Episode #334 – Full Transcript

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast #334 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/10/334-is-high-dose-vitamin-c-a-scam-the-complete-guide-to-hypoxic-training-best-long-running-tips-ever-more


Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: Is High-Dose Vitamin-C A Scam, Natural Remedies For Cold Hands And Feet, The Complete Guide To Hypoxic Training, and much more!

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that for natural movement, get out there! When you’re working all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest effort to see…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.

Ben:  Well Rachel, you would laugh if you could see me right now because I’m decked out in my highly fashionable and very sexy, cool fat burner vest.

Rachel:  It sounds incredibly attractive and why you’re wearing that, Ben?

Ben:  Have you seen this, before?

Rachel:  I have, yep, uh-huh.

Ben:  Yeah, they’re like this vest that you put little ice packs into and they go over all the areas of brown fat tissue on your body.  In this case…

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  …shoulders and collarbones and everything like that.  I did a workout this morning for an hour: hill sprints and CAG carries and farmer’s walks, and pull-ups wearing my wetsuit.

Rachel:  Wow.  That sounds like torture.

Ben:  (chuckles) Well, it becomes like a sauna inside the wetsuit, I feel like 20 minutes.  And by the time I took it off after an hour, my body literally felt like an overheated car.  So rather than recording today’s podcast while dripping sweat all over my computer, I’m wearing this vest to cool me off.

Rachel:  And how you get running in a wetsuit?

Ben:  Hmm.  How?  You put on a wetsuit and you start running.

Rachel:  How comfortable is it to run in a wetsuit?

Ben:  It is – it is uncomfortable.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  The reason I’m doing it is I’m competing the World’s Toughest Mudder that’s coming out…

Rachel:  Oh, wow!

Ben:  …in Las Vegas on November 14th, I’ll be down there competing on this 24 hours of a 5-mile course.  The winner last year did close to a 100 miles but apparently, in the evenings it becomes so cold that you will go hypothermic unless you run in a wetsuit and part of that is because of the repeated dips into cold water that occur during each of those 5-mile loops.

Rachel:  Gosh.

Ben:  Yeah!

Rachel:  That’s… you just keep getting more and more next level with me.  (laughs)

Ben:  You want… would you like to come along, Rachel and join?

Rachel:  No, I don’t wanna see put yourself through that kind of pain, I don’t.  (laughs)

News Flashes:

Ben:  So Rachel, speaking of running, I’ve got the best long running tips ever for you in today’s new flashes.

Rachel:  Good, good stuff.  Need them.

Ben:  Yeah.  Do you run much, by the way?

Rachel:  I do, that’s kind of the one thing that I do-do, not like huge long distances but yeah, it’s my – I dabble in it.  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  Yeah.  So your protocol is basically: yoga, running, anything else?

Rachel:  Well, you keep telling me to lift some weights so…

Ben:  Yes.

Rachel:  That’s definitely…

Ben:  You do need to lift some weights.

Rachel:  I do need to lift some weights, yup.

Ben:  So this article appeared on the Inov-8 website.  It was written by this guy named Kevin Carr, he is the fastest person to have run around the world.  He’s done a 621-day unsupported circumnavigation of the globe, which just sounds impressive in of itself.

Rachel:  Right.  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  Anytime you circum-navigate something, that’s impressive.  He’s got his top 10 tips for running around the world, and some of them are very interesting.  Like one is – this tip is to: know how to take the piss out of yourself and what he goes into here is the concept of urine recycling meaning like very…

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  – no, hear me out here: on a very long run, he will carry an extremely light-weight spray bottle and when he urinates, he actually sprays himself down with his urine, because the body’s number one way to cool itself is via the skin and it actually operates in a very similar manner to sweat once air and wind hits the urine as you’re running.  And he was able to cut down his water usage by 50 liters using this urine recycling strategy during very long runs.

Rachel:  Mmm.  Wow.  Uh. 


Ben:  So that’s one.  He’s got some other really interesting tips in here too.  For example, one of them because he has to camp out a lot as he does his runs, what he found was that he would carry these sleeping bags or the sleeping rags that’s very resistant to low temperatures.  But he found the problem was, after you spent the day running and you get inside one of these sleeping bags, sweat leaves your body and condenses into liquid, and within a couple of days all the insulation inside the bag becomes damp.  And it will results in you just basically being freezing cold when you crawl inside your sleeping bag at night.  So he lie in his sleeping bag with the – what he calls a vapor barrier – basically garbage bags and he sleeps inside a garbage bags as a liner to his sleeping bag in order to not freeze after a few days of sweat-filled sleeping bags.

Rachel:  Sounds uncomfortable, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Ben:  Yeah, he’s got a few other interesting ones to – for example, his standby is powdered milk – he relies upon powdered milk for the electrolytes, the easily absorbed calories and much needed protein at a very low weight penalty.  And when he’s running, he says he makes cold coffee using milk powder, instant coffee powder and water that he purifies from streams and rivers.  And then when he runs in the winter, all he does is just hot water, cocoa and milk powder as like his go-to beverage.

Rachel:  My gosh.

Ben:  Yeah. So anyways, if you wanna read the whole article, we’ll link to in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/334, but I know we have some relatively masochistic listeners so.

Rachel:  I gotta say that when you said ‘take the piss out of yourself’ and then all the Australian listeners thought that you meant something completely different.  ‘Cause that’s a saying in Australia but it means, to kinda laugh at yourself and I thought to myself. ‘how does laughing at yourself make you run better?’ (laughs)

Ben:  Right! Interesting.  I didn’t know that’s what that mean in Australia.

Rachel:  Yup.  Take the piss out of yourself – that’s actually a saying.

Ben:  Wow, interesting.

Rachel:  Yup.

Ben:  Okay, cool.  So there’s another study that looked at when you’re standing on all these different balance devices like right now, I’m standing on foam.  I’m standing on memory foam while I talk to you because I use this foam mat at both my kitchen table and then also at my stand-up desk in my office.  And it’s called a Kybounder, it was patterned after the Korean rice patty fields in terms of the inventor having lived in Korea, came back realized that his feet were much stronger and developed this Space Age memory foam to challenge the tiny core muscles in your feet while you stand.  And had being somebody who stands in this foam all day, this study caught my attention, and what they did was they compared standing on one of these like balls – like a BOSU ball, you’ve seen this before?

Rachel:  No, I haven’t.

Ben:  Okay, so BOSU ball’s like a half stability ball with a…

Rachel:  Ah, yeah.  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  Like a plastic foundation under it.

Rachel:  Underneath it, yeah.

Ben:  And they compared it with memory foam, and of course a firm regular surface.  And what they found was that the largest amount of balance challenging was achieved when exercising or standing on a – drum roll, please –

Rachel:  (makes drum roll sound) Really?

Ben:  BOSU ball (chuckles).  Yeah, so turn around if you’re gonna do like balancy exercises at the gym, and you’re looking at like the little foam pads that they have at the gym or the BOSU ball.  BOSU ball wins out in terms of – you know, like reducing risk of ankle sprains, bike training, or your tiny ankle muscles to stabilize, etc.

Rachel:  I feel like that makes sense.  Does that makes sense to you?

Ben:  It makes sense.  I’ve stood on both and the BOSU ball’s more difficult, but I have something even better that I’m alternating now back and forth when I’m standing at my kitchen table between a foam mat.  And then there’s this new thing you can check it out at fluidstance.com – it’s called the FluidStance’s level and I’ll put a link to it over in the show notes as well.  It is a balance device that you stand on when you’re working and it’s kind of like one of these wobble boards except it’s just enough wobble to wear your tiny muscles and your balance.  It is challenged but it’s not so much that distracts you from typing and you know, talking on the phone, writing articles you know, whatever else you might happen to be doing at the computer.  But it is a beautifully designed balanced platform that you stand on.  You should check it out: fluidstance.com, we’ll put a link in the show notes, but that’s another thing that I’m using now when I’m standing at my kitchen table, it’s kinda fun.

Rachel:  And you don’t have to think about it.

Ben:  What do you mean you don’t have to think about it?

Rachel:  Like when you’re… like watching, it’s kind of natural to stand on it.

Ben:  Yeah.  Well you have to think about it a little bit, right?

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  Like it’s slightly challenging but not so much that it’s incredibly distracting so…

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  Yeah.  Speaking of not thinking about it, you’ll like this one, Rachel.

Rachel:  Oh god.  I knew this is coming.

Ben:  (laughs) A new study, new research that has revealed that…


a third vegetarians eat meat when drunk.

Rachel:  When they’re drunk.  Oh my god.

Ben:  This was a survey that found that…

Rachel:  (laughs) You love this one, don’t you, Ben?

Ben:  …one in three vegetarians eat meat when they get drunk and kebab meat and beef burgers reverted as the most common meat for vegetarians to give into when drunk.  I thought this was just interesting because I’m curious if it’s related to amino acid efficiencies, if it’s simply a psychological type of thing where it’s like the forbidden fruit.  I mean, I’ll come right there and say it, I certainly cheat on certain things, if I’m drunk you know, I’ll go find ice cream or you know, a pizza or something like that that definitely falls far outside my normal nutrition regimen.  But what are your thoughts on this being a vegetarian?

Rachel:  I don’t know if I… I think it might just be that people are drunk and they don’t necessarily – they not of the sound mind and normal habits, I guess. I certainly have never done it, but I understand people who do because yeah, beef burgers and kebabs taste delicious when you’re drunk even if you’re vegetarian.

Ben:  So for the record, Rachel denies eating meat when drunk although I do know you admitted to accidentally eating chicken several weeks ago.

Rachel:  I did, yup.

Ben:  And the top 5 meats that vegetarians do turn to when drunk are: kebab meat, beef burgers, bacon, fried chicken and pork sausages.  So we’ll link to that one…

Rachel:  So helpful.

Ben:  …in the show notes for you.  I’m not quite sure if there’s anything helpful that comes out of that study.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  So it was interesting.

Rachel:  Very interesting.

Ben:  So, there you go.

Special Announcements:

Ben:  So Rachel, after listening to the weekend podcast episode, have you started using intranasal light therapy, yet?

Rachel:  I actually tried light therapy for the first time last night, had a night shift and was up at 12 o’clock.  And I got a human charger and I tried it for the first time and it was incredible!

Ben:  Cool, so you did in-ear light therapy.

Rachel:  In-ear, mmm-hmm.

Ben:  So this was to wake yourself up before working in night shift.

Rachel:  Well, it was on night shift. I was tired.

Ben:  Okay.

Rachel:  And it was pre-caffeine, I usually drink caffeine to kinda get me through most of it.

Ben:  Mmm-hmm.

Rachel:  But it was pre-caffeine, I was about half an hour into the shift, so I worked it on maybe an hour early out and I felt incredible, I couldn’t believe it!

Ben:  Awesome, awesome.

Rachel:  Yeah!

Ben:  What are you doing on night shift?  For people… for our listeners who are still getting to know Rachel.

Rachel:  Well actually, I work in a shelter a bit on night shift, it’s very quiet so I’m kinda at just at the computer just doing computer work.

Ben:  And what kind of shelter?

Rachel:  I work in a harmless women shelter.

Ben:  Okay, cool.

Rachel:  But only on-calls, so only a couple nights a week.  I’m not like the people that are working night shifts every night that starts to get into sleep deprivation, I’m more just kind of once or thrice a week.

Ben:  Right, gotcha.  Well there reason I’m bring it up is because we had a podcast for those of you who may have not listened in with Dr. Lew Lim on intranasal light therapy for athletic performance and cognitive enhancement.  Really interesting episode, so if you’re listening in and you didn’t get the chance to listen to the weekend episode, check it out.  Also, I’ve got a few things to tell you about, Rachel.  The first is one of our sponsors for today’s episode and that is Kimera Koffee, and we’ve talked about this on the show before about all this different things that you can put into coffee.  And one of the questions that we got recently, I believe it was on Facebook, was about the best way to prepare your coffee if you’re gonna use something like Kimera Koffee which is this coffee that’s infused with alpha GPC and taurine, and theanine and DMAE and all these other noo-noo? Nootropic?

Rachel:  I think that’s what we agreed on.

Ben:  I get lectured to death every time I use that word – all these different nootropics.  Anyways, so the answer to that question is that the best way to filter or to prepare your coffee if you want to get the maximum cognitive benefits is to choose any method that doesn’t use a paper filter.  So, paper filters black out the bioactive what are called terpenes in coffee which are the some of the things that cross your blood brain barrier and make little sparks explode in your head.  So French press, an Aeropress that has like a metal filter on it rather than a paper filer, all those types of things would be better choices than a paper filter if you’re going to drink this crazy drug-infused coffee.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  So kimerakoffee.com, k-i-m-e-r-a koffee, k-o-f-f-e-e.com – use 10% discount code ‘Ben’ and this episode is also brought to you by Casper mattresses – Casper mattresses.  What kind of mattresses do you use, Rachel?

Rachel:  Mmm, I don’t know.

Ben:  You don’t know.

Rachel:  Mmm.

Ben:  That’s okay.  I didn’t know…

Rachel:  I’m not passing the test, sorry.

Ben:  I didn’t know what kind of mattress I used…


either until a couple years ago when I started studying like organic materials and the fact that springs in most mattresses transmit electromagnetic fields, and you know, firmness and proper sleeping positions, and all those crazy things that you do when you’re bored and you decide to start auditing you mattress.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  Anyways though, Casper is a mattress company that designs these mattresses using a combination of space age materials and memory foam, they use all organic compounds.  And the cool thing is that these mattresses arrive to your house in this cute little box that you basically just you know, put in any room you want and you unfold it versus dragging a giant ass mattress to the front door or the garage door and trying to set that up in a room.  So Casper mattresses, they are sponsors for today’s show and that means that anybody listening in gets 50 bucks off a mattress purchase.  You just go to casper.com/ben and you use promo code ‘Ben’ and they’ll give you 50 bucks off a Casper mattress.  They’re actually pretty cool, I’ve got one in a guest room in the house right now so.

Rachel:  Good.

Ben:  Yeah.  And then finally, there is Harrys and if you go to harrys.com and use the promo code ‘Ben’, you can save $5 off these ergonomic razors which means that your razor is not going to give you – what’s it called when you get wrist pain, wrist tendonitis? A carpal tunnel…

Rachel:  Carpal tunnel?

Ben:  …syndrome.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.  There you go.

Ben:  You know longer need to get carpal tunnel syndrome from shaving but they’ve also got a ton of other materials that support your shaving endeavors like after shave cream, really cool foam.  They smell fantastic, my wife loves the way I smell when I finish my Harry’s shave, and I like the fact that I just feel like more of a man when I’m using like the big, heavy German engineered blade versus the super duper light crappy drugstore one.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  Which just makes me feel less than macho.  So anyways though, whether you’re male or a female, you too can use a Harry’s razor just like me and go to harrys.com, and use the promo code ‘Ben’ on that.  So, Rachel have you yet experienced the magic that is the Harry’s razor?

Rachel:  I hadn’t.  You should send me some (laughs).

Ben:  I should, I should.  I think I have an extra.

Rachel:  And then I actually would know what you’re talking about.

Ben:  Cool.  The last thing that I wanted to mention, actually two, two last things: the first is that if you haven’t yet signed up for the Unbeatable Mind Retreat in California, that’s coming up soon, it’s December 4th through the 6th.  I’m speaking there, Robb Wolf, sleep expert Dr. Kirk Parsley, ketogenic high fat performance expert Dominic D’Agostino, bunch other cool folks speaking at Navy Seal commander Mark Divine’s Unbeatable Mind Retreat there, so you can check that out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/unbeatable15.  And there’s a Spartan Race down in L.A. afterwards for any of you buyin’ plane tickets to California, you can kill two birds with one stone.  And then the other thing that I wanted to mention is if you visit greenfieldfitnesssystems.com, we have a brand new amino acids tablet there.  So amino acids are basically like a steak in a pill, very, very absorbable way to get your proteins in when you can’t eat a real source of protein like meat or chicken, or all the other things that vegetarians turn to when drunk, you can actually just take this amino acid tablet, and it’s a brand new amino acid.  Again, you can check that out at greenfieldfitnesssystems.com and that one is called Nature Aminos – Nature Aminos.  So Rachel, do you or have you ever used like amino acids supplements or capsules?

Rachel:  No, I haven’t.  Not yet.

Ben:  Okay, so the idea behind this is that when your body bonks or when it runs out of energy during a workout or a race or something like that, in many cases it is not contrary to popular belief because you’ve lost a bunch of carbohydrate or storage glycogen.  But it is because your blood levels of amino acids have dropped so low that you experienced what’s called central nervous system fatigue.  And so rather than stuffing your face with a bunch of pancakes or energy bars or glucose or whatever, you just take on proteins in a form of this pre-digested amino acids, they bumped up blood levels of amino acids and wa-lah, the bonk is gone so.

Rachel:  Problem solved.

Ben:  Yeah, problem solved.  So, anyways, speaking of solving problems, I suppose we should jump into this week’s Q & A?

Rachel:  Let’s do it.

Did you know that Ben Greenfield personally mentors trainers, coaches, physicians, and nutritionists from around the globe?  From business building tips to advance team and performance in health concepts, it’s all part of a private mastermind called the Super Human Coach Network.  When you join, you get instant access to monthly workshops with Ben, a Q & A forum, over 40 hours of cutting edge audio and video education and much more!


Check it out today and become one of the world’s leading health and fitness experts at superhumancoach.com/podcast. At superhumancoach.com/podcast.

Listener Q & A:

Meghan:  Hi Ben, this is Meghan.  I was just listening to a podcast with Abel James and he’s interviewing Dr. Andrew Saul.  And basically, the whole thing was about how Vitamin C is like the cure-all for everything: from cancer to common flu and cold and everything.  So I was just wondering your thoughts on this and more importantly, if it is effective as he says, would it help with injuries like a head injuries, like joint-inflammation and things that we suffer as endurance athletes?  Thanks.

Ben:  Oh I can tell you one thing about Vitamin C, Rachel.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm?

Ben:  If you take too much, it’s gonna result in some serious toilet time.

Rachel:  Oooh.

Ben:  Yeah.

Rachel:  Mmm.

Ben:  Yeah.  And when I’m talking about like unicorns pooping rainbows type of toilet time.

Rachel:  (chuckles) I don’t think anyone has that kind of toilet time.

Ben:  Did you see the video?

Rachel:  I did.  It was hilarious.

Ben:  So if you’re listening in, you must go to the Ben Greenfield Facebook page or Google or wherever else you wanna go and look for the squatty potty unicorn video.  It’s a hilarious video of a unicorn pooping little rainbows and cookies and cream ice cream.

Rachel:  I’m so sure it’s gonna go viral.

Ben:  That’s squatty potty, it is pretty funny. If you are constipated king.

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:  Anyways though, so Vitamin C – the question here that Meghan is asking is about a podcast released by my friend Abel James.  And Abel interviewed this guy named Dr. Andrew Saul who has a lot of claims about Vitamin C.  For example, he says that medical doctors have been stopping in curing polio with high doses of Vitamin C since the 30’s, and that you can cure pneumonia with Vitamin C.  And that Vitamin C works as an antibiotic and antihistamine, and anti-toxin, and an anti-depressant, and it curbs appetite, and that it heals injuries, and that in many cases, you must take it in very high amounts.  Like we’re talking about what would be considered the half million to 2 million milligrams of Vitamin C a day, so mega-mega-mega doses, like what you get from eating hundreds and hundreds of apples.  So we’re going way beyond the apple a day type of Vitamin C doses and talking about like if you for example starts to come down with a cold, you would take like 20,000 milligrams of Vitamin C.  And to put that in perspective for you most – let’s say like a really powerful multi-vitamin might have a thousand milligrams Vitamin C in it.

Rachel:  I feel like that doesn’t necessarily pose just the average sniff test of any, that much of anything can never be a good thing.

Ben:  Well, it’s not like we have not as humans isolated and concentrated certain compounds, right? Like I have for example a bunch of St. John’s Wort growing outside my house, and it’s a very potent anti-depressant.  You’d have to take a lot of it, you’d have to take a ton of plants, put in into like a – like let’s say, we take a bunch of buds and we could put them into a bottle of Vodka after boiling them and create like a St. John’s tincture, but it take a lot of plants to do that, right?

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  So in the same way, you could isolate you know, ascorbic acid from lemons and fruits, or make it synthetically etc. isolated and take it in high doses.  And I’m not necessarily saying that just because you wouldn’t find that dose and like you know, whatever, something that’s very high in Vitamin C like bell peppers or lemons that it’s completely unnatural but I also like to look at what research has to say as well.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  So when we turn to research, it was actually Noble Prize winner Linus Pauling who is a chemist and he really popularized Vitamin C in the 60’s.  And he suggested that Vitamin C which people already knew protected against scurvy was even more beneficial for hosts of other issues if you took it in mega doses.  Since Dr. Pauling’s proposal, Linus Pauling’s proposal, there have been dozens and dozens of pretty well controlled studies on the use of mega doses of Vitamin C for cold prevention, in treating the duration of colds, severity of colds, pneumonia, etc.  None have actually found that Vitamin C in mega doses does anything.

Rachel:  Wow.

Ben:  Now it is true that if you have a Vitamin C deficiency, it can sets you up for everything from immune function to duration, to loss of collagen, to deterioration of the lines of your blood vessels, to the deterioration of cell membranes like you need Vitamin C…


in certain amounts.  However, there’s not a great deal of evidence that you actually absorb this mega doses, although I can tell you from personal experience that it can cause some like I mentioned, some toiled time, some explosions down under.

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:  So anyways, there are – there are some other issues that you need to be aware of if you are going to experiment with high dose Vitamin C supplementation, if you’re gonna use yourself as an N = 1 or say well, despite what the studies say, I’ve found that it will work for me.

Rachel:  So why does Dr. Andrew Saul say that Vitamin C is a cure-all for everything when the study is aren’t there to support it?

Ben:  After this question came through, I took a listen to that podcast episode and he has a lot of N = 1…

Rachel:  Okay.

Ben:  …anecdotes from patients that he’s worked with, from himself and I’ll admit that I personally used even though this is far, far less than what have been, what Dr. Saul’s recommends.  I’ve used up to about 6 grams of Vitamin C per day when I’ve been sick, when I felt like my immune function was deteriorating, and I can’t say for sure that it worked but you know, I’ve experimented with that N = 1, but it’s always so tough when you’re doing something like that unless you get sick again and you don’t take the Vitamin C and you see what happens.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  I can also tell you that I’ve done this Myer’s cocktails which are IVs where you get you know, Vitamin C and Vitamin B and everything else shot up into one of your butt cheeks and I’ve done that when hangover, right?

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:  Like after a night of partying, I’ve gotten these Myer’s cocktails and I’ve also gotten them when jetlagged, and they do make you feel like a million bucks for a couple of days.  But who’s to say whether it’s the mega dose of B, whether it’s the glutathione, whether in dose of Vitamin C, you know it’s kind of a though call.  Or whether it’s…

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  …just the fluids themselves like you rehydrating you so.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  Anyways though, the other thing to be aware of before we jump into some of the things to be cautious about, is that the body has a hard time absorbing anything more than about 1500 milligrams of Vitamin C at a time.  So even if you are going to mega-dose, you need to split your mega-dosing into you know, not like 6 gram or 5 gram or 4 gram portions but about 1 ½ grams max.

Rachel:  Mmm.

Ben:  So you really gotta like spread it out throughout the day.

Rachel:  And is that tough in the body in other ways?

Ben:  Well, here’s the deal: Vitamin C enhances iron absorption.  Like if you have iron deficiency, and you take Vitamin C at the same time as iron, you absorb the iron better.  But once you get into a very, very high doses of Vitamin C, iron poisoning can become a risk – what’s called hemochromatosis can become a risk if you taking a bunch of Vitamin C and also taking iron supplements, or especially if you’re a male because guys bleed a lot less than females.  We don’t have that monthly you know, dump of… of a…

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  …dump is probably the wrong word but you know what I’m saying?

Rachel:  I do.

Ben:  We don’t lose iron each month like females, so we tend to have a higher risk of iron toxicity.  If you’re using high dose Vitamin C, I’d recommend you test your iron levels and make sure that you’re not risking hemochromatosis.  There are some recent studies that have found a relationship between excess ascorbic acid intake and kidney stone formation.  So you also need to be careful if you’re someone who’s at risk for kidney stones or if you’re concern about kidney stones.  They have done studies on rodents and this one is you know, it should peak the interest of anyone who is pregnant and they found that high dose Vitamin C can suppress the production of progesterone from the corpus luteum.  And all that means is that you need progesterone to maintain a pregnancy and so if you take high dose Vitamin C when you are pregnant, you can actually increase you know, if you are a rat and we’re just extrapolating humans now, early miscarriage.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  And so that’s something to consider as well.  The thing that a lot of athletes have heard about Vitamin C is that it can hamper your response to training, particularly endurance training.  We’ve done studies with high-dose Vitamin C, as well as high dose Vitamin E and by high-dose I really only mean a 1000 milligrams, we’re not talking about a ton, but what they found was that it could blunt the response to training.  Now this is a part of Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplementation I would tend to disagree with because in this case, these folks were doing something like a 30 minute bike ride a few times a week.  I suspect that it that case they didn’t need all those extra anti-oxidants and those extra anti-oxidants shut down oxidation or free radical formation so much that there wasn’t even enough damage to get a training response, right?

Rachel:  Mmm.

Ben:  So there’s no fitness response, but if you are a hard and heavy trainee like an Ironman triathlete or a marathoner or like a you know, you’re training for a 100-mile bike ride or something like that, you probably could use a little bit of help in terms of fighting


free radicals.  But again, in these studies, we’re talking about a 1000 milligrams of Vitamin C and not you know, 20,000 milligrams.  The other really interesting thing, and I’m going to put a link to all these studies by the way in show notes in case you’re listening and you want to go check them out for yourself.  There is a study that looked at high intake of Vitamin C and Vitamin E intake in voles.  Voles are kinda like little rodents that you experiment on in the lab, so they are not the little things that grow in your face, pool of red dots that grow in your face – not to be confused with moles, voles (chuckles).  So anyways, what they found is that high dose supplementation reduce life span by up to 26% in these voles, and what they found was that with high dose Vitamin E, it was arranged of 11 to 26% life span reduction and with the high dose Vitamin C, about a 17 to 18% reduction in life span.  And they suspect that this is due – the shortening of life span – is due to the fact that too much Vitamin C may actually behave as what is called a pro-oxidant and may in fact cause excess oxidative damage or free radical formation.  So…

Rachel:  That’s scary.

Ben:  Yeah, it’s one of those things where there’s enough evidence out there to suggest that taking massive amounts of Vitamin C may cause damage.  And enough of an annoyance issue from like a stomach comfort standpoint that I can’t say I’m jumping on a mega-dose of Vitamin C bandwagon.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  I take about 1 to 2 grams a day, most of it I get from the Thorne multivitamin that I use and you know, I get of course a little bit of extra from food.  But my go-to when I need a little bit of immune system boost: I use oil of oregano, I use elderberry, I use some echinacea and those are few things that I personally found to help me out quite a bit and to be far more easy on the gut in high dose Vitamin C.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  Unless I can hunt down somebody to inject some Vitamin C at my butt cheek.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Tyler:    Hey Ben, my name is Tyler.  I’m from Traverse City, Michigan and it started to get pretty cold around here.  And usually at this time of the year when I start to realize how cold my hands and feet get and how long it takes for them to warm up after being outside.  So I was wondering if you had any advice whether it be exercises or supplements or things I can do to help promote distal circulation to the feet and hands?  Been doing a lot of cold exposure, things like that, so I’m wondering if that’s helping, but anything would be great.  Thank you.

Ben:  Rachel, do you ever deal with cold hands, cold feet?

Rachel:  I do.  I definitely do.

Ben:  My wife’s hands and feet will turn white in response to exposure to cold like literally the blood just drains out of them, and this is actually a syndrome.  It’s called Raynaud’s disease or Raynaud’s phenomenon.  And what happen is your fingers or your toes turns white and eventually get blue and it can happen when you get exposed to cold, it can also happen when you get exposed to stress.  And then eventually once you get back into warm temperatures you know, the fingers will turn red or sometimes tingle or swell or even feel numb or painful when they get warm.  Just about everybody has experienced a little bit of this like if you’re skiing or if you know, sledding or something like that, your hands gets really cold and then you go inside, you take a warm shower and it’s almost like – have you had this before?

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  Annoying like painful, tingling.

Rachel:  It hurts, yeah.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.  And a lot of times though the diagnose, something like Raynaud’s by doing one of two different tests.  They’ll do cold stimulation test, and the way that they do that is you dip your hands in cold water and then there is this device that’s used to show how quickly your fingers return to normal temperature.  And when you have Raynaud’s, it can take more than 20 minutes for your fingers to return to normal temperature after getting exposed to cold water.

Rachel:  Is it potentially more of a female thing as well? ‘Cause I know a lot of girls who tend to get cold in their extremities.

Ben:  That’s a good question.  I’ve noticed that women seem to complain about it more but…

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  I haven’t actually see – which is strange because women are supposed to have a higher pain tolerance, right?

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  But it may actually be something that comes down to women also having like slimmer fingers and feet…

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  …in many cases, like less body fat, less insulation.

Rachel:  Yup.

Ben:  I can’t say I have ever seen any evidence that you know, males versus females have lower instance of Raynaud’s.  But the other way that they’ll test it is a doctor put a drop of oil at the base of one of your fingernails and then look at the nail under a microscope and when you look at the nail under a microscope, it’s got the oil on it it’ll show abnormal arteries…


or what are called sclerodermas.  And that can indicates also that you have Raynaud’s, it’s called a nail-fold, a nail-fold capillaroscopy.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  And something like that.  You can actually go get tested to see if you’ve got an actual disease, or if maybe you just need to help a blood flow a little bit.

Rachel:  Yeah. It was gonna be my question.  So you can have issues with cold hands and feet and don’t have the disease?

Ben:  Right, exactly.

Rachel:  Yup.

Ben:  But whether you have the disease or whether you just you know, you’re gonna go exercise in the cold or you know, maybe even this is an issue I found a lot of times in like Spartan Races where you’ll race early in the morning, this happened at World Championships a couple of weeks ago, like the monkey bars are covered in frost and then you run and your hands would be cold, and then you head a rope climb and you could barely hold onto the rope.  And you know, my wheels were turning during that race about besides using the trick of just swinging your hands and repeatedly opening and closing your fingers as you run, like are other little hacks that you can use to increase blood flow.  And it turns out there are some things that you can do to dilate blood vessels into increased circulation particularly in the extremities.  So some of the big ones: one that’s extremely common is a supplement called Gingko Biloba.

Rachel:  Hmm.  I’ve heard of that.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s been shown to help increase circulation particularly in the extremities, and the dosage that you would use is about 150 to 250 milligrams of Gingko Biloba before you go participating the activity for which you want the hands to be a little bit warmer, so that’s one thing.  The other, another one, we’ve talked about on the show before, I talked about this in terms of something that I used to lipolyse fat cells when I’m doing heat treatments like sauna, it’s a high dose niacin – high dose niacin.  Now what niacin does, it helps to dilate blood vessels, it’s almost like Viagra for your fingertips and your toes and it can cause flushing in your face as well, right? Like any what where you have a lot of these tiny capillaries?  Niacin can help quite a bit in terms of sending blood to those areas.

Rachel:  Okay.

Ben:  Now one of the issues is both flushing and itching, as well as the fact that high amount of niacin is metabolized by your liver, so there’s potential for liver toxicity as well.  And the other issue that has been associated with high dose niacin intake is impaired glucose tolerance, meaning that you can create more inflammation, have more fluctuation of sugar in your blood vessels when you’ve taken a bunch of niacin.  So the fix for that is there is a form of niacin that is absorbed very slowly into the bloodstream, it’s hydrolyzed in the bloodstream’s extremely slowly.  And it is a form called Niasafe.  It’s made by Thorne and it is in a form of niacin known as inositol hexaniacinate, you can get it off of like Amazon for example, but it’s a safer, non-flushing alternative to niacin.  You still get a bunch of what’s called peripheral vascular circulation like a bunch of blood flow to the hands and the feet, but you don’t actually get all the issues with niacin to something’s called Niasafe.

Rachel:  And these are okay to take on going?

Ben:  Mmm-hmm.  Yeah, even though I mean like, you don’t honestly really want to take either of those when you’re going into a cold environment, right?  Even just like pop them every day along with a cup of coffee, so yeah.  But you could use them whenever you’re gonna expose yourself to cold.

Rachel:  Okay.  Yup.

Ben:  Another thing that can help out quite a bit is the breathing technique that is use by this guy Wim Hof, the ice man.

Rachel:  He’s a legend.

Ben:  Yeah, legend.  We’ve had him on the show a couple of times, I’m hopefully gonna go over there to Poland in February and do some training with him.  But I can spell out and I’ll put a link to my full podcast interview with Wim, a couple that I’ve done that show you how to engage in this fire-breathing, this warming breathing.  But the idea is that you first inhale very, very deeply and hold for a moment and then you exhale completely.  So you’re gonna inhale as much air as you can, and then push out as much air as you can and you do this 15 times.  And then after you’ve done that 15 times, you do 30 reps of what’s called the power breath.  So this is where you inhale though your nose and you exhale through your mouth in very short powerful bursts.  So what you’ll get is like a little bit of light headedness, some tingling in the body but essentially what you’re doing is blow or breathing in a bunch of O2 and then doing short shallow exhales so you’re not breathing off as much CO2.

Rachel:  Yup.

Ben:  And when you allow your body to retain carbon dioxide or CO2 like this, what it does is it opens up a lot of tiny capillaries.  So you get more blood flow into the hands and feet than you would normally.  So you do these…


30 power breaths and then after you do the 30 power breaths, that sounds like this (heavy breathing), you finish by drawing in the breath one more time and filling your lungs to maximum capacity.  So you finish like this (inhales) and hold.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  And hold, and hold and then you exhale completely (exhales) and hold, and hold, and hold and then that’s one round.

Rachel:  Wow.  And how many rounds do you do?

Ben:  You do about 5 minutes or so of that.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  Just basically going back and forth from the 30 power breaths to full exhale to full inhale.  And what happens is you warm your body, you set a bunch of blood flow into the hands and feet and then you go do whatever it is that you’re gonna do, like a cold water swim or you know, you could use this for example, if your hands and feet are already cold and you need to send warmth into them.  But it’s a really cool technique, it’s also good for like warming up for a big workout or race or something like that as well.  So I’ll put a link in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/334 to my interview with Wim Hof.  So those would be the main 3 things I’d recommend, would be: good form of niacin, Gingko Biloba and then trying like this fire breathing to warm your hands and your feet, so there you go.

Ratasha:  Hi Ben, my name is Ratasha and I’m from Florida.  I wanna start off by saying that I love your show, I’m a fitness instructor and a personal trainer, so I really appreciate the content that you’re putting out there for us.  My question to you is what kind of strength training protocol would you give someone with hyperkyphosis?  I have a client who has a 70 degree curvature in the spine and he wants to of course, build strength, so I was wondering if you can give me any input on that? Thank you and I look forward to hearing your answer.

Rachel:  So Ben, this is everyone’s worst nightmare – bad posture, hunched back.

Ben:  Being hunched back?

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah, hyperkyphosis is actually – that’s similar to – and I’m not joking here, that’s like what the hunched back of Notre Dame had.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  Like it’s a full-on hunched back, it’s not just kyphosis right? Not just like a slight curvature, but it is a full-on, big amount of curvature in the spine.

Rachel:  And is it genetic?

Ben:  Well it’s something that you’re typically born with, but it can be affected by like low bone density, degenerative disc disease, leaning forward a lot you know, hunched over computer, you can be born with this – it’s called the dowager's hump as well or an exaggerated curvature of the thoracic spine.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  But even though you’re born with a high risk for as well as a slight hump, you can aggravate it by a – by having like poor strength in your spinal extensors or being like hunched over all the time, so it’s one of those things that you have to constantly fight.  I had a client who I used to train who had hyperkyphosis and one of the rules that we’d follow whenever I put him through a routine at the gym, is we would pull three times as much as we push, right? So we would do something like a chest press or an overhead press, we’ll also do a seated row, a pull-down and a dumbbell rows.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  We are constantly trying to pull the back into flexion instead of or into extension rather having it constantly flexed.  But there’s some research that has been done on this hyperkyphosis, this is exaggerated kyphotic angle.  One study, you’ll like this Rachel, one study found that people who did hatha yoga three times a week for 24 weeks had significant improvements in their kyphosis angle, in what’s called their kyphosis index compared to a control group.

Rachel:  Wow, that’s 24 weeks.

Ben:  Yeah.

Rachel:  Did you say? That’s not long though.

Ben:  24 weeks, 3 days a week.

Rachel:  Imagine if you did yoga for 10 years.

Ben:  Mmm-hmm.  Yup, so.

Rachel:  And so.

Ben:  Another one is spinal extensors strengthening exercise.  So this would be like low back extensions, dead lifts, things along those lines.  What they did in the study was they had people do this 3 times a week for a year, and they found that both kyphosis as well as forward head posture were significantly reduced with this type of exercise program.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  So, and all they were doing were all the things that you would normally need to pull back the shoulders and pull back the spine like rows and dumbbell, shoulder, like reverse flies, like all these things that kinda pull the shoulders back.  There’s another thing called taping or kinesio taping, also known as postural taping.  And this is, you may have seen this like in the Olympics, you see a lot of times in like the CrossFit games or Iron Man triathlons, people get their joints taped with this colorful tape.  You’ve seen it before?

Rachel:  I haven’t.

Ben:  Okay so it’s known as KT tape or kinesio tape and there are specific…


protocols you can use where you put, and I’ll link in the show notes to the specific tape application if you have  like a hunched in your back.  But it pulls the shoulders back and it also increases your awareness of your posture when you have this tape applied, and they’ve done studies that I’ve looked at the use of these elastic taping protocols for hyperkyphosis.  And they found a significant improvement in posture when you simply get this taping or when you use this taping protocol to support the back and to pull the shoulders back.  So it’s called kinesio taping or KT taping, that would be another one to look at.

Rachel:  So you’re focusing on strengthening the muscles that pull the shoulders back?

Ben:  Mmm-hmm.  Yup, pull the shoulders back and then also extend the spine.

Rachel:  Okay.

Ben:  So anything that would be like the opposite of like a crunch or a bench press…

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  …would be the type of things that you’d do.  And then there’s another thing and I do this protocol 3 times a week, just for my own spinal – you know it’s called spinal decompression.  It’s a series of exercises that you use to both turn on your glutes, ‘cause a lot of times it’s – a lot of people walk around with basically dead butts, right? Like they don’t use their glutes and not aware of their glutes and they can result in decreases in power, decreases in force production and nice, little, short hip flexors…they give you back pain.  So there is this book called “Foundation” who’s written by Dr. Eric Goodman who have had on the podcast before and it has 10 different exercises in it that basically decompresses spine and improve your posture and your core strength in a manner far, far different than like you know, again crunches or even like planking or dead lifts or things along those lines – they’re all body weight exercises.  And I’ve been doing these when I go into the sauna, right? Just to kinda kill two birds at one stone, I’ll go through the full series of 10 exercises, very simple, like you could memorize them within a few days of doing them.  But they are fantastic for athletes, for people who have low back pain, for people who maybe sit a lot and need to decompress the spine from that, they go when you’re traveling, when you’ve like been sitting on an airplane a lot.  I’ll link to the book in the show notes, but what I do is I have it on my Kindle, right? So I can pull up and look at the photos of the exercises if I need a refresher and I simply do those 10 exercises 3 times a week and they work very, very well – so that book is called ‘Foundation’.

Alma:   Hi Ben! I was hoping you could maybe clarify the physiological benefits of oxygen restriction ‘cause I hear talking a lot about using a training mask for this, and things like breathing techniques.  And how and why can it improve training performance? I think I’m just a bit confused in my head maybe because I would think the more oxygen the muscles receive better in the terms of energy production, for anything lactic acid buildup for example.  But it would be great if you could maybe clarify things in this regard, so thank you very much and keep up the amazing work.  I literally jumped for joy at the arrival of each new podcast, so thanks for that, too.  Bye!

Rachel:  So I don’t really get the whole hypoxic training either, so I’m excited to know what you have to say about this (laughs).

Ben:  You don’t hold your breath for as long as you can when you’re walking through an airport like I do?

Rachel:  No, I don’t.  No.

Ben:  I do these things called breath hold walks, where you just go for a walk, and during the walk you hold your breath for as long as you can and you get completely hypoxic, and then you let yourself recover and then you do it again…

Rachel:  Mmm.

Ben:  …just to increase breath time.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  So the reason I’ve been doing that is I have a free diving course that I’m taking next month, so I had to increase my breath hold time.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  And you do it by using these tables.  You can use what are called static apnea tables which are breath hold tables where you will for example, breathe and hold your breath for as long as you can and then let yourself relax and you do it again, so you condition your body to be used to high amounts of oxygen.  And then you can also do what are called CO2 tables where you’re hyperventilating basically and getting your body used to holding on to a bunch of CO2, similar to like that power breathing.

Rachel:  And obviously, it’s a good idea to this out of the water first so that when you’re in the water you don’t pass out.

Ben:  I actually don’t really recommend doing it in the water at all, like the…

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  …hypoxic type of stuff.  Yeah, until you’re very, very comfortable doing it like on land lying on your back and that’s the way that a lot of these free diving courses are built ‘cause you do it on dry land first so, yes.  And I will admit that I do this sometimes in my car as well which probably isn’t that smart but, what would I do? By the way, I just got back from a race car driving school, did I tell you?

Rachel:  Oh, wow!

Ben:  Yeah.

Rachel:  Fun?

Ben:  Oh my gosh.

Rachel:  Did you go fast?

Ben:  Testosterone fast.

Rachel:  How fast did you go?

Ben:  135 was the top speed that I hit which just doesn’t sound very fast but it felt fast.

Rachel:  Did you have a lot of fun going on the corners?

Ben:  I was driving tricked out Ford Mustang, spent 3 days there…


and I had an instructor in the car with me which is really helpful, because he tells you on when you lay down hard on the break, when to accelerate out of the corners.  And even though it sounds like a completely useless thing to do because when I’m gonna drive that fast, I found just upon returning home and driving around town a couple of times, that it has helped me tremendously with cornering, with being very aware of what’s going on…

Rachel:  Sure.  Yeah.

Ben:  …like 20 cars ahead of you…

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  …with reaction time and it’s ton of fun, too – so race car driving school.  Apparently and learn this afterwards, it’s a great way to increase your testosterone as well, so.

Rachel:  (chuckles) A natural way to do it!

Ben:  A natural way to increase testosterone just although what the research say that was done on cars has found, is that you see an increase in salivary testosterone when a man not just drives the car fast but, and this is gonna sound really dumb but it is true, drives the car fast in the presence of women.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  In the presence of attractive women.  So if you can arrange it that’s you’re driving your car and you’re driving a nice car fast and women are present, watching you drive a nice car fast, you can kiss your testosterone cream goodbye.

Rachel:  You are ol’ such simple creature, aren’t you?

Ben:  (laughs) Alright.  So you can’t say you’ve not fantasized about driving a car a 140…

Rachel:  I do wanna drive a car fast.  That is definitely something I wanna do.

Ben:  It is, it’s pretty fun.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  So anyways though, we digress.  Oxygen restriction and hypoxia, what can it do for you?  Well, there are variety of things that hypoxia can be used for, for example, just this week a study came out that showed that when athletes in this case, track and field athletes were exposed to intermittent hypoxia after their workouts, what that means is that they would wear a mask that exposed them to low amounts of oxygen in the air.  And in this case they were alternating hypoxia with hyperoxia, meaning they were getting oxygen at 10%, and then they were following that up with hyperoxia oxygen at 30%.  And this would be like what you would experience like a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  But you could also kind of approximate the study by doing for example, underwater swimming sets right where you’re swimming underneath the water in the pool for as far as you can, coming up doing some power breathing, right?

Rachel:  Mmm.

Ben:  Getting back and doing hypoxia again in the pool that would be like the poor man’s version of the study, right? So hypoxia followed by hyperoxia, so you could do hypoxic sets followed by hyperventilation.

Rachel:  Yup.

Ben:  And what they found was a significant improvement in recovery among athletes who did the hypoxia with the hyperoxia training, and specifically they were looking at decreases and inflammation and also the heart rate variability, which is actually what I use quite a bit as a way to test whether or not the nervous system has recovered from exercise.  And what they found was that when you as part of your covered protocol use hypoxia you can actually recover faster from exercise.  So that’s…

Rachel:  That…

Ben:  Oh, go ahead.

Rachel:  And how does that work? How does that, how does that actually work?

Ben:  So the idea behind exposing yourself to low amounts of oxygen followed by exposure to normal or high amounts of oxygen is that you get an increase in the production of what’s called nitric oxide synthase, which is like Viagra for your muscles to a vasodilator.  So that’s one of the physiological mechanisms.  Another one or another field they found is an increase in oxidative enzyme activity.  This would mean an increase in the activity of the specific components of your cell response for taking oxygen and converting oxygen into energy or ATP.  And what that can cause when you get an increase in the activity of those enzymes is a building new mitochondria which can actually help quite a bit with oxygenating muscle tissue and recovery, but also with allowing you to have a higher for example, VO2 max or the ability of – to the ability to deliver oxygen to muscle tissue.  Some of the other things that they found, really, really interesting, one is improvement in economy of movement.  For example, there was one study and I will again, link to all these studies in the show notes for those of you who like to put on your propeller hats and dig in.  And what this study found was that when you do controlled frequency swimming, that controlled frequency breath swimming, what that means is like breathing every six strokes when you’re swimming versus breathing every stroke, so going for a swim but limiting the amount that you breathe.  What they found was that in runners, running economy was improved by 9% when these runners were subjected to hypoxia via restricted frequency breathing while swimming.

Rachel:  Mmm.

Ben:  So there’s that as well, that’s another…


benefit or another kind of physiological mechanism, is just economy of movement.  They’ve also found that you resynthesize creatine faster, so creatine is a little molecule that’s not just used for explosive activity but is actually relied upon as an energy source during endurance, during slow twitch muscle fiber contraction as well.  You know, this is one of the reasons that I personally you know, I get asked all the time like ‘which supplements do I take on a daily basis?’ and it’s a multivitamin, fish oil, creatine and then in the evenings I take a CBD.  But the creatine is… because there’s so many benefits to creatine and it turns out that hypoxia can increase your own ability to resynthesize creatine, so that’s another one.  And then you also get vasodilation.  This is something that you may have noticed, if you have ever done hypoxic swim sets, like swim underwater, holding your breath for 25 meters, and then you take a few deep breaths and do it again and again, and again, you find that you have pee really bad after you do this.  And one of the reasons for that is because your blood vessels open up in response to this nitric oxide so you get more nutrient and oxygen delivery, and also pee in pool.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  So a lot of cool things in response to hypoxia.

Rachel:  That’s huge.  That’s…

Ben:  Yeah.

Rachel:  …a large list of studies as well.

Ben:  Yes, exactly.  It’s huge, who would not want to have to pee in a pool?  There are some other things that I actually didn’t talked about.  A recent study last year that looked at muscular adaptations to resistance training when you were, when study participants were exposed to what’s called systemic hypoxia.  And this would be literally like wearing one of those masks, not a training mask but one of the masks that reduces the amount of oxygen that you’re actually breathing, so you’re breathing hypoxic oxygen.  And what they found was a significant increase in post weight training protein synthesis, and also significant increases in muscle size and muscle strength in groups that did weight lifting while expose to hypoxia versus groups that did not.  And again, like poor man’s version of this, you can do like deep nasal breathing rather than mouth breathing while you’re doing resistance training.  The other question that I get is ‘well, can you just use one of these elevation training masks, instead?’  So here’s the deal with the elevation training masks, they – it doesn’t reduce the amount of the percentage of oxygen in the air that you breathe, but and I’ll link to this most recent study that was done on the elevation training mask, it does induce all of the same blood responses that you get when you’re breathing restricted oxygen.  Because what happens inside that training mask is a bunch of CO2 builds up, because you expire CO2 and it accumulates in what’s called the dead space area inside that mask.  So what happens is the CO2 percentage of the air that you breathe increases the O2 percentage slightly decreases, and when that happens, you get a change in the blood that’s very, very similar to what you would get if you were at a high altitude and a lot of people scoff at this masks.  But when you look at like the production of Erythropoietin or EPO, or the production of nitric oxide, it turns out that these are actual adaptations and I will admit that the study that I’m referring to in particular was relatively small.  There were five participants that they studied which is not like a hugely significant scientific study, but it does give us some pretty cool clues that even if you can’t afford, like a fancy hypoxic training chamber, or you don’t wanna move like to the Himalayas you know, to work out.  You can actually use these training masks you know, there, whatever you know, 60, 70 bucks, something like that, so not a huge investment to get some of these hypoxic training responses.

Rachel:  And how is that different to just breathing into a paper bag?

Ben:  You don’t look quite as good breathing in a paper bag.  You could, okay, so here’s the deal: you could achieve like the ability to breathe in your own expired CO2 for breathing on a paper bag…

Rachel:  Yeah, I just created my own hack, right?

Ben:  …try to breathe in and out of the paper bag and do a barbell squat at the same time while holding that paper bag up to your mouth.

Rachel:  I think that’s a good hack.

Ben:  Yeah.  So I mean, part of it is you’re just paying for the convenience of having the mask you know, and there’s some other cool things like little holes in the masks that make it so you don’t explode the paper bag you know, those types of things.

Rachel:  And you look super creepy.

Ben:  And you look…

Rachel:  Or really cool, depending on who you are talking to.

Ben:  Relatively macho.

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:  Yeah, relatively macho, like Ben.  So another study, and this is the last one I promise, then I’m gonna shut up with these studies and just link to all these in the show notes for folks.  This one with the production of…


C-reactive protein when you engage in hypoxic physical exercise, and what they found was that short term hypoxic training, meaning, exercising in this case for 15 minutes while breathing oxygen controlled air or less oxygen exposure in the air where you’re breathing.  It resulted in a reduction in arterial stiffness which is a good thing from a cardio-vascular health standpoint, and it indicates a better protection against arteriosclerosis and also a decrease in CRP or one of the primary indicators of inflammation and metabolic damage in response to exercise.  So it turns out that you get a decrease in inflammation as well, so all sorts of cool benefits that occur in response to hypoxic training.  Now, from a logistical or practical standpoint, the other thing I should mention is that they’ve been doing some studies that look into and compare what’s called intermittent hypoxic training which is the traditional way to do hypoxic training, and this is like 5 minutes of breathing hypoxic air followed by 5 minutes of breathing normal air; and then 5 minutes of hypoxic air and 5 minutes of normal air.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  And they’ve compared this to basically a sprint version of hypoxic training that’s called RSH or repeated sprints under hypoxia, where you’re doing like ten 30 seconds sprints.  Each of those sprints completed while wearing a mask or while you know, hypoxic condition, and then full recovery, and then another 30 seconds sprint.  And they found that repeated sprints with hypoxia compared to this traditional form of intermittent hypoxic training actually results in a significantly better training response…

Rachel:  Wow.

Ben:  …than intermittent hypoxic training.  So it turns out that if you’re gonna choose to use hypoxia with one of these training masks, you wanna do repeated sprints at a high intensity, and then full recovery versus like wearing at a lower intensity for a longer period of time.

Rachel:  For a long time.  Right.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yup, so…

Rachel:  That’s awesome.

Ben:  So yeah, there is everything that you ever wanted to know about hypoxic training and oxygen restriction and again, I’ll link to all of these in the show notes.  I’ll also link to things like you know, different gear that you can use that’s out there for inducing hypoxia, but now you know everything you need to do to turn yourself blue in the face and pee in the pool.

Rachel:  And if you don’t wanna buy a training mask, just buy a paper bag.

Ben:  There you go.  Use the Rachel’s hack.  Speaking of crazy as seen on TV masks and training devices, Rachel, we have a review that basically references as seen on TV commercials, so I figured this would be a good one to read on the show.  And as usual, if you hear your review read on the show or a review that you leave on iTunes, preferably along with 5 stars; don’t mess around with the 3s or the 4s, definitely not the 2s and  or the 1s.  But if you leave a review at 5 stars and you hear your review read on the show by our dear Rachel, and you email [email protected], we will send you a very cool surprise pack.  Be sure to let to, let us know your t-shirt size, too when you email [email protected].  So that being said, we have a review, looks like it was left by Sanket Bakshi, sounds very exotic, Sanket Bakshi – who says ‘The most awesome podcast ever’ and gives us 5 stars.  Rachel, you wanna take this one away?

Rachel:  Yeah.  He says, “Now I know this looks like one of those as seen on TV commercials, but a few years ago, I was diabetic, overweight with 27% body fat, and could not climb a flight of stairs without  catching wind.  Since I found this podcast, the information in here has been amazingly helpful.  I’m not just in top shape of my life but I qualified for and will competing, be competing in the OCL World Championships this year.”  Oh my god, that’s so cool.  “If you digest the information that Ben provides with an open and a logical mind, I bet you will see wonders with your body.  I don’t regret him making me spend time and dollars on some good quality, pricey stuff because this podcast does also helped me ditch my regular gym membership to save me some money.  And still getting better shape…”

Ben:  See?  He’s happy he spends 70 bucks on a training mask.

Rachel:  (laughs) “Ben and Rachel…” And now I love him because he included me.

Ben:  Mmm-hmm.

Rachel:  “keep up the great work.  All the best, Brock!”

Ben:  I love it.  So…

Rachel:  Aaaawww!

Ben:  What you’ve learned there is that if you are fat, diabetic, overweight, etc., you too can be swinging from monkey bars within just a year at the OCL World Championships if you keep listening to the show, so.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  There you have it.  People learn the valuable lesson today.  Anyways though, what we will do is link to everything we talked about: the best long running tips ever, the drunk vegetarians who eat meat, the Vitamin C studies, the hypoxic studies, everything else over in the show notes which you can find at bengreenfieldfitness.com/334.  Be sure to leave your review on iTunes and also, stay tuned for this weekend because we have an interview with a guy who formulates Chinese adaptogenic herbs.  You’re gonna learn everything you need to know about how to use adaptogenic herbs, it should be fun.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  So, that being said, there you have it.  Thanks for listening everybody! Thank you, Rachel for joining me on today’s show.

Rachel:  Thanks, Ben for having me!

Ben:  Alright folks, have a healthy week!

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.

[1:06:52.4]     END 



Oct 14, 2015 Podcast: Is High-Dose Vitamin C A Scam, The Complete Guide To Hypoxic Training, Best Long Running Tips Ever & More!

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Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.

Is High-Dose Vitamin C A Scam?

Meghan says: She was recently listening to Abel James Podcast who was interviewing Dr Andrew Saul who said Vitamin C is the cure-all for everything. What are your thoughts on this? If it is as effective as he says, would it help with injuries?

In my response, I recommend:
This Vitamin C myth podcast
This study on Vitamin C and lifespan

Natural Remedies For Cold Hands & Feet

Tyler says: With the change in weather, he realized how cold his hands and feet are getting and how long they take to warm up after being outside. What’s your advice for helping to promote distal circulation to the feet and hands?

In my response, I recommend:
Episode #314 on why you get cold hands and feet and what to do about Raynaud’s syndrome.
Wim Hof style breathing
Ginkgo Biloba

How To Fix A Hunched Back

Ratasha says: What kind of strength training protocol would you give someone with hyperkyphosis. She has a client with a 70 degree curvature to the spine who wants to build strength.

In my response, I recommend:
Taping for kyphosis
Eric Goodman’s Core Foundation book

The Complete Guide To Hypoxic Training

Alma says: What are the physiological benefits of oxygen restriction and how and why can it improve training performance?

In my response, I recommend:
This recent study on hypoxia.
This study on the elevation training mask.
This study on hypoxia and resistance training.
This study on swimming with breath restriction and running economy.
Sprint training with hypoxia.
TrainingMask.com (use 20% discount code GREEN1)

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/10/334-is-high-dose-vitamin-c-a-scam-the-complete-guide-to-hypoxic-training-best-long-running-tips-ever-more/



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One thought on “Episode #334 – Full Transcript

  1. Meags says:

    I was searching for a BG podcast I had heard about cold hands & feet, this actually wasn’t the one but has some interesting input. I see the Thorne Niasafe is not discontinued? Any other suggestions? I live in the tropics and my feet are always numb.

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