A Potent Pre-Sauna Stack, How To Cleanse Your Blood Before Bed, 700%+ Endurance Increases, The Best Supplements For Altitude Performance & Much More With Craig Dinkel of Biotropic Labs.

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Craig Dinkel Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast
Body, Fitness, Performance, Podcast, Podcast-new, Supplements

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

In the podcast episode “Shattering World Swim Records On 25-Piece Fried Chicken Buckets, Climbing Mountains While Eating Defatted, Vegan, Grass-Fed, Argentinian Liver Anhydrate & Much More” I interviewed athlete, mountain climber, former collegiate and Olympic Trials qualifying competitive swimmer and supplement designer Craig Dinkel about a special blood oxygenating formula called “Biotropic”.

After that interview, I received an onslaught of questions about everything from grass-fed liver anhydrate to cordyceps sinensis to hidden benefits of beetroots, the detoxification properties of algae, whether it's really true you can get all the benefits of blood doping without actually blood doping and more.

So Craig came back on the podcast “How To Legally Dope Your Blood (Without Actually Taking Illegal Drugs).“, and in that podcast, we took a deep dive into the unique blood building formulation Craig has designed.

Then Craig returned for a third time to delve into a new supplement formulation he designed called “Oxcia” and to also talk about recovery for aging athletes, cross-body patterning, a form of high-intensity interval training called “HIIQT” and much more.

Now Craig is back for a fourth time for a nitty-gritty, deep dive into the physiology, biochemistry and science behind his unique formulations.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Why Ben “triple-dosed” with Biotropic AFA when he came down with the flu…[7:25]

-How Craig began experimenting with supplements in high school and became a supplement knowledge powerhouse while qualifying for the Olympic Trials in swimming…[12:40]

-The brutal swim workouts Craig and Ben experienced as swimmers and water polo players…[19:05]

-How chlorella enhances ATP production in the absence of actual calories…[23:50]

-A fringe compound that increases endurance by over 750%…[27:00]

-How beetroot works to not only vasodilate arteries but also to quell excess free radicals…[29:40]

-The amazing echinacea + sauna training hack for building new red blood cells…[44:50]

-The equally amazing chlorella + grounding/earthing stack for cleaning up the body during sleep…[54:25]

-The hidden ingredient in watermelon that vasodilates blood and works better than the supplement arginine…[59:55]

-How a component found in apples can repair muscles that have been crushed…[65:50]

-And much more!


Resources from this episode:

BioTropic supplements (use code BEN30 for 30% on all three bottles or you can use code BEN for 20% discount on any single bottle)

-Study: The Use of Echinacea to Improve Oxygen Transport Capacity


Terry Schroeder


Sayer Ji study on chlorella boosting ATP in absence of calories

Show Sponsors:

-Onnit – To save 10% off your order, visit BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Onnit.

-Fresh Books – FreshBooks is offering a 30 day, unrestricted free trial BGF Podcast listeners. To claim it, just go to FreshBooks.com/BEN and enter code BEN GREENFIELD FITNESS in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section.

-Daily Burn – Visit DailyBurn.com/Ben to start your FREE sixty-day trial.

-Kion Aminos – For for muscle recovery, better cognition, reduced cravings, immunity, try Kion Aminos from GetKion.com!

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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37 thoughts on “A Potent Pre-Sauna Stack, How To Cleanse Your Blood Before Bed, 700%+ Endurance Increases, The Best Supplements For Altitude Performance & Much More With Craig Dinkel of Biotropic Labs.

  1. Eve says:

    Interesting podcast. However, I’m very disappointed that Biotropic uses “Proprietary” ingredients. This is a red flag that they don’t want consumers to know how much (or how little) is in their product. It is my understanding that it doesn’t protect their product against competitors. All they have to do to find out what’s inside is take it to a lab. The only ones left in the dark is the customer. Bummer.

  2. Devin says:


    How much AFA do you take before a competition? Also would taking that or the chlorella or just straight cordyceps before training be a good idea or would they blunt the effects of the workout due to antioxidant content and adaptation properties? And would the afa or chlorella truly break a fast due to the type of protein content or not

    thanks Ben


  3. David says:

    Hi Ben, I considered trying the Biotropic supplements for performance and haven’t gotten a response from them in regards to inventory. Customer service absence, not a good sign? Does anyone know when they will have the AFA and chlorella mixes back in stock?

    1. Craig says:

      Hey David – Craig here with BioT. We take just about all calls live, and respond to every email daily, so I’m really sorry we somehow missed your communication with us. Absent we are definitely are not. However, we’re a bit backordered at the moment, did not expect the demand we received. I apologize for the delay in getting product to you but we expect to be shipping on 04/16/2018. Again, please accept my sincerest apologies. Also, please feel free to email me directly at [email protected] and we can communicate directly with one another. David, thanks in advance for understand! – Craig

  4. Josh says:

    Hello…awhile back ago, Ben posted when he recommends taking some of the Kion supplements. I cannot find that article. Can someone please send me a link to it? Appreciate that.

  5. Ty Collins says:

    AFA on backorder :-(

    1. Craig says:

      Howdy Ty – Craig here with BioT. Yes, we’re a bit backordered at the moment but expect to be shipping on 04/16/2018. Thanks in advance for understand Ty! – Craig

  6. Karl says:

    From what I can tell, the research on Echinacea for increasing VO2 max is, at best, unclear. I have to say that it’s tough to take your word on these kinds of things when you only reference a single study, and when a quick Google search raises serious doubts!

    This study looks at some of the available research and its conclusion is that Echinacea is not effective for building EPO.

    1. Rich says:

      I agree that the research is not yet clear; though it is pretty rare we find definitive evidence of most of these herbs. Here is another study I found though where the data suggest that ECH supplementation results in significant increases in EPO, VO2max, and running economy.


    2. Craig says:

      Hi Karl – I really appreciate your post. Thank you.

      The single link above is only a sample of many links “out there” that support/question, the matter. I too question everything.

      More on your post below, but let me first say I don’t think you should necessarily take anyone’s word on the matter, rather check it out for yourself. Personally I do believe Ben is a significantly important starting point – and speaking for myself and so many others, a great source from start to finish – for data on the subject. There are few more knowledgeable on such things as he. We all don’t have to agree, but even among the most learned, there is disagreement, and on most subjects. Nothing wrong with that.

      If we’re willing to put in the deep research, we can come to our own conclusions. However, one must really digest a lot of material to come to a solid conclusion – as you justly point out, a single link, or even several, isn’t enough. One has to do deep research. In the end analysis, we may/may not, differ.

      With that view in mind, my own approach is if something is safe, addresses the issue(s) I’m trying to tackle, and there’s enough support to justify trying something out, then I do just that. So much of what’s worked on me in my life did not come from a clinical trial or a peer reviewed study, rather my Olympian or super high level athlete colleagues – and coaches. They, and I, let out bodies tell us if we’re getting the intended benefits. If so, we continue; if not, we move on.

      Again, this this is my approach, learned after many, many years of use and experimentation, of what works on me. I respect your own approach, whatever that choice is.

      Now, more specific to your question, here’s just another way to take up the issue you present:

      VO2 max is the maximal oxygen uptake and can be measured in relation to aerobic endurance. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense exercise. In theory, the higher the VO2 max, the more oxygen you can use during high-intensity exercise, which can produce more ATP energy in your cells.

      Research shows that an individual’s VO2 max is partially genetically predisposed. However, VO2 max can also be increased through training. Increasing training volume and intensity can help to increase VO2 max. In general, the less fit you are, the more you can increase your VO2 max through training. Elite athletes have a more difficult time reaching their VO2 max because they are likely already close to their genetic potential.

      VO2 max can also be increased through supplementation with echinacea. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 24 active males, participants were given 8000mg day of Echinacea or placebo. Participants were subjected to maximal graded exercise tests, similar to a stress test to assess cardiorespiratory fitness and cardiac function. This test was conducted by collecting expired gases to measure (instead of estimate) the VO2 max. Blood was also sampled to determine erythropoietin levels. Erythropoietin is a molecule that is secreted by the kidney in response to hypoxia (deficiency in oxygen to the tissues). Erythropoietin stimulates the production of red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) which are carriers of oxygen in the bloodstream to your tissues and muscles. In this study with Echinacea supplementation, erythropoietin was increased at day 7, 14, and 21. In turn, this also increased VO2 max and running economy, as submaximal VO2 was used during the first two stages of the graded exercise test (in comparison to placebo which was at the VO2 max) [1].

      This result was corroborated with 2 other studies which show that echinacea supplementation (8000mg/day) also increased erythropoietin. In these studies, there was a trend in the data to show that erythropoiesis may be initiated [2,3]. Erythropoeisis is the process that produces red blood cells, which helps to circulate O2 in the blood. Increased O2 circulation will increase VO2 max and increase the production of ATP in muscles.

      It should be noted that some studies exist that have contradicting results. For example, one study using 16 highly trained runners found that echinacea does not enhance VO2 max [4]. However, because the study participants were already elite athletes, the normal human limits for erythropoietin production may have already been met or the athletes may have already been at their highest genetic VO2 potential. In other words, the baseline VO2 max was already at its highest and may not be able to be increased much further. This means that Echinacea can help athletes reach their highest VO2 max if it has not been reached already. It can also be argued that echinacea can help maintain VO2max when it is at its highest potential.

      Other studies with recreationally active participants (instead of elite athletes) also contradict the findings that echinacea can improve VO2max [5]. Because non-elite athletes were used in the study with no positive effects on VO2 max noted, it would be easy to refute the findings of previous studies that show VO2max is improved. However, a major limitation of this study was that there was no control or placebo group. Without a control or placebo group, the study can be considered weak. In addition, the supplementation of echinacea by participants was based on self-reported compliance (meaning that adherence to the supplementation regime may not have been followed).

      Karl – I hope this at least puts more light on the matter. Also, please feel free to hit me up at [email protected]. I’d be happy to take it up there as well. –Craig

      [1] Whitehead M. T., Martin T. D., Webster M. J., & Scheett T. P. (2007). Improved running economy and maximal oxygen consumption after 4-weeks of oral Echinacea supplementation. ACSM Annual Meeting New Orleans, Presentation Number, 908.
      [2] Whitehead, M. T., (2006). The effect of four weeks of Echinacea supplementation on erythropoietin and indices of erythropoietic status. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(5), Supplement abstract 2256.
      [3] Whitehead, M. T., Martin, T. D., Webster, M. J., & Scheett, T. P. (2005). Two weeks of oral Echinacea supplementation significantly increases circulating erythropoietin. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37(5), Supplement abstract 231.
      [4] Baumann CW, Bond KL, Rupp JC, Ingalls CP, Doyle JA. (2014). Echinacea purpurea supplementation does not enhance VO2max in distance runners. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28(5):1367-1372.
      [5] Bellar D, Moody KM, Richard NS, Judge LW. Efficacy of a botanical supplement with concentrated Echinacea purpurea for increasing aerobic capacity. ISRN Nutrition. 2014.

  7. Cathleen McGinnity says:

    Hi Ben and Craig

    I am training for IM Madison this year. I have been taking the afa twice a day (am and mid pm) and the oxia three times a day.

    I would like to add on the chlolerra to get maximum recovery and training effect. What would be the best way to take these supplements. I would add on I am a 52 yo female racing triathlon for the last 7 years.


    1. Charles william says:


      In my experience taking the supplements, you probably do not need the chlorella formula if your really looking for max recovery. The AFA will do a great job of that. To maximize the training effect crush up two AFA tablets about 40 min before a workout and hold on. I know you were looking for ben but the guy does not respond much. If you go to the biotropic website they are pretty fast getting back to you with some great info

    2. Craig says:

      Hi Cathleen – hit me at [email protected] and let’s take up some discussion there, okay? — Craig

  8. Eddie says:

    Hi Ben,

    I’m having trouble finding the nutritional/label/ingredient list for any of the BioTropic supplements. I would like to know exactly what I’m buying prior to spending the money on them. Do you know if these are available to public?



    1. Rich says:

      Looking for the same!

    2. Craig says:

      Hello Eddie – That’s a miss on our part, and we’re in the process of solving it how. Please standby. You’ll see it soon. — Craig

  9. Tom huber says:

    Hi Ben. I enjoy your podcast with Craig Dinkel and have listened to other episodes of yours and I always get excited about the products your experts recommend my delima is I can’t afford all the products although I wish I could so I guess my question to u is I am 55 years old good shape lift weights 2 times a week and my main hobby is cycling.I know this question might be hard for u to answer with the little information I gave u but what products would u recommend for me to take i am currently taking a multivitamin (NOW Adam soft gel )and a whey protein by (allmax) and Energy Bits n Recovery bits and a probiotic PB8 .I am just looking for the extra energy to do some long rides on the bike 75 to 100 Miles Thx any info would be great

    1. Hi Tom, check out this article for long workout fueling tips: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/article/nutritio…

    2. Craig says:

      HI Tom – Craig here. Email me at [email protected] and let’s chat all about what your needs are. I’ll look forward to it. –Craig

  10. Bill Montgomery says:


    I bought a bottle of the AFA Formula. I am hoping it will help me with recovery after my first climb, well, second, of the year. I have been on injured (surgery) for a couple weeks. So anything that can help me get through the first month of climbing mountains will be great.

    Another subject:

    Wish you could answer my question about how autophagy, necrosis and apoptosis might work together to eliminate dead cells caused necrosis after a fast. The doc squirted team into my prostate to kill the cells. The idea is that the body will eliminate the dead cells and the prostate will shrink. Yeah, you think you wil never have prostate problems since you are today’s Jack Lalane, but testosterone build up in the prostate causes enlarged prostate so give yourself another 35 years.

    Ben, your podcasts are so helpful, but I think you need an employee that can answer all these questions. At least you would not have to type the answers and all of the questions and comments would get a reply.

    Cheers from Seattle.

    1. Craig says:

      Hey Bill – Craig with BioT. Email me at [email protected] and let’s take up a chat. I’m a “climber” too and I believe I can help you out a bit. — Craig

  11. Charles william says:


    Will craig’s chlorella or afa formula break a fast? Also how will EAAs not?


    1. Craig says:

      Howdy Charles – Look for your answer in the 3rd paragraph, last sentence. But let me give you some context: Anything that requires digestion is, technically, considered to be breaking a fast. However, the definition of “fasting” can be different based on the individual. In the strictest form of fasting, it is the absolute abstinence from all food and liquid.

      However, other less restrictive forms of fasting allow drinking water or consumption of some type of food, such as supplements. Some define breaking a fast as the consumption of any food or liquid that requires digestion. Digestion can be defined as the breaking down of food enzymatically into smaller molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream for the body to use.

      Under this definition, use of the chlorella or afa formula requires your body to break down the ingredients for absorption into the body. Both formulas include ingredients that contain macro and micro nutrients, including Vitamin B, iron, copper, zinc and electrolytes, which are absorbed into the bloodstream…..

      …..thus, both formulas require digestion, and thus, consuming chlorella or afa formula would be breaking a fast. Similarly, EAAs also require enzymatic break down for absorption into the body, and consuming EAAs would also be breaking a fast.

      Note: The above is based on the stricter definition of fasting; some definitions of fasting allow consumption of supplements and capsules – under these definitions, taking chlorella or afa formula would not be breaking a fast.

  12. Richard Sumian says:

    Hey Ben,

    Will the Chlorella clean the system of pesticides and toxins that you would get from GMO foods? What are the best supplements to remove these kinds of toxins from the body?

    Thank you I’m advance.

    1. Michael says:

      GMO foods,do not have pesticides or toxins

      1. Edward says:

        Michael, GMO plants were developed to survive herbicides hense the name “Roundup ready”

  13. Calvin Lehn says:

    Two questions: if you only take the oxcia before hard workouts and races do you still get the benefit as opposed to taking it daily? I would prefer the supplement lasts longer than 30 days.

    Also, chew up the tablets or swallow them?


    1. asia l mcmullin says:

      Was there an answer to your question, I sure would like to know as well.

    2. Craig says:

      Hi Calvin – You should get the intended benefits either way, but I suggest that unless there’s a reason to take when not training or competing, then don’t take it, only to save money. I take them ahead of training, ahead of events, and during longer term events, such as my long haul hiking events; and my ultra runners actually take them all race long.

      Chew or swallow is a personal choice. I do both. If your digestive system does not like tablets, chew them. Again, either way, you’ll be good, so do what’s most comfortable for you to do. — Craig

  14. Chris Polito says:

    Training for Leadville 100 run in August and living in Arizona. I know You have talked about the benefits of heat training for altitude races but it sounds like these supplements would also benefit me as well! How would you recommend taking these in my training leading up to Leadville as well as during. Also, any other tips for altitude training when living in Phoenix would be appreciated. I should mention too that I will not be to Leadville until a day before the race. Great episode thank you!

    1. Chris if you go to the BioTropic website, they have instructions there on how to take their products: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/biotropic. I have tons of resources on BenGreenfieldFitness.com related to altitude training. Just do a search there. Also, if you're interested in coaching, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching

    2. Craig says:

      Hey Chris – Craig with BioT. Email me at [email protected] and let’s take up a discussion over your questions. Looking forward to it. — Craig

  15. mia says:

    fyi new zealand grass fed liver is the purest

  16. Francisco says:

    Hey Ben, you talked about taking aminos before a fasted workout… I thought aminos would break the fast, since they are insulinogenic, specially leucine.

    What i normally do is take 2 to 3 grams of HMB before a fasted workout, it will keep you in a anti catabolic state without any effect whatsoever on insulin.

      1. Francisco says:

        Have you measured it?

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