progress of Huntingtons by giving participants 15-30 grams of creatine. That is a HUGE amount of so he is looking for a reputable, good, safe, concentrated source. Also, is there anything they or their GPs should watch for when taking such high doses of creatine?

In my response I recommend:
CreO2 from Millennium Sports
Pure bulk Creatine from Amazon

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/04/279-how-to-track-every-element-of-your-fitness-is-vitamin-b12-megadosing-dangerous-red-light-exposure-before-bed/

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

2 thoughts on “Episode #279 – Full Transcript

  1. femojo88 says:

    Is the creatine you recommend CRE 02 vegan? Can't find any info on that anywhere. Thank you!

    1. Yes, it is totally vegan!

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