November 2, 2011
In this podcast, can you get a better workout by champing down on a leather strap like the ancient Vikings, is sprinting easier on the knees than jogging, is working out before dinner considered a fasting workout, how to recover quickly from a stress fracture, when to take fish oil, the effect of alcohol on fitness, do fat loss supplements work, why does asparagus make your pee smell, can aromatherapy help you sleep better, and an aromatase inhibitor recall by the FDA.
I have to admit I felt like a geek reading today’s intro because we have as you may have noticed a ton of questions and really interesting questions. So, this is of course Ben Greenfield, if you’re a new listener and don’t know my voice. And today we are going to be answering those questions. And I also have a brief interview about fitness mouthpieces and whether or not these fitness that really were designed based on the concept that ancient Viking warriors used to chomp down on a leather strap before they went into battle, whether or not these things actually work. So, we’ll be going into that today. And just a quick note before we move into this week’s special announcements for those of you down in the Las Vegas area, I’ll be coming your direction this weekend, November fifth to do the ITU world championship for long distance triathlons. So I’ll be down there competing and then the following week heading to Jamaica to do the Jamaica triathlons. So, lots of travel over the next couple of weeks. Now, over at the website over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, the most recent post was about how it actually is a myth that snacking boosts your metabolism. I tell you why and I tell you what you can do about it. So check out that article at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. And that article is just a glimpse into a new title that’s being released next week called the top 20 sports nutrition and fueling myths. And I’ll be putting that book out and letting you know when that is released. And that will be available of course anywhere where you can grab an ebook or use a kindle or an eReader. Alright, let’s jump into this week’s special announcements.
Ben: I mentioned this last week and I’m going to mention it again, May 27 to June third, for those of you who are interested in Ironman Hawaii or who are triathletes, I’m going to down in all inclusive triathlon training camp right down there on the Ironman Hawaii course. And this camp culminates with the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii race. Now, for those of you who want more details about exactly what this camp is, I have great news. If you listen to this entire podcast, at the end of the podcast I am going to include an interview about this camp that I did with the host of the camp and the head coach of the camp John Newsom. So listen in until the end of the podcast if you want the whole skinny on exactly what’s going down at that camp. Now, a couple of other announcements, this show is now on stitcher. So you can listen to the Ben Greenfield podcast on your iPhone, android phone, your blackberry, your web-OS phone, anywhere. You don’t have to sync it. You don’t have to download it. It works really well. And when you grab the free stitcher app you can qualify to win 100 bucks if you use the promo code fitness when you grab this podcast over at stitcher.com/fitness. And finally, a big thanks to all of you who’ve voted for this show in the podcast awards. I’ll let you know if we win. But you can keep track of that event over podcastawards.com. Alright, one quick message and we’re going to move into this week’s Listener Q and A.
Listener Q and A:
So remember, if you have a question for the podcast, you can call in to 8772099439 and leave your message toll free. Or you can Skype your question to pacificfit. Or you can use the handy-dandy ask Ben form which is in the show notes for any of the podcast episodes and the show notes for this podcast or over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com for episode number 169. Susan writes in.
Susan says: I’m morbidly obese but pretty strong. I’m getting back in shape and listening to your podcast during my early morning walks. Recently, during my walk I challenged myself to run with all my strength between two telephone polls. I was huffing and puffing like hell but I was really proud of myself. I did two more sprints like that during the workout. And I’m now up to five sprints plus ten squat sets during my walk. Do you think I’m totally killing my knees for the future? I’m in a catch 22. I need lose weight to run and I need to run to lose weight.
Ben: This is an interesting question because intuitively or right off the bat, your first reaction is to say the sprinting would be of course much harder on the body than jogging or running more slowly would. But in fact, if you look at the mechanics of a sprinter, they tend to lean forward. The center of gravity tends to be a bit more ahead of the body. And the foot strike is a little bit more mid foot to fore foot. And all of that means that there is actually a little less impact specifically going straight up to the knee joint compared to a slower running gate. Or a little bit more time is spent in contact with the ground. And a fairly significant heel strike takes place which sends a pretty strong impact up to the knee. So if your knees aren’t hurting when you’re sprinting and your doing this sprint sets which are fabulous at increasing your metabolism and also causing a release in a lot of the hormones that are responsible for fat loss. I really wouldn’t worry about sprinting being something that you need to fear in the future that might kill your knees especially if it’s not causing any knee pain right now. Probably, one of the other important things I didn’t mention was that when you sprint you’re pushing off the ground harder. You get a better co-contraction of the hamstring and the quadriceps and many of the muscles that are responsible for supporting the knee joint. So again, you get a little bit more of a knee protective effect from running fast versus running slow. I know that for example for my wife who grew up as a sprinter and then ended up running the 1500 meter in college. When we tried to train for a marathon she couldn’t do it. She would get up to 13 miles and she simply could not run slowly because her gate changed so much that it just completely killed her knees. And at any point still if she tries to really train for longer distances, she gets a lot more issues than when she goes out and pounds the pavement hard for three miles or for one mile. So a big difference there in the mechanics. And ultimately, it’s not just the speed or the intensity of an activity that dictates whether or not it’s going to be good for your joints. It’s also about your form. And a lot of times when you are going harder your form is better.
Adam says: I currently do intense weight training sessions of about 20 minutes in the morning before breakfast. And I’m looking to change that to an after work workout. If I do my workout before dinner, am I still in a fasted state?
Ben: Well, the idea is that if you are going to workout in a fasted state that means that you have burnt through a considerable portion of your body’s storage carbohydrate. So that when you are working out, you’re more tapping into fat or you’re stepping up the activity of the fat burning enzymes in your liver. Considering that you store anywhere from 1500 to 2000 calories approximately of storage carbohydrate, you have to go a considerable amount of time before your body actually reaches that point where it’s beginning to run a little bit low on carbohydrates. And typically, that’s in the range of 10 to 15 hours of going without eating. For me for example, a lot of times I will dinner around seven and have a very small snack typically around nine p.m. or so. And a lot of times I won’t have breakfast ‘til nine or ten a.m. So I’m getting a 12 to 13 hour fast into each day. Now obviously, the only way that you could achieve such an effect during the day would be by having breakfast around seven A.M and then not eating anything and then working out around seven P.M and having dinner around eight P.M. So you could certainly do this whole working out in a fasted state deal. But it would be pretty stressful on you because it’s easy to not eat food when you’re lying in bed at night. And that’s fairly non-stressful to the body when you’re sleeping. When you’re running around working, driving, going up and down stairs, standing up, sitting down, etc, it’s far tougher on your body. And it’s tougher on you mentally and physically to fast during the entire day as you wait to do a fasted workout during the evening. So ultimately, I think it’s more troubled than it’s worth. And I think that, I know for me personally, if I were to do something like that I think it would ruin my life because I would be hungry all the time. Incidentally, while studies have shown that eating more than three times a day doesn’t give you any addition metabolic effect. And this is something that I covered in my snacking article that I wrote. So there’s no need to eat more than three times a day. Once you cut that down and start to eat two times a day, you actually do see in research studies a dip in metabolism. So again, there’s another reason that you wouldn’t want to just do breakfast in the morning, fast all day, and then have dinner right after you workout and then go to bed. You could actually decrease your metabolism significantly by doing something like that. So, it’s a good question.
Catarina says: I have a question. I have been a runner all my life. But in the past two years, I’ve been sidelined by stress fractures in my right foot twice. This most recent stress fracture came on when I returned to a primarily running regimen after training for a triathlon. Do you have any advice on preventing this type of injury in the future and on speeding recovery now? I’m curious about potential links between caffeine consumption and bone density as I drink about two cups of coffee a day.
Ben: Well, let’s talk about that first consideration before that link between caffeine and bone density because a lot of times you will hear folks say that drinking coffee is going to decrease your bone density. Or it’s going to leech calcium from your bones. There actually has not been a ton of research done on this. And really only a couple of good research studies that I could find that look into the link between bone health and caffeine intake. One was actually close to me over at Washington State University which is only about one hour and a half from my house. And I looked at how oral doses of caffeine affected the urinary excretion of calcium as well as other minerals like magnesium, sodium, and chloride. And what was found was that any amount of urinary loss of calcium from drinking something like caffeine was more than taken care of by the actual calcium intake that took place from the diet during the day. So, assuming you are eating leafy greens, yogurt, seeds, nuts, and other sources of minerals and calcium. You won’t have to worry too much about having a cup of coffee a day or caffeine in moderation. And then another study was done on the link between bones and caffeine. And this one focused primarily on older women. But it did find that caffeine had a negative effect on bone. And it could cause some loss in bone density. The actual amount of caffeine however was high. It was about 300 milligrams a day. So that’s right around three cups of a day. So, if you’re getting up around that range on daily intake of coffee, it could certainly have an effect on bone density and your risk of stress fracture and also your ability to bounce back from a stress fracture. So, I personally start off my day with about eight to twelve ounces of black coffee that I make at a French press. And I really don’t recommend that you do a lot more than that when it comes to coffee especially if bone density is something that you’re concerned about. Now that you have the stress fracture though, you want to look into how you can actually speed up healing from it. So, there are a few suggestions that I have for you. First of all, you need to consider that about half of your bone is made up of protein. And when a fracture occurs, your body is going to call on a lot of those protein building blocks that are going to be necessary to synthesize the new bone matrix which is made up of proteins. And so, making sure that you include a lot of good sources of whole amino acids in your diet is something that would be prudent as you’re trying to recover from a stress fracture. Protein supplementation is also going to increase the levels of insulin-like growth factor which is a hormone that you produce in response to protein intake. And can have a pretty positive effect on your skeletal muscle and on your skeletal integrity as well and your bone integrity. So, I would definitely be making sure that you’re engaging in adequate protein intake and getting whole amino acid sources in your diet. That goes hand in hand with the voiding the type of macro nutrients that could cause more of an inflammatory net acid effect that can also leech calcium from your bones the same way that high amounts of caffeine would. And that’d be a lot of sugar and processed carbohydrates. So essentially what I’m saying here is you step up the protein intake a little bit as you limit the amount of processed carbohydrates. That will certainly help quite a bit with stress fractures. That’s actually one of the modules in my program over at BulletProofKnee.com which is a program for fixing IT band friction syndrome. One of the parts of meal plan that I include in that is what’s considered an anti-inflammatory diet. Or a diet that really limits the amount of carbohydrate that can cause an overwhelming of your body’s natural defense mechanisms and natural healing mechanisms when it comes to inflammation. And so you can accelerate the healing of your fracture by suppressing a lot of this excess inflammation. Now, at the same time, you do want to be careful not to shut down one component of inflammation that is considered a healing component. And that would be prostaglandin induced inflammation which is your natural healing process whereby your body releases these inflammatory prostaglandins or these signals that are a natural and essential part of tissue repair and bone repair. And the way that you shut down that type of healing inflammation would be through the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen. So I would really recommend that as you’re healing from a stress fracture, you stay away from those types of components specifically things like aspirin and ibuprofen. And that will help out quite a bit. When you’re healing from a stress fracture, it makes a lot of sense to include some type of mineral supplement. And I would highly suggest that you would include one component that is going to come in a mineral based supplement that has really good research behind it when it comes to assisting with bone structural integrity and healing. And that’s a component called lactoferrin. I’ve talked about lactoferrin before on this podcast. I actually interviewed someone about it sometime back. You can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and do a search for lactoferrin. But the quick idea behind it is that it’s basically a component that could basically speed up healing of bone or speed up what’s called osteoblast activity or the laying down of new bone matrix. My number one recommendation for supplement that combines both minerals as well as lactoferrin into one really good compound for bone health is Capperflex. I’ll put a link to Capperflex in the show notes for you for this podcast episode number 169. But I would highly recommend that you include that as well. So, basically do that, increase your protein, decrease the carbohydrate intake a little bit especially from processed carbohydrates and sugars. Add a high quality mineral and lactoferrin supplement like Capperflex in. Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen. And then just make sure that you stay fit by engaging in non-impact based exercise like aqua jogging or elliptical training or cycling. And once you do get this healed, for most women, I do really recommend that you try and switch to a running on non-consecutive days protocol. So, don’t run day after day instead, do run, elliptical run, cycle run, and aqua jog that type of scenario. I really only have one female athlete that I coach who runs quite a bit on consecutive days or does two-a-day run workouts. And she’s a very experience marathoner who’s trying to qualify for the marathon trials down in Texas right now. And so, she needs to run a lot to get the speed that she needs for that. But unless you’re trying to do something like qualify for marathon trials or compete in the Olympics, there’s no need to run on consecutive days. So hopefully that helps you out Catarina and good luck with that stress fracture.
Mike says: When is the best time to take a fish oil supplement?
Ben: My answer to this is the same as I would say for ferny fat soluble supplement. Any fat based supplement, vitamin D, vitamin A, fish oil, any of these. Taking them with a meal is going to increase absorption. And so I personally take my fish oil right before I have breakfast. And if you’re doing a multiple day fish oil supplementation which can be a good idea if you’re really trying to step up your omega three intake, take your fish oil with breakfast, with lunch, and with dinner. And that’s going to be the best time to take it. So it’s quick answer but hopefully that helps you out.
Derrick says: This product prograde metabolism claims that it can boost energy and adrenaline which seems like it could be a performance enhancing type of medication. Number one, do you think these drug claims are accurate. Number two, do you think it is worth me trying with an N equals one sample size to see if the claims are true on this product or is it based on loose science.
Ben: So, I went and checked this product. It’s called prograde metabolism. And it’s one of those products that claim to melt fat off your body. And massively ramp up your metabolism primarily through the use of Capsaicin extract, so that’s like a hot pepper extract, and also, advantra Z which is also known as citrus arontium. And it’s basically a bitter orange extract. So when you look at a supplement like this that makes claims like this, the main thing you want to consider is the research that is behind it. And they actually site some of the research behind this stuff. So I checked out the research studies. Most of the research that’s been done on Capsaicin sparks from a research study back in the journal of nutrition from 1986. It looked at the effects of Capsaicin on rats that were fed a diet of about 30 percent lard or pure fat. And about right around 0.01 percent of their diet was supplemented as Capsaicin. That may not sound like much but that’s a very significant amount of pepper extract. And what they found was that the level of circulating triglycerides in these rats was lower when the Capsaicin was present in their diet than when it was not present in their diet. And they also noted that the adipose tissue weight went down in response to increase doses of Capsaicin. So what they found there was a dose response effect that you could actually increase the levels of fat burning enzyme activity by increasing the amount of Capsaicin that is fed to these rats. Now remember, these are rats not humans. But from this study, this sparked a ton of different fat loss supplement manufacturers to start putting a pepper extract into their sports nutrition supplements. And then a follow up study which was done recently in 2010 entitled proteomic analysis for anti-obesity potential of Capsaicin on white adipose tissue in rats fed with a high fat diet stepped up the dietary intake of fat to about 50 percent in rats. And then they fed them with Capsaicin. They actually fed them ten milligrams per kilogram of Capsaicin which is not only a lot of hot pepper extract but that’s way more than they actually use in these fat loss supplements. And they did find a significant fat loss response or significant decrease in fat and mass in the rats that were fed with the Capsaicin extract. Some of the things that I’m unable to find in these studies that I think would be interesting to find out was how much of that was due to an up regulation in fat metabolism and how much of that was due to the rats having stomach upset or losing their appetite due to how much hot pepper they were consuming. There are always those practical logistical things you need to think about when you look at studies like this. So, as far as the first claim with the hot pepper, the supplement has less hot pepper than what has been used in research studies. And there is really no research study that directly correlates fat loss in humans or weight loss in humans with hot pepper extract consumption. Now the other supplement that was consumed was this citrus arantium or what’s also known as advantra Z. And there’s been limited research that’s been done in that. Probably the biggest one that most of these fat loss supplement manufacturers quote is the study that was done back in 2005 called the increase in thermic effect in food by amins extracted from citrus arantium. And in this study, what they did was they gave people this extract, this citrus arantium or what’s called the advantra Z extract. And they studied whether it increased the metabolic rate or whether it enhanced specifically the thermic response to the meal or what’s called the thermic effect of food and how many calories you burn when you’re digesting a meal. Basically what they found was that there was an increase in the thermic effect of food, an increase of about 20 to 30 percent. Now that sounds really significant. But the thermic effect of food is only about ten percent of the total calories that you burn during the day. So, if you burn let’s say 2000 calories a day, maybe 200 calories of that would come from the thermic effect of digesting your meals, the thermic effect of food. And so if the thermic effect of food is increased by 20 to 30 percent by taking this citrus arantium extract, what you’d be looking at that comes out to 40 to 50 calories per day that you would get. So I guess my question is for 40 to 50 calories a day for spending X amount of dollars, 40 or 50 dollars a month on a supplement. That’s primarily designed to increase the thermic effect of food. You could run for five to ten minutes and get that same effect. So, it’s a little bit blown out of proportion. And furthermore, there were zero response in men. The only response was in women. So, really what this comes down to folks is whenever you’re looking at the research behind especially a weight loss supplement, you need to consider how significant the results actually are. For 40 extra calories a day, is that worth it to you. Maybe it is, for me, not really. Now, many of you listen to this podcast know that I have made recommendations in the past for weight loss and fat loss supplements. And one of the ones that I recommended is thermo factor. And thermo factor does have that advantra Z that I just talked about in it. The main reason that I recommend the thermo factor as opposed to some of these other ones is that I has a bunch of appetite suppressing stimulants in it. It’s stuff that has been shown in research to lower or reduce appetite cravings. So, to me it makes sense once you start to introduce decrease calorie consumption with that slight increase in metabolic rate to actually include something like this in the diet. But again it’s always going to be something that’s prioritized after making changes to your diet and making changes to your levels of physical activity. And I really go into this in great detail in an article that I wrote called do weight loss supplements really work. It’s a two-part article series. I talk about all the different ingredients used in the most popular weight loss supplements in the market. And I’ll put a link to that article in the show notes to episode number 169. It’s called do weight loss supplements really work. And you can check that out. So, hopefully that gives you a little bit more on the skinning on the weight loss supplements and how effective they actually are. So, Lea has a quick question.
Lea says: What is up with asparagus pee? Will you explain the process that occurs after consuming to result in that?
Ben: This is a pretty simple one. I don’t why I decided to answer this on the podcast. It’s just interesting stuff for trivial pursuit I suppose. But when you consume asparagus, what happens is your body metabolizes asparagus. One of the by-products of metabolizing asparagus is a chemical. And it’s called methanethiol. It’s a sulfur containing compound. And it’s the same type of smell you’re going to get from rotten eggs or cabbages or paper mills. So, if you think that your pee doesn’t smell like that after you eat asparagus, the reason for that is most likely because you happen to be lacking in the ability to actually smell methanethiol compounds or methanethiol molecules in your nose. So ultimately, that’s all it is. It’s just a break down by-product of asparagus. So, probably the shortest answer to a question that we’re given but there you go.
Tera asks: I just passed a billboard on my way home from work. It stated one night of drinking erases two weeks of fitness training. Can this be true? From personal experience I would disagree with this statement. But I was wondering how much does alcohol interfere with training.
Ben: Okay, so alcohol. Multiple ways that that can affect your training and yes it certainly can affect your training. So first, alcohol is a diuretic. So it’s going to increase how fast you pee. And you probably know that if you’ve ever drink considerable amounts of alcohol. How it does that is it access what’s called the vasopressin inhibitor. So you’ve got this compound in your body that’s called anti-diuretic hormone. And that regulates the rate of water re-absorption in your kidneys. And so, if you shut down anti-diuretic hormone, then what’s going to happen is you’re going to lose more water during urination. And that’s something that alcohol does. It inhibits that anti-diuretic hormone. Anti-diuretic hormone is also known as vasopressin. It inhibits that. And so you lose more water. And you also get a bunch more alcohol being transported around your body in your blood dissolved in your plasma. And alcohol is basically going to remove water from your cells so that it can dissolve in that blood. So the more alcohol in your system, the more water gets pulled out of your cells. The more water you lose in your urine and the more dehydrated you become. So what happens when you’re dehydrated is that significantly lowers your ability to do things like producing a muscular contraction, to burn fat for energy during cardiovascular aerobic exercise. And it also disrupts and really slows down protein synthesis. So your post workout ability to build muscle is significantly impaired as well. Alcohol is also going to inhibit the release of growth hormone and inhibit the release of testosterone. And these are the two of your primary anabolic hormones. So when it comes to cell growth, cell development, bone growth, muscle growth, all of these are going to be significantly decreased after a night of binging or alcohol consumption. Testosterone like I mentioned, that’s also decreased. So, you lose a little bit of your sex drive as well. And the reason that testosterone is decreased is one of the primary by-products of alcohol getting broken down in the liver is ethanol. And ethanol tends to be really toxic when it comes to especially your ability to produce testosterone. So, the studies that have looked into alcohol and the ability to burn fat show that when you get up to about three drinks of alcohol, that’s where you start to really limit your ability to burn fat. And you can decrease by as much as 70 percent which is huge in terms of fat oxidation. So when you combine that with the fact that alcohol has a lot of empty calories in it that really don’t tend to be nutrient dense, you get a really big one-two combo in terms of your inability to recover from a response to workout. And also an increase need to workout because you’re burning less fat and putting on all these extra calories. So the billboard said one night of drinking erases two weeks of fitness training. Assuming that one night of training isn’t a glass of wine with your meal. But it’s really a night out on the town. This is certainly true without a doubt. Now, I personally go out and have a good time every now and again. I’ll be the first to admit that that really is not the best thing at all in terms of my ability to increase fitness or to bounce back from my workouts. I mean, you got to live a little bit. And if that means going out and partying with your friends, that’s fine. I personally have this one-two-three combo if I go out and drink. And I’m planning on drinking significantly. First of all, for every drink I have a glass of water. And I take that one step further. And I add an electrolyte tablet to that glass of water like an effervescent electrolyte tablet. I personally use noon. You could technically use something like air bourn. A little bit of extra Vitamin C actually helps out quite a bit when it comes to bouncing back the next morning but adding an electrolyte tablet that helps out significantly. Number two, I take proteolytic enzymes. So there’s this supplement I take called recoveries which I take after workouts. It’s basically a branch chained amino acids and proteolytic enzymes. These are really potent anti-inflammatory enzymes that originated when British surgeons used to give them to soldiers that they’d operate on during the war to help them bounce back from surgery more quickly. So this stuff I take is called recoveries. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. But I pop four to six of those before I go to bed at night after I’ve been out of the town so to speak. And then the last thing I do is I really stay away from any drinks that have significant amounts of sugar in them. So, margarita mixes, long island iced tea mixes, mud slide mixes, anything that’s a mix or that has a high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Aside from a splash of natural fruit juice here and there, really stay far away from high sugar containing compounds. Most of the time if you see me drinking, it is club soda mixed with vodka. And typically very light splash of cranberry or pomegranate in that and that’s about it. If I’m going to be out drinking and drinking for the purpose of spending a few dials in my brain or something along those lines. So hopefully that helps you out Tera. Alcohol, I would say, can really inhibit training. I wouldn’t say that erasing two weeks of fitness training is based on any research. But alcohol is certainly going to affect your fitness response.
Craig says: I recently started using badger balm sleep balm. It seems to be helping me sleep but I’m not sure. What is your opinion on aroma therapy in general and on this product specifically?
Ben: Well, aroma therapy has a really good history in terms of its potential for helping with insomnia and helping you get to sleep faster and stay asleep until you plan on waking up. And there’s a lot of different ways that you can use it. Like when our kids were small, when they were babies, we would just take essential oils. We specifically use lavender. And we would just put a few drops in their crib near their pillow. And when they go to bed at night it would help them go to sleep. And you can do the same thing. There’s a few different ways to do it. You can take a cotton ball and you can add some camomile oil or some lavender oil to a piece of tissue or cotton ball. And you can just put that close to your pillow when you go to bed. And that’s a natural sedative. There are actually sprays that you can spray on your sheets. And those contain the same type of things like lavender and camomile. And that would be considered aroma therapy as well. Taking a bath using any of these bath oils like aroma therapy bath oil that are specifically designed with the same types of essential oils like camamill or lavender to help you to sleep, that’s an option. Even drinking a tea, you get a lot of those aromas from a lavender type of tea or a camomile tea or a valerian root tea, wafting up into your nostrils. And that can really help to switch on some of the sleep markers as well. You can of course do this in reverse. There are aroma therapy oils that are considered stimulants. You’d want to stay away from those like cyprus and rosemary. Lemon would be another one. Pepper mint is actually considered a stimulant as well. All of those would be aromas that you’d actually want to stay away from if you’d want to sleep well. And that brings us to this badger balm stuff that you’re using. And that’s basically like beeswax based oil. It as some aloe extract in it. It has some birch extract, some extra virgin olive oil. But one of the main things you’re going to notice about it is a real strong eucalyptus winter green pepper mint smell. And in my opinion, that in most cases would be considered more of a stimulant than a sleep aid if you were wafting some of that into your nostrils before you went to bed. So, I am not convinced Craig that badger balm would be the way to go if you’d want to use aroma therapy to help you to sleep. I would go for lavender or camomile oil using it in one of the ways that I just described. The other thing that you could do and this is something I’ve been using recently is this hammer REM product. And these REM caps and I’ll put a link to them in the show notes. They’re basically melatonin valerian root extract and a little bit of what’s called five- hydroxyl tryptophan. And of course you may recognize tryptophan as that component of turkey and warm milk that helps you feel like you’re in a food coma after thanks giving dinner. Anyways, I’ve been using these hammer REM caps. And I take them about an hour before I go to bed. I’ve been taking two or three. They really help relieve tension and anxiety and get my mind off the work for the day. A little bit of an effect on enhancing growth hormone release while you’re asleep. And I guess my only complain about them is that while they do put me out like a light bulb typically I’m drowsy for about 20 minutes after I get up. And I guess I’m willing to put up with that. But there’s a slight about of drowsiness when you first get up. However, I’ve been liking that stuff. So, I’ll put a link to those hammer REM caps to the show notes for you as another option. Alright, we have a question from Keith. And this is our last question.
Keith says: I understand the FDA recently did a recall on aromatase inhibitors. What are your thoughts?
Ben: Well, the FDA did certainly do that. You’ve heard me talk about aromatase inhibitors on this show before as being something, that especially in guys who have andropause or really low testosterone, as being something that can help to keep testosterone from being converted into estrogens especially in guys. So you reduce your propensity for doing things like getting man boobs. You improve your virility and performance. And in every case, the types of aromatase that I’ve recommended have been things that are natural plant derivatives. So, they’re what are called flavinoids. And flavinoids are very different from a pharmaceutical aromatase inhibitor type of drug. They’re natural compounds. I take prostalon for example. And that’s a flower pollen extract. Other components would be carsitin is one. Resveratrol which you’ve heard is like a grape skin extract is another. There’s one called krisine which is a plant extract. I believe that one is from the passion flower plant. But a lot of these natural aromatase inhibitors that are out there that are used in these herbal testosterone formulas. These are a little bit different than the type of things that have been really suggested as possibly dangerous and have been the reason for safety alerts that have put out by the FDA. These are typically irreversible steroidal inhibitors. They’re called aromatase inhibitor drugs. Like Astrozenica makes one called the arimidex. Pfizer makes one called the ramacin. And these types of aromatase inhibitors, they actually are associated with increased risk for cancer. And specifically like women with breast cancer. Tomaxifin for example which had a huge study done and showed the wide spread use of it was causing 30 percent of patients to die from breast cancer. That was an aromatase inhibitor. There are a lot of aromatase inhibitors out there that have some toxicity associated with them. And most of them are pharmaceutical derivatives. The other issue is that there is no reason for a woman in many cases to be taking in aromatase inhibitor. I’m not going to get into this too much in depth. But pretty much the only recommendation that I’ve made for aromatase inhibitors have been for guys who want to decrease the amount of testosterone that gets converted into estrogens. So when we look at the aromatase inhibitor dietary supplement recall put out by the FDA. Basically, there were specific brands of supplements that were identified as containing a significant amount of aromatase inhibitors that had a reasonable probability of resulting in permanent impairment of a body function in at risk consumers. So this would probably females who are at risk for breast cancer. And the specific ones that they’ve found in terms of aromatase inhibitors that could be an issue were advanced muscle science, arimidex, clomex, off cycle two hard core, iForce, and I think that was it. So basically just a few different nutrition supplement companies that were having products that were laced with these aromatase inhibitors. Ultimately, aromatase inhibitors when used in moderation from natural plant based extracts are not going to be an issue in the people who I’ve suggested that may benefit from using them. Specifically guys who want to increase testosterone. So, always look at these recalls with the grain of salt. And what was recalled and why. So, hopefully that helps you out a little bit. And that’s the deal with the aromatase inhibitors. By the way, I’ll put a link to that prostalone stuff that I take. I take two of those every morning for my aromatase inhibitor to help bump up my testosterone a little bit. I’ll put a link to those in the show notes. Alright, that about wraps up today’s questions. We’re going to have a quick special message and then we’re going to move on to this week’s interview about fitness mouthpieces.
Just a quick note, one of the people that interviewed was in an airport. So you may hear a little bit of background noise. So, just close your eyes and imagine the airplanes flying by.
Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield. And some time ago at BenGreenfieldFitness.com we talked about the use of mouthpieces to actually enhance your sports performance and your exercise capacity. And since that particular podcast, there has been new research that’s come out on mouthpiece technology. So, today I’ve got two people on the line. The first is Doctor Dina Garner who is the head of the department of health, exercise, and sports science at the Citadel. And also Mark Mastaleyr who is involved with the company called bite tech. And so today, we’re going to talk about mouthpieces. And you may or may not be familiar with the use of mouth pieces for exercise. But you’re going to learn something today about mouthpieces. So, thank you Dina and Mark for coming on the call.
Dr. Garner: Thank you very much!
Mark: Thank you very much!
Ben: Alright, so there’s been some endurance research that’s come out lately on mouthpieces. And I would assume that Doctor Garner that you would be the person to ask about with this research. Am I correct?
Dr. Garner: Yes.
Ben: So, tell me about what you’ve found out when it comes to use of mouthpieces. What are they? And what have you actually found out?
Dr. Garner: Right. So basically, we’ve been doing this research for several years. And we’ve noticed when we first started doing the research that participants, when they wore this mouthpiece, had lower lactate levels. And so, we wanted to confirm or understand the potential mechanisms behind in that improvement in lactate. So, one of the things that we can do is measure oxygen and carbon dioxide kinetics. VMAX when people run for example at a steady state. We had subjects wear the mouthpiece. We had subjects not wear the mouthpiece. And then we had subjects breathe only through their nose. And we went to understand the mouthpiece effect. We assumed that when people breathe through their mouth, actually they would have improvements are different in oxygen and carbon dioxide because they would get more air flow through. But what we actually saw as the result indicate that when subjects wore the mouthpiece and breathe through their mouth that the oxygen was 29 percent improved and that carbon dioxide one percent improved with the mouthpiece versus without the mouthpiece.
Ben: Interesting. So, in terms of the implications for that, can you explain what that would do when someone is exercising?
Dr. Garner: It could explain what we’ve seeing with the lactate connection as far as being lowered. Basically, carbon dioxide was a buffer for those hydrogen ions associated with lactate. And the percent difference in carbon dioxide in improvement is highly correlated with that and percent improvement in lactate. But at this point, we’re still peeling away at understanding the mechanisms in the mouthpiece. But that gives us a nice piece to the puzzle as far as understanding that lactate. And the gas exchange that occurs with mouth piece is used. While we’re seeing this is we believe that improvement is due to a change in area of the pharynet in which that’s improved in which BP scans have showed in earlier research. And there may also be component with improved oxygen up take at the beginning of exercise that which could explain that decrease in lactate.
Ben: I got you. So, the last time I interviewed, I believe it was Doctor Garner that I had on the call. It was cool research. But they seem hard to get. Like, I went and got one. And I had to go to the dentist and get a custom fit. And then I had to wait for it to arrive. And I have it. And I wear it sometimes when I’m running and I’m bicycling. But Mark let me ask you this because I know that you’re in charge of making mouthpieces for people to wear when they’re exercising. What’s the updated information in terms of how people could actually get some type of mouth wear to use?
Mark: Sure Ben. So, the same technology that you referred to that it’s found in the custom mouthpiece which is basically an armor bite ledge. That basically aligns your jaw downward and outward that helps you to breathe better. It helps you to essentially perform better. It’s now available at retails. So, we, being bite tech, have an exclusive partnership with under armor. So, the product is now available through the normal retail channels. So, if you’re going to a dick sporting good or sports authority in modals, you can actually purchase a consumer version of the product. And it only cost 29 dollars and 95 cents. So, it’s now affordable and easily attainable at big box retailers.
Ben: I got you. So, who’s using this? Do you have for example we’ve got a lot of triathletes and marathoners and endurance athletes that listen in, are there famous athletes using it?
Mark: Sure. Yes. And some of them are the more high profile athletes that people recognize like Lindsay Bond for example, the skier that people know. She actually wears the product. Chris McCormick who’s a world iron man triathlon wears it. Michael Phelps wears it when he’s out of the pool training. And even golfers like Hunter Mahan wear the product as well. So, when you normally think that people would wear mouth guards is commonly accepted being the people that wear it for years for contact sports. We’re finding out a lot of these that some are wearing these for non-contact sports. And finding that the mouthpiece helps them with their performance like what Doctor Garner outlined. And some of the things that I’m finding out anecdotally as marketing at bite tech, I talked to a lot of consumers. And they find that they have improved results as well. So, just your normal athlete Ben off the street found that they get a little bit of an edge wearing this product that helps in much recovery. So, it’s not just the elite athletes that benefit. It’s the everyday person that’s looking for a little extra in their workout or their performance.
Ben: Now, I’m not sure who could answer this question, Doctor Garner or Mark. But a lot of times during exercise especially during longer exercise sessions, you need to eat. You need to chew on stuff. So, what do you do when you’re using a mouthpiece and that comes up?
Mark: Yeah. I mean that can be certainly when we talk about people like Chris McCormick’s world iron man distances. Frankly, I’ll be honest. It can be a bit of an issue. So, what we’re finding is that most people that they’re drinking goo and if they’re eating something, they just simply just pop the mouthpiece out, eat it, and put the mouthpiece back in. So, that’s also true with people when they are running marathons and things like that. But generally for the shorter distances, you have to run. You get 10k or short course triathlon Ben. Obviously, you are probably not eating any foods. So, you don’t need to take the product out. But a lot of other sports like golf for example, obviously not the same issues as some of the endurance inventions that you talk about.
Ben: Okay. In terms of the comparison between using a mouthpiece and let’s say reminding yourself or doing some type of drill to remind you to keep your jaw relaxed or keep your mouth open. Has there been any type of research that’s looked into the difference between just doing that versus having a mouthpiece? Or what would be the difference?
Dr. Garner: Basically, the research that we’ve been doing is we’ve asked from the very beginning asked subjects to bite down not in a clenched mechanism but just the biting down. So that their mandaboise and that more optimal position so that their breathing mechanism is improved. Now, we haven’t looked at for example just the relaxed state. But basically, we did that when we asked subjects to breathe through their mouth, open mouth on the treadmill without the mouthpiece and then again with the mouthpiece when they just bit down on it. So, you’re asking that question and in an essence we answer that with the research that supported just that improvement when one would bite down on the mouthpiece where the oxygen and carbon dioxide kinetics were improved.
Ben: Interesting. I find it fascinating that you could do something like this. Like putting something in your mouth and letting in more oxygen and buffer lactic acid a little bit better. And I saw the research. And it looks cool. It’s solid. So, again Mark, let’s say somebody wants to go online and get this, did you say it’s made by under armor?
Mark: Yes. So, actually bite tech has an exclusive partnership with under armor. So we manufacture all of their mouth wear products so these products obviously in particular Ben. So, they’re available at retail like I said. If you want to go online, there’s a couple of different placed you can buy and one of them is armorbite.com. Or you can buy them on mouthwearexperts.com. So, there are a couple of different ways to get them. But the retail is as easy as well.
Ben: Okay. And I noticed that there’s one that’s like a protective piece would be assume would be for football or boxing or something like that. But there’s also a lower profile one. Would that lower profile one be the one that a runner would pop on their mouth before they go on a run?
Mark: Exactly. So, the mouthpiece you’re referring to is a lower profile one. That’s the one on the lower cheek. And that’s the one for non-contact sports Ben. So, golf, people wear it for yoga. They wear it in the weight room. And we’ve actually had women who have actually written in saying that they’ve used it during child birth which is interesting. But a lot of the same principle like Lamas teaches which are relaxation and breathing and things like that during child birth. This device based on what we’ve heard from consumers is that it actually has a lot of benefits that are similar to what Lamas offers. So, pretty co-applications you wouldn’t really think of.
Ben: Wow. That’s amazing. I wish my wife would’ve had one. Maybe it would’ve helped. Instead, she clenched my arm really hard.
Mark: Well, if you have another child, we’re happy to send one along.
Ben: Well, cool. I will put a link to that armor bite mouthpiece for folks who are listening in. Again, I’m stoked because this went from being multi hundred dollar affair and go to your dentist and everything. And the research was cool but I thought it was a little bit hard for people to get their hands on one. And now it looks pretty easy. So, I’ll put a link in the show notes for folks to grab one of these mouthpieces.
Mark: Truth be told Ben, I mean a lot of people just don’t necessarily like going to their dentist. The real difference between the custom product that you get from your dentist and the boil and buy product you buy at retail is just that the custom product just tends to fit a little better. And it’s obviously personalized for you. For me, the difference is really between buying a custom suite and being measured for it and buying something off the rack. It’s just a lot of the same benefits. But the custom piece just fits a little better. So, there are different options for different customers who have different needs.
Ben: Yeah. Cool. Alright, Dr. Garner and Mark, anything else that you wanted to mention?
Mark: I appreciate your time.
Dr. Garner: Yes. Thank you!
Ben: Thank you! I’m looking forward to letting people know about this. So folks, over in the show notes, what I will do is I will put a link to that mouthpiece. And they also gave me a free shipping code that we could use. The shipping code is fitness. And when you follow the link over there in the show notes, you can basically get that thing for free at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. And we have one quick interview with John Newsom about the upcoming triathlon camp in Hawaii. And folks, this thing will come up quicker than you think. So I’d recommend you get registered. What are you waiting for? You only live once. Let’s go train in Hawaii. Here’s John.
Hey folks, this is Ben Greenfield. And as promised, I wanted to get the man himself. The head coach for epic camp lights down in Kona, Hawaii on the call today to fill you in on exactly what this epic experience is going to be like. John Newsom is here on the line with me. He is known around the world for putting on really unique camps that go way above and beyond. And that’s exactly what this camp down in Hawaii is going to be. So, John will fill us in on the cool stuff that he has planned. And then remember, if this is something that you’re interested in doing, you got to act fast. These camps fill up very quickly. And you can get on that camp by either going to the show notes for this podcast episode number 169 over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com or by simply emailing John. And you’re going to want to email to [email protected]. I’ll be sure to put that email address in the show notes as well. Make sure you reference my name when you sign up for a camp. And of course, I’m going to be down there at the camp too. So, I’ll quit talking now. And John, welcome and thanks for coming on the call.
John: Thanks for having me on. I’m certainly looking forward to this camp as well having just been over at Kona for iron man, that’s certainly hiding my thirst for making this camp. And for people who want the Kona experience, I really think this camp is going to offer it all. There’s going to be a race in there where you race over the back half of the course that everybody does in iron man. You get to ride the full course. We’re going to be running in Ali’i drive. We’re going to be running energy lab. You’ll be swimming from Digmey beach. So, I’m really looking to give people the Kona experience. And the timing-wise is just fantastic for anybody who’s doing a mid-season iron man. That’s really how the idea for this camp came about. I was coaching a guy who was racing Placid. And I was sort of saying that we need to find a 70.3 half iron man somewhere to fit in with your build up to give you a really good hard head out. You have to train six weeks out from the race. And I just went into the 70.3 size and had it looked through. And I found a place. And here’s a guy who’s trying to qualify and get there one day. So, it’s sort of hit something on the head and one goes. So it should be awesome.
Ben: And I really think you hit something in the head there that the Kona experience part of it is you see Kona on TV. You see the NBC coverage. You watch it online. You hear people throwing around things like love a java and a Ali’i drive and Digmey beach. This camp is going to be a big part of all of that stuff. And you’re going to get to see it all which is why I think is cool. It’s always fun to go down there in June and see a lot of the things that folks are experiencing in October including the race that culminates at the end of camp. So, can you tell me a little about that actual race that folks are going to be doing towards the end?
John: Yes. It’s the Kona 70.3. I haven’t raced the race myself. But I know the course relatively well and mainly the bike course. You’re basically doing the hardest part of the iron man race where you bike out to Harvey and back. And so, when we’re having Kona and iron talk this year doing the podcast. And we were entertaining a lot of the listeners, just quick interviews, how do you find it over here, is it different to what you expected. And universally what they say is that people have told me about the ones down at the bike around in Harvey and it’s a totally different experience. So, I think that’s one thing, just experiencing that course, experiencing the heat, experiencing the wind, experiencing a little bit of the Q and K. You’ll really understand what the race is all about a bit more. And if you’re somebody that’s never going to make it to Kona, realistically if you’re not just fast enough or you got a week until you’ve done 12 iron mans then this is a great opportunity. And for the guys that are sort of in the cut for qualifying, it’s invaluable of imagine you can actually gain while you’re over there in terms of getting to know the course. Then the other thing with the camp is you’re going to meet Scott Molina. And he’s one of the true legends of our sport. And he’s one of the co-founders of the whole epic experience. And he’s got a million stories to tell. So, that’s one of the big things about epic camps is learning from each other is huge. Scott keeps everybody entertained. And he’s pretty much done everything there is to be done in the sport. He’s the one in iron man who went undefeated for years. So, an epic distance and really was a legend of the sport. So, he’s always good value. I guess why we call it epic camp is it’s a slightly different experience. Normally, at camp we normally have ATA camps. It’s a full on from the get go. And there are very much training camps where we’re just going out there doing the maximum possible volume that anybody can do and pushing people beyond what they thought was possible. With this camp, we’re going to go out pretty strong in the first few days riding the full iron man course and keeping it fairly epic in nature. Then we will ease a little bit into the race and not massively. And so you will be going to the race a little bit fatigued. But what we will be doing on this camp is that we’ll be a bit more coaching and such. On epic camps normally, it’s just avid training and learning off each other and going off the extreme. Whereas this one, we’re trying to get a little bit of the balance of some heavy training earlier in the week and then having some good coaching as the training starts to ease off a little bit. So, we will be doing things like open water swim technique and Scott doing a talk. And we will probably have a swim speech that’s coming to do some other swim technique where we have a look at people’s running. So, that will certainly come a bit more as we get closer to the race and as the training sort of eases off a little bit. But if people are looking for a really good head out before a mid-season iron man, before quarterlane, you probably want to be heading the race full bulk. And it’s a good timing for that. For anybody’s one placid, it’s absolutely perfect timing to have an actual race where it’s not just a training event. You’re out there and you can actually go and race. There’s plenty of time to recover. It will give you a good indication of where you’re at. And then the other group of people who just want the Kona experience. And the other different thing that we normally do in epic camp is you have to be of a certain standard. Well this camp is pretty much opening up to everybody. And we will be basically dividing all the bike rides into two or three groups. So you’ll in with the appropriate speed of people. So, we are opening because a lot of the rides around and back is a lot more easy to manage whereas on epic camp in France where you go on point to point, people can fall off the back pretty quickly. But we are going to make sure that we cater for everybody. So, it’s going to be awesome.
Ben: I got you. So, pretty much as far as camp fees from you getting to Hawaii and then the fee for the 70.3 race, everything is included in that as far as food and lodging right?
John: Yes, totally. And that’s one of the things we always do in epic camp is we hear the stories of people who have listened to talk of the people on the camp. It’s fully catered. It’s basically turn up. And you don’t have to do anything else for the rest of the camp. We’ve got the staff in place to do all the washing, to do the cooking and cleaning, etc. So you basically just need to kick back. I wouldn’t say relax is the right word. But just kick back and focus on your training and pushing yourself as much as you want for that week. We will certainly try to push a few buttons there as well. But it’s basically kick back and relax and being with the people you know a lot better than I. The last couple of nights we’re going to be staying at the Madulany which is a pretty sweet experience. It’s a pretty nice place to kick back and relax. And in that stage of the camp, we will have a little bit more time to be kicking back as we sort of ease into the race. In the first half of the race, it’s going to be based on downtown Kona and condos. And we will be doing all the classic Kona experience like eating out at lava java, running Ali’i drive, doing all the things that people do when they go to Kona.
Ben: Awesome. And folks, the buffet breakfast at Madulany alone is worth showing up to this camp for. So, remember you can head over to BenGreenfieldFitness.com, hit the show notes for this episode, episode number 169. Or you can email John at [email protected]. And folks, let me just tell you, if you have any interest in Kona, in Ironman Hawaii, in being apart of that very special island, this is the way to do it. And I can tell you right now when I was bombing down from Havy after the turn around in this year’s Ironman Hawaii. I had a great deal of confidence because I have seen that part of the course so many times this 70.3 which is a qualifier for iron man. So, a lot of things to be said for this camp and John I’m looking forward to seeing you down there.
John: That’s going to be good times. So, get on there everybody and I hope to meet lots of your listeners out there.
Ben: Alright. Thanks! So folks that’s going to wrap it up, be sure to leave the podcast a ranking over in iTunes. And again, you can access all of the details for today’s show over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com for podcast episode number 169. Until next time, this is Ben Greenfield wishing you a healthy week.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net