July 28, 2010
Podcast episode#105 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2010/07/episode-105-a-peek-into-the-life-of-an-ironman-natural-medicine-physician/
Introduction: In this podcast episode: an interview with a natural healing physician, re-feeding in your diet, psoriasis management, barefoot running, food allergy testing, high heart rate when running, anaerobic exercise and cortisol, fasting and amino acids, does glucosamine work? A drink called Spiz, bipolar medications and weight gain, eating to avoid diabetes, training on a fixed gear bike, getting hungry after breakfast, exercising with a sweat suit on, choosing your sport based on your body type and post-workout fuel ratio.
Ben: Hey, podcast listeners this is Ben Greenfield and I am back in my home office. I am happy to be home. I’ve been travelling around Oregon and California the past couple of weeks. You know, it just feels good sometimes to get back to home base and be greeted by that huge pileup of mail and boxes. Anyways, we have had a great response to my question to you about who you wanted me to get on the podcast and I have a great series of interviews lined up for the next few weeks. I’ve been interviewing people while I’ve been on the go and there are some really fabulous stuff coming down the pipeline including today’s interview with Dr. David Minkoff who is an M.D. down in Clearwater, Florida. I’ve met him. I’ve seen his facility. He has a really great thing going on. He is a wealth of knowledge. He’s been on the podcast before and he’s also done 37 Ironman triathlons which is just mind blowing. So, he will be with us today for a fantastic interview. We also have a lot of listener questions and a few special announcements so we’re going to move forward to the special announcements.
Okay, the first special announcement is pretty important. As you may have discovered these podcasts have been getting longer. We’ve consistently over the past few months had podcasts that range from 90 minutes to two hours. I know that a lot of you get a little ways through that podcast and you just don’t have the time to finish it. So we’ve got a few different solutions for you. The first would be to split the podcast into chapters. I can do that. I have the technological means to do that, but occasionally there tends to be playback issues with certain MP3 players. For example, you take something like an iPod Shuffle, which is what I use when I’m exercising. It’s a little, tiny iPod. That really doesn’t have the capability to read the chapters being split up. So if you press forward, it will just jump forward to the next podcast or song that you have. Not the next chapter in this podcast. An iPhone does have the capability to do that as do a lot of Smart Phones and computers but ultimately there tends to be a few technical issues with splitting up the podcast into multiple shorter chapters. So that is an issue. The other possibility is to put out a Listener Q and A podcast and a featured interview podcast, essentially splitting the podcast into two episodes. Now, if that would be palatable to you and you like that idea then leave me a comment in the Shownotes for this episode. This is episode number 105 that you’re listening to. If you have other ideas, if you have other things that you’d like to see implemented in the podcast, let me know because I design this for you. I personally get a big kick and a lot of joy out of helping people out and the best way for me to help you out is for you to let me know what you want. So go to bengreenfieldfitness.com, click on the Shownotes for episode 105, tell me what you would like to see. Whether you would like to see me split the podcast into chapters. Whether you would want a Listener Q and A episode with a featured interview as a separate episode. Exactly what you want. So let me know about that.
Then the other announcement that’s podcast related is that we’ve had many, many requests for transcripts of the podcast so you could go do a search for anything I’ve ever talked about on a podcast and have access to it as a transcript of that podcast. Now this is technically – it’s pretty easy to do, to get a transcription service to go back over 105 podcasts and transcribe them all. Here’s the deal, the amount of money it would cost me is $6,000 to actually go through all the podcasts, get them all transcribed and get them up at bengreenfieldfitness.com as part of the Shownotes for you to read or as part of a separate Web page that’s searchable for you. So each Web page would have its own dedicated episode transcript. Now here’s the deal. Here’s what I’m willing to do, if you own a business and you have banners or you have advertising materials or you have a Web page that you would like to drive people to and you would like people to advertise on all the transcribed podcasts for the bengreenfieldfitness.com episodes or even parts of the podcast episodes. It’s $60. That’s what it would cost me to get one podcast transcribed. So if you’re sitting there and you’re thinking well, we basically get 12,000 visitors to bengreenfieldfitness.com searching through and reading the content. So that’s the type of traffic you’d be looking at and if you’re interested in essentially sponsoring the transcription of the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast and in doing so having your advertisement, your business slapped all over those podcasts, then you need to email me [email protected] and we can make this happen. I can have all the podcasts transcribed and up within two to four weeks. It’s just a matter of getting that task sponsored. So if your business is interested, let’s say you just want to do 50 podcast episodes, that’d be $60 per podcast episode. It’d cost $3,000 to get your business banner on the transcribed episodes for 60 different podcasts and I guarantee there’d be a lot of eyeballs on those podcasts because we get searched quite a bit and the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast has a very high ranking in Google. So if you’ve got a business and you’re interested in sponsoring that task or that process, it’s something you could do on an ongoing basis too. If you would like, you could sponsor bengreenfieldfitness.com and get every single episode transcribed. 12,000 hits on each episode. So check it out and email me [email protected].
Now, those of you that listen to the podcast regularly already know that I’m offering a couple of different Ironman triathlon camps. I’ve got one coming up in Thailand. I’ve got another one down in Austin, Texas. You need to go to the Shownote episodes, read about those and shoot me an email if that interests you. I’m very good at making adventures actually fit for all sorts of different skill levels. This is not for elite individuals. It’s not for professional triathletes. It’s for the everyday Joe who wants to get out and train and loves the sport of triathlon. So email me if you’re interested in getting in on those, and that is going to wrap up our special announcements. We’re going to go ahead and move into this week’s Listener Q and A.
If you have a question, you can email [email protected]. You can Skype to user name Pacific Fit or you can call toll free to 8772099439 and I’ll put all those details in the episode Shownotes. I also neglected to mention in the special announcements that the brand new book on how to qualify for the Ironman World Championships is now available. I have that ready on the episode Shownotes. So if you’re interested in the Kona Ironman World Championships then go check out the Shownotes. So, that being said let’s move to the first question which is from listener Chandra.
Chandra asks: About a month ago, I started feeling hungry all the time. Two things happened in my life around this time. One, I removed wheat, dairy and soy from my diet. Two, I hit distance in my marathon training that I’ve never done before. I immediately associated my hunger with the lack of wheat so after a week of not being able to get enough food to feel satisfied, I added the wheat back to my diet. I did not see the difference in hunger at all. I changed my weight loss weight from two pounds a week to maintaining weight and ate all the calories that I had burned during exercise. But I continue to have an appetite increase. I do not want to increase my caloric intake level to a level that would result in a cessation of weight loss because I still have about 35 pounds to lose. What is your opinion on this?
Ben answers: Chandra, there’s been research done on people who engaged in caloric depletion. You do reach a stage where you plateau. Now, there’s something called a re-feeding cycle which studies have shown takes you out of that plateau effectively if you include it as a part of your dieting protocol. So, for example in one study, the researchers had people engage in very low calorie diets or diets that undercut the number of calories they were consuming for 12 weeks. Then, they went through a one to six week re-feeding cycle in which they ate calories that kept them at a net caloric balance. The people who went through the refeeding cycle ended up being more successful in their weight loss efforts. Now, you can go a certain period of time being at a caloric deficit before you may begin to notice that you plateau. When that happens, it seems counter-intuitive but by simply taking a rest week and/or eating more calories than you’ve been eating, or as many calories as you need to achieve caloric balance, you can actually take yourself out of that plateau. Now I’m not saying for sure that that’s what happened in your situation, but what is likely is that the combination of cutting calories from wheat and dairy combined with increasing your exercise volume resulted in this increase in appetite. Now, if you held on for several days with that low, low calorie intake, it is possible that you may have temporarily lowered your metabolism and so your body is taking a while to actually get back into weight loss mode. My recommendation would be that you begin to cycle your week so that you have several re-feeding days during the week. So what that means is you may attempt to be at a caloric deficit Monday to Friday and then Saturday and Sunday, you eat a few extra calories or you at least eat as many calories as you need to achieve a caloric balance. So if you find out that you’re burning 1,000 calories and your metabolic rate is 1500 calories, you would want to consume 2500 calories. The weekend refeeding works out nicely because most people do more exercise on the weekends anyway so they can get away with eating a little bit more. So that’s the first thing that I would do, would be to start to cycle your re-feeding so that you’re re-feeding on the weekends and you can jump into that right away. So jump into your caloric deficit Monday through Friday but begin to re-feed on the weekends. Now, the other problem is when you cut wheat, dairy and soy out of your diet your calorie count went way down and the reason for that is a lot of people don’t know how to cut wheat, dairy and soy out of their diet and still get enough calories. So, that is where I am going to direct you to my book. Holistic Fueling for Endurance Athletes. It teaches you how to actually get the thousands of calories in that your body needs without taking in common inflammatory foods or common allergy triggers like the wheat, the dairy, the soy, etc. So I’m going to put a link to that book in the Shownotes. It’s over at Mindset Triathlon. That’s the only place it’s available for. I wrote it exclusively for them. It’s also available as part of my Triathlon Dominator package which is my Ironman training package. It’s actually available as part of the Marathon Dominator Package as well. So those are three ways that you can get your hands on that book. I’ll put all three of those links in the Shownotes. You can choose how you want to get Holistic Fueling for Endurance Athletes.
The next question is from listener Lee.
Lee asks: I just wondered whether you had any diet advice for those of us who suffer from psoriasis. Is there anything in particular that can help to prevent autoimmune reactions like this?
Ben answers: Well Lee, if you listen to the episode and I believe it was episode 102 with Dr. Roby Mitchell, Dr. Fit. He talked about how things like athlete’s foot and fungal issues, which is really what a lot of skin issues are, are not necessarily a result of you being exposed to or having an autoimmune disorder but you being more susceptible to that disorder because of a thyroid disorder or because of a nutritional deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, iodine deficiency or an acidic diet that’s allowing the feeding of fungus. So, the issue is that there are some natural things that you can do and kind of the list of protocols that a doctor like Dr. Roby Mitchell would give you for antifungal control – and I don’t want you to take this as medical advice – I’m just saying what I would consider for autoimmune type of skin disorders would be cleaning up your diet. So I would reduce sugar pretty dramatically. Especially processed sugar. I would eliminate grains. Just eliminate them. I would definitely look into optimizing your thyroid. Listen to the episode that was just done on hypothyroidism with Dr. Mitchell and implement some of the techniques that he talks about. Possibly including some type of desiccated thyroid supplement, and that’s again something that you’d want to discuss with your doctor. I’m not saying that you should do that. I’m not prescribing you thyroid. I’m just giving you some advice here. Optimize your vitamin D levels. I personally take 6,000 international units of vitamin D a day. I know people that take more than that. Most multivitamins are going to have about 300 to 400 international units. Look into adding iodine as well as a thyroid support. Definitely look into increasing your Omega 3 fatty acid intake from an essential fat like a fish oil capsule or you could do a vegan type of flax oil capsule if you didn’t want to do fish oil. Selenium and HCL are also a couple of treatments that you could consider for an autoimmune disorder like psoriasis. But basically what it comes down to is that in the words of Dr. Mitchell, he says psoriasis is a consequence. It is not a disease. The disease is the level of oxidation that’s occurring in your body that’s leaving you susceptible to autoimmune disorders. So, not to put words in his mouth but I do subscribe to his newsletter. I do read his newsletters and he does talk about psoriasis in quite a few of them.
So that’s what I would recommend and in the follow up part of your question, you ask…
Lee asks: One other thing, the food allergy testing that you recommended recently – would it be possible to access that from Australia? I don’t know what the rules are regarding international stool postage.
Ben answers: You know what Lee, I’m not sure. I know I’ve had people from Canada tested but Canada’s closer than Australia. What I would recommend that you do is call Uniki Health Systems. Call them up, tell them that I sent you over there and you can Google Uniki Health Systems or I’ll put a link to it in the Shownotes and call them up, tell them your situation and if they are not able to provide you with the food allergy testing from your home that they provide people here in the States and Canada with, then they may be able to give you recommendations on an Australian company that is trustworthy. However, since I don’t work in Australia or live in Australia, I’m not intimately familiar with any company that would allow you to test for food allergies from the comfort of your own home there in Australia. But I imagine that one exists. If you’re listening in and you live in Australia and you know of one, leave us a comment on the Shownotes to this episode. Episode number 105.
Now I received a Twitter question. Last week I sent out a T-shirt to Doug Lloyd for the best question asked via Twitter, and I’ll be sending out another T-shirt, a bengreenfieldfitness.com T-shirt this week for the best question asked via Twitter. You can ask a question on Twitter by going to twitter.com, signing up for a free account and then doing a search for Ben Greenfield. You’ll want to follow me on Twitter and then ask me a question.
Listener asks: I read Born to Run, and now I’m interested in barefoot running. What is your take on it and do you think it’s worth trying?
Ben answers: Well I received a little bit of flack recently because I actually wrote on Twitter, “Do you think that cavemen were stupid enough to actually run barefoot?” What I meant by that was if you’re going to go out and tread the forest, run after wild animals, run from wild animals, hunt fish, gather – you’re probably going to want to protect your feet. You don’t want to be naïve enough to believe there was no such thing as pine cones and rocks and needles and things of that nature jutting up from the ground back in the Paleolithic times, which are often referenced when people give an argument for the barefoot running protocol. So, the idea is that I am a fan of a minimalist running shoe. I’m a fan of allowing the foot to hit the ground as naturally as possible, and the type of things that you could wear would be like a racing trainer, a five fingers, a lot of these new shoes like the Nike Frees, and those would be examples of minimalist running shoes that still protect your foot. So I’m not a fan of just running out your front door and running completely barefoot. Now, the caveat to that is I will often include in my running protocol and in the workouts that I prescribe to my clients, this workout where I have them run to a park or a grassy soft area such as a golf course. They run there in their running shoes, they take their running shoes off. They do a series of 100 to 400 sprints, anywhere from five to 10 on those. They put their running shoes back on and they run home. I also do that session myself about once every two weeks. So in that respect I am a fan of complete barefoot running. Otherwise I am a fan of minimalist running shoes if you ease yourself into them. If you’ve been running with regular running shoes your whole life, you have weak feet, weak ligaments, weak bones; you can’t just switch to something like a Nike Free and expect not to get a stress fracture or an overuse injury in you foot. So you need to add about 10% volume per week in a minimalist shoe if you’re making that switchover. But from that point, I do believe that the biomechanics of running tend to be a lot more natural when you aren’t wearing a big clunky shoe. Interestingly with regard to the shoes, over at my other podcast at the Quick and Dirty Tips network which you can access at quickanddirtytips.com, I have an upcoming podcast episode on those new fitness shoes, the toning shoes that are curved along the bottom which present a whole new set of issues which I talk about in that podcast. But ultimately, barefoot running I am a fan of as long as you do it intelligently. Don’t walk out your front door and run barefoot because that’s what someone told you is what the cavemen did. So that’s my response. Great question. Also, listen to my barefoot running interview with Tellman Knudson who attempted to run across the country barefoot. Interestingly enough, he didn’t make it due to a variety of different foot injuries that he sustained. He was running completely barefoot. But I interviewed him. I’ll put a link to that in the Shownotes for this podcast episode. You can listen to my interview with Tellman Knudson.
Another question asked via Twitter.
asks: I am 42, 220 pounds, 6 foot tall. My resting heart rate is 46. asks When running, should my heart rate go up to 46 with an easy jog?
Ben answers: Big issue. A lot of people will try to do heart rate zone training and they’ll hear that their heart rate is supposed to be at 120 or 130 and they begin running and their heart rate jumps up to 150. The reason for that is because running is a sport of efficiency. If you’re an inefficient runner or an overweight runner, neither of those equations or both of those issues are going to affect the equation of the heart rate zone. Keeping your heart rate zone low. So that’s not unheard of for your heart rate to jump up to 140 but there are things you can do to control that heart rate a little bit. I find that people who are a bit heavier such as yourself and when I’m saying heavy, I’m not saying you’re obese. I’m saying that at 6 foot tall and 220, you’re heavy for a runner. You can focus on relaxed breathing techniques, making sure that you’re not letting your breathing get out of control. Drop your shoulders. Relax your arms. Lean slightly forward. Try not to push off with your calf too much. Try to use your hips more when you run. Look into the pose running technique or the key running technique, both of which are very valuable. You can Google those and watch some free videos on YouTube that show you some free techniques for pose running and for key running. Also if you lost a little bit of weight, you would notice that your heart rate did not rise so high as you’re running. But I would look at changing up your running biomechanics to a more efficient gait and that is not out of the ordinary for your heart rate to go up to 140 with an easy jog if you’re carrying some extra weight.
Christine asks: Is there a type of exercise that is better than others for dealing with stress and counteracting the negative effects of cortisol? Is anaerobic better than aerobic? Are high intensity workouts better than longer low intensity workouts?
Ben answers: Well this is an interesting question because there’s kind of a paradox here. Cortisol is your body’s stress release flight or fight hormone. It tends to become elevated with overtraining or with just too much work being put into the body. Small amounts of Cortisol are very good and they keep you going, keep you sharp, keep you losing weight. Large amounts tend to have just the opposite effect and can hijack your immune system and cause you to gain weight, cause you to have chronic fatigue and really not feel all that fantastic. So, to answer your question there are two situations in which I see elevated cortisol ratios. If you wanted to get your cortisol tested, go to Bioletics.com. and they’ll send you a kit and you drip saliva into a tube, you send it off to them and they give you your testosterone to cortisol ratio. Bioletics.com. So the two situations are number one: when people are overtraining by just doing chronic volume, day in, day out, two hour bike rides, two hour runs, long three or four hour runs on the weekends – your body just can’t take that much high volume training in most situations and bounce back quickly enough. So you get high cortisol in that situation. You have a situation in which you see high cortisol from an exercise standpoint is multiple high intensity interval sessions without enough recovery between those interval sessions. So the answer to your question is both can result in high cortisol levels. I see it more often, especially in females who are overtraining with volume than females who are overtraining with intensity. Usually the reason being that it’s tough to over train with intensity. It’s tough to push yourself day in, day out. But it’s easy if you have the time and you’re addicted to exercise to sit on a bike for three hours or to go out on a two and a half or three hour shuffle/jog. So my advice to you would be to lay out your week so that you have anywhere from one to two high intensity interval workouts for each type of sport that you’re doing. If you’re doing something like triathlon, so one to two high intensity bikes, one to two high intensity runs, one to two high intensity swims. And everything else is an easy recovery type of workout. You can do one long workout in that scenario and the long workout should also be an easier aerobic workout. If you’re just doing, for example, cross fit or weightlifting or cross training, a really good workout scenario usually amounts to three days a week of hard training combined with cardio interval training, two days a week using a low intensity aerobic workout, and then on the weekends throwing in either one, a high intensity interval workout or two, a longer lower intensity higher volume workout. So if you structure your week appropriately, then you can get the rest and recovery to keep your cortisol levels down and counteract the negative effects of that cortisol. But ultimately there’s a lot of other things from a nutritional standpoint that you should be doing as well to work on controlling your cortisol levels. For example, we just interviewed Brendan Brazier last week. One of the things he uses in his book The Thrive Diet is Maca root. You can find it in powdered form at any health food store but it’s great for naturally controlling cortisol levels. The other option is to bump up your testosterone levels a little bit. I take something called OptiMale everyday from Bioletics to work on my testosterone levels. Females don’t have to work so much on increasing T, but if you talk to the people over at Bioletics once you’ve had your hormones tested, they’ll be able to advise you on some other things you can do to control those cortisol levels or to increase your testosterone levels.
So the next question is the question of the week from Twitter, and I can’t quite pronounce this Twitter user’s name but you know who you are. Write me with your address if you want me to email me you a free T-shirt for asking the best question on Twitter this week. I’m going to email you a free bengreenfieldfitness.com T-shirt. The only other way you can get that T-shirt is to donate to the podcast. It’s very simple to donate to the podcast. We’ve had a few gracious donations over the past several weeks. You simply go to the “donate” button at the bottom of the Shownotes. Anybody who donates more than $15 will receive a free bengreenfieldfitness.com T-shirt along with some other goodies.
Listener asks: I hear glucine without the presence of glucose causes an insulin release. Should I not be taking branch chain amino acids before a fasted workout?”
Ben answers: Okay, so leucine is a branch chain amino acid. Branch chain amino acids are something that can help you to go for a longer time during a workout. So you get fatigued a little less easily, recover more quickly after a workout and also engage in caloric consumption of some of the amino acids that you need for the body not to break down muscle without consuming a lot of calories in the process. So you’d take a branch chain amino acid in capsule instead of eating a steak or eating a couple of scoops of whey protein powder prior to a workout. It sounds like that’s exactly what this listener is trying to do. He’s trying to exercise in a fasted state but he’s trying to get amino acids into his system before he exercises in that fasted state so he doesn’t cannibalize as much lean muscle tissue. It’s something that’s compelling. It’s actually an interesting idea and even the idea that you have a slightly higher blood level of amino acids has been shown to actually stave off some of the markers that show that muscle cannibalization could be occurring. So it’s a good idea, but what he says is he hears it causes an insulin release. Well, it is true and when you consume proteins you still get an insulin release. You’re going to get the same insulin release from a pound of hamburger or a pound of oatmeal. So, a lot of people think that protein doesn’t cause an insulin release. It does. The issue is that when you consume branch chain amino acids before a workout so that you can workout in a fasted state, it’s really not insulin that you’re trying to avoid. It’s calories and glucose that you’re trying to avoid. Having high insulin levels during a workout is not going to keep you from tapping into your fat stores, especially the slight insulin release that’s going to occur if you’re taking branch chain amino acids. Now if you were taking in a few scoops of a whey protein powder – say like 50 or 100 grams of whey protein, if you’re consuming some chicken or you’re consuming a few eggs, then we’d be looking at an insulin response that could potentially keep you from tapping into those fat stores during your workout. But just the simple act of taking in a little bit of branch chain amino acid powder or a little bit of branch chain amino acid capsule prior to a work out – yes, it’s going to cause a small insulin response. No, it’s not really going to affect your ability to burn fat during that workout. So, good question. I wouldn’t worry about the BCAAs actually affecting your fasted workout strategy.
Scott asks: I just purchased your Triathlon Dominator package and I have a couple questions. First, I am doing the 70.3 in Galveston next April and was wondering if I should decrease the workouts for that race or do the whole thing?
Ben answers: For those of you who don’t know what a 70.3 is, that’s a half Ironman. Short answer is go to the Frequently Asked Questions page that came with your Triathlon Dominator package Scott and it tells you exactly how to modify that package for half Ironman. It is very easy to do.
Now your next question asks about an energy drink called Spiz at spiz.net. You would like my opinion of it. So when I go to the Spiz.com or spiz.net Web site, it markets itself as an energy drink, but folks this is a high, high calorie drink. So don’t think energy drink like Red Bull. Think energy drink like meal replacement drink. It’s got whey protein in it, minerals, vitamins, glucose, glutamine and electrolytes. So you’re looking at a bottle being anywhere from 250 to 625 calories depending on how much you take in. So, my take on consuming liquid calories like this is that they can be useful when you’re on the go, when you’re in a pinch and you have the option of not eating anything at all after a workout or getting in a post-workout meal. Something like this can work quite well. However, I find that people tend to over consume them. They tend to finish dinner, go to a blender at 9 p.m. and mix a meal replacement drink with chocolate and bananas and peanut butter and ice and basically use these thinks as a healthy excuse to over eat way too many calories. It’s very easy to take in too many calories when you have these meal replacement liquids or powders. So I have meal replacement liquids. I use one called The Living Fuel Living Greens product which you can get over at pacificfit.net. I have that but I tap into that very seldom. I have to be totally honest with you because it’s very easy. It tastes great and it has tons of dense calories in it. It’s very easy for me to overeat when I consume that stuff. So, I’ll do something like put some in a Ziploc bag when I’m traveling on an airplane and have it for breakfast or a lot of times when I’m on the go – actually went through almost a full canister over the past two weeks because I was on the go so much, and I needed to get quick calories, didn’t have enough time to cook – that’s when this stuff can come in handy. But be very, very careful. I don’t see anything in this that’s going to hurt you other than a lot of calories. So as long as you engage in moderation, it shouldn’t hurt you too much. I do think that the Living Fuel Super Green that I take in has a lot better vitamin and mineral and nutrient profile than this Spiz stuff just because it’s made from all organic ingredients. So I’d do that if you had to choose between Spiz and Living Fuel. The Living Fuel stuff is just far superior in my opinion. So that’s available at pacificfit.net and it’s called The Living Fuel Super Greens.
Edwin asks: I am a triathlete who’s had an ACL reconstruction and I’m looking to preserve my mobility as long as I can. There is a huge study on the effectiveness of glucosemine and it showed this supplement was no better than a placebo. Am I wasting my time with glucosemine?”
Ben answers: Glucosemine is interesting, it’s been around for a while. Initial studies on it suggested that it may be promising for managing joint inflammation and joint pain while exercising. More recent studies suggest that it really offers no additional benefit over a placebo. The issue is that there are many, many people who report that glucosemine chondroitin helps their joints feel better during exercise. Glucosemine is a component of your joint cartilage as is chondroitin and a glucosamine chondroitin is usually made up of something like a ground up chicken cartilage and the glucosemine is actually typically derived from the shells of shellfish. So if you’re vegan then you’re probably not going to want to take glucosamine chondroitin at all anyways. However, I’ve found that many people report that they feel the effects of glucosamine chondroitin, so it may have a placebo effect. It may even have a real effect. I really myself have never noticed any kind of glucosamine chondroitin ever work with joint pain except for one called CapraFlex which is made by Mt. Capra. I’ll put a link to that one in the Shownotes. It’s the only one that I ever really recommend. So the deal with glucosemine chondroitin is take it if it works for you, but there’s not a ton of research behind it. So I’ll put a link to the Capraflex in the Shownotes but then you have a follow up question.
Edwin asks: Also, avocado soybean unsaponifiables have had use in Europe and are gaining some popularity here in America. What are your thoughts on these?
Ben answers: Okay, so I told you the glucosemine chondroitin comes from shellfish and ground up chicken cartilage. The avocado soybean stuff – there’s actually been some pretty cool clinical research done on it that actually shows that it can help with some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis. As a matter of fact there’s been four clinical trials that show that it helps. But all of the supplements that contain this have about 1500 milligrams of glucosemine in them. So my question is, is it the glucosemine that’s working? They also put the methyl sofenol methane in there which we’ve talked about on the show before as being a sulfate compound that could help with inflammation as well. So my question is, is it the avocado soybean extract that’s working? Is it the glucosemine in it that’s working? Does it matter if it actually reduces the pain that comes from osteoarthritis? It has promise though. It’s something that I would recommend if you’re interested in it, you look into it, it does have some promising research behind it. And, I would imagine that we’ll probably see these popping up more in America for natural treatment for osteoarthritis. I can’t necessarily promise that’s going to help with your mobility or joint change after exercise, but if it has an anti-inflammatory effect on osteoarthritis, it could. So great question and thanks for bringing that to my attention.
Amy asks: I recently hired a personal trainer. I work out six times per week. I restrict calories to 1400 to 1600 per day. I’ve lost 14 pounds since June 16. I take Depacote and I’m wondering if it’s causing any problems losing weight.
Ben answers: Depacote is a bipolar medication. I don’t even know if I’m pronouncing it correctly, but it is an anti-psychotic. Anti-psychotics are notoriously known for causing weight gain or inhibiting weight loss. They’re just known for that. Any anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication like Prozac or Xolof, Celexa, Effexor or Wellbutrin, any of those are considered to actually increase your risk for gaining weight. Now, you have your own reasons for being on the medication especially if it’s an anti-seizure medication, but know that it could definitely be causing weight gain. I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m not going to tell you to get off that drug. I am going to simply give you the single most important advice that I give people and that’s exercise is doing you a lot of good. Exercise is a great mood stabilizer and it’s something that I would definitely continue to do. If you ever have the opportunity to speak with your psychiatrist or your physician about alternatives to that drug, then I would do so because yes, it can be causing weight gain. Now what are some of the things that you could do? Here is my recommendation. I have that other podcast that I mentioned – the Get Fit Guides Quick and Dirty Tips for Slimming Down and Shaping Up. I’d go listen to the first six episodes over there. Listen to the first six episodes which are a great primer on fat loss and jumpstarting fat loss from an exercise perspective to make sure your personal trainer has you doing the workouts you’re supposed to be doing. Then make sure that you are watching especially your sugar and your grain consumption. Those are really the two biggest culprits that I see in causing weight loss plateaus. So just try those two simple fixes and the short answer to your question is yes, the bipolar medications or the anti-psychotics can definitely cause weight gain or inhibit weight loss.
Cohen asks: I have a few quick questions about my workout plan. For my lower body I do step ups, lunges, inner and outer thigh machine and heel raises. Is that enough for a lower body workout? I also have rotator cuff issues and I’ve been trying to devise an upper body workout that doesn’t make my rotator cuff worse? Any suggestions?
Ben answers: Yes, here’s my suggestion. Don’t split your body into upper body and lower body. Especially if you’re limited on time. If you can do a full body series of workouts like squats to overhead press, lunges with curls, deadlights with curls, cleans to overhead press, doing them with dumbbells to allow more freedom of rotation in your shoulder, you’re going to be getting a lot quicker results than simply isolating lower body and upper body. Now you could do a lower body, upper body split if for example you’re an athlete and you don’t want to use your lower body too much so you work your upper body two to three times a week and your lower body just once a week. There’s a lot of cyclists and soccer players and people like that who have to use their legs a lot. They’ll use a program like that. If you do decide that you want to continue with just a lower body workout – you’re doing step ups, you’re doing lunges – those are great. The heel raises are great, but you’re using the inner and outer thigh machine for the side to side muscles. Those are open kinetic chain machines meaning that your feet aren’t touching the ground when you’re using those. I would look into different exercises. Specifically one of my favorite ones for working back and forth or side to side are lateral lunges. You’d be doing yourself a lot bigger favor if you included lateral lunges instead of those inner and outer thigh machines. You can see a lateral lunge if you go to pacificfit.net. Click on the resources tab up there on exercises. You can see a picture of me doing a lateral lunge. As far as that rotator cuff – an upper body workout that doesn’t make your rotator cuff worse – there really isn’t one. The better answer is to strengthen your rotator cuff and eliminate inflammation in your shoulder. So, you can do soft tissue massage and ice in the shoulder region to flush out inflammation. You can use some of the techniques that Dr. Minkoff will talk about in the featured interview today and then you can strengthen the rotator cuff using elastic bands or Thera-Bands and doing actual rotation exercise – high rep rotation exercises everyday with the rotator cuff. I’ve had rotator cuff issues and you really do need to stay on top of keeping your rotator cuff strong. Having a band or a tube made of elastic around the house that you can use on a regular basis is a really good way to do that.
Chris asks: My first question has to do with foods to avoid for people with diabetes. I recently found out my mom has Type 2 diabetes and I’ve heard that dairy, although having a low glycemic index can have a spiking effect of the insulin response. Does that sound familiar and should she avoid dairy?
Ben answers: Short answer yes. Dairy does have a lower glycemic index but it can cause a release of something called insulin-like growth factor which can spike the insulin levels and lead to a similar response you would get if you ate a high glycemic index food. That’s why a lot of people, if they quit eating dairy, they tend to lose weight more quickly. So that’s something your mother could definitely look into. As far as other recommendations for eating to avoid diabetes or for controlling your blood sugar levels, fiber is incredibly important. Try to include fiber, including lots of vegetables. Limited amounts of fruits but lots and lots of vegetables is going to help her out quite a bit. If she doesn’t like to eat her vegetables, she can do something that I’ve been doing quite a little bit of recently and that’s throwing vegetables in a Vita-Mix or in a blender and blending them up and making green juice which still does have fiber and drinking that. Cutting down on the carbs is important. Not eliminating the carbs but cutting down on the carbs and focusing on those low glycemic index carbs is also important. Really, it’s interesting because as most of the recommendations for diabetics are pretty healthy for the general population as well. Higher fiber, lower glycemic index, eating small meals at regular times. Not necessarily because it does anything magical, but just because it can help control your appetite a little bit and for diabetics, it definitely helps control your blood sugar levels. And then starting out all your meals with high fiber and with vegetable based compounds.
Chris asks: I bought a fixed gear bike for running errands around town. Will there be any training benefits to riding a fixie or things that I could do with it that I normally couldn’t do with a regular bike that could make me a better cyclist?
Ben answers: For those of you who don’t know what a fixed gear bike is, it’s just what it sounds like. You’ve got one gear. Yeah, absolutely. Fixed gear bikes are a great training tool if you’re ever able to get your hands on one. They’re good for building strength and building cadence. So for example, a workout you do on a fixed gear bike is you ride a rolling hills course. You can’t gear down going uphill, you can’t gear up going downhill and so you tend to learn to spin really fast when you’re going downhill and you tend to build up some strength and mash the gears a little bit going uphill. Both of which can have good training effects. So the other thing that’s really fun to do on a fixed gear bike is a commuting workout or just a Farlick style training workout where you’re just riding a course and taking whatever gets thrown at you and attacking it with the one gear that you do have. So absolutely, fixed gear bikes work well and they work especially well when you’re just riding a course that has lots of twists, turns, ups, downs and throws a lot of different types of terrain at you that you have to attack with just one gear. If you’re interested in trying out something new in your training, if you’re trying to improve as a cyclist, it’s something that can actually help out quite a bit.
Graeme asks: I find myself eating all the time. I really struggle to go two hours without feeding so I have experimented in changing my breakfast. I usually have porridge with berries and muesli mixed in. I eat at 9 and by 12 I am starving and end up eating a big lunch. I’ve tried a bagel with a large coating of peanut butter on a couple of mornings and do not seem to get as hungry. I have not looked into calorie counting although my hunch is the calories in peanut butter may be a bigger meal calorically.”
Ben answers: Graeme, probably not. It’s probably the protein in the peanut butter. Protein has an appetite satiating effect and anybody out there who’s eating breakfast and not including protein in their breakfast is doing themselves a disservice when it comes to keeping your appetite under control the rest of the morning. What I do is I always have hot cereal, quinoa, oatmeal any of those and I always mix protein with it. I’ll use the Living Fuel Super Greens that I talked about earlier. I’ll also use the Mt. Capra double bonded weigh protein and I use either of those proteins with breakfast every morning because it keeps my appetite satiated and I guarantee when I don’t add that to a morning cereal I get hungry much, much sooner. You can use eggs as another option. You can use a turkey bacon or a turkey sausage or ground turkey as a meat-based protein option for breakfast, but you must include a protein with breakfast if you’re interested in keeping your appetite satiated the rest of the morning. So it’s a simple answer. Your porridge and your berries don’t have much protein. A bagel and peanut butter has a little bit of protein but not much. I’d go back to the porridge and just add some protein powder to it.
Got another question via Twitter here.
Hanocks asks: Do you think jogging with a hooded sweatshirt will make me lose more non-water weight? I know it will make me lose weight but is it only water weight?
Ben answers: Yes, it’s only water weight. When you work out with a sweatshirt, you are dehydrating your body. It’s useful for heat acclimation. It’s useful for very quick weight loss to make weight for something like a wrestling or a bodybuilding competition. But really you’re just dehydrating your body and you’re losing water weight. There’s no added carbohydrate burning or fat burning effect. The problem is because fat burning relies on a molecule of water as do most of the metabolic or physiological scenarios within your body, by dehydrating your body you can actually shut down your metabolism. I would be really careful working out with the hooded sweatshirt or any type of sweating type of gear unless you are truly prepping for an event that’s going to take you into a hot and humid climate which you must learn to conserve water for or you’re trying to make weight very quickly and I hesitate to even recommend that because I know there are a lot of kids out there that do damage to their body trying to make weight for a wrestling event. But any of you who have wrestled know that sometimes it does become necessary to shed a couple of pounds quickly and one way to do it is to sweat it out. I used to do that when I was body building. But just be careful and understand that you’re probably doing yourself more of a disservice unless you’re doing that for heat acclimation – for competition in a hot environment.
David asks: I’ve been cycling for many years and just this year began dabbling in sprint and Olympic distance triathlons which has required improving my swim and run. While I have enjoyed this season with some success, I have been asking myself the question, what next? Realizing this decision is my own, from a physical, competitive perspective, could you describe the advantages one might have and what body types are typically most successful in cycling versus running versus triathlon?
Ben answers: Absolutely. What you’re going to notice with the cyclists is a good cyclist will tend to have smaller shoulders, smaller upper body, smaller arms and will tend to have cannibalized a little bit of their muscle in their upper bodies which is one of the reasons why Lance Armstrong did so well in cycling, because he cannibalized quite a bit of his upper body when he was recovering from cancer and when he had cancer. But very strong legs. So your power to weight ratio is very high. You look at a runner, they tend to be consistently skinny or what is called an ectomorph type. Lots of lean muscle, lot of slow twitch muscle. Good runners usually tend to have a little bit more of a gaunt look to them. I’m not saying that all runners are like that, but distance runners typically are skinner and not quite as built especially in the thighs, the butt and the hips as a cyclist. So if you look at your body in the mirror and you are a very, very skinny person and you really don’t have much leg musculature then you may end up running to be an easier activity but you may also be able to build muscle in your leg and be competitive in cycling. Triathlon, you add a little bit of upper body muscle to the equation because of the swimming and you’ll tend to see shorter distance triathletes have a little less muscle, be of a little more slight build and because muscle is very good for absorbing joint impact and necessary for the strength requirements of a half Ironman or an Ironman distance event, you’ll see the half Ironman and Ironman athletes tend to be just a little bit bulkier. So ultimately, you can really invent the body you want. Slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers can be converted into different types of muscle fibers and so if you decide you want to add upper body muscle and upper body mass and you want to add strength and you want to become a swimmer, you can do that. If you want to add thigh strength and hip strength and hip musculature and get a bigger butt and become a cyclist, you can do that as well. So, ultimately I used to be a 210 pound body builder. I’m a 172 pound triathlete now. You can take your body anywhere you want to take it. What I would encourage you to do is choose what gives you the most joy, not what you feel you should be doing when you look at your body in the mirror. So good question.
Meredith asks: How many pills are you popping in a day? I’d prefer to get most of my nutrients in actual food form and non-processed.
Ben answers: Well I personally eat a lot of real food. I have a huge organic garden in my backyard. But when I get up in the morning I typically will take an essential fatty acid. Actually I take my essential fatty acid more in the mid morning than in the early morning and then I also take a green supplement in the morning. I take a vitamin D. I take a zinc and magnesium supplement called Prostalon for heavy prostate function in males. And I take co-enzyme Q10. Before I work out, I’ll take Cortaseps extract and occasionally I’ll take beta-alanine supplement. After a workout, I’ll take some protolytic enzyme pills and branch chain amino acids. So yeah in a typical day I probably pop about 10, 12 pills and to me that’s prevention. I feel fantastic. My performance goes through the roof when I take them. I get sick when I don’t and one of the reasons for that is that you have to eat a lot of calories of real food to be able to get all the nutrients and vitamins and minerals that I’m getting with the supplements that I’m taking. So I can get away… I eat about 3000 to 3200 calories a day. I’d need to eat closer to 5000 if I wanted to get everything that I’m getting from real food. I’d still have a lot of holes in my diet. So yes, I do pop probably more pills than the average person, but it’s well worth feeling fantastic 24/7. Well worth it. You couldn’t pay me to quit taking supplements.
Meredith asks: I have stomach pains that I get after taking a gel that I think are from amino acids in the gel. Please help.
Ben answers: Well I wouldn’t necessarily say the stomach pains are due to amino acids. If you look at the comparisons of the different types of sugars in energy gel, they range from – a Goo energy gel has maltodextrin and fructose in it as does a PowerBar gel. A Cliff gel has brown rice syrup in it. A Honey Stinger has honey in it. Hammer gel has maltodextrin, fruit juice and dextrose in it. An Excel gel has fructose, maltodextrin and dextrose in it. A lot of times people don’t do so well with certain sugars, so it could come down to you being sensitive to a certain type of sugar. I know people who are very sensitive to fructose and who don’t do well at all when a gel has fructose in it. So you may want to look at a gel that does not have fructose in it. That would be one thing that you could do. When you say you’ve had better luck eating a Honey Stinger chew during a run, look into the Honey Stinger gels. That’s what I would do. They’re made with the same ingredients and it’s just basically honey. So that’s my recommendation to you.
Meredith asks: I’ve been told I should not mix an electrolyte drink with your gel as that will create intestinal distress.
Ben answers: It could. You want to be really careful, and always what I recommend to people is when you’re competing in an event, don’t drink an electrolyte drink at all. Just drink pure water. Take a salt capsule when you need one and eat a gel that makes your stomach feel okay. I talk about my feeling and recommendations very extensively in both my Marathon Dominator program as well as my Triathlon Dominator program and in many, many previous podcast episodes on this show. So, I would listen to some past episodes if you want more on fueling during exercise.
Karen asks: I have heard you say that after a workout, you should eat just two calories of carbohydrate per pound of target body weight and half that for protein. But does this vary based on intensity and duration? Is this ratio the same regardless of the type of workout that you just did?
Ben answers: Well the answer is yes. The ratio that is shown to be most effective is a 3:1 or 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. There are several pre-formulated compounds that are basically just protein sugar that exists on the market. An example would be Hammer Gel who makes one called Recoverite. Goo makes one called Recovery Brew. Durox makes one called R4. The list goes on and on. Almost every supplement manufacturer out there has a protein carbohydrate post-workout blend that satisfies that protein carbohydrate ratio. There’s going to be a discussion next week in my interview with Alan Aragon over whether these are pretty overhyped anyways and whether you even need to be consuming much fuel after a workout. We have a really interesting discussion about that next week but I recommend that you eat real food as much as possible. Some of the recommendations that I give to my clients and some of the foods that I take in myself as far as real food after a workout include a bowl of Quinoa with some almonds mixed into that. You could also do chicken and brown rice. You can do sweet potato with a table spoon of almond butter. You can do a handful of a snack mix like almonds and coconut shavings with dried cranberries or blueberries or papayas and pineapple. You could do sweet potato or a yam with a little bit of chicken. Those are just some quick examples. I also like to do a piece of fruit with a few protein pills like Recover Ease pills. That’s something that I’ll do quite a bit, then I’ll have a real meal a little bit later. But ultimately I wouldn’t get too obsessed about the post-workout meal unless you’re working out again within about four hours after the workout that you’ve just finished. That’s when you may want to go for that optimized 3:1 or 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio.
Kara asks: Hi Ben, this is Kara and I love your podcast, listen to it every time I work out. I have a quick question for you. What is the difference between a probiotic and I guess an enzyme supplement? What’s the benefit? Do you need to have both or is taking a probiotic good enough? Just want to know if they do the same thing or do they do different things?
Ben answers: Good question Kara. People get confused this a lot just because probiotics and digestive enzymes are often two things that people tell you to take when you have stomach upset or difficulty digesting food. They are definitely different. I personally do take both on an occasional basis. The probiotic is bacteria and it’s a living microorganism that lives in your gut and it’s necessary for normal health. People who have probiotic deficiencies can tend to have higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure, increased risk of colon cancer, usually a lactose intolerance, fungal growth in their gut. A lot of the reasons for that is because there needs to be a balance between the microbes that grow in your stomach because that balance can inhibit pathogens and toxin producing bacteria as we well as fungi. So probiotics are found in things like dairy products like yoghurt and soy yoghurt. You can get them from dietary supplements as well as a probiotic extract. The one that I have in my cupboards and the one that I use is made my that company I mentioned earlier Mt. Capra. It’s called Caprabiotics. I’ll put a link to that one in the Shownotes. So the digestive enzyme, they’re something completely different. Those are actual enzymes that break down molecules of food into smaller building blocks. So you’ve got digestive enzymes that do their work on carbohydrate, digestive enzymes that work on fat, digestive enzymes that work on protein. Usually carbohydrate digestive enzymes are called amylases. The proteins are called proteases or peptidases and the ones that break down fat are called lipases or lipase. So digestive enzymes are something that can help you break down food that you may not be able to break down quite as easily. Somebody was telling me the other day that they’re having trouble digesting meat and there’s one protein based digestive enzyme called bromelain that tenderizes meat and can act as an anti-inflammatory agent as well. So I told him, you may want to consider popping a little bromelain when you eat. Another one is lactase. I take lactase before I eat ice cream or yoghurt or milk. The reason I take lactase is because I don’t digest lactose very well. I take actually a combination of digestive enzymes before I eat a meal that I know is going to have a lot of dairy based products in it. The one that I use is actually – it’s a relatively new digestive enzyme. It’s from Millennium Sports. It’s one that I just started taking recently but I’ve had a lot of success with it in terms of how I feel after a large meal. It’s a digestive enzyme. It’s from Millennium Sport. If I coach you or you’re one of m clients, then you have a code where you can get a 50% discount on those digestive enzymes from Millennium Sports. But I’ll put a link to those in the Shownotes and I believe they’re just called Enzymes. I’m pretty sure that’s the name of them over in the Web site. So check those out.
Now we’re going to have a special message and we’re going to move on to the call with Dr. Minkoff, but remember if you have a question, just email [email protected]. Call to 9772099439 or Skype Pacific Fit.
This interview was done in a coffee shop so I apologize for the typing and background noise.
Hello podcast listeners. This is Ben Greenfield and today’s guest is Dr. David Minkoff. You may remember that Dr. David has appeared on the show a couple of times at bengreenfieldfitness.com to talk about the master amino pattern amino acid capsule and also to talk about the three main causes of illness and poor performance. If you want to listen to that previous interview that he did, I will put a link to that in the Shownotes. But he is an alternative healthcare expert, guest lecturer for medical conferences across the nation, he is a writer, a radio show guest, former radio show host. He has over 30 years of experience helping people – everybody from people with aches and pains to professional athletes – help achieve their goals and return to health. He himself has done 25 Ironman triathlons and if I’m mistaken you’ll be in Kona this year, the year this is recording. Correct, Dr. David?
Dr. David Minkoff: Yes, actually I’ve done 36 Ironmans and Kona this year will be 37.
Ben: Okay, so I’m way off the mark. Thirty-seven Ironman triathlons for this man. He knows how to take care of his body and we’re going to be talking about that and a lot more today. So, the first thing to start with is, Dr. Minkoff, people are probably wondering how a guy like you who manages your own medical facility down there in Florida and who’s seeing patients and doing all these other things that you’re doing – how do you actual manage your fitness? Your triathlon training? How does a typical training day or week look like for a natural healing physician like yourself?
Dr. David Minkoff: Well I find that I got to get up early so I can get my training done before my day starts because otherwise the day pretty much is filled. So, I try to get up between 5 and 5:30. I usually wake up by myself. I can get a couple of hours of training in before 9:00 when I really start my workday.
Ben: Now, how many hours of sleep do you think is important for someone to get? Are you one of those eight to nine hour sleep guys? Are you a five hour guy?
Dr. David Minkoff: Well I’m like a six hour guy. If I get six to six and a half, I’m fine but my rule ever since med school is I need a nap everyday. So I build my day around – I’ve got to make sure I program in a 30 minute – usually it’s about 30 minutes, 25 to 30 minute nap in somewhere between noon and 2:00. If I can do that I’m fine with six and six and a half hours at night. I find that if I sleep too much at night I get achy when I wake up and it’s not good for me. But if I’m in bed at 11 and I’m up by 5 to 5:30, I wake up feeling rested and then if I can get my nap in I’m fine. If I don’t, I’m cranky. I feel myself slowing down. So that seems to work for me pretty well.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. Then you get a couple of hours of training in the morning?
Dr. David Minkoff: Yeah, I can usually get a couple of hours of training in the morning, weekdays. And I stagger it. I do Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Right now it’s summertime and I’m in Florida and I’m only about three miles from Clearwater beach so I just hope on my – I usually do some yoga stretch stuff for 20, 30 minutes. Sometimes 45 minutes with some calisthenics to warm up then I can just hop on my mountain bike over to the beach and then I’ll swim a mile and a half or so usually and then come back home. That’s my Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout. On Tuesday and Thursday I do bike, run or usually it’s run, bike. Then Saturday a long bike with a short run and Sunday usually a long run and then sometimes a short swim. That’s sort of how I stack up the week.
Dr. David Minkoff: Then I work all day. We actually have a medical practice but I also have a product company, Body Health. So, I have overseeing duties in both of these areas. I do see patients and I oversee the medical practice. We have an acupuncturist, a nurse practitioner, a chiropractor, naturopath. So we have a busy clinic and there’s lots of stuff to do there. Then the newsletters I do go out to about 15,000 people a week which cover natural health and also fitness and we have a team of really good Ironman age group triathletes who write for us or help me write it and so that takes some time too. So it’s busy. I have a couple of grandkids. Life’s busy. It’s a full day.
Ben: Yeah, and I actually subscribe to that newsletter. I would encourage you guys to. I’ll put a link to that in the Shownotes. But let’s get into some of the meat of things that people can takeaway from what you’ve learned about your own body and the people that you work with, Dr. Minkoff. In terms of things that you struggle with as a fitness enthusiast, as an Ironman triathlete, do you have trouble with health issues? Joint issues? Injury issues? Does a doctor – when they get into that situation – do they tend to self-diagnose or do you go to other people for your health needs and can you give some examples of ways that you manage your own body that people can learn from?
Dr. David Minkoff: Well I find that if I keep the basics in really well, like I try to eat really well. So I stay away from processed food. I eat mostly a paleo type diet. I avoid grains. I don’t eat any grains. I don’t eat any dairy products. If it comes in a package or a box or it’s got other ingredients on it, I stay away from it. So, I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I eat meats. I eat a lot of eggs. And I like fish but I avoid fish mostly because it’s hard to get fish that isn’t full of mercury and chemicals and stuff. So mostly once a week I’ll have some sardines or something or if I can get some fresh wild salmon, I might have that now and then in a restaurant. But I watch it because I think there’s problems with it. So that’s really important. I don’t do well when I eat sugar. I used to be – from the age of 14 to about five years ago – I was a vegetarian and I thought that was good for me, but I found out that I was breaking down and I wasn’t healing and I was getting injured frequently and I went off the dairy products which was mostly what I was eating as a vegetarian, my body did much, much better. So I feel like this is – so when I got better, we introduced it to the clinic and we started putting people on it in our clinic – we found that almost everybody got a resurgence within a couple weeks of feeling better and more energetic and they just got off all the junk. So it was feeling really better. So I watch that and I’m careful with that. I eat out really fairly irregularly because the food at home is just so much better. I might on occasion go places but I try to – we eat mostly at home because we can just have more choices over what we get.
Ben: I was going to ask you when you’re injured, it was something that we talked about a while ago with another physician, Dr. Roby Mitchell, about inflammation and injury, do you have specific cascades of treatment that you use for yourself personally when you experience a sprain or a strain? Are you an ibuprofen guy or do you have something else that you do?
Dr. David Minkoff: No, I don’t do drugs at all. I got to be really bad to take – I don’t use the drugs at all. I only use natural anti-inflammatories. I use ice, I use heat. I like massage. I try to get a massage every week. I like chiropractic. I think that – you’ve interviewed Jeff Spencer, he’s got some stuff there that is just amazing where the body – actually there’s misfiring of muscles on a neurologic basis which isn’t a structural base, and if you find where those (unintelligible) are, and you just laser them for a couple of seconds, you can feel your body just go right back to the way it’s supposed to go. I saw a chiropractor last night and I was having pain in my low back and he muscle tested me and found some out points in my sacroiliac joint and he uses this little vibrator on three areas. One on the tip of my coccyx and then up where the sacroiliac ligaments are and I felt like a new guy in about three minutes and I just couldn’t believe how these misalignments can make such a difference in not only how I feel but how my muscles and my body looks. So I think there’s a lot of technology in that area which I find very helpful.
Ben: You just talked about vibration and laser. For some people, those two terms are completely alien when it comes to treating their injuries. Can you briefly go over not only those but any other technologies that you use that people might not be familiar with but might be beneficial for them to know about when it comes to their recovery from workouts?
Dr. David Minkoff: Sure. There are a number of lasers on the market which emit frequencies which resonate with the healthy tissue level of limbs, ligaments and tendons and muscles and where there are blockages, there might be little areas where there’s muscle spasm. There’s a metabolic abnormality there. There are collections of metabolic byproducts. I think people used to call it lactic acid, but I don’t really think it’s lactic acid. I think it’s other things or toxin accumulation where the muscle might feel tender or if you test the muscle strength wise, the muscle will be weak. It won’t get a nice solid – where it’s really strong. It’s not firing right.
Ben: Hey I lost you just when you were talking about the muscle not firing right.
Dr. David Minkoff: Okay. So when the muscle doesn’t – when you have muscle and you have somebody hold it and it doesn’t lock, there’s a sensation where it locks solid or it doesn’t lock and when that occurs there’s a misfire in the system. Using a laser, it’s sort of a re-setter. When that thing gets reset, the whole body then (unintelligible) how it works because the body is really one continuous unit. It’s a continuous unit of connective tissue that keeps everything together. Connective and neurologic tissue that keeps everything together. It’s like a circuit. It’s like a flowing circuit. I think the acupuncturist had this correct when they call them meridians where the Chi flows through the body and wherever there is too much Chi or not enough Chi, then the body doesn’t perform right and it doesn’t work right. If you’re perceptive about your body you can feel it. But you may have no idea what’s wrong. Last week when I went to the chiropractor I felt like my adductors in my leg, the muscles that pull your leg in – my hip was feeling unstable and it was like this is weird. So he checked them out and there was some misfire on my L3 nerve and he did a laser treatment at a point just next to the belly button on that side and an inch above it. He did a two second laser treatment on that and when I stood up, my hip felt normal and my adductor now tested strong whereas before he pulled it, it was weak. I couldn’t keep my knees together and it’s remarkable. So, these little things are fantastic technology for athletes. They’d really help. So, I would just recommend it to people because I find that with good chiropractic care, good massage can really keep people on their feet and also have them performing better and feeling better. To try and self-diagnose you’d never be able to do it. I like that.
Dr. David Minkoff: Yeah. It’s called (Orgonian) laser and there are other lasers in there that people are using but this is an incredible technology where the body gets a message from a frequency that then alters how it operates and it’s wonderful. Another thing that I use – I’m sorry.
Ben: Actually go ahead. Tell me about this other thing.
Dr. David Minkoff: Well another thing is this thing called frequency specific micro current. It’s a low grade electric frequency. Actually different frequencies. You can dial them in depending on if it’s a tendon, ligament or joint pain and you put this on the skin and it delivers a current and you do it for 20, 30 minutes and it really improves healing time. It makes a difference. Probably everybody’s seen this thing where a guy’s got a broken bone and the orthopedist is trying to get the bone to heal faster so they’ll put electrodes on either side and if they deliver just the right amount of a specific electrical frequency you can get bone healing to occur a lot faster. So this same technology has been worked out where the same thing occurs with muscles and tendons and ligaments where you can get improved healing time and there’s practitioners who do this and you can get help from these guys. I think this is – it’s a good investment because if it’s done right and if it’s what you need, you will walk out of there feeling like wow that’s a worthwhile thing to do. So I believe in this stuff because I think it really helps and it makes a difference. One of the other things we find in our office is a lot of people have either a leg length discrepancy or because of the various imbalances in their pelvic muscles and abdominal muscles that they have a short leg. It might be a couple of millimeters. It might be four, five millimeters. And you can get them balanced with heel lifts. We have lots of people that walk out with heel lifts and feel like they’ve just been blessed because they now feel right. A lot of times these imbalances can get corrected over time where they end up with no heel lift. They make a huge difference in someone with chronic back pain or chronic thoracic pain or chronic hip pain where they really have a stressor on the body due to a musculo-skeletal imbalance and it’s correctable. It’s diagnosable and it’s correctable and the best thing is the patient feels like yeah this is the right thing. It’s not something that doesn’t really make a difference. It really makes a difference. Another thing that I…
Ben: That’s something that really saved me. But all these things that you’re talking about – you’re an M.D., did you learn this stuff in medical school?
Dr. David Minkoff: No, no, no. The problem with M.D.s is there’s so much stuff to learn. The orientation of medical learning after – the first two years of medical school are basic anatomy and physiology and pathology which is all great stuff but a lot of clinical medicine is oriented around drugs and surgery. Now surgery can be helpful. When you need it, it’s good to have a surgeon who knows what they’re doing. But a lot of the pharmaceutical therapies aren’t good long term and they don’t help. Ibuprofen is not good. It impairs muscle healing. It impairs bone healing. You get a weaker response. You get incomplete healing responses. There’s a lot of literature on this. So I try to have people stay away from that stuff. If they’re in incredible pain and they can’t move, by all means let’s get the person out of pain. But as an answer to a problem, usually the pharmaceutical remedies are good in an emergency situation but they’re not good in a long term situation. If we can do it with these more subtle therapies, these energetic therapies and nutrition therapies and hands on therapies; the person is way better off in the long run and it may take a day or two longer but I think it’s well worth it because you get a better response. The other thing that I really believe in and do a lot of is something called prolotherapy. Prolotherapy is where a lot of people who have joint pain or even muscular-skeletal pain that comes from joints as a result of ligaments that are supposed to be holding a joint in place that have either been injured through trauma or just from malnutrition or aging have kind of stretched out or gotten weak. What you end up then is with a joint, it might be in your neck, it might be in your lower back, it could be in your pelvis, it could be in your knee where the joint is now unstable. In response to an unstable joint the body will have the muscles in the area go into spasm or try to increase the tone of those muscles to stabilize the jiggling. That causes chronic pain in muscles. Probably a lot of the fiber (unintelligible) symptoms that people get is maybe due to this. So, the trick is to inject a very diluted glucose (solution) into the tendon or ligaments or joint. What occurs is that the tendons and ligaments will shorten and thicken and then you get a stable joint. The muscle tendon relaxes, the pain goes away. The joint works better and if you inject the solution into the joint it stimulates cartilage to joint and you can get re-growth of cartilage within the joint. So this is a wonderful therapy for people who have injuries or unstable joints or chronic knee pain or chronic shoulder pain or chronic neck pain. Two to six treatments every two weeks or every three weeks where we inject those areas – they get complete relief. It’s fantastic and I’ve had it myself and I’ve done it on hundreds of people and there’s a lot of medical literature on it. There’s a journal of prolotherapy which is a peer review journal so I would never advise someone with a torn cartilage in their knee to go get surgery or chronic pain, an orthopedist says let’s go in there and just clean it up. I would never do that as a first treatment because so often with the prolotherapy, with a couple of injections around the knee joint and one in the knee joint, within six to eight weeks that person’s knee pain is either gone or way better and they haven’t had to get cut. That’s another thing that I think makes a real difference in people.
Ben: So for the people who are listening in and who would like to start to adopt more of these natural healing methods in their own recovery routines or for their own triathlon training or for their sports – whatever sports they happen to be competing in – obviously not everybody lives in Florida where you are, but how can somebody start? If somebody were to go Google somebody in their local area or search, how do you know if you are going to see somebody like you who’s a trained M.D. who’s been doing this for decades versus seeing – for lack of a better word – a quack?
Dr. David Minkoff: Well, that’s a good question. That’s a really good question because in my experience there aren’t a lot of guys who have all these things in one place. I think that there’s a lot of guys out there who probably are not coming from an M.D. background but coming from more of a co-practice, sport background where it would be a good place to start for the muscular-skeletal part of this thing. My model is there’s sort of a four component theory of what goes wrong with the body. So the first component of that is kind of the structural aspect of things. Are joints aligned? So if you’re looking at that, if you go to getprobo.com, it’s a Web site, you can find a prolotherapist in your neighborhood and if you’ve got chronic joint pain, chronic knee pain, chronic ankle pain, unstable joints, having to go to the chiropractor every week because your back just doesn’t hold, you’ve got loose ligaments in those areas and probably 80 to 90% of the time, the prolotherapist can fix you within a couple months’ period of time. There’s a long list of guys on that Web site and multiple locations where you can find somebody who does it.
Ben: What’s the name of that Web site?
Dr. David Minkoff: www.getprolo.com.
Ben: www.getprolo.com. Okay, I’ll put a link to that in the Shownotes.
Dr. David Minkoff: So I think if there’s a situation like that, I would look into that. That’s on the sort of muscular-skeletal end of it. Then there’s a bunch of chiropractors in our neighborhood who are interested in sports and they’re interested in laser and they’ve got this stuff in their offices. They can – you might ask, do you do lasers? Are you treating athletes? And a lot of these guys are just good guys and they’re interested in performance and they can really help. I think treatment – before actually I was evaluated – if something is not happening within a couple of times, I’m looking someplace else. I think there should be a foreseeable change in the treatment. It shouldn’t be 20 weeks before you notice a difference. You have to know it’s working or know it isn’t, so to trust yourself. Then you may have to shop for some other guys. The next aspect of the thing – the first one is the structural aspect. The second level is the biochemistry aspect. It’s the thing we talked about in the last show. People have nutritional deficiencies. They really do. I probably mentioned this last time. I’m for (leading) vitamin D level and everyone that walks in, with sunshine here 360 days a year, and one in 10 has a normal vitamin D level. Everyone else is vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D has hundreds and hundreds of metabolic required reactions from all your steroid hormones to hypertension to immune response to protection against cancer and everybody is low. You’ve got two choices. You can either just ditch the sunscreen and get a half hour to 45 minutes of son every day or you can supplement with vitamin D. It’s really cheap. Take a supplement, check your level every couple of months. I like to keep people at high normal which is between 70 and 90. Most of the people walking into our office our 15, 20. The lab core low normal is 30, but it’s way too low. We know that if you’re above 50 or 60, your incidence of getting colon, prostate and breast cancer is reduced to 46%. There’s nothing like it that’s ever been known to reduce cancer risk like vitamin D. So it’s a huge factor and 99% of the population is low. If you’re living up in your area in Seattle where there’s no sunshine, your chances are 100% you’re vitamin D deficient. Unfortunately 400 units in the multivitamin or if you’re drinking milk – it’s not even a lick of a chance of getting it normal. We have people that – I have yet to see someone who doesn’t require 5,000 units a day which is a huge dose compared to the way we used to think about it – to keep them in a range of 70 to 90, and a lot of people require more. So, it’s inexpensive. It really makes a difference and it’s something that I would demand from my healthcare practitioner that when you get your annual checkup, that you get a vitamin D level. It’s 50 bucks and it’s a really important thing. So this biochemistry area, that’s just one of the things. Most people don’t have enough antioxidants in their system. We have a skin device which measures kelatinoid levels, and kelatinoids are the colored pigments that are in fruits and vegetables. These are the main antioxidants in the body. They protect the body against inside rust. It’s the thing that eventually leads to heart disease, artery disease and strokes and cancer and arthritis. It’s the free radicals that attack the body and the body’s ability to resist free radicals has to do with having enough of these kelatinoids and other substances around. Vitamin C, vitamin E. Because they protect the body from these rusting agents. The other thing is a normal level of these antioxidants in people is over 50 on this particular device and the average we see is 18. Most children are below that. In order to get above 50, you have to be eating 10 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and people aren’t eating 10 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. So you got to do something about it. I listened to your last podcast yesterday. You’re talking about one of the things you take everyday is green powder. Well people better take green powder everyday because that’s loaded with these things and it will kick the level up to above 50 and they get protection from it. The more active you are, the more you’re out in the elements, the more you need. So I take a lot of these. My diet is full of these things. I also take a different brand that you have but I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference that you take these things which you can protect yourself and keep yourself – it’s part of your body armor. So that’s just one of the other areas in the biochemistry strata that makes a difference. Athletes have to watch their iron. They have to watch their amino acid intake. We have this product called (Maps) and every athlete I know practically and every patient I see, if we measure their serum, essential amino acids, they are low. They’re low. Their diet is not providing what their body needs to maximize or optimize their genetic potential. So their essential amino acid levels are low. They might be eating enough protein but they’re not digesting it or they’re not absorbing it. It’s not doing them enough good. With Maps. If we put people on good doses of Map, we can normalize those things in about three months and their levels come up and they feel better and they heal better and on a long term basis, they preserve their bone and their muscle and their enzymes and their hormone and they function better. These are just three. There’s more that I try to keep track of, but those are basic ones that are just really important on this biochemistry level. It’s take your vitamin D and get enough fruits and vegetables and take green powders and then take MEP because it will preserve your lean body structure.
Ben: Go ahead.
Dr. David Minkoff: I was going to go to the next level.
Ben: Actually, I’d like to hear the next level before I ask my next question.
Dr. David Minkoff: The next level we look at is this energetic level. It’s the nervous system. It’s how the managing program of the body is doing to coordinate all the billions of activity that occur per second in the body and keep the body in a true high level homeostasis. So the body has plenty of functional reserve. If you are an athlete and you’re trying to exercise two hours a day or 10 to 20 hours a week, and work and have a family and do your volunteer activities and do whatever else you do, you have to have a functional reserve. There has to be a body energy ability there to do more but not always keep the system at max or in a coping situation. If that’s not occurring, then you’re going to break down. You’re going to get chronic fatigue, you’re going to get cancer, you’re going to get heart disease, you’re going to get stress. You’re going to get a bad mood. You’re going to end up in a doctor’s office and he’s going to tell you that he’s depressed and you can’t sleep and then you’re going to be on drugs. Then you just become medical wreckage because drugs always worsen the situation although temporarily it makes it look better. Then you’re just going downhill. So you always have to keep an eye on this, of keeping all these systems up. There’s one more on the biochemistry level I should have mentioned which is hormones. Cortisol and thyroid. I heard Roby talking about thyroid and so adrenal function and thyroid function. We know the guys that are overtraining and overstressed – they have zero testosterone. Their DHA levels are low. Their cortisol levels are either stressed high or they’re burned out real low. You can’t function on these things and you can’t train on these things because you won’t get any benefit out of your training. It’s more taxing and there isn’t reserve to heal. The anaerobic and the physical stress that training does that then eventually builds up your system – you get no effect from it because your body is maxed out and it can’t do it anymore. Then you get breakdown, you get injury and so that’s another thing in athletes. What are their hormones doing? I always measure them and I’m never surprised to see that they’re low. Sometimes nutritionally – optimally using nutrition, we can get them up without resorting to bio-identical hormones but sometimes you have to. Or the guy can’t do it. He’s too far under. So anyway, that’s the other sort of really important area in the biochemistry thing. If we bump back up then to this automatic nervous system level — this level that’s energetic – it’s this whole area of energy medicine with micro currents and laser, homeopathy where these things have an effect on the coordination system of the body. The information that the body uses, it isn’t a biochemical substance. It’s information that the body translates into better coordination, better activity. So, some guys are doing it with electrodermal screening to make these diagnoses. Other people are using muscle testing but they can diagnose things and find things that on a physical level you can’t find it. When you then introduce the right homeopathic or the right laser treatment, the system all of a sudden then goes back into harmony with itself. It operates better. Then, since that’s sort of a senior system to the biochemistry, you start absorbing your calcium better or your iron better or your bowels start working. So then the whole system can work better. So I think when people are looking at this thing, that they have to consider those three areas. We’re doing physical medicine in our practice so we look at the structural – I see somebody who comes in, is there a structural outpoint here? What would it be? Do I need to send them to a chiropractor? Number two is their biochemistry. I’m going to measure them. Are they deficient in anything? Are they toxic. I saw a guy yesterday. He’s got three autoimmune diseases and he’s got fatigue. When I looked at him and he opened his mouth and the guy is 54 years old and he’s got – he had 12 mercury fillings from his teens and they were broken down. You could see the mercury tattoos in his gums. The mercury leaked out his teeth and tattooed his gums. This guy is mercury toxic. So he’s got – so on that biochemistry area, we’ve got deficiencies in him and I threw the kitchen sink at him to figure out all the deficiencies I could find, then I know he’s mercury toxic. I can’t even touch that until I make sure his hormones are okay and his deficiencies are fixed and his bowel is working. Once that’s done I can then address his mercury toxicity, we can get him detoxified and in six months he’ll feel like a million bucks. Then the energetic level – I’m thinking, does this guy need acupuncture? Does he need laser? Does he need micro current? Is there a homeopathic I can use to help him? Then this fourth level that sits above everything is this emotional spiritual thing – what’s his life like?
Dr. David Minkoff: You know? How’s his family and his work? The easiest thing on this is to figure out who doesn’t he feel good around and spend no time with that person. A lot of times that makes a big difference. Then figure out what are his goals, where does he want to put his attention? These sorts of things. I don’t spend a lot of time with it because I think there’s other people who do this better but it’s certainly an important aspect of it so that people can keep themselves aligned with their own goals and their family and their business and whatever else they have going on in their life. That’s how I look at it. Sorry?
Ben: Go ahead.
Dr. David Minkoff: So, when I deal with myself, I’m thinking of myself too. So I’m seeing somebody to help me with my physical alignment and every year – I actually went in to do my blood work yesterday. I did a big biochemistry panel. You know, I’m looking for all the cardiovascular inflammatory markers. There’s a panel from a lab called Netometrics which is called an ION panel. I-O-N. It stands for Individualized Optimizing Nutrition and it looks at amino acids, essential fats, vitamins, minerals and I’ll have you know it’s expensive. It’s like 1,300 bucks but it’s a wonderful test because you will find what you’re deficient in and some of the things you’re toxic with and is your mitochondria able to make energy? Is your gut full of fungus and bad bacteria that’s causing an internal toxification. You can really do some things about it. And then a hormone panel. And then look at these things and it’s cheap preventive maintenance. At our clinic, we don’t take insurance. Everybody who comes in there pays for what they get. My suggestion to people is buy a major medical policy. Whether it’s 2,500 or 5,000. I have a medical savings account so after a couple of years there’s a few thousand dollars in there. If I need money for an incidental emergency or something like this, I’ve got it. It can cover it but if I have a major catastrophe – I get an appendix or I get into a car accident and I need it, I’m covered. But you just budget a few thousand dollars per year per person where you can go to these guys who don’t take insurance and you can pay for their services like you buy your food or you buy your entertainment and you spend it on your nutritional supplements. I think you’re way better off because you stay out of the medical system and you can take care of your health better. People who take care of their health don’t end up nearly as often with the things that are wrong with – you look at the actuarial. Heart disease and cancer and diabetes and arthritis and chronic long disease – the first five things on the list of what you’re going to die of, you can mostly reduce your chances of getting by a lot with this preventive maintenance sort of approach. That’s what we find with our patients. They don’t go to the hospital. They just don’t go to the hospital because they don’t get – they’re not having heart attacks and they’re not having strokes. That’s not never, but their incidence of it is way low or it’s way delayed because they’ve been doing the right thing.
Ben: Now you’ve talked a lot about health. When people go and visit their physician – I know in most cases they go and see their doc for 15 minutes and then check out maybe with some pharmaceuticals to manage their condition. When someone comes to see you, whether they are a triathlete or just from the general population, what’s the actual funnel that someone goes through? How does someone’s experience in natural medicine actually go? This is for people who may be thinking about making a switch to a doctor like yourself and are interested in what to expect when they visit.
Dr. David Minkoff: I think that there are sort of two types of patients that we get. If you look at it this way. One is the type that is sort of anti-establishment, anti-regular medicine and they’re looking anyway for somebody who’s going to treat them without drugs and surgery and radiation. So they’re looking anyway. They’re seekers, they’re searchers and they find it. The other category is people who are disgusted with the system. They’ve been on a lot of medicine, they’re not feeling better. They’re depressed or they’re despondent because it’s not working and they see that maybe there is a potential that I can do this better or feel better and they come looking with some hesitation at “can this guy really help me or not?” So, I try to give people my sort of idea that I am not going to take you off your medication and put you in a crisis, but I know that as we look for things that are actually the causes of the condition you have – because basically when the arthritis doctor has got somebody on medication to stop their arthritis or the heart doctor is giving them something for their high blood pressure or their high cholesterol – those are band aid therapies where it’s like you’re in your car and the brake light goes on or the oil light goes on and rather stopping and figuring out did you just not put the oil in it or is there an oil leak or what did you do about it? It’s putting a band aid over the indicator so you don’t know it’s there. So, if I’m seeing somebody, I’m saying, “Look I want to see what is your body missing, what is it toxic with? Let’s do some investigation.” If you can have a little saved, you’re willing to spend a little bit of money, I think we can get you so you are weaned off of your medication and you feel better and that in the long run this is going to really help you. You can’t do it in 15 minutes. My usual first patient is between an hour and an hour and a half. It takes that long to just – it’s a mixture of determination and an education and getting to know them. I have to figure out what is it? Where are we going to go with this to try and help them the best.
Ben: So you meet with them for an hour to an hour and a half?
Dr. David Minkoff: Yeah, the first is an hour to an hour and a half.
Dr. David Minkoff: So it takes that long. It cannot be done in 15 minutes. It’s not a practice where you’re seeing 80 people a day or 60 people a day or a patient every 10 or 15 minutes. It just can’t be done. It’s a very patient oriented practice. It takes time. Some visits are half an hour. So I’ll see them, do lab work, I’ll put them on some nutritional things. I’ll see them back in three or four weeks. I’ll retest them. It takes half an hour. I feel like I’m even rushing a little bit in half an hour. I’ve got to watch it because it’s easy to run over because it’s a very personal thing. It’s me and them and I’m going to help them the best that I can and the insurance company is not paying me. It’s not this third party thing. It’s me and them. If I’m helping them get better, they’re going to get better and they’re going to tell their friends about me, and they’re going to tell them it’s worth it to spend their hard earned hour to come in and see us, and people do because they see there’s value in it. This is worth it. This is worth my money.
Ben: Now, are there certain common issues that you see on a daily basis? I know we can spend hours on this but in terms of giving people some ideas as far as the common things that you see, the common ways that you treat them. If you were to give me just the top three things that you see that a lot of people deal with, a lot of people listening to the show might deal with. The ways that you treat that and how that differs from the way a typical physician might approach that issue. I know it’s kind of a tough question but I think there’d be some value in that for people.
Dr. David Minkoff: Well I think the biggest one is probably “I don’t feel good and I went to my doctor and he did some tests on me and his clinical exam didn’t show anything and he did a CBC and a chem panel and a TSH – a screening test for thyroid disease – and he said everything’s fine. But I don’t feel good. I don’t have energy. I’m not sleeping well. I don’t feel good. When I tell my doctor this, he takes out a pad and he wrote me prescription for Prozac. I took that for three days and I felt kind of nuts, and I thought well Prozac deficiency isn’t what’s wrong with me. I need help.” That sort of thing is – you could take that and put it in a… “I tried six medicines for hypertension and they all make me either impotent or fatigued or I can’t think straight and I still have hypertension and I don’t know what to do.” Or “I had a stint done in my heart because I had chest pains a year ago and then I got chest pain again and he took me in and did another catheterization and said the stint is blocked and now I need a bypass and I’m scared. Can you help me?” Or “I already got my bypass and now I’m still not feeling good. Can you help me?” Or “I’m an athlete” This guy yesterday, he’s a nationally ranked professional super high level athlete whose performance this year has been subpar. He’s usually top three in his area of expertise and he said “My events take about 35 minutes. They’re super intense. I have to be 100% there and looking and after 15 minutes I feel spacey and lost and I can’t win with that. Can you help me?” So these are all sorts of variations on the same thing of no product out of what they were doing and the usual sort of approach of what the doctor’s been doing of symptom relief hasn’t helped them. So what we’re talking about is not that symptom relief is an immoral thing but it doesn’t restore health, which is what we’re looking at. Kids don’t take drugs if their nutrition is decent and their parents treat them alright because they have natural energy and interest in life and they can participate and have fun and as we get older, what have we lost? We’ve lost our nutrition and we’ve gained environmental toxins and that’s what’s caused our downfall and it’s only the restoration of those things – of the nutrition and a rehabilitation of the system and detoxification that’s going to make the thing as good as it can be at the time that you’re seeing them. Sometimes you can get them off all their medicines and they feel great and you’re a total hero and sometimes they’re down from four drugs to one, they definitely feel better and you’ve done a good job. That’s sort of what we’re looking at. Another one, a guy can feel okay but they’re 50 and they want to feel 30 and can you help me? They’re the menopausal women who’re like “Holy smokes my hair is brittle and my nails are falling off and I’m not sleeping well and I move lousy and my drive is in the tank and I’m not being a good wife and can you help me?” We see lots of those. Those people are easy to help.
Ben: Now, just as a final question here. If there were anywhere from three to five things that you would say to almost everybody on the face of the planet could or should do to make themselves feel better, look better, feel healthier or be healthier; what would those things be? I know you may be rehashing a couple of things thing you already went over, but I’d just like to hear the quick tips here on the top three to five things that you as an Ironman triathlete, as a natural healing physician would recommend that people do to help their bodies.
Dr. David Minkoff: Sure, I think it’s the basic what mother told you type of stuff but one is eat whole, real food. I recommend a paleo type diet for people. If it comes in a box or cellophane or package – if 90% of the time you can avoid it, eat real chicken and real broccoli – that makes a big difference. Usually with eating that type of a diet, your bowels will work. So make sure you have a bowel movement everyday whatever it takes. Most sick people are constipated. They aren’t going. I think healthy people are going more like two to three times a day rather than once a day, but I’ll settle for once a day if it’s an easy bowel movement. The stuff’s got to go in and it’s got to go out. Then take enough liquids mostly in the form of water. You urinate in a couple of hours and your urine is clear. I think you have got to figure out for your body what the right sleep pattern is so that you get restful sleep. For me it’s so much at night and a nap. I think most people don’t think of it, but if they can do it, a nap would help. In cultures where people nap, they live longer so I think it’s a healthy think. I think people need to supplement because as good as they want to be with their diet, they’re not meeting their nutritional needs. So nap and vitamin D and fish oil and we have a multiple that I think is the best one out there. It’s called Body Health Complete Less Detox and then a green supplement – I think these things are sort of mandatory for everybody because they can really keep your nutrition more optimum. I think the other thing is to have an attitude about life where you keep it fun and when it’s getting serious there’s something wrong. So that triathlon training is play and work is play and marriage is play and make it serious then you’ve fallen off the play and it can keep you mentally and psychologically imbalanced. Then if you can find a health practitioner too that you can trust who can help you with these other issues that we’ve talked about, I think that’s helpful because then you can look at these other things that we’ve talked about to improve your health and help you keep what you got. So I guess that’s how I’d summarize that.
Ben: Well folks, there are not many people on the face of the planet who have done one Ironman triathlon, much less 36. And there are not that many people on the face of the planet who knows as much about taking care of your body than Dr. Minkoff. So don’t just think of the things he’s said today as interesting information that you’re going to blow off and not implement. Really seriously consider implementing some of the recovery protocols that he talked about, supplementation protocols that he talked about, lifestyle decisions and even your approach to your own health and medical care for you and your family. So Dr. Minkoff thank you for your time today.
Dr. David Minkoff: Absolutely Ben, I enjoyed it and look forward to doing it in the future.
Ben: Alright, fantastic. Folks this is Ben Greenfield and Dr. Minkoff from bengreenfieldfitness.com signing out.
Well folks at a solid two hours that’s going to wrap up our show so be sure and write me and let me know what you would like to see in the podcast in terms of how you would like it broken up. Remember, I do this for you so I really value your opinion. Go to the Shownotes for podcast episode 105. Let me know what you want. If you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring the transcription of all past and future episodes of bengreenfieldfitness.com in exchange for getting their banner and advertisements on all those transcribed podcasts then have them – or you can email [email protected]reenfieldfitness.com and again that would cost about$60 for each episode and that would be the sponsorship for you to be able to do that. Finally let me know if you’re interested in going to the triathlon camp in Austin, Texas or the triathlon trip in Thailand that I’m organizing. You need to email me [email protected] if you want in on either of those. So next week we’ve got Alan Aragon coming on the show to talk about the top five fitness and nutrition myths that we are all exposed to on a daily basis. Until then, have a great and healthy week and this is Ben Greenfield signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
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