March 28, 2012
Introduction: In this Podcast, what blood test to ask your doctor for when you go in for your physical? Also: what is oil pulling, run/walk protocol, improving tendon and ligament strength, enhancing mobility for Olympic lifting, recovering from hamstring tears, a ketogenic diet for killing cancer cells, compex sport elite for building strength, choosing types of flour, hashimotos and nightshades and c1/c2 vertebrae misalignments.
Brock: Alright everybody, here we go for another episode of the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast. It’s a beautiful sunny spring day and I can’t think of any better way to spend it than talking to my good buddy Ben. How’s it going?
Ben? It’s going well and very limber this morning.
Ben: I started off my day with a little bit of foam rolling and it’s always a love-hate relationship. I’ve got a rumble roller that I usually kind of setup my week when it comes to body cares. I try to get a massage once a week. I’ve got this massage therapist, he’s like a bigIdahoredneck and he’s got really good touch and he reams all my muscles. He’s actually been on the podcast before, Tim Gilles. So I try to meet him once a week and then I generally do some foam rolling a couple times a week as well. And today, that was the way I started off my day but usually, it’s just get up in the morning. First thing I do is cold shower then I grab my mp3 player and usually listen to something kind of motivational.
Brock: Like music motivational like something that pumps you up or more intellectual motivation?
Ben: More of like spiritual motivation.
Ben: So I’ll listen to typically some type of a spiritual uplifting talk while I am stretching and that I move on to the rest of my day. That’s generally how every single morning looks. Shower and meditate/stretch and then move on.
Brock: That sounds like a pretty nice way to start the day.
Ben: I highly recommend that folks think about starting off your day with something like that and it puts you in the right state of mind going forward.
Brock: Yeah! It’s amazing how you can set your day off in a completely wrong direction just by being in a hurry, first of all, like if you get oversleep or don’t get yourself prepared for the day like the days that I don’t set out my breakfast and lunch and snacks and stuff the night before, it always takes me so much longer to get going and I’m never as on the ball for the rest of the day as I am on the days when I actually wake up and like halftime to think things through, relax a little bit, enjoy the morning.
Ben: Yup, exactly and not to get too woo-woo before we move on the news flashes but one of the best feelings or emotions that you can experience to set you up to having a really fantastic day is gratitude. So when you wake up, you find something to be grateful for and if you’re married it’s easy. You’re all over and you give your partner a hug and tell her I love you, him or her, and move on but I mean just finding something to be happy about and grateful for when you start off the day makes a huge difference. So, preacher Ben will shut up now and get on to the news flash.
Brock: Here we go.
Brock: Okay, so there are all kinds of things always happening at Twitter.com/BenGreenfield and also at Google+ and this is our time when we spend a little bit of time going through them. I’ve actually, I don’t know if you actually noticed getting some emails from people thanking us for going through all of these news flashes because they see this stuff pop-up on the Twitter feed or on Google+ and they follow the links and I do the same thing. I’ll click the same thing. It’ll take me to Pubmed, one of those sort of very technical websites. I’ll read through the study and I’ll understand it but I won’t gather all the information so I want to thank you and also pass on the thanks for many of our listeners that have been enjoying you breaking down these studies for them.
Ben: I’m glad somebody’s reading our findings. I actually have kind of like a fun article I wanted to mention that I tweeted about earlier this week. It’s called Ten Stubborn Exercise Myths that Won’t Die. This was an article on LifeHacker, a website that I enjoy quite a bit for technical tips and life tips and it went through ten exercise myths and they were all spot on. It’s very rare that I read a list like that and agree with just about everything. Myth one was no pain, no gain, meaning that you can still benefit from a workout even if it’s making you sore the next day which is very true. Myth number two is that, soreness is caused by lactic acid which we’ve actually known for over a decade is not true but seems to just now be hitting the mainstream.
Ben: So on, this is caused by inflammation for muscle tears, not by lactic acid, which disappears after about five to ten minutes. Exercise is worthless if you can’t do it regularly and that’s been debunked by noting that you can get with as little as 20 minutes of exercise a week if it’s high intensity interval training in terms of getting some benefits. Myth number four, which we’ve talked about quite a bit on this show, is you need a sport drink when you’re exercising to replace your body’s electrolytes and minerals and this also was debunked and I’m glad they mentioned that. Stretching before exercise will prevent injuries and this is one that I think a lot of people still believe but it is very true that even static stretching, dynamic stretching, whatever kind of stretching you want to discuss. I mentioned that I wake up in the morning and stretch. I do it for the relaxation benefits, for lowering your blood pressure and for just kind of starting off the day with a good habit of movement. I don’t do it because I feel like it’s going to make me less likely to get injured though. So stretching before exercise will not prevent injury.
Ben: Go ahead.
Brock: Oh, I was just going to say of the list so far, that is the most stubborn one is you always hear people like Oh, did you stretch first?
Ben: Yeah! I have a good article coming out over at Get Fit Guy over at the QuickandDirtyTips.com website. Next week’s podcast is all about kind of the perfect warm-up, a good one to look into and an alternative to static stretching.
Ben: Myth number six, working out will only build muscle not help me lose weight and that, of course, is not true. One thing that they go to is a huge change in body composition that happens when you workout and the fact that even if the scales aren’t moving, you’re losing quite a bit of body fat.
Brock: And I find that it’s mostly women that believe that. Women are more focused on getting smaller so they’re just concerned about getting bigger that they won’t workout.
Ben: Yeah! Just watch your body in the mirror, not the scale and it’s a huge difference. Myth number seven, exercise will help me lose weight quickly. This is an interesting one. They cited the fact that when you walk a mile, you’ll burn about a hundred calories but if you just sit in a chair, you’ll burn about 60 calories. So one thing they realize is that just moving around isn’t necessarily going to help you lose weight quickly. Things like weight training and high intensity cardiovascular intervals help you lose weight a little bit more quickly but ultimately, diet is a huge component there. Another one is if you’re just exercising and you may not lose weight as quickly as you think especially if it’s just walking. Myth number eight, you need to take supplements to build muscle. This was another one that was disproven. There had been many studies that have shown folks to gain muscle from weight training without many changes in diet when it comes to supplementation.
Ben: Myth number nine, if you don’t exercise when you’re young, it’s dangerous to exercise when you get older.
Ben: Even seniors who exercise or started exercise later in life improved their longevity significantly in a study of over 1,800 seniors that were sited. Even if you’re just getting started into exercising and you’re older, you’re going to do yourself more benefit than harm for sure.
Ben: And then working out at home / working out at the gym is better than working out at home / working out at the gym and this basically was addressing that some people think that home gyms are better, some people think going to the gym is better but basically a study that was done in the annals of Behavioral Medicine found that people with home gyms are more likely to begin to exercise but people who have gym memberships are more likely to stick to exercise. I’m a big fan of just having both.
Brock: Yeah, I’ve actually taken too. I started working out in my office like I’ll do workouts at home sometimes. I do have a gym membership. I always go to the Y for swimming and stuff that I’ve actually started bringing a resistance band to the office most days of the week and I’ll just grab that as amazing amount of stuff that you can get done just standing in the office. I’ll bring a pair of shorts too to change into so I don’t get all stinky and sweaty in my work clothes and I go to a meeting right after but it’s working out everywhere.
Ben: I’m going to invent an exercise keyboard which is really hard to push the letters. We’re going to make it fashionable. So that’s about it for the news flashes and there’s a ton more on Twitter but check out that article on LifeHacker.
Brock: Okay so we do have a few special announcements, not a whole bunch of them this week but there’s a few things that you want to talk about that’s going on or do you want to start?
Ben: Articles this week at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Head over there and read the article that came out on Monday called The Hunger Games – Is Being Hungry Bad? I addressed whether or not you’re supposed to feel hungry, if it’s right to feel hungry, if there’s something wrong with you or your physiology if you are hungry. So I highly recommend that you read that article and another note is that on Friday, the day that we’ve been releasing special audio interviews, released an audio called Eight Ways to get Your Body Operating Like A Finely-Tuned Engine. A few folks have kind of expressed a little bit of annoyance with the two podcasts a week that sometimes, one podcast that comes out on Friday kind of overwrites the Wednesday podcast before they get a chance to listen to the Wednesday podcast. Simple fix for that, if you’re using iTunes which I know a lot of folks use to download the podcast, when it brings up the Wednesday podcast, just right click on that and click the “Do not auto-delete” and then it won’t auto-delete when it downloads the Friday’s podcast so there you go.
Brock: I think there’s a setting that says keep all new podcasts or something like that.
Ben: You can also do that to any podcast that you haven’t listened to will keep so just a little tip. As far as other special announcements, main things are that we are still filling up theThailandadventure that’s going to take place this winter. Brock, myself and a group of other triathletes are going to go to a double triathlon over there a few. Brock’s bringing over his girlfriend, my wife will probably swing down for at least part of the trip and you can join us this winter for a triathlon adventure of a lifetime. I’ll put a link in the show notes to all the details but it will be a hoot and you don’t even have to speak Thai.
Brock: Awesome, even better.
Ben: The next thing is that I mentioned last week that if you want to get a coach or a trainer, we’re offering a 50% discount right now on coach Gram Turner who is a coach at Pacific Elite Fitness and I’ll put that discount code in the show notes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com and that’s episode #188 if you want to get a 50% discount on your first month of coaching or training.
Brock: Gram’s going to be inThailandas well, isn’t he?
Ben: Gram will be in Thailand, yes, along with a few athletes that he’s coaching down in Australia. And then finally, as I mentioned last week, have opened a mastermind group where I’ll be teaching a lot of the principles that I use. I’ll be essentially doing trainings on performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep, sexual health and a lot of other parameters that are very important in terms of optimizing your body and your mind and this is for coaches, for trainers, for people who want to really dig deep into the science of this stuff, learn how to apply it and get a system for working with their clients or their athletes. I’ll be teaching all of this and its two groups of 30 individuals. I have two slots left right now in that group and you can access it over at SuperHumanCoach.com. So check that out and that’s about it for the special announcements.
Listener Q and A:
Brock: Alright! Last week I remember, we complained a little bit that maybe the phones were broken or something was going on because nobody left any listener or any audio questions last week but I guess you must’ve paid the phone bill or something because we got tons of them.
Ben: We fixed it or else we triggered a lot of people to pick up the phone.
Brock: Which is great, this is awesome. Again, if you do want to call in, if you want to do an audio question rather than a text question, you can call 1877-209-9439 or you can Skype to PacificFit and that’s all in the show notes as well so you don’t have to remember that phone number. But let’s get on with it here; the first audio question comes from Matt.
Matt: Hey Ben, Brock, this is Matt fromBostoncalling. I have a question for the podcast. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about blood work and tests that could be run just in general. I’ve been training for a specific competition this season and my body has definitely changed favorably for that from working out and even better and all that fun stuff and I’m going in for my first annual physical in a while a couple of weeks and my doctor is going to probably run through his typical lipid panel and cholesterol but I want to talk to him about other tests that run just to see where I’m at but I don’t really know what to ask for. So I’ll talk about it with him obviously but I’m wondering if you might have any recommendations on a specific test that I could ask to have run or things like that. I’m not looking for anything in particular, just looking for something general, baseline type of stuff that I can watch going forward. So if you have any opinions on that, I would love to hear them. Love the podcast, thanks a lot, bye.
Brock: Alright, good question. What do you think?
Ben: Well, when you go in for your physical exam, it’s usually going to include some routine blood tests. So, just the basic things that you’re probably going to get that your doctor’s going to order unless you specifically tell them not to would be a complete blood count that’s going to give you your red blood cells and your ability to carry oxygen through your body, your white blood cells which are going to give you kind of a little bit of a snapshot of your immune system and your immune system health, your platelets, which are going to kind of show your blood clotting ability and the shapes and the sizes of all these different cells so a complete blood count can help you identify anemia, systemic infection stuff like that and those are good parameters to test and those are good numbers to have. Usually they’ll do a renal panel which will tell you how well your kidneys are functioning. So sodium, potassium, calcium, creatinine, just basically anything that indicates the health of your kidneys and I’d also do that one. Usually they’ll include a liver panel which will measure your liver enzymes. If you’re exercising a lot, those are typically going to be slightly elevated anyways but that basically looks at the health and functioning of your organs, that one also good to look at, good to discuss with your physician if you see numbers that tend to be high. Usually they’ll do a lipid panel as well which will measure your total cholesterol, your LDL cholesterol, your HDL cholesterol and your triglycerides. Some doctors will include also in your lipid panel something called C Reactive Protein which is a marker of inflammation that can indicate your cardiac risk. I would highly recommend that you tell your doc to include that C Reactive Protein in your lipid panel if they’re not. Another one that’s important there is homocysteine which takes the presence of amino acid that’s pretty well-correlated with heart disease risk as well. So make sure that you tell your doctor and you can just jot this down if you’re listening in, have them measure your C Reactive Protein and have them measure your homocysteine Those are two most important ones on that lipid panel. The other important thing, if your doc is willing to do it, is to look at the actual size of the cholesterol particles because that’s really a better indicator of your heart disease risk or the potential for plaque formation, things like that, and then the other numbers that I mentioned. So you ask for a fractionated LDL task which will differentiate the size of the LDL cholesterol particles which is important because the small particles are an ideal.
Brock: The small ones that have the bat on, it’s the big fluffy ones, those are the ones you want.
Ben: Big, fluffy teddy bear cholesterol particles.
Ben: Blood glucose is another one they’ll measure. It would require you to be in a fasted state. This, I think, is fairly useless because it’s a snapshot. It’s supposed to look at how well your body utilizes sugar and if in a fasted state you get your blood glucose tests and it’s high, that’s certainly a red flag but it’s better to just swing by the pharmacy, grab a $15-$20 blood glucose monitor, start to monitor your own blood glucose throughout the day, identify the foods that cause you to have very high spikes in blood sugar or very high fluctuations in blood sugar and eliminate those foods. That’s in my opinion a better way to go about things and get a one-time snapshot of blood glucose at the doc. Sometimes they’ll do urine analysis as well which just looks with things like a little bit of blood and urine, a little red flag but that’s give or take. You’re going to see most of the issues there on the renal panel. So those are the basics and all that stuff is great. If I were going to go in and get like a snapshot of everything now, there are a few extra things that I would do and I think a lot of people don’t realize is you can work one-on-one in a lab, you don’t have to go to a doctor to get some of these tests. For example, there’s one website it’s only available in the US unfortunately for international listeners but it’s called Direct Labs at DirectLabs.com and what you do there is you go to the website and you either call them or you order a test online and then they’ve got several thousand locations across the nation where you can go to one of their lab patient service centers and basically get the blood draw or saliva whatever else it is and get the test that you’ve ordered through DirectLabs.com. So for example, they’ve got one that is a test for men where it will test in addition to the parameters that I already mentioned. You also get your total and free testosterone measured. You can get your DHEA measured, that’s another very important one it’s a hormone produced by your adrenal glands, a precursor to your sex hormones. Both guys and girls should be getting that checked out as part of the test. It’ll measure, for guys which is important for Matt, your PSA or your prostate specific antigen which is a protein that’s made in your prostate gland and it’s a good measure of your prostate cancer risk and there’s also fibrinogen tests that’s included in that which is an important contributor to blood clotting and so that’s another indicator of inflammation in addition to that C reactive protein and homocysteine that I talked about and that’s something that you can simply order as a complete package from Direct Labs. You print off the requisition form and the release and you bring that into your local lab and they just find the test for you. So that’s another option that you could go with. So for example they’ve got one test at DirectLabs.com that’s just called The Male Test and it’s just everything that you’d want tested if you’re going to get tested yourself. It’s like $300 and you should be able to work with your insurance to cover much of that as well and then you just go in and you get tested. In addition, for example, you could just use Direct Labs if you wanted to get like a snapshot of your hormones like a hormone panel. You can do like a salivary hormone panel through then where you get throughout the day six saliva samples collected which is the way you want to do it if you’re going to collect hormones. It’ll do cortisol, DHEA, testosterone. For women, you can look at like progesterone and estradiol and again, you can just print that off and bring it in. So, in addition to the blood test that I mentioned earlier, I would certainly be either asking your doctor to do like a hormone panel or going through a company like this to get a hormone panel. And then there are a few other things that aren’t going to be addressed when you’re going in for your physical exam. Let’s see you’re getting your blood tested via those standard blood panels and then you’re adding in some hormones and saliva testing. We’ve talked with Rick Cohen from Bioletics before about a couple other parameters that are especially important for athletes and people who are exercising a lot who want to optimize their performance. One would be your essential amino acid status which tests basically the levels of your eight essential amino acids and a deficiency in just one of those can cause fatigue and make you more prone to injury or make you unable to build or maintain muscle mass so that is a simple blood stick test that you can do and you can order that through a company like Bioletics. I’ll put a link to them in the show notes. The other one in addition to amino acids that Bioletics does that’s a good one is an essential fatty acid test which looks at kind of like your omega3 to omega6 fatty acid ratio which is really important in terms of your potential for inflammation, your joint health, your ability to recover, even like your mood and your brain function. So in addition to the amino acid status, the fatty acid status is another good one for them. They also have another interesting test called the antioxidant status which is a urine test that allows you to see how well you’re actually buffering antioxidants. So you could add in tests like those through Bioletics. Obviously as I’m going through these, you may be seeing dollar signs floating around your head but to get all this stuff that I’m going through, you might be looking at right around $800-$1000. If you’re doing this maybe like once a year to get a full-body snapshot, I know for a lot of folks who are buying $150 shoes, $4000 bikes that’s relative to those investments, this is a good buy. Then the last thing I’d look at in addition to the things that I mentioned so far would be like your digestive health. There’s a couple of ways that you could go about doing that, one would be to talk to your doctor about Cyrex labs test and you can check that out at CyrexLabs.com, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well but through Cyrex labs, you can basically get a complete screen of your autoimmunity. If you’re creating antigens against specific foods that you’re consuming if you’re sensitive to specific foods. It’s a very complete screen for antigen formation. An alternative to Cyrex labs which is a blood-based test would be a stool-based test which in addition to looking at your potential for food intolerances or food allergies would also test you for things like pathogenic bacteria in your gut, H pylori infection, a yeast fungus infection which also tend to be issues in a lot of folks and that’s just basically a GI panel. There’s a company called MetaMetrics that makes a really good GI panel and I’ll link that one in the show notes as well. Kind of gold standard is you get your standard blood panel from the doc you make sure they added the homocysteine and the C reactive protein either through your doc or through a company like Direct Labs. Add in the hormones. You go through a company like Bioletics, look at your fatty acids, your amino acids and then you go through Cyrex labs or the MetaMetrics labs and you look at your GI health, food intolerances stuff like that but that would be the total snapshot. It sounds annul, it sounds like way too many parameters to look at but I mean if you really want a complete snapshot, that’s what I’d do and if you go to one of these super spendy longevity institutes or whatever, I mean really, those are the tests that they’re ordering and you can walk yourself through doing most of that at home for like one thirtieth of the cost you’re going to pay at one of these spendy institutes like Xenogenics or something like that.
Brock: Now the Canadian Health Care System is very different from the American Health Care System and I think it’d be hard for us to actually find a lot of these tests anywhere to actually get these done without some sort of a medical reason. That’s one of the problems with the socialized medical system here in Canada.
Ben: Yeah, but I’m pretty sure you can do like the Bioletics testing and stuff like that, like anything that you order that you’re taking care of through your home. Obviously shipping is going to be the killer on that because you’re shipping back and forth through labs in the US but I think you could probably pull this off in Canada. I know we’ve got Canadian listeners and international listeners worldwide. Obviously some of the stuff that I just went over is really domestic of US-based so I would say if you are an international listener, if you’re maybe a physician, holistic medical practitioner, naturopathic doc whatever and you’re ordering a lot of these tests in no ways that people can access them internationally, leave them as a comment to the show notes to this podcast, podcast #188 and we’ll try and get folks who are international some resources in addition to the ones I just laid out for, for the domestic listeners.
Brock: That’d be awesome, yeah. Cool, let’s move on to our next question then. Our next audio question comes from Dave.
Dave: Hey there Ben and Brock! This is Dave in Oregon calling with the question for you about the topic of oil pulling. I had looked at kind of a top 20 list of things to do with coconut oil and oil pulling was on that list and further I delve into this one. It looks like an interesting curiosity as opposed to benefits to this. In your usual way Ben, I was wondering if you could do some research on miss versus reality on this. Does sound like some possible benefits but I kind of rank this one up there with kombucha which is an interesting curiosity as well but all the health benefits are all unproven by the Food and Drug Administration but nevertheless, the triathletes all say it’s good, it’s worth checking out. Thanks guys for making good my point.
Brock: Now I have to admit, I’ve never heard of oil pulling so I had to Google it and I still am baffled.
Ben: Yeah, it’s pretty simple. You’re essentially just like swishing oil around in your mouth similar to the way that you would use like a mouthwash. Specifically, they’ll usually recommend like a sesame oil or sunflower oil and what you do is you get about a tablespoon of it and you rinse your mouth for about 15-20 minutes with this stuff. So you’re trying to mix the oil really thoroughly with the saliva and you’re switching it and rinsing it and the way that you do it is you put the oil in your mouth with whatever it is like a spoon or whatever and you tilt your chin up and then you swish and then you suck and you try and pull it through your teeth like you clench your teeth and you’ll just like push it in and out. Many of us have done this before like water or juice or something like that but you’re just doing the same thing with oil and the oil kind of changes consistency and you’re essentially pulling it back and forth with your teeth using the swishing action of your mouth then after you do that, you rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. You can brush your teeth afterwards and typically this is something that you would do on a daily basis. Now they’ve done a lot of studies on this. Most of the studies really have been done in India because this is a common practice there but it has been shown to reduce the total count of bacteria in the teeth and to reduce the susceptibility to dental cavities. So, it’s certainly an alternative to something like mouthwash, for example, and whereas doing it on a daily basis might be pretty annoying, there’s certainly not going to be any risk to incorporating this maybe once a week if you’re concerned about mouth bacteria or if you’re more prone to cavities or dental caries. The only issue I have with this is if you’ve got a bunch of bacteria in your mouth that’s pretty indicative of an underlying issue because bacteria in your mouth are what are used to convert carbohydrates like glucose or fructose or most commonly like sucrose into acids, these carbohydrates essentially like ferment in your mouth and basically acids are left in contact with your teeth, there’s demineralization and that demineralization is what can cause enough mineral content to be lost where your tooth begins to disintegrate and forms like a cavity or a hole. So having glucose and fructose and sucrose kind of stuck in your teeth a lot and staying in there for long periods of time is going to cause these carbohydrate-fermenting bacteria to be more prevalent in your mouth. So the issue is while oil pulling will certainly help to remove a lot of that bacteria, the underlying issue is why the heck do your teeth have a bunch of sugar on them in the first place and this is actually one of the reasons, among other reasons including just the expense, that I don’t really do a lot of like gels and sport drinks and stuff like that in my training for triathlon. I really only use that stuff when I’m racing and part of it is tooth health. I mean when you’re just shoving sugar in your mouth for five hours on a bike ride every weekend, that’s not all that hot for your teeth and the amount of bacteria that you can produce in your mouth. I’d much rather have half a can of coconut milk with some protein powder and then halfway through the ride throw down a handful of nuts which is totally doable and acid aside on that, by the way I’m getting a really great guy in the show next week to talk about how to train in a fat-adapted state. We’re going to really geek out on this stuff next week, but ultimately here’s the deal with the oil pulling. It’s not going to hurt you, it’s going to help remove some of the bacteria from your mouth and reduce your risk of cavities but don’t use oil pulling as an excuse to be consuming a lot of sugars even if those sugars are just consumed during exercise. So it’s just better for your teeth and there are the benefits as well when it comes to your teeth. Just think about that and what gels and sport drinks may be doing to them.
Brock: It’s like we’re after the cause rather than treating the symptom.
Ben: Right, exactly. Not to say that everyone isn’t going to get a little bit of bacteria in their mouth but I don’t see a reason to be oil pulling everyday. This is something that if you want to try it out, you don’t experiment with it maybe once a week and make sure you’re not eating a lot of fermentable carbohydrates.
Brock: Cool! I might give that a try. I’m curious to see if I could actually stay with it for 20 minutes. That’s a long time to hold something in your mouth.
Ben: Yeah! I’ve never done it. I’ve had some clients that have experimented with it and as I mentioned in the show before, I use like a fluoride-free charcoal toothpaste, it’s actually tooth powder. I haven’t been to the dentist in ten years because I don’t really have any teeth problems. I don’t eat many carbohydrates and I brush my teeth with charcoal powder and that’s about it.
Brock: I use that same charcoal powder and I did go to the dentist a couple of weeks ago and I got read the riot act from the dentist when she said “Oh look now, what toothpaste do you use?” and I told her and she, am the hygienist laid into me and I just laid there and I just closed my eyes and like “Okay, I know you have to do this so I’ll let you go do it.”
Ben: Tell you what, if you’re a new listener and you’re listening in, go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and do a search for fluoride. My wife and I did a podcast on fluoride that I recommend you listen to.
Ben: And it’s basically the reason why it doesn’t go near our mounds and some dentist didn’t like that podcast.
Brock: I don’t suppose they did. Alright, so I think that’s it for the oil pulling. Let’s move on to the next audio question from Jen.
Jen: Hi Ben, this is Jen. I have a question for the podcast show which I love, thank you very much by the way, I love the show. I have been out of running for quite some time now due to an injury and going to start again pretty soon so I have a friend who has a coach who recommended for her when she stopped running for a while to do from walk/run for 20 minutes everyday, so his idea for her was very frequent short runs to get her going again and she did that for about four weeks then she went to 30-minute runs straight through and then up from there but for quite a period of time, he had her doing a very frequent running but short everyday as a matter of fact and she had some really great success. I mean, her technique was not grouped the greatest in the world then after this regime, she ended up becoming a great runner. So I was wondering if that is a good approach for someone like me and I probably would have to know a little more information but just in general, is that a good approach maybe a couple of weeks running a couple times or every other day then going to that frequent running approach just to teach your body how to run properly and to get back to running again. Thank you so much Ben, I appreciate it and I really enjoy you being on the show, Brock as well too. Thanks, bye.
Ben: Yeah, the walk/run protocol, I like it. I like a walk/run protocol and really, when I’m doing an Ironman race, I do walk, basically the aid stations. I walk them very quickly but walk breaks work because you use muscles in a different way than you use them when you’re running and when a muscle group like your calve is used continuously during something like a marathon or run, it fatigues pretty soon and when the weak area is get overused, you slow down later on in something like half marathon or marathon or whatever, so you’re shifting back and forth between your walking and your running muscles, you’re distributing the workload among the variety of different muscles and you can improve your ability to perform and there’s people who run/walk like two hour and 30-minute marathons, you can do this. I haven’t had a guy in the show before, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and do a search for speed walking. He just walked a marathon in like three hours. There are run/walk/run ratios that can be used depending on how fast you want to walk/run a mile and those ratios are going to range depending on who’s system that you use but there are two coaches that are kind of prevalent in terms of guys who’ve really looked into this whole run/walk scenario quite a bit and generated some good suggestions or some good charts. One guy’s name is Jeff Galloway, another guy’s name is Bobby McGee and they’re both great running coaches period. For example, Jeff Galloway has a chart where for example, if you want to run a nine-minute mile, you’re doing a four-minute run and a one-minute walk. You’re doing like a 13-minute mile, it’s more of like a one-to-one ratio of running to walking. I’ll link to a good little article that Jeff Galloway wrote about taking walk breaks and kind of how to incorporate them in the show notes to episode #188 but essentially what it comes down to is the same strategy can be used if you’re just getting back into running and trying to get fit again and get back into running without actually running as hard as you can for ten minutes and just stopping because you’re completely fatigued. A long time ago, I guess it was three years ago, I hurt my IT band and then I quit running for several months and when I got back into it, I certainly used run/walk ratios all the way up until I was doing almost an hour of run/walking. Now I was using a four-to-one ratio. I was jogging for about four minutes and then walking for one minute and then returning back to jogging/running for four minutes and kind of going back and forth between the two. There are other suggestions that you use like a ten-minute running, one-minute walking ratio and that would be more of like what Bobby McGee recommends but if you’re just getting back into things, essentially your run/walk ratios are going to be closer and closer to being equal and then as you get more and more fit, the amount of time you spend running goes up, the amount of time you spend goes down so you would extend that from a one-to-one up to maybe like a four-to-one or five-to-one and then you could go all the way up to a ten-to-one if you wanted to. I personally, after I got up to the point where I was running five minutes and then walking one minute, I just started to eliminate the walk breaks and just go into a straight up run but there are some like Ironman triathletes and good runners who are continuing to do like a ten-minute running, one-minute walking scenario in all the long runs leading up to something like an Ironman triathlon or a marathon and then also using that same ten-minute running, one-minute walking scenario even doing something like a race. Super important thing, whether you’re just getting fit or whether they’re using this for performance, single most important thing that you can remember to do if you’re going to use a run/walk strategy is you need to walk quickly, swinging your arms in the same way that you would swing them when you’re running like elbows bent at 90 degrees, arms up swinging and what that does is it maintains the same type of neuromuscular activity that you’re going to be using when you go back into running and it keeps you from running slower once you actually do start running. So run/walk scenario involves more like, kind of like speed walking, I think you know exactly what I’m talking about Brock.
Brock: Yeah, I love watching those guys.
Ben: Super fast ladies or guys walking around your neighborhood but that’s how you should look when you’re using a run/walk scenario, your walks should not be like these slow plods. It’s like a fast stride rate and basically walking at a fairly fast pace before you go back into running but that’s enough to kind of get your core temperature down, to shift you to using some extra muscles, give the run muscles a break and then you start running again.
Brock: Yeah, the ten-in-one method is so popular in some other races here in Canada, there’s actually pace bunnies. You’ll actually have to determine which pace bunny you’re going to follow if it’s the continuous pace bunny or the ten-in-one pace bunny as there are just so many people doing the ten-in-one run/walk ratio.
Ben: Yeah and the most successful ones that I’ve seen in terms of the guys who are going the fastest with this, they’ll use a ten-one run/walk ratio up until about the 20-mile mark and then the 20-mile mark just finish up by running the whole thing like fast, like finishing out the last 10k running fast so those of you who are maybe looking at using something like this for a competitive marathon, that’s the way you’d do it.
Brock: Yeah! When you start to hurt, the last thing you’d want to do is take a walk break because you won’t get going again.
Brock: Okay, cool. Let’s move on to the next question from Jared.
Jared: My name is Jared. Since looking to improve tendon and ligament strength, durability and improve the rate of healing and so I guess my question is what is the best way to do that and my assumption is that there would be multifold stretches. I started a stretching program as if why I begin to exercise until I was told that ballet dancers never seem to get injured. Why? Because they warm up so much three minutes before they even start activity. So I started a good stretching program to get the hamstring, knees, the calves, the vital threshold and then as well supplementation. I started taking GNC mega men joint complex which is a supplement and part with multivitamins and partly has glucosamine chondroitin so I kind of want to know what your thoughts are on that supplement glucosamine chondroitin. Specifically there’s GNC mega men joint complex. And then what about diet? My diet is alien vegetarian but I’ve also thrown in a little bit of fish and chicken just to make sure I get the necessary collagen in my body. So that’s my question is tendon and ligament strength, durability and healing and how to best improve and what your thoughts should be on this. Thanks, bye.
Ben: So this is a cool question and I’ll certainly give you some recommendations in terms of activity, diet and supplements and really, the first most important thing is your activity and strength training is going to be your first line of defense against a tendon getting weak or connective tissue becoming weak. Strength training is going to improve your muscle, your bone, your tendon, your ligament strength and it’s going to prevent injury, super important for that. In terms of the type of strength training that you’re going to do, sky’s the limit as long as you’re loading the muscle and loading it from different angles and different ways using a variety of different methods and tools like body weight and kettle bells or bells or medicine balls or barbells or whatever, it’s going to really significantly help. So tendons connect to your bones and muscles and you use your bones and muscles when you’re strength training as your leavers and so that’s super important. When your strength training mobility is also going to be important, I believe we have a question about Olympic weight training later on and I’ll touch on mobility in greater detail when I respond to that. Mobility is going to improve your tissue and your muscle and your tendon extensibility and I’m not talking about necessarily getting into yoga but I’m talking about doing some type of preparation before your strength training and or follow-up after your strength training, that is training your joints to move through at least a normal range of motion. That’s more of the issue with ensuring that you’re able to have your tendons have normal function. Recovery, super important, strength training, you’re going to pull out a lot of stress. It’s going to cause micro tears in your tendons. We mentioned that lactic acid is what causes soreness, it sets inflammation from the micro tears and so doing things like foam rolling like massage, like some timed ice therapy and things of that nature going to help you to recover from these strength training sessions and ensure that these micro tears are not kind of accumulating and causing or increasing risk of injury. So number one would be strength training that should go without saying. Next, as far as your connective tissue is concerned, collagen is super important. Your bones and your skin, everything is composed primarily from connective tissue when we’re talking about this. Even organs have connective tissue but tendons and ligaments are just basically connective tissue structures and collagen is the most important type of fiber that’s going to be found within connective tissue. When you’re looking at collagen fibers, they’re made from protein and there’re two specific amino acids that are really predominant in collagen fibers and they’re lysine and proline. So if you have inadequate levels of lysine or proline in your diet, then you’re going to have a tougher time promoting a healthy collagen support. So first of all animal foods, any animal foods – sardines, fish, beef, bison, yak, chicken, turkey, whatever, all of those are going to have proline and lysine in them. So if meat is a part of your diet, then you’re definitely going to be giving yourself a step up when it comes to collagen support. There are some plants or more like vegan or vegetarian sources of proline or lysine as well. If you’re like an ovo-vegetarian or you’re able to eat eggs, eggs are a really great source of proline and that would be one way to at least support the proline part of the collagen fibers. Another one is wheat germ. Wheat germ is really high in proline but there are some other issues with wheat and then we interviewed with Dr. William Davis about some of the issues of wheat and those are going to still be inherent in something like wheat germ so I wouldn’t necessarily be relying on that for your proline content. Another plant food category that is high in amino acids but is high in a different type of amino acid, the other type, the lysine is legumes. Interestingly, peanuts are fairly high in lysine and that would be another option in terms of like a non-meat protein source. The issue with peanuts is they’re a little bit higher in omega6 fatty acids because they’re an underground nut, they tend to have potential for being a little bit higher in a specific type of mold called aflatoxin, so if you’re going to use a peanut, use one that is grown in a drier, arid climate. Like arrowhead mills makes a decent peanut butter that that’s way. Maranatha is another brand but peanuts would be a decent source of the lysine from that perspective. One other important to think about when you’re looking at getting your lysine and your proline to support your collagen formation is that proline or lysine need to be converted into their active forms in collagen, it’s basically hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine respectively. Vitamin C is very important in that conversion and so it would be ideal for you also to be getting a good source of vitamin C or even taking like a whole food vitamin C source in your diet so that you are able to convert those proteins, those amino acids into their respective collagen components. So from a dietary standpoint, I would be including things like the animal foods, eggs, legumes to a limited extent. Just making sure that you’re careful if you’re using like beans to soak them and peanuts to get this ones out from like a dry, arid climate and then the other really important thing in terms of like a collagen-building meal plan are specific phytonutrients which are plant components and the two that are most important for collagen formation are catechins and anthocyanidins. So catechins, you’re going to find these in pretty decent levels in green tea. So if you can drink green tea, use a green tea extract. Maybe get some matcha green tea and use something like that on a daily basis, that’s going to be a great collagen support food. Anthocyanidins are going to be found primarily in the really dark-colored berries and dark-colored fruits, so like cherries, blue berries, black berries, stuff like that. Now here’s the interesting thing about connective tissue and supporting connective tissue. Connective tissue weakness is one of the main reasons that like women get cellulite and so all of the recommendations that I just gave, egg whites, peanuts, dark berries, collagen-supporting foods rich in proline and lysine as well as strength training are all going to be really good at controlling cellulite as well as improving the tendon issues.
Ben: Yeah, so there you go. There’s a little bonus for you ladies.
Brock: No whammy.
Ben: Now you, Jared, also asked about supplements and mentioned that you are taking this GNC mega men joint. There are certainly some supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin that may help to support your joint flexibility and also help to rebuild cartilage and preserve your joint function. I took a look at this stuff and it’s basically glucosamine and chondroitin as well as fish oil and a multivitamin complex that does have some vitamin C in it. Now there’s always a red flag when you’re looking at the stuff that you’re getting from like GNC because with all due respect, I guess it’s kind of disrespectful, most of it is crap in terms of the ingredients that they’ve sourced. So while the idea behind using fish oil, glucosamine, chondroitin and like a multivitamin complex that has a good dose of vitamin C in it makes sense when it comes to supplementation for your joint, this is the wrong way to go about it. So here’s why, first of all, the fish oil that they use in that stuff is basically the cheap form of fish oil, it’s called an ethyl ester form of fish oil. I’ve talked about this on the show before but it’s far less absorbed, far less bio-available than when you use what’s called a triglyceride-based fish oil or just eat fish. So, I would recommend that you get your hands in like Pharmax is a good brand, Super Essentials by Living Fuel, that’s a good brand. Both of those are examples of a triglyceride-based fish oil rather than an ethyl ester-based fish oil. Glucosamine chondroitin, that comes from basically like a collagen that’s like a cartilage, it’s kind of ground up and some shellfish and stuff like that. I personally, especially when I’m injured, do use a form of glucosamine chondroitin but it’s formed from what’s called a type two chicken collagen and it comes from chickens that don’t have any growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides and it’s a whole food concentrate form of collagen. Super important in terms of ensuring that you don’t get autoimmune reaction against the glucosamine chondroitin that you’re consuming because ironically, that can cause joint pain. So that’s why I use a brand called Capraflex for that, for my glucosamine chondroitin source. I’ll put a link to Capraflex in the show notes but that’s what I recommend. Full disclosure on Capraflex, they’re a sponsor of mine, they sponsor me for racing in triathlon but regardless, it’s fantastic in terms of actually offering you glucosamine chondroitin that isn’t going to cause your body to mount an autoimmune reaction against what you’re consuming. And then the last thing is the multivitamin component of this GNC mega men joint thing, you really want to be careful with multivitamins. In most commercial brands which is what this is, they’ve done some things whether it allows the vitamin supplements to be produced easier and faster and cheaper, makes it more appealing to the eye in terms of the colorants that are added or easier to swallow in terms of the coatings that are added. Most of them have a lot of unnecessary additives and fillers. Hydrogenated oils you’re going to find in these like partially hydrogenated soy bean oil is one of the major fillers in the vitamin rather than a ground-up whole food complex which is what typically the higher quality multivitamins have. Usually you’re going to get artificial colors and those are typically derived from coal tar which is fairly toxic. High levels of magnesium stearate which essentially kind of coats your digestive tract and limit absorption from any of the other nutrients or foods that you’re eating and then an oxide of titanium called titanium oxide that basically your body treats as a heavy metal and it has some amount of toxicity as well. So the way that you get around that is you either use a liquid multivitamin or you use like a whole food multivitamin. A whole food multivitamin usually, they’re kind of annoying because you got to take a bunch of capsules of them but there’s a lot of brands out there that have a lot of good quality whole food multivitamin. Now I personally don’t take a multivitamin, I don’t think that anybody except like kids and people who are pushing 70+ years old as the digestive absorption declines, I don’t really think that anybody other than that really need to take a multivitamin. My kids take a liquid multivitamin and I also really like the idea of a liquid multivitamin for older individuals as well but otherwise if you’re eating a healthy diet and kind of supplementing with some of the things that people tend to be deficient in like some extra vitamin D and some extra magnesium, you don’t really need to take a multivitamin. So from a supplementation standpoint, I’d just take something like the Capraflex and a good triglyceride-based fish oil or just like include fish in your diet three or four times a week and that is how you would improve your tendon and ligament and connective tissue strength in addition to strength training and eating a lot of proline and lysine rich foods.
Brock: Okay. While we’re on that train of thought, let’s roll right in to Bob’s question because it’s sort of on the same lines.
Bob: Hey Ben and Brock, this is Bob calling from sunnySingaporeand I’ve got a question about Olympic weight lifting. I am now, as a 45-year old who is fairly inflexible, trying to learn the Olympic lifts the snatch and the clean and jerk and my question is this, what would your recommendations be from a mobility standpoint to get to require flexibility of the piece that I’m really struggling with is the overhead squat and come on down into that full squat position below parallel that you need for the Olympic lifting and sure it’s just used probably for my ankles up through my shoulder curl but with real value and the opinions or recommendations that you have to get on the right track. Thanks very much and just catching up on for things about the podcast.
Ben: Okay so Olympic lifting, we’ve talked about it on the show before but Olympic weight lifting is kind of too competition list. The snatch, which is where you lift a weight off the ground over your head and it requires a great deal of shoulder mobility but you’re also in an overhead squat position so there’s a lot of hip and back flexibility required for that lift as well and then the clean and jerk where you’re doing a similar motion as the snatch. You’re picking the weight up off the ground but you’re bringing it up to your chest and then jerking it or pushing it overhead as you split your legs apart. So Olympic weight lifting requires a great deal of athleticism, mobility and flexibility and so your question is relevant in a lot of Olympic weight lifters need to work quite a bit on mobility. Now Bob, I’m going to give you recommendations but as with anything I’ve discussed so far in the show, I’ll put links to everything I’ve discussed in the episode for this podcast, podcast #188 over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Now the main reason I’m bringing that up is I’m going to put two videos in the show notes for you that are really good videos in terms of kind of showing you a few tips when it comes to mobility for Olympic weight lifting but here are my recommendations. Now I originally learned how to snatch, clean and jerk, do the Olympic weight lifts and do a lot of power lifting when I was working as an intern for the University of Idaho Strength and Conditioning Program. So for about two years I was working with the football teams and some of the track and field down there, basically kind of like helping to supervise weight room activities and working with the strength coach down there and the coaches are pretty good at teaching me how to do a lot of these lifts that a lot of the players were doing and so I got a chance to practice these quite a bit and kind of experience how it feels when you’ve got poor mobility and you’re doing things like a snatch and a clean and jerk and how it feels when you’ve got good mobility. So here are some of the areas you want to work. First of all, your thoracic spine or your mid spine is super important and anybody listening in who’s doing any type of full-body weight training is going to benefit from this stuff but here’s how you improve your thoracic spine mobility. Okay, you need a foam roller and you lie down on your back on the foam roller. You get into a bridging position okay, so you’re kind of like arching your back and you’re rolling the foam roller up and down your back as your hips are lifted up off the ground 10, 20 times before you start your weight training. Now you’re going to feel, if you’re doing this right and you’ve got poor thoracic mobility, you’ll kind of feel some pops along your spine as you’re doing this. If you want to increase mobility even more and you’re not really feeling much of a stretch as you’re rolling this foam roller up and down your back, you can put your arms up and over your head or you can even like hold on to like a bar like the bar you’re going to be lifting as you foam roll up and down your back with your arms held over your head. So that’s a really good way to improve your thoracic spine mobility, I would certainly be doing that one before you lift. When you’re doing this exercise that I mentioned called the clean and jerk where you’re lifting a weight off the ground and then kind of having it sit on your shoulders or your collar bone area, you’re also going to be in that same position where you’re doing like a front squat, when you’re doing an overhead press with a barbell but big issue with getting your elbows out in front of your body like that is your triceps flexibility and adhesions in your triceps, immobile fascia or connective tissue in your triceps, and what you can do is a little bit of trigger point deep tissue stuff for the back of your arms. Easy way to do this is you take that bar that you’re going to be lifting and assuming it’s racked on a bench or racked somewhere, you can just put your triceps like the back of your arms on that bar and kind of roll your triceps up and down that bar, you’ll find some areas where they’re really tight, really adhese, it’s a slightly uncomfortable exercise to do but tight triceps can really decrease your shoulder mobility and keep you from getting your elbows out in front of your body. It’s also a good move for swimmers to do is to make sure that you’re doing a little bit of foam rolling or some type of trigger point on your triceps. You’re going to find that it helps you to really get your arms up and passing over your head if you have trouble with that when you’re swimming. Okay, the next big thing for Olympic lifting, as I mentioned, you got to be in kind of like that squat position. Biggest thing that’s going to limit your ability to get into that squat position is your ankle mobility, okay. That’s a huge issue with runners as well. If you’re a runner and you see pictures of you running and you tend to like throw your feet out to the side as you’re running, big issue with that is typically ankle mobility. So there’s a couple of ways that you can improve your ankle mobility, one is to just get into a deep crouching position like deep crouching position. If you want to put a little bit more strain on yourself when you’re in this position, you can take like a light object like a PVC pipe and hold that overhead so you can actually work on your hip and your back flexibility while you’re on a deep crouching position but when you’re in that deep crouching position, what you can do is you can actually mobilize your ankle while it’s in a position of restriction and the way that you do that is you take like a band like an elastic band or elastic tubing and you put that around your ankle like around kind of the area just above your foot and when you’re in that deep crouch position, you try and push your ankle forward against that resistance while at the same time you crouch so that the ankle is bent and what you’re going to find is that you’ll feel almost like the connective tissue on the right and left side of your ankle getting pulled as you kind of move yourself around in that crouching position and you can even like use your elbows against the insides and outsides of your thighs to help to push your ankles in all directions but that’s a really good movement for improving your ankle mobility and one that you could try for Olympic training are also for like just becoming a better runner with better ankle mobility. The other thing that can really help with your ankle mobility and I do this quite a bit is just a little bit of foam roller on like your lower Achilles tendon or your lower, that can help out a ton. You just put your leg on top of that foam roller and roll it up and down to improve your ankle mobility. Last thing Bob, is I would say your hip mobility. I wouldn’t do this exercise before you would do your Olympic weight training because any type of static stretching like yoga, kind of it as we eluded to in that myths article that reference, it can decrease the amount of force you can produce and decrease your performance when you’re doing like static stretching and stretch holds before you do something powerful or something that requires a lot of strength but you can do basically a yoga stretch, it’s called “the pigeon” and for those of you who haven’t seen this before, what it looks like is you get into like kind of a down dog position, almost like a push-up position with your hips up. You take one of your knees and just put it underneath your body and then you lay down on top of that leg, so you’re using your own body weight to stretch out the side of your hips and where your IT band detaches to your hip and that can help a ton in terms of when you get in that position, you hold it for 20 or 30 seconds then you do the same thing for the other side, it can really help you improve mobility in your hips so that you can do a better job getting into that deep squat position. So I’ll put a couple videos in the show notes that walk you through some other mobility ideas for becoming a better Olympic weight lifter but those are my recommendations in terms of working on your thoracic spine or your mid back mobility, your shoulder mobility, your ankle mobility and your hip mobility.
Brock: Pigeon stretch is one of my favorite stretches, I absolutely love it but why is it called pigeon?
Ben: I haven’t the slightest, I haven’t figured it out.
Brock: It doesn’t look anything like a pigeon.
Brock: Maybe a dead broken pigeon.
Ben: I have no clue but those yoga exercises whatever, the flying monkey and the crouching frog and all that stuff. Who knows? I am not the expert when it comes to that stuff.
Brock: You just made those two up. Alright, our next question comes from Chuck.
Chuck: Hey Ben, this is Chuck and I have a question for the podcast next week and the first is I’m working with an athlete who’s trying to maybe come back after an injury in college and trying to get in the NBA. He’s pretty much recovered from a hamstring tear. I was wondering if you have any exercise suggestions to make sure he doesn’t re-injure it and to maintain his strength. The other is, and I apologize if you’ve covered this in the featured show because it seems familiar but I’m not sure because it doesn’t show from all the research that I have been doing on it lately but my grandmother has cancer, lung cancer, we just found out about six months ago and I’ve done a lot of research that says that low carb ketogenic-style diet can actually starve out the cancer because the glucose is renewed which would feed the cancer cells and thus feeding on the outside of a diet would lead to killing the cells although it’s not familiar, it’s really done here as much in America. Just wondering if you had any input on this and if so, or any other suggestions you have, I’ll go search on the website right after this call but I’d really appreciate any feedbacks especially on the ketogenic diet. So thanks a lot Ben, appreciate what you guys do with Brock. Way to go!
Brock: So actually I guess it’s really two questions that he’s got here, one about hamstring and one about ketogenic diet for cancer. Do you want to tackle one first or?
Ben: Sure! The hamstring issue, it’s pretty straight forward really. It totally depends on the grade of the hamstring tear. So you can get like a grade 1 tear and that’s just like a strain or a slight pole, I’m guessing that wasn’t the case here if your friend is coming back. He didn’t say whether it was a full tear.
Ben: I don’t think if I missed it but typically, that’s just the same way you would treat any muscle, a little rest, a little ice, some compression, some elevation, a little bit of active therapy, light riding that type of thing, light bicycle riding. In a grade two injury, there’s going to be a lot more tearing that’s occurred but it’s not a complete tear of the hamstring and that typically requires at least three or four days of rest keeping the injured leg elevated and just avoiding activity and sports for a good one to two weeks in terms of applying a lot of unpredictable force on the muscle. And then grade three, that would be like a pretty severe injury. A lot of times there’s a surgery that’s associated with that, it can take months to heal, you’ve got swelling, you’ve got usually some discoloration of the hamstring and with that, you’re going to want to talk to your physical therapist. I assume if it’s a grade three hamstring tear, your friend has a physical therapist and I would be working with them because they’re going to have modalities like ultrasound, like sport legs which is going to combine compression and ice at the same time on the hamstring. They’re going to be able to do a lot of modalities that will speed up healing. A couple of things that you may want to consider with the hamstring, one thing in particular would be a low level laser radiation. Dr. Jeff Spencer who’s been on this show, who worked with the Tour de France for eight years with Lance Armstrong’s team, whichever they won, he was their team therapist as well as Dr. David Minkoff who’s been on this show a few times, they’re big into using these low level lasers to essentially use light and light waves to improve heat circulation and decrease pain and speed up healing in soft tissue injuries and so if you can find a local practitioner in your area, a lot of chiropractic docs have these but if you some laser therapy on like a healing strain such as a hamstring, that can help out quite a bit. And the other thing that I would recommend that you do because his chalk-full of really good advice is we’ve got a new segment over at EndurancePlanet.com which is Ask the Doctor with Dr. David Minkoff and seems like every episode, he’s been answering questions about these muscle strains and muscle tears and he’s got a lot of really cool things that he does like injections with essentially like a sugar-water complex.
Brock: How about prolotherapy?
Ben: Prolotherapy yeah, and laser light therapy and a lot of stuff that may help you in addition to some of the physical therapy modalities that you may see in physical therapy which are also really good and clinically proven to speed up the injury healing time as well. So those are things that I would think about with the hamstring injury but ultimately, it really depends on the grade of the strain and once you’re back into activity, biggest thing I can tell you is to address what probably caused the hamstring issue in the first place which is hip mobility, either making sure that your sacroiliac joint is moving properly, making sure that your lower spine is moving properly that may mean that you actually meet with a chiropractic physician for some adjustments and then get a lot of foam rolling kind of done in the hip area and strengthen the butt a ton, lots of kick-outs, lots of side kick-outs with lateral lunges, things that are going to improve your glute strength and help to relieve some of the work that like the lower hip extensors and knee flexors, the hamstring areas that tend to get torn more easily will have to undergo. So, those are my recommendations for that and of course the flipside of this question is a complete 180 from answering that ketogenic diet and cancer.
Ben: I’ve talked about a ketogenic diet before on the show and how when you restrict your carbohydrate intake to anywhere from like ten up to a maximum of about 40 grams a day, that’s a maximum of around 250 calories from carbohydrate. What can happen is your body does not really have glucose to burn as a fuel, it begins to use ketone bodies as a source of energy and cancer cells basically, metabolically rely upon glucose as energy. So except for leukemia cells which actually are able to metabolize fat, most cancer cells are not going to be able to grow when your body is in a state of ketogenesis. Now remember that ketogenesis is not eating a high protein diet because it’s very simple for your body through gluconeogenesis to make glucose out of protein. Ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate to low protein, very low carbohydrate diet and while restricting glucose is not necessarily going to kill the existing cancer cells as cancer cells need very little glucose to stay alive, it could still prevent you from building more cancer cells and there is quite a bit of evidence and research out there that suggests that a ketogenic diet regimen could prevent tumor growth, not necessarily kill cancer but prevent growth. A lot of times you’re going to see that a ketogenic diet is going to include quite a bit of supplementation with something like coconut oil or like medium-chain triglyceride oil. One of the reasons for that is unlike a lot of other sources of fat, coconut oil has a medium-chain triglycerides and so these medium-chain fats or medium-chain triglycerides are a little bit easier for your body to metabolize and make you a little bit easier to be in a ketogenic state just because you’re able to use those as a fuel source more readily and so a lot of times you’ll see a good amount of coconut oil or medium-chain triglyceride oil as something that can be consumed and kind of keep your energy levels up on something like a ketogenic diet especially when you’re taking in as few carbohydrates as you’re going to want to take in if you’re doing this to reduce cancer cell growth. There’s another form of therapy that you may want to think about and I’ve seen a little bit of research that’s been done on this for lung cancer but it’s basically controlled amino acid therapy and it’s based off the fact that cancer cells require a few different types of amino acids specifically serine, glycine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid. They require those four amino acids to synthesize the DNA and to produce new blood vessels and to replicate the proteins for the cancer cell tumor growth. What controlled amino acid therapy means is that you restrict your intake of those specific amino acids, so you really limit your daily intake of protein but you make sure that you’re still getting in the amino acids that are all the amino acids except for those specific amino acids. And you could, like I could go into controlled amino acid therapy for the next hour but just kind of jot that down or Google it for now if you want to or use the Google Scholar to look up on the studies that have been done on it but controlled amino acid therapy hand-in-hand with the ketogenic diet therapy would be something that I would certainly look into if this were my grandma. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a physician, I’m not qualified in any way to treat cancer but I would, if I found out that my grandma had lung cancer, I would call her up on the phone and talk to her quite a bit about ketogenic diet and some controlled amino acid therapy. So, hopefully that points you in the right direction and gives you some stuff to work with.
Brock: Awesome. Great question Chuck, thanks. Alright, our next question comes from John.
John: Hey Ben, my name is John. I use my Compex Sport Elite primarily for recovery using the active recovery plus and massage protocols. I’m just going to see if you recommended any of the other programs such as the strength building programs for endurance building and strength building and if so, what type of protocol do you suggest for that? Thanks so much.
Brock: Compex Sport Elite, are you familiar with that one?
Ben: I own one.
Brock: Oh, there you go.
Ben: It’s a muscle stimulator.
Ben: It’s kind of an expensive muscle stimulator because it’s got a bunch of preset programs in it. So, what that means is you can choose a specific program, they’ve got endurance, strength, power, recovery, massage, and there are a few others on there. I know there’s a total of nine, I don’t remember what all of them are called but you choose which program that you want, you place the electrodes on your muscles following the instructions very carefully that come with the Compex because it’s important that the electrodes be placed properly over the muscles. And then once you selected the actual program that you want, if frequency with which the electrical signals are delivered to the muscles and the intensity of those frequencies basically changes depending on what setting that you have selected and trains the specific muscle fibers that are associated with the program that you have chosen. So like endurance protocol is going to stimulate a lot more of your slow twitch muscle fibers based on the frequency of the electrical muscle stimulation, the strength is going to cause more of like a fast switch muscle fiber contraction which by the way, is a little bit kind of uncomfortable and can be distressing if it’s the first time that you’ve used like a muscle stimulation because your muscles are really seriously contracting in a state that’s almost like it’s not painful but you kind of associate with pain almost and your brain isn’t sending those contractions, it’s just a little handheld unit so it’s like your muscles are doing their own little thing apart from what the signals that your brain is sending to your muscles and that’s what electrical muscle stimulation is really based on. It’s a way to get muscles to contract without actually requiring your brain to send the signal to contract or your bones to shorten or lengthen to cause muscle to contract. So originally, electrical muscle stimulation was designed for rehabilitation and actually, a lot of research has shown that it works quite well to help you to maintain muscle mass when you’re not able to move or to help to improve blood flow to an area so that you recover a little bit faster. Now as far as the actual strength gains in an already well-trained athlete who’s out training and who maybe wants to use something like a muscle stimulation unit as an extra workout, there’s not as much evidence that that gets as great a benefit as what you can get for improving blood flow to an injured area or helping you to at least maintain some muscle when you’re not able to move but there’s one guy named Charlie Francis who is like a coach and trainer who works with a lot of good athletes and he uses the electrical muscle stimulation quite a bit with athletes who are already doing other workouts and has found some success with that. I interviewed someone who specializes in electrical muscle stimulation on this show before. If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and do a search for EMS as in electrical muscle stimulation, you can listen in detail to this but one of the things that I mentioned since then is I was a little hesitant about using EMS for building strength just because I was under the impression that it doesn’t differentiate in terms of the order of activation of muscle fibers. Usually when your brain sends a message to your muscles to contract, it’s going to recruit these smaller fibers and a lot of times like the slow twitch fibers and then as your needs to produce more force increase, your brain is going to start to recruit more of the larger fast twitch fibers and early research on electrical muscle stimulation that I had seen suggested that basically electrical muscle stimulation is just going to grab fast twitch fibers and slow twitch fibers and not really differentiate between anything and so it’s not the natural recruitment order that your brain is going to usually send to your muscle and so it may actually teach your muscles how to work improperly and not really replicate the way that your muscles would work naturally but a research that I’ve seen since then in terms of motor unit activation by electrical stimulation has convinced me that electrical muscle stimulation can actually, based on the frequency of the electrical signal that you send into the muscle, it can do something like recruit all the smaller slow twitch fibers and then move on to recruit the faster twitch muscle fibers in the same way that muscles would be recruited during a normal voluntary contraction. So ultimately, it looks like electrical muscle stimulation could be used pretty effectively to do something like build strength or build power or even help an already fit individual to become more fit. And there are programs like when you get the Compex Sport, like you could go to ShopCompex.com, their website, and they have for example, they recommended a training program for triathletes or tennis players or swimmers and it shows you which program, which of their preset programs to do on specific days and it’s really kind of mindless. I mean, you put the electrodes where they show you to put the electrodes, you select the program and it brings you through it pretty much automatically without you having to do much other than just sit there and that’s what you’re paying for really because you can get electrical muscle stimulation, it’s like for $100. When you’re paying a thousand dollars for one of these things, you’re paying so that you don’t have to be sitting there figuring out what frequency to use and it just kind of a sol preset and it just goes. I personally don’t use my Compex for anything except recovery and massage. Those are the two settings that I use recovery and massage. The main reason for that is because I like working out and if I want to get stronger, I’m going to do some squats and some dead lifts and some cleans. I just don’t want to sit in my couch and get electrically stimulated to get stronger. That’s not, in my opinion, a very good use to my time and I don’t enjoy it that much, it’s just basically like sitting there getting shocked. So I personally enjoy doing like the recovery and the massage but I mean if you got the time to kill to sit around and you want to try something new, yeah I mean you could get a Compex. You could use some of the recommended training programs that they have on their website and it will help your muscles to get stronger. It’s just that for me, it doesn’t make me happy so I don’t really do it.
Brock: You can spend some time doing some oil pulling as well while you’re stimulating your muscles.
Ben: Oil pull or doEMSsimultaneously and that would be a party.
Brock: That is what I call a Wednesday night. Alright, well that’s the end of our audio questions. So we’ve got a couple more questions here to go through some written ones and the first one goes to Kyoko.
Kyoko: Can I select whatever type of flour I like or is there any important things I should look at?
Ben: Well, wheat flour would be out of the picture. I’m not going through wheat just because we did an entire podcast on it so let’s not tackle why wheat flour would be out of the picture but yeah, around here, I’m actually working on a post that goes into everything that we did for my kid’s birthday party last week because we had an extremely healthy birthday party here at home with the kids and it was things like omen flour cake and coconut ice cream. These things didn’t cause a lot of the autoimmune and food sensitivity and blood sugar issues that a lot of other normal traditional meals can cause. So we used omen flour that’s basically where omens are grounded to like a flour or a meal. It’s plant-based flour, it’s pretty high in nutrients, it’s gluten-free, soy-free, and grain-free. That’s one option is to use omen flour but there are a lot of other types of flour out there like a couple of weeks ago, my wife made amaranth muffins from amaranth flour that’s like a green leafy vegetable the amaranth plant is. Their seeds are really high in protein and you could use something like amaranth flour as well. We didn’t make that, my wife orders it. There’s a company called King Arthur’s flour, I believe is the name of the place but you can order this stuff online. Another good bulk source of flour like this would be Azure Standard is another good place to order flour. Lot of other types of flour out there as well. You could use brown rice flour that is just as it would sound like, it’s made from rice. I know that there are some folks out there who don’t do grains at all so they won’t be able to do like amaranth flour or rice flour. You could use like a coconut flour and that’s flour that’s made from grounded up meat of the coconut plant. The nice thing about that flour is it’s got really good levels of fatty acids in it as well and that’s something that you can purchase. You could also learn to make yourself if you want to make your own coconut flour from coconut meat. Flax meal is another decent option. We actually have some flax milk we keep in the refrigerator like keep it cold so it doesn’t get rancid, it doesn’t go bad as easily, it doesn’t get as many free radicals in it but a good flax seed oil is going to be rich in omega3 fatty acids and that would be another thing that you could use as a flour source. quinoa flour, kind of similar to amaranth flour that would be another option. That’s one that we use a little bit as well. It’s a decent source of protein. It’s going to be gluten-free. For people who are on like a Paleo diet, amaranth flour, quinoa flour, those types of things would not technically be “allowed” but I’m certainly a fan of any of those types of flours and yeah, those are the basics. I mean flours there’s a lot of other out there. You can make flours from just about any potato, coconut, grain, grass etc. it’s just ground up vegetables but those are some of the main ones and we usually use like an omen flour or quinoa flour a lot of times as an alternative to wheat flour.
Brock: Yeah! I’m no master baker by any means but I know you can’t substitute these different flours for regular flours. So if you’ve got some sort of recipe that you’re following, you can’t just swap in amaranth flour for regular whole wheat flour or something so make sure you do some Googling and make sure you’re not getting the right shoes off.
Ben: Yeah and as far as the cook books go, I think I’ve mentioned this before. Probably the cook book that we use the most around here is called “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. So, good cook book to kind of get you started.
Brock: Awesome. Okay, our next question comes from Pam.
Pam: I just got done listening to episode 180 where you mentioned that people with hashimotos should avoid nightshades. I am 37 and was diagnosed with Hashi’s at 16. I feel pretty for the most part and I maintain an active lifestyle. I have good energy in all that I do. I treat my Hashi’s with a synthroid and monitor the condition pretty much through blood work. I have a couple of questions regarding nightshade food. One, what exactly are the reasons they should be avoided? Two, how do I know if they’re having negative effects on me and three, should they be avoided if there is no noticeable effect?
Ben: Well, the main thing here for backup in terms of why you shouldn’t be eating nightshades if you have hashimotos is because hashimoto's is an autoimmune disorder, it’s the most common autoimmune disorder really that exists. It affects a lot of folks. So the main thing to understand here is that hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease and most of the treatments that are out there for hashimoto's basically are treating the fact that when you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system destroys your own thyroid tissue to the point where you become hypothyroid and you have hypothyroidism and so then you get a thyroid hormone replacement and a lot of times, something like an autoimmune disorder that has destroyed thyroid tissue is also associated with things like depression or insulin resistance and so some of those drugs might get thrown in as well but none of those really treat the underlying cause of the issue which is the fact that for some reason, your immune system is attacking your thyroid gland and so this is a problem with the immune system, not with the thyroid gland and the basic underlying treatment or approach to something like hashimoto's should be addressing immune dysfunction and not the thyroid and that’s super important to realize that if you’re taking like a thyroid medication for hashimoto's, you shouldn’t necessarily stop taking a thyroid medication because you probably do have low thyroid but you should also be limiting a lot of the other issues in terms of removing autoimmune triggers and you can also do some things that are going to help to improve your T-cell function which is going to help with your immunity and also do some things that are going to help to remove inflammation. So first of all, as far as removing triggers that are going to cause your autoimmune system to kind of go into overdrive and cause more damage to your thyroid or cause joint pain or cause a lot of the other issues that could be associated with hashimoto's, one of the most important things is your diet, of course, which is where most issues with autoimmunity are caused. So an autoimmune healthy diet is going to eliminate any compounds that contain gluten, period. I mean, that includes like barbecue sauce, gum, hotdogs, salad dressings, creamers, like almost any processed or packaged food has some gluten in it and these are not the type of recommendations that I give to the average person who just wants to kind of stay healthy and limit their amount of gluten. When you have an autoimmune disorder like tiny amounts of gluten can really cause a cascade that results in a much bigger immune system reaction. So if you have hashimoto's, you want to almost treat it the same way as you would treat like celiac disease in terms of the amount of attention that you pay to eliminating gluten. A lot of folks don’t like to hear this but you also need to get rid of alcohol and avoid alcohol which can also be an immune system trigger. Beans and legumes would be out in terms of foods that can cause an autoimmune reaction and dairy products would also be something to avoid as well. It sounds like a very strict diet but when you’re talking about basically removing the ability of your diet to cause an autoimmune reaction, these are really important steps to take if you’re serious about healing yourself. On the flipside, there are some things that you can do to really kind of help to support your immune system. From a dietary standpoint, one of those things would be for example, make sure that you’ll include lots of essential fatty acids in your diet and that would mean like using, like I mentioned before, like a high quality triglyceride-based fish oil, that’s not only going to help your immune system but it’ll also help to reduce some of the inflammation that you may have present in your body if you haven’t really been eating at a healthy diet that shuts down that autoimmune response. There are other foods that can help with this as well like fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut all those type of things super useful in this case and most like cruciferous-based vegetables really good as well like broccoli and cabbage and you’re going to want to get like the and organic kind of non-toxic versions of those just because any environmental toxins or besides pesticides, stuff like that. Way bigger issue if you got autoimmune but I would include those as well. And then also as I mention, your regulatory T cells are super important in terms of helping to turn off an autoimmune attack and they kind of help your immune system to function more properly in terms of T cells, vitamin D, super important in helping to build up your regulatory T cells. Probiotics, also really good for that. So like a good high quality probiotic capsule in addition to those fermented foods that I talked about, those would be two things to really focus on as well. As far as nightshades go, the reason that if you have autoimmune, you want to avoid nightshade specifically to address your question more specifically, is that nightshades contain chemical substances called alkaloids and alkaloids are natural pesticides, that’s how a plant protects itself, but the type of alkaloid that’s found in nightshade foods is basically a steroid-based alkaloid that is associated with inflammation and highly associated with an autoimmune reaction especially if you have hashimoto's and so that’s why things like egg plants and tomatoes and potatoes, cayenne pepper, Tabasco sauce, basically any type of those things you’d want to really be careful to avoid if you have hashimoto's. That’s why like a super human food pyramid, those foods are okay for most folks that really aren’t an issue unless you have an autoimmune sensitivity issue in which case those can be really difficult. Bigger picture, I want to recommend a book that I will link to in the show notes but that I would really highly recommend that anybody with hashimoto's read. It’s called Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? Pretty straight forward book whether you have hypothyroidism or whether you have hashimotos or of course both, highly recommend you read this book. I’ll put a link to it in Amazon, pick it up. I think it’s like $10 but I’d really recommend you read Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? So hopefully that helps to point you in the right direction when it comes to beginning to address hashimoto's but just big picture. Go after your immune system and think of the thyroid as kind of a secondary characteristic of hashimoto's.
Brock: Alright, very good. Alright, well this is our last question and it is a doozy and it comes from Edgar.
Edgar: There was a day basically out of boredom where I decided to go as hard as I could for as long as I could. I don’t remember how long that was, perhaps 20-30 minutes at full-out gut-busting pace until I all but collapsed on the floor, dizzy and on the verge of throwing up. During the run, however, let’s say three quarters of the way through, I literally felt a pop in my brain or somewhere, not imagined and those many years ago I remember the feeling, sensation very clearly. It was definitely some physical feeling that at age 15 I was essentially too dumb to worry about. After the run was finished, I was dizzy for a while then I went home and the rest of the day was normal. Here’s the unusual part. That weekend, I went for a run with my normal team and was all of a sudden much fitter than everyone else and at what I now considered an effortless pace was destroying all my teammates. I’ve tried since then to replicate this feeling, this pop I experienced but have never been able to. I have also, in all my studies, conversations with specialists and psychologists and other experts, never had an explanation of what this may have been and how may have affected my fitness at the time so immediately and dramatically. I was always wondering if you have any ideas or thoughts. I doubt you have this question in your archives.
Ben: I don’t think I have this question in my archives.
Brock: I don’t think so.
Ben: When I saw this question, immediately I thought of what I would suspect it to be because I’ve had this same issue happened with me. However for me, I did not experience the pop during physical activity. I experienced the pop when I was being adjusted but either way, pretty straight forward, basically you’ve got the very top vertebra of your spine, it’s called C1 or your first cervical vertebra. Your skull sits on top of this vertebra and this vertebra surrounds the lower extension of your brain or your brain stem. So that particular vertebra, your first vertebra, is out of place or it’s misaligned. It can pinch off the nerve supply that basically is going from your brain to the rest of your body and that can inhibit your thought patterns, it can inhibit the ability of your muscles to contract properly and that C1 is called your atlas, many people may have heard of this before. Now your atlas, your first vertebra but it basically creates this domino effect down through the rest of your body if the thing is out of place. The atlas sits on top of C2, your second cervical vertebra which is called your axis and between your atlas and your axis, when those move and those tilt, they kind of move and tilt and merge with the rest of your spine and so when the atlas is out of place, it can affect the axis and that can put a twist or curve in the whole spine which creates this imbalanced, unleveled look in your hips, your shoulders or your legs, it can pinch nerves along your spine and essentially affect your whole body. I mentioned my massage therapist before a couple of times and he was doing like my neck, he said “boy you got this kind of bump on the side of your neck” and for me, it was my third cervical vertebra one time and another time, literally my atlas that was out of place and you can check the nerves of the base of your skull almost manually. If you’re feeling around the back of your head up above where your spine connects to your skull and you’re feeling like these big bumps or you’ve got any pain or tenderness in those areas or you’re sensing any type of discomfort, it’s likely that there’s some type of nerve interference going on because of a spinal misalignment in your upper cervical vertebra and that can be adjusted. I remember when the first time I got that thing popped, it was like this rush of blood to my brain, it’s the best way that I can describe it. Very similar to what you were describing that maybe somehow through stepping in a certain way, he was running and he was somehow self-adjusted his atlas or C1 or possibly C2. The other thing that can get this out of place if you’re feeling up in your neck and your spine, that discomfort up kind of where your head connects to your spine basically and it’s kind of a soft area in the back of your head, if you just look at your hip height, your leg length, look at yourself in the mirror, you’re seeing a type of A symmetries, a lot of times that can suggest that you’ve got basically a slightly misaligned that is basically affecting the alignment of your axis that’s kind of moving on down your spine and affecting your hip and your shoulders. Fairly common issue I believe, especially for me, I’ve found the thing out of place like a handful of times and every time I’ve gotten it adjusted and it’s just like night and day the difference when you get the thing adjusted, so that’s what I think is going on here. I’d go see a good chiro and look into whether or not that atlas is displaced or misaligned.
Brock: Yeah and I feel compelled to say kids, don’t try this at home. This is not something you should be fooling around with and try to do a self adjustment, these are very touchy parts like your brain stem is right there, so you don’t want to go waling on it on your own. Make sure you’ve got a qualified professional helping you with this.
Ben: Yeah! Wailing on the brain stem is not a good idea.
Brock: No, that’s what ends up. You show up in the hospital with symptoms of stroke, so you don’t want to do that.
Brock: So with on that happy note, that wraps up our show for today. That was a long one.
Ben: Yes, it was. I referenced a lot of stuff that I’ll put links to in the show notes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, podcast #188. I would like to thank all of our listeners, not just the ones who called in. They get a big gold star for this week but everybody, thanks for listening, thanks for your support, those of you who donated to the podcast. New little convenient handy-dandy donation buttons over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com as of this week. Apparently the donation button wasn’t really working aside from people being able to donate one dollar. I know some of you found that terribly inconvenient so there actually is the ability to donate five or ten or even twenty if you’re feeling super generous.
Ben: But you can do that, you can leave us a ranking or rating in iTunes and that always helps the show. I’ll link to everything else in the show notes and again, if you have questions, comments, feedback, leave your comments over at podcast #188 and until next time, this is Ben and Brock signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
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