July 13, 2016
Podcast from: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/07/355/
[1:24] Ben’s podcasting set-up
[2:47] Ben snapchatted his hotel room
[5:08] Ben’s Travel Workout
[6:40] Build Muscle with Body Weight Exercises
[11:41] Naked 3D Fitness Tracker Mirror
[13:58] Chris Kresser – Hunger Cravings
[19:43] Kimera Koffee
[21:10] Pavlok Wearable Device
[25:39] Earthrunners Sandals
[28:26] Preston on Muscle Scraping
[29:37] Graston Muscle Scraping
[38:20] Michelle on Liver Cleansing
[39:17] Ben’s take on liver cleansing
[44:35] What is causing the liver to become toxic?
[45:20] Phase 1 and Phase 2 Liver Detox
[50:49] All about NatureCleanse
[52:11] Ross on Stem Cell Therapy for Injuries
[53:10] New form of therapy for injuries – Regenokine
[1:01:05] Karen’s question on Tattoos
[1:03:43] Components of Tattoo Inks nowadays
[1:06:56] Is there anything non-toxic when it comes to tattoos?
[1:09:52] Metal Free/Cyto
[1:11:45] A Review on the Podcast
[1:15:08] End of Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show: Building Muscle With Body Weight Exercises, Why You Get Hungry, How To Detox Your Liver, Does Muscle Scraping Work, Regenokine Stem Cell Therapy, Are Tattoos Unhealthy, 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’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Ben: Rachel, can I paint a visual for you of my podcasting set up today?
Rachel: I would love to hear it.
Ben: I am in a lunging position on a couch cushion that I pulled off out of the little couch at my Double Tree Hilton Hotel room here in Phoenix. I get asked about this all the time what I use for a portable mic set-up. It’s a Shure mic that’s spelled S-h-u-r-e with what’s called a Zoom recorder. And by the way, if today’s audio completely goes to crap forget everything that you just learned. But then I plug this into the computer and I record with you and we record via Skype. The good old couch cushion with the microphone and the Zoom H4 recorder is the set-up for being on the go. I can go anywhere and do anything with this. Interview presidents, world leaders, you name it.
Rachel: (Chuckles) How long do you sit in that lunging position?
Ben: My rule for positions is that the best position is the one that gets you uncomfortable in about ten to fifteen minutes, so you need to switch positions, right? So during today’s podcast, I’ll switch from my left leg which is forward and my right knee which is down on the couch cushion, then I’ll switch to the left knee on the couch cushion and the right knee forward, then I’ll switch to kneeling. Perhaps I’ll do some flutter kicks or some jumping jacks.
Rachel: I can’t wait to hear you do jumping jacks while we’re podcasting (laughing).
Ben: Speaking of travel. I have a couple of things. First of all, last night on Snapchat, I snapchatted over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/snapchat for those of you who like to follow stories that are trite and silly and typically expire within twenty four hours. No actually, I try and put useful things out on Snapchat. So what I put out last night was I walked into my hotel room and I audited it. I showed what I do when I walk into a hotel room everything from not just turning things off but unplugging things. So you don’t get the little light from the TV, hitting the photo receptors on your skin or the glow from the alarm clock doing the same. So I unplug everything. I find the router which is typically behind the TV or whatever shelving the TV is in, you can find the wifi router and you can unplug that. The other thing that I do is when I check in at the front desk, I ask them for the ethernet cable.
Rachel: Oh wow!
Ben: And most hotels will give you an ethernet cable so you can hard wire into the wall rather than plug it in. Which is why we’re getting such clean, pristine audio today. What else? I close the curtains to block out light that are coming from the street but you’ll find that when you close the curtains, and I don’t know if you’ve experienced this Rachel, light still comes through curtains at most hotels when you close them, right?
Rachel: Uhum, it’s a bummer.
Ben: So you get a hanger from the hotel closet and you use a hanger from the hotel closet and you clip the little ends of each hanger onto the curtain to pull it shut.
Ben: And it actually works very, very well in terms of limiting light from coming in the room.
Rachel: You are a brilliantly innovative man.
Ben: What else do I do? I adjust the temperature to about sixty-five degrees, so between about 62 and 66 degrees is a perfect sleep temperature.
Rachel: What about sound?
Ben: I set out my coffee. My little mushroom coffee packets over by the coffee maker because I don’t really like to use the nasty hotel room coffee. Which I may sound a little bit like my friend Dave Asprey complaining about mold and fungus in coffee, but I do get concerns sometimes about the coffee at a lot of hotel rooms. So I travel with my mushroom coffee, and then I throw in finally, my standby travel workout when I’m extremely tired and I finished an airplane travel bout til’ I woken up in the morning at a hotel room and I just am in a little bit in a funk and not my usual workout-ty self. You wanna hear my travel workout? My go to travel workout?
Rachel: Love to. What is it?
Ben: Okay good. ‘Coz I just finished it about fifteen minutes ago. All you do is you go for a walk. Whatever area of the world that you’re in, you go for a walk. And this is the way to trick your body. All you tell yourself is every time you get to a place where the street turns, stop sign, yield sign, a new block, you name it. You get to choose. You either do 5 burpees, 5 body weight squats or 5 pushups. And that’s it. And you simply walk for as long as you can.
Rachel: And how many turns do you do?
Ben: What’s that?
Rachel: How many turns do you do?
Ben: A lot.
Ben: Initially it’s a trick for your body ‘coz you’re walking for 2 or 3 minutes and I’ve got 5 burpees. That’s not too bad. But then you go and you get… so I walked this morning for an hour and this involved a couple of phone calls during which time I chose squats and pushups not burpees, but walked for an hour and probably did, gosh, a hundred burpees, a hundred squats, a hundred pushups during that walk, came back. So great workout when you’re travelling something easy like that, that kinda eases you into the routine. I like things like that versus say, waking up, going down into the hotel gym and doin’ you know, a Crossfit water or something like that.
Rachel: Yeah, I totally agree with you. That’s so helpful, Ben. Thank you. That’s brilliant information.
Ben: And for the rest of the podcast episode, you can simply refer to me as Mr. Helpy Helperton.
Ben: Well Rachel, this is hot off the presses. How to build muscle without lifting crap tons of weight. Because I know that you specifically, you’re very concerned about getting swoll, are you not?
Rachel: So concerned about getting swoll. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say but actually I’m really interested in this because I prefer super minimalist exercises. So what is it? Tell us.
Ben: Yeah, and you’re welcome to the gun show t-shirt that has been hanging in your closet for weeks. So we really…
Rachel: Four weeks. I’m waiting to go through the guns.
Ben: Really, I need to get this sorted out with you.
Rachel: I know.
Ben: So 2 brand new studies just got published. The first brand new study that was just published ahead of print. So we are really on top of things here on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show. It shows that flexing your muscles throughout a full range of motion is just as effective as traditional weight training when it comes to building muscle.
Ben: So what I’m talking about is literally the kind of flexing that you’d see body builders doing on stage, right? Flex your biceps, hold your biceps, put them into a contraction for as hard as you can, move on, flex your chest, flex your butt cheeks, flex you quads, flex your calves. They’ve shown that when folks do this, and in this particular study they did 4 sets of twenty repetitions with 30 seconds of rest in between these big flex and hold type of sets, they built just as much muscle as another group that was using dumb bells at 70% of their 1 repetition maximum for 4 sets of 8-12 reps with 90 seconds of rest. And so it turns out…
Rachel: I feel like that’s almost unbelievable.
Ben: Flexing in front of the mirror can actually get you ripped.
Rachel: (laughs) Nobody ever needs to go to the gym again.
Ben: Well, my wife used to laugh at me because when we first got married I was a bodybuilder.
Rachel: Bodybuilder, yeah.
Ben: And I would practice my bodybuilding routine in front of the mirror at the foot of our bed. I would do the double chest pose, and I would do the double biceps pose, and I would do the butt squeeze pose, and the open up your lats and make your wings look really big pose, and I would do it all playing soundtracks, like my dance soundtrack that I went out to stage on to do my special dance/flex routine was the Scorpions Symphony version, their German Philharmonic version of ‘Rock You like a Hurricane’. So, I would be in front of the mirror flexing to (music plays while Ben sings) “here I am, rock you like a hurricane.”
Rachel: And what did Jessa say?
Ben: Oh, she would lay on the bed and laugh and laugh and laugh. She’ll sit there with her glass of wine watching me, her big manly man flex and flex in front of the mirror then collapses in the bed, and actually not have sex because as I have talked about before on the show, in body building you look great but you’re a chunk of muscle with zero testosterone levels assuming you’re doing it naturally and legally. So I looked great but there was actually no pay off for her getting to sit and watch me shake my tushy in front of the mirror.
Rachel: And the moral of the story is you were building muscle at the same time.
Ben: Very similar to for example, the book Neuro-Mass which we talked about last week which is a series of exercises that start with very, very super slow motion, move to an isometric hold and also include a power type of body weight or kettle bell type of set. So, the other thing interestingly is that at the same time that this study came out, The Journal of Applied Physiology published its latest study in which they compared not body weight but lightweight to heavyweight.
And in this study they had half of the subjects lift a heavy load that was 75 to 90% of 1 rep max. And then they had another half lift a light load at 30 to 35%. And the heavy people were doing 8-12 reps. The light people were doing 20 to 25 reps and they looked at everything from total and free testosterone, to strength gains to DHEA, to growth hormone, and what they found was that when it comes not only to building muscle but also to getting stronger and experiencing new hormonal response to weight training, once again, it’s not the weight that seems to matter as much as whether or not you’ve actually worked that muscle group to failure. And what they found was that the people who were doing light weight right, 30 to 50 percent, 20 to 25 reps, they still experienced a significant not just muscle-building response but strength-building response.
Rachel: Wow! That is absolutely fascinating. So basically if you have less time, you should do high weight? Is that some sort of rationale?
Ben: Well, no basically the rationale is that I can, for example work out here in my hotel room and I could crank out a hundred pushups here in my hotel room to complete failure or I could go downstairs to the hotel gym pec deck right, and do ten reps and frankly, my chest from a fitness and a strength and a size standpoint ‘coz I know we all care about our chesticles deeply is going to experience just as much of a stimulus.
Ben: So there’s that and we just saved everybody a lot of money and everything else.
Rachel: And time.
Ben: Yeah, and time. Another interesting study and this one I suppose may have something to do with standing in front of the mirror and flexing is, it’s not really a study as much as an article. It’s a brand new beautiful mirror that is really an incredibly accurate scale. Have you seen this new hi-tech body scanning mirror, Rachel?
Rachel: I checked it out. It’s like something out of a sci-fi movie.
Ben: It is amazing. It renders a topographical picture that captures all the ridges and valleys of your entire body: your biceps, your waistline, your calf. It’s produced by the founder of Fittingly Enough, a company called Naked Labs which is a Silicone Valley fitness firm that has developed what they call a Naked 3D Fitness Tracker. It is a sticker shock gasp-er, a $499 mirror combined with a scale but when you step on it, what it does is the scale spins you in 360 degrees to capture a 3D scan of your body.
And if you go to the show notes for today’s episode which you can find at bengreenfieldfitness.com/355, you’ll want to click through to this study because it is mind blowing. Not only the accuracy of this thing when it comes to matching the gold standard accuracy of say like, hydrostatic weighing for measuring body fat, but also the photograph, the 3D photograph that you get from your body is very similar to what you get if you’re to do like a full body MRI. And this is just a scale that you can have in our own home.
Rachel: Yeah. That’s incredible, and it has a 2.5% error of margin which is awesome.
Ben: Which is pretty good. You’re not subjected to the same amount of radiation as you would be in a TSA scanner, so not to worry, especially because you’re not living in this thing, you’re just getting on it every once in a while to check out say, your body composition but I could see how something like this would be incredibly motivating if your goals were aesthetics or fat loss or muscle gain. This topographical scan of your whole body are incredibly disappointing during the holidays, I suppose.
Ben: But it’s a very, very interesting mirror. And I would recommend folks, look into it. If anybody owns this mirror yet, please let us know in the comments your experience with it thus far.
Ben: Boom! And then one other thing, speaking of mirrors, fat loss, muscle gain, et cetera. Really good article on why we get hungry, and this article appeared on Chris Kresser’s website and gets into this idea behind how the microbes in your gut actually have different food preferences. What I mean by that is there are some microbes for example called bacteroidetes or bacterio deities, or however you wanna pronounce that. But they’ve been shown to have a preference for fats. There’s another type of bacteria called prevotella that grows best on carbohydrates. There’s another one called bifidobacterium that does best in the presence of dietary fiber. And the presence or absence of these different strains of bacteria can influence your cravings for specific food. So how about this Rachel, have you ever and I’m guessing the answer is no, but I’m gonna throw this stuff anyways. Have you ever had a chocolate craving?
Rachel: Yes, definitely.
Ben: You tell the truth I would’ve [0:14:59.6] ______ you said no.
Rachel: (laughs) All the time.
Ben: Anyways though, people who are chocolate desiring actually have different microbial breakdown products in their urine than people who are chocolate indifferent. And I have yet to run in to anyone by the way, who is chocolate indifferent but apparently they do exist, and apparently these metabloids are influenced by what are called short chain fatty acid products in the gut, and what that means is that you may experience a higher amount of say, chocolate cravings if you’ve got low amounts of short chain fatty acids which you would get from vegetables or butter or coconut oil. There’s a few different ways to get short chain fatty acids into your system, but it turns out that the bacteria, the presence or absence thereof in your system can influence cravings for specific foods.
Not only that but as I think, we’ve talked about on the show before microbes produce neurotransmitters, right, the bacteria in your gut produce neurotransmitters. I was actually you know, the reason that I’m here in Phoenix right now podcasting from a hotel room is I was speaking at the Natural Grocers Store. A couple of them here in Phoneix and I’m their spokesperson now for Natural Grocers.
During my talk I was talking about fermented foods and how if you have a good wide variety of fermented foods in your diet, you’re not just giving your immune system an advantage which many of us know about right, like good bacterial diversity in the gut allows for the barrier between your gut and your blood stream to be less permeable and allows for better expression of a lot of immune factors that help with your immune system, but also it can help with things like say, the ability of you to go to sleep or not go sleep. The ability for you to get a dopamine or a serotonin response when you eat or when you exercise, or when you have an orgasm or anything else, that might be neurotransmitter-dependent into going out of your way to eat a wide variety of fermented foods can actually be heavily involved in the regulation of eating and pleasure behavior. And it’s because you know, of how much dopamine or how much serotonin you produce in your gut along with thirty other neurotransmitters.
Rachel: Yeah, wow. That’s interesting. So if I am craving fat it’s not actually me craving fat but a little microbe in my belly?
Ben: Well, it could be the absence of a specific microbe. They’ve found interestingly that obese individuals tend to have lower microbial diversity than individuals of healthy way. Right, so going out of your way to not just get probiotics of probiotic capsules but a wide variety right, like switch up probiotic brands every once in a while. Eat a different variety of fermented foods like you know, on a good day 2-4 different kinds like kiefer, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, fermented milk products etcetera.
And then also, and they touched on this in the article, don’t just eat fermented foods but also eat the beneficial food that those ferments are going to feed upon specifically prebiotics right? These will be things like plantains, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, inulin, resistance starch, things that these good bacteria are actually going to feed on. But that one-two combo if you’re someone who deals with cravings, being hungry all the time, having chocolate cravings, sweet cravings, there are a variety of microbes that can tend to be responsible for that and one of the best things that you can do is to increase microbial diversity. That’s the biggest problem with cravings, it’s not a necessarily a presence of like way too much of one bacteria as much as an absence of many of the bacteria.
Ben: Alright, opening the kimono there. Rachel and I actually took a break from the podcast so I could go grab some water. It was actually a hundred and eight degrees in Phoenix last night when I rolled in at 5pm.
Rachel: Wow! And did you like that feeling or did you hate it?
Ben: I love it. I love it.
Rachel: Me too.
Ben: I don’t even have to go hunt down a sauna. It’s just alright there for me. Infrared, far infrared, near infrared, UVA, UVB, all I have to do is go step out into the sun and fry myself.
Rachel: Everything you need.
Ben: And of course, another tip for those of you who travel. One of the first things I do, is I swing into a grocery store and I hunt down glass bottled water. Perrier, Pellegrino, Gerald Steiner, the local spring water, you name it. And that’s one of the best ways to stay hydrated, and to not be drinking say, you know birth control pills and pharmaceuticals from the local [0:19:35.7] ______ water supply.
Ben: Just saying. And speaking of water and good water I am also of course, a fan of coffee.
Ben: And our friends over at Kimera Koffee are doing a giveaway. So they’ve given away six hundred and fifty bucks worth of prizes. So Kimera Koffee is this coffee that’s infused with nootropics. There are 725 milligrams of different nootropic compounds that go over and above what you get from say, just like the caffeine or the kafestol and the kahweols and the antioxidants that you’d find in coffee. It takes coffee and turns it into something completely different. And they are doing a giveaway of a GoPro, a GoPro case, a bunch of GoPro equipment, a thirty gig card. Six hundred and fifty bucks of equipment that you could use to do something like shoot the video that I just shot. I actually put on one of these GoPros and I went out on a river. I did a 9-mile paddle board on the Spokane River wearing my Kimera Koffee rash guard, my surfing rash guard and I published it to Youtube.com/bengreenfieldfitness. So if you wanna see what a little white water river paddle boarding looks like from a first person perspective, you can go there and check that out. And if you wanna get a GoPro for yourself, here is, Rachel, do you know the URL people will go to?
Rachel: bengrenfieldfitnees.com/kimeragiveaway exclamation mark.
Ben: Kimera Giveaway. Boom! And when you’re over at Kimera Koffee use code Ben to save 10% off their coffee, so you can get some coffee and a GoPro at the same time.
This podcast is also brought to you by something kinda cool. Have you heard of a Pavlok before?
Rachel: I haven’t.
Rachel: What is it? Tell me.
Ben: I own one of these. It is a wearable device. I don’t think I’m allowed to say that it shocks you, but I’m just gonna say it anyway. It actually delivers, we won’t say shock, we’ll say a mild electrical stimulus.
Rachel: Like an e-collar for a dog?
Ben: So this thing was developed by my friend, Maneesh. And Maneesh originally was spending too much time on Facebook and hired a personal assistant to stand there and to slap him in the face. This personal assistant will follow him everywhere.
Ben: And slap him in the face every time he would log in to Facebook.
Rachel: That’s creative!
Ben: And he realized that that allowed him to break that habit quite quickly. And he then delved into about 80 years of clinical research to discover whatever type of cravings or habits could be broken via the use of shall we say, very mild form of punishment. Not something that’s going to give you a heart attack or break your pacemaker but that’s at least going to wake you up, shall we say. So this thing uses vibration and electrical stimuli you wear on your wrist and you compare it to anything. So for example, there is a website called If This Then That. IFTT.
Rachel: Yes. Uhm.
Ben: And you can say, put a recipe on IFTT that says, when I am on Facebook please deliver a mild electrical shock to my wrist if it occurs between the hours of let say, 8pm and midnight. Because maybe you want to avoid using your phone that much at night on social media. Or you can also use it manually and this sounds stupid but it works manually, like let’s say, you don’t want to eat, uhh what shall we say, what’s your cheat food these days, Rachel?
Rachel: Too much butter.
Ben: Okay, so you want, (giggles) you don’t want to eat quite as much butter. There are many, I guess there’s many people who follow say the bulletproof diet or the [0:23:12.1] ______.
Rachel: I think I’m pretty next level there.
Ben: … diet would be leaping through the radio waves at you right now telling you to shove more butter down the hatch. But every time that you open your refrigerator and look at butter, or cut open a pad of butter or lovingly fondle those little aluminum foil wrapped pieces of butter at the restaurant, you would reach over and you would shock yourself. You would push the little button on this device and within just a few days you would quit craving butter. As dumb as that sounds that’s how it actually is.
Rachel: (laughs) That is awesome! I wanna try this thing.
Ben: Yeah. I have one. It’s pretty fun.
Rachel: What habits have you stopped?
Ben: You trigger it manually. You can trigger it automatically. It works with Android, IOS. Here’s how you get it. You get 10% off, you go to bengreenfield fitness.com/pavlok. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com slash p-a-v-l-o-k and the coupon code that gets you 10% off which will give you significant savings is Ben10, that’s Ben10 for 10% off a Pavlok.
Rachel: Ben, I wanna know what your bad habits are?
Ben: Ah you know, boy (laughs).
Ben: You’re putting me on the spot here but if I had to say one bad habit, let’s see, one particular habit that I have that I’m attempting to or once for a while attempted to break myself off but I’m not sure if I need to anymore after interviewing the gentleman who claimed that 63 cups of coffee could somehow be beneficial for you is that I would finish my first cup of coffee in the morning, and then wander back over to the coffee maker for another not because I needed it but because it was simply there, right. So excesses of coffee could potentially be a bad habit that I could shock myself into breaking.
Another one at this point that is becoming more of an issue because I am now posting so many things to Snapchat is pushing that little blue button on the lower left corner of Snapchat that lets you see if people have sent you messages. Simply because it’s there and it’s colored, and it makes you wanna push it. And generally the messages are something insipid. Like a photograph of someone’s dog wearing headphones that says, my dog listens to your podcast, cool huh.
Ben: Those are 5 seconds of my life that I won’t get back.
Rachel: Oh, I love those 5 seconds.
Ben: And the person who sent me that, thank you, it was cute but I won’t get those 5 seconds of my life back. So I would like for my wristband to shock me every time I go into the chat function of Snapchat, how’s that?
Rachel: That’s brilliant. Thank you. I’m satisfied.
Ben: … or drink too much coffee.
Finally, this podcast is brought to you by the sandals that are sitting beside me right now. I travel everywhere with them, they are my go-to Jesus sandals. They are sandals that are not just old school Tamamahara, Taramuhara? However you pronounce this? Those fast ultra-running Mexican slash Indian people who I just heavily insulted. But they are sandals that have copper lacing and copper plugs in them. Copper actually conducts negative ions which are actually healing and biologically beneficial ions because the human body is just basically a battery or one big electro chemical machine. It transmits these ions from the earth right where you’re standing on the earth surface up into your body without you having to be barefoot.
So we all know that earthing and grounding and walking barefoot on the ground or at least most of us know that that’s healthy for you. And that it allows you to get the most out of the time that you spent on nature, but sometimes whether you’re at a social function or somewhere where you’re not allowed to take off your shoes or you’re walking around a city where you might be going from a park to a coffee shop to a bookstore, these sandals keep you grounded or earthed the whole time. They also of course, protect your feet, so you get all the benefits of grounding and earthing without say stepping on thorns or gravel. And they are basically a minimalist outdoor sandal that allows you to be earthed or grounded.
Rachel: And they’re unbelievably comfortable.
Ben: And they’re cheap now because you get a discount on them. Same discount code you can use on everything else I was talking about. It’s Ben10 for 10% off your Earthrunners. So you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/earthrunners. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/earthrunners, and you can grab yourself a pair of your own carbon plugged sandals.
There is plenty more. Everything from the Portland Spartan Sprint that I’ll be travelling to, The Ancestral Health Symposium I’ll be speaking at, all the different calendared events where we can meet up. I can sign books like I was last night here in Phoenix. We can hang out and just generally have a good time Snapchatting in our Jesus sandals with our shocking wrist devices. If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar. Rachel does an excellent job keeping that calendar updated with where I’m gonna be and when. If you ever wanna meet up, do a race with me etcetera, there’s always stuff happening. So check out bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar. Did I nail it, Rachel?
Rachel: You nailed it, Ben.
Preston: Hey Ben. Hey Rachel. So I’ve been seeing a personal trainer for the last month or so dealing with my IT band and my hamstring. They’re very tight and I’ve never been able to touch my toes throughout my entire life. I’m 28 now, and I’m just getting towards my ankles when I’m bending straight down. So now that I’ve been seeing this personal trainer for about a month, he’s been doing lots of the most ridiculous stretches I’ve ever felt in my entire life. On my back, pushing my leg up and down this way and that way. He’s beginning now to use Gua Sha – the Chinese medicine or a Chinese practice where they get inside your ligaments and scrape out whatever is built up to get new flesh moving, to get new blood moving. Uhh, flesh moving. But you get the idea. So is muscle scraping good or is it all woo woo as you would say? Glad to know your thoughts. Thanks.
Ben: Have you ever been muscle scraped, Rachel?
Rachel: I haven’t. It sounds painful, though.
Ben: It can be. I’ve done Graston, which is one form of muscle scraping. I’ll talk about that momentarily. I’ve used hawk grips which are a special medieval torture chamber-looking device that you use to massage muscle. And I’ve even used based on the recommendations from my massage therapist, river rocks. Meaning, literally like smooth river rocks that you can use to scrape a muscle area.
So the idea behind this whole concept of Graston therapy or scraping the outside of a muscle like the skin around the muscle that hurts or a muscle that needs to be freed up so to speak. There’s a few things that happen physiologically. First of all, when you scrape a muscle area that separate and it breaks down collagen crosslinking. It stretches the connective tissue and it stretches the muscle fibers, and it does so in a much more precise and targeted and admittedly painful manner than say, just like a big foam roller, right? Just imagine a butter knife versus a foam roller.
Ben: Like butter knife versus foam roller is death match on your muscles. The butter knife is actually gonna be able to get in and scrape some of that connective tissue and smaller spots of your body compared to say, a big old foam roller. Another thing that happens is you get what are called reflex changes in muscle holding patterns. What that means is you inhibit a lot of the so called alpha motor neuron reflex, that is when a muscle is cramped or spasmed. Your alpha motor neuron is causing that muscle to be in a constant state of stimulation.
This is why for example, when you’re out exercising just the taste of something salty like pickle juice, mustard juice, an electrolyte capsule broken up into your mouth, you name it. It actually causes the spasm or the cramp to go away very quickly because it inhibits that alpha motor neuron reflex. And when a muscle is in a chronic holding pattern, tight and cramped up and spasmed because it’s been injured, this actually allows that particular reflex to get inhibited when you scrape or you work something in the manner that you would with one of these Graston tools or any of the other tools that are now popping up out there.
Rachel: So if…
Ben: And I’ll talk about the tools in a second here.
Ben: A few other things. First of all you get increased angiogenesis which is a local increase in blood flow and a build-up of new capillaries into the tissue that has been scraped. You get increased cellular activity from that. So you get a migration of things like fibroblast and mass cells and some of the things necessary for a natural normal healing inflammatory response into the area. And you also get secondary to that an increased histamine response. You get a release of histamine which can also influence the natural inflammatory process in a positive manner, meaning you upregulate the inflammatory process. We’re saying in an area of scar tissue, you reinitiate an inflammatory process that was shut down and needs to be reinitiated so that you can get rid of the scar tissue and build up normal new tissue in that area. Does that make sense?
Rachel: That does make sense. Yup.
Ben: Okay cool. So some people wonder if this actually work? Is it an actual butter knife? And I will admit I have used the butter knife to scrape specific muscle groups. The thing is though when you look at these Graston tools, so if you are to go to the Graston website that’s G-r-a-s-t-o-n. I believe its Grastontechnique.com, they actually trademarked 6 different stainless steel tools that are of different shapes and sizes that are designed to rub muscles and to scrape joints in specific areas of your body, right? So like the one that’s designed for your traps and the back of your neck is shaped in a different way than the one that’s designed say, for the outside of your knee or the inside of your elbow.
And these are expensive, like these little scraping tools, these stainless steel scraping tools because their trademarked or patented or whatever. They cost hundreds of dollars to get, I mean like if you hook up with a practitioner who has a good set of Graston Technique tools they invested heavily in both those tools as well as in the method of using those tools. So you cannot just grab a butter knife out of the drawer and hack it necessarily. I suppose if you really know your way around your anatomy you could probably do a little bit but you may hurt yourself. Might be best to save that for the butter, Rachel.
Rachel: So question. What are the types of injuries that something like these would be best for?
Ben: Sure. So for example, let’s say you have Achilles tendonitis, right. And the Achilles tendonitis has been inflamed for a while, it’s gotten stiff, it’s a little bit crunchy. Now you need to scrape it. You will actually do a series of scraping sessions, a series of Graston sessions on that specific area. And like I mentioned, like I for example have 2 river rocks. Smooth river rocks in my freezer. Cold like ice. I can use those to simultaneously ice and massage/scrape an area. I won’t claim because there’s a bunch of Gratson technique practitioners cringing right now. I won’t claim I’m getting all the benefits that I would by using the fancy multi-thousand dollar briefcase full of Graston tools, and if you follow the link that I’ll put on the show notes, or you go to Grastontechnique.com, you can see what these muscle scrapers actually look like. But I’m getting some benefit.
Furthermore, if you go to Amazon you will find that similar to what Preston mentioned this Gua Sha, this Chinese method of scraping muscles, they actually have for as little as under $30 dollars, this medical-grade Gua Sha massage tools that can be used very similarly if you know your way around the human body, right? And you know your anatomy and you’re able to use them. There are companies that are very similar to these Graston tools. One is Zuka, and another company is called HawkGrips.
I was speaking with one of my friends, Joe DiStefano who has actually been on the show, he was on the show a little while ago. He was telling me that Graston recently lost their patent to whatever expired in terms of what they hold on to these tools. So there are companies now popping up and making these self-body scraping tools far more affordably than what you may be able to get if you are to just order Gratson tools. That was the way that I understand it. And he had one of these HawkGrips devices at his house when I was speaking with him, and I grabbed one and I did some HawkGrip work on my arm. And granted it left some gnarly-like chafing and abrasions on the skin of the outside of the arm as I was working on it but the muscles underneath felt as though I’d done like deep targeted trigger point therapy work just from using these specific tools.
And the cool thing is, this HawkGrips Company will send you a training or DVD manual, they let you use a locator provider function on their website, they sell different types of what they call handle bars and curving devices. Some that are designed for the wrist, and some that are designed for like the hands and the toe and the feet. Some that are designed for example, larger body parts like the spine or the back or the neck. But I think that anybody who say, exercises or has muscle pain would benefit from looking into at least this concept of scraping a muscle group rather than just like massaging it or foam rolling it.
Rachel: Is there a difference between Graston and Gua Sha and the rest of the sort of, frameworks for it or are they all the same?
Ben: Yeah. The shape of the tools differ, the training differs. I’m kind of a hack, so I’m into just grabbing a few tools, working my way around the body and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. That’s just the way I operate. So I mean, I’ll link to the Amazon page or you could just grab a couple of scrapers, Rachel.
Rachel: I’m doin’ it.
Ben: You’d be pleased to know that they have one shaped like a boomerang.
Ben: That might be the first one for you to get because I know every Australian loves to kill things with boomerangs.
But either way, it’s a good question and yes, I am a fan of muscles scraping. And oh, one last thing. The evidence behind things like Graston technique in terms of actual clinical research that had been done on these things, there are actually no high quality clinical trials that validate the efficacy of muscle scraping that I have ever seen.
Rachel: That’s good to know.
Ben: However, from my own personal experience as well as from speaking with a lot of athletes who use these things as well as Graston practitioners and even the folks over at HawkGrips a little bit, I am a fan and I think that it’s worth it. If anything you’re at least going to have a big briefcase full of interesting devices that spark conversation that you can keep on your coffee table or your collection of boomerangs and funny-shaped butter knives. So, there you go.
Michelle: Hi Ben, this is Michelle from upstate New York. I’m wondering about liver cleanses. I’ve seen quite a bit on Youtube where folks are putting together a concoction of olive oil and lemon juice, and drinking it and then having a bowel movement where these stones come out of your body that are supposed to be from your liver. And it sounds like a kind of cool way to purge a lot of toxins from your liver, but I wanted to get your thoughts on it and to see if this is safe or not? So, I appreciate your thoughts and keep up the good work.
Rachel: Not sure about the idea of drinking olive oil but I’m open, Ben?
Ben: Hmmm. I actually had when I was at the grocery store last night. Have you come across this company call KeVita that makes cayenne lemon juice cleanses that are made from like fermented coconut water?
Rachel: Yes, I have.
Ben: I love them. I don’t know if they’re doing a thing to my body when it comes to a liver flush but they at least taste good especially the ones that they don’t add a bunch of residual sugar to. You know, there is something scientifically to the concept of some of the components of something like this flush. So we can get a little bit sciencey here and put on our thinking caps. But if you think about like gallstones for example, technically a large of dose of oil such as you might get from olive oil, that’s gonna stimulate a pretty strong gallbladder contraction. That if you have small gallstones or a whole crap of small gallstones which they actually call, I’m gonna use the highly medical term here, sludge. If you have a lot of that, sometimes an oily meal can stimulate a gallbladder contraction.
This is also why some people who switch to a high fat diet, they will get indigestion pretty quickly even if it’s from healthy fats right, not a chicken wing based high fat diet but like let’s say, olive oil, avocado, coconut milk stuff like that ’coz their gallbladder doesn’t contract or produce bile quite as well, and in many cases those type of people need to be on a digestive enzyme complex that includes bile extract. And ideally also includes as something like hydrochloric acid, right? So a digestive enzyme that just has digestive enzymes in it for a high fat diet is inferior to a digestive enzyme complex that has say HCL and bile extract in it. Just something to note there but at the same time yes, there’s theoretically something to the idea that when you have the olive oil component of a flush for the gallbladder or the liver, you are going to stimulate a gallbladder contraction.
Now when you look at another component that you’ll see in some of these cleanses, many of them although the one that Michelle described doesn’t talk about this. Many of them include some kind of a salt like you’re adding a sea salt or magnesium or an Epsom salt. Magnesium sulfate specifically like what you’d find in Epsom salts, that also stimulates a gallbladder contraction and it relaxes a lot of the muscles that control the release of bile into the intestines in a very, very similar way as fat would or oil would. And it also causes a release of something called cholecystokinin or CCK from the upper small intestine. So you would for example, now note that there are 2 things that you could put into say a flush. You could put some olive oil, and you could either use magnesium or some kind of like a salt-based extract or a trace mineral extract or something like that.
Now next we get to the juicing component, lemon juice or something that is the equivalent of lemon juice. You’ll find apple juice is another one that gets recommended quite a bit. And the argument here is that these are somehow stone solvents. That they break down the gallstones that the chemical contact between the juice, the acidic juice and the gallstone will break it down. The problem with this is there is actually no way for the apple juice or any other agent that you take by mouth to come into contact with stones in the gallbladder or in the bile duct. You actually have a pretty effective sphincter muscle built in that prevents your intestinal contents from leaking back into your bile duct or your gallbladder. So when you drink like fruit juices, lemon juice, flushes stuff like that, those are not actually going into your gallbladder or into your bile duct. And so, it’s unlikely that there is much happening from the lemon juice component aside from it being a slight digestive that may similar to the olive oil, cause you to produce a little bit of extra bile. By the way, I’m just gonna see how many times I get to say the word bile in today’s show. It’s a pleasant word. It’s one of those words that actually is as gross as it actually sounds. Bile. Bile.
Rachel: Yes. It is. Keep going.
Ben: Bile. Okay, so anyways, the flushes like these are safe, obviously, olive oil, lemon juice stuff like. It’s not gonna do that much to you but you know, the question is it giving you the most bang for your buck when it comes to passing things like stones through your body or flushing your liver. When we look at studies there’s not a whole lot in terms of literature that can inform us as to whether this stuff work. So we know for example that there have been studies that had been done on lemon juice, lemon extracts and they’ve been shown to lower liver cholesterol levels. And there’s also another study that suggest that lemon peel consumption could be beneficial if you have something like fatty liver disease. So do you know that lemons are doing something to the liver, something beneficial to the liver?
We’ve also seen in research, there was a study back in 2010 that showed that olive oil can actually cause a similar reduction in the occurrence of fatty liver and may protect against some toxins that could potentially damage the liver. Okay, so it’s a little bit of mild research out there that shows that some of these stuff might actually work. I like to get a little bit more specific though and look into what would actually be causing a liver to become toxic in the first place. What is a toxin for example? And when we look at toxins you know, we can look at everything from like volatile organic compounds that you’d find in paints and air fresheners and cleaning products to, you know, perchlorate that you’ll find in like, car fuel and airplane fuel there are phenols, there’s arsenic, there’s acrylamide which we find in cigarettes smoke or foods that had been cooked at a high temperature. There is of course, what we find in our personal care products and our household cleaning chemicals, and your liver in many cases has a 2 phase process to break down chemicals and toxins. Have you heard of like, a phase 1 detox versus a phase 2 detox, Rachel?
Rachel: I have. Yes.
Ben: Okay so, in the liver during phase 1 you get toxins that get neutralized and broken down into smaller fragments. And then in phase 2 in the liver these toxins are bound to other molecules, and then excreted in the bile or in the urine or in the stool. And so as long as you have what you need for phase 1 and phase 2 detox, your liver does a pretty good job in both of these pathways.
Rachel: So what do we need for phase 1 and phase 2 detox?
Ben: Yeah. Phase 1 would be well, I’ll tell you. B vitamins, so B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, even the type of NAD. I don’t know if you heard the weekend podcast episode on nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, but in addition to a whole host of really powerful antioxidant mechanisms, it would be beneficial for the liver as well for the reasons that we talked about in that episode. So your B complex, any foods that are rich in antioxidants or flavonoids, right? So dark fruits, vegetables, carrots, oranges, almonds which are rich in vitamins A, C and E. Those are important.
Glutathione is especially important as a phase 1 detoxificant, and you can use like a glutathione supplement. You could use like a whey protein which actually has a lot of glutathione precursors in it, but you also find glutathione in stinky sulfurous foods like garlic and onions and sulfur-based foods and you know, asparagus and things that would make your breath stink or that would be what my kids would call farthy foods, right? So glutathione, amino acids are another one and then phospholipids. Phospholipids you’re gonna find in eggs, fatty cuts of meat, organ meats. Believe it or not eating liver is good for your liver big clue there, and fermented soy products like natto or tempeh or miso, a lot of those are pretty high in phospholipids as well. So that would be your phase 1 precursors as you’d want to include a lot of those type of things in your diet.
And in the phase 2 where we remove a lot of these toxins from the liver, again stinky vegetables, like cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts. Those are high in something called Indole-3-carbinol which is really, really important for phase 2 detox. Limonene which you’re going to find in addition to lemon. You’ll find that in oranges, tangerines, caraway seeds, dill seeds, so there’s something to the lemon component for the phase 2 portion of a liver detox. A glutathione once again is also important for phase 2 not just phase 1 but also phase 2. Fish oil and amino acids. And there are multiple studies that have shown the efficacy of all the nutrients that I’d just described for supporting proper liver detox pathways. For those of you who raised an eyebrow whether or not the science exist, I will link in the show notes to an article that I wrote about how to detox your liver in which I linked to a lot of these published pure [0:48:22.7] ______ studies that had been done on some of the components that I just described for detoxing the liver. But you’d wanna include a lot of those in the diet and I’m trying to think if there’s anything else as far as detoxification.
Rachel: I’ve a question.
Ben: Yeah go ahead.
Rachel: Around the liver and functionality, is there any mutations in our genes that stop our livers from functioning?
Ben: Sure. If you were to get a fitness analysis through a company called DNA Fit for example, take your salivary genetic analysis and spit out specific recommendations such as you’re a person who should exercise everyday consistently versus spend a long period of time between bigger exercise sessions. One of the reasons for that that you might be able to get away with smaller frequent exercise sessions would be you have a high amount of indigenous glutathione or indigenous antioxidant production, and in that case you might be someone who would not necessarily need to take a lot of exogenous glutathione. That would be an example of how your genes could influence this.
Rachel: And would it then be damaging to take extra glutathione?
Ben: Not necessarily damaging or anything except your pocket book you know, just money extra spent.
Rachel: Yeah. Yeah.
Ben: But the other thing that is important to realize is that in that phase 2 detox pathway, there are specific components that have been studied that can bio accumulate or reduce toxicity in tissue including liver tissue. Spirulina and chlorella have been heavily studied for this. And there’s a large body of evidence to support their detoxification activity. And there are other compounds dandelion extract is a big one. Another really big one is milk thistle extract that they have shown can actually protect and promote the growth of liver cells and fight oxidation particularly in the liver, and that’s due to a component that they have in them called silymarin. Silymarin can actually enhance that phase 2 liver detoxification pathway. And so there are other things in addition to dandelion and spirulina and chlorella, there’s ginseng and zinc, and all sorts of things.
And again full disclosure, I actually, I produce, I make a supplement that is designed with all of these compounds in it to detox and cleanse not just the liver but also the gut, the gallbladder, a lot of these other organs using things that have actually been proven in studies and not trendy like maple syrup, lemon, cayenne-type of cleanses. That one’s called NatureCleanse. NatureCleanse just basically got a colon blended in it and that has turkey rhubarb root, slippery elm bark, marshmallow root, fennel seed and fenugreek. So it’s really good for digestive, and really good for your colon. Others have an activated fiber blend in there that has things like apple fiber and some of those prebiotics that we talked about that are really good for feeding the good bacteria in the gut. Inulin is another one that’s in there. There’s a mineral blend in there that also has some certified organic beet juice concentrate to assist with blood flow to the gut. And then there is a botanical blend that has things like hyssop in it which is really nourishing to the gut. And ginger, yucca, rosemary, turmeric so you can give yourself not just a healthy liver but a silky smooth bowel movement every morning.
Rachel: It sounds a lot better than drinking a cup of olive oil.
Ben: Yeah, and one recommendation that some people would use that, you need to take that with a big glass of water. My preferred method is I’ll take 4 of those capsules with a big glass of water in the evening. I don’t do that all the time but typically 1 or 2 times a week and especially if I’ve had more than 1 glass of alcohol situations like that, I will include that NatureCleanse stuff as well. So I’ll link to that along with some of these other studies over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/355. And now Michelle, your liver can be as clean as a whistle.
Ross: Hi Ben. This is Ross from New Hampshire. Thanks for my foot podcast and all your information. Wonder what you think about stem cell therapies and treatments for injuries instead of surgeries. Traditional doctors seem to only be interested in surgeries and don’t place much stock at all into stem cell therapies and the stem cell guys think that the stem cells are the way to the future. Regenics is the particular procedure on what can add and it’s to repair articular cartilage damage in a knee. And anyway, just wanna know what you think about that. Thanks.
Ben: Rachel, my left knee is going numb.
Rachel: Oh, time to change. I think it’s been longer than ten to fifteen minutes though.
Ben: Two’ll switch here. Two knees over to one knee. There we go. Alright. Good as new.
Rachel: And we’re ready.
Ben: Or maybe I just need a stem cell therapy. So a stem cell therapy for the treatment of injury, so there is actually this new form of therapy that a lot of people are talking about. It’s called Regenokine. That’s actually what it’s known as in the United States. Technically, the name for it is orthokine and it is an experimental medical procedure where you get your own blood extracted and then reintroduced as a way to reinitiate the growth very similar like that Graston technique, of new cells to reduce pain, to reduce comfort, to reinduce inflammation in an area where maybe inflammation has shut down and needs to be reinitiated so that healing factors can migrate into an area. And this particular treatment, this orthokine treatment was developed by a couple of molecular biologists in Germany and they’ve studied it on osteoarthritis of the knee, and they’d actually found it to produce some really good positive results. It’s different than platelet rich plasma or PRP. PRP basically is when you extract the blood and you spin the blood in the centrifuge and then you reinject just the platelet part of the blood which are just a bunch of white blood cells that you’re injecting back into tissue to reinitiate a healing process. Whereas with orthokine or regenokine when you extract the blood, you’re specifically heating the blood and then centrifuging it until you get some of the parts separated when you centrifuge it and then incubate it at a slightly higher temperature, you get more of the components that stop what’s called interleukin. You get a production of what are called interleukin antagonists. And these are anti-inflammatory properties that using this orthokine process get concentrated as much as a hundred times higher than what you’d get in like a PRP or a platelet rich plasma-type of treatment, and there’s a lot of professional athletes who swear by this.
You know, this is the one that Kobe Bryant did and Grant Hill did, and I know Joe Rogan and Dana White, a couple of guys involved in the UFC. They swear by this stuff. Brandon Roy who is also a retired NBA professional also does it. You get some celebrities like Willie Nelson, Bas Rutten and another MMA UFC guy has done it. There’s a lot of footballers, volleyball players, all sorts of folks who swear by this orthokine procedure, but it’s not stem cells. It’s really not stem cells as much as your own tissue or your own blood specifically that you are extracting and then reinjecting specifically for osteoarthritis and in joint pain. And in many cases folks are actually flying to Europe to get this done because it hasn’t yet received FDA approval in the US because there’s some kind of requirement in the US that body tissues have to be manipulated or something like that prior to a blood extraction. I’m not quite sure how it works, but basically it’s easier to get in Europe than it is to get in the States.
But you can still get stem cell in the States specifically for example I’m aware of one place in Las Vegas, and there’s a physician in Las Vegas by the name of Dr. McGee, and he uses amniotic fluid which you would get from like a mom who’s had a C-section. You can get stem cells from her amniotic fluid and also from what’s called the chorionic fluid and from umbilical cord cells that you can then inject into muscle tissue using a series of injections to get something very similar to what you’d get from embryonic stem cells without a lot of the ethical issues that you run into with embryonic stem cells and that one a lot of people swear by as well, and his website is totalsportsmedicine.com. He’s based out of Las Vegas.
It’s an actual stem cell injections and a little bit different than orthokine or regenokine, but that’s another one that not only seems to be pretty efficacious and this is just based on anecdotal evidence, but also one that would be a procedure, a very similar to something else I will tell you about here in just a second, in which you can actually inject or put the stem cells into one area of the body and they will go to and act upon whatever area of the body that needs healing. So stem cells are very interesting in that respect and that they don’t necessarily have to be injected straight into the injury site.
Rachel: And is there any down sides or side effects to either of those two?
Ben: Well, anytime that we are healing a muscle rapidly whether we are using a steroidal precursor, whether we’re using hormone replacement therapy, whether we’re using colostrum, whether we’re using stem cell injections, peptides, etcetera, there is potential for a lot of extra tissue growth. There is no long term study on this in humans but I suspect that there may be some potential for this to be a carcinogenic effect if you overdo this stuff. So yeah, you may get cancer growing out of your head if you’re not careful.
Rachel: (laughs) But your joints will be fine.
Ben: Anyways though, there’s a few other things though like BPC. I wrote a big article on this totally legal stuff that you can order from veterinary or human chemical research website that’s not cleared by the FDA for human consumption but it is legal. It’s a peptide. Many peptides are banned by the World Anti-Doping Association or banned by USADA but BPC 157 is a little powder that you can order. You can do what’s called a reconstitution, meaning that you inject what’s called bacteriostatic water into it. And then you inject that either into a joint or you can literally just spray it straight into your mouth very slowly ‘coz it’s pretty fragile stuff but you spray it into your mouth quite slowly with like an insulin syringe.
Case in point, I woke up the other day and my neck was hurting. So I was doing hand stands the day before in yoga. And this was right before we just hosted the SEALFIT Event at our house and one part of that event was we sent everybody out the door to just basically walk fifteen miles with a fifty pound pack on. It was just a rock in the middle of the day and I was supposed to lead it and my neck was not feeling up to the task. I just basically got an insulin syringe. Extracted a bunch of BPC157, jammed into my neck inter muscularly, and of course I clean with an alcohol swab first, but jammed, cringed, injected and then I rubbed the tissue for about 2 or 3 minutes to work the peptides into the tissue. Within a couple of hours my neck was completely pain free. I mean, this stuff can work super-duper fast.
Rachel: That’s insane.
Ben: Should probably be illegal. It might be soon. Again, no long term human studies on it but it’s just basically a peptide. I recently wrote 2 different articles at Ben Greenfield Fitness one on this BPC157, another article that I wrote was on a different peptide called TB500. There is even what’s called a Sarms which is an androgen receptor module. There are a bunch of different Sarms out there as well and I’m working an article about that. And again that’s something that would not be conducive if you’re an athlete, like competing in UFC or tennis or basketball or Spartan racing or triathlons or anything else that is monitored by USADA or WADA, but when it comes to healing muscle tissue more quickly, things like peptides and things like Sarms, is you can do in the comfort of your own home versus stem cell injections or orthokine or regenokine where you need to travel to a facility to get it done. So I’m all about things like scraping yourself with a butter knife and jamming insulin syringes into your neck that you can do in the comfort of your own kitchen on Snapchat versus travelling to a doc. But to answer Ross’ question, this stuff can work.
Karen: Hey, Ben. This Karen from New Mexico. I am an ultra-purist for what I put in and on my body as I know you are, so I trust your opinion with this question but, I have never heard anyone address tattoos and injecting ink inside their bodies. Is it harmful? Is it not? Do you think we’ll find out in twenty years that it is? And I would love to hear that you respond. Thanks. Bye.
Ben: Rachel, do you have any tattoos? Do you have… actually more specifically…
Rachel: I knew this question was coming.
Ben: Great pick up line for bar, do you have butterflies and barbed wire coming up your butt crack?
Rachel: No. Do you have barbed wire and tattooed suns from the nineties?
Ben: I have a tribal sun tattoo that you could say is slightly dated. It is mildly a frat boy tattoo. I have a tattoo on my shoulder. I get asked about my tattoos. The tattoo on my shoulder is the Japanese kanji symbol for chi or life force. The tattoo on my back is the Ironman logo immersed in water and fire to signify my 6 completions of the Hawaii Ironman in Kona. And then I have the Greek Helenic symbols for water and earth tattooed on my hip to signify my boys River and Terran, and that one’s designed to look like a birthmark. I have my wife’s initial tattooed on my finger so I do not wear a wedding ring I have that tattoo instead, and I believe according to my calculations that those are all the tattoos that I have.
Rachel: So they can’t be that unhealthy.
Ben: We’ll get into that. Did you say you have any?
Rachel: I do. Yeah. I have the word autonomy tattooed on my foot. When I was eighteen I got that tattooed on my foot before I went travelling, and then I have a wolf tattoo.
Ben: Wait, what’s the word?
Ben: Why did you tattoo that on your foot?
Rachel: I wanted to, well I appreciate and strive to be a self-governing individual, and I kind of think it was a bit of a way of telling the whole world to kinda F off as well.
Ben: Hmm. Yes.
Rachel: And then I have a wolf tattooed on my wrist which is from the book Women Who Run with the Wolves which was written by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and it’s about a woman who sings life into the dead.
Ben: Interesting. Well, if anyone ever sees Rachel the tattoo on her foot is a sign to you to go F off just so you know. You know it sounds quite smart. Autonomy.
Yeah. It is interesting because our tribal ancestors use a lot of the dyes made from the natural environment. That I’ll get into in a second. But many of today’s tattoos have kind of an unknown conglomeration of metallic salts like oxides and sulfides and selenides and things that you’d find in like vaccines for example. That you know, we won’t get on that debate right now, but vaccines aren’t necessarily the healthiest thing to be injecting into your body. You’ll find organic dyes, you’ll find plastics suspended in the carrier solutions that they use for a lot of these tattoos.
The European Commission had a report on the health risks of tattooing and they found about 40% of the organic colorants used in tattoos in Europe aren’t even approved for use on the skin as a cosmetic ingredient, and nearly 20% of them contained a carcinogenic aromatic compound called an Amin. And many of the chemicals that they found in the tattoos were originally intended for use in writing inks and paper inks and automobile paints and not necessarily in tattoo inks. So that is one issue is the components of the inks themselves, and the FDA here in the US don’t require ingredient disclosure on the inks and so tattoo inks can technically contain any chemical. They can contain mutagenic chemicals that can cause mutations, that can cause teratogenic chemicals which are capable of causing birth defects and carcinogenic chemicals which are of course capable of developing cancer.
And when we look at the actual components themselves, first of all the carrier solution of an ink that typically contains things like denatured alcohols, methanol, rubbing alcohol, anti-freeze, detergents, formaldehydes and other aldehydes that can indeed be pretty toxic and carcinogenic. And there’s a huge variety of dyes and pigments that are used in tattoos like quinolone and dyes made from ash and from inorganic materials like titanium dioxide and a lot of things that people are either allergic to or that aren’t doing the body any favors. And they have some newer tattoos now, like they have plastic based inks. They are like glow in the dark inks. And those polymerized under the skin and create literally one big solid piece of plastic under the skin that slowly leeches plastic into your system. There are others that will just to glow in response to black or ultraviolet light. And that’s another plastic-based pigment that can actually cause a photo toxic reaction when sun interacts with it. When you look at like the red ink in tattoo typically they’ll put mercury in a lot of the red inks. They put a cobalt in some of the blues, cadmium sulfite is one that you’ll find in the yellows, I mean, many of these contain things like lithium and copper and essentially metals. I’ve personally tested high for metals before and I have wondered how much of that is due to the tattoos that I’ve gotten. You know obviously you can get it from brake dust and car keys and Chinese toys and stuff like that as well. But you can certainly find quite a bit of these components in tattoo inks.
Rachel: So that all sounds terrible.
Ben: So the question is, is there anything non-toxic when it comes to tattoos? Well there are some safe carriers that are basically just like purified water and glycerine and ethanol that do not contain a lot of these more damaging ingredients. And specifically there are some relatively non-toxic ink colors like black for example, if you don’t have hemochromatosis and you get like a traditional ink made out of black, that black ink is typically comprised primarily of iron sometimes they’ll use carbon, sometimes they’ll use log wood, but that would be an example of a relatively non-toxic tattoo. White pigments, a lot of times they’ll just use titanium dioxide. Non-toxic yellow tattoos can be made from turmeric. For greens they’ve got a carbon-based pigment called monoazo which you can get. Blue, a lot of times they’ll use non-toxics like sodium for example. Small traces of copper are used in the blue dye and copper can be a little bit iffy in higher amounts but pretty small amounts in like the blue dye. Red, you can use for example, there’s something called naphthol n-a-p-h-t-h-o-l which is a hypoallergenic form of red ink. For purple and violet there’s one called dioxazine and carbazole which sound bad but those are relatively non-toxic harmless inks.
So it would depend on the tattoo ink manufacturer. And there are some tattoo ink manufacturers that make safe or safer non-toxic tattoo inks. Here are the ones you’d want to look for: National Tattoo Supply, the company Eternal, the company Skin Candy, Dynamic. There’s one called Kurosumi that’s K-u-r-o-s-u-m-I, and all of those companies make pretty significant efforts to produce safer non-toxic tattoo inks. I will link to the names of some of those in the show notes to today’s episode over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/355. But ultimately, the answer is a) it depends, b) if you really like the tattoo and you love the bad ass look that it gives to your butt crack or the F off message that your foot can send to the world in the case of Rachel, then perhaps, it’s worth you know, stripping a couple weeks off your life with some kind of a strange foot cancer. So it all depends on what your priorities are but that is the skinny on tattoos and toxicity. What do you think Rachel?
Rachel: I love it. I have a final question though.
Rachel: Is there anything you can think of real quick that we can do if we have tattoos to sort of mitigate the risk?
Ben: Easiest thing that I would do is just a very basic metal detox. There’s actually 2 different things you can do. One that removes a lot of toxins in addition to metal, one that focuses on metal. There’s one called Cyto Detox, you put about 10 drops of it in the morning and 10 drops in the evening just under your tongue and you hold for about ninety seconds. That one does a really, really good job at detoxifying you know, it’s not really a liver detox as much as like a blood detox so that’ll be one that you’d get either very close to the time that you got a tattoo or if you’re still concerned about things circulating in the body from the tattoo, it would be one to look into.
There’s another one called Metal-Free. And this is just basically a spray that you spray and hold in your mouth again like sublingually for about 60 to 90 seconds and it specifically acts on metals. It’s called the heavy metal detox spray. Both of those would be prudent to include if you’ve just recently gotten a tattoo or if you’ve been exposed to these type of tattooings in the past and you wanna kindá clean up your body. So try those out.
Rachel: Awesome! Thank you.
Ben: You’re welcome. So, that being said which I always tend to say at least once on a podcast. What do you think? Shall we give away some cool stuff today?
Rachel: Yes. Definitely.
Ben: Alright. So this is the time of the show when we give away goodies. We’re gonna give away a water bottle, cool tech t-shirt, a beanie and the way that you get this is you leave a review over on iTunes, and if you leave us a 5-star review in iTunes and say something nice, we will send straight to your front door a goodie pack. If hear your review right on the show just email [email protected], that’s [email protected] with your t-shirt size and we’ll get a pack off to you. With that being said, we’ve got a review, (chuckles) I’ve said it twice, we’ve got a review read by or left by Iplesko. What do you think Rachel, you wanna take this one away?
Rachel: Yes. The review is called listening to Ben can cost you money in a good way. “Since starting to listen to Ben Greenfield last year I now own an Oura ring, an SR1 sleep device, leg squeezes, compression boots, various supplements etcetera. Without his podcasts I would never have been exposed to these products and all the information. As a chiropractor, I can use much of Ben’s information for my practice to help patients. Good stuff. And I want that True Form treadmill”.
Ben: (chuckles) Do you know why he’s talking about the True Form treadmill?
Rachel: No, which one’s that?
Ben: That is the special curved treadmill that I use as a standing work station. It is a treadmill that’s designed to teach you how to walk and run with proper foot and body biomechanics. And so, I can do an all-out sprinter run and I do it because it’s manual, so it doesn’t have a motor, it doesn’t produce a lot of the dirty electricity in my office. A treadmill is one of the biggest producers of EMF that you can have hanging around your house. It’s a manual treadmill but it is pretty fancy. I think its a few thousand bucks. It’s like the Cadillac of treadmills. It’s the one they use at Crossfit games, but yeah, there is yet another thing, for those of you who have out there who are slowly becoming more and more poor from listening to the podcast. However, with heavily enriched lives from a health and fitness standpoint, there’s yet another purchase for you.
So we will put a link to that review as well as a link to everything from the wrist-shocking device to the 3D Naked Mirror that we talked about, the Graston muscle scrapers, the liver detox supplements that I make, the BPC157 that you can jam into your neck with a needle and oh, so much more if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/355.
Rachel, I’m going to go plug everything in my hotel room back in so I don’t piss off the housekeepers.
Rachel: Ok and I’m gonna go to Amazon and buy some funky looking metal scrapers.
Ben: Awesome. Alright folks, well thanks for listening in. Stay tuned this weekend for a podcast with the great Jujimufu a.k.a Jon Call and have a healthy week.
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As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the Podcast Sidekick.
Does Muscle Scraping Work?
Preston says: He’s been seeing a personal trainer for the last month for his IT band and hamstring, they’re very tight, he’s 28 and never been able to touch his toes. For the last month they’ve been doing ridiculous stretches, but now his PT is beginning to use Gua Sha – the Chinese practice where they get inside your ligaments and scrape our whatever is built up to get blood flowing. Is muscle scraping good or is it woo woo?
In my response, I recommend:
–Graston muscle scrapers
How To Detox Your Liver
Michelle says: She’s from upstate New York, and she’s wondering about liver cleanses. She’s been seeing on YouTube that folks have been drinking a concoction of olive oil and lemon juice, then having a bowl movement where stones come out of their body that are supposed to be from their liver. It sounds like a cool way to purge toxins from you liver but she wants to get your thoughts to see if its safe or not?
Regenokine Stem Cell Therapy
Ross says: He’s wondering what you think of stem cell therapy for treatment of injuries instead of surgery? Traditional doctors only seem to be interested in surgery and don’t place much stock at all in the stem cell therapy, and the stem cell guys think stem cells are the way of the future. Regenics is the particular therapy he’s thinking about, to repair articular cartilage damage in his knee, and he’s wondering what you think?
In my response, I recommend:
–This podcast interview on stem cell therapy with Shawn Stephenson
Are Tattoos Unhealthy?
Karen says: She’s an ultra purist for what she puts in and on your body, as she knows you are too. She’s never heard anyone address tattoos and injecting ink into the body. Is it harmful, is it not? Do you think we’ll find out in 20 years that it is? She would love to hear your response!