September 19, 2012
Introduction: In today’s podcast, how to know if the supplement you’re taking is safe? Also, resistance training for triathletes, tips on clearing your lungs, Gerson therapy for treating cancer, when is it safe to mix fats and carbs, and are hydration and electrolytes the only causes of muscle cramping?
Brock: Good day, everyone! Welcome to another episode of the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast. I’m Brock, your host or sidekick, depending on how you look at it. And of course, right here on the line is Ben. Ben, what’s happening?
Ben: Oh, this is about the closest I’ve come, I think, since college, or maybe since my kids were born, to pulling an all-nighter. I think, actually, one of the Twitter followers from the Twitter.com/BenGreenfield mentioned to me that he thinks I need to get an IT guy, and he’s probably right. My e-mail and computer crashed and everything yesterday. It’s kind of one of those days that I stayed up all night trying to fix it, coz I was attending to other things during the day so I’m barely in the land of the living right now. My body is pulling out in about an hour and a half for us to head down to Bend, Oregon, for a big triathlon down there.
Brock: The redemption race.
Ben: Yes, today’s podcast is an abbreviated version of BenGreenfieldFitness and we’re gonna try and hell will probably freeze over when this actually happens, but we’re gonna try and keep today’s podcast to about an hour.
Brock: Alright, deep breath.
Ben: Here we go.
Brock: Okay, so Twitter.com/BenGreenfield is the place to go to get some interesting and extremely relevant studies and new releases and stuff and right now, Ben’s gonna give us the highlights.
Useless To Warm Up Before Your Triathlon
Ben: That’s right. So, this first one is for all you triathletes out there who arrive to a triathlon two hours early to make sure that you get everything set up and you can get warmed up and everything. There’s actually a study that came out and this one was in, the Western Australian Institute of Sport did this study and it appeared in a journal Sprint Conditioning research, thye investigated different warm up procedures on how you perform in a sprint distance triathlon, which technically you’d think would be the most important type of race to warm up before because that’s the one in which you’re gonna be going the hardest. They found that when they compared a swim warm up and also a run-swim warm up, and finally no warm up, that there was no significant difference in the race times or in the overall triathlon performance of the moderately trained amateur triathletes that they tested. I thought that was interesting.
Brock: That is.
Ben: Of course… oh go ahead.
Brock: I was just gonna say, it seems obvious that if you’re going to be like somebody like a pro, you’re definitely gonna be hitting the red line right off the bat, and I guess amateur wouldn’t be pushing quite as hard right off the bat, but you’d still think it would have some difference.
Ben: Yeah, it’s an interesting takeaway and I think that it’s one that folks can take one there rushed and they don’t have time to warm up, rest assured you might still be able to do okay. Now, there’s actually two things to bear in mind here: one would be, you hear about the swim deaths in triathlon, and I do think that a big part of that is folks not really being ready for that surge that takes place when you jump into the water for a triathlon that you just go all out and you’re just cold, I think that that would certainly be one concern here. And then the other concern would be that a very, very good idea before you do your triathlon is to make sure that your bike is set up properly. Something I didn’t do.
Brock: Speaking from experience.
Ben: Make sure your brakes aren’t rubbing. Make sure that you’re in the correct year. Make sure your tires are inflated and some of that does require you to do some form of bike warm up, if that’s an option. So don’t take this and use this as an excuse to sit in the car sipping your favorite beverage until that starting gun is about to go off. But it’s interesting that you can do okay without a warm up.
Special, Curvy-Bottom Exercise Shoes
Ben: Another study looked at this special walking shoes. This rocker-bottom profile type shoes that are supposed to make your butt awesome, make your calves look like a Greek god or goddess. I hate to disappoint but in this study they found that those shoes neither increase lower extremity muscle activity or the energy cost of walking or your metabolic cost of walking.
Brock: I’m shocked. Absolutely flabbergasted.
Ben: I know that you’re heartbroken, Brock. Now you got to go into your closet and throw out all your rocker bottom shoes.
Brock: I’ve got like ten pairs.
Ben: I know. I was excited actually about going on my walk later on this afternoon. Unfortunately though, there is no evidence that they actually work. However, if you buy these shoes, and they make you more likely to go out and walk during your lunch break, then more power to you. So rocker-bottom profile type shoes, you might save yourself 30-40 bucks and just go for a regular pair of walkers.
Measurement of Total Serum Cholesterol
Ben: And then finally, measurement of total Serum cholesterol in the evaluation of suicidal risk. This study actually appeared almost exactly one year ago in a psychological journal, and what they did was they actually looked at people’s serum cholesterol levels and what they found was that folks who had very, very low serum cholesterol levels basically low fats and triglycerides and things like that circulating in blood stream, they found that those people are actually at higher risk of suicide. And I know that this might be one of those Caucasian correlation issues and it could be a little bit of a logical fallacy, but it’s pretty compelling to me that fats play such a crucial role in the central nervous system and the structure of your brain, everything from Omega 3 fatty acids all the way up to saturated fats and fatty acids and this ketone bodies in terms of how your nervous system accesses fat as a fuel that it makes pretty good sense that there could be a link between low intake of dietary fats or low cholesterol levels and some issues going on from a psychological stand point. A really, really good resource for folks who want to dig in to this a little bit more is a book written by Nora Gagaudas who is a bio feedback practitioner down in Portland, Oregon. She wrote a book called Primal Body, Primal Mind, and in it she goes into some of the reasons why fat is actually something that may protect you against neurological deficits, Alzheimer’s, things like that. I thought this was an interesting study and one that caught my eye.
Brock: That is very interesting and just speaking anecdotally, from my own experience I’ve noticed I have in the past suffered with a lot of anxiety and depression and was medicated even for a while for it, and I have to say that since switching to a low carbohydrate, super low carbohydrate diet and a high fat diet, I haven’t had any trouble, and knocking on wood, coz I don’t want to jinx myself, but I haven’t had any trouble with mood swings, I haven’t had any trouble with energy dips and I certainly haven’t had the emotional roller coasters that I used to go on as well during the day. So just anecdotally, personally speaking I totally am on board with that. I buy it.
Ben: However, you are probably the strangest sidekick in the world of podcasting.
Brock: On BenGreenfieldFitness.com, there is an awesome interview with Sami Inkinen.
Ben: Sami Inkinen, who kind of cutting to the triathletes here, but really anybody who wants to get more done in less time when it comes to working out, I interviewed a guy who’s pretty much one of the best amateur triathletes in the face of the planet. And he trains ten hours a week. Twelve hours a week really if you look at the whole range, but he and I just talked for about a half hour on that podcast and that would be a good one for you to go listen to if you want to know some of the secrets of minimalist triathlon training. So I’d recommend that you check that out for sure. Some of the similar concepts as are put into my TriathlonDominator.com program, but also some new things. Like he swims with a snorkel. He does almost all his workouts on an indoor computrainer. And just little things that I find pretty interesting and some helpful takeaways.
Brock: Need timesaving like just doing his workouts on a computrainer like a lot of us just want to take advantage of the fact that there’s good weather like living up in Canada especially I feel like if there’s good weather I should be outside on my bike, but really like you can save a good half hour to forty-five minutes just by jumping on the trainer instead and get a more focused workout as well.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely. And of course, you don’t have to go out and buy a $1,500 computrainer, indoor bike trainer, you can have just the regular bike trainer. Maybe some of the good old sufferfest videos. Those are my favorite videos for indoor cycling. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. And actually, that reminds me, Brock, as I’m writing a note to myself to link Sufferfest in the show notes, we have a new process that we’re gonna be using when we’re doing the podcast and I know that it’s tough when you’re out there and maybe you’re biking or you’re running or you’re working out and you’re listening in to the podcast, I often mention things. I give you this list of items that can help you out. We might go into estrogen dominance and I list all the things that might help a women to clear up the liver and help to process estrogen a little bit better, or in this case we’ve already talked about computrainer and the Sufferfest videos and the Primal Body, Primal Mind book by Nora Gagaudas and I realized that by the time you finished listening to an episode, you may have this whole list of things that you’re trying to remember. What we’re gonna start doing is using a program over at BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook page called MyList and what it will allow us to do is for each podcast episode, we’ll create a MyList for you. And so you can go over to Facebook.com/BGFitness and you can just click on the episode show notes and it will be clearly spelled out like this episode is what, Brock?
Ben: So you’ll see the 209 podcast list you’ll just be able to click on it and you’ll see any of the things that we talked about that you might wanna look into a little bit more. So I will, every time we do a podcast, have those up within 24 hours after the podcast is released. So you’ll just be able to access those over at Facebook.com/BGFitness, and it’s called MyList. And the other thing that I’m doing is creating a MyList just for general needs. Everything from Endurance Performance to Sleep Enhancements to Lowering Stress, just a ton of different goals that folks go after with their health and fitness needs so you’ll be able to check that out over at Facebook.com/BGFitness, it’s called MyList.
Brock: Save all the things you love in one place.
Ben: There you go. And then of course, this podcast episode is sponsored by Audible, and URL that you can go to if you want to get a free book from Audible is AudiblePodcast.com/ben. Brock kind of got shorted on that one.
Brock: Yeah. That’s alright. It’s easier to remember a three-letter name than a five-letter name.
Ben: This is true. Brock is markedly harder to spell than Ben. And one of the books that you may be able to get is the current Audible bestseller, No Easy Day, the firsthand account of a mission that killed Osama Bin Laden, so if you want to geek out on a narrative of a Navy Seal, then that is a really good book. That would be a good one to listen to. Maybe I’ll grab it for my road trip down to Oregon and coming up here.
Bill: Hey Ben, I just want to let you know I bought your Triathlon Dominator program earlier this year and competed in Ironman Louisville last month and had a great race. Shaved almost an hour and a half off my time so I’m very pleased with your program. I’d recommend this program to anyone looking to do a full or half distance Ironman. It was a great program. The value for the money can’t be beat. Thanks again for a great program, Ben.
Listener Q & A
Brock: Okay. Because we are going hot and heave and fast and furious in today’s podcast so Ben can get down to his triathlon, we’re going to stick to all audio questions today and we’re gonna start with this audio question from Ben.
Ben: How are you doing, Ben? My name is Ben from Brooklyn, New York. I have an older brother who’s 38 and he is now a triathlete. He completed the Wildflower and he just finished the Top Man which is in New York State. And now in preparation for his next triathlon, he’s come to me with questions about adding in resistance training to his current triathlon training. I myself had a few years of weightlifting under my belt. I stick with the basic compound moves, less is more type training. I had a great success personally and changed my body over a few years and I passed on 18 to 20 pounds doing that. So I know it works. My question is what to recommend for him. I find myself wanting to stick with the same things I do because I know that full body compound moves and you know, it will improve everything and keep him from getting injured while he’s doing a triathlon. But I thought you might recommend since I know you have background with resistance training and obviously, you’re triathlete, so if you have recommendations for him or me, that would be great. Thanks so much.
Brock: So you’ve written several books on this topic, really.
Ben: I have. I have written two different books on weight training for triathlon and they come in two totally different perspectives. And you really do have that option, Ben. Great name, by the way. Of two different stand points of your resistance training for endurance sports. One would be to really go after strength endurance. And this would be like a crossfit style protocol where you are pushing yourself cardiovascularly. You got a really high metabolic cost to your weight training sessions. You’re going from set to set with very little rest and doing typically relatively higher reps with lower rate. A lot of body weight stuff, a lot of gymnastic type of stuff. If you were to look at my book, the Top 12 Resistance Training Routines for Triathletes, that’s what that is. Super short 20 to 40 minute routines where you’re doing like box jumps then you’re running over then you’re doing pull ups, then you’re going from the pull-ups over to a couple cable exercises and you’re doing all of that one big circuit, and you’re going pretty hard the whole time. Now that is a good way to go if you fall into the category of being someone who is really time crunched, who wants to kind of get in, really get a good work out in combining your strength and endurance all into one, and then just be done. It’s also good if you’re trying to burn a lot of calories and you’ve got some weight to lose and you really need to make sure that there is a high metabolic cost to all the workouts that you do. And it’s also fine if you tend to be coming from a strength and power background, and you’re really strong, and that’s not an issue for you, building strength, building power, lifting heavier weight. Doing some of those higher metabolic cost weight training routines can be effective. I also like those just kind of just like an off season or maybe during the holidays way to get in and get out really quickly to the gym, during the time, let’s say for a triathlete, during the off season when you’re not doing a lot of swimming or cycling or running anyways. And so because you’re not getting a lot of the cardiovascular work from those skills, you kind of combining your cardiovascular work and your strength work into one. Now, any of you hard core weightlifters out there probably know that you’re missing a big component when you do these types of high metabolic cost type of circuits. Whether it be crossfit or, there’s a bunch of them out there, Gym Jones, B90x, Beach Body Insanity, any of these, because you’re working in such a high intensity that you really can’t build strength and power very efficiently. You can’t lift heavy weights and really engage in more of the type of exercise that has actually been proven in research to do things like improve running economy and running efficiency, or cycling economy and cycling efficiency. And that would be heavier sets performed typically in a lower rep, lower set type of scenario. Like three sets of 5 squats, three sets of 5 deadlifts, three sets of 5 power planes. And that’s kind of the standpoint from my other book, Ultimate Training Guide for Triathletes, was written. It lays out all of the research studies that have been done on endurance athletes, cyclists, runners or swimmers, and the type of routines that have worked effectively and then it kind of gives you a matrix for the beginning of the year all the way to the end of the year in terms of how to put together your season effectively. For the primary purpose of going to the gym, not to work on endurance, but going to the gym and to work on strength and power. So there’s really kind of two different approaches you can come out from. And yeah, if you’re like a weaker person, someone who’s got a lot of, say, slow twitch muscles, somebody who really wants to work on strength, because you’re getting injured a lot, or work on power because you’re just having the hardest time generating force, then doing more the traditional type of strength training is probably better for you than doing like the high metabolic cost, super high intensity type of training routines. So there’s two ways to go, I’ll make sure that I’ll put both of those books on our new MyList at Facebook.com/BGFitness and in the show notes, but those are your options.
Brock: As somebody who’s been coached by you, you got me doing the super slow sets right now and I’m sort of, I guess I’m not really at the peak of my Ironman training at the moment, but I’m getting there. Is that exactly the thought behind it? Because I am doing a lot of those intense harder runs and longer rides that the strength training is a lot more, sort of, less aerobic?
Ben: No, it’s because I’m using you as a guinea pig.
Brock: Ah, right.
Ben: No, really, that’s a really great question. So the super slow protocol, like the one that we interviewed Doug McGuff about a few weeks ago, is really kind of unique, because it kind of hits both of these concepts that I was just talking about. Both the strength and the cardiovascular endurance, but the cardiovascular endurance is a little bit weird because you’re lifting weight so slow that it’s really increasing your blood pressure quite significantly and improving your cardiovascular efficiency in that manner. Not necessarily because you’re heart rate’s, but I’ve personally been using the super slow strength routine once a week and I’m using it with some of my athletes now. Just as a change up. I mean, Brock, I’ve had you, you’ve done some of the high metabolic cost weight training routines in your program at certain times during the year. I’ve also had you doing more of the traditional strength training, like building up to your marathon last year. We had you doing a lot of that. And this is kind of a hybrid form of training where right now I’ve got you doing the super slow strength training and then kind of slightly high metabolic cost type of weight training routine, but you know, combination of the two. Not actually, somewhat similar to what I’m doing at this point in my training right now, as well, as I do one super slow weight training routine a week, which is more strength based, and then I do one kind of high metabolic cost type of suspension training workout another day of the week. So ultimately what it comes down to is you need to do what you enjoy what you can do consistently, what you can fit in to your schedule and understand that you’re gonna get benefits regardless, but hopefully, that explanation I just gave you gives you a better idea of what I’ll get you to be able to prioritize a certain result.
Brock: Beautiful! Alright. Let’s move on to the next question from Clayman.
Clayman: Hi Ben, this is Clayman and I’m in the middle of South Dakota. I just finally got on to an advair inhaler, and it’s really starting to unplug my lung capacity. I’m noticing that I’m doing better on my times. Can you give me some more ideas to try to unlock the mucus or whatever in my lungs through the process that I’m kind of trying to get through. And the $280 dollar advair is helping a lot and I’m trying get as much of the stuff out of my system doing some sprints and things like that. If you have any other ideas that you use or try to shoot for or different methods that I could try to excrete as much of this phlegm or fluid or what have you in my lungs, I’ll appreciate to know more about it. Thanks a lot and thanks very much for what you’re providing everybody.
Brock: Mucus in the lungs is no fun.
Ben: No, that’s not my idea of a good party. And that’s what this advair is designed for. Advair is an inhaler. It’s for people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, and people who have airway spasm due to asthma. And basically it’s a corticosteroid inhaler. Kind of a standard inhaler and the way that this acts is they’re called beta agonists. They cause the muscles in your respiratory system to relax and that opens up your airways and lets more air get in to the lungs. They are super effective. The steroid asthma inhalers are used by thousands of people and they’re quite common as kind of a first treatment for asthma and breathing problems and to shut down an asthma attack or flare up. There are some issues with them though, you know, that can make finding other ways to control some of these issues attractive. For example, steroids can be addictive.
Ben: Any steroid is an immune suppressant and it can cause this dependent effect of the body on it. And one of the things that the body can depend on that steroid for is the proper function of the immune system. So when you suppress your natural immune system function through the use of a steroid inhaler for a long period of time, if you ever get off the inhaler, it can make it kind of tough to be able to fight a cold and flus and stuff like that, so that’s one thing that you gotta be careful about – it can have an immune suppressing activity or effect. When you use a lot of asthma inhaler, like if you’re using it frequently in high doses, that can increase your risk for yeast infection. Or also what’s called the rash, and rash is something that babies get quite a bit, but it’s also something that you can get like a fungus or yeast infection in your digestive tract or respiratory tract if you’re using this a lot. One of the issues, and this is one that we hit on before in the show, is the fact that corticosteroid inhalers are just that, they’re corticosteroid. So those can cause adrenal suppression. What that means is that they can block the release of two of the important hormones in your body that produce cortisol. And while we tend to think of cortisol sometimes as being as bad hormone, it’s definitely necessary. It controls cardiovascular function and helps your body respond to stress. It can regulate your metabolism of fat and carbohydrate and when you’re messing up the balance of cortisol by using a corticosteroid inhaler, there can be some ramifications from that.
Brock: That’s funny. I think we spend so much time talking about how cortisol is so, can be so bad and how we really want to get rid of it, when you first said it inhibits it, I was like, oh, awesome!
Ben: Well, yeah, when you wake up in the morning and sunlight hit your eyes or you have a cup of coffee, what you’re doing is surging this cortisol, that’s your wakefulness hormone. And that’s good in moderate amounts. So you’re looking at adrenal depletion and potential for adrenal fatigue. That is kind of a severe adrenal crisis is you get low blood pressure and you start to get, you feel like reclining on the bed all day because you’re not making enough cortisol. There can be a bone-tending effect of long term inhaler use basically a drop in bone density and then the final thing that can happen is basically some issues with the skin. The skin can really take a beating from long term steroid use and it can get thin and dry and you can even get like premature wrinkles and stuff like that and in some cases acne can be an issue as well. So if you can find some alternatives to keeping mucus from building up, it’s certainly prudent. What would be an ideal scenario is you use your inhaler when you’re literally having an attack and you have to get it out. Otherwise, some of the things I would recommend would be to have a humidifier or a vaporizer in your bedroom when you’re sleeping because high humidity helps to soothe your airways and it can help to loosen a lot of that phlegm that builds up and that can be kind of a no-brainer to get a humidifier or humidification system in your bedroom and you can do things like a eucalyptus oil or a menthol oil as well to basically make that vapor a little bit more effective and a little more pleasant. Long showers or long baths with hot water and steam, those can have a similar effect. You can do it in the morning or before bed at night, for example. Tea, in a similar manner, like a mint or eucalyptus tea, those can also, especially if you’re taking the time to breathe the steam, kind of breathe a few breaths of that tea, that can be a good way to loosen up phlegm and mucus as well as like a hot liquid, like a soup, and putting soups in your diet. That’s another good thing that you can do is to include hot things like tea and soup. Heating pads applied to your chest, those are a good natural remedy for chest congestion. You can get these commercially made heating pads. You can literally also just like simple homemade heating pad. Just take a sock, preferably a clean one, especially if you’re leaving near my house, and you can put a couple cups of uncooked rice into a sock. A lot of people don’t know this trick about making yourself a homemade heating pad. And then just tie a knot in the opening of the sock, and you microwave the sock for about 3 to 5 minutes. And that makes you a pretty cool heating pad that you can use. That’s also good, by the way, if you’ve got a stiff low back or low back pain and just lie on that sock for a little while. That heat go into your low back. You can also put it on your chest. Salt water, gurgling with salt water, that can help gurgling apple cider vinegar, those are the two of the things that I’d do if I have a cold or a flu or something that’s really building up a lot of mucus in my throat.
Ben: Some people like to use these neti pots to clear up phlegm and congestion in the respiratory tract. That works better for the sinuses and I personally own a neti pot. I’ve used the neti pot before where you literally like pour this pot into one nostril and you kind of let it percolate through your sinus cavities, and I actually got a pretty bad ear infection after using one of those. Maybe I used it improperly, but…
Brock: You’re not supposed to pour it in your ear.
Ben: I kind of steer clear of that for now. I think what did happen is that I used it and then I got in an airplane, and flew and it shelved a bunch of that fluid into my eardrum.
Brock: Oh yeah. It will take quite a while to actually clear out. I’ve noticed whenever I use it, it’s like two hours later all of a sudden like some of the water will still be trapped up somewhere in the sinus and just come rushing out all in one go, so you have to sort of be careful if you’ve cleared everything out before you go out in public, or on a plane.
Ben: Or on a plane. Exactly. And then the last thing I’d say is consider looking into like spicy foods, you’re gonna find a lot of spicy or hot foods that’s what called expectorant. Meaning that it helps to thin mucus in your head or your throat or even your lungs. And that can allow you to clear some phlegm as well. So go out for Thai or Number 5 and see what happens.
Brock: Alright, good suggestions. Let’s move on to the next audio question from John.
John: Hi Ben, this is John Austin of Toronto. Hope you’re doing well. Just want to say thank you very much for all your help. I’ve increased my testosterone, I’ve had my knee fixed and all around feeling great and looking forward to using your Tri-Ripped program. Wanna ask you if you have done any research on the Gerson therapy or cancer. We have two friends who are actually in the latter stages of cancer right now. One has leukemia, one has lung cancer that metastasized to her kidney, and it started to her liver, and just wanna know what your thoughts are. I know you’re not a doctor, but I just wanna know your thoughts. What would you do if you had a family member who actually had cancer. As well as if you have any suggestion about supplements or things to drive member doing something about cancer, feeding off of sugar. So if you go on in a low carb diet, is it one of the better things to do. As always, thank you for all your help and thank you for the podcast and hope you’re doing well. Thank you, bye-bye.
Brock: I know we spent a lot of time talking about different sorts of approaches for treating cancer or preventing cancer or just helping get through cancer treatments, but I don’t think we’ve ever addressed the Gerson therapy.
Ben: We haven’t. And by the way, John, I will link in the show notes to Episode #204 where we talked about quite a bit about some of the basic nutrition and lifestyle modifications that I recommend for dealing with cancer. I also talked in that episode about a book called Fourfold Path to Healing. And I will put a link to the Fourfold Path to Healing both here and the show notes as well as we’ll run that on the MyList page for this episode. But yeah, the Gerson therapy has been around for a while. It was originally used as a treatment for migraine and headaches, and also for tuberculosis. And it’s based on the idea that disease such as cancer is caused by the accumulation of toxins. And so what you try to do is something like a Gerson therapy to detox the body. And typically involves some kind of special like a vegetarian diet with lots and lots of juicing. There are a lot of different dietary supplements that they are kind of included as well like liver cleanses and toxin cleanses and you also get things like coffee enemas, castor oil, sometime with Gerson therapy they use hydrogen peroxide or ozone therapy which we’ve actually talked about on the show as well. And the person who developed this, Max Gerson, he didn’t actually found this National Cancer Institute, or what’s called the Gerson Institute.
Ben: His daughter founded this thing called the Gerson Institute. And I’m not even sure what state it’s in, but they get folks going to this Gerson Institute to go through this detox and it really does include a lot of things like enemas and some serious detox therapy. Now, it’s been looked into by the US National Cancer Institute, it’s been looked into by the American Cancer Society, and it has been recorded that there is no reliable scientific evidence that it’s effective in treating cancer. There have been some reports of some patients having some nasty side effect from all the detoxing and the colonics and these other things that they’re going through. It’s one of those things that you do need to take with a grain of salt when a National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society is reporting no reliable scientific evidence because if you look at something like the Burzynski Clinic, which is a clinic over in Texas, they actually have a whole DVD, like a whole movie put out be that clinic, and I forget the name of the movie. I think it’s called the Burzynski Story or something like that. But basically, there’s this physician who developed anti-neoplaston therapy, which is essentially a therapy that includes these amino acid derivatives that are used for medicinal use, and what these anti-neoplastons act as are molecular switches so they can literally force program cell death of tumor cells or cancer cells. And this type of treatment has been shown to be fairly effective, but it’s pretty amazing. I’ve seen the DVD, and I’ll link over to the Burzynski website where you can check it out but it’s pretty amazing how this guy’s highly effective therapy was actually shut down by the US government basically because it was, it’s so natural that they couldn’t really make a lot of money off of it. Pharmaceutical companies couldn’t make a lot of money off of it, so it was one of those things where there was kind of this conspiracy to shut it down, and so having watched that film, looked into that therapy, seen the research studies that show how this anti-neoplaston therapy can actually work, and seem that it’s at least effective, I can’t simply straight up say that this Gerson therapy because it’s an alternative isn’t gonna be effective. But I haven’t seen the same scientific evidence for it as I’ve seen for something like this anti-neoplaston therapy put out by the Burzynski Clinic. So as I’ve said before on the show, I’m not a physician, I am nowhere near a cancer specialist or anything like that, but my basic recommendations would be to listen to what I went through in Episode #204. Read this book, the Fourfold Path to Healing, which talks about using nutrition and therapeutics, some movements and meditation in the art of medicine, and it does address cancer to a certain extent as well. And then also check out this website for the Burzynski Clinic. I’ll link to it in the show notes. That’s one that I found pretty compelling when it comes to a cancer treatment that seems to have something going for it.
Brock: Cool. Looks like the movie is called Cancer is Serious Business, and I guess business being the keyword there.
Ben: That’s the name of the movie put out by the Burzynski Clinic?
Ben: Okay, got you. You know I think there’s another one though, Brock. I believe it’s called the Burzynski Story. I think that was the one that I saw. The BurzynskiMovie.com and you’re right, it is called Burzynski the Movie: Cancer is a Serious Business. Yeah, you’re right. So we’ll link to that in the show notes for folks, too. That’s a movie you can download to your computer or you can order the DVD. And I’ve seen it. I thought it was really good.
Brock: Cool. Let’s move on to the next audio question from Jorge:
Jorge: Hey, Ben. How are you? This is Jorge in Canada. Two weeks ago, I finished my first Ironman. That was in 11 hours and 14 minutes. I’m very happy with my results and I have to attribute a part of my success to you and your expertise, so thanks for sharing your knowhow with us, the athletes. You are making us a healthier people. My question for today has to do with supplements. I’m not a big fan of supplements just because I don’t know what’s in there. They are not regulated and any joker could outsource manufacturing to Asia, set up their website then think the label and they just go to the market. So my question for you has to do with whether you know if there is some sort of organization or website that certifies the quality of supplements. Thanks again. Bye for now.
Brock: Nice little testimonial thrown in there along with a really good question.
Ben: Yeah. Congratulations, Jorge. That’s pretty cool, going out and doing that. Any time you cross a finish line of an Ironman, you’ve definitely done something pretty epic.
Ben: So how do you know if a dietary supplement is safe? This is kind of a big and serious issue and in the US, dietary supplements are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. And it is to a certain extent, a little bit of a wild, wild west, when it comes to purchasing dietary supplements and trying to figure out whether or not they’re actually safe. What it comes down to is that there are a few independent organizations that offer seals of approval that can be displayed on certain dietary supplement products. And what these indicate is that the supplement has passed that organizations quality test or things like potency and things like contaminants. There are seals of approval from independent organizations, not from the FDA, but they provide you so assurance that what you are buying were properly manufactured and more importantly, that it contains the ingredients that are actually listed on the label that it claims to contain because there are many supplements out there that are, like oregano oil is a very simple example. The active ingredient in oil of oregano is carvacrol, that’s what does things like breaks down bacterial cell walls and has like an anti-fungal, anti-yeast, anti-viral type of effect when you take it for something like your gut health, or to improve your immune system or to do like I do. I take it before I get on an air plane, or trains or buses, but the fact is, most of the oil of oregano that you purchase has a very low carvacrol content and so it’s not that effective. You’re typically wanting to look for something that has about 75 to 85% carvacrol content in order for it to actually work. Well, for an oil of oregano to do that, it has to go through some type of pre-imposed production analysis of carvacrol content, to prove that it actually shows that it has what it claims to have in it. And that’s for example, like I’ve got the BenGreenfieldFitness branded oil of oregano. That stuff’s got slightly over 85% carvacrol content, and it has undergone a pre-imposed laboratory analysis for that. Now, as I think I’ve mentioned on the show a few times, I am in the process of designing basically a supplement line that covers a lot of the bases when it comes to the things that I end up talking about in the show. And there are certain independent organizations that can do a pre-imposed analysis of the supplement line. I’ve been looking into them. The consumer lab is one. That puts out an approved quality products seal. If you see the consumerlab.com approved quality product seal on your supplement, that’s a pretty good sign that it’s got what it says it has in it and that it’s safe. Another one is the US Pharmacopiad Dietary Supplement Verification Program. And this is another program that is pretty decent when it comes to showing that there’s some kind of seal of approval on this product. And then the biggest one and probably the best one and the most expensive one is called the NSF International Dietary Supplements Certification. This is the most expensive. It really jacks up the price of the supplements because what they do is they literally go into the lab or into the facility where the supplement is being produced. They clear the lines of any other vitamins or supplements that are being produced in that factory. They hone in on this one single supplement that they’re getting the NSF certification for and they make sure that that thing is clean from start to finish and that the pre-production and post-production not only is not laced with things that might be considered steroids or hormones or things that might cause you to test positive on a World Anti-Doping Association Test, but also that everything is produced in a certified good manufacturing practices facility with total confidence that the ingredients are actually there that the company is claiming are there. So if you see something with an NSF certification, that’s the one that I’m gonna end up using, by the way, that’s a really, really good sign.
Brock: That’s a certification that I’ve seen here in Canada, as well. The other two, I don’t think I’ve noticed here in Canada.
Ben: You’re not gonna see the US Pharmacopia or the consumer lab, you’ll find sometimes internationally, but that’s more US-based as well. The NSF is a pretty good approved quality product seal. So you’re looking for any of those three. Consumer Lab, US Pharmacopia or NSF as being good seals and signs of approval. And then the other thing you want to look for is the CGMP stamp somewhere in there and that shows that it was produced in a Certified Good Manufacturing Practices facility. And there are brands of supplements out there that are kind of just like generally known to be pretty decent. Anything with physician’s line, like Thorn for example, is pretty good. Standard processed, they’re good. NOW supplements, they do good stuff. The main thing is if you walk into the bargain den of your local super supplements outlet or whatever, a lot of times you really are kind of going out on a limb when it comes to whatever you pick, actually having the ingredients that it claims to have in it. And a lot of times, you’re just making expensive fee or getting kind of a placebo pill when it comes to supplements, if you’re not getting something that has one of these seals of approval on it.
Brock: That’s a tricky business.
Ben: Yeah, but the supplement industry, I have mentioned this before and kind of got one of my soapbox about this before, every single day almost, I get emails from people who want me to private-label a supplement and these are just like huge mass-produced herbs and ingredients that are old, that are not fresh, that have been mass-produced in China, can be laced with heavy metals and other toxins and it’s very, very easy to take something, let’s say, digestive enzymes, and to get a cheap and very inactive form of those, private-label them and I could pay something like $3.99 a bottle, turn around, sell that for $15.99. I mean, the mark up on supplements is huge, but unfortunately, you get what you pay for much of the time and in many cases you get a lot of supplement companies who are just trying to make a buck. So you got to be careful.
Brock: So you can’t even rely on the fact that okay, this one’s more expensive than the rest of them so it must be better.
Ben: It seems stupid, but a lot of times that is a pretty good sign. Like if you’re paying a lot of money for supplements, supplement companies aren’t dumb, they’re not gonna charge a lot for a supplement way over and above the going rate, unless they actually have spent a lot of money on the back-end doing all the pre-imposed production analysis and everything. So it’s one of those deals where yes, the market is big, and supplements in general are expensive compare to what they cost to make, but the very expensive supplements typically really, it really can be a sign of quality, the price on some of these things, that’s why a lot of the physician-line supplements, you end paying two to three times the cost for it but that’s because you’re paying for the ingredient quality.
Brock: Okay, so look at the price, look at the certifications and then cross your fingers.
Ben: That’s right. Cross your fingers and pop your pills.
Brock: Alright. Let’s move on to the next question. From Keerthi.
Keerthi: Hi, Ben. This is Keerthi from San Diego. I heard you say in your podcast while referring to that study on egg yolks that eating toast along with scrambled eggs causes oxidation of fatty acids and it’s not good for your health. I also heard you say that it is good to mix fats along with starches like white rice, etc, to reduce the glycemic index of those starches. So I hear mixed messages here. How much fat can I really add to those carbs? For example, how much butter can I add to a cup of cooked rice? Also, at what point does it start coming unsafe? I also want to know if it matters what kind of fats they are, like ghee in white rice, olive oil? If you can clear this up, it would be great. Thank you.
Brock: Okay, so it’s sort of sounds like those statements are at odds.
Ben: It does. And this is actually really great question. A really intelligent question. So yes, anytime you consume a fat or a protein with a carbohydrate, it can tend to slow down the rate at which that sugar is absorbed and tend to mitigate some of the spike in blood sugar that can occur when that sugar is consumed. On the flipside, however, when you’re looking particularly at fats and cholesterols, sugar does have the ability, high levels of blood sugar does have the ability to oxidize cholesterol particles that are in the bloodstream. When you oxidize cholesterol particles, you’re looking at them becoming more atherogenic, more likely to cause plaque in arteries that lead to heart attacks. Now, I should note here that even a bigger issue than carbohydrates and sugar, when it comes to oxidized LDL, are heated or highly pressurized vegetable oils or what are called polyunsaturated fatty acids. Those, when oxidized, and that would be something like canola oil, for example, or frying your food in any kind of commercial vegetable oil, that’s a bigger issue than the carbohydrate issue. But what we’re really considering here is trying to keep cholesterol or fats from being oxidized and I believe I’ve harped on this before, but that’s one thing that’s very important when you switch to something like a lower carbohydrate, higher fat diet, is that you don’t eating all these things like coconut milk and coconut oil and avocado and olives and olive oil, and at the same time still be consuming foods that could be considered inflammatory, primarily sugars, starches and vegetable oils, because that really sets you up for disaster because not only are you consuming a lot of fats but you’re oxidizing those fats. Whereas consuming a lot of those fats in the absence of oxidation wouldn’t be as big an issue when it comes to atherogenic risk or putting your heart at risk. So when you’re looking at trying to figure out when you’re supposed to consume carbohydrates with fats, or in Keerthi’s case, you want to know how much white rice could he consume as ghee, one of the main things that you need to look at is the type of carbohydrate that you’re consuming. For example, is it a carbohydrate that would be more likely to cause inflammation? And typically the type of carbohydrate that are gonna be more likely to cause inflammation would be grains, specifically wheat, which we discussed in the wheat belly podcast that we did with Dr. William Davis. I would not be consuming wheat in a high fat diet. The other thing that I would really be careful with is packaged or processed carbohydrates. Things like crackers, cookies, biscottis, scones, things that typically have a high levels of this PUFAs, this vegetable oils that you’re consuming along with the carbohydrate. That’s where you need to be careful, as well. So basically like processed or packaged starches would be another thing that you would want to stay away from, especially consuming in the presence of fats, like wheat thins would be one of the worst things you can eat, coz you’re getting a combination of wheat, starch and vegetable oil. That’s a very inflammatory food. So in terms of what you could do, you could do things like relatively safer starches, sweet potatoes and yams and starchy vegetables like parsnips and beets and carrots and things of that nature. Those would be the safest to have with those fats, to be cooking in butter or coconut oil or ghee. Rice and some of the gluten or non-gluten containing grains like quinoa or amaranth or millet, a little bit less of an issue. Those can still be slightly inflammatory especially in people who have poor gut health, but those are not as big of a deal compared to things like wheat or even some of the other elements that can contain gluten like rye or things of that nature. So the other thing that you want to bear in mind is that anytime, you’re spiking blood sugar, you’re tending to create more of an inflammatory scenario. Higher levels of blood sugar being more able to oxidize the cholesterol particles that you have in the bloodstream. So when you are consuming carbohydrates, you try and do what you heard many of my guests on the show and myself also recommended before, and that is consume your carbohydrates in the presence of physical activity, in which you are gonna be in a state of insulin sensitivity and those sugars are gonna be less likely to build up in the blood stream and more likely to get shoveled into the muscles and stored away as storage glycogen or energy. So this would mean that you try and stack your carbohydrates whether they’re cooked in fat or not around your workout window so it’s a pre-workout meal, something you might consume during a long workout, or within anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours workout, when your insulin sensitivity is gonna be fairly high. The other time of day when I would say that it’s gonna be safest, in the absence of a workout, to consume something like this and to have a carbohydrate along with the fat, would be, for example, in the morning, when your insulin sensitivity is also relatively high, compared to where it is the rest of the day. So those would be some of your rules. Basically, you stay away from consuming fats with inflammatory carbohydrates such as wheat, and then you control your blood sugar levels, and try and set up your carbohydrate intake, time it throughout the day so you’re not rapidly amping up blood sugar levels which can be another issue. So hopefully that kind of sort of gives you an idea on how you do this.
Brock: Yeah, I think that makes complete sense. But it does lead me to another question, I guess, which would be, is it worse to, than stick to maybe the sort of closer to the North American high carbohydrate, low fat diet, if you’re not able to actually do the right kind of fat with the right kind of carbohydrate or in the absence of carbohydrate, which one actually sets you up for, which one’s more evil?
Ben: That’s a good question. And it obviously depends on the source of the carbohydrates. There have been studies that have compared high carb, low fat, versus high fat, low carb, and found that the high carb, low fat did increase a lot of the markers of inflammation and the risk of heart disease. But again, the source of these carbohydrates were not controlled. And so let’s say you’re gonna eat a higher carbohydrate intake, but you’re gonna go about it the right way. And we’ve had vegans or vegetarians on the show before who do that because that’s generally higher carbohydrate diet. Guys like Rich Roll, people who are like juicing, doing a lot of vegetable-based starches, staying away from inflammatory carbohydrates but also, because the absence of meat and dairy in the diet typically not eating much fat. I think that from a heart disease standpoint, and again I don’t have a bunch of studies in front of me and I’m talking kind of blue sky here, from a heart disease standpoint, I think that it’s a fairly low risk type of eating pattern. My main concern with the high carb, low fat, if the source of the carbs is from really healthy sources and you’re doing lots of vegetables in juicing and staying way from inflammatory things like wheat, the bigger issue with that is kind of what we alluded to in this podcast is are you getting enough cholesterol and fats in your diet for adequate central nervous system integrity, adequate fatty acid levels for the brain, being able to stave off things like Alzheimer’s disease and some of the nerve degeneration that can occur with the low fat diet, and are you giving your body enough building blocks for hormones. And that’s I think where the bigger concern is versus heart health. I’m not sure that a vegetarian or a vegan diet is worse for the heart, but I think you got to be careful especially about your nervous system and your hormones with a diet like that.
Brock: That makes complete sense. And lead us to our final question for today. Final audio question from Seth, I think, he says:
Seth: Hi Ben, this is Seth from Boston, New York. I just finished my third 70.3 in Muskoka and I had a knee problem there which was leg cramping starting about a half mile into the run. It was so bad it forced me to walk. I’ve worked with a running coach to improve my efficiency, to involve lower hip flexors, so I don’t run into these problems. I’ve never had any cramping on the bike. And also during this race, I peed more than I’ve ever had during the race. I had to stop two times on the bike to pee, and twice on the run. If you add those pee in the water, that’s 5 times during this race. I feel like I may have peed all of my electrolytes and I that maybe caused my cramping. I was wondering if you have any suggestions. Thanks for your time.
Brock: Okay. I had pretty much the exact experience when I did the 70.3 Syracuse. I cramped up really bad coming off the bike and into the run. It wasn’t in my quads. It was in my hamstrings, but I actually, I barely drank anything. So I did the opposite of what Seth did, but had a similar outcome.
Ben: Cramps are multi factorial. And that’s the thing. You always got to remember that cramping can have absolutely nothing to do with your electrolytes and hydration because there are two other things that can cause cramps. One, and this is a really big issue especially when you are racing or you’re competing, whether it be in a basketball game or soccer game or triathlon, is exercising beyond your usual level of training. That increases your odds of muscle cramping insignificantly, and when you’re in a state where others are pushing you, especially if you’re a highly competitive individual, what happens is as you begin to increase your level of exertion over and above your body has experienced in training, there can be a protective spasm of the muscle to keep it from tearing. That’s one of the reasons that chimps or gorillas are so strong is they have less of a propensity for the gogi tendon to contract and cause that protective muscle spasm that puts us in the cramp state. So that’s one thing that can cause a cramp that has nothing to do with how much water you’ve taken on or how much salt you’ve consumed. Although it should be pointed out that if you are in a dehydrated state, or if you are in electrolyte or mineral depleted state, that protective spasm is gonna kick in earlier. So that’s one thing to bear in mind. The other thing, especially when we’re talking about something like bicycling where you’re in this one position for a long period of time, is if your bike fit is really not set up the way that it’s supposed to be. A muscle can go into a state of spasm after it’s been shortened for a very, very long time. So let’s say that your seat height is too low. What’s gonna happen if your seat height is too low? Your hip flexors or your quads are gonna be in this constantly shortened state the whole time that you’re riding your bike. And after a few hours of being completely short and unable to stretch, you stand up after doing something like that, and that muscle will be in this cramp or spasm state, and a lot of times, you’ll be able to trace cramps back to basically improper bike fit. Especially when it happens during something like a triathlon. Another issue can be simply tight muscles. Specifically really tight fascia, or what you call fascial adhesions. And you tend to be someone who’s prone to that type of thing, not doing foam rolling, not getting some soft tissue work done, not doing things like some trigger point with a golf ball or a tennis ball, that can be an issue as well. I know that personally if I don’t really make sure and roll out my calves with the foam roller, they tend to prone to cramping. Cramping when I get in the cold water, cramping when I tend to push myself when running, and if I can go into something like a race with a little less adhesion occurring at the muscle level, that’s a lot less likely to occur. And then of course, I should throw in there that let’s say you’re using sodium during your event, but you’re magnesium deficient, no matter how much sodium you take in, if you’ve several months or years of magnesium deficiency, that sodium is not gonna help you. That’s the reason to do something like supplement with magnesium on a daily basis. Use like a trace liquid minerals blend. If you’re chronically dehydrated, that can also aggravate muscle cramping even if you’re drinking a lot during the race if you’ve been dehydrated in the days leading up. That can be an issue as well. It’s not as big of an issue as the sports drinks companies, or the salt pills companies would have us to believe, but in a state of mineral depletion, typically more of a chronic mineral depletion, not an acute mineral depletion on the day, but literally going for months or years with basically eating a very mineral-poor diet, that can also increase your propensity for cramping, absolutely. So understand that it’s multi factorial and typically, when someone comes to me and they got these cramping issues, we’re usually looking at everything – what’s your bike fit look like. If you can get like a spectrocell analysis, what are your magnesium levels like, what’s the overall sodium intake like in your diet, how’s your hydration from day to day, how tight are you, how often do you get soft tissue worked on and how hard are you going in this event versus how hard you trained your body to go in training. So lots of ways that you can come at something like cramping and I know it can be frustrating coz you’re trying to eliminate variables one by one, but that’s really what you have to do if you want to figure this out completely.
Brock: Awesome! I’m gonna look at both of those things for myself, and Seth, I hope that helps you out as well. And that brings us to the end of this episode. So Ben can get my car and get his butt down to his redemption race.
Ben: Leadman. So listeners can get to ben.leadman125, I’ll be down there. I’ll be hitting Twitter with whatever I’m during the week at over at Twitter.com/BenGreenfield. Remember that this podcast is brought to you by audiblepodcast.com/ben and if you go to audiblepodcast.com/ben, you can get a free book. The other thing that I wanted to mention is that coming up on Saturday is an interview with Fitness for Geeks author Bruce Perry and we’re gonna be geeking out on fitness and talking about the, basically we’re kind of comparing our phones and what apps we have on our phones for geeking out on fitness and talking about GPS devices and all sorts of interesting stuff when it comes to using technology to improve your fitness. And then finally, if you want apps to a list of things that we talked about today, the cancer books and CDs, the information about the weight training book, Primal Body, Primal Mind, pretty much everything that we talk about on any podcast, we’re going to have a list going over at Facebook.com/BGFitness and we’re using MyList for that. So check all that out, and until next, this is Ben and Brock, signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net
Sep 19, 2012 free podcast: How To Know If The Supplement You're Taking Is Safe Also: resistance training for triathletes, tips on clearing your lungs, Gerson Therapy for treating cancer, when is it safe to mix fats and carbs, and are hydration and electrolytes the only causes of muscle cramping?
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- This study says it's useless to warmup before your triathlon – but they didn't look at bike warmup, only swim/run.
- Yet more evidence that those special, curvy-bottom exercise shoes don't actually do anything special.
- Low cholesterol may cause depression/increased risk of suicide. Fat is good for the brain, folks.
- While talking about cholesterol and depression, Ben mentions the book Primal Body, Primal Mind.
Go to www.audiblepodcast.com/ben – and sign up to claim your very own free audiobook.
Ben mentions the Sufferfest Cycling Videos – a great high intensity indoor cycling workout.
Nutrition Survey – Struggle with adhering to your diet? We want to help. Please tell us about your nutrition difficulties. This is open to everyone regardless of your current level of health and fitness.
Ben's Superhuman Performance Encoder wristband and Entrainer Drops – are now available.
As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
Audio Question from Ben (at 00:14:47)
Older brother who is 38 just did Wildflower and Toughman. In prep for next triathlon, he wants to do some resistance training. What do you recommend for him? The standard body building moves?
~ In my response I mention my book at www.thestrongtriathlete.com for faster, more intense cardio-esque weight routines OR my Ultimate Weight Training Guide book at for more traditional strength and power training routines for triathletes.
Audio Question from Clayman (00:22:57)
He just started using an advair inhaler and is doing much better. Can you give him more ideas of how to unlock the mucus from his lungs?
Audio Question from John (00:32:00)
Has increased his testosterone and got his knee fixed and is looking forward to starting the Tri-Ripped Program. Have you done any research on the Gerson Therapy for cancer? What would you recommend to a friend if they had cancer?
Audio Question from Jorge (00:39:22)
Just did Ironman Canada and is very happy with his results and wants to thank Ben for all his help and knowledge. He also has a question about supplements – do you know if there is an organization or website that certifies the quality of supplements?
~ Here is a timely news story to illustrate the potential issue.
Audio Question from Keerthi (00:48:42)
He heard you say on the podcast that eating toast with scrambled eggs can cause oxidation of the fatty acids and that is not good for your health. He has also heard you say that it is good to mix fats with starches to reduce the Glycemic Index of those starches. Sounds like a mixed message? He wants to know how much fat he can safely add to the carbs (how much ghee in white rice)? Also does it matter what type of fats?
Audio Question from Seth (00:58:28)
Just finished the 70.3 in Muskoka where he had a new issue of cramping in his quads about a half mile into the run. The cramps were bad enough that he had to walk. Has worked with a coach to improve his efficiency. Has never cramped on the bike. He had decent fuelling and had to pee 5 times during the race. Could he have leaked out all his electrolytes?