March 25, 2021
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/qa-425/
[00:00:40] Amping Up Vitamin D
[00:06:44] Visual Improvement
[00:11:21] Lomo al Trapo Recipe
[00:16:55] News Flashes: Temperature Dependence Of Sleep and Circadian Rhythm
[00:30:37] Jack on Sleep Topic
[00:34:25] Another Benefit of Creatine For Sleep
[00:43:05] Podcast Sponsors and Special Announcements
[00:51:08] Will Creatine Make Women (or Men) Bulk Up?
[00:57:30] Ways to Increase Nitric Oxide Naturally in Your Body
[01:08:04] Should You Use Eye Protection When Using a Red-Light Therapy Device?
[01:13:34] Clubhouse Q&A
[01:16:52] End of Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
A hundred tips for a better life, the link between sleep, light, and temperature, and live Clubhouse questions brought in by you, our fantastic audience.
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Jay, what's up, man?
Jay: What's up, dude? I'm rocking and rolling because I finally can get some true vitamin D here in South Carolina.
Ben: What do you mean, you weren't getting vitamin D before?
Jay: I was. It's very minimal natural vitamin D. I was getting some other vitamin D from food, and then also from supplemental vitamin D, but I'm getting some like real good, solid three hours, four hours of sunlight each day now.
Ben: Oh, you mean the sun is popped out? You know what, I started using transdermal vitamin D. Transdermal vitamin D, it's very well-absorbed. My vitamin D is shot up like 20 points. I would, as would be, blank on the name of the actual one. I mean, it's Amp. It's like Amp Human Performance Vitamin D, I think it's called, but it's a transdermal, and I started to look into the research behind this stuff. And you actually get even better absorbability from a transdermal application of vitamin D versus like oral administration.
Jay: Yeah, I'd say so. So, you're going up 20 points?
Ben: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So, it's literally just like a vitamin D lotion that you apply to your body, and it's incredible amount. You almost got to be careful, like, a couple of clicks of this stuff. It's made by a company called Amp Human. And I'll hunt down, link to them, and put it in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/425. But two pumps, I believe, is about 5,000 IU of vitamin D.
Jay: Oh, man. So, yeah. So, if you're going four pumps, that's 10K worth of IU. So, are you just doing two? Are you doing one? Or, what's the regimen look like?
Ben: I've been doing 5,000 a day. And of course, anytime you're using vitamin D to avoid any amount of excessive calcification or vitamin D toxicity, you should test. I test my vitamin D levels on a quarterly basis, just a simple blood test. And sweet spot is it depends on your vitamin D excretion rates, genetics, your ability to be able to harness it from sunlight, which for me is relatively nonexistent. But generally, around 40 to 80 is a decent number to shoot for for vitamin D. But again, there's a lot of variables. First of all, if you have adequate vitamin A and adequate vitamin K from your diet or from supplements, and then also adequate amounts of minerals, particularly potassium and magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium, all protect against the potential toxic effects of excess vitamin D. Right? So, if you have adequate vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium, there's a lower risk of calcification if you're supplementing with vitamin D, or using this vitamin D lotion, like the one that I'm using.
The other thing that's interesting is that there's something called parathyroid hormone. And parathyroid hormone, if the levels of that are somewhat low, it's unlikely that borderline low vitamin D is going to be an issue because it means your calcium homeostasis is pretty good. So, if you have pretty low parathyroid hormone, you may not need to supplement with as much vitamin D anyways. But that all being said, for most people, the healthy functional range for 25-hydroxy vitamin D, which is what's going to be measured when you measure your blood levels, is around 35 to 60. Now, for people who have autoimmune disease, they tend to need slightly higher levels, like, we're talking about more like the 50 to 80-ish range.
So, generally, what I tell people is if your vitamin D levels that you measure via the blood are less than 20, definitely supplement. I'm not a doctor, don't misconstrue this as medical advice, but it's smart to supplement if your levels are less than 20. If your levels are about 20 to 35 or so, get your parathyroid hormone tested. And if parathyroid hormone is low, specifically less than about 30, then supplementing with vitamin D probably isn't necessary for you, and that's what a lot of folks in the health world don't talk about and don't test.
Jay: Yeah. That's really interesting, actually, because I had not even made that consideration because for me, I'll test my 25-hydroxy vitamin D. And in general, like in the winter times, I'm in South Carolina, so I pretty much get vitamin D all year long. It might just be for shorter durations, obviously, during the day. But I'm generally around a 45 to 55 in the wintertime, and then in the summertime, I'm up in the 85 to 90 sometimes. So, I probably should get that checked because I still supplement, not as much in the summer, but certainly in the winter.
Ben: Eighty-five to 90 is in my opinion a little bit high. Like, for most people, that kind of risk calcification because–okay. So, let's say you get your parathyroid hormone tested. It's not super low and you know that you still need to supplement with vitamin D. For most people, 35 to 50, I say you're good to go. Greater than 50, you want to proceed with caution, especially if you have inadequate amounts of vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, or magnesium. Again, all of which will protect you from some of the amount of vitamin D toxicity or calcification. So, that's kind of the skinny on vitamin D. I didn't plan on rabbit holing into that as intensively.
Ben: But yeah. This gel I've been using, it's a company called Amp Human, and it's just like an aloe-based nanotechnology where it gets super well-absorbed. It is all in almond oil, and I just apply it to the inside of my forearm, or any other place where I don't have hair, where the Sun don't shine, and that's the skinny on vitamin D.
Ben: I'll hunt down this stuff and link to it in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/425. But a couple other interesting things that I've been experimenting with. One I did this morning, I'm doing a 30-day cycle of this to see how my body responds, particularly my eyes, but I've been using this stuff called Sananga. I did an Instagram story on this.
Jay: Huh, I don't think I saw that one.
Ben: Yeah. It's used by traditional Amazonian tribespeople as an eye medicine to sharpen their night vision. And then, it's also used in a few Brazilian tribes as a precursor to ayahuasca ceremonies because it opens up your third eye, so to speak. And so, a little bit similar to something like combo, that frog toxin that you'd have burnt on your body that would result in like purging and vomiting. And then, once all of that has subsided, you actually have increased sensory perception, better vision, better hearing, better central perception overall. You get a similar effect as this. It burns like hell and you feel like your eyeballs are going to basically burn out your skull for about the first five minutes when you apply about three drops of this stuff to both eyes.
Now, I purchased it from a company called Psychedelic Times, which you can find online. And it was recommended to me by a friend who had been using it just in the beginning of the day for clarity, for focus, and for even some of those things like better vision, nature immersion, et cetera. So, I thought, “What the heck? I'll try it.” And it definitely, for me at least, once I get past that intense burn, works as advertised, and I started to look into it, and it has been looked into for everything from treating and preventing ocular diseases like glaucoma, and cataracts, and far-sightedness, near-sightedness, stigmatism, even blindness. It's been studied to increase visual perception and enhanced color. It's been used again, like I mentioned, prior to plant medicine ceremonies such as ayahuasca, for example, to enhance the effects of that.
And so, here's my protocol. I got my hands on this Sananga, I bought it from this company Psychedelic Times, and I lay on my back, and I do three drops. I'll just do this in the morning at some point before about 9:00 a.m. Lay on my back for about five minutes as I feel like my eyeballs are going to burn out my skull, and just do some deep nasal breathing, and keep yourself settled, and try to resist the urge to panic as your eyes burn. And then, I sit up and I take that Zen nasal spray that I get from Dr. John Lieurance down in Florida, which is basically the Amazonian herb Rapé, and I apply about three sprays of that per nostril. And so, the Rapé, the Amazonian Rapé, which is almost like a cousin to the tobacco plant, it's almost like an alkaloid nicotine that you would inhale, combined with these eye drops, and oh my gosh, you feel on fire. Now, I haven't personally done any type of–
Jay: Sounds like literally.
Ben: Yeah. I haven't done any type of plant medicine ceremonies or anything like that in conjunction with this. If and when I do get to that point, I think I have one that I'll be doing this summer. I'll try it out and see how it works in conjunction with that. But yeah, it's super interesting. I stack this Sananga with the Zen spray, and it's pretty darn cool, the effects. I mean, it's like dipping your head in a giant French press cup of coffee on steroids. It's nuts.
Jay: So, you're really going for like the energy, the cognitive enhancement, but also, too, you have these additional benefits of helping with vision and perception. So, you're really taking–I won't say like a nootropic type effect, but it sounds very nootropicky or at least kind of like a stimulant type of effect.
Ben: This would definitely fall under the category, for anybody who's into like microdosing nootropics, smart drugs, et cetera, this really helps with that. And then, for like meditation, breathwork, plant medicine ceremonies, et cetera, would also be appropriate for something like that. So, super interesting. It's Sananga, S-A-N-A-N-G-A. So, if you want to do a little research on this, if you're listening in, super interesting stuff, and it's definitely been working for me.
So, another thing that I wanted to mention before we jump into today's news flashes is this cool recipe that I think people should know about because I'm going to be preparing it tonight, and I've experimented with a couple times. It does not appear in the new cookbook I'm releasing very soon, which I'm super excited about. That's going to be at boundlesscookbook.com when that comes out. But this recipe I discovered when I was down in Tennessee. A chef prepared it for me, and it was so cool that I had to try this out. So, it's called Lomo al Trapo. Have you heard of this, Jay?
Jay: No, I haven't. You were in Tennessee. I thought you were going to say like Nashville chicken or something.
Ben: No, no. Not beer can chicken or anything like that. So, this is a Colombian-style cloth-wrapped grilled beef tenderloin, and it's very simple. First, you want to get your hands on a big old beef tenderloin. I ordered mine from US Wellness Meats. So, they have really good grass-finished, regeneratively raised beef. So, it tastes really good, super clean, and it's the easiest, most foolproof, delicious, and really impressive methods of cooking beef that I've ever done, and it's super simple. If you have a dinner party, or if you have guests over and you just want to knock their socks off and entertain them, and also just make an amazingly delicious meal all at once, you pretty much only need three ingredients and a fire, and that's it.
So, what you do is you take your beef tenderloin, which is like a long chunk of meat, right? And you don't have to slice it up or anything. Just take the whole beef tenderloin, and you lay it out on a towel, preferably like a white dish towel so you don't get a bunch of like the dyes and everything that would normally be in the towel on there. And then, what you do is before you lay the beef on the towel, you cover the entire towel with this really thick layer of salt, like half an inch thick. So, you can add, if you want to make it a little bit more complex, you can also add rosemary, thyme, any other herbs that you want, in with the salt. But really, all you need is salt. The chef that showed it to me, he used salt and he used Spent coffee grinds, which is the way that I've been doing it. So, I'll just take Spent coffee grinds salt, and I like to use rosemary and thyme. So, as thick a layer as you can on this towel, like half an inch thick, and then you just wrap the entire beef tenderloin. You wrap the towel around it so the entire tenderloin is covered in a thick layer of salt herbs, and if you want, the coffee rub. And then, you can secure it with some twine, like the butcher's twine. Just wrap it really tight around the towel. And then, you take that and you simply throw it on a fire. I've done it on our indoor fireplace. I've done it on our outdoor fire pit. But just like charcoal fire, indoor fireplace, doesn't matter.
Now, what happens is that the thick layer of salt basically forms this solid crust around the beef and allows you to cook the meat directly in the hot coals without burning the meat. And you just leave the meat on the fire for about 8 to 10 minutes, and then you flip it, cook it for another 8 to 10 minutes. And you can stick a thermometer in there. Generally, you want to get it up to around like 130 or so. It will give you a medium-rare, and that's it. And then, you unwrap it from the towel. And all of the salt crust, you just take it off with a knife or fork or whatever. Thin slice the beef, and oh my gosh, if you serve this stuff with like a good chimichurri sauce or like a pesto sauce, it is so amazing, so cool, so fun, so impressive. And it's called, if you want to Google this, and I'll put a link to the recipe in the shownotes as well, Lomo al Trapo.
Jay: Lomo al Trapo.
Ben: It's so good.
Jay: It sounds really good.
Jay: Though when you were describing it, I guess I just missed the part where you said remove the towel. So, I envisioned you throwing this huge chunk of meat onto coals with the towel on there. I was like, “I really don't understand what the effect of leaving the towel on there is.” But I'm assuming you did say you take the towel off the meat prior to placing it in the coals?
Ben: Right, exactly. So, that's it. Isn't that cool?
Jay: Yeah, it's cool and super easy, sounds super tasty, and I'll be over tonight around 7:00.
Ben: Yeah. I'll post tonight's to Instagram. I did post on my Instagram channel the first time that I did it. You could scroll back through my Instagram feed and find it. But tonight, I'm going to do a video of it. So, check that because I bought my wife a brand new fire pit for Christmas. It's like this dodecahedron-shaped fire pit that's just beautiful. And we got a Bible verse inscribed on the side of it. It says, “Our God is a consuming fire,” this Bible verse from Hebrews. That's badass fire pit. So, I'm going to use that tonight to make this Lomo al Trapo.
Jay: Cool, man.
Ben: So, yeah. What do you think? Super long intro. We should jump into today's news flashes so we can get to everyone's burning questions here on Clubhouse.
What I would like to discuss today on today's news flashes is actually sleep. I've been digging into sleep, and particularly temperature and sleep quite a bit because there's been a lot of little research studies that have come out on the temperature dependence of sleep. And then, I also want to mention, basically, like a supplementation protocol that was recently researched to reduce your sleep needs and to allow you to function better in a sleep-deprived state. So, we'll get into that towards the end of today's news flashes.
But what I want to start off with is this study, which I'll link to in the shownotes, called “The Temperature Dependence of Sleep.” This came out last year, “The Temperature Dependence of Sleep.” And it's very interesting because we are told that sleeping in a cold environment is ideal, like get as cold as you can, you're going to fall asleep faster, you're going to have better sleep, et cetera. And it turns out that that's not entirely true. Now, if you're one of those people who measures your sleep, particularly your deep sleep, using a WHOOP, or an Oura, or any of these other sleep quantification wearables, and you, like a lot of people reportedly do, struggle with adequate amounts of deep sleep, adequate amounts of REM sleep, then this is going to be interesting for you.
So, just a quick background. Every night when you're sleeping, you cycle between these two very different states of sleep. So, when you first fall asleep, you get into your non-rapid eye movement sleep, your non-REM sleep. That's where your breath slows, your movement of your limbs and your eyes is pretty minimal. But usually, within about 90 minutes, you get into deep sleep cycles, your REM sleep, your rapid eye movement sleep, and that's that state where your breathing becomes fast and irregular, you'll have some dream cycles, your limbs twitch, your eyes move pretty rapidly. And during REM sleep, your brain is highly active, but you also become paralyzed. And what a lot of people don't realize during REM sleep is you lose the ability to thermoregulate, or to maintain a constant body temperature. That's one thing that happens during REM sleep.
Now, if your body is in a state where it is attempting to keep body temperature elevated because the room is too cold, because maybe that chiliPAD that you're sleeping on is set to low temperature, because you've, for example, taken a big cold shower before bed because you heard you'd sleep better for that, what happens is, and this study looked into this in rodent models, your body sacrifices REM sleep when you are excessively cold, okay? So, what this means is that for people who aren't getting adequate deep sleep, but who are also keeping themselves very cold while they sleep, one thing you may want to do is actually experiment with a slightly increased room temperature or less of the things that you might be doing to cool your body prior to sleep.
And what these researchers discovered is that there's this small population of neurons within your hypothalamus called melanin-concentrating hormone neurons, and those play this role in how you modulate REM sleep as a function of room temperature, or as a function of body temperature. And your body will basically increase REM sleep when the room temperature, or your sleeping temperature, is just on the tippy top end of your comfort zone. It's almost like the Goldilocks zone for getting the balance between REM sleep and non-REM sleep. So, whereas, I've even been guilty of in the past telling people, “Go to bed as cold as possible, get to them as cold as possible, sleep on a chiliPAD.”
Have you heard of the warm bath trick where you take like a warm bath before you go to bed, or you wear like wool socks before you go to bed, and what happens is you get this vasodilatory response that cools your core temperature even more? All of that's great, but if you struggle with deep sleep, if you struggle with REM sleep, and you don't have these dream cycles, and your deep sleep levels are low, you may actually be sleeping at too cool of a temperature. And so, this recent study that I'll link to in the shownotes gets into this temperature dependency of sleep. And it's this idea that you want to sleep cold, but not too cold if you want to maximize your REM sleep. Isn't that interesting?
Jay: Yeah, it's super interesting, and everybody just returned the Ooler and chiliPAD. But now, actually, a couple things that I thought about when you were talking about this. First is I made the huge mistake when kind of, I guess that was probably about two years ago when I got my first chiliPAD, now I have the Ooler system, of just kind of keeping it at the same temperature, like letting it be like the lowest temperature range. And that was what I was recommending to everybody else, and I was getting some really good deep sleep. I mean, my deep sleep shut up, but I notice that I was having some weird fluctuations in heart rate variability that I hadn't seen before.
And the kicker here is that I was getting like next to non-REM sleep. I was getting like three hours with a deep sleep and maybe 30 minutes of REM sleep where I was getting like an hour and a half of REM sleep. And I was like, “Something weird is going on here.” And so, I actually started to mess with fluctuations of the temperature, especially when I got the Ooler system to go to bed a little bit cooler, but then around the middle of the night, around like 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., I'll increase the temperature. And that's pretty close to when my REM cycles were starting. I actually didn't know this research. I didn't know anything about it. I was just doing it by intuition and by feel, and it started working. My REM started going back up. My deep sleep, I was going down a little bit on deep sleep, but that's okay because what I was gaining obviously from what we talked about in deep sleep, I was losing in REM.
And the other thing that I wanted to mention, too, is I wonder if this is going to open up the door to more personalized sleep biohacking. So, like utilizing our quantificated or quantified data on our Oura ring or our WHOOP band, seeing when we're having patterns of REM sleep, and then setting something like the Ooler to increase temperature around that time. Now, I know there's fluctuations obviously night by night, but if we could hone in on some personalized sleep biohacking in this area, I think that'd be pretty cool, just to maximum and optimize overall sleep cycles.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I think so. And also, just as a quick aside, I know that people ask this question, like, how much deep sleep should you be shooting for? And most of the research indicates somewhere in the range of about 13% to 23% is ideal, okay? So, if your deep sleep levels are below 13%, it is likely that you–there are other variables here, but you may want to look into experimenting with a slightly increased sleeping temperature, increased room temperature, et cetera, to increase your deep sleep. And then, if your deep sleep is getting way too high, like above 23%, you may actually want to experiment with cooling through a little bit more, and sleeping at a cooler temperature.
So, temperature depends if your sleep is fascinating. But one of the things that is very interesting is my friend, Dr. Andrew Huberman at Stanford University, has actually been looking quite a bit into this idea of the temperature minimum as a way to actually shift your circadian rhythm backwards or forwards. Now, in the past, I've talked about how people who are engaged in long haul travel, or who are needing to shift their circadian rhythm because they are experiencing jet lag from east to west or west to east travel, can actually use certain cues to shift that circadian rhythm. For example, let's say you're waking way earlier than you want to begin waking, but you don't just want to lay in bed. Let's say you're waking up at 4:00 a.m., but you don't want to lay in bed until 6:00 a.m., your desired wake time doing absolutely nothing at all.
Well, you can get up, but you put on like a good pair of blue-light-blocking glasses with the red lens. You keep all the lights in the house off. You avoid looking at screens, or you at least keep your screens in night mode, and you essentially treat your body as though it is still nighttime. And then, when the time arrives that you want to begin waking, you blast your body with light, and that gradually shifts your circadian rhythm forward. And of course the same could be used if you wanted to, say, start getting up earlier. As soon as you get up, you would blast your body with light from your phone, light from your computer, light from these blue light producing boxes that are used for seasonal affective disorder, and just blast yourself with light, with the one caveat being that in an ideal scenario for health, you're combining all that light with light from an infrared spectrum such as using like a Joovv light or one of these red lights to balance out all of the blue artificial light with some forms of natural infrared light or near-infrared light.
Okay. But the idea is light is a great cue, eating breakfast earlier if you wanted to shift your circadian rhythm backwards, or saving breakfast until later if you want to shift your circadian rhythm forwards, exercising earlier if you want to shift your circadian rhythm backwards, or exercising later if you want to shift your circadian rhythm forwards. Basically, light, food, and exercise are your body's three primary so-called zeitgebers, right? Like, ways that you can shift the sleep cycle backwards or forwards if you want to begin going to bed earlier, or going to bed later, or waking up earlier, or waking up later.
But here's what's cool. Andrew Huberman, like I mentioned, he has actually been looking to this idea of what's called a temperature minimum. Now, what the temperature minimum is–and this is something you could measure with anything that will measure body's temperature, including even something like the Oura ring, which tracks your temperature all night long while you're asleep. Usually, what's called your temperature minimum, your body's lowest 24-hour cycle of core temperature, will occur about two hours before you tend to wake up. So, let's say you tend to wake up at 6:30 a.m. Your temperature minimum is going to occur about 4:30 a.m. Now, if you can identify when that temperature minimum occurs by tracking your body's temperature, here's–and this is very simple. If you expose your body to light prior to that temperature minimum occurring, it doesn't even better job shifting your circadian rhythm backwards. And if you can wait to expose your body to light until after that temperature minimum has occurred, it does a very good job shifting the circadian rhythm forwards.
So, there's yet another strategy that you can use if you want to tweak your desired wake time, or like shift your sleep drive forwards or backwards. Obviously, a little bit more quantification necessary there, but it's cool, this concept of a temperature minimum. And I was talking with Andrew about it and I think he's going to do like a more thorough podcast on this at some point, or develop like a protocol that he actually writes up. But I think he's going to charge it out at some point because I was asking him if he would, and I think he's going to do like an article about it that will help people wrap their heads around this a little bit more.
But really, conceptually it's quite simple. Find your temperature minimum where your body temperature is lowest, and then wait to expose your body to light until after that temperature minimum if you want the shift your circadian rhythm forward. And then, before that temperature minimum occurs, expose your body to light, even using something as simple as like a sunrise alarm clock that you time to go off during the period of time that you know occurs prior to your temperature minimum. And it's that simple. So, there's yet another cool hack for shifting your circadian rhythm. Is that neat?
Jay: Yeah, yeah. It's pretty interesting. I was just thinking about what that would look like practically, and I'll look for that article because I think that'd be super interesting. But yeah, it sounds like it would suck a little bit more to shift it backwards than it would forwards because I was taking about two hours prior to when I wake up would be like 3:30 for me because I normally wake up around 5:00 or 5:30. And if the sunrise alarm clock starts going off at 3:30 in the morning, I might be a little bit pissed.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. The company Joovv, they have this new Joovv Go that I like. I've been using that as a sunrise alarm clock. Their new Joovv Go, you can program it with your app to actually turn on at a specific time. So, it's cool because it turns on. And then, sorry, if this comes off as crass, or TMI, but I just grab it when it goes off. I sleep naked anyways. I put it between my legs and I do my infrared light therapy in my balls while lay there and read my Bible. So, it's convenient. It goes off. I take it off my side shelf by my bed, tuck it between my balls, start reading, and it's actually quite convenient.
Jay: Yeah. One way to kill two birds with one stone.
Ben: My ass is too lazy to go outside and look at the sun, so I just use that little Joovv Go. I don't know if they're a sponsor for today's show or not. If they are, or if they aren't, they just got some free promo.
Sophia: Hey, Ben, while we're here on this topic, we have someone in the audience, Jack Dell Accio. I'm wondering if you guys wanted me to bring him up to see if he has something to add on the sleep topic? And if–
Ben: Yeah. I saw that Jack had his hand raised. Yeah. I think that'd be great. I actually know Jack because Jack used to run a company that makes a mattress that I really enjoyed, like this all organic mattress made out of like unicorn tears, and no animals harmed in the design that–he run the Essentia Mattress company. Actually, I met Jack. So, assuming it's the same Jack, yeah, let's bring him on, see what he has to say.
Jack: Hey, Ben, how's it going? It is the same Jack.
Ben: What's up, Jack?
Jack: All good. It actually reminded me because you coached me through my first triathlon. And even back then, you were talking about balls, but it was with Lube. It was very helpful advice then.
Ben: Word, man. So, what's up? What's your question?
Jack: I was really impressed that you guys were talking about heat and sleep just because it really is something that the whole public goes the complete opposite way. Everyone's about overcooling. Every mattress company out there is going with cooling it, and I wanted to mention of some of the testing that we've been doing with the Well Living Lab, is really test the whole cycle. And what we realized, and I should get this out to you, is that the dynamic drop in temperature is what keeps you in deeper sleep cycles and REM sleep cycles. And that's where that was the backbone to the technology that we had put into our mattress is to not cool the body down, but that it's a natural dynamic release of body heat. So, that's how it got it done. And all the studies had showed that overcooling the environment or overcooling the mattress actually completely worked against it and didn't work for it, and love that you're bringing up this conversation. I wanted to reinforce what you just said. Again, I think I need to get you some testing results because I think ours were fantastic just the fact that it was a dynamic reduction in body temperature, which happens naturally through sleep cycle by not trapping the body heat and by not forcing the body to cool down unnaturally, you know?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I think that's something that I've seen more mattress companies actually focusing on is whether their mattresses are keeping people too hot at night. And if you aren't actually shopping around for a good mattress that allows your body to maintain proper temperature, it is something to bear in mind because certain mattress materials, memory foam, for example, being one of the most notorious for this, can actually heat up quite a bit while you're asleep. And I often forget about this and I'll travel, say, to hotel with some fancy mattress, but not a mattress that adequately cools or adequately modulates temperature compared to the mattress I'm sleeping at home, or like the Ooler that I sleep on at home, and yeah. I mean, I notice a huge difference with of course the most important thing here being that for any of you, carnivorous type of people out there, folks like to punish some ribeyes before bed, man, when you can cool your mattress or cool yourself prior to sleep, again not getting too cold as we've already clarified so that you're not decreasing your body's amount of REM sleep, you avoid the meat sweats entirely, which is a huge bonus. So, you have it. Thanks, Jack.
Jack: Cool. Nice connecting again.
Ben: Word, word. Alright. So, one of the things I want to mention, and then we'll do a few special announcements and get into some more Q&A from Clubhouse. There was a new study on a peptide. It's a peptide that combines three different amino acids, arginine, glycine, and methionine. Jay, can you guess what this peptide is?
Jay: Say it again. Arginine, methionine, and?
Ben: Arginine, glycine, and methionine. It's a very simple peptide. One of the most well-researched peptides that exists.
Jay: I'm a psychologist.
Ben: It's creatine.
Jay: Oh, okay. Yeah. That makes sense. I wasn't thinking of creatine as a peptide, but yeah, it is.
Ben: Yeah. It is a peptide. So, here's the deal, and let me lay down a little background here so you can understand this. The longer you've been awake, the sleepier you generally get. Most people intuitively know this. It's called sleep homeostasis, okay? It determines your sleep intensity, meaning that the longer you've been awake, the more and more sleep drive that you have, which is why someone who gets up at 4:30 a.m. is going to have more propensity to want to take a 2:00 p.m. nap than someone who wakes, let's say, at 7:00 a.m. That's sixth-grade science right there, at least relatively intuitive.
Now, there's multiple biological correlates of this so-called sleep drive or sleep homeostasis, but one of the most important ones is the concentration of adenosine outside the cells in your brain. This is why, for example, caffeine can keep you awake because caffeine will bind those adenosine receptors and keep adenosine from binding. This is also why if you want a good night of sleep, you probably shouldn't have caffeine after about noon or so, depending on how quickly you oxidize coffee. Now, what happens is that during wakefulness, your brain's energy reserves get turned over pretty quickly. And some of your adenosine triphosphate, right, ATP, the body's primary energy currency, gets released into the space between brain cells. And that ATP acts on cells called astrocytes, and it raises the level of these little proteins called cytokines that increase the activity of sleep-promoting neurons, these so-called GABA neurons.
Now, when that ATP gets broken down, you produce a bunch of AMP, which is adenosine monophosphate. And then, that gets degraded to, you guessed it, adenosine, okay? So, that's why you start to get sleepier and sleepier as the day progresses because the ATP is getting degraded to AMP, which is getting degraded to adenosine. And then, adenosine activates the sleep-promoting neurons and inhibits a lot of the wake-promoting neurons, okay? So, the adenosine gradually accumulates, and the longer and longer you're awake, the more adenosine accumulates, and you get that increased sleep pressure. Now, here's what happens. When you consume creatine, you increase your brain's phosphocreatine stores and the total pool of phosphate that's available in your brain. Remember, the ATP is adenosine triphosphate, okay? So, you've got more of a phosphate pool available. So, essentially, you're counteracting the increase in sleep drive that occurs as the day progresses.
Now, they recently did a study on this to see what would happen with the sleep homeostasis in regular consumption of creatine over about a four-week protocol. What they found was that creatine supplementation actually reduced total sleep time. It caused people to sleep less, but it also changed the actual structure of sleep. Now, here's what it did. So, when the rodent models in this study were consuming creatine, they had less non-REM sleep. Okay. So, they had less non-REM sleep. So, once again, we're talking about a hack here that could increase your deep sleep or your REM sleep. But despite them having shortened sleep cycles and less non-REM sleep, the impairments in cognitive function, exercise performance, and some of the appetite dysregulation that would normally occur in a sleep-deprived state did not occur when creatine was consumed because of the increased availability of phosphate pool for the neurons in the brain.
Jay: It's interesting.
Ben: And so, what this means is that if you're low on sleep, if you're sleep-deprived, if you need a hack because, let's say you've got an intense work cycle where you're only able to sleep, say, five to six hours per night versus seven to eight hours per night, you can use just like cheap-ass creatine monohydrate to actually alter the sleep cycle and to not only increase REM sleep, but decrease sleep needs and delay that sleep drive. So, even though kind of paradoxically, you'd say, “Okay. Well, wait. You're saying if I take creatine, I'm going to sleep less?” Well, yes. Technically, according to this study, you actually are going to sleep a little bit less if you're taking creatine, but creatine ingestion offsets the adverse effects of sleep loss. And so, it's almost like a cool productivity hack/cool thing to know if you're sleep-deprived that just by taking like 5 grams of creatine, you can actually stave off a lot of the detrimental effects of sleep loss.
And furthermore, this would be another way that you could theoretically increase your REM sleep if your REM sleep is low, in addition to not sleeping in too cold environment, you could simply supplement with creatine. And in the same way if you're getting not very much REM sleep and way too much non-REM sleep and you're supplementing with creatine, maybe try decreasing your dosage a little bit and see if that REM sleep bumps up a little bit based on what they found in this study about the link between creatine and sleep. Isn't that interesting?
Jay: Super interesting. So, let me ask you this. In regards to timing, did the article say anything about when you should time this? And I'm assuming, too, if you're utilizing this for muscular enhancement, for repair, then it's probably going to be a little bit different than if you're taking this just for the added sleep hack.
Ben: For timing of creatine, because it accumulates in the body long term, which is why typically, you'll often start supplementing with creatine, but not notice a ton of effects until about two to four weeks in, if you're not loading with creatine. I don't recommend you load with creatine. The old-school bodybuilding approach where you'd take like 20 grams a day for certain period of time, then gradually wean that off to 5 grams a day. The problem is you get a bunch of bloating, water retention, et cetera, when you're taking that 20 plus gram dosage of creatine. Now, instead, if you're just taking 5 grams of creatine and then just waiting for about two to four weeks for the positive effects of that creatine to kick in, you avoid a lot of the cramping, the bloating, the water retention, et cetera. And the fact that it accumulates in the body means that as long as you're supplementing with it, I don't think that the timing actually matters too much, even though I couldn't find that they had a specific timing protocol in this particular study.
Now, where my mind goes is that if adenosine is accumulating and ATP is turning over as the day progresses, then where my mind goes is that it would be best to take, let's say like 5 grams of creatine, split that into a couple 2 ½ [00:42:03] _____ and take like one dose mid-morning another dose mid-afternoon to get that slow bleed into the system. Now, I'm lazy. I just take a 5-gram scoop, shameless plug, I use the Kion Creatine because we get Creapure from Germany. It's not only inexpensive, but it's also incredibly pure. And so, that's what I use is the Kion Creatine. And basically, I just do 5 grams of that in the morning and either a cup of coffee if I'm not going to be eating breakfast, or in a smoothie, if I'm eating breakfast, and I just roll with that, and I take it year-round 365 days a year. So, I know my levels are topped off regardless. But if sleep homeostasis is an issue for you, or specifically like afternoon brain fog, getting sleep is an issue for you, you may want to take a little bit, like 2 ½ grams in the morning, and then save your other 2 ½ grams for later on in the afternoon when you know you start to get tired.
Jay: Cool. All of our executives just bought stock in the creatine industry.
Ben: There you go, there you go. And by the way, I guess I could say this for the special announcements, but I'll say it right now. Any of our listeners get 20% off of anything from Kion. And we just rebranded. We changed all of our packaging to be totally recyclable, environmentally friendly. We had a lot of cool stuff over at Kion recently, but 20% off. Here's your link, you guys. It's getkion.com/bengreenfield for 20% off site-wide, any order including our creatine, which is the super pure Creapure stuff. And then, I'll link to all these studies as well, for those of you who want to take a deeper dive, in the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/425. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/425. Let's do a few other special announcements, Jay, and get into this week's Q&A.
Jay: Yeah, man. Let's rock them.
Ben: Alright. So, I mentioned the Kion discount. I also briefly mentioned the cookbook, but I've been told by the powers that be that I'm supposed to mention to you guys that my brand new cookbook, in which I took all of my molecular gastronomy, biohacking, smoothies, meat rubs, cocktails, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, desserts, my wife's fermented sourdough recipe, all of my crazy yogurts, ferments, everything, I jam-packed it into this brand new cookbook that I've been developing for the past year. It's even got like organ meat recipes and tons of writing in there, too. So, I wove in a lot of science. It is beautiful. We did intense photoshoots. Everything went through the labs in terms of testing every single recipe to the T for flavor, and for ease, and for the actual product to not appear as vomit on a plate or the wrong texture. And anyways, the cookbook is going to be available very soon for pre-orders, but it's going to be boundlesscookbook.com. I'm super proud of the way it turned out.
So, any of you listening in or live on Clubhouse, boundlesscookbook.com. That thing hits the streets very soon, and it turned out amazingly. It's big, it's beautiful. Cannot wait for this thing to hit the streets because it's a ton of fun. I want to write a cookbook that I would actually use, and that's exactly what this is. And it's a little weird. It's a little weirder than most cookbooks just because I wrote it, and I'm not a chef, and I'm instead just like a–
Jay: And you're weird.
Ben: –nutritionist, biohacker, who wove together a lot of science and blended it with my love for food, and food that specifically tastes good, but is also healthy for you. It's amazing, this cookbook. So, boundlesscookbook.com, if you want to check that one out.
And then, we also have a few sponsors for today's show, Organifi. Organifi has developed their gold that they wanted me to tell everybody about. And this is like the golden milk lattes that you get, but they put about a dozen different superfoods in it, and then brought the sugar down to basically a nonexistent status. So, it's got turmeric, ginger, reishi, turkey tail, all these herbs and medicinal mushrooms along with a bunch of stuff that helps you to sleep better, and specifically, helps to improve your immune system while you sleep. So, Organifi is giving all of our listeners 20% off, and the gold is really good. And also, any of their gold, their green, their red, work really well as a meat rub as well. A lot of people don't know this, but I use it just as much now as a spice and as a meat rub as I do as an actual smoothie or juice. Twenty percent off, organifi.com/ben. That's Organifi with an “I” dot com/ben.
ButcherBox is also sponsoring today's episode. I just got a shipment from them. And they're doing a lot of seafood now. I got like scallops and salmon, and they're even doing like limited amounts of lobster, which is amazing, super clean, flavorful protein, for those of you who like to be all fancy. But what ButcherBox does is they cut out the middleman, they deliver 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage-breed pork, like I mentioned, all these different seafood variants that are relatively new. And they're giving for this month ground beef for life. Meaning, when you join, you get 2 pounds, that's a pretty good amount of hamburgers, of free ground beef in every box for the lifetime of your membership, for the rest of all time, if you go to butcherbox.com/ben.
I bought my mom a membership, so I sleep better at night knowing my mom gets good, high quality meats. My kids who have, shameless plug, their podcast at gogreenfields.com, they use this ButcherBox stuff all the time. And they ship it frozen for freshness, packed and eco-friendly, 100% recyclable boxes, straight to your door, and you can now shop, not only for like their beef, and their chicken, and their pork, but also some of these new seafoods. I got to, I guess, amp up my scallop's game because I have some scallops up in my freezer now that I'm going to have to–
Jay: Yeah. You got to be careful with those.
Ben: Yeah, I know. Butcherbox.com/ben. Why do I need to be careful with scallops, by the way, in your opinion?
Jay: Because you can overcook them really easily and they become super, super chewy. So, just be really careful not to overcook them, but they're amazing. I'm glad to hear that you have them. And then, also, dude, the lobster, like, do you know how hard it is to find really good quality lobster? Like, that shit's farmed and disgusting. It's like so often. So, that's exciting. I'm probably going to go sign up right now.
Ben: Yup. Exactly. And thank you for clarifying the scallops. I thought you were going to refer to some fringe toxin substance I wasn't aware of in scallops.
Ben: Lobster is used to be known as the poor man's meal, by the way. The overabundance of lobsters was incredibly prevalent in the northeast, and it was like a popular canned food. And crustaceans were fed to like prisoners and like apprentices, and I don't know if it's pissy for me to use this word, but slaves. And then, lobsters, all of a sudden, became from being poor man's food and peasant food to just like a gourmet expensive component that we now pay out the ass for steakhouses. But yeah, it was once only fed to poor people and prisoners. Isn't that crazy?
Jay: [00:49:42] _____, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. There's a David Foster Wallace essay called “Consider the Lobster.” That gets into this. That's an interesting read if you want to listen to the history of lobster from poor man's meal to pricey, but it's kind of interesting.
And then, finally, the last sponsor for today's show is Paleovalley. Paleovalley has these fermented beef sticks, 100% grass-fed, grass-finished. They have this wonderful umami flavor, do the fermentation process. They use real organic spices, no conventional spices sprayed with pesticides or other “natural” flavors made from like GMO corn. They taste amazing. They've got really high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, glutathione, conjugated linoleic acid, which is kind of like the fat that burns fat. And they're wonderful, protein-rich snacks to grab on the go from this really cool, accessible, family-owned company that does really good job at sourcing. Fifteen percent off of these beef sticks, amazing snack at paleovalley.com/ben. That's paleovalley.com/ben, so you can get your creatine, your beef sticks, your lobster, your Organifi Gold, a whole lot more. I'll put all these codes as well at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/425 as we destroy everyone's kidneys with excess protein.
So, let's go ahead and start into some rapid-fire Q&A from our Clubhouse audience on any topic under the sun. So, let's go ahead and bring them on.
Sophia: Why don't we let Arturez go ahead first and we'll get to the rest?
Ben: Alright, Arturez. What's up, man?
Arturez: Hey, what's up, Ben, Jay? Thank you for picking up [00:51:26] _____ for the stage. I'm here from Latvia. Your stuff is really cool. And the first question is regarding the sleep. You mentioned 5 grams creatine consumption, and my wife is concerned about that and she's going to bulk up or getting, I don't know, muscles, something about that to tell.
Ben: So, like I mentioned, one of the misperceptions of creatine is that it will cause this bloating, cramping, excess weight gain, water retention, et cetera, and that is due to the trickle-down information from the bodybuilding industry on this whole loading protocol with creatine, which is old school. The latest research on creatine show that for all of the effects, the nootropic effects, the staving off of sarcopenia, even osteoporosis to a certain extent, this new research on sleep, et cetera, 5 grams is all you need. And so, if you're not overdosing with creatine, a lot of those type of problematic issues go out the window.
Now, furthermore, when it comes to bulking up, yeah, some women, based on their body type, if they're a little bit more mesomorphic, if they tend to have a little bit more dense muscle, et cetera, if they combine creatine with heavyweight lifting–that's the key, right? You got to have not only the gas on the fire, but the fire being stoked itself by heavy lifting. There could be a little bit of a bulking that would occur. I mean, you see this in women who do CrossFit. You take a look at those gals with the six-pack abs and the cannonball shoulders, and that's due to the amount of lifting that they do that if they were doing, say, like a more, Gwyneth Paltrow-esque 50 reps elastic band workout, they might not have that same type of body.
And so, my advice for females who don't want to bulk is to simply not engage in the type of weight training activities that excessively stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers. So, if you're doing four to eight repetitions of an extremely heavy 75 plus percentage of your 1RM weight as your primary mode of training, and supplementing with creatine, and perhaps taking protein or other type of sports performance supplements that are particularly oriented towards muscle mass, for example, then yeah, you're going to put on muscle. But if you are using sane amounts of creatine, and you're not excessively lifting heavy weights, then it's a non-issue. Now, I think that one thing to consider here is that everybody needs to load their body with some type of weight that goes beyond what would be considered like a high rep, low weight type of lifting scenario, just because of the bone density and the longevity benefits that appear to be derived from heavy loading.
Now, the cool thing is that you don't have to engage in the type of heavy loading that would cause what's called hypertrophy, or the actual increase in your muscle size to the extent to where you are bulking up as a female. You can instead get your heavyweight training through a protocol that involves a rep range of closer to, let's say like three to five reps that you might do just once a week, like three to five reps to failure of a chest press, some type of pulling motion, some type of rowing motion, some type of overhead pressing motion, some type of leg press, or squat, or lunge. And if you're just doing that one, maybe two times a week, almost like a Doug McGuff “Body by Science“-esque type of approach, then you'll be able to have your cake and eat it, too. Meaning, maintaining strength, maintaining bone density, maintaining a lot of the longevity benefits of heavy lifting, and the hormonal benefits of heavy lifting without actually bulking up.
I think that the one mistake that a lot of women make, who start to lift and experience the bulking that they may not desire, is excess calorie consumption, excess creatine or other pre-workout bulking type of supplementation, and then the use of a rep range ratio that's closer to that 8 to 12 rep hypertrophy range that's big enough to cause bulking. But if you were to increase weight and go with lower reps, you'll be able to trigger strength training adaptations without the bulk. So, what I have a lot of my female clients do, who don't want to bulk, is they'll just do an extremely heavyweight training protocol that allows them to use a weight that doesn't even get close to a rep range for hypertrophy. Again, like three, five reps around in there. And then, everything else is like walking, sauna, yoga, maybe a little bit of elastic band, and bodyweight calisthenics work. So, it really depends on the mode of training and the amount of creatine supplementation that takes place. But for most people who aren't loading with excess amounts of creatine, such as that 20 grams a day protocol, it's kind of a moot point.
Jay: Yeah. And you know what I'll also say there, too, Ben, is that–I mean, most women, I would think, and only assume any assumptions, would probably not think twice about eating like half a pound worth of beef, or maybe that's a lot of beef, maybe a fourth a pound worth of beef. And within like beef, we're talking about maybe 1 to 2 grams of creatine even within that. So, we're not too far off. I mean, obviously, it's metabolized a little bit differently in beef than it is if you're supplementing with it. However, it's not going to be that substantially different. So, I don't think people just take creatine and then become Ben Pakulski or some of these huge bodybuilders. It has to be paired with other things, like what you're mentioning.
Ben: Right. Exactly. To avoid the thunder thighs, so to speak.
Ben: Yup. Alright, let's go ahead and take another question.
Sophia: Hi, guys. Thank you so much for bringing me on stage. Big, big fan of yours, Ben. Listening to all your podcasts, reading your books. You're awesome. Thank you so much for all the information you provide to people. My question would be on the nitric oxide. I'm looking to increase a nitric oxide production in the body, and I wanted to hear your opinion. One of the products I'm taking is the Noni food concentrate, and I've been told that it's amazing for nitric oxide production. So, I wanted to hear your opinion on that Noni food for that and any other tips.
Ben: Well, a big part of this does come down to a certain extent to your genetic pathways for nitric oxide synthase. Like, some people actually have really good NOS genes. And there's a company called StrateGene that I really like that tests for about–I think it's at nine or so, so-called dirty genes, genes that are the ones that might be the most problematic that you need to worry about. And some of those genes in code for enzymes that catalyze the production of nitric oxide from a substance called L-arginine, which you'll often find in diet or supplements. Now, some people do not produce as much nitric oxide as others based on their genetics, and could use a little bit more nitric oxide support. And of course, nitric oxide is incredibly important. It's been a topic hot on my mind because I'm teaching my kids about nitric oxide right now simply because nasal breathing is one of the best ways to naturally increase bioavailable amounts of nitric oxide during the day.
And so, it is one of those things where some people are going to struggle more based on their genes with adequate amounts of nitric oxide versus others. Another really interesting thing, and we did a whole big deep dive podcast on a nitric oxide a few months ago, is that your mouth is where a lot of nitrates get converted into nitric oxide. And people who, say, and we unpacked this on the podcast quite a bit, drink a lot of fluoridated water, use a lot of mouthwash, have this like super clean biome in the mouth that they pride themselves upon, the problem is you knock out a lot of the bacteria in the mouth that are responsible for conversion of nitrates to nitric oxide. So, take a look at your water, take a look at perhaps not using as much mouthwash, et cetera, so the natural bacteria in your mouth are actually able to allow for that nitric oxide conversion.
Now, that's one thing. I always like to focus on natural ways for people low in nitric oxide to increase nitric oxide. So, there are certain vegetables that are high in nitrate that will get converted into nitric oxide if you have a good oral microbiome. Most people are aware of what these are, arugula, beetroot, celery's another one, which is kind of funny because that returns the whole doctrine of signatures thing for guys, especially, right? Like, celery is kind of like the erect member of a man. And so, that gives you some clues there. Beetroot would be another one. It looks like blood, and it's good for your blood. And one of the reasons for that is because of the increase in nitric oxide that it can cause. And chewing those foods adequately like 25 to 40 times a bite when you're consuming a lot of these nitrate or nitric oxide precursor-rich foods is one really good way to increase nitric oxide production.
Nitric oxide is very unstable molecule. It degrades very quickly in the bloodstream, so it must be constantly replenished. And one great way to increase the stability and to limit the breakdown of nitric oxide is by consuming, you guessed it, antioxidants. And so, everything from adequate vitamin C to adequate vitamin E, to polyphenols, to the mother of all antioxidants, arguably, glutathione, are also ways to increase the bioavailability and the length of time that the nitric oxide is going to stay in your bloodstream, with the only caveat to that being that if you are going to take antioxidants, time them so that they're not taking very close to your workout, because most antioxidants will blunt the hormetic response to an exercise session and cause you to not produce a bunch of mitochondria or grow as many muscle fibers. So, anything from like a super cold ice bath, the vitamin C, vitamin E, blueberry powder, glutathione, et cetera, I'll always time that at least two hours away from a workout so that I'm not blunting the hormetic response to exercise. However, antioxidant supplementation can help a little bit with natural levels of nitric oxide.
Now, in the sports performance industry, there are of course certain supplements that have been demonstrably proven to allow for nitric oxide conversion. One is conditionally essential amino acid called L-arginine. And L-arginine is something you can purchase in supplemental form along with something that I don't think works quite as well, but is often stacked with L-arginine, and that's L-citrulline. So, citrulline and arginine are two that have been well-studied as actual amino acid supplements to help your body produce nitric oxide. So, those would be a couple to look into. However, I think the consumption of nitrate-rich vegetables, a good oral microbiome, and nasal breathing are some of the keys for nitric oxide production.
Sauna can increase nitric oxide. Exposure to infrared light spectrum from sunlight, for example, can increase nitric oxide, which is why a lot of functional medicine docs who work in cardiovascular health recommend sauna and sunlight as two primary means to actually improve heart health, not only because they increase nitric oxide, but they also increase the so-called exclusion zone, meaning that blood, because it becomes more structured in response to infrared light and heat, can actually move through the vessels more readily. And this is all based on books like Thomas Cowan‘s book, “Your Heart is Not a Pump,” which argues that. The heart, from a physics standpoint, is actually unable to pump all of your blood through your entire body. It's physically impossible. And so, the way the heart works is it actually operates more like a drive, and it's really that exclusion zone, the electrochemical potential of the blood as it travels through vasculature that allows your heart to actually deliver blood to the entire body. And one of the best ways to support that is with infrared light and sauna along with adequate hydration and minerals. So, his book gets into that quite a bit.
And then, finally, I would say that if you want to take a sledgehammer to this, probably two supplements out there that you may or may not be aware of, one is produced by one of the top nitric oxide researchers out there, Nathan–I'm blanking on his name now. Dr. Nathan–I forget his name. Anyways, he produced this stuff called Neo40. And Neo40 is this substance that you can–it's like a little tablet you dissolve in your mouth. The research on that for increasing nitric oxide production is almost as high as that of Viagra. And so, if you didn't want to take Sildenafil or Viagra, this Neo40 is really good stuff. They actually just mark it as a nitric oxide formula. And I've even gotten some of those nitric oxide mouth strips that allow you to, via your saliva, test your nitric oxide production potential. They turn a color. The darker the red the nitric oxide strips turn, the higher your ability to be able to produce nitric oxide is. And I tried it out with that Neo40 and I went from like pink to red within a few days of using that stuff. So, that's good. It's kind of like beet powder on steroids.
And then, I mean, there's a reason that Viagra is banned by the World Anti-Doping Association. Anything with Sildenafil is banned because even though it's often thought of as a sexual performance supplement, I think it's one of the best heart health supplements that you can take, and one of the best nitric oxide precursors that you can take. And I know a lot of people in the anti-aging and longevity world who are convinced that Viagra is a life-extending compound specifically because of its ability to maintain natural nitric oxide levels. So, using Viagra is kind of like an off-label pharmaceutical, is something that is a decent strategy as well. And of course, there are a few other rather pleasurable side benefits to that approach. So, yeah. Just because you're preventing heart muscle thickening and allowing for greater blood flow to the heart with a supplement like that or pharmaceutical like that. So, I'm not opposed to the use of Sildenafil either.
So, those are a few things that come to mind, but we did a big podcast on nitric oxide a few months ago, and we'll hunt that down. So, those are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/425 for more nitric oxide resources.
Jay: Yeah. That's a really good podcast to listen to. And I know I don't want to move forward without emphasizing the first point that you made, because I think sometimes people can downplay the role of breathwork and nasal breathing, especially as kind of just like, is there really any science behind it? It sounds like kind of woo-woo BS. And there is. There's a lot of hard science behind it. And especially as someone who has an expertise in psychophysiology, when I think about nasal breathing and then the effects of also changing both the biomechanics, biochemistry, and cadence of breathing, it's highly important in order to elicit a vasodilatory response or a nitric oxide response to make sure that you have all three of those things in order, the biomechanics of breathing, the biochemistry of breathing, and then the cadence of breathing, because we far too often just breathe too fast, we breathe too thoracically, which is from the chest, and we can't elicit that true parasympathetic response that's going to then result in increasing heart rate variability, decreasing blood pressure, and then improving overall sense of well-being and optimization of health. So, I just wanted to throw in my two cents to continue to emphasize the importance of breathwork first, biohacks second, or I could say supplement second, [01:07:54] _____ necessarily biohacks.
Ben: Awesome, awesome. Jay's two cents is always a pretty good two cents. Well, let's take one more question.
Sophia: Hi, there. Thanks to all moderators. Thanks for having me up. I'm a functional medicine health coach out of Western Massachusetts. And the past year, I've really gotten into biohacking as I'm home, AmpCoil, footbath, and I have a table-top red light therapy device. And my question was, goggles or no goggles when I'm sitting in front of that?
Ben: So, it's kind of interesting because a company like Joovv, for example, will ship out eye protection with their infrared light therapy devices. And I rarely use that type of eye protection because I haven't seen a lot of evidence that infrared exposure, specifically most of what you're going to get from the far-infrared and the red light spectrum is going to pose any type of threats to your eyes. Now, once you get up into like the 700 to 1,400 type of spectrum that you would find from near-infrared, which a lot of these devices have the option to flip on and produce, that wavelength spectrum might be harmful to the eyes, although even if we look at this from an ancestral standpoint, a lot of people who do sun gazing gradually increase their ability to be able to look at the sun for longer and longer periods of time without any type of retinal issues or anything like that. And so, it's a little bit tough because it depends on the gradual exposure of the eyes to infrared lights to be able to gradually respond. Specifically, I'm talking about near-infrared light.
Now, interestingly, near-infrared light has been used to treat eye disorders, right? It's helped to heal laser-related eye injuries, it's helped to heal chemical eye injuries and other eye diseases because your bodies have these photoreceptors called chromophores that are designed to absorb near-infrared light. And it's actually been shown to help with things like diabetic retinopathy, in age-related macular degeneration, and even Parkinson's, and specifically some of the issues with the eyes that can occur during Parkinson's. And a lot of folks who are concerned about the effects of near-infrared light on the eyes are citing some old school research done in the glassblowing industry from back in the '80s where they found some cataract formation in people who were glassblowers being exposed to a ton of near-infrared light at very high amounts all day long.
And so, I think taking that and then saying, “Well, if you're going to attend a 20-minute near-infrared light treatment with one of these light panels, or even do something like sun gazing during the day, is going to cause cataract formation,” I think that's a pretty big leap to make. I have never used eye protection when using a near-infrared sauna, when using a near-infrared light panel, anything like that, and I have no concerns whatsoever. I would say if you start to experience eye issues or you feel a little headache in the back of your eyes, or you're concerned, you'll still get, aside from some of the circadian rhythmicity type of benefits you might get had your eyes been exposed to the near-infrared light, you'll still get all of the full-body effects that you're going to get just because your entire body is just plastered with photoreceptors, even if you're wearing sunglasses or some of these eye protection devices.
But yeah, even though these companies ship out eye protection with their devices, I think that it's overhyped the risk, and that you're not going to get cataract formation. I'm not a doctor. I don't want this to be misconstrued as medical advice, but I personally don't worry about it a lick when it comes to eye protection for these things. And I suppose if I were doing some deep eye gazing or–some people will do like a clay mask or some type of facial dermal treatment and combine that with a longer, like a 20, 30-minute near-infrared light treatment for the face where the light is super close to the face and they're just staring at it for like 30 minutes, that's a case where you might wear some glasses, but I don't worry about that much. Do you worry about it, Jay?
Jay: No, no. I've actually never worn any glasses in an infrared sauna or in front of my Joovv panel. And honestly, I don't want to speak for Joovv because I'm not affiliated with them whatsoever, but I'm guessing that they just send those glasses out to cover their ass from a legality standpoint. I mean, I don't know that for sure, but that would be my guess because what's interesting about it, too, for me, is that I don't necessarily, like when I'm facing my Joovv panel, I don't necessarily just stare right into the lights the entire 10 minutes that I'm doing my front side, but I'll look a little bit. But even if I'm looking around the room, or if I have my eyes closed even, I'm still allowing infrared and red light into my eyes. And as we stated, as you stated, there are plenty of physiological health benefits that come with red and infrared light through the eye. This is why people do go in the morning and in the evening, they sun gaze still. I know Jack Kruse, Dr. Jack Kruse, wrote a lot on this and talks a lot about this. So, for me, nope, never cover my eyes. Again, I'm just telling you what I do. I know you and I both aren't giving advice of what people should or shouldn't do. But yeah, that's where I'm at.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I agree, I agree. Well, oh my goodness, we, I think, should definitely do the Clubhouse version of the live Q&A again unless the powers that be at Clubhouse somehow frowned upon what we're doing right now and tell us to stop doing it. But if you guys all really like this, we'll totally–like, I mean, it's easy enough for us every time we record a Q&A to do it live for you guys. And honestly, I don't know about you, Jay, but I kind of like taking the questions live versus like picking up the ones I've been called in advance. And maybe we can mix and match and go back and forth between the two, but I really like doing this on Clubhouse.
Jay: Yeah. No. It was a lot of fun, especially now we know what we're doing. It will be a little bit smoother next time, but nothing that you and I do within the context of these Q&As are like that scripted, right? We just answer questions and really [01:14:24] _____ things down. But I like this even more because it's just organic and has us thank on our toes, and we get people to interact with, even though I do like just our Wednesdays, just you and I, Ben, but I'll take other people in the room, too.
Ben: Yeah. Well, again, I have to rumble pretty soon, but just a couple of quick things. If you're listening to this podcast and you're not on the Clubhouse live, you can, of course, I believe if you get an invite, you can download Clubhouse to your phone. I'll always tweet on Instagram, Facebook, et cetera, when we're going to do the next one. And so, if you have Clubhouse, you can of course hop on live as you do this, or as we do this. And then, of course, like we mentioned, all the shownotes are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/425. Usually, we give away a goodie to whoever leaves a great iTunes review on the show, but unfortunately, we were getting a little long in the tooth and don't have time to do that today. However, for any of you on Clubhouse, or any of you listening to the recording, if you want to support the show, one of the best ways to do it is to simply go to iTunes, or Spotify, or wherever you listen to a podcast, and leave us a review and a ranking. It helps the show out tremendously. And then, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/425, not only can you access the shownotes, but also the newsletter where I'll send out a notice the next time that we're going to do one of these Clubhouse live Q&As.
And, man, I think that's about it, but that was a ton of fun. So, I want to thank everybody for hopping, and I want to thank James and Sophia for your support behind the scenes. I want to thank James, our audio editor, and Jojo, who do such a fantastic job with the shownotes that we put together for you guys, and 'til next time. Jay, you've got a little bit of a chore to go hunt yourself down a towel, some salt, some Amazonian eye drops, and all sorts of goodies to make life more interesting this week.
Jay: Yeah, man, I will report back on it in the next live Q&A.
Alright, folks. Well, we're going to end this thing. Thanks for hopping on. I hope that was fun for everybody. And again, we'll let you know the next time that we do this show live on Clubhouse. In the meantime, have an amazing week. Stay tuned for the cookbook to come out, boundlesscookbook.com. We'll put all the other links at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/425. Have an amazing week.
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…16:50
- Great read on the temperature dependence of sleep.
- Sleep cold but not TOO cold if you want to maximize REM sleep.
- In articles like this,I've talked about using LIGHT to shift your circadian rhythm backward or forward (to wake up or fall asleep earlier or later)…
- …but it turns out getting COLD at night (OR in the morning) can also shift it forward.
- This is cool and yet another benefit of creatine…it REDUCES your sleep needs without decreasing health like many other things that decreased sleep needs do.
- Amp Human Vitamin D Lotion(use code BEN15 to save 15%)
- Adequate amounts of vitamins A and K, potassium and magnesium, from diet or supplements all protect against the toxic effects (and lower risk of calcification) of excess vitamin D
- No need to supplement if parathyroid hormone level is low
- Psychedelic Times Sanangaprotocol:
- 3 drops in the morning in corner of each eye while holding eyes open (WARNING: burns like hell!)
- Follow up with 3 sprays each per nostril of Zen Nasal Spray(WARNING: also burns like hell!)
- Boundless Cookbook
- Lomo Al TrapoRecipe
- US Wellness Meats (use code BEN to save 15%)
- WHOOP(use code BEN to save $30)
- Oura Ring
- Chilli Pad
- Andrew Hubermanon “temperature minimum” to shift circadian rhythm backward or forward
- Joovv Gocan be programmed to go on at a certain time
- Essentia Mattresses
- Kion Creatine
- Consider The Lobster And Other EssaysBy David Foster Wallace
–The Boundless Cookbook: Optimize your physical and mental performance with nutritious and delicious Greenfield family recipes. This is your roadmap to a culinary journey that includes ancient food and wild game preparation tactics, biohacked smoothies, meat rubs, cocktails, desserts, and beyond—without any restrictive diet, limited ingredients, or tasteless “health foods!” Pre-order yours today here!
Check out Ben on Instagram for epic posts and photos about his morning, day, and evening routines, recipes, and much more!
Follow Ben on Twitter for daily news flashes and the latest health, fitness, and anti-aging research.
Join Ben's Facebook page for conversations with listeners and even more useful information, posts, and support!
This podcast is brought to you by:
–Kion Creatine: Fuel your performance, energy, and strength with Kion Creatine, made with 100% Creapure®. You can grab your own Kion Creatine now at getkion.com and save 10% off your first order with discount code BEN10.
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Will Creatine Make Women (or Men) Bulk Up?…51:22
Arturez asks: You mentioned 5 g creatine consumption, and my wife is concerned it will bulk her up when she doesn't want to bulk up.
In my response, I recommend:
Ways to Increase Nitric Oxide Naturally in Your Body…57:30
I'm looking to increase nitric oxide in my body. One of the products I'm taking is the Noni food concentrate.
In my response, I recommend:
- Genetic pathways to nitric oxide synthase; some people have really good NOS genes
- Strategenetests for 9 “dirty genes”:
- COMT Fast
- COMT Slow
- MAOA Fast
- MAOA Slow
- Q&A 419: A New Way To “Spot Reduce” Fat, Are Plant Anti-Nutrients Really That Bad, The Dark Side Of Daylight Savings Time & Much More.on nasal breathing
- How to increase nitric oxide:
- Human Heart, Cosmic Heartby Dr. Thomas Cowan
- The Best Sexual Biohacks, Can Vasectomies Decrease Testosterone, Foods & Supplements For Boosting Nitric Oxide & Much More, With Judson Brandeis.
Should You Use Eye Protection When Using a Red-Light Therapy Device?…1:08:05
A functional medicine health coach from western MA asks: Goggles or no goggles when sitting in front of my table-top red light therapy device?
In my response, I recommend: