From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/qa-421/
[00:00:35] Very Early Morning
[00:04:00] News Flashes: Microdosing with LSD
[00:08:48] Yay for Coffee!
[00:10:50] Concerned about arsenic in brown rice?
[00:13:50] Goodbye Pellegrino?
[00:24:06] Podcast Sponsors
[00:30:19] Listener Q&A: Can You Get Vitamin D from Mushrooms?
[00:37:20] How to Train & Recover In Your Car
[00:47:05] How Many Omega 6 Fatty Acids Do You Need?
[01:10:52] Giveaways & Goodies
[01:12:57] End of Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show.
Microdosing with LSD, fish oil and omega-6 fatty acid confusions, the latest coffee research, staying fit in your car, and a whole lot more.
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Well, Jay, I need to do a little–my little mouth spray because I'm a little tired. For some reason, my fire alarm went off this morning like 4:00 a.m.
Jay: Oh, that's no good.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, but I have this mouth spray. Actually, you know that Beekeeper's propolis spray for the immune system?
Jay: Yeah. I actually started seeing that daily for the past two weeks now. So, I know exactly.
Ben: Great. Well, that's not what I'm using. I just emptied out the bottle because it's like a throat spray bottle. I didn't empty it. I just put it into a different container. I was going to waste all my propolis. But then I mixed nicotine and monk fruit in it, so I've got like this sour apple monk fruit sweetener with a little bit of nicotine. And I've been using that as a little throat spray this morning just because I've been up since an ungodly hour.
Jay: Ooh, what time?
Ben: I think that thing started going off like 3:50 something. So, I've been up since 4:20 something. That's this podcast, actually. This podcast is 421. So, all the shownotes, folks, are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/421. Got in a workout in my garage, which is super cold right now, full of kettlebells. So, I feel like Rocky–what's the movie, Rocky IV, where he's training in the Russian winter?
Jay: Yeah, Rocky IV, classic one.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. So, I'm getting ready for the–what's it called, the StrongFirst Kettlebell Certification down in San Diego in January. And so, I'm doing a lot of Pavel Tsatsouline protocols, which are–they're kind of like super hard, short efforts. He really is not a fan of doing anything above the creatine phosphagenic system as far as your range goes. Meaning that you're not doing any efforts that are longer than like 30 seconds. He's really not a fan of lactic acid. As a matter of fact, his book that I'm using for some of my training is called “The Quick and the Dead.” The quick being the people who train quickly, and the dead being the people who do a lot of lactic acid, long metabolic style workouts. So, like this morning's workout–
Jay: You don't want to be dead.
Ben: Yeah. This morning's workout is just swinging a kettlebell for about 10 reps. I think I had like a 2 Pood kettlebell. And then, shake it off, come back, do 10 quick push-ups, shake it off, come back, do 10 kettlebells, shake it off, come back. So, I just do like 10 rounds of that, and that's a sample flavor of my style of training these days aside from long walks in the snow. Yeah.
Jay: Nice. Yeah. So, when you go to get certified, is it just a number of reps, or is it form, or what are they looking at?
Ben: Oh, they do everything from like a 5-minute, 24-kilogram snatch test to Turkish get-up form, goblet squats, certain weights that you perform for a certain number of reps. If you go to their website, I think it's called StrongFirst, or just search for the StrongFirst kettlebell–you could see it, but yeah. I always like to have a little something, something on the calendar to keep me motivated to go out in that icy cold garage. So, there you have it. Yeah.
Jay: Right. Cool stuff.
Ben: Well, plenty to talk about today, so what do you think, should we do it?
Jay: Yeah. Let's get into it.
Well, Jay, I know that you and I are both huge fans of LSD out of–what are you on, about 100 micrograms right now?
Jay: Yeah. I jumped it up to 200. It's a go-getter day.
Ben: Yeah. I could tell. Now, in full disclosure, actually, I don't even know if you want this out there on the internets, Jay, but I'm going to put it out there anyway. I know both you and I have microdosed with LSD, and it's something I do probably twice a week or so. I'll do a little microdose.
Ben: I actually use LSA, not LSD. I think it's a little bit better.
Jay: Actually, we can't talk about it now because I'm technically not connected to the federal government anymore. So, we can open up that discussion.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. We actually have the same folks we get our microdosing protocol from kind of–it's kind of like the Jim Fadiman-esque protocol. Really great protocol, but they just came out with a study that looked at mood and cognition after administration of low LSD doses aka microdoses in healthy volunteers. And it was interesting because they experimented with different doses. And Jim Fadiman, who I just mentioned, he's the world's foremost authority on the subject of microdosing, particularly with LSD. And his standard regimen is one-tenth of a full dose of LSD. If a full dose of LSD is like 100 micrograms, a microdose is about 10. And his gold standard protocol is 10 micrograms of LSD every third day. And what they looked at in this study was experimenting with a few different dosages. They used a 5, they used a 10, and they used a 20. And all three participants or all three groups did notice some significant differences, like at 5, they said they got increased friendliness and arousal and decreased attention lapses. And then, at 10, they said that all feelings of anger, depression, and fatigue abated, which I've actually found to be the case personally. That's kind of my sweet spot is about 10, although some people reported elevated levels of confusion and anxiety. And I don't know about you, Jay, but I also, if I'm doing that in a fasted state, haven't had breakfast, et cetera, I'll get a little bit of anxiety as well.
Jay: Yeah. Or for me, if I am fasted, drink a cup of coffee, and then take it too close to the time that I drink coffee, then it could be a little bit of a disaster. And it's not awful, but it can be a little shaky.
Ben: Yeah. LSD doesn't do well combined with other stimulants, in my opinion.
Jay: Mm-hmm. Yeah, not at all.
Ben: And then, at 20 micrograms, they saw a significant increase in positivity, and vigor, and happiness, and what they called blissfulness and insightfulness, but the confusion and anxiety went up even more. So, I think this study just shows what we've already known that 10 is probably a pretty good sweet spot, and ultimately, that this stuff actually is effective as a nootropic/smart drug and can even, unlike a lot of other smart drugs, like say modafinil, for example, actually make you more personable, more friendly, increased mood state. So, there you have it. Yeah.
Jay: Yeah. I guess we've spoken to this. I know you've harped on this. There's no need to beat a dead horse, but I would say just if anybody is interested in getting into this realm, yeah, there's some really cool effects that you can get from and it makes me very productive. However, I would just say, just know your sourcing. Just know you're damn sourcing. Don't go out there and get anything crazy. And you probably will know, sourcing, I'm not saying it's a one-to-one, but you'll probably know good sourcing when you're like, “Whoa, that's more expensive than I thought it would be.”
Jay: That's kind of in my perspective.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, just to put all the cards out on the table, and I think you're on the same microdosing protocol as I am, Jay, it's $600 a month for what I pay for my–and that also includes a psilocybin microdose, and also kind of like–it's almost like an MDMA-esque microdose, like one is for focus, one is for creativity, one is for compassion, and you stack them on consecutive days. But yeah, it's not–I mean, $600 a month is not inexpensive, but I find my mood, my cognition, just the clean burn, the fact that I almost maintain a level of insightfulness that is over and above what I might experience from other compounds dictates that it's worth it for me. I guess there are certain times of the year when I don't do that and I take a break. But for the most part, I enjoy that type of microdosing protocol, and all my research I found to be safe, I found to be effective. And I've also found that I get hundreds of Instagram messages from people wanting to know my sourcing and I never reply to them because I can't legally do so. But yeah. I hook up some of my private clients with my supplier.
Jay: That's right. I know.
Ben: Alright. So, anyways, let's go ahead and move on to a probably more accessible stimulant that was also recently studied, and that was–well, two things, coffee, and also green tea. And this was pleasant, or pleasing to me to find out that the consumption of coffee, particularly, one cup a day is associated with a 12% lower mortality risk, and then two or more cups of coffee a day, a 41% reduced risk of mortality. And they found this to be even greater in people who drink both coffee and green tea. Meaning, like if you're one of those people who maybe has a cup of coffee in the morning and a cup of green tea later on in the day, the effects are actually magnified. So, we already know that coffee can decrease all-cause risk of mortality, but it's kind of cool that there's an interplay between it and green tea. And I personally am not a fan of green tea. For some reason, it makes me a little nauseous. It just doesn't agree with me. But it appears that coffee can make you live longer, so can green tea. And if you're consuming both, you almost get a magnified effect.
Jay: Yeah. It's pretty neat. Didn't we talk about green tea and coffee, or maybe just green tea in our last podcast? I think we've been giving some good reputation to the old green tea crowd. I'm like you, I'm not a huge fan of green tea. I don't feel very good when I drink it, but maybe I should try to–I've had it probably about maybe a year, two years. So, maybe I'll throw it back in there just to give it a go.
Ben: What we talked about in Podcast 420 was how green tea can enhance fat loss during cold thermogenesis.
Jay: That's right. Yeah.
Ben: Green tea, or if you don't like the taste of green tea like me, you can just get like the EGCG supplement on Amazon, for example. So, go listen to 420 if you want more details on that whole protocol at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/420.
And then, also, a couple of interesting news flashes this week about compounds in your food/water that you may need to at least know about or be aware of. The first being arsenic, and it's been well-known in health circles for a while that even though brown rice might be a little bit more nutrient-dense than white rice, it can be problematic because of the arsenic content. And there's a pretty decent amount of naturally occurring arsenic in brown rice that can do some damage as it accumulates in your body. And they just came out with a new study that tested a whole bunch of different ways to cook rice to try and reduce the arsenic content. And they found that this process called parboiling removes almost all of the arsenic from brown rice.
So, the reason for this is rice, compared to all other cereals, can accumulate about 10 times as much arsenic because in rice grains, the arsenic gets concentrated in the outer brand layer that surrounds the endosperm. And since brown rice is unmilled or unpolished and has more of that bran, that means it's going to have more arsenic than the white rice. And of course, the milling process will remove the arsenic from white rice, but then it removes like 75% to 90% of the nutrients. So, while it tastes pretty good on sushi, it's not super nutrient-dense. So, ideally, you'd fare away–
Jay: [00:12:16] _____.
Ben: Yeah. You'd fare away to have brown rice, but then get rid of the arsenic. So, parboiling, they found out, could do this. And parboiling is very simple. All you do is you put the rice into boiled water for five minutes. Okay. And you just let it sit there and boil for five minutes. Then you drain the water. You refresh the water and then you continue to cook your brown rice. And that's essentially parboiling. You could google parboiling if you want a video to walk you through it. But I mean, it's that simple.
Jay: It's kind of like a double boil?
Ben: Yeah. It's almost like a–
Jay: Double boil and then getting rid of all the shit.
Ben: Yeah. They call it a PBA method, parboiling with absorption. Meaning, you boil it for five minutes, then you drain it and you refresh the water. And I'm assuming when you drain and refresh the water, that's where you're dumping out all the arsenic. Right.
Ben: And then, you continue on and you cook. And it's interesting because at our house, what we've always done when we cook rice, if we're going to have rice the next day, and my wife has done this for a long time, she just soaks the rice overnight in warm water on the kitchen counter. I would imagine that's probably doing the same thing.
Jay: It's like an expedited way of doing it.
Ben: Yeah. So, anyways though, cool tactic for those of you concerned about dying of a horrible arsenic death.
Jay: Yeah. All of our listeners.
Ben: And there's a great infographic that walks you through parboiling that I will link to if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/421. That shows exactly what they did in the study, like how many cups of water do you use for every cup of raw rice, et cetera, et cetera.
And then, the probably more interesting and possibly one that we may rabbit hole a little bit more into was the news flash that upset a lot of people when I tweeted this out that I am questioning whether or not I will continue to drink my precious Pellegrino. I love Pellegrino. I mean, don't get me wrong. I have a nice water filtration system at home, and I have good well water, and I have one of those hydrogen water machines, but there's just something about unscrewing a big old glass bottle of that carbonated Pellegrino, refreshing from the fridge. Sometimes I'll–
Jay: So refreshing.
Ben: –put a few drops like vanilla stevia in there, so it tastes like vanilla cream soda. And I like my Pellegrino. What can I say?
Jay: Me, too.
Ben: But the website truth about fluoride recently obtained water quality reports from San Pellegrino, and what they found was a fluoride content of 0.47 PPM. What does that mean? It means that that's pretty much as much fluoride as you might find in fluoridated municipal tap water, like higher than a lot of other brands. Now, that was concerning to me, although San Pellegrino tested out pretty well across the board for any other contaminants. It had pretty high levels of fluoride. Now, first of all, let's step back and talk about why that could be concerning in the first place. So, basically, when it comes to fluoride, particularly what's called sodium fluoride, we know that it can be good for preventing tooth decay. But once it is actually consumed and winds up in the body, we also know that it can accumulate in the pineal gland, in the middle of the brain.
And we also know that sodium fluoride, daily long-term intake of sodium fluoride has been in multiple research studies linked to increased risk of cancer, DNA damage, thyroid disruption, just because it can interfere with the normal function of thyroid, it can bind some of the same receptors as thyroid hormone. We know it's associated with neurological issues, increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, disruption in melatonin production. And then, that whole pineal gland thing, it's an actual calcification of the pineal gland, which is also concerning because the pineal gland is very important when it comes to endocrine function. For anybody who does like plant medicine journeys or things like that, if you have a calcified pineal gland, you actually don't get much out of a plant medicine journey. So, people have a lot of fluoride in their diet, who also want to be spiritually woke, so to speak, aren't going to be able to do so if the pineal gland is calcified. Kind of an interesting rabbit hole here, there is a well-known injectable peptide that can decalcify the pineal gland. It's called Pinealon, I think is the name of the peptide.
Jay: Okay. Yeah.
Ben: If I recall properly. And I will actually occasionally do a bout of Pinealon prior to something like a plant medicine journey just to make sure my pineal gland is totally clean. It's kind of like a little hack. So, fluoride is problematic. And you could go to truthaboutfluoride.com or read a book like “The Fluoride Deception” by Chris Bryson to understand why large quantities of sodium fluoride in our water and food system was originally developed by industries who were saddled with getting rid of toxic materials. And fluoride has been necessary for the processing and enriching of uranium, so they had to get rid of a whole bunch of fluoride, and we started adding it to the water supply, and the food supply. And again, I won't deny the proven benefits for bone and teeth, but the problem is that it's got a lot of other effects in the body that I think dictate you may want to choose other methods to strengthen your bones and your teeth like calcium, and magnesium, et cetera.
But there's another form of fluoride called calcium fluoride. Calcium fluoride, it's natural in underground water supplies. It's totally benign and it doesn't have a lot of the same issues as sodium fluoride does. Okay. So, calcium fluoride, it's different than what you might see added to fluoridated municipal water. What they add to fluoridated municipal water is sodium fluoride that's derived from industrial chemical waste products and it should be avoided. Now, if you look deeper into the Pellegrino study, guess what, it's calcium fluoride, natural fluoride, not the sodium fluoride. Therefore, Pellegrino still gets a thumbs up from me. And it turns out it's a form of fluoride that's important.
Now, when I was looking into alternatives to Pellegrino, I did find, because a lot of people asked me about this, what I was going to switch to, the Mountain Valley Sparkling Water you can get from most grocery stores or from Amazon, that's pretty clean. And then, another one that Robert Slovak, who's a guy who I really respect when it comes to water filtration and all things water that he recommended to me is a brand called Donat, which you can also buy on Amazon or a lot of grocery stores, D-O-N-A-T. And the reason he likes that is because it's very high in magnesium. And a lot of people don't get a lot of magnesium in their diets these days. It's more expensive than Pellegrino, but that brand Donat or the brand Mountain Valley appear to be pretty good options if you didn't want to use Pellegrino or you did still want an alternative. So, the form of fluoride matters when it comes to Pellegrino. And in this case, because it is not the sodium fluoride form, it's really not an issue. This is interesting because they've been doing a lot of studies on bottled water recently. Did you see the Consumer Report study a couple months ago?
Jay: The one about microplastics?
Ben: Well, they tested arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and then a whole bunch of what are called PFASs.
Jay: Oh, yeah, I did see that, yeah, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. So, these are basically toxic chemicals, microplastics, et cetera, that you would find in bottled water. And most of them tested out pretty well, but one that was really concerning was Topo Chico. Topo Chico actually is —
Jay: My favorite one, too.
Ben: — it's a lot of people's favorite, and it actually tested pretty high, concerningly high. And at first, I thought it was just the plastic version, but it's both the plastic and the glass version of Topo Chico, despite testing pretty high in minerals and magnesium, tested high in microplastics and a lot of these PFASs. And I'll link to the consumer report study, but it turns out that there are a few brands of bottled water that are better than others. And the ones that got the big thumbs up for the testing of PFAS levels, and again I'll link to the study, the thumbs-up were on Sparkling Ice, Spindrift, San Pellegrino, Dasani, and Schweppes. All of those are fine.
Jay: Surprised Dasani was in there, actually.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I think that's like a Coca-Cola product, I believe.
Jay: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: A few that people might be drinking right now that you may want to consider being a little bit more careful with, Perrier, it tested kind of like borderline high, so did LaCroix. But Topo Chico was like off the charts. It was really high. So was another brand called Polar. So, Topo Chico would be out. Pellegrino still in. Perrier is kind of — and ultimately, the best way to go is just have your own filtered bottled water at home and maybe you could get one of those, what do they call the SodaStream carbonated water countertop [00:21:30] _____.
Jay: Yeah. Just get like an AquaTru and filter your water through that, put it in the soda stream, and you're good to go.
Jay: Except for though you do need to re-add the mineralization. So, you could add in like a vial of Quinton, and that could do it because you want to get the mineral content. But if you're just looking for carbonated water or something more like a LaCroix, then yeah, just like AquaTru filtration system plus the SodaStream and that's it.
Ben: Yeah. If you were going to add minerals to your water, that Quinton that you mentioned, which is harvested from these phytoplankton blooms in the ocean and then microfiltered, that is, from what I understand of all the mineral sources out there, the highest, but it's also prohibitively expensive for a lot of people.
Ben: And so, I encourage folks who are on more of a budget, just get the Celtic salt from the grocery store. That's really high mineral. You can find it at most grocery stores, you can go to Amazon, and just put a pinch of that into your water, especially your filtered water, and you'll get the minerals right back in. So, yeah. Interesting things to think about when it comes to water.
Jay: Yeah. And I'm glad that Pellegrino came on top as the good guy because actually, I was drinking Topo Chico for the longest time just because I preferred the taste of it. I had drunk Pellegrino for a long time. Then Peter Attia turned me onto Topo Chico, and I was drinking it like a madman. Then that report came out, which was devastating. It was a huge blow to my gut. And then, you came out with this Twitter, this tweet, and said Pellegrino is now off the table. And I was in a state of depression, man. I didn't know what to do. So, thank you for bringing my mood back up.
Ben: Yeah. And I mean, if you watch that movie, I think it's “Dark Waters,” that shows how problematic these PFAS is, specifically one called PFOA, which is one of the ones that they found to be pretty high than Topo Chico are when it comes to–I mean, that film was about this whole community of unsuspecting people who basically had their water. There was like toxic sludge going into their water from the chemical company DuPont, and it was a pretty concerning film called “Dark Waters,” appropriately enough titled. It was like a thriller film. But if you really want to get concerned about water and be a total tinfoil hat-wearing water consumption freak, watch that movie. But ultimately, check out the consumer reports. Just be careful with some of the brands that are in that. And I'll link to that entire consumer reports study in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/421.
Well, there's not a whole lot of special announcements these days because I'm not traveling around any conferences that we can tell folks about because of this blessed COVID lockdown. However, we do have some cool codes that we can give out to people. The first very nice thing is that the Kion Bovine Colostrum is in stock and it is a new form of our colostrum. So, we decided to put it in what's called bioactive powder form, which allows you to absorb a lot more of the nutrients directly, especially if you put it straight into your mouth because the enzymes in your mouth help to activate a lot of the growth factors in the colostrum. And then, we minimally process it. So, we preserve a lot of the active nutrients we source from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows because the large [00:24:58] _____ of the human clinical trials on colostrum, they use bovine sources.
So, even though we've been using goat for a long time, we were running into sourcing issues with the goat farm. And just the more we looked at the resource, the more we realize that bovine is probably the way to go. So, it went non-GMO, hormone treatment-free, antibiotic-free, very, very clean form of colostrum, and it's got the powder so you can put it straight into your mouth. And there's so much research on like the nourishing growth factors, and the immunoglobulins, and the cytokine regulators, and the proteins like lactoferrin. In babies, all those work together to help the immune system, like they build a healthy gut lining and they support muscle formation, and they do the same thing in adults.
And so, this colostrum is, in traditional Chinese medicine, it's regarded for thousands of years as a really potent health tonic for the messiah people in Africa. It's like this crucial part of their warrior's diet. So, it's kind of this ancient superfood. And I think the form that we've developed at Kion is superior to — I'm biased, but I think it's superior to anything out there. So, we just launched it. It's flying off the shelves and we're going to give everybody a 10% discount on our brand new colostrum. You go to getkion.com, getK-I-O-N.com, and use code BEN10. It's great for kids, wonderful for adults. I like to take out an empty stomach at night right before I go to bed. I feel like it helps me to sleep better, but it is a legit superfood, almost like a liver. So, getkion.com, code BEN10 for the brand new Kion Bovine Colostrum.
And then, we also have a discount code from our friends at Joovv, who just — they upgraded all of their red-light devices. They made them 25% lighter, they intensified the coverage area so you can stand as much as three times further away and still get the recommended dosage, and then they added a bunch of these new, quick, easy mounting options. You can fit your Joovv light in just about any space. They still make the near-infrared, the red light. They added ambient mode for like this calmer low-intensity light at night. And it's just perfect, especially during the winter for simulating sunrise and sunset, and getting all the other benefits of red light therapy. They're doing a really good job over there. So, it's Joovv, joovv.com/ben, J-O-O-V-V.com/ben. And then, if you apply the code BEN to your order, you will get an exclusive discount. So, J-O-O-V-V.com/ben and use code BEN.
And then, Vuori, it's kind of funny, didn't plan this, but I'm actually wearing a Vuori hoodie and my Vuori shorts right now as we are recording this.
Jay: Nice wear. Me, too.
Ben: Yes. It's rare that I actually will put on pants in a shirt for a podcast, but you never know if that video camera might accidentally turn on. So, Vuori, V-U-O-R-I, they make these incredibly versatile threads for guys and for girls. They look great. You can use it for running, training, spinning, yoga, but also just cruising around for the rest of the day, recording a podcast, et cetera, et cetera. And they fit well, they're super comfortable, they look good. Usually 85% of the time when you see me on the social media, I'm wearing Vuori clothing because they hook me up. And they're going to hook you up, too, 25% off, 25% off anything from Vuori. You go to V-U-O-R-I, because they decided to spell it funky, V-U-O-R-Iclothing.com/ben. So, vuoriclothing.com/ben, and your code is BEN2020. That gets you 25% off of anything from Vuori.
And you know who our final sponsor is today, Jay? Can you guess? This episode is sponsored by ButcherBox. ButcherBox delivers 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage-breed pork, that heritage-breed pork, by the way, beats the pants off of the other white meat before they bread all the flavor out of pork, and wild-caught seafood. You could take your pick for a meat-a-palooza. So, the difference in the quality of the meat is just amazing when you're actually getting it from high-quality humanely raised sources. And then, ButcherBox delivers it fast at an unbeatable value, less than six bucks a meal, great tasting meat you can actually feel good about, delivered right to your doorstep with free shipping.
They get such a good cost because they partner with folks who believe in better going above and beyond when it comes to caring for animals, the environment, and sustainability. They've got a bunch of different box options for you so you can curate a box to exactly the type of meats that you want. And they're going to give you bacon for life. That's right. Package of free bacon in every single box for the entire lifetime of your subscription. You get the bacon when you go to butcherbox.com/ben. That's butcherbox.com/ben, free bacon for life. That in and of itself is amazing. You had me at free bacon, baby. Check them out, butcherbox.com/ben.
We'll put all of this over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/421 also if you have difficulty keeping track of all this crap.
Andrea: Hi, Ben. This is Andrea. Here's my Q&A. What is the connection between drinking mushroom coffee and vitamin D levels? Even pre-COVID, I always monitor my vitamin D levels. They are consistently in the 60s. Just retested and levels went up to 78, just below the optimal recommendation level. In the winter with the possibility of the connection between vitamin D and COVID, I began slightly increasing my oral vitamin D, but by no more than 2,000 units a day. The only other dietary difference is the addition of Four Sigmatic's Lion's Mane Chaga coffee. As you all know, mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D. Do you think one cup of Four Sigmatic coffee a day couldn't have increased my vitamin D levels? I reached out to Four Sigmatic directly to see if there were measurable vitamin D levels in their coffee. They responded that there was no research available. Any thoughts? I'm meeting with my endocrinologist soon and would love to have your feedback and expertise. Thanks.
Ben: Did you know you can get vitamin D from mushrooms, Jay?
Jay: I did. I didn't know you could get that much vitamin D from mushrooms, but I did know you could get some form of vitamin D from mushrooms.
Ben: You can. You can if they've been out in the sunlight. So, you actually have to get–
Ben: You got to get like a vitamin D lamp. You can get like a Sperti vitamin D lamp on Amazon. It's S-P-E-R-T-I, which is actually great for the winter for keeping your vitamin D levels up to like UVB lamps. But you can also get any mushrooms, like shiitake, maitake, button, and you can spread them out under sunlight or under one of these vitamin D lamps and they accumulate vitamin D. Now, the interesting thing is that there's two different forms of vitamin D. One is D3, cholecalciferol. That's what we get from primarily animal sources, especially like oily fish, like mackerel or sardines, anchovies are really high in vitamin D, herring, trout, salmon. But then, mushrooms actually are rich in vitamin D2. So, D2, ergosterol, that's a little bit different.
Now, studies have shown that for long-term buildup of vitamin D, and like accumulation in the body and higher blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, which is what you're actually going after if you're trying to amp up your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D3 is superior. That's undeniable. Like the New England Journal of Medicine did a pretty exhaustive study on this on vitamin D2 versus vitamin D3. However, you can still get an appreciable amount of vitamin D2 from mushrooms, especially if you're vegan or vegetarian, or you just like mushrooms like I do. And considering you also get like the beta-glucans for the immune enhancement, and they have these things called ergothioneines in them, which are really good antioxidant, they've got of course the nerve growth stimulators for brain-derived neurotrophic factor. A lot of mushrooms like chaga, they have antimicrobial compounds that can inhibit viral infections. There's a lot of benefits that go beyond vitamin D for mushrooms.
And so, what they found is that the mushrooms need to be exposed to sunlight for a pretty significant amount of time, like several hours per day, which is fine if you're just foraging your mushrooms outdoors. But if you're not and you're just buying mushrooms from the grocery store, ideally, you expose the underside to them. So, like gills up or the underside up. And shiitakes are going to be the best, like a lot of the studies have been done on shiitakes. Those are super high in D2 if you expose them to sunlight, either outdoors or under one of these lamps. But yeah, you can get a decent amount of vitamin D even though it is again the vitamin D2 from mushrooms. And so, whether or not, I think Andrea asked about the Four Sigmatic coffee and how much vitamin D that would have in it. I have no clue if they are exposing those mushrooms to sunlight prior to putting them into the coffee. So, I actually don't know.
Jay: Yeah. There was lion's mane chaga–she was the coffee lion's mane chaga and coffee. And again, this is just my lack of knowledge on coffee. Does coffee have any vitamin D properties?
Ben: Not that I'm aware of, no.
Jay: No, I don't think so.
Ben: Yeah. I didn't dig too deeply into studies on coffee and vitamin D. I can't think of a mechanism of action via which caffeine or coffee would increase like serum vitamin D levels. Yeah. I don't know. I didn't dig into literature too much on that, but I really cannot think of a mechanism of action whereby that would happen unless it was related to potentially something like caffeine being slightly acidic causing the need for minerals to be pulled from bone. In which case, elevated serum vitamin D levels may assist with that. So, vitamin D is like a mechanism to maintain mineral status. It's possible.
But anyways, yeah, I don't know how much vitamin D the Four Sigmatic has in it. But ultimately, the big takeaway message here for peeps, if you don't have a chance to have meat for a vitamin D source, you can actually get pretty decent amounts from mushrooms, although it's vitamin D2. And of course, as I will be covering in an upcoming podcast, a big podcast on vitamin D with Dr. Mercola, vitamin D intake is going to vary heavily in terms of supplementation and food sources from person to person as far as what's appropriate for you. And the gold standard is to simply test because it's a cheap-ass test, just test your blood vitamin D levels about every quarter or so and shoot for a sweet spot of 40 to 80. And if you're below 40, I would recommend maybe upping your supplementation and your food intake. And if you're above 80 and you're supplementing, maybe back off of the supplementation so you're not getting excess vitamin D because that can also pull a little bit of extra calcium into the arteries. It isn't the best thing. But ultimately, widely varied diet that's rich in a lot of these small cold-water fish, mushrooms, et cetera, I think is the best way to–you're getting both D2 and D3. So, I think that's the best way to do it.
Jay: Yeah. I mean, it's a super interesting question, which I think we gave a fairly straightforward answer. She said it was consistently in the 60s, then it went up to 78. She did mention that she had increased her oral vitamin D. And she said by no more than 2,000 IUs a day, which could play, it could be a variable and a factor, not could, it is, but that would be interesting to see like if the lion's mane from Four Sigmatic, that lion's mane chaga coffee did indeed push the scale upwards. Yeah, just kind of a super interesting thing. I guess a lot of people don't think about mushrooms or mushroom coffee as being a vitamin D enhancer.
Ben: Yeah. Well, I know a few people who work at Four Sigmatic listen to this podcast. So, if you guys jump into the comments section, let us know if you're exposing your Four Sig mushrooms to sunlight before you're making your coffee and stuff with them. That would actually be really interesting to know. I just didn't have a chance to ask them and look into it. So, great question.
Chris: Hi, Ben. This is Chris from Australia. Firstly, big thank you for all the content you keep bringing and your book “Boundless.” I absolutely love it and I've slowly improved many aspects of my health over the years from your tips. Due to work commitments, I'll be doing a two-hour commute by train a few times a week, and this is going to eat in my exercise and recovery time, which I do not want. Do you have any suggestions to best utilize this time for recovery and/or training? Thanks.
Ben: Jay, what I do is I drive a Dodge Cummins Diesel 2500 and I just have a squat rack in the back of the truck.
Jay: And you do that while you're driving? That's impressive.
Ben: Stop every few miles cranking up some squats. No, I'm just kidding. There's a lot of ways that you can stay fit during long drives. And I'm one of those guys who just doesn't like to sit still. As a matter of fact, I don't like road trips, I really don't.
Jay: Yeah. Me either.
Ben: A lot of people like to see the great U.S. from an RV or maybe their little Subaru Forester or RAV4 driving for miles on end until your knuckles are stuck to the steering wheel, you've been wrapped around there for so long, and your eyeballs are burning out your head from looking at the mountains and the forest going by. And the kids are screaming in the backseat, and you're hungry, and your hip flexors are tight, and it's just a wonderful road trip that I have yet to wrap my head around the magic of. So, I'm not a road trip guy, but off my soapbox, when I do have to drive, I do like to stay fit, and I like to move. We have done a few podcasts in the past about this, but it's been a while. So, I think it's worth revisiting a few of my more potent tips for staying fit during a road trip.
So, the first thing that I really like is there's a company called Captains of Crush. They make these wonderful handgrip strengtheners. They'll start them at like, I think 40 pounds, and go up to hundreds of pounds. So, you can scale accordingly. And then, they also sell these things called hand expander bands. So, the Captains of Crush handgrips would be you'd be gripping, and then the hand expander bands, you're expanding. And you can get a ton of really good grip training. And it's kind of funny. What I like to do is I have one of those in my glove box and I'll do like 10 squeezes for the right hand, and then 10 squeezes for the left hand and go back and forth while I'm driving. But then, I actually will, when I squeeze, I'll do a Kegel exercise. Like, I'll squeeze my butt, I'll squeeze all my perennial muscles. So, I'm strengthening all those orgasmic lower pelvic floor muscles, and at the same time, training my hands. So, that's one thing that I'll do is I'll combine handgrip strengtheners with Kegel exercises, which I know sounds super gimmicky and kind of weird. I mean, these are little–
Jay: Then you just have an orgasm while you drive.
Ben: Yeah. These are little muscles that you don't get a chance to train maybe when you're at the gym. And so, why not do it while you're driving safely? Technically, that means I've got one hand on the steering wheel and I'm not doing the 10 and 2 proper driving method that we all learn in driver's ed. But Captains of Crush, their handgrip strengtheners and their hand expander bands combined with Kegel exercises, that's one that works really well. Another one is there's some lung training devices that can also work pretty well. There's one called the PowerLung, which is basically like inspiratory and expiratory muscle training for your diaphragm and some of your respiratory muscles, and it simply provides resistance on both the inhale and the exhale.
There is another device called the Relaxator. The Relaxator, it's like this little whistle that you put in your mouth, and you breathe in through your nose, and then out through your mouth. And it kind of resists almost like a straw, how long that it takes for your exhale to occur. So, you're training in that case CO2 tolerance, and actually also increasing your heart rate variability, which is useful if you're stressed out and stuck in traffic, for example. And so, those are two things that you can use that might be a little bit more driver-friendly than say like wearing one of those big elevation training masks while you're cruising down the highway. So, one's called the PowerLung, and then the other one is called the Relaxator. And those again would easily fit into a glove box or into any compartment in your vehicle.
The next one, and I use this on airplanes more than I do in cars just because I don't like to fumble around with electrodes and stuff while I'm driving unless I'm passenger. In which case, I do use these, but there's these electrical muscle stimulation devices that are more portable that you can use for recovery, you can use them for blood flow, you can use them. They actually can pack a wallop when it comes to strength, and endurance, and muscle fiber recruitment. There's one called a Marc Pro that works pretty well. That one's more for recovery. There's one called a Compex that goes to even higher voltages that can be used for muscle training, or for endurance, or for power, or for strength. And then, there's one called the PowerDot, which is like a smaller, kind of sexier unit that's run by an app on your phone. The Compex is wired. I think they might have a wireless version, but I don't remember. The PowerDot is wireless. So, if you're concerned about Bluetooth or signals bouncing around your car, you might want to go for a wired version. But those things can be really good, too, some kind of electrical muscle stimulation device. And again, I use those more on like long-haul airplane flights than I do in cars unless I'm riding passenger. But that's another good one is electrical muscle stimulation devices.
Then there are also isometric training devices. There's this one called the Activ5, and it's this tiny little triangular unit. Really, really kind of a cool idea. It has a little phone app that walks you through all these different exercises like thigh squeezes or pressing your palms together. And obviously, a lot of these things can't be done while driving. But again, if you're a passenger, you could easily use this Activ5 isometric training device to get a surprisingly good workout. I actually like the thing, as well as my kids because the app is kind of gamified. It'll be like squeeze for 20 seconds and keep the rocket ship elevated, and then relax for 10 seconds as the rocket ship goes back on course. You can almost like play these little video games on your phone using your muscles. It's a cool idea. It kind of gamifies the process. And again, that's not one that you'd use while you're driving, but if you're a sitting passenger or if you're on an airplane again, that would be another one that I think is handy and super portable. It's like the size of a cell phone.
And then, there are things you can do without a device, like steering wheel isometrics, where you're holding the steering wheel and you're pulling yourself in really slowly, then pushing yourself away, doing bicep squeezes, doing chest flies, doing push-downs. Like, you can do all sorts of isometric and movement-based exercises just using the steering wheel. You can also do body weight resistance exercises. Like, one of my favorite ones to do on an airplane is I will take a giant breath in, extend my whole back arch reach for the sky, and then compress everything and curl as I breathe out, almost like that cat cow exercise that you do in yoga except you do it while seated. And it's actually a really great way to stretch the hip flexors as well.
Kelly Starrett has a great book called “Deskbound” where he teaches a lot of exercises that you can do while you're deskbound. And I found that many of them can be replicated if you're sitting on an airplane or sitting in a car. You can also train your deep core. I mentioned Kegel exercises, glute squeezes, pelvic tilts would be another, abdominal squeezes. There's something to be said for a lot of this twitching, contracting, isometric exercises that again, you can easily do while you're driving. And then, the neck also, front neck, back neck, side-to-side neck using your hands as resistance for isometric exercises for the neck. I mean, there's a lot that you can do when you're in a seated position or a sedentary position for long periods of time.
But those would be some of the biggies that I use, handgrip strengtheners, hand expander bands, some type of inspiratory or expiratory breath training device, the electrical muscle stimulation, one of those isometric training devices, and then any number of different isometric or bodyweight resistance exercises. If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/421, I'll list some of my favorite such exercises that you could do while you're in your car or on an airplane. But yeah. I mean, there's no reason you can't train or recover during a commute, or you can just listen to this podcast and your brain is going to be burning through glucose so fast.
Jay: That's the way to do it, yeah.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Jay: Well, the other thing that I do, which is really more nervous system training than anything, but certainly can apply to recovery from exercise, is that I do a lot of heart rate variability training. Of course, I do, right? And the way I train is actually via the Lief device that I know that we've talked about here before that is the wearable EKG that goes underneath the left breast and will provide you haptic biofeedback so you can train the modulation of your heart rate variability and nervous system on a drive. So, it's really good because, for me, it's just a good way, yes, to pass time, but to also feel like I'm exercising my nervous system in a way that I might not do during the rest of the day. It gives me that devoted time. So, another way to just train the nervous system is to throw on a device similar to that. It doesn't have to be that one, but that's just easy because it vibrates on you to help synchronize your breathing. Whereas if you're having to use an app, you might have to look down on the phone and it's not nearly as safe. So, yeah, that's the only other one that I do.
Ben: Useful. Although I don't have breasts. I have hardcore man packs. So, I don't know if it works for me. I just have striated pectoralis majors.
Jay: It probably won't work for you. Yeah, your muscles will prohibit the signal from reaching the EKG. So, maybe for someone else who has breasts.
Ben: Alright. We have one more question, and I think it's probably going to be a complicated question, so let's do it.
Ariane: Hi, Ben. This is Ariane. I'd like to know your take on omega-6 fatty acids like linoleic acid and arachidonic acid. So, on the one side, I've heard that these are essential fatty acids and that our body needs them, for example, to manage inflammation. On the other side, everyone is saying to not go near omega-6 fatty acids with a 10-foot pole. So, which of this is it, avoid them completely or try to just get enough of them? And if so, what is enough?
Ben: Oh, man, this could be a can of worms, but I'm going to give it a stab. And this might be the most comprehensive answer I've ever given about omega-6 fatty acids. But in thinking about it, it's something that needs to be explained. So, I'm just going to go ahead and do it. So, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid, it's interesting because if you look historically at hunter-gatherer diets, they tend to be when it comes to omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratios, typically somewhere around 2 to 1 to 4 to 1, okay? Our modern western diet tends to be 20 to 1 up to 50 to 1 in favor of omega-6 fatty acids.
Now, why is that a problem? Well, omega-6 fatty acids are essential. You actually need them for a normal inflammatory response. When you look at omega-6 fatty acids like linoleic acid or arachidonic acid, those are involved in mounting a healthy inflammatory response. They help to create swelling, and redness, and heat, and pain, and you actually, of course as we know, need inflammation in order to recover properly, in order to cause things like satellite cell proliferation, mitochondrial biogenesis. And so, you don't want zero omega-6 fatty acids, but the ratio is important. And most people are way out of balance, healthy people. I see this way out of balance issue not brought on by excess vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, et cetera, consumption, but instead by those precious nut butters, by the handful of almonds here and there, by the impression that you just can't do enough seeds and nuts, and those things build up fast. I find in most people's blood and biomarkers that I can get really, really good normalization of most lipid markers and inflammatory markers in healthy people simply by having them stop seeds and nuts, and nut butters, and seed butters, and seed oils completely for about a month. I'm not saying you got to live your whole life never getting that precious handful of macadamia nuts that frankly tastes amazing. However, you do need to be careful, and it's the ratio that is important. It's the ratio that is important.
Now, before I dig a little bit more into some of the ratios behind these fatty acids, one myth that floats around out there is that the omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for something called cardiolipin. Cardiolipin molecules are a part of the mitochondria, and they're necessary for the proper production of ATP and the activity of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. And if they are oxidized, that tends to be very problematic for mitochondrial health. Well, there were a few studies that looked into the composition of cardiolipin, and they found that a large part of cardiolipin was comprised of linoleic acid, which is one of those essential omega-6 fatty acids. And so, a lot of people will say, “Well, you definitely need to prioritize your omega-6 fatty acid intake if you want proper mitochondrial bioenergetics.”
But the problem is that if you actually step back and look at other studies that have looked at cardiolipin composition, it turns out that cardiolipin tends to be high in linoleic acid in people who, you guess it, are consuming a lot of seed oils and nut oils. And in folks who are not consuming a lot of those, the primary components of cardiolipin are things like DHA and monounsaturated fatty acids, and a lot of these arguably healthier, higher omega-3 fatty acids that you would find in more of a Mediterranean diet, and fish oil, and small cold-water fish, et cetera. So, it actually is a myth that omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for proper mitochondrial composition. As a matter of fact, one of the best ways to oxidize and damage cardiolipin is via omega-6 fatty acid, and seed, and nut oil intake, particularly if your ratios are skewed. So, that whole cardiolipin thing, you can throw that out the window, that is a myth.
Now, when we look at the actual balance that is necessary–so even though there are a lot of omega-6 or omega fats, I list a host of them in Chapter 5 of “Boundless.” I get deep into this in “Boundless,” but I want to give people a little bit of a preview. So, omega-3 fatty acids, those are the indispensable part of the cell membrane. Those are the ones with all the anti-inflammatory benefits for protecting its heart disease, and eczema, and arthritis, and cancer. We know dietary omega-3 fatty acids help with regulating inflammation in the immune system. And there's three main types. One type a lot of people have heard of, it's EPA and DHA. Those are the animal-sourced long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that you would primarily find in seafood. Tough to get them from other sources.
Now, there's another omega-3 fatty acid called ALA, alpha-linoleic acid. That's a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. And even though people will turn to things like chia seeds or flax seeds to try and get that ALA, the conversion is remarkably poor. You could make an argument that you can get a decent amount from algae sources like spirulina and chlorella, but they still don't touch the small cold-water fish with a 10-foot pole when it comes to the actual availability of the omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-6 fatty acids, those are again essential. Those are the polyunsaturated fats, which have–the reason they're called six is they have six carbon atoms at the double bond instead of three carbon atoms. We don't have to get deep into the biochemistry because I don't think it's that important for this conversation.
But ultimately, the omega-6 polyunsaturated fats we would get from things like vegetable oils, processed foods, salad dressings, the whole food salad bar. And especially, like I mentioned, nuts and seeds. And you do not need very many nuts and seeds or vegetable oils at all to get your ratios way out of whack when it comes to omega-6 fatty acids, particularly from seed oils. And then, the last fatty acid that I think is important for this conversation is omega-9 fatty acids. Those are monounsaturated fats with a single, double bond. And you can get a decent amount of omega-9s from olive oil. And so, that I think is a perfect way to ensure getting your omega-9. So, you eat a lot of small cold-water fish or take fish oil and then get a whole bunch of olive oil. Really limit your seed and nut oil consumption and you're going to be pretty balanced when it comes to the omega-3, omega-6 ratio.
If you're interested in the exact balance or the exact ratio, we could look at this from an epidemiological standpoint again. Like I mentioned, hunter-gatherer populations, a lot of indigenous cultures, our ancestors, they had a pretty low ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. We want 1 to 1 up to 4 to 1. And really, if you look at the linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acid consumption in like the Paleolithic era or in our ancestors, almost none was from industrial seed oils, almost none. Whereas we get most of our omega-6s from packaged foods and industrial seed oils. So, muscle meat of wild animals has two to five times more omega-6 than omega-3, but the fat is closer to a ratio of 1 to 1. So, eating nose-to-tail is also something that I think has fallen to the wayside that possibly has also influenced our omega-6, omega-3 ratio, as well as the fact that grain-fed cattle, being fed refined grains and seeds, versus grass-fed, grass-finished cattle, tend to be higher in omega-6s and lower in omega-3s.
So, there's a few other factors here that are contributing to our full intake of omega-6 fatty acids. But if you're eating nose-to-tail, including lots of fish oils, including lots of olive oils, being careful with seed and nut consumption. You're going to be able to get closer to what we see in, say, like Paleolithic eras or more healthy hunter-gatherer tribes. So, the actual ratio, if I can give you a number, based on the largest body of research that has been done on fatty acids, the optimal ratio, if you're going to look at monounsaturated fatty acids to polyunsaturated fatty acids to saturated fats is 6 to 1 to 1. Okay, 6 to 1 to 1. Six parts monounsaturated, one part polyunsaturated, one part saturated. Okay. There's going to be some amount of genetic variability, but that across the board seems to be the actual ideal balance. Okay? And again, if you're following some of those recommendations I gave earlier, you're going to get close to that balance.
Now, there are a whole lot of other benefits to maintaining high omega-3 fatty acid status, like there is one trial, big trial called the dart trial, the diet and re-infarction trial. So, they found in patients with a history of heart attack increasing fatty fish consumption reduced all-cause mortality by almost 30%. And then, giving an omega-3 fatty acid supplement like a fish oil with EPA and DHA reduced all-cause mortality by more than 50%. Okay. So, small cold water and fish consumption, 30%. The inclusion of fish oil on top of that reduced it by more than 50%. There's another big trial called the Gissi trial, G-I-S-S-A trial, or G-I-S-S-I trial, and they tested EPA and DHA on over 11,000 patients who had recently had a heart attack. And those who were taking fish oil saw a significant reduction in non-fatal secondary heart attacks, stroke, and death.
And then, they had another big Italian randomized control trial in 7,000 patients with heart failure. And again, they saw EPA and DHA supplementation significantly reduced all-cause mortality. Probably the other most well-known trial was the diet and omega-3 intervention trial, the DOIT trial. So, they took 500 Norwegian men. They gave an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. It was about 2 grams of EPA and DHA, and they saw a 47% reduction in all-cause mortality. Now, all three of those studies, you should know if you're paying attention, were in people who had pre-existing cardiovascular issues or pre-existing heart attacks. Okay?
So, there was one other study that–and this one is more recent. It was 81,000 plus participants. Again, these people hadn't had a heart attack, but they did have high cardiovascular risk, and they gave them a gram of omega-3 fatty acids via fish oil for a year. And what they found was a significant decrease in cardiac death, major adverse cardiovascular events, and myocardial infarction. Okay. So, in pre-existing cardiovascular disease, I mean, it appears that fish oil and omega-3 fatty acid intake is a total no-brainer. Now, in people without cardiovascular disease risk, there are a lot of other studies that have shown omega-3s to be beneficial. For example, for athletic recovery. There was one recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in humans that showed eight weeks of not even that high of an omega-3 supplement or fish oil supplement played a protective role in motor nerve function and attenuated damage post-exercise.
So, they also found, by the way, that stimulated muscle protein synthesis in older adults, meaning, it helped to build muscle as well. So, good for recovery, good for muscle building. They also had a recent systematic review and meta-analysis on healthy adults, and they found episodic memory significantly improved again with DHA and EPA supplementation. So, they've shown mood and memory improvements that are significant, athletic recovery improvements that are significant. The heart health benefits are undeniable. And there's a host of other studies on joints, on nerves, on circulation, on skin and hair health. I mean, there's such a case to be made. It's almost like creatine. I mean, one of the most well-studied nutrients or supplements out there really is omega-3 fatty acids, particularly the EPA and the DHA that you get from fish oil.
Now, sourcing is important. Sourcing is very important because a lot of fish oil is sourced — it's either not sustainably sourced or it's high in toxins, mercury, or low in omega-3 fatty acids, or else it's been shipped and allowed to become rancid, or oxidized, or heated, or exposed to light. And then, the other problem is that most commercial fish oils, you'll get them in ethyl ester form, very poorly absorbed. Okay. So, most fish oil manufacturers do not reconvert the omega-3 fatty acids back into their natural triglyceride form. That's more bioavailable to the human body. It's like 70% more absorbable than the ethyl ester form. So, not only do you want fish that is low in toxins, low in mercury. So, you want small cold-water fish like anchovies, for example. You want to source some good waters, preferably sustainably sourced, and then you want it after the oil has been extracted from the fish, reconverted back into the triglyceride form.
And then, when it's sitting there in the bottle. The other thing you'll notice if you look at your bottle of fish oil, if it doesn't have something in there to preserve that's natural like–vitamin E is a synthetic preservative. I'm not a huge fan of that, but astaxanthin is amazing for–I mean, astaxanthin I think is one of the best fish oil preservatives that are out there. Rosemary extract is another I've been looking into quite a bit because we've been working on a new fish oil formulation for Kion. So, behind the scenes, I've been studying up on this stuff a ton. And I think rosemary and astaxanthin are two of the best ways to preserve fish oil. They have a whole bunch of health properties in and of themselves.
But there's a lot of stuff to look for in a fish oil, but primarily, low in toxins, low in mercury, high in omega-3s sourced from small cold-water fish, again something like anchovies, triglyceride, not ethyl ester form, and then natural antioxidants to preserve it. No artificial preservatives, or tocopherols, or vitamin Es, instead things like astaxanthin or rosemary. So, that all being said, that's pretty much exactly what we went for with the Kion fish oil. And I don't talk about that much on the podcast because it's a brand new supplement. I mean, you can get it at getkion.com now, but it's basically rosemary, astaxanthin. We shoved a ton of EPA and DHA in there, like in some cases, four times as much as most the other brands that you get out there. Then we added astaxanthin, we added rosemary, we reconvert it back into the triglyceride form, and it is also at a fraction of the cost of almost every fish oil that's out in the market because we just went with a super simple formula. We didn't add anything that we didn't need to add aside from the astaxanthin and the rosemary. And so far, people are really liking it.
The one question that I get is if you look at the label, it says there is sunflower oil in there. And I've had a few people ask me, “Wait, isn't that one of the omega-6 fatty acids?” Well, it's the carrier oil. So, when we extract the rosemary for the fish oil that–rosemary itself has wonderful cognitive properties, but it's also a great way to preserve the fish oil and keep it from getting rancid. Well, we have to use some kind of a carrier for that rosemary. So, what we use is organic non-GMO, pressure extracted without heat using natural carbon dioxide sunflower oil. So, way different than what you'd get from like a store-bought sunflower oil, and it's only 0.004% of the formula. Meaning that if you actually look at the ratio, it's like one-part omega-3 fatty acids, or let me put it this way. It would be like a ratio of 26,000 to 1 omega-3s to omega-6s, if you actually step back and look at the amount of sunflower oil in there versus the other components of the omega-3. So, there's no issues with the sunflower oil part of it either.
So, ultimately, I'm kind of rabbit holing here a little bit into fish oil, but if you were going to get your omega-3 fatty acid levels up, like taking just two to four of the Kion Omegas on a daily basis, and then eating a lot of the small cold-water fish like sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, herring, those would be the five best called the smash diet, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardine, and herring. And then, we get our fish oil from Kion from anchovies. That's the source we use. And then, just being really careful with the omega-6 fatty acid intake, particularly from seeds and nuts. And then, getting a whole bunch of extra virgin olive oil and for your omega-9s. I think that's really the best way to ensure that your fatty acid status is good.
Now, there is one other thing that I think is important. And there's a great guy, his name is James DiNicolantonio. A little bit of a mouthful, but he actually has done a lot of research on how you could limit the amount of lipid oxidation and damage from vegetable oils and transfats. Like, are there certain things that you could consume that would help to protect against lipid peroxidation? And he's found certain things can actually help a ton. For example, intense exercise can short term create oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, but long term, you actually get lower inflammation and lower oxidation. So, regular brief efforts of like heavy lifting or high-intensity interval training. That allows your body to be able to fight off lipid peroxidation even better.
Another one of course would be avoiding overcooking a food, like high heat cooking, deep-frying, grilling, sautéing, et cetera. That's why I've been doing a lot more like sous-vide cooking like the water bath cooking. Even though I really like the Traeger Grill, and even when I use a Traeger, I don't use super high temps, but you do want to be careful, excessively cooking, especially meats and foods that have fats in them with high heat. And then, when you look at things that can actually protect the membranes themselves, the things he's looked at were astaxanthin, astaxanthin from algae, salmon, pinkish-red seafood, same stuff we add to the Kion fish oil. That can actually help to reduce lipid peroxidation. So, that's one thing that's super helpful is astaxanthin, which also can help to protect the skin. It's like an internal sunscreen. You got to take pretty high doses. Like when I used to race Ironman Hawaii, I'd take 10 to 40 milligrams of astaxanthin pre-race. And I think there's maybe, I might be misspeaking, I think there's like two milligrams in the Kion Omegas, but it's enough to protect the fish oil at least.
Spirulina is another one. I was really surprised about this. Spirulina, like if–let's say you eat at the Whole Foods salad bar, you could literally go grab some spirulina, like have one of those green drinks with a spirulina in it, fantastic at limiting lipid peroxidation. And so, that's kind of like in the lipid peroxidation toolbox or what would you say the first aid kit. Right? If you've had vegetable oil, have spirulina. Another one with really impressive data behind is glycine, glycine that you get from bone broth, bone marrow, eating nose-to-tail, et cetera. About three to five grams of glycine can really reduce lipid peroxidation.
So, this is actually something I do after reading a lot of James's research is if I do have a meal that I know has an appreciable amount of vegetable oil in it, like I'm just–I mean, at the Whole Foods salad bar, for example, I'll just have a big old cup of bone broth, and then some spirulina tablets or spirulina supplement, or one of those green drinks that has spirulina in it. And the extent to which both of those components can reduce lipid peroxidation is actually pretty dang impressive. And the only other three that I think are interesting that he looked into were garlic, turmeric, and magnesium, which those are super easy to work into the diet. And so, that shouldn't be used as an excuse to eat a whole bunch of seed and nut oils, but it is important to know that you can prevent oxidation of lipids, which occurs so prevalently in a westernized diet format by including some of those things like spirulina, glycine, garlic, turmeric, magnesium, occasional bounce of intense exercise, and then astaxanthin, and then just avoiding overcooking your food.
So, kind of a long reply to the question, but that is where I would start. We'll link to the Kion Omegas in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/421. Don't use it as excuse to not eat fish because I do both. I typically take — these days, I'm doing–my kids do two of the Kion Omegas in the morning. I do four. And then, on the days where I'm having a big serving of fish, I step back and I have two. And then, if I know I've had a lot of omega-6 fatty acids, I'll take as many as eight, just to get the balance back up. So, anyways–
Jay: So, with your normal being four of how many milligrams of EPA and DHA is that, if you can recall.
Ben: So, we use about a 1 to 1-ish ratio of EPA to DHA, but 1 gram, 1 capsule of the Kion Omegas has 530 of EPA, 435 of DHA. So, it's not quite a perfect 1 to 1 ratio. So, if I take four, I'm getting 4,000 milligrams of omega-3s, which is a lot.
Jay: Four grams, yeah. That's a pretty heavy load.
Jay: That's a pretty heavy load.
Ben: That would be similar to having like 12 ounces of mackerel. Like, it's [01:09:45] _____. Yup.
Jay: Yeah, because I take the–oh shit, what's it called? The Super Essentials omega-3s. And so, I think it's like per capsule — not per capsule, but per gel. It's like what, maybe 120 milligrams, I want to say, the EPA, 120 milligrams of DHA. So, in order to get that, I mean, I would have to take–I mean, I take 10 of them, which gives me close to 2.5 grams of EPA, DHA. So, you guys got some pretty potent stuff.
Ben: Yeah. Don't get me wrong. Like, that's what I used for a very long time was the Super Essentials, right? Because it was a quality pure, highly concentrated omega-3 fish oil, but this is better. It's less expensive, requires a smaller serving size. We have a higher concentration of EPA and DHA. And at the price point, it's actually better than the Super Essentials. And that's what I've switched to.
Jay: Got to get my hands on it.
Jay: You got the weeds.
Ben: Well, speaking of getting into the weeds, we are almost out of the weeds, but this is part of the show where we like to give away some swag. So, this is the time, if I can find my words, when if you leave a review of this show on any of your favorite podcast players and you hear your review right on the show, we'll send you a sweet swag bag straight from me, T-shirt, BPA free water bottle, cool little beanie, and some other goodies. And all you need to do is if you hear us read your review, just email [email protected] Include your T-shirt size and we'll get a handy-dandy gear pack right out to you. So, that being said, Jay, you want to take it away?
Jay: I will. Since I knew, Ben, that you were going to rabbit hole in that omega-6 fatty acids question, I chose a very, very pithy yet potent review from Andydew. And Andydew says, “This is the most comprehensive biohacking podcast I've ever heard. Puts almost all others to shame,” which I thought was funny, and I wanted to highlight that word, “almost all others to shame.”
Jay: Yeah, exactly. Oh, who's better? Who's better, Andy?
Jay: Let us know. And if you don't let us know, we won't send you anything. Or if you do let us know, we won't send you anything.
Ben: Yeah. Bastard. Alright.
Ben: Well, we're going to send you some stuff anyways, Andy. So, thanks for the review.
Ben: And if you also think this is almost the best biohacking podcast, if that's what you'd call us, then yeah, leave a review. It really does help the show out. Leave your comments, your questions, your feedback, your own little things to add over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/421. And in the meantime, I'm going to try and string myself awake a few more hours here and go fix a fire alarm upstairs.
Jay: Yeah. You do that and I'm going to go take some fish oil. So, there we go.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
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News Flashes – Follow Ben on Twitter for more…
- Microdosing alert. New research on mood and cognition performance benefits of a 5-20mcg microdose of LSD…04:00
- Yay for coffee! New research shows one cup a day associated with a 12% lower mortality risk, and two or more cups with a 41% reduction compared with those who drink no coffee…08:48
- Concerned about arsenic in brown rice? Here’s a hack…10:52
- Well, I guess I won't be drinking Pellegrino anymore: Read about it…13:52
- Beekeeper's Naturals Propolis Throat Spray(use code BEN to save 15%)
- Nicotine throat spray ingredients:
- The Quick and the Deadby Pavel Tsatsouline
- Strong First Kettlebell Certification
- James Fadiman
- Q&A 420: Which Stimulants Are Safe To Take At Night, Maximizing Benefits Of Cold Thermogenesis, When To Do Blood Flow Restriction Training & More!
- Pinealon peptide to decalcify the pineal gland
- The Fluoride Deceptionby Christopher Bryson
- Mountain Valley Sparkling water
- Donat Mg Mineral waterrecommended by Robert Slovak
- Soda StreamSparkling water maker
- Quinton(use code GREENFIELD10 to save 10%) or a pinch of Celtic salt added to water to re-mineralize
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Can You Get Vitamin D From Mushrooms?…30:20
Andrea asks: What is the connection between drinking mushroom coffee and vitamin D levels? Even pre-COVID, I've always monitored my vitamin D levels. They are consistently in the sixties, just retested and levels went up to 78, just below the optimal recommendation level. In the winter with the possibility of the connection between vitamin D and COVID, I began slightly increasing my oral vitamin D, but by no more than 2000 units a day. The only other dietary difference is the addition of Four Sigmatic Lion's Mane Chaga coffee, which I discovered via your podcast. As you well know, mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D. Do you think one cup of Four Sigmatic coffee a day couldn't have increased my vitamin D levels? I reached out to four Sigmatic directly to see if there were measurable vitamin D levels in their coffee. They responded that there was no research available. I am meeting with my endocrinologist soon and would love to have your feedback and expertise. Thanks.
In my response, I recommend:
- Four Sigmatic Lion's Mane Chaga Coffee
- A Review of Mushrooms as a Potential Source of Dietary Vitamin D
- Sperti Vitamin D Lamp
- This Doctor Has A “Stealth Strategy To Stop COVID Cold”: A Breaking Interview With A Controversial Alternative Health Figure On Vitamin D, COVID-19, Sunshine, Vitamin K2, Magnesium & Much More! with Dr. Joseph Mercola.
How To Train & Recover In Your Car…37:20
Chris from Australia asks: I've slowly improved many aspects of my health over the years from listening to your show. Due to work commitments, I'll be doing a two-hour commute a few times a week. This is going to eat into my exercise and recovery time, which I do not want. Do you have any suggestions to best utilize this time for recovery and training? Thanks.
In my response, I recommend:
- Q&A 308: Can Running Too Much Kill You (Or Make Your Boobs Smaller)?, Fexaramine For Fat Loss, Staying Fit During Long Road Trips And More!
- 4 Ways To Burn More Calories On A Road Trip
- Captains Of Crush hand grip strengthener
- Captains Of Crush hand expander bands
- Activ5Isometric training device (use code GREENFIELD15 to save 15%)
- Desk Boundby Kelly Starrett
How Many Omega 6 Fatty Acids Do You Need?…47:08
Ariane from Bonn, Germany asks: I've heard omega 6 fatty acids like linoleic acid and arachidonic acid are essential fatty acids, so the body needs us to consume them so that we can do things like manage inflammation properly, but it seems like everyone is saying not to go near omega 6 fatty acids with a ten-foot pole. So which is it? Should I totally avoid them, or try to get “just enough”? If so, how much is enough?
In my response, I recommend:
Giveaways & Goodies
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