April 14, 2009
Ben: Welcome to the www.bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast. Your free weekly audio exposure to cutting edge fitness, nutrition and wellness information. My name is Ben Greenfield…
Ben: Hey podcast listeners, it’s Ben Greenfield and I’m happy to say that this week I’m no longer recording from my bedroom closet hidden among my suits and coats and jerseys. I’m actually out. I’m standing. I’m wearing a headphone. So hopefully, the audio quality is a little bit better in this podcast episode. So what do I have coming to you today? Well we have some great listener Q and As. I got some fantastic questions this week. One is on the difference between fish oil and flax seed oil. Another is about dairy, milk and skin problems, eczema or acne. Very interesting question. There is another question about self massage using some of the things we talked about in last week’s episode. Finally, a listener had a question that builds on the discussion about prostate health and I’ve actually responded to that question by featuring a really great interview that talks a lot about the use of pollen, not just for prostate health but the use of pollen as a nutritional supplement. It’s actually one of the most complete foods on the planet. And I’ve got a great interview about how you can actually get pollen and how it’s used and where it’s from. So we’ll be getting all of that as soon as we go through this week’s calendar of events and special announcements from www.bengreenfieldfitness.com. Some great content for those of you out there on the online internet world as well as those of you in the local Spokane, Coeur D’Alene area. So let’s move ahead to this week’s special announcements.
Jenny asks: Is there any difference between fish oil and flax seed oil? Will I get an advantage with taking one vs. the other? Or should I just take them both?
Ben answers: Ok, I know Jenny’s question was just a little bit muffled but basically she was asking about the difference between fish oil and flax seed oil. Now the whole idea behind fish oil or flax seed oil is they have what’s called omega fatty acids in them. And I’m sure that you’ve probably heard if you’re tuning in to the media all about how these are the types of fats – the omega 3s – and to a certain extent, the omega 6s that help to support a healthy heart, brain, nerve, eye function, fat loss, etc. and there’s a little bit of controversy right now over which version of it is better. Getting your omega fats from fish oils or getting your omega fats from a more vegetable source like a flax seed oil. Well, let’s first talk about the whole idea behind why you would want to be supplementing with omega 3s in the first place. Basically, about 100 years ago, what happened with the industrial revolution was that a different type of extraction method started to be used for processing vegetable oils or oils that were derived from seeds. So this would include corn oil, sunflower oil, saflour oil, peanut oil. Basically what happened is this different type of extraction was called screw nut expelling. It concentrates the omega 6 fats from these vegetable sources while basically destroying the already kind of low omega 3 concentrations. And then you compound that with the fact that animals at this time started to be fed with more of a type of feed that’s loaded with omega 6 fatty acids but doesn’t really have very many omega 3 fatty acids in it. Then even the fish that tend to have higher omega 3 content, the ones that are farm raised – those also generally get a little bit lower omega 3 concentration because they don’t get as much phytoplankton in their diet. They’re just fed with basically the farm feed used on the fish farms. So essentially, from all these different factors, and the extraction of vegetable oils and the way that animals are raised, we’re getting a lot more omega 6s in our diet than we are omega 3s when it comes to fatty acids. And one of the things that food manufacturers figured out is that the higher the omega 3 content of a food, the shorter the shelf life of the food is. So a lot of dietary sources of omega 3s are actually – they’re avoided in the production of processed foods just because omega 3s do shorten the shelf life. So, the idea is that when you have too many omega 6s and not enough omega 3s, this can create a situation in the body that can lead to inflammation. And inflammation results in things like low energy, resistance to insulin, losing the ability to shed fat and the type of things we would all like to avoid. So obviously one of the first things we can do is try to avoid consuming a lot of omega 6s in the first place and that just means that we should avoid to a certain extent sunflower oil, saflour oil, peanut oil, corn oil and try and choose oils in our diet that are more like olive oil, grapeseed oil and flax seed oil is also included in that. We can also supplement with omega 3 fatty acid sources, and that’s what a lot of people have caught on to and a lot of people are realizing it actually helps them feel better, helps accelerate fat loss and helps to fight chronic fatigue among a lot of other benefits. But the idea is that some people are taking fish oil and some people are taking flax seed oil. Now, one of the issues with the fish oil is that you have the potential for higher number of toxins, mercury, PCBs and compounds that would be found in animal tissue when you’re supplementing with fish oil. Now that’s not to say that these are going to occur in such a high amount in fish oil that it’s going to be bad for your body. But I personally use a little bit of caution when it comes to taking an oil like that not just because of the potential toxins, but because fish oil is about 30% saturated fat. And so if you’re taking four fish oil capsules in the morning, you need to realize that you are dumping a high number of calories particularly from saturated fat into your body. Now, the other thing is that when fish oil is made, the processing that’s required when you extract omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil can result in what’s called oxidation and that can decrease the shelf life of fish oil and it can also increase the need to add things like citric acid and potassium sorbate, a couple of different perspectives into the fish oil. And one way to avoid that would be to actually supplement with an omega 3 fatty acid source from a vegetable oil and that’s where something like flax seed oil comes in play. And that’s why a lot of people take a flax seed oil versus a fish oil because they don’t want the animal oil. They don’t want the spoilage. They don’t like the fishy burp that the fish oil can tend to give you, and they want to avoid the high amount of saturated fat. Comparatively, flax seed oil is only about 2 to 3% saturated fat. So I personally take the flax seed oil. I just get it from a supplement. It’s pretty easy to find flax seed oil supplements. If you’re going to take both fish oil and flax seed oil, you could. You’d be getting omega 3s from two different sources. I really don’t see any need to do both. I take flax seed oil and then I’ll have, for at least one meal during the week, a fish based meat meal. And that’s anywhere from four to eight ounces of fish depending on the size of the dinner that I’m having. But I personally would recommend that you go with a vegetable based omega 3 fatty acid versus an animal based omega 3 fatty acid. So great question Jenny.
Valerie asks: In your conversation with Dr. Akers, you talked about a stick. What is that? Where can I get one? How do you use it?
Ben answers: A stick is basically a term for something that’s really almost like a rolling pin and believe it or not I actually have used a rolling pin once before when I didn’t have a stick and it’s used to rub inflammatory pockets or connective tissue adhesions out of a muscle that’s sore. It’s basically like giving yourself a self directed massage and as opposed to something like a foam roller, it can be used in a little bit more targeted, smaller area such as for example if you wanted to get just the area above the inside of your knee because it was sore, you could roll a stick 10 or 20 times up through that area. And this isn’t a literal stick like you’d go snap off a tree outside. It’s literally basically two handles attached to some form of a rolling device, again kind of like a rolling pin. The one that I use is called the Muscletrac and the reason I use that one is because it’s actually got little indented wheels that feel like they grab a little bit deeper into the tissue in a smooth rolling stick you’ll find most places. So it’s called the Muscletrac. You can get it if you go to www.bengreenfieldfitness.com and you scroll down the right side of the page. There’s a little link there that shows the Muscletrac. I’ll also put a link to that after or in my response to your question so you can just click on it and go check it out. There’s a ton of information on the website on how to use it for different things – everything from Achilles tendonitis to just general muscle soreness. But a great little tool to have. They’re pretty inexpensive. Sticks are going to range anywhere from 20 bucks up to about 50 bucks. And it’s well worth having around as an alternative to massage therapy or as something you can just add in after a workout. Five minutes with the stick can actually leave you with a lot less soreness and a lot better recovery. So I’ll put a link to that in the Shownotes. Great question Valerie.
William asks: I was just reading an article in the newspaper about some people who have quit giving their children dairy in an attempt to get rid of skin eczema. How much of a correlation is there between milk and dairy consumption and presence of acne or other skin problems?
Ben answers: Great question, William. I think I actually saw that same article in the health section of Saturday or Sunday in the newspaper. It is true that there is a correlation between dairy and acne. It’s just a lot of people maybe don’t understand what that correlation is. Well the idea is if we look at milk – if you look at milk from a physiological standpoint, it’s basically – it’s provided to be the sole food of infant mammals. It’s made to make baby cows grow if it’s cow’s milk that you’re consuming and in addition to things that help babies grow like proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, even lactose sugars – milk contains a bunch of different growth stimulating steroids and what are called peptide hormones as well as all the different enzymes and transporters necessary to make sure that when that’s consumed, it has maximum activity. So some of the hormones that we’re talking about that’s in cow’s milk in particular is insulin, insulin like growth factor, something called betacelluline, estrogens and then precursors of something called dihydrotestosterone. Or DHT. Well each of these different hormones has a certain goal when it’s consumed. So for example, insulin is actually designed to allow the compounds in cow’s milk to actually get taken up into the muscle as quickly as possible. The actual insulin in cow’s milk differs from human insulin by about three different what are called amino acids. And it survives the pasteurization process. Pasteurized cow’s milk is just as high in insulin as raw cow’s milk. But the idea is that this type of insulin actually survives the human digestive process. It crosses what’s called the gut barrier intact and it’s actually absorbed a lot more completely in infants because infants have a higher intestinal permeability meaning that they can absorb these across their intestines a lot better than older kids or adults. Now whereas the insulin may not have a huge role to play in the formation of skin problems or acne, one of the problems is because cow insulin is a little bit different from human insulin by those three different amino acids, it can force the body to have what’s called an immune response. And the human insulin can react with the bovine insulin and lead to an actual destruction of the insulin cells. So this could actually increase a child’s susceptibility to type 1 diabetes when the insulin cells are destroyed – what are called the beta cells – are destroyed. So I would actually highly recommend at least for the first few months of a child’s life try and stay away from formulas that are based on cow’s milk. Another hormone that you’re going to find in cow’s milk is called insulin like growth factor 1. It’s been mentioned on this show before but cow’s milk consumption is definitely associated with a higher IGF 1 concentration. And the idea behind IGF 1 is that it can set up what’s called a hormonal cascade that can result in a little bit of overgrowth of skin cells or ephytherial cells. And one of the things that can happen when the skin cells are induced to overgrow is acne and skin problems. So that’s one link between the possibility of the consumption of milk and acne especially in children but possibly also in adults. Now another thing that we find in cow’s milk that’s also very related to the growth of the epidermis or skin cell growth factor is something called beta celluline and this is found in cow’s milk. It’s also found in whey. It’s found in cheese. Just like insulin, it’s not killed when cow’s milk is pasteurized or processed and a lot of milk, especially bovine milk, contains special inhibitors that prevent the human gut from degrading this beta celluline. And so what can happen when you consume this beta celluline is you have a hormone receptor called the epidermal growth factor receptor and when you consume cow’s milk that contains beta celluline it can again cause an upregulation of the growth of skin cells and it can cause acne, eczema and skin problems and it’s actually potentially a little bit of a carcinogenic substance as well just because anything that induces that type of growth in your body can put you at risk for something like cancer or overgrowth of cells. Now another thing that you’re going to find in cow’s milk is steroid hormones and these are primarily going to be estrogens. Although you’re also going to find stuff like progesterone, this DHT that I talked about – dihydrotestosterone – that can also be found in cow’s milk. And a lot of these can also survive the human digestive process intact. They can cross the gut barrier especially in children intact and these estrogens or steroid precursors or steroids can actually again upregulate the growth of certain cells and while they could increase the risk of cancer such as overgrowth of breast tissue in adults, they can also again upregulate the growth of skin cells in children and could potentially lead to acne. Now some people have absolutely no problem with cow’s milk. They don’t find that it increases their weight, they don’t find that it gives them skin problems. They don’t find that it makes them tired or sleepy or inhibits fat loss. But I find that a lot of people, especially some of my clients who I’ve had do something as simple as quit having that 12 oz latte in the morning have noticed a rapid increase in their energy levels and increase in their ability to burn fat. And as far as the consumption of dairy by children is concerned, I would just say that if you’re giving a kid cow’s milk and you’re noticing your baby or your child or even your adolescent is experiencing skin problems, acne, eczema, things of that nature – you may just want to try a different source of protein for them. For example, goat’s milk is one great alternative and we’ve had an interview a couple of times about goat’s milk on the show and I personally give my kids powdered goat’s milk. It’s from a company called Mt. Capra. Very easy to get your hands on. That is an alternative to cow’s milk and then there are a lot of other non-dairy sources that you can also look into – rice milk, almond milk, soy milk. What it basically boils down to is that the amount of hormones, steroid precursors, beta celluline, estrogens, dihydrotestosterone, and other compounds in cow’s milk may make it probably not the best choice from a health perspective for giving your kids protein. And yeah, it could potentially lead to skin problems. So, great question from Listener William.
And then finally, I have a question from Listener Frank and this is going to lead into our main interview for the day.
Frank asks: I listened to your Podcast Episode #38, in which you talked about prostate health, especially for male cyclists. Can you talk more about the saw palmetto extract and rye pollen that you mentioned?
Ben answers: Well to answer Frank’s question, I actually found a really good talk, I heard it a few weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to feature it in the podcast anyway so I’m glad Frank asked the question. So I’m basically going to play this for you. It’s about 20 minutes long and it really goes into great detail about some really cool natural remedies for guys. Even you females are going to want to listen to this though because it has some fascinating insight on pollen, which I wasn’t aware of this but it is one of the more complete food sources on the face of the planet. So, listen in. Pretty fascinating interview with a guy named Cary Nosler.
Cary Nosler: You see, throughout history pollen has been a food. Has been a food and a medicine for humankind. And a lot of anecdotal research obviously in the past was collected on the value of different kinds of pollen. It’s a storehouse of nutrients. And that was the case and is the case with pollen. As we developed the means of analyzing products or different substances through breaking it down into chemical analysis – that was done with pollen – and not so much in this country, because we just didn’t have a history of folklore, of natural medicine the way they did in Europe and in Asia. Well they started to do studies on the value of pollens and found some pretty amazing results. It was used primarily as an energy tonic because it supplies all the known nutrients with the exception of vitamin B12. You get all the vitamins, you get all the minerals, you get all the amino acids. This is a storehouse of nutrition. There were societies that live on pollen during various times. They would collect it either from air born pollen or they would steal it from the bees and add it to their repertoire. So again it was used for energy. It was used to stimulate the immune system. It had a direct function on helping the liver to detoxify the liver, it’s a very important function even today. It was used again for inflammation. This was one of its primary areas and far back as we have recorded history, the Chinese reported that with difficult cases of urination, that certain kinds of pollen were found to be effective. Well, when we started to standardize treatments, there were some glaring problems here. One again is there are different kinds of pollens all over the world. They come from different kinds of plants and they all have different properties. And so while you can give a rough analysis of what’s in a pollen, they couldn’t guarantee that you’re going to use this for a study or you’re going to use this for therapeutic purposes that you’d be getting all the nutrition that you need for that particular condition. Well along in Sweden, there were some famous researchers that decided that they were going to research pollen in greater detail and this one fellow found a way to extract the essential elements of pollen and separate it into the water soluble and the fat soluble elements, and standardize them. And they used rye pollen. That’s the picture you have on the front of Prostelon. It’s a rye plant because that’s what’s used in the manufacture of this particular product. There’s huge fields of rye pollen and they have these harvesters just like you harvest hay. Well they harvest the pollen at certain times of the year, collect it and take it to the laboratory. I think it said in the little booklet, it takes 10,000 rye plants to make one kilo of this pollen extract – 2.2 lbs. And they found a certain extract would do certain things like they may use more of the fat soluble, they may use more of the water soluble and it had a great reputation in Europe for athletes. It was used for athletic endurance, for strength. In cases of debilitation, for convalescence, for children, for older people, people who’d gone through operations – pollen had a remarkable rejuvenating effect especially in this particular form where they were able to concentrate the different substances in the fat – the water soluble and fat soluble. Well because of its ability now to handle inflammation, it became obvious that with certain conditions associated with the prostate for example where the prostate enlarges over a period of time, then maybe they would have some effect in that area. Or I should say enlarged in the urogenital area. Everything I told you before – these are general benefits for everybody. Everybody can benefit from energy. Everybody can benefit from improved liver function. Everybody can benefit from improved immune function and whether you’re a man or a woman, there are opportunities for inflammation in the genital area. So women specifically – cases of menstrual difficulties or just infections in general of the urogenital tract will find some kind of benefit from this product. So it has a wide application. The odds of a woman getting an infection of the urinary tract are very great too. There’s a high percentage that every year women will get something like that. So again, that’s the broader picture. That’s the context in which we’re coming here. This is an all specific, all purpose and valuable nutritive addition to the diet. When they started doing the studies, looking at prostate difficulties – and again prostate difficulties are primarily a problem in western societies. And it’s linked pretty much to diet, exercise, alcohol. All the things that are a part of our lifestyle today. In Asian diets where they have more of the phytochemicals, the phytonutrients, less of a meat-based diet, less of a saturated fat diet, they have less BPH. They have less BPH and they have less prostate cancer so we’re looking again and that’s why it’s part of our whole program here because it’s part of the lifestyle. So you need nutrition to go in and take care of the overall situation and then work from that particular point. With BPH you’ve got a particular situation where it’s the equivalent of what they call male menopause in a sense because it’s pretty much with the exception of the inflammation part – it’s a matter of hormone inflammation. See, as guys age, just like women, you have a different ratio of the male hormone to the female hormone. And what happens is the male hormone drops, female hormone comes up as you get older. For most men. Well it causes a couple of things. As the body decreases its production of testosterone – the male hormone – again, the system is always trying to balance itself. If the body doesn’t have enough testosterone which is an androgenic hormone, which gives males maleness in that sense and protects, I might say, the heart. It’s not that testosterone causes problems in your body. It’s the lack of testosterone. As testosterone drops, prostate problems increase. It’s normally a tiny little gland, like 20-25 grams. Less than an ounce. Tiny little things. It’s right beneath the bladder and the urethra and when you urinate that has to go through that little spot, as well as when sperm travels through a certain duct through there. That’s part of the whole thing it’s doing. So it’s got two purposes there. It gets up to that certain size and it should stay there if you’re going to be healthy. Unfortunately, again as the testosterone levels drop, the prostate starts to get bigger and it’s called androgenic growth in that sense. It’s a hormonally based expansion of the prostate gland. So as the testosterone drops, the body again trying to maintain its balance because it needs the energy that comes from testosterone – well it produces another more potent form of testosterone. This is called DHT. Dihydrotestosterone. Because it’s so powerful – again – what do androgens do? What does testosterone do? Growth. Muscle. Activity. Energy. So if you get a more potent form of that – wherever it connects where if it has like a little docking site somewhere in the body specifically the prostate here then it’s going to cause an enlargement of the prostate gland. At the same time as the estrogen levels go up, the estrogen blocks certain enzymes that are supposed to unhook the DHT. Because once it gets bound, then it’s in trouble because the body has a hard time unhooking it. Well the higher estrogens keep that from happening. So you’ve got higher estrogens which are interfering with the action of enzymes that are needed to clear this DHT from the body and you’ve got lower testosterone which is causing more of this DHT to be produced at the same time. So you can see it’s a hormonal alteration for that particular kind of BPH. There’s one kind. There’s other kinds too, but this is the one we’re going to talk about at this particular time. So here it comes. Now what do we do about this? Medicine says “aha, why are we producing more of this DHT?” Well there’s a certain enzyme here that helps to convert testosterone to DHT. It’s called phi alpha reductase. This phi alpha reductase gets the testosterone, converts it into DHT. Ah, well why don’t we just stop this enzyme – phi alpha reductase – then we won’t form any DHT and we’ll take care of the prostate. That’s the basis of Proscar, which is the largest selling drug for prostate enlargement. It does do that. It has some side effects. It has some problems, especially with long term use. And sometimes it doesn’t always result in the shrinking of the prostate but that’s kind of that particular idea. Now another extension of the natural realm so to speak in terms of taking care of that phenomenon are several plant based extracts. One is saw palmetto. And this is what you guys will all run up against because most of the products that are designed to help the prostate are going to be combinations usually of saw palmetto, pygeum, nettles and then zinc – zinc will be very popular and also beta cytoserol. These are all compounds that have an effect on inflammation and or stopping the conversion of testosterone to DHT. That’s what the saw palmetto does. But again, it’s very specific. That’s all it does. None of these substances have an effect on overall nutrition, on immunity, liver detoxification, the general energy factors that we’re talking about – the health giving kind of benefits that we’re interested in. But what it doesn’t do – the saw palmetto – even though it may block some of the conversion of testosterone to DHT – it doesn’t always result in a shrinking of the prostate. Now here’s why. 30% of the prostate gland is muscle. In order for it to work right, in order to let – this is why you have a problem when you urinate – if you have BPH, because the muscle part of the prostate doesn’t relax. It gets bigger, impinges on the little urethra tube, doesn’t relax and so you can’t void completely. Or you have an urge and nothing happens or if you start to, it doesn’t completely empty. Any of those things, because that muscle doesn’t relax. The saw palmetto doesn’t really shrink the prostate that much. It just changes the DHT whereas the Prostelan with the action of the pollen does something very good. It allows for that muscle to contract, to open up, so you can get urine out of the body. It’s a very, very important consideration. The enlargement of the prostate may be due to other factors that are inflammatory processes. Prostatitis, prostedania, and something called non-specific urethritis. These are infections that you can get and or it could be caused from other sources – sexual partners, for example, or it could be caused from urine that doesn’t get out the way it’s supposed to and the bacterial growth then leads to other types of things and you have an infection. Saw palmetto, pygeum, nettles – none of those can handle that kind of infection with the prostate. They’re just incapable of doing that. This particular product hits the hormonally related enlargement of the process and it takes care of all the inflammation just like it does for the women. If you happen to have problem with inflammation in your genital tract. Again that’s the difference in the specific action of this product as compared to all the others. So none of them can do the total picture, what you would find with the Prostelon. The first thing is immediate relief and this is what Prostelon will do much better than saw palmetto or nettles or pygeum or any of those. Because you’ll get immediate relaxation of the smooth muscle of the prostate to help with relief. Then the next phase – and this is something where actually this product – the longer you use it, the better it is. The more results you get so over a period of time from three to six months, you can get the prostate to reduce down to whatever size it’s going to be. Whatever normal size hopefully you’re capable of achieving. But again while this is happening, it’s not just isolated to the prostate. Because again, it’s building an overall systemic health effect. Anyways, so that’s a brief overview of what is really, as Brenda said, a very exciting product because of the total ramifications here. And again, you can take any part you want. You just want prostate? You got prostate? You want to take it beyond that and talk about some real extra special benefits for the body, you got that too. This goes as far as you want to go with it in that sense. And it certainly, as I said, goes very well with the whole philosophy of Enerprime and Impax in general.
Ben: So that’s a very interesting discussion by Cary Nosler. If you’re interested in some of that information that he talked about in terms of the pollen extract and supplementation – after Frank’s question, I will put a link to one of the products he was talking about which is called Prostelon. And that’s the one that actually has the rye pollen extract in it. I actually personally take it every single morning. I have been doing so for a few months now. So, anyways, that is today’s content from Ben Greenfield Fitness.com. Remember to check out www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/help to get a lot of information about the free training and free nutrition programs that I post almost every week on the website. Be sure to check out the Shownotes to this podcast for information on that Sunday, April 26th live online video Q and A on metabolic fat loss. For those of you who are local, you won’t want to miss that Holistic Fueling for Ironman Triathlon for you local triathletes as well as the local triathlon camp. Remember to leave us a ranking in iTunes. I’m going to put a link in the Shownotes that you can simply click on to leave us a ranking at the very end of the Shownotes to this podcast and until next week when I have a very cool, very special announcement about a ton of stuff I’m giving away and a special challenge leading up to summer – you’re going to want to check that out. I’m going to be announcing that in next week’s podcast. Stay tuned. Until next time, this is Ben Greenfield signing out from www.bengreenfieldfitness.com.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net