September 8, 2010
Introduction: In this episode: blood and saliva testing results, is high blood pressure a bad thing, how to choose multi-vitamins, what are hydrogenated oils, weakness in one side of the body, alternatives to swimming for exercise and swim workouts with a pull buoy and caring for a triathlon wetsuit.
Ben answers: Hey folks, Ben Greenfield here. If you remember a few weeks back I released a video at www.bengreenfieldfitness.com of me standing in my kitchen doing my saliva and blood testing and I have the results of that testing revealed in today’s podcast. I also have put that video up in the Shownotes for today’s podcast so that you can see the video and then listen in on the actual results. This is really important information for any of you who not only want to perform at a high level but also maybe lose weight or feel a little better, have a little more energy, have a better immune system. There’s a lot of really good information in this podcast. I would highly recommend that you go back and listen to some of the previous podcasts that I’ve done with the folks from Bioletics to give you a good platform for understanding more of what’s in this podcast. You’ll be able to get through this podcast just fine even if you don’t go back and listen to those interviews, but what I’ll do is put a link to those interviews in the Shownotes for this podcast – podcast number 111, so if you haven’t heard those podcasts you can go back and listen to those at your convenience so we’ll also have a Q and A today after a few special announcements and then of course the interview with Tim Monaco and Dr. Rick Cohen from Bioletics.
Remember folks, if you have a question you can just email me [email protected]. Call toll free to 8772099439 or Skype to pacificfit. The first question is from Rick.
Rick asks: My girlfriend recently went the doctor. They took blood pressure and it was low. The doctor recommended she increase her salt intake. Sounds reasonable I suppose, however I have a problem with how the doctor recommended going about it. The doctor wants her eat high salt foods like potato chips to supplement. Does this sound right? There has to be a healthier way. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Ben answers: Good question Rick. Low blood pressure, first of all, in healthy people who don’t have any symptoms and who also don’t have any trauma – for example, organ damage and internal bleeding – is really not something that needs to be controlled too much. It’s not something to be too concerned about. If your girlfriend is getting very dizzy when she stands up, if she has very low energy levels, if she’s feeling faint and fatigued all the time – that’s when you may want to consider actually taking measures to bring the blood pressure up. But basically low blood pressure without any symptoms is not that big of an issue in my opinion. I’m not a doctor but from everything that I have studied as an exercise physiologist on low blood pressure, there’s no need to be concerned unless low blood pressure is paired with symptoms or paired with an injury. That being said, the fact that your doctor – your girlfriend’s doctor recommended that she start to eat salted potato chips to bring her blood pressure back up… stuff like this just kind of pisses me off. It really does. Pardon the expression, but really there’s no need for a doctor to be telling somebody go out and fill their body with corn, vegetable oil, salt, all these high fructose corn syrup. You get red artificial colors, all sorts of corn syrup solids, non-fat milk powders – just tons of different things – the partially hydrogenated oils, the soy bean oils, the cottonseed oil. All this stuff in the potato chip. So you’re basically giving yourself a risk of diabetes, obesity, a ton of other chronic disease risk factors all for the sake of bringing the blood pressure up when maybe you’re asymptomatic in the first place. So yeah. Something as simple as even salting your food, if you need to do that to bring your blood pressure up, even just salting your food is better than eating salted potato chips. Go out and get something healthy. Have a salad and put a little salt on it. One of the questions that I get from people is the difference between using a sea-salt and a regular salt because there’s a lot of people talking about sea-salt and how it’s supposed to have these enormous health benefits like improving your digestion or giving you a bunch of minerals and trace elements but there’s not a huge difference between the chemistry of sea-salt and regular iodinized table salt. Basically they both contain sodium chloride which is kind of the main component that would be bringing your blood pressure up. Sea-salt is going to contain trace amounts of things like calcium and potassium and magnesium but very small amounts compared to what you would get from, say, just supplementing with those and saving your money on the sea-salt. The nice thing about sea-salt if you’re a chef, you’re interested in flavors is that sea-salt actually does impart some different flavors to food. It has impurities in it. You get little bits of clay, little bits of volcanic elements in the sea-salt and really these add things like red colors or blue colors to the salt and so it not only looks nicer, it actually tastes just a little differently. These impurities can give sea-salt an interesting and unique taste but its health benefits really aren’t that high over and above just regular table salt and really sea-salt has less iodine in it than table salt and considering the issue with a lot of people with hypothyroidism and low iodine levels, table salt is just fine – iodinized table salt is just fine. But regardless be salting healthy food. Don’t be eating salted unhealthy food to bring blood pressure back up, if there is even a need to bring blood pressure back up in the first place. So, we’re going to move on from a question to Listener Brian.
Bryan asks: I’ve been taking a Centrum multivitamin every day. Recently, I was at the store looking to buy something different and noticed that most of the main vitamin brands have a “Performance” multivitamin. Is there a benefit for someone who is actively training everyday to take a multivitamin that is enhanced for active individuals, or is it just hype?
Ben answers: Bryan, the idea behind these performance multivitamins is that typically they’ll add things like antioxidants, co-enzyme Q-10, Quercetin, little bit of extra vitamin D – some of the things that a lot of athletes or active individuals may tend to be deficient in or go through a lot faster than the average population. You pay a little bit more but there’s anecdotal evidence with some of this stuff and clinical evidence that some of this stuff such as the vitamin D is going to help you out a little bit if you’ve got a little extra in your multi. I will be talking a little bit more in the next inner circle podcast at www.bengreenfieldfitness.com about antioxidants and why antioxidants may not be something you want to end up taking a lot of or using on a super consistent basis. However, most of the ingredients in a performance brand multivitamin in terms of the added ingredients they put in there for extra performance do have a little bit of clout behind them. However the problem is you’re looking at a Centrum multivitamin and when we’re talking about multivitamin selection criteria, Centrum is one of the things that you should really be careful with. For example, Centrum has large amounts of iron in it which is very easy to overdose on. Centrum has a lot of synthetic and artificial chemicals in it. Centrum has keraginine in it which is a food additive that can give you stomach upset. A lot of the Centrum brands – some of them, you know, you may want to check and see – a lot of the multivitamin brands do, but they contain hydrogenated vegetable oils which is basically a trans fat that we’ll talk about later. Aspartame is in a lot of the Centrum brands which is basically Nutrisweet. A lot of immune system and neurological problems associated with that. You’ll usually get artificial food colorings which can be – or have been linked to carcinogenic issues, colon system damage, hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children and you’ll also get a big culprit that we talked about a few weeks ago in the show which is magnesium stirate or stiric acid which is a potentially toxic metal that is added to a lot of pills as basically a filler. So you want to be really careful when you’re purchasing these multivitamins in a place like Cosco or from Centrum. One of the things that I do to get around this, especially for my kids, I personally don’t really do a multivitamin. I just take EnerPrime and I toss in a little bit of vitamin D and magnesium on top of that. But for my kids who are growing, who aren’t eating as much fruit and as many vegetables as me, I give them a liquid multivitamin. You get a lot better absorption. You don’t get a lot of the nasty fillers that don’t come along with it. I’ll put a link to the one that I use with my kids. It’s called Peter Gilham’s Natural Vitality Kids Calm multivitamin and one of the main things it has in there that I really like is magnesium. So if I give that to my kids before bed, they go to sleep very quickly because magnesium calms you down. But they also get their full spectrum of multivitamins and they’re not getting their dangerous additives and fillers. There’s nothing artificial in that particular liquid multivitamin brand. So I’ll put a link to that in the Shownotes. I would check that out for your kids. There’s also an adult version that’s at that same website that I’ll link you to. That would be a good consideration. If you’re going to do one of these multivitamins and actually the adult version of the multivitamin has a lot of those kind of performance elements that something that a Centrum has without all of the fillers and the artificial ingredients.
Chuck asks: What is the difference between partially and fully hydrogenated oil? I’ve actually heard that fully is not as bad? I don’t buy these products but I’ve seen the fully hydrogenated oils in products like generic peanut butter.
Ben answers: Well, that’s a really good question. Basically all fats are just chains of carbon molecules linked together and some of these chains have hydrogen ions attached to them in every available position. So they’re fully hydrogenated and you’ll find a lot of fully hydrogenated fats which are basically saturated fats in nature, particularly in animal fats. You’ll also find some saturated fats in something like a coconut oil or a coconut will have some saturated fats in it. And then once you start to take away these hydrogenated parts of the fat, you get a partially hydrogenated oil. And the idea behind this is that originally most of what people used for cooking and for meals and in the kitchen was a fully hydrogenated vegetable oil and that would be something like a shortening oil, like a Crisco. And the idea is that those are created from a vegetable oil. Those fully hydrogenated fats. If they’re not something that you’re getting from an animal meat then these fully hydrogenated fats are from a vegetable oil. And they’re solid at room temperature. They start as an unsaturated oil so they’re like a polysaturated vegetable oil and in a factory, they’re exposed to high amounts of pressure or high amounts of hydrogen and they’re basically changed from a liquid oil to a solid fat called a fully saturated fat. well because these fully hydrogenated or saturated fats that are solid, especially even at room temperature can be difficult to cook with, what they do now and what they’ve been doing for a while is you’ll take a vegetable oil and only partially hydrogenate it. So you get something like margarine which is softer because it’s partially hydrogenated. Unfortunately, a partially hydrogenated vegetable oil – a lot of times forms what’s called a transconfiguration which is kind of a shape. It’s an unnatural shape for a fat molecule to be in, whereas fully hydrogenated oils don’t have any of these bends in them called transconfigurations. A lot of these partially hydrogenated oils do. So they’re called trans-fatty acids. And unfortunately, these trans-fatty acids have been found to be very bad for your arteries and can lead to cardiovascular disease. That’s why things like the margarine with the trans-fat in it has gotten a bad rap. Now the problem is there’s some serious issues with the fully hydrogenated fats as well because in order to fully hydrogenate a fat like from a vegetable oil, you have to expose it to some pretty high temperatures and pressures. So you get the formation of free radicals in those fully hydrogenated fats and free radicals can cause damage to your cell membranes and can cause some inflammation in your body. So, you’re looking at the fully hydrogenated fats like Crisco as being not all that great for you. And you’re also looking at the partially hydrogenated fats, especially those in a transconfiguration being not all that good for you as well. So the answer here is what I’ve preached before on the show and that is to use things like a natural fully saturated fat, so like a coconut oil or in limited amounts the type of saturated fats you’re going to get from meat. And also in lower temperature cooking, use things like olive oil or flax oil and we’ll talk more about oils and fatty acids in the interview today, but the final issue I wanted to touch on is that nowadays, you’re seeing a lot of labels that appear to be foods very similar to what used to have trans-fat. But now they’re saying they have no trans-fats on them. And what they’re doing now is they’re actually using a fully hydrogenated oil – a fully hydrogenated chemically produced oil in those products that say no trans-fat, but it’s basically just a newer kind of fat. It’s called an interesterified fat. So it has no trans-fat in it, but they figured out a way for an interesterified fat to still allow a lot of the popular foods that used to have trans-fats in them to be able to be produced and have similar texture and taste. Unfortunately, studies that have been done on this newer interesterified fat find that it has some very unique properties in terms of its ability to really spike your blood sugar levels and really lower your insulin levels. Two things that you would not be wanting to going on in your body if you’re trying to lose weight, reduce your risk of chronic disease, reduce your risk of diabetes so these interesterified fats are actually – it’s the same problem that you get with the fully hydrogenated fats or the partially hydrogenated fats that are produced or that are artificially produced. They’re just not as healthy for the human body. The best way to go with fats is to produce natural fats like butter and coconut oil and also to use the type of oils that have been exposed to very little processing and are cold pressed like an olive oil or a flax oil or a hemp oil or some of these other oils that we’ll talk about today in the interview with Bioletics. So that is the skinny on the fats, Chuck. And then Chuck also says…
Chuck asks: I wanted to see what your take was on the NSI Synergy Once Daily Multi-Vitamin Version 3. (That is a mouthful.) Is it anything special worth buying versus a regular multivitamin from like GNC? It has Quercetin in it which I know is supposed to have positive benefits.
Ben answers: Chuck I don’t want to blow off your question but I’ve kind of already answered it. I did take a look at this Synergy Once Daily Multivitamin. It does have some of those fillers in it. It does add in some of the things like you mentioned like Quercetin which does have some good benefits in terms of immune system support and performance for athletes. But ultimately if I were going to take a multivitamin and again I don’t take one, I would use a liquid multivitamin and what I do now is I use the EnerPrime powder and I just take a vitamin D and a magnesium and some fish oils and things like that on top of it, but ultimately it’s kind of like I’m making my own multivitamin by picking and choosing the elements that I want and not getting any of those fillers. So we’re going to move on to a question – a call in question from Listener Jeanine.
Jeanine asks: Hi Ben, this is Jeanine from Ellicott City, Maryland. I have a question. I have noticed for a couple years now that my right leg, more specifically my hip and hamstrings, are much weaker than those in my left leg. I have a hard time doing single-leg anythings on my right leg. What kind of medical practitioner should I see to evaluate and fix this? An exercise physiologist? A kinesiologist? The article on muscle imbalances was interesting, but didn’t give me enough info on how to help myself or where to get help. Thanks a lot, love your show. Bye.
Ben answers: So Jeanine, I’m not a doctor. I always need to start by giving that disclaimer that I’m not intending this to be medical advice, but one of the most common causes of that single leg or the single side weakness or discrepancy in strength that I’ve found both in myself and a lot of the athletes that I work with is in the sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint is the primary joint in your pelvis about which most of the movement is going to occur when you’re doing things like running or cycling or moving side to side. What can happen is when you get a lot of friction in that joint and one side of the joint – kind of the grisly side of the joint moving against the smooth side of the joint – it can become locked in place and while you really don’t notice too much that it’s locked until you start engaging in physical activity, once you do start engaging in physical activity, you can get things like numbness and weakness in a certain part of your body, pain on just one side of your back and a lot of issues associated with what’s called SI joint syndrome or a locked SI joint. Now the type of health care practitioner that you would want to see for something like this would be a chiropractic physician that is well-versed in sacroiliac joint adjustments. I’ve typically found that the most respectable chiropractic physicians will tend to be the ones who work with local sports teams, especially like local professional sports teams. There are some chiropractic physicians, just like there’s some of these types of physicians from any type of medicine that may not be able to manually adjust you and may want to rely on things like nutritional techniques or things that you smell or adjustments that may not be what you need. I would definitely find somebody who is well-versed in sacroiliac joint adjustment. In my area, the guy that I recommend all my athletes to is a guy named Brian Mather. And he’s able to make it right almost right away. To learn more about the sacroiliac joint adjustments, I’ve actually interviewed… I’ve interviewed Brian twice on the show. So if you go to www.bengreenfieldfitness.com and do a search for “Brian Mather” you can hear him talk about the sacroiliac joint. I would also do a search for Tom Vachet over at www.bengreenfieldfitness.com. I also had an interview with him about the same issue. I’m not saying that that’s your issue but it’s very, very likely the case that it could be and if it is then it would simply be a matter of getting a few sacroiliac joint adjustments. I would definitely check out my book Run With No Pain at www.runwithnopain.com where I have not designed a program that is meant to replace the treatment from a chiropractic physician or health care practitioner but is meant to solidify the adjustments once they’re in place. So you’re not going to a chiropractic for the rest of your life, so it’s basically a foundational and readjustment program that’s meant to go hand in hand with treatments from a chiropractic. So that is what I would do if I were in your shoes, is check out a chiropractic physician and check out www.runwithnopain.com and go from there.
Patrick asks: What are some good exercises or stretches to do on dry land to maintain swim form when you can’t get to a pool? I just got a new tattoo and can’t even look at an open body of water for another week.
Ben answers: I think Patrick got an Ironman tattoo. You’ll have to write into the show and tell us Patrick, but if this is the Patrick I’m thinking of, I believe he just finished Ironman Louisville and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got an Ironman tattoo. Anyways being someone who’s gotten a few tattoos in my life, I have to tell you that it can be frustrating when you’re trying to be a good swimmer but because of the tattoo you can’t get in the pool. I will often use elastic bands and I’ve got this little routine that I’ll do to stimulate a swim workout. What I’ll do is I’ll first get the heart rate up with a series of jumping jacks. Usually anywhere between 50 and 100 jumping jacks, and then what I’ll do is I’ll take that elastic band and it’s wrapped around a pole or an immovable object and I’ll do alternating chest presses, almost like a swimming motion over my shoulder with either side of that elastic band. And it’s really an elastic tube with handles. You can use an elastic band as well. But I’ll do those for about two minutes. We’re talking about lightweight and really more of the type of resistance you’d experience while swimming. And then I’ll turn and I’ll do elastic band alternating arm pulls for two minutes. So it’s about a 5 minute set from the jumping jacks to the alternating arm pushes to the alternating arm pulls. Then I’ll finish by getting down on the ground and doing a series of flutter kicks for another minute where I’m just working the flutter kick, lying on my back, fluttering my legs back and forth, sitting up, looking at my belly button so my core is getting the same stimulus as it would have if I were swimming. As an alternative to that flutter kick, you could also do a front plank exercise which is also going to work your core in a similar fashion as swimming. Then I’ll go back to the beginning and do it again, and typically I’ll do about four to five rounds of that and that’s the equivalent of about a 20 to 30 minute swim once you’re done. If you want to go a little bit more expensive than that route of just doing it with an elastic tube, you can get what’s called a Vasa Trainer, and that’s a home swim trainer. Those tend to get up to 1000 bucks, but it’s essentially a trainer that you put in your home and you lie on your stomach and you do Vasa Trainer exercises. I was talking about the Rock Star Triathlete Academy earlier. Carrie Sullivan is one of my fellow coaches over there. he uses a Vasa Trainer and swears by it. He’s actually got a few Vasa Trainer videos over there at the academy that show you how to use it properly. So that’s another option, to use the Vasa Trainer. And then finally you could try a rowing machine at your local gym. And you can do rowing machine sets. Sets of 500, sets of 1000. You can really almost simulate a pool workout. For example, if you’re going to go to the pool and do 10 sets of 100 meters, you can do that on a rowing machine. Most rowing machines have computers on them that show you how far you’ve actually rowed so that’s another way that you can go. Another swim question.
Kenny asks: I’m training for my first Ironman in 2011 and I have a swim question. Is it ok to use the pull buoy for longer distance swims in the pool? I find the pull buoy mimics the wetsuit in keeping my hips up.
Ben answers: Well, yes Kenny. First of all it’s fine because really when you wear a triathlon wetsuit, it’s going to keep your hips elevated. However you need to realize that it’s not just about keeping your hips up. It’s also about keeping your feet and your legs from going to the side, specifically straying horizontally side to side because as soon as your feet start to come apart and your legs start to go out to the side, water is going to hit them with the same turbulence that it would if your feet were, for example, dragging underneath your body. And what I found is that athletes who use a pull buoy a lot of times still haven’t trained themselves to keep their legs together. So make sure you’re throwing in a few sets during that long swim where you’re kind of doing a body check and making sure that you can kick with a regular flutter kick without a pull buoy and not have your legs go out to the side. You can even have a wife or a girlfriend or a family member or a workout partner watch you while you swim from one end of the pool and back and tell you if your legs are coming apart or not. That’s a really good way to know because a lot of times you don’t know just from the feel. And finally a question from Todd Houston, who asks via Twitter… and to ask a question via Twitter, just go to www.twitter.com/bengreenfield. Click the “follow” button and then ask your question.
Todd asks: How do you store your wetsuit for the winter? Inside out, or normal? In a bag or hanging?
Ben answers: Todd, you assume in that question that I’m storing my wetsuit properly. The way that I store my wetsuit in the winter is I fold it along the crease in the same way that you would fold almost like a t-shirt. It is right side out. It’s completely dry. It’s been shaken out, it’s clean. And then I put it in its little wetsuit bag and tuck it away. That’s what I do. If you hang it, a lot of times the shoulders can get stretched out. That’s why I’m not a big fan of hanging the wetsuit or draping the wetsuit, which is why I fold it and put it into a bag and that’s what I was advised to do by Blue 70 and Blue 70 is my wetsuit of choice that I use – the Blue 70 Helix. So, that’s what I do. I’m not 100% sure that that’s the proper way for the wetsuit but it seems to work really well for me in terms of not stretching my wetsuit out and also leaving it fairly crease free if I fold it properly when I put it away for the winter.
All great questions folks, and remember if you have a question, just write to [email protected]. Call 8772099439. Leave a Skype message to pacificfit or just ask your question via Twitter. Finally remember folks, the ranking on iTunes really keeps this podcast going. So before we move on to the interview with Rick and Tim from Bioletics, please mentally note if you haven’t gone and ranked the show yet or left us a ranking and I know that many of you haven’t because we have thousand s of listeners each week but I think we only have something like 200 rankings on iTunes so be sure to go over there and leave the show a ranking. You can even say something about it if you want. Please be nice. But it really helps the ranking of the show when you do that and I truly appreciate it. So let’s go ahead and move on to this week’s interview with Rick and Tim from Bioletics.
Hey folks, this is Ben Greenfield and I am here with Dr. Rick Cohen and Tim Monaco from Bioletics. Recently I re-tested most of my internal performance factors with Bioletics and if you really want to know the reasoning behind why I did what I did and what Bioletics is all about, I would highly recommend that you review the previous podcasts. There’s been four of them that we’ve done with the team from Bioletics to talk about how paying attention to your hormones and some specific blood, salivary and urine factors is highly important for you when it comes to health and also your human performance. So what I’d like you to do, if you haven’t heard those podcasts – either after you listen to this one or even before you listen to this one – go to www.bengreenfieldfitness.com and on the search window up there do a search for “Bioletics” and you will have access to the podcast that we’ve done with Dr. Cohen and Tim Monaco in terms of giving you a really good overview and insight into some of the stuff that we’ll talk about today. So guys, thank you for coming on the call.
Dr. Rick Cohen: My pleasure.
Tim Monaco: Good to be here Ben.
Ben: So if I could give a brief review of what I’ve been doing… is really wanting to optimize my body because as some of you may know, I was attempting to qualify for the Ironman World Championships and what was going on inside my body was just as important to me as the money I was spending on wheels and helmet and aero material and nutrition and everything else that I needed to get ready for that race, and so I went ahead and texted with Bioletics and there were several factors that we found that needed some work, and so I went ahead and started into some protocols to fix some of those things and I recently re-tested and what I re-tested was my essential amino acids – the building blocks of protein that are circulating in your bloodstream, My essential fatty acids – so the Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids which as most people know are very important in terms of their presence and not just their presence but also their ratio. I also tested my vitamin D levels, one of the most important steroid and hormone precursors in the human body. I tested my A1C levels, which is very reflective of how my body is responding to carbohydrates and then finally I tested my – I’m blanking on the last one that we did. We had essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamin D, A1C…
Dr. Rick Cohen: Was it the hormone level?
Ben: Yes, my hormone levels. My testosterone levels and DHEA levels. So we’re going to talk today about what was found in me and you got to remember I’m a pretty healthy guy, I’m doing most of the stuff right but I’m trying to keep track of my body and get it very optimized because thanks to some of this work that I’ve been doing with Bioletics, I qualified for the Ironman World Championships and it’s in a month. So I am really wanting to make sure that my body and my internal performance factors are right where they need to be. So basically what you’re going to hear today are Tim Monaco and Dr. Cohen talking to me about the results. And we haven’t really talked yet about these results. I’ve seen them come through. I’ve seen the reports but I’ve really kind of been putting off paying much attention to them until this podcast here. So you’re going to get to hear me ask them questions and find out exactly why it is that you should be worrying about some of the things that we’ll talk about today. So guys what would be best for us to start with in terms of the test that were run on me?
Dr. Rick Cohen: I always like to start with sort of the three macronutrients and those are the core components that our body need – proteins, fats and carbohydrates. And in our case, we’re looking at the building blocks of protein, the building blocks of all these important biochemical processes – enzymes, muscles, neurotransmitters, digestive enzymes – are amino enzymes. So let’s start with that one.
Ben: Okay, and for those of you listening in, the person that you’re listening to right now is Dr. Cohen.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yes. So I guess… it was funny, just looking at it. Wow, it’s been a year since we did the first one and actually in the past year with Bioletics kind of expanding, we’ve had the opportunity to see a number of these and it’s like an ongoing educational process. It’s an ongoing lab to sort of understand the biochemistry of human health and performance. It’s really fascinating because the information and knowledge that we have now… even 5 to 10 years ago, it’s just dramatically enhanced. What we know is amino acids… these key building blocks are essential for all these factors. And when we looked at you last August, the three most crucial amino acids at least for performance were your branch chain amino acids. And based on… it’s sort of hard to give these results directly because we’re looking at 8 to 10 different amino acids but percentile based, the three key amino acids for you were running, 20… isoleucine, leucine were 18%, 20% and then valine was 15%. So those are your…
Ben: And is that with 100% being the ideal?
Dr. Rick Cohen: It’s population based so I think less… in essence we want to shoot for higher levels. I like to see it in the fourth quartile, 70% and above. And that will give us a sense of this pool basically. What’s a pool of amino acids floating around in your serum which then your body can utilize. So we know… the pool of these branch chain amino acids were significantly deficient. Currently, you’re running isoleucine around 40%, leucine 60% and valine up to 80%. So that’s significant improvement on these three critical branch chain amino acids. There is one still… lycine, which when we looked at last August was running around 20% and now you’re still around 17%. So that one hasn’t kicked up. And then there are a couple others that are still in the 30th percentile.
Ben: If I can interject, lycine is one of those amino acids that is present in some proteins and not present in others. It’s one of those proteins that for example vegetarians need to pay attention to.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Exactly, I’ve been running amino acids studies on people who consume a lot of rice protein which is actually of very high quality but lycine tends to be deficient in those and sometimes we want to blend rice with some pea protein to balance that. And again, while the protein powders are good, what we found is an adequate amount of these targeted amino acids in a blend are much more powerful, much more efficiently utilized by the body. So you have to change your mindset into understanding food as nutrition and then targeted replacement. What we want with you is to use a targeted amino acid formula along with a helpful nutritional program. How much have you been taking, I guess, of the aminos?
Ben: I’ve been going at about two scoops a day of the aminos from Bioletics in terms of the amino acid powder.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Okay, yeah you work out really hard?
Ben: I work out really hard and the other thing that we should include here is that my meat intake is not incredibly high. I probably average meat… probably average about 6 ounces a day or so in terms of actual meat.
Dr. Rick Cohen: That’s probably sufficient. 6 ounces a day is about 40 grams if I’m correct. 30-40 grams depending on how you’re digesting it and then you’re getting about 20 grams of the essential amino acids which is effectively if you tried to compare that, is going to be equivalent to about 60 to 70 grams of another protein source. So you might need… I don’t know what other protein sources… my gut is… I’m looking at this, we’ve improved. You might need to bump up to a 3rd scoop especially when you’re training hard. One in the morning, one later on and then one either during a workout. I think you could use just a little bit more.
Ben: So basically just bump up the amino acids and specifically one of the amino acids I should probably pay attention to from a whole food source might be lycine?
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yeah, I wouldn’t want to specifically add that into the mix, because the blends are all kind of balanced. But if you wanted to pay attention to foods that had a little more in it, that might be beneficial. Across the board, you’re really low to begin with. So from where you are to where you are not, it’s a significant improvement. I’d like to see it better though.
Dr. Rick Cohen: You’re not optimized yet.
Ben: Between now and Ironman World Championships, in order to get my amino acid levels up to where they would ideally need to be for muscle recovery and repair I’d need to essentially add in one to two extra scoops…
Dr. Rick Cohen: I think that’d be fine because again the key ones for most recovery are going to be the leucine, valine and isoleucine. And those are the ones that have taken the biggest jump across the board.
Ben: Gotcha. Makes sense. So what’s next?
Dr. Rick Cohen: Okay, so the next one we want to go into is fats. So we’ve got your proteins then you want to go into fats. And let’s see. I think we did this one in August as well and the one before… which was a newer test, I think we did the last one… let me see… okay we did this one in March when we introduced that one. So, let’s take a look at the differences here. So I guess how much… what are you taking currently?
Ben: For the Omegas?
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yes. Before if I recall, you were relying a lot on flax seed.
Ben: I was taking quite a bit… well not quite a bit, but flax seed was my primary source prior to our initial discussion on my Omega 3 ratio and my Omega 3s were low, and so I switched to taking the – I believe it was the non-vegan based DHA, EPA blend and I think that was a fish oil derivative but not super high. I was doing two capsules of that a day. And… basically that was where I was at when I tested again and the other change that I made was I really decreased my consumption of vegetable oils dramatically including any organic peanut butter or anything of that nature that might be “perceived to be healthy.” But essentially had really dumped most of the vegetable oils to the side after that initial test.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yeah, I think so this is one where we really haven’t seen the results that we typically see. So we’d look at a couple of different parameters here. One is, it’s called Omega 3 index which is basically the percentage of Omega 3 fats in your red cells. Okay? And we’re shooting for anywhere… at least over 8% and desirable, even 9 to 10%. From the data, just from cardiovascular health which is what’s been studied, but it gives us a clue of where the prostaglandins and the inflammation and the vasodilation and the artery constriction and all these parameters that have the same pathways. If you look at the Japanese who eat a lot of fish, they run around 10% and the risk of sudden cardiac death is 1/20th of someone who might be 3 or 4%. Unfortunately you’re sitting around 3 or 4% right now. Still. So what we need to do – so that’s one factor that hasn’t changed much – we need to be more aggressive there. We are seeing some benefits in two other factors, one is the Omega 3 to 6 ratio. Typically if you look at ancestral primal type diets, the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is less than 4:1 and anywhere from 2:1 to 1:1. We just get a lot more fish, flax hemp, chia. Although that wasn’t in a primitive diet. It was more wild and grass-fed wild animals which have a higher Omega 3 and just not a lot of nut oils or seed oils. It just didn’t exist. So you went from a 9 ratio, 9.3:81.1. So a drop, but honestly we should see better drops.
Ben: Now from a performance or a recovery perspective, aside from cardiovascular health, are there implications in terms of your Omega 3 levels when it comes to those factors?
Dr. Rick Cohen: Right, well it’s all inflammation and tissue oxygenation. So, what you’re doing is shifting to this prostaglandin E1 series which has betadilasin and anti-inflammation and immune enhancing properties. So all these… it’s the yin and yang of life. So this gives you the ying and you need some of the yang which is your arachidonic acid which has to do with clotting and inflammation. Your body needs that at times. But that can be over accentuated in the modern world. So one of the ratios we look at is this AA to EPA which gives us a clue of what the inflammatory index is and you were about 16 before, which is high. We’ve seen a lot higher. But now you’re down to 12, so it’s improved but just personally I’m sitting around 2 to 3 and my arachidonic EPA is around 3 as well. Granted, I’m not doing the intense physical activity, the endurance type activity that you’re doing and that’s a load on the system so we need to be much more aggressive with the Omega 3 oils and it sounds like you made some changes on reducing the Omega 6 oils. So we switched over now, we’re using a product from Pharmax. It’s a concentrated EPA-DHA blend that uses a patented low temperature process. So it doesn’t use high temperature, it doesn’t use any chemicals and is actually maintaining the integrity of these fats which are very susceptible to damage. So we want you to go on at least three capsules a day of those and then in addition, are you using the Udos at all?
Ben: I wasn’t, but I just got a bottle of 3-6-9.
Dr. Rick Cohen: I’d add the 3-6-9, two tablespoons.
Ben: Quick question about that. When someone adds an oil to that, whether it be a hemp or a flax or a 3-6-9 blend like Udos, how careful should they be about heating that oil?
Dr. Rick Cohen: Never. That stuff is like…that’s in the refrigerator, it’s stored in the freezer. I even get personally a little paranoid carrying it around with me for more than a couple of days. The key on those oils and having had some extensive chats with Udo, is they’re very pure. They’re fresh. The way they’re processed – they’re shipped, packed. So keeping those cool is important. The reason we’re using both is the 3-6-9 provides a source of these healthy parent oils. They’re the oils that the body will then break down and process into the important end chain fats which become these prostaglandins. We don’t get – and this is sort of where Udo convinced me – we don’t get in our diet the pure unprocessed, undamaged parent chain oils for the most part. Because it’s just even in our foods, they’re cooked, they’re damaged, they’re stored. So by providing these pure, unadulterated fats we’re not only giving the body to produce what it needs but also it’s a good energy source. That’s our energy and in fact the more efficient energy source, we’ve talked about that before. What we’ve found though in doing the testing is if you just rely on the parent chain oils, we’ve seen level 6, 7%. We’ve seen good ratios. But you still need some of the end chains. It’s just not enough. They’re inhibitors, they’re stressors that will stop those genetic inhibitions that will stop the complete conversion to get where you need to go. So by combining the end chain pure Pharmax with the Udos at the beginning, we’ve seen some really good results. I would be… if you’re consistently with that, you’ve cut out your excess amounts of nuts and other types of oils – not that you can’t use them – but you’re just not living on them in essence. We would do this in four months, I would be surprised if you’re not 7 to 8%.
Ben: Gotcha. And that’s something important. We touched on one thing. If you’re traveling with anything like a Pharmax, the Omega fatty acids you mentioned – any type of fatty acid supplement, you really should be careful in terms of the temperature it’s exposed to because it could end up doing you more damage than good if it gets heated up, right?
Dr. Rick Cohen: Right. So lying on the side of the highway, you think you’re doing yourself good and the same thing – with oils, I’d say probably more importantly, you need a high quality. You can’t go cheap on oils. And it’s extremely important because these oils are very susceptible to damage. That’s where you want to shoot for high quality and we switched over to the Pharmax based on some of the research. It’s one of the best ones available at this point. Maybe the number one, hopefully.
Ben: Gotcha. Well I guess we’ve covered proteins and fats, now how about carbohydrates?
Dr. Rick Cohen: Sure. Did you have anything to say, Tim?
Tim Monaco: Well, there is one thing – this is Tim Monaco by the way for all you listeners – with regard to the metabolic typing which is one of the systems we use to establish what kind of dominance a given person has based on their genetics and their ancestry what kinds of foods are ideal. So I’ve definitely seen a correlation with the people who are more protein-fat types. Usually there’s some kind of a dominance whether you metabolize carbohydrates better or you metabolize fat and protein better. So if you’re more of a carbs type, those types of people tend to do better on the Udos oil and that seems to convert better for them, where the people who are more protein and fat types, I think do better with higher levels of the fish oil and the real concentrated Omega 3. Dr. Cohen was mentioning that variability that is there when it comes to how Udos oil is going to convert and kind of go down that cascade. So it’s still kind of one of those science projects that we’re getting data as we go forward but there seems to be a real strong correlation with that.
Ben: Gotcha, okay. Cool.
Tim Monaco: So, we’re talking about the carbohydrates. The marker that we are using is called the glycohemoglobin. And I believe that it’s actually… we just put it into play. So we only have one test for you, Ben, that we just did. So I’ll hand you back to Dr. Cohen.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Hey, so I remember in one of our first conversations when we were going over this, you spoke about how when you were younger I think you played tennis and you were more of a power – you were a bodybuilder. Your realization… I think you’re… not in a negative way, but your wife tends to be more vegetarian oriented and you’ve tweaked your diet accordingly. I think you made some adjustments based on that. And you shared with your listeners and readers about different training protocols that involve higher intensity as opposed to slower, longer duration. It’s all our individuality which Tim was sharing with metabolic typing. So it’s science and a little bit of art. So we’re using data and then we can use feedback from people to sort of find that balance. So what we’re looking at… and it’s kind of a cool marker… it’s called hemoglobin A1C and we did a little bit of a podcast on this as well. Let’s just review, it’s a three month average of blood sugar and it’s a marker of basically two things – how well your body is metabolizing and utilizing carbohydrates into what your carbohydrate load is. There are lots of factors that will affect this and one of the more powerful factors of reducing glucose in the blood is physical activity. So for example, if you were to eat a carbohydrate loaded meal and then check your blood sugar, you might see it go from 80 to 150 which is very high. If you went and exercised right away, it’s going to bring it down. If you’re a healthy person or still metabolically efficient, right away down to 80. Right back down where if you sort of let it continue to go down, it may take a few hours. So that pickup we feel with physical activity after a heavy meal is we’re bringing our blood sugar down and stabilizing our insulin so we’re not getting that groggy, heavy feeling. Lots of chemicals involved in that process but basically that’s the key. What we found is – and it’s our understanding about carbohydrates for fuel – is that endurance runners who have been carbohydrate loading… most of them can tolerate it as long as they’re working and exercising a lot. You can stay lean, you can stay fit. You can even get “healthier” from a lipid and blood pressure. I was just running Runner’s World this morning and commenting about the pasta diet and some guy improving his parameters across the board. While we’ll throw the metabolic diet with an asterisk on top of that, it may be someone who can tolerate it but he had big changes. He became very physically active and that’s going to drop your sugars and keep it much more balanced. But what this marker is telling us – this A1C – is ultimately what’s going on? How efficient are you? So in your case you’re running 5-6. And let’s give you a sense. Ideal is going to be around 4-5 or lower so someone’s A1C is 4-5, it says that their blood sugar on average is about 20 to 25 mgs per deciliter lower than what you’re running. Diabetics, they’re going to be over 6.5 – 7, and you want to try and bring a diabetic in back down to the lower 6s. But 5-6 is not super efficient use of carbohydrates for your system.
Ben: Now what would be the reason that something like that would actually happen? Specifically the reason I ask is because I really eat a fairly low glycemic index carbohydrate diet, I’m not a “carbovore” by any means and really most of my snacks, for example, my cheat foods are protein or fat based foods.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Right. So I guess without knowing exactly what you’re eating it’s sort of hard to say what would be considered your carbohydrate sense. That’s one thing. Another thing that could be playing a role is just that fats are still very low. Fats will help with sugar metabolism. So that’s another thing that could be playing a role and ultimately, as we discussed, this is not a level to be like we’re really concerned, but it’s a level that we want to follow for your long-term health and balance. It’s like you’d like to get it under 5. You’d like to get it in the mid 4s. It’s sort of a marker of glycation. Sugars bond with protein and damage and it’s a marker of aging. So the tighter this control of blood sugar, which is ultimately toxic – basically the slower our body is going to age and the longer you can keep on going with what you’re doing. So we know you have some information from the fats. And this is a little bit high.
Ben: Now looking at this form a primal or paleo eating perspective, when you considered more of the agricultural foods such as oatmeals or breads or grains or some of those things that can be in the diet, like gluten based foods… have you observed a correlation between consumption of those types of foods and A1C?
Dr. Rick Cohen: Absolutely, they’re going to be the more… yeah those are going to be the ones of greatest concern. Obviously simple sugars, but those cereal grains are going to be the ones of biggest concern.
Ben: Now what about fructose based sugars such as fruit?
Tim Monaco: Yeah, that’s exactly what I was going to jump in with, that fructose is very high as far as glycation goes and it makes – it’s sticky. It creates sticky blood. So it’s one of those things that a lot of people think fruit is harmless or it’s good to be eating a lot of fruits, but it definitely is a caution food that you have to be really careful with and actually a lot of sports nutrition products have fructose in them, so that’s something I’ve been starting to track and try to pay attention to – that’s the one you and Dr. Cohen were talking about – the reason why you may be seeing this high number or elevated number is more accurate… it could be because of a lot of fructose in your sports nutrition product. You’re out there training everyday so you might… what sort of stuff are you using on a regular basis?
Ben: I actually probably average about the equivalent of 1 gel a week when it comes to sports performance products. That’s something I really only believe in using during a race or occasionally during a key workout to train the stomach for the race, but very rarely. I have a whole closet full of gels and bars because I’m sponsored by various nutritious companies and barely even touch them. But in terms of timing, of the carbohydrate nutrients such as eating a piece of fruit at 10pm before bed versus eating a piece of fruit after a workout – would that have any effect on the A1C levels?
Tim Monaco: Yeah certainly after a workout would be your ideal time to be eating any kind of high glycemic sugar and certainly any kind of fructose based sugar because your glycogen window and your insulin response is all going to be dialed in so that you can store that sugar into glycogen. Where if you’re taking it at 10o’clock, it’s going to really mess with your blood sugar and it’s going to send you all over the place and likely you’re not going to have good sleep. You might end up waking up in the middle of the night with nocturnal hypoglycemia because your blood sugar is bouncing around. Essentially that exercise window – the pre-exercise, during exercise and post-exercise – are generally the times when you can get away with eating a little more sugar where other times you have to be a little more careful.
Ben: Gotcha. Okay, well… go ahead.
Dr. Rick Cohen: The one other thing, if you wanted to play around with it is just getting yourself a little glucose meter. And while I’m not advocating it as a necessity for everyone, but this is… you can play around, you can be just a little more cognizant, we could get your fats up and we could check this again in four months or so. If it’s sitting the same or not much better, then we got to say hmm is there something hidden that we wouldn’t expect or some food combination or meal for you that’s just more sensitizing, so go ahead and check your sugar – finger stick, an hour after eating. If you find that it could be three sweet potatoes or it could be some beans… something you wouldn’t normally think is a problem shoots you for whatever reason, shoots your blood sugar up to 120-130, something you’re eating on a regular basis and if that’s the case, you can go hmm that food just doesn’t do me well.
Ben: That’s an interesting idea and I guess one of the things I would also wonder is you guys test a lot of endurance athletes. You see a lot of these A1C tests come back and one of the things that is crossing my mind is endurance athletes tend to eat a lot in general. It’s not uncommon for me to eat 4000 calories in a day just because that’s how many calories I need in order to sustain what I’m doing. Is there, in a way, kind of no way for an endurance athlete to avoid at least more occasional spiking of blood sugar levels than would be considered ideal or healthy from an A1C perspective?
Dr. Rick Cohen: I think what Tim was saying is consuming… the ultimate would be to consume that carbohydrates during the exercise window and then consume the additional calories in a non-carbohydrate source. I’d even say not even protein in a fat source, in a nutritive fat source because if you consume too much protein, as we talked about, you can only utilize about 20 to 35% of that protein source. The rest is burned as energy and it’s called gluconeogenesis. So you’re going to create sugar from that too.
Ben: There actually tends to be, from what I understand, carcinogenic risk from regular and frequent consumption from excessive protein levels.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Right, so it’s a load on the kidneys. So balancing the protein, using amino acids when you require them a much more efficient way than sitting down to an 8 ounce steak four times a day, that old bodybuilding mentality. That’s 400 grams of protein. While they’re getting some benefit on it, it’s not a healthful thing for the system and they are jacking up sugar levels accordingly, so ultimately it’s those nutritive caloric… we’ll call them relatively metabolic or metabolically beneficial fats – coconut oils, avocadoes, some nuts, ghi, olive oil – go for it. You really just add it on and not even think about it. It goes against what we’ve been educated or proselytized but they’re calories, they’re benign and they actually have a lot of the… especially the coconut has something called medium chain triglycerides which are used as energy and they’re quickly burned but they’re not stored as fat efficiently, so that’s where you want to get your calories – get your carbs around your workout and I would expect to see a significant difference.
Ben: Okay cool.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yeah, and if you play around with the glucose meter, let me know. I think my wife will kill me if I’m walking around after a meal…
Ben: My wife wouldn’t care. She’s used to weird things like that, using myself as a guinea pig.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yeah, that’s what we’re doing.
Ben: She’s leaving town for a week tonight so I may just experiment with one this week and I wouldn’t even have to worry about it.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yeah there are some cheap ones you can get at Wal-Mart, Walgreens for like 20 bucks. The meters are cheap, sort of like cell phones. The cost is in the strips though. If you get a bunch of them I think they’re like 80 cents to a buck a strip. You’re not talking about doing it multiple times in the day but just periodically…
Ben: Well after my staple meals.
Dr. Rick Cohen: For science.
Ben: Yep, all for science. That’s right. What’s next, we should move along.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Vitamin D. Okay, so you were 45 which was not deficient but not optimal and now you’ve moved up to 57. I think you went from 45 in August of last year which was not supplementing at all to 56 in March which was on 4000 to 57 now in August again on 2000. So you’re out in the sun a fair amount, probably more than the average person. I’d say 57 is pretty good. Ideally I like to see a little bit higher, maybe in the 60s for performance. So what we’ve seen here is your base in the summer is probably in the mid-40s and you’ve been able to by taking the 2000 bump yourself up to the mid to upper 50s. In the spring when you’re not getting as much sun, the 4000 was keeping you into the mid 50s so my sense with you is you probably need anywhere from 3000 to 4000 in the summer and then once it starts getting gloomy again you’re probably going to need about 6000.
Ben: It’s amazing. I think some people will bump up their levels to 1000 to 2000 – I know I have a lot of people writing me in and telling me that they’re just killing their vitamin D levels and taking a ton and they’re taking 1000 to 2000 – I have been taking a fairly good level of vitamin D. I’ve been up around, well what most people would consider to be a fairly good level… 3000 to 4000 in terms of combining my food and supplementation sources. From what I understand and I looked into this a little bit, to take vitamin D out of the tank in some folks, they’re taking somewhere around the range of 50,000 international units on a weekly basis.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yeah, that’s sort of metabolically risky. Especially if you’re low. If you’re saying 50,000 in one shot…
Ben: No, just in total by the end of the week.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Honestly, we see people 10,000 to 12,000. You might need 100,000 a week and ultimately it’s what your body needs and the only way to do that is to test it. There’s absolutely no way with vitamin D to gauge it without a number. The variability is significant. The synergism with essential fats is critical and just to randomly go take some D is… you may feel good about it, but you may not be getting any benefit from it whatsoever . The type of D you’re taking can also play a role. We’ve seen people take 5000 to 10,000 of a gel cap or a tablet and it does nothing. Absolutely nothing. The body doesn’t absorb it or utilize it. So you can guess and say it’s about, from what we’ve seen in the research, it’s about 1000 IUs per 25 lbs of body weight. It is a starting place and if you don’t want to test it as a baseline, although we like people to test to know what your natural lifestyle and tendencies as well as what level you’re going to be at… because it seems for you, for example you get outside a little bit more and for your size, 2000 gets you to a fairly good level where we’ve seen 2000 is not even… people sitting in the 30s. So you seem to be more sensitive to it which is fine. So, it’s good to have that baseline to get a sense of where you are, but at least in your case about 1000 IUs, you’re going to be less than that. You’re about 200 lbs? 180? So you’re going to wind up just a little bit less just based on your makeup and sun exposure. So critical to test… we use a spray based product that’s absorbed rapidly and I think you’re using the nano spray?
Ben: I’m using the nano spray and I’ve bumped up my use of the nano spray to about four sprays in the morning. I usually hold it under there for about 30 seconds and that’s it.
Dr. Rick Cohen: So there you go. I think that’ll help a little. Actually if you were sitting 30 to 35, that could… and we saw your sugar and the inflammation so that could make a big dent. But 57, I don’t expect we’ll see dramatic changes from 57 to 65 but just filling in the holes. Here’s Tim.
Tim Monaco: Just wanted to talk a little bit, one of the important ideas I think to understand about this is there’s going to be seasonal fluctuation just based on the sun exposure. So whether you’re a high absorber or a low absorber, and that usually has a lot to do with skin color, is that… let’s just say there’s a 10 to 15 point fluctuation from summer to winter so if you are sitting at 57 right now and you continue doing the same dosage supplementally, you’re certainly going to drop down to 45 or 40, which that’s a pretty significant dip and it could have a real negative implication on your health.
Ben: I tend to be indoors quite a bit here leading up to Hawaii just because I have to stimulate hot conditions and I have to move indoors to do it.
Tim Monaco: Yep. So I like to see people in the high end in the summertime. I like to see them at 80 or maybe even slightly higher and then if they drop that 10, 15 points down in the wintertime, they’re still safely within the range of 65 to 80. I think framing it that way gives… it’s not just trying to get you to that finish line of 65. You actually want to go beyond that and have a buffer to work with.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Okay, so lastly we looked at your hormone levels.
Ben: Yep, and all this by the way, folks, is something I did at home. I think most people who have heard the Bioletics podcast in the past know this but just for those of you who are new to the podcast this was basically a kit that Bioletics sent me and I did all this basically in my kitchen over the morning and the course of the day and the salivary test was four different times that I dripped saliva into a tube and sent that off.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Great, okay. So, what we’ve seen with your hormone levels – we actually shifted to a different lab this time. You went from initially being in the 40s… so ranges of salivary hormones are different so anyone who has familiarity with testosterone ranges… in serum it’s total testosterone which can run anywhere from 300 to 900 and then there’s a free testosterone which is dependent on the lab. I don’t want to get too much into the ranges but specifically for the salivary hormones, the lab that we’re using has a range of low being considered or deficient around 35 and optimal around 100. Age doesn’t matter because you want to have youthful hormones at any age and ultimately part of aging is that reduction in hormones. Directly and also based on lifestyle and these key biological factors that we’ve discussed. So initially you were sitting around 46. We made some changes and you went up to 74. And now we’ve tested you this time, you’ve kind of settled back down a little bit into 56. So, hormones are a little bit more challenging because they’re sort of an overall marker and they can be a marker of how hard you’ve been pushing the process. It’s a marker of that resilience, almost how much – of that energy resources you have in the tank. So it’s possible based on the same biological factors, if we retested you in three months when your season quiets down, that’s going to pop up again. Ultimately our goal is going to be to try and keep that testosterone 80 or above.
Ben: Right, which I’ve never actually reached. I got close to that. I got up into the 70s, and I was taking… when I got up to the 70s I basically took the OptiMale that I was taking that you sent me and essentially halved how much I was taking. I was taking two capsules twice a day and once I reached where I wanted to be, I bumped that down to two capsules once a day and it seems that my testosterone levels have kind of moved accordingly because both of the samples that I sent in were taken during race season.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Right, and what have you been taking now?
Ben: The OptiMale. And I just bumped back up to four capsules a day after hearing about these last results.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yeah so four capsules, two capsules twice a day, five days a week, three weeks a month.
Dr. Rick Cohen: You want to let the body respond.
Ben: Yeah exactly, I was doing the cycling. The five on, two off.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Okay, so two comments. One is a personal comment and I used to sit around 80 and 90 and I found myself slipping a little bit and I think I got down to around 45-50 and the thing that made… what I just recently saw is I balanced out my fats and I’ve balanced out all my factors and it’s still sort of sitting around 50, but it wasn’t until it seemed when I got my fats… I started taking Udos, I started taking more fish oils – lo and behold – my testosterone popped up into the 80s.
Ben: And can you quickly explain to people the link between the fats you were taking and your testosterone levels?
Dr. Rick Cohen: It’s just the essential fats control prostaglandins and hormones and cellular synthesis so the body and the membranes and the signalers need these essential fats basically. If you’re essential fatty acid deficient, you’re going to be very likely to have difficulty in producing adequate hormones. For me, that seemed to be… we’ll see how that holds out, that seems to be perhaps the final key factor in the process. I saw a balance in the hormones and vitamin D is also key. I don’t think it’s going to be high enough, that it’s going to be the factor we’re looking for, but in some people that’s the missing component. In other people, it’s amino acid. So all these factors are playing a role. In other people, it’s estrogen in the environment. BPA in your water bottles. So that’s the one important component. The second thing is the RX is a good product but I think I’m continually searching on finding something that’s going to be more powerful for… what I found is the RX works synergistically when we’re fixing all these other factors, for most people, not for all. But we’re continually looking into some other products that would be stronger… have even a stronger direct action on the hormone manipulation. The key is to do it in a way that’s supportive of the body and also in a way for those people who have testing type issues, that it wouldn’t cause a problem for them. So that’s the challenge. You can go out and take synthetics or pro-steroids or things with hormone activities and boost your hormones. One, are you not really working with your body? You’re just replacing in a non-prescription method? And two, you’re going to get busted if you’re an athlete who’s tested. So that’s not ideal as well. That’s an area we’re continuing to do research with and I’m not 100% satisfied with our direct solution. I feel good that when we fix the factors, we allow the body to then restore… but I like something a little bit more powerful that I can say to you, “Here Ben, take this.” And I know without a shadow of a doubt you’re going to come back at 85. There are a few things that we’re working on right now that hopefully we’ll do that, but that could be a conversation in three to five months where I go “I found it.” That’s sort of the fun and it’s sort of what we’re doing and I can say very few other… we’re not a nutrition sales company. We’re trying to use science, use feedback from guys like you, ourselves, other athletes, assess by different products – it may not just be one solution or everyone – and try to put a blend together to figure out how to maximize these critical factors. Are they everything? No, but these are going to be the most important ones and we’ve got these dialed in, we know you’re way down the road than your opponent and the majority of the US population. You become an elite nutrition… maybe we need to have a criteria, a little gold certificate.
Ben: Right, I get a gold star.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Yeah, a gold star. Here man, you made it.
Ben: The cool thing too is the confidence. When I’m out training I have the confidence of knowing that I’m actually paying attention to and looking at some of these factors and I know that it costs money to test your body and doing this type of stuff isn’t free but just the peace of mind and the confidence that you get from knowing exactly where your body’s at and knowing that if anything is wrong, you’re doing what it takes to fix it. For me now, I’ll be starting into the higher levels of the EPA and DHA, this Pharmax. I’ll be taking the Omega 3-6-9s, I’ll be bumping back up my testosterone OptiMale intake and I’ll be bumping up the vitamin D levels a little bit, taking some extra amino acids and making some adjustments in terms of my diet, my carbohydrate timing and carbohydrate intake and just over the course of the past hour, I’ve learned exactly what I need to do over the next four weeks to get my body to where it needs to be to perform at the level I want to perform at Ironman World Championships. So folks, if you’re listening in, this isn’t just for the elite athlete. This is for anybody who cares about the way that their body feels and performs and I would highly recommend that you go to www.bioletics.com or go to www.bengreenfieldfitness.com if you want to do some more research and listen to some more interviews, do a search for “Bioletics.” And if you really want me to – if you email me, [email protected], I have multiple athletes who have gone through the Bioletics protocol who will write to you and let you know their experience with it and everybody has been incredibly happy. So, guys anything else you wanted to bring up before we end the call today?
Tim Monaco: I think that covers a lot of territory so thanks for having us.
Ben: Alright, cool. Thanks for the time guys and I will keep you posted on how my body’s feeling as we build here to Ironman Hawaii.
Dr. Rick Cohen: Awesome, thanks Ben.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net