Altitude Training, Red Blood Cells & Shellfish: Are Clams The Next Big Performance Enhancing Supplement?

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When it comes to nutrition benefits, clams are interesting creatures that pack an impressive nutrient-dense punch.

For example, they are well known as a source of iron. 

There are two types of iron – heme and non-heme. Heme-iron is more bioavailable, which means it is better absorbed and can be utilized by the body. Clams have both versions of iron, and a 3-ounce serving of clams can provide up to 24 mg of iron. In addition to Iron, clams are an excellent source of:

The list goes on and on…and my guest on today's show, Craig Dinkel – a supplement formulator, ultra-endurance athlete, altitude specialist and much more – has studied and managed to harness the power these superfood sea creatures. On today's show, we take a deep dive into clams, his new Altifuel supplement, and much, much more.

During our discussion, you'll learn:

-About Craig's adventure on the Hardest Hike in America (which we talked about his last time on the podcast)…4:30

  • Along the Sierra High route; At altitude (9-12k feet); 33 mountain passes
  • Takes over 3 weeks to finish
  • Pack ultra-light everything
  • Big mistake: Bought ultra-light backpack
    • Not designed to carry as much weight.
    • Excess weight caused strain on lower back and glutes
    • Get the weight higher up (mid-back or higher)
  • Decided to pull out the 3rd day – potentially dangerous situation

-Why Craig initially sought the health benefits of clams…19:20

  • Desiccated liver extract powder great for high-altitude events
  • Clams have the highest amount of iron and vitamin B12 available
  • Clams are a more potent version of the desiccated liver

-Concerns about the level of contaminants found in clams…23:45

  • Use wild, farm-raised clams
  • Small serving (3 oz.) of clams contain 1500% of daily iron intake
  • Heme vs. non-heme iron
  • Great source of minerals
  • High amount of Omega 3 and Vitamin K2

-What Craig combines clams with to get the highest level of efficacy…30:30

  • Cordyceps, Rhodiola, ginkgo biloba
  • Rhodiola crenulata vs. Rosea
  • Maintains sodium pulmonary transport in the body
  • Helps reverse altitude sickness
  • AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness
  • Cordyceps – Oxygen producing capabilities with polysaccharides
  • Why not add blue-green AFA to his ingredients…
    • Strong nootropic effect
    • Helps with muscle recovery
    • Wanted most powerful source to work with blood development; clams superior.
    • Have to pick and choose what you think is the best

-Best practices for taking the capsules…43:00

  • Find the lowest dose for highest impact

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode: 

Kifaru backpacks

Altifuel supplement with clam option and liver option. Use code: BENA for 20% off plus free shipping.

Biotropic Labs Code: BENA will save you 20% plus get you free shipping.

-My previous episodes with Craig Dinkel:

Episode Sponsors:

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Craig or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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17 thoughts on “Altitude Training, Red Blood Cells & Shellfish: Are Clams The Next Big Performance Enhancing Supplement?

  1. Sebastian Pahl says:

    Hi Craig

    Both liver and clams (shellfish in general) are known to have high amounts of histamine. Do you know something about this, and which would you recommend for someone sensitive to histamine?

  2. Hi Craig and Ben,

    I was just wondering where you got the info regarding the iron value of clams. I checked several nutrient databases and 3 oz. of clams do not reach the 20-30mg that you guys shared.

    Here are the resources that we checked along with the values:
    1. USDA website ( 3oz of Mollusks, clam, mixed species, raw contains 1.38mg of iron
    2. Cronometer website ( 3 oz of Mollusks, clam, mixed species, raw contains 1.38mg of iron
    3. Nutrition Value website ( 3 oz of Mollusks, clam, mixed species, raw contains 1.38mg of iron

    We just wanted to make sure because we actually wanted to do a feature on clams on our Facebook page but when we checked, the values don’t come close to the level that you both mentioned. Hoping to hear from you!


    -Kathleen and Karin

  3. Sam says:

    Hi there.

    1.How long before a high altitude event should you start taking the altifuel regularly? A few months for your body to acclimate?

    2.Are any of the ingredients in altifuel acting as blood thinners?


  4. Mia Jorge says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Best regards

    Mia Jorge

  5. Dino says:

    Can a regular guy take this stuff I’m 25 and I alway feel drained the next day after workouts sometimes too tired to even workout no motivation can I use this instead of a pre workout ?

  6. Tekin says:

    Thanks Ben for having this podcast.
    I have a 7 day, 500 mile, 50,000+ feet climbing ride end of this June and what scares me most is the altitude ( since I’ve already done one of these in 2012 in the Alps. Rockies are much higher than Alps and that is a real concern for me. I do get sick with headaches, dizziness, nausea the first day anywhere too high (at Cusco before Machu Pichu Inca trail hike, 7 days ride in the Alps etc) but seem to be OK 2nd day onward but my performance is no where near sea level where I live.

    Some questions for Craig.
    I am going to try this Clam supplement in the Colorado Rockies. In the podcast the suggestion was to take it 30-40 min before activity. Should I stick with that or get it in my system few days/weeks before? Will this give me any performance gains at sea level as well?

    Have you looked into coca leaves as a supplement for altitude sickness? Locals gave use coca leaves and gum with coca to chew on in Cusco, Peru. I think its illegal to have the leaves in the States but maybe supplement made out of it is legal.

  7. Dan says:

    Great pod cast Ben! Thanks for the continued variety of content.

    I was wondering your thoughts about using the Altifuel supplement more like a daily multi-vitamin. I regularly get declined for donating blood due to low iron (usually test at 11-12.5 mg/dL and minimum 13 is required) and often have cold hands/fingers and am generally colder than other folks (I’ve never been tested for hypothyroid). I was thinking this supplement might help me raise my iron a bit and also see some increased blood flow (maybe keeping my hands warmer).

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

    1. Craig Dinkel says:

      Hey Dan,

      Craig here with BioTropicLabs.

      This a great question, and actually one I often get on my other Flagship products as well. The short answer is, while it was not designed with a multivitamin purpose in mind, in your specific case, you should definitely see an improvement. I’d give it a try for 30 days, take another blood test, and see where that leads you. Also, you might benefit from my Oxcia supplement, a supplement designed solely around Vasodilation. You may see much improved flow to hands and feet. Let me know how this goes.

      Feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected].

      1. Dan says:

        Thank you for the reply. I may give the Altifuel a try.

  8. Damien says:

    That was a lot of talking about a 3-day hike. Who goes on the “hardest hike in America” without testing out one’s backpack first ?

    1. Craig says:

      Hey Damien,

      When I read your comment, I laughed because:

      a) I agree that there was far too much chatter regarding the hike, not at all fully germane to the interview and for that, I’m sorry; and…..
      b) Your sense of surprise and sarcasm regarding not testing the pack resonated with me in much the same way that I might have commented myself. It was funny. Thanks for that.

      Firstly, you’re totally right; in this situation, it was an error for me to go out with an untried pack. There is in fact a deeper backstory as to why I didn’t test the pack in advance (won’t bother you with that here), but there was a secondary issue I did not bring up in the interview, which was the real killer. I have, in the past, gone out several times with “untested” but with the “right” pack, zero problems. That didn’t’ work this time, lesson learned.

      All in all, a small taxation to pay for an experience that much more deeply contributed to my skill sets. Onward…..

      Thanks much for posting…..


  9. Scott Paul says:

    Oh man it’s so painful to hear you mispronounce Ginkgo so many times this is a jinko:…

    And in Mandarin they pronounce it with a y sound.

    Have a jood day!

    1. Scott Paul says:

      Oh but I should add that i still love the show. And think your doing a great job.

      1. Craig says:

        Hey Paul! Also, in the same sense of humor you displayed (I loved it), “Have a “jood” day too! (That was indeed funny.)


        1. Scott Paul says:

          Haha thank you. I can be a little spunky. Don’t get me wrong though, I thoroughly enjoy Ben’s podcasts. He’s my favorite… guess I was ‘triggered’

    2. Craig says:

      Hey Paul,

      I get it! I feel the same way when these sort of things hit my ears.

      If I was the culprit, I’ll work on that, but I have no recollection of “FUBARing” the pronunciation. I’ll go back and listen and I do thank you for bringing it to my attention.


      1. Scott Paul says:

        No you did pronounce it correctly, it was Ben! lol.

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