January 5, 2023
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/qa-452/
[00:00:35] Podcast Sponsors
[00:05:23] Does Nicotinamide Riboside Fuel Cancer Growth?
[00:14:17] THC exposure alters brain maximal oxidative capacity
[00:19:55] Can CBD (with or without THC) improve sleep? Here's the answer: Use of Cannabidiol in the Management of Insomnia: A Systematic Review
[00:28:00] Podcast Sponsors
[00:31:09] How to have a “SuperAger” brain: The Distinct Pathophysiology of ‘SuperAger’ Brains
[00:36:23] Here's a pretty cool natural way to “unclog” the arteries
[00:41:40] Gold kiwi fruit to the rescue for…constipation (pretty effective!)
[00:46:05] Good tips: 10 sleep hacks to change your life – Love Sleep?
[00:58:09] Upcoming Event: Boundless Retreat
[01:00:16] End of Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
Does NR/NAD really cause cancer? The latest on THC in your brain, SuperAger brains, artery-unclogging tricks, and a whole lot more.
Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
Alright, I'm on the road right now. I was actually on a walk last night and I walked past one of these juicery places. And, of course, they sell these super expensive high-end cold-pressed juices, but man are they expensive? But, back in my bag, I've just got one little canister of super easy to travel with powder that does all the same stuff with me and I could literally have a juice every day for two weeks of travel and it would cost me about the same as one juice at one of these juiceries.
So, the other cool thing is I don't feel about the sugar, like the 18 apples and three bananas that they pack into those juices at the average juicery. Instead, the stuff that I use has less than 3 grams of sugar per serving. It's also glyphosate-free, full organic, free of fillers and uses the highest quality plant-based ingredients in powders like green, red, gold, you name it. Very, very great tasting as well. It's a superfood blend that you just mix with water or your favorite beverage while you're on the go so you can basically be eating salads all day without actually eating salads. You can get 20% percent off of this stuff. It's made by Organifi who also strive to keep prices as low as possible on the stuff to make it easy on your pocketbook. You go to Organifi.com/Ben. That's Organifi with an i.com/Ben. And, if you go to Organifi.com/Ben, they'll give you 20% off of your first order at Organifi. Save yourself some money and get yourself some veg in a very, very super concentrated format. Check them out. Organifi.com/Ben.
One of my favorite nut carbohydrate, nut fat, nut protein, little-known secret macronutrients, is now back in stock. It's called ketones. The ones I use are made by HVMN. They're called Ketone IQ. They're perfect for staving your appetite for hours on end, running from meeting to meeting when you can't get food, any type of endurance activity because ketones are a great fuel for the heart, for the liver, for the diaphragm. Anytime you want a great amount of portability, convenience on an airplane, it's amazing because you're not even tempted at all by any food the whole time you're sitting on the airplane.
Ketones are 28% more efficient at generating energy than sugar alone. That means you can do a lot more with a lot less, especially when your body gets pushed to the limits because ketones help you convert stored fat into energy. And then, with Ketone IQ, you can actually get that without having to fast and excessively restrict carbohydrates.
They created this stuff through a $6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense, deep partnerships with some of the top researchers in ketone science. It's a truly cutting-edge drink. It avoids the insulin spikes, the caffeine jitters, the mid-afternoon energy crashes. Super simple. You just throw this stuff back. I'll toss back a shot straight out of the bottle. Some people like to mix it with a little water stevia, stuff like that, but either way HVMN stands by their products 100%. If you're not satisfied, your order is free. That's how much they believe and I believe in the power of ketones. Been using them for years and years.
Here's how to get 20% off of any purchase of Ketone IQ. You go to HVMN.me/BenG, HVMN.me/BenG. Use code BENG, that gets you 20% off of any purchase of Ketone IQ. You can also find them at any California Earthbar locations which are usually within an Equinox. So, check them out, HVMN.me/BenG.
Alright, magnesium. I love it. I actually pop six a night of this Magnesium Breakthrough stuff because it's got all the different forms of magnesium that are out there. Alright, so let me give you a list. Okay, if you're irritable or anxious, if you struggle with insomnia, if you get muscle cramps or twitches, if you have high blood pressure, if you're sometimes constipated, those are all symptoms of magnesium deficiency, and just a few of them because magnesium is involved in over 600 biochemical reactions in your body.
This Magnesium Breakthrough stuff that I use replaces magnesium because it uses seven different forms. Most companies don't do that. So, your body can actually use and absorb all the different kinds of magnesium, and you get in the best of all the best kinds of magnesium. A lot of supplements use the cheap kinds that your body can't use or absorb. Not this Breakthrough stuff. And, what they're going to do is a Black Friday special. From November 21st to November 29th, you get Magnesium Breakthrough, but they're going to add in all of the other BiOptimizers best-in-class products with a 25% discount. That's pretty huge.
So, for that Black Friday special, you go to BiOptimizers.com/Ben and use code Ben10. That gets you 25% off of any order Ben10 at BiOptimizers.com/Ben. And, if you go starting November 21st all the way up to November 29th, you'll be able to take advantage of that exclusive Black Friday offer with that 25% discount on the whole shebang, the whole catalog. Check it out. BiOptimizers.com/Ben, BiOptimizers.com/Ben.
Alright. Well, welcome to today's show. It's me flying solo today. It is one of those episodes where I give you some of the latest findings in research, and fitness, and health, and biohacking, and longevity and beyond. this is also an episode that I typically do live on Twitter Spaces. I think that's what it's called at least. However, since I'm flying solo today, I have no co-host, no helper, and I'm a little bit of a luddite, I have no clue if I'll be doing this on Twitter Spaces or not. We'll find out. And, if it works it works. If not, then we'll just have a nice little Q&A, just you and me, just you and me, a fireside chat.
Alright, so today, I want to share with you some of the latest findings, but I also want to let that all the shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/452. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/452.
And, I suppose I could just jump right in to what I think caught a lot of people by surprise recently. There's this idea that nicotinamide, NAD, NR, et cetera, as a very popular anti-aging and longevity hack or supplement, if you want to call it, might be associated with cancer. And, I want to fill you in on what occurred here. There was a hot-off-the-press study that was published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics. Seems like a strange journal to be studying a supplement. But anyways, what happened in that study was they looked into this supplement that a lot of people take frankly called NR. And, they decided to see if there were any issues with NR and cancer.
So, let me fill you in here real quickly. NR, it's a form of vitamin B3. It's also known as niacin. You'll find it naturally in things like cow's milk and yeast and beer. And, it's also formed when we digest niacin found in foods, namely niacin in forms you may be familiar with is NADH and NADPH. Well, niacin is the building block of NAD in the body. And, NAD is essentially, it's a critical molecule for your body to be able to generate energy from food. It's also a little bit of a cellular protectant. And, that's why a lot of people swear by it for its longevity-enhancing mechanisms. However, does it cause cancer?
Well, what they did in this study was they used what's called a biosensor system. I suppose that's why they publish it in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics. And, what this biosensor system allows them to do is look at the uptake of NR into cells and tissues of live animals in real time, which is actually cool. And so, what they did was they took NR, the same stuff that a lot of people pop every day as a pill for longevity and for energy and for cellular protection, and they added a nitrogen to the NR. And, that made a new compound technically called azido NR, A-Z-I-D-O N-R. Now, A-Z-I-D-O NR, azido NR can't be turned into NAD. That's why I put the nitrogen on it. So, this way, they can track it and see what it does as it goes throughout the body. And, what they specifically wanted to look at was whether influenced the outcome of cancer. In this case, triple-negative breast cancer. Triple-negative means that the breast cancer is negative for three different proteins, estrogen and progesterone, and this growth factor called HER2.
The reason that they look at each of these proteins and breast cancers, each one is a potential target for treatments. And, triple-negative breast cancer has fewer treatment options than other types of breast cancer because it's negative for these different proteins, so there's fewer ways to come at it. Well, basically when they gave the NR or looked at the NR uptake when it came to the situation where there was breast cancer, they found that the triple-negative breast cancer cells took up four times as much of the NR as the other cancer cells. And then, they looked at whether the NR supplementation could fuel the growth and metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer cells in mice. And, it turns out that, and this is no surprise because it appears these breast cancer cells could take up NR quite readily, they found a brain metastasis in 9 out of 11 mice that were fed NR and only three out of the 12 control mice that they did not give it to.
Now, some people step back and look at this and say, “Okay. Well, breast cancer cells take up NR and NR seems to aggravate mice who have been injected with cancer cells and then give an NR, so we should avoid the stuff the plague, right? Well, first question to ask is dose. Did they use a dose that's similar to what the average human being is supplementing with? Well, if you actually do the math, which you can do, you can look at what they give to the mice, and usually you would divide that by a certain number too just for the difference in surface area between mice and humans. And then, divide that again to account for this being a short-term study. And, when you do all the math, I won't bore you or belabor you with that. Turns out that they were using the equivalent of what the average person takes when it comes to NR supplementation around 25 to 30 milligrams or so. A lot of people actually take quite a bit more than that. And, that's considered to be a low dose of NR. Well, does this now mean that you should not take NR because it's going to give you cancer like all of the headlines immediately popped up and said?
Well, this is a problem. There was this book a long time ago called “The China Study.” And, it basically said protein causes cancer, high amounts of protein causes cancer, protein for meat causes cancer. What they failed to really point out at least thoroughly in that book was that, yeah, protein seems to fuel cancer when cancer is pre-existent in mice and rodent models that were injected with a toxin to induce cancer growth than given high amounts of protein. Protein, in the average cancer-free person, does not cause cancer. So, if I were to get cancer, there are many things I would do. One of the first things I would do is I would limit my protein intake and I would limit my carbohydrate intake because both seem to be capable of fueling cancer. And, I would shift to a vegetable-rich ketogenic approach, almost similar to Gerson therapy. However, when cancer is not present, that doesn't mean that protein gives you cancer. And, you could say the same thing about this study on NR. It's a model, it's a study that assumes the existence of cancer.
And so, yeah, if you have breast cancer specifically, I would not be using NR or NAD or NMN because it appears to be able to aggravate or fuel that in the same way I wouldn't be eating a high-protein diet if I had cancer like that. And so, it's something that always needs to be taken with a grain of salt, so to speak, or a grain of NAD, I suppose in this case. And yes, NR has a lot of great data behind it for its longevity-enhancing properties. It's something that David Sinclair has studied up on quite a bit. I haven't talked with him. I don't know what he thought of this study, but basically, yeah, if you have cancer, you may want to avoid it. You should avoid it, in my opinion. But, this study should not be used to suggest that healthy people could get cancer from supplementing with nicotinamide riboside. It may actually help to prevent cancer because some studies have shown that nicotinamide can reduce the risk of melanoma, for example. But yeah, if you have cancer, I would not use NR anymore. And, that's a new recommendation based on the science. But no, NR is not going to give you cancer.
Alright, so cleared that up, and I'll link to the study and everything if you'll check it out for yourself if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/452 along with a great paper that my friend Chris Masterjohn wrote, breaking down the whole recent NR causes cancer scare
So, speaking of scare, here's one that might scare if you're a pothead. This is not a brand-new study, but it's one that recently came across my radar because there was a doctor on a podcast who said the THC was really bad for your brain, the cannabis, that weed was really bad for your brain.
And, there's multiple people, probably most notably Daniel Amen, a great researcher and physician when it comes to neural health, who really says that cannabis is about the worst thing you can do for your brain. Now, I am not completely against cannabis, I think, especially high THC cannabis is good for pain killing. It could even be used as an alternative to opiates in many cases in smaller amounts. I think it's good for creativity. I think that especially for female orgasmic experience, it's wonderful for sex. So, I think there's a time and place where THC fits in. But, despite its potential therapeutic use, this study basically highlighted the fact that cannabis, especially high-THC cannabis appears to be a risk factor for ischemic stroke in young adults, which is true. And so, they evaluated the effects of THC on brain mitochondrial function and oxidative stress, which are key factors involved in stroke. They didn't do this in humans though. They did it in rodent models.
Now, let me fill you in on what this all means. So, basically, when we look at the mitochondria, they're the main source of ATP production, they're particularly involved in the balance between cell survival and cell death. And, most cell energy get through something called oxidative phosphorylation, which is a process that requires the action of a set of enzyme complexes located in a part of the mitochondria called the inner mitochondrial membrane. Now, this inner mitochondrial membrane as it produces energy, basically it's leaking a certain number of free radicals, a certain amount of reactive oxygen species. And, that's normal. They're even used as signaling molecules. It's a reason that in people who over-exercise and have excessively high metabolisms and eat too much food they wind up with a lot of free radicals, a lot of inflammation, a lot of these reactive oxygen species.
Well, what they wanted to look at in this particular study was whether THC would increase that reactive oxygen species production by the mitochondrial in the brain and contribute to the toxicity or perhaps the ischemic stroke risk of something like cannabis use in young adults. Well, it turns out that when they looked in vitro in the brains of mice and rats, so getting a little mice and rats high, what they found was a really significant increase in free radical leakage in the brain after THC exposure. That supports this idea that a fraction of the electrons that reduce oxygen to reactive oxygen species in the respiratory chain are much greater in the presence of cannabis. Okay. So, your brain basically goes into free radical overproduction hyperdrive at least theoretically when exposed to high amounts of THC-containing cannabis, especially if you're a little mouse.
However, the brains of mice and rats can give us clues as to what occurs in the brains of humans. I would love to see a study on the effects of cannabis in the brain what's called in vivo in humans via both intravenous as well as inhalation and edible-based routes. But, when I saw this and I saw that not only do we see THC-related neuronal damage but you also see this increase in brain reactive oxygen species production got me thinking about a few things. First, regular frequent THC usage, this is yet another nail in the coffin that suggests that it's not the best thing for your brain, really isn't. There's a time and a place just like there's a time and a place for a cocktail and there's a time and a place for a donut. But, I would not really, if you want to prioritize your mental health, be a frequent user of THC-containing cannabis. The same might not be said for CBD, which actually has some great anti-inflammatory properties. But then, the other thing I would consider is in the same way that I recommend that if you're going to have vegetable oil, sauces, dressings, et cetera, and I don't even like the whole food salad bar with their cold expeller pressed canola oil or whatever, there are certain protective compounds that can help with that. Spirulina is one. Glycine is another. Those can help to mop up the damage from something like vegetable oil in terms of what it does to the cell membrane.
Well, if you are going to use THC, and perhaps you see where I'm going here, high intake of antioxidants, and I revealed a whole bunch of the highest antioxidant-containing foods like clove and allspice and gooseberry in Q&A 451, so that might be a good one if you go back and listen to and look at the chart of, I would consider step up the antioxidant intake on any days, which should be few and far between anyways in which you're exposing your brain to a high amount of THC because there's some pretty good evidence that you're going to really ramp up your reactive oxygen species production in a case like that. So, A, be careful with your THC usage; B, I would use a lot of antioxidants if you were going to use THC.
Now, I did mention CBD, the non-psychoactive component or one of the non-psychoactive components of THC. And, this was interesting. I figured while I was talking about cannabis, I'd bring this up because it's a brand-new study. They looked at the use of CBD, cannabidiol, in the management of insomnia. And, what they did was they had a bunch of studies, 34 different studies that they looked into several of which use CBD predominant therapy and some of which used a CBD in a certain ratio with THC, usually an equal one-to-one ratio. Now, what they found was that CBD alone or CBD in a one-to-one ratio with THC could be quite beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of insomnia, which is great to know.
Now, here's what this paper didn't mention. THC can actually, and I'm not intentionally throwing cannabis under the bus here, THC containing cannabis, and I don't have anything against it, again, for the right time and place. I think it can be a good molecule to use for things like creativity and sex and painkilling. But, what they fail to mention in this analysis is that THC across a wide variety of people can cause a real decrease in both deep sleep as well as dreaming and memory consolidation during sleep. And, this is what this study speaks to me concerning if CBD can give you just as good an amount of sleep without deleteriously impacting sleep architecture in the same way that THC does, why not use CBD. And, I use CBD pretty regularly for sleep. I have these little gummies I get from Element Health. I actually recently interviewed the folks at Element Health about these things. And, I think they work very well for sleep. They're full spectrum CBD, so they have a very, very small amount of THC in them but you'd have to eat a ton of them if you were going to say get high, and then they have a little tincture, a little dropper bottle with tincture. And so, CBD I think it is great for insomnia, but I would not use CBD with THC in it when you're able to just get the CBD and isolate or at least a full spectrum CBD.
But, speaking of insomnia, because it is something that I occasionally get, I would say about two or three times a year, I'll come down with a multi-day bout of something very closely resembling insomnia. And, usually, it occurs after I have returned home from a bout of international travel and my circadian rhythmicity is just all messed up. Well, one of the things that I have found to be super-duper helpful for me and I believe I heard about this originally from Dr. Andrew Huberman is this non-sleep deep rest protocol also known as Yoga Nidra. Chronic insomnia is something that has been looked into in terms of how it actually responds to a Yoga Nidra practice. And, for me at least, Yoga Nidra, if I wake up in the wee hours of the morning, can't get back to sleep and don't want to take some a supplement or don't have one, or if I just want to lull myself naturally back into a sleep or a sleep-like state, works very well.
The way that I do it is I have a track. So, I have the Muse app on my phone. I have another one called SleepSpace. I also have a couple of just downloaded YouTube tracks on my phone. And, all of them range from 10 to 40 minutes in length, but they're all Yoga Nidra tracks. And, essentially a big, big part of it, for me at least, is this body scan where you're scanning your feet and relaxing your feet, then moving up your ankles and relaxing your ankles and your knees and relaxing your knees. Typically, I'll get up to about my hips and then go dead to the world. Sometimes I will stay awake and alert enough to go all the way up to the top of the head. And, even if I don't fall asleep or lose track of myself or my mental awareness by the time I've got up to the top of my head, it is still incredibly relaxing. And, it does seem to provide the feeling of having slept without necessarily having slept.
And, it also occasionally just lulls you back into a state of sleep because it's difficult to ruminate on the type of thoughts that would normally keep you awake if you're scanning your body and going up and down your body because it almost distracts your thoughts from doing other things. It's this concept. There's a device out there. I don't like it because I can't sleep with things wrapped around my head that well. But, there's a device called the Ebb, E-B-B, and it circulates cold water through this device that you wrap around your head based on research that shows that cold water can shift blood away from the frontal cortices of the brain and allow for less thought rumination to keep you awake. And, I have one I've tried. I wake up with it all cockeyed and halfway hanging off my head and wires coming out and then maybe there's a way to eventually design something that's a little bit less invasive. But, nonetheless, Yoga Nidra seems to give me a very, very similar experience. And, it's also useful to be used as say a nap, for example. So, anyways, I just wanted to point that out when it comes to insomnia.
And then, the other thing that I've found lately, and I don't know if I've talked about it on a podcast before, but I feel it gives me a similar experience as Yoga Nidra. It's a meditation app that somebody told me about a few months ago. And, I've been using it and I really like it. It's called Synctuition, S-Y-N-C-T-U-I-T-I-O-N. It's dozens and dozens of different journeys. You almost get a similar effect as though you've done some, I don't know, a plant medicine journey or deep breath work. But, the way that the sounds are engineered and the fact that there's a specific theme for each mini journey like the one I did today was about the miracle inside of each of us. The one yesterday was called Destiny. You start at level one. You go all the way up to level seven and they increase in advancement in terms of the binaural beats that are used in the intensity of the protocol. And, I've made it all the way up to level seven on this thing and done almost every meditation in it. And, I love it. Each meditation lasts about 22 to 27 minutes, which is a nice little sweet spot for me. And, I usually do it when I'm laying in bed. If let's say I wake up at 4:00 and I don't want to get out of bed till 4:30. I'll switch on Synctuition, just lay there either snuggling with my wife and playing it in the track, or else I like to put a pillow underneath my knees and just lay back and have my head cradled and do it that way. But, this Syntuition app seems to work really well. And, sometimes I'll fall back asleep and stay in bed.
So, anyways, Synctuition is also an interesting one. So, CBD, Yoga Nidra, Synctuition, there are many, many other things that they can help with insomnia and help to support sleep. I mean, my supplements company Kion, we have a fantastic sleep product called Sleep fittingly enough. It takes a little while to hit your system like 20 or 30 minutes. So, what I do is I actually take the capsules even though there's a Sleep powder as well, I just have the capsules on my bedside right now, and I just chew on them and let it dissolve under my tongue and I feel it hits me in about 10 minutes. And, it's just a few different relaxing compounds like theanine and tryptophan. And so, Kion Sleep work well. But, I love to find things that don't require me to be attached to some kind of chemical or supplement to sleep. And, I think that Yoga Nidra or the Synctuition app alone or in combination with something like Kion Sleep or CBD are really fantastic solutions for people who want to sleep better because who doesn't want to sleep better and who hasn't occasionally had to deal with a bout of frustrating insomnia. It's probably one of the most frustrating things I've had to deal with. And again, fortunately, it only pops up a couple times a year.
Alright, I got my latest shipment just in time for winter sports and physical activities and I'm happy. It's my clothing shipment. There's probably, when you see me in videos and photos and stuff like that, one brand of clothing that I'm wearing more than any other brand. It's called Vuori, V-U-O-R-I. My wife wears their Performance Joggers, which she swears is the softest joggers she owns. They come in a bunch of new colors. You got to hurry up and get these new colors while you can because they sell out quick. You go to Vuori.com/Ben, V-U-O-R-I.com/Ben and they'll give you 20% off your first purchase and free shipping on any order that's over 75 bucks and free returns. But, they also have the leggings with the high waist drawstring tie and no-slip fit for girls. They've got their core short, which is their super comfortable men's lined athletic short with compression built into performance. And then, they got a men's performance jogger, which is awesome and super comfortable, and great for lounging around on Christmas morning or Thanksgiving. I'm just saying. So, Vuori.com/Ben, V-U-O-R-I, is where you can go to discover the versatility of Vuori clothing for yourself.
Alright, remember last time you were at a gas station and you saw those over-the-counter sexual performance-enhancing pills? They're tempting, I know, but if you ever actually looked at the ingredients, it's a bunch of central nervous system over-stimulants that give you four-hour erection and nasty side effects and heart problems and a possible trip to the hospital. There are certain pharmaceuticals out there that you could take for enhanced sexual performance, but why not go all natural? There's this company called Joy Mode. My wife and I have been using this stuff. What it is is it's a powder you pour into water. And, it's got L-citrulline, arginine, yohimbine, and vitamin C. The arginine and the yohimbine increase nitric oxide production and relaxation in your genitalia and increase sex drive. And, the antioxidant action of the vitamin C protects the nitric oxide from what's called oxidative degradation, which further enhances the blood flow-promoting activity of the nitric oxide. So, put all that together, you get enhanced sex drive and blood flow for both ladies and gentlemen to their nether regions. And, it doesn't have all the sorts of side effects that prescription medications or over-the-counter gas station pills come with.
You just tear open the sachet, you mix it with some water. I dump it straight into my mouth because I'm weird like that. And, they take about 45 minutes to four hours prior to sexual activity. It'll last about five hours or so. You get better blood flow, better erection quality and firmness, screaming, better orgasms, better sexual energy, better sex drive. So, if you want to spice things up in the bedroom naturally and boost your sex performance naturally and do it without nasty prescription drugs or pharmaceuticals or prescriptions, then here's my offer for you. Go to usejoymode.com/GREENFIELD. That's usejoymode, J-O-Y-mode.com/GREENFIELD or you can just enter the code GREENFIELD at usejoymode.com, that'll get 20% off your first order. Have fun with that one.
Let's keep talking about the brain, shall we? This is really interesting. They have this thing called the super-aging research program. It's at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine for cognitive neurology and Alzheimer's disease. That's a mouthful. What they've done is they've recruited a whole bunch of participants to be a part of what they call this super aging research program. So, this SuperAger, as defined by these Northwestern researchers, is an adult over the age of 80 who seems to have a superior memory capacity that resembles that of a middle-age adult, meaning a young brain, a super-aging brain. Now, these elderly individuals must in order to be classified as a SuperAger demonstrate their ability to recall everyday events and previous personal experiences significantly better than the people who are in their 50s or 60s. Their performance on other cognitive tests doesn't necessarily need to be superior, but they need to have a better ability to recall and they're specifically looking at memory capacity.
Now, they believe that the data obtained from this study are going to have pretty significant implications for elucidating the mechanisms responsible for things like Alzheimer's onset and dementia onset. And so, in this program, what they do is they have the participants who are considered to be SuperAgers provide blood samples. And, they also do MRI imaging and positron-emitted tomography, PET scans of their brains. And, by the way, I should note, little bragging moment here, I just got a full body MRI including an MRI in my brain this facility called Fountain Life in Naples, Florida. I'm going to do a podcast on it soon. And, it turns out that I'm in the 98th percentile in terms of my cortical thickness and the rate of shrinking in the cortices of my brain. So, yay for me, something's working. Maybe it's that avoidance of THC or the Yoga Nidra or whatever, I don't know. But anyways, furthermore, after a SuperAger dies, they donate their brain to the super-aging program. And, that's how they look at things like the cortical thickness and the shrinking and things like that. And, by the way, the cortex is responsible for decision-making processes and critical thinking and retention, and memories.
And so, what they're hypothesizing, these researches at Northwestern, is that the delayed shrinking in the SuperAger's brain might be due to larger and healthier neurons, particularly within a part of the cortex called the entorhinal cortex, which is usually the first part of the brain that gets affected in Alzheimer's disease is the part of the brain that plays a pretty significant role in memory and learning. So, in addition to having what appears to be a more resilient cortex, these SuperAgers have fewer what are called tau tangles, which you may have heard of is these protein infiltration tangles that are heavily associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Now, they also found these things called von Economo neurons, von Economo neurons, VENs, that are located in the frontal insular cortex and the anterior limbic area of the brain. Now, these are what are called elongated bipolar neurons. And, they are involved with regulating emotions and attentiveness. Now, they also found the brains of SuperAgers have a significantly greater concentration of these von Economo neurons, these VENs. So, we've got fewer tangles, we have more VENs, we have less brain shrinkage, we have what appears to be a thicker cortex and less degradation of the cortex in these SuperAgers.
Now, here's the thing, is this genetics, or are there certain things that these SuperAgers are doing that might actually help this to occur? And, I'm going to link to the full article for you if you go to BenGreenforLife.com/452 and you want to take a deeper dive. But basically, they have found, this is probably not going to surprise you, most of these SuperAgers appear to remain relatively physically active on a daily basis. But, in addition to that, they constantly use their brains every day. They're always reading, learning something new. Most of them have not retired or continue to work well into their 80s. In addition to that, they're very social. They often have a lot of family and friends. Many of them are active volunteers within their community and they have this strong sense of connection. It seems to be a distinguishing feature actually compared to even otherwise healthy individuals of the same age as these SuperAgers is the connection and the involvement with community. And, short, there might be some genetics at play here too. I didn't really see that come up in the article at all, but remaining physically active, remaining mentally active, and remaining socially active appears to do a lot of things to the brain in particular that can help to shift you a little bit more into the status of a SuperAger.
So, interesting information, good to know, and I think that more people probably could be a SuperAger if they went out of their way to do those things physical activity, mental activity, and relationship activity. So, there you have it.
Alright, so this next one, this is actually interesting. This is related to my trip to that Fountain Life medical facility I was talking about. They actually found, and this didn't really surprise me because I have a family history of coronary artery disease on my mother's side, they found a little bit of an onset of coronary artery disease in me. Not anything super concerning, pretty stable plaque, but nonetheless it kind of sent me down this rabbit hole of looking into ways that I could either reverse coronary artery damage and then be on statins, which there's a little bit of data behind. There are some other things. Low-dose testosterone seems to have an impact on it. There are certain injectable what are called PCSK9 inhibitors that seem to do a pretty good job at slowing or reversing the onset of coronary artery disease. But, as a guy who also likes to look at, as much as possible, natural solutions that are out there on God's great planet, I came across some interesting data on the artery-unclogging capabilities of pomegranate extract and pomegranate juice.
Now, for example, there is one Israeli study that looked at patients with a narrowing of their carotid arteries that occurred as a result of atherosclerosis. And, remember the carotid arteries in your neck, those are responsible for more than 80% of the blood flow to your brain. And so, when those narrow, that's a pretty major risk factor for stroke. Well, among the patients that were given daily pomegranate juice supplements for one year, these atherosclerotic lesions in the carotid already decreased by 35% and actually, they grew 9% in a control group who didn't get the pomegranate. So, the pomegranate actually reversed existing atherosclerosis. And, this is really interesting because they found it had a really, really good impact on blood pressure as well, which of course could aggravate or intensify the potential for a stroke in people with pre-existing coronary heart disease. So, it has almost this artery-unclogging effect and increases blood flow. Now, it seems to also prevent damage to their arterial walls and improve blood flow to the heart. Now, pomegranate has a lot of other good things going for; it helps to benefit people with diabetes, it can kill prostate cancer cells, it can fight degeneration of joint tissue. And obviously, it's pretty low cost to get a concentrated pomegranate juice or I suppose if you're trying to watch your calories or your fructose intake, you could get a pomegranate juice extract.
There's one company that sponsored this podcast sometime back. They actually still are sponsor, Timeline Nutrition. They make a blueberry extract with high amounts of what's called urolithin A, which even appears to have some life-extending properties. It's produced by the bacteria in your gut in response to the intake of things like blueberries and, drum roll please, pomegranates. And so, there's probably a little bit of a longevity-enhancing effect of these pomegranates as well. So, if you're not doing something like I would say blueberry extract or pomegranate extract or pomegranate juice or wild blueberries in your smoothie, it'd probably be good idea, especially for your heart health for long-term heart health to consider doing something like that as a really cool natural way to scrub the arteries, to unclog the arteries.
And, I think that after coming across his dad and taking a dive into it, especially when looking at my own coronary artery disease results from Fountain Life because I never look at these things and consider them to be crushing or defeat us when you find out something about your genetics like I have a high risk of type 2 diabetes but I follow this cyclic ketogenic approach and my blood sugar is fantastic, my fasting's about 60 and my hemoglobin A1c is 47 and so I'm fine as far as that goes. So, whenever I come across data like this, it excites me. I'm like, “Oh, I have a new challenge here. How can I help my body and equip my body to stave off this thing that could potentially take me out?” And so, whenever you hear about stuff this, note it, and make it a part of your protocol. And so, pomegranate is going to be a great, great thing to include.
And hey, if anybody out there has a pomegranate supplement or a pomegranate powder, a particular pomegranate juice that you looked into and really like, let me know. It'd be interesting to know a little bit more about it. So, you could go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/452 and leave your comments over there. By the way, polyphenolic antioxidants have also been studied to lower the ability of LDL to become oxidized in the formation of what are called macrophage foam cells, which you might also be familiar with is something that can attenuate atherosclerosis or aggravate atherosclerosis development. So, basically, there's just a lot going on for pomegranate juice. And, that other study I mentioned is a pretty recent study in people who were consuming pomegranate juice regularly just the good old pomegranate juice that you can buy at I think just about any grocery store. Forget the name of the popular one, P plus something like that. So anyways, that's cool.
There's also another element of the fruit kingdom that came across my radar recently in October 2022 study. I've been aware of this one for a little while and so I thought it was kind of cool when it turns out that there's a lot of benefits. So, many of you may have heard of kiwi fruits, kiwi, as something that can improve sleep by specifically improving serotonin and subsequent melatonin production before a night of sleep. A lot of people will not eat a couple of kiwi fruits because they don't want to eat too much sugar before bed or something like that. I don't think kiwis are that big of an issue. And, I'll think you're going to become morbidly obese by having a kiwi or two before you go to bed. But, as a guy who intermittent fast, et cetera, I don't eat a lot of fruit right before I go to bed. However, this was not related to sleep, this is related to constipation, chronic constipation, highly prevalent worldwide. I would say if I air on one side of things like flowing too loosely or being constipated, I would air towards the side of constipation.
And so, what this recent study looked into was the consumption of gold kiwi fruit, which is a form of kiwi fruit. And, they wanted to see what it did in comparison to psyllium, very common fiber that's used for management of constipation, and they found that the kiwi fruit, a couple of gold kiwi fruit eaten daily doesn't even have to be a night before I go to bed was as effective as fiber matched psyllium in treating constipation and was very safe and very effective. Well, the kiwi, the way that this works is kiwis, they have a really high water-holding capacity and high viscosity, which helps with fecal bulking and softening. You may have heard my interview, and I'll link to it in the shownotes, with the author of a book called “Quench.” We get into how a lot of fruits contain a certain form of water that's not water or that's not a liquid or gas or solid but it's more a gel-like structure.
There's even a researcher at University of Washington named Dr. Gerald Pollack who's done research showing that a lot of the water in the body and in the cells both intracellularly and extracellularly is it's bonded in a certain way that turns into a little bit more of a viscous gel. And, that type of viscous gel is very hydrating. If you've ever had a chia seed slurry where you soak chia seeds in water, I suppose even more fittingly if you've had Jell-o, with gelatin, you've of course experienced water in a gel-like format and you'll find that format in fruits. And, kiwis in particular have a high amount of this gel-based water content. And so, that can help with fecal softening and bulking, but then kiwi also has a high amount of a probiotic enzyme in it called actinidin.
Actinidin is an enzyme that breaks down proteins. It also increases gastric emptying. It might even have a little bit of a laxative effect through its stimulation of receptors in the colon. And then, when you combine that with the fact that kiwis have a really high polyphenol content which can confer digestive health benefits and they can also promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria like bifidobacteria so they can fend off harmful bacteria and have some brilliant antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, there's a lot going on when it comes to kiwis and your GI health.
So, what I did, and I'm going to experiment with this for a little while, is I ordered just a kiwi powder, a organic kiwi fruit powder from Amazon, and I'm going to try putting that with my glass of water that I have with dinner, stir it in. Sometimes I make little cocktails at home like I'll do some instead of having alcohol, I'll have a glass of ice with some soda water and some electrolytes. And, sometimes I'll throw some ketones in there, a little bit of kava. And, I just play around and make these little alcohol-free cocktails. I have a few recipes like that actually in my book, my “Boundless Cookbook” has a lot of alcohol-free cocktail recipes like ketones and kava and superfoods, et cetera, mixed with waters. And so, I'm going to start to try a little bit of kiwi powder just because of how many benefits it seems to have for the gut, and just step back and see what happens.
So, for those of you who want to try kiwi fruit, go for it. Let me know how it goes. And, I'll link in the shownotes that study as well if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/452. Alright, so that's that for kiwis.
Now, I have I think one other cool little—it's not really a study, it's an article that I came across recently that I wanted to share with you. I think it's really fantastic. And, since we've talked about sleep a little bit on today's show, I suppose we might as well stay in that lane and I want to tell you about an article that I found that was just really solid that I think you'd like. It's called “10 sleep hacks to change your life,” 10 sleep hacks to change your life.
Now, this is written by a sleep specialist. I'm going to get on the podcast soon. His name is Dr. Daniel Gartenberg. He actually developed that app I mentioned earlier, the SleepSpace app, which tracks your sleep and plays little noises when you're in deep sleep to lull you into deep sleep and can even activate an alarm function based on your deep sleep levels. And, he's got a lot of stuff going on from gadgets and gizmos and supplements for sleep. But, he wrote this article, and I thought it was good. It had some really good reminders when it comes to sleep hygiene. So, I'm going to share a few a few of the big ones with you. I'll share all 10 with you and then you can go read the article I'll link to at BenGreenfieldLife.com/452. And again, I'm going to get this guy on the podcast eventually because he's got some good information.
Number one, establish a bedtime routine. And, sleep sciences say sleep happens 30 minutes before bedtime. And so, if you have trouble falling asleep, you need to have some kind of a wind down routine. For me, it's wandering into the bedroom, getting out my book, laying out all the little things, my earplugs and my sleep mask, turn it on my little ChiliPad that circulates cold water under my bed, sliding into bed, picking up the book, reading, then I pray for about five minutes with my wife and then you go to sleep. And, it's almost this routine, but just like you'd have a pre-game routine. Even tennis, when I played college tennis, used to bounce the ball three times before every serve. I still do that with pickleball. So, a bedtime routine.
Next is consistency. Okay, the more consistent you are with your circadian rhythmicity, meaning if you go to bed at 10:00 pm on the weekdays, try to go to bed at 10:00 pm instead of 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. on the weekends instead of going back and forth between different sleep and wake times. As much as possible, be consistent with your sleep and wake times. Go to bed and wake at a similar time every day as much as possible.
Number three is to control your light in the day. Of all the things you can impact your circadian rhythm, I think light is the biggest. And, that means at least 30 minutes and preferably to two hours of sunlight exposure, big amounts of natural light exposure. Even if you're just installing bulbs in your office that are halogen or incandescent or closer to the spectrum that sunlight would produce. That light exposure decreases the flow of melatonin, staves off the sleep drive, and then you of course eliminate the large amounts of light at night with blue light blockers and red incandescent bulbs, et cetera. Controlling light is number three and it's actually in this article number four because number four is controlling light at night.
This guy wrote the article, Dr. Daniel, he actually recommends a certain type of light called a LIFX light. I don't have LIFX lights. I got some different brands, but LIFX light is a brand, L-I-F-X. And, I think he might even have helped to produce those lights but they're deep red home environment light. Okay. So, any rooms that are associated with sleep like your master bedroom or your master bathroom or your kid's bedroom, you would install something like a red incandescent bulb or a very warm glowing bulb, preferably the halogen or the incandescent variety. Or, if you got to go with LED, go with OLED. And, because they kick off a lot of EMF, avoid dimmers as much as possible.
Next one is reduce noise in the bedroom. Now, obviously, there's a lot of ways to do this. Like I mentioned, I'll use earplugs. Make sure the windows are closed, et cetera. But, you can also introduce certain noise, certain sounds that block out ambient sounds and you may have heard about these apps that will make white noise and brown noise and purple noise. I don't even know what the colors come from. I'm sure somebody does, I just haven't really researched that much. But, pink noise, pink noise is the best noise for drowning out background sounds while simultaneously improving your sleep quality, particularly your deep sleep quality. So, pink noise. If you're going to play any kind of noise on that, go with pink noise.
Okay, the next tip, tip number six, is to compartmentalize a racing mind, to compartmentalize a racing mind. All this means is you create an external brain next to your bedside. Typically, for me at least, it's a journal with a pen. I use a Pilot pen that has a little light on it. So, when I push the pen on it, light up, and that prevents thoughts from surfacing when you're trying to sleep and keeps you at 4:00 a.m. from thinking, “Oh, I got to do this, I got to do this, I got to do this, I better get up and just start doing it so that I'm going to forget this stuff.” Okay, being able to write stuff down whether before you go to bed or at some point when you wake up is called compartmentalization. Compartmentalization for anybody who has ruminant thoughts or racing mind, very, very great tactic.
Okay. Next is track it to hack it. The doctor says track it to hack it. So, whether you use Fitbit or Oura Ring or an Apple Watch or [00:51:29] _____or a Biostrap or Withings or Garmin, whatever, what's that new mattress, the Eight Sleep Mattress. Now, I personally am pretty picky, I don't like to use something that tracks sleep if it kicks off a lot of dirty electricity. So, for me, I'll use the Oura Ring because I can put that in airplane mode. I believe the Whoop strap is another one that could be placed in airplane mode. I will if any device does quantify me I want to make sure that I can disable Bluetooth, I can disable Wi-Fi, et cetera.
But, all comparisons and quantifications allow you to do is better understand how your behaviors are impacting your sleep. And, a lot of people don't like the fact that they feel they got a good night's sleep and they're full of energy and the day is going to be amazing, bro. And then, they look at their wearable data and it says, “Oh, you got a 70% in your sleep,” then all of a sudden, they're like, “I mean, never mind I kind of feel like crap today.” So, it's not about your device devices bossing you around telling you how you feel based on how you truly feel, you got to be in touch with your body as well. But, man, in terms of the ability to be able to correlate anything from body temperature to pulse oximetry to the activities that you did or did not do before bed to what you ate, et cetera, you can just gather so much data, and really hack more quickly your way into figuring out what determines a good night of sleep for you and a bad night of sleep. So, tracking, that's number seven.
Number eight is help your sleep by helping your family sleep. Because if your significant other or your dog or your cat or whatever is restless or is fighting for blankets or is snoring, that's obviously going to impact your sleep. So, I think a lot of people, if you're listening to this podcast, maybe you're in a biohacking or health enthusiast, how often do you share this stuff with a child or with a spouse, with a dog or a cat, I suppose, the dog or the cat so much? But, basically, the more you can help others in your environment to sleep, the better you're going to sleep.
So, I mean, if my wife has, let's say she has a cough or sometimes when I have a cough, it'll keep me up, I will proactively go out and get the Fisherman's cough drops. I think they're called the Fisherman's. They're really powerful ones. And, I'll put them on my wife's bedside and I'll say, “Babe, I got cough drops for you.” And, just something as simple as that can help me get a better night of sleep. And, of course, I care for my wife, I love her, this isn't all just selfish so that I can sleep better. But, doing things to help other's sleep is going to really help you. So, I like to kind of go through the house and make sure we go to the kid's bedroom, we do their bedtime routine with a song and a story and a meditation. My wife and I pray. I make sure she's relaxed and her day went well. And, that really allows me to sleep when I know that others aren't up and down all the time during the night. I'm probably the worst sleeper in the house, personally. I think I'm the one that's the most awake and alert in sentry mode during sleep. But, help others around you to sleep.
Number nine. This is an interesting one. Take a hot shower bath an hour before bed, a hot shower bath an hour before bed. So, this hot shower bath counterintuitively will decrease the body's core temperature as the blood gets shunted away from the core into the extremities, to cool those extremities that have been heated from the hot shower or the bath, but then you also get this relaxation effect whether it's a magnesium bath, or some people even like a lukewarm shower, some people will put wool socks on to heat the feet to shunt blood over to the feet and away from the core. There's a lot of different ways that you can do this, but improving deep sleep in particular. When it comes improving deep sleep, it seems some type of a warm or a hot shower or bath around an hour before bed seems to help out quite a bit. I have this wonderful routine. I only do this maybe once a week or so but it's a real treat. I'll put magnesium salts into the bath. I like the Ancient Minerals, has a really good magnesium bath soak, and then I'll put some essential oils like lavender or rose or bergamot. I'll put some red lights on, like one of those Joovv red light lamps in the bedroom or in the bathroom. And so, you got your salts and your oils and your red lights and a good book. And man, I never have a bad night of sleep after something like that. I don't know, we'll see. Maybe if I throw some of that kiwi fruit in the mix it'll amplify the experience even more. But anyway, so getting the body warmed with a warm relaxing hot bath or hot shower.
And then, finally tip number 10 is to wake up gradually. Okay. So, there are Smart Lights, like my kids they would go to an alarm called a Smart Light. So, it plays little bird songs and gradually comes up like the sunlight in the bedroom. There are many apps now like the Sonic Sleep Coach is one example. I believe the Oura Ring has this function now. So, many wearables, they'll detect when you're going through your sleep cycles as you're getting that light sleep cycle. Later in the morning, it'll start to wake you rather than an alarm blaring as you're in deep sleep and ripping you out of sleep, which can have this really intense cortisol awakening response, you produce this intense cortisol awakening response. That gradual increase in those concentrations of stress hormone can help you to feel a lot better when you wake up. It's another reason not to just wake up and turn on the phone, drink a cup of coffee, like easing yourself into the day. And, easing yourself in a day even starting with the alarm seems to be a pretty smart strategy.
So, if you want to delve into more of the details of that particular article, I'll link to it if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/452. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/452 but it's 10 sleep hacks to change your life.
Well, I failed today because I couldn't figure how to get Twitter Spaces working. And so, I don't have any live Q&As today, but I hope that you learned a little bit. And, if you do want to join in for any of these, what are usually live Q&A experiences, you can go to BenGreenfieldLife.com. You can subscribe to the free newsletter there and you'll see in the newsletter in the weekly roundup when these Twitter Spaces events are going to occur. You can also, and this might even be more simple, you can just follow me on Twitter, twitter.com/BenGreenfield. And, I always tweet out a few days prior when we're going to do these Q&A episodes. You can hop on and ask questions. And so, anyways lots of resources out there for you. I hope this has been helpful for you. If you have your own things to add, your own recommendations on pomegranates or sleep hacks or anything else, go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/452. You can leave your questions, your comments, your feedback over there. Have an amazing week.
Just imagine a hotel surrounded by nature, vineyards and gardens, this forest classified as a historical garden in a very special country at a hotel located in the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. Imagine this place has a state-of-the-art spot, 2,200 square meters, 10 treatment rooms, an indoor pool with underwater sound and chromotherapy. Imagine a kitchen team that brings to the table not just delicious food at this place but values environmental sustainability and wellness and local sensitivity and global sensibility. Imagine being able to be bathed in luxury and being able to be local, to buy a local and to eat local, not caged off of some fancy tourist but it's a part of the community and part of the Torah of the region.
Well, that's exactly what you experience in Portugal at their Six Senses luxury retreat. And, I'm going to be there for a special event that you can read up on at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SixSenses. It's called the Boundless Retreat. And, at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SixSenses, you can see everything we're doing. Every day starts with a healthy farmhouse breakfast, morning movement session with me, you get access to three different 60-minute spa treatments that you can choose from throughout the day, indoor pool and vitality suites, meditation, sound healing, an alchemy bar with Kokodama and yogurts and pickles and sprouts workshops, retreat meals all made from locally sourced organic produce, Q&As and sing-along sessions with me. This is going to be an amazing remarkable once in a lifetime experience. You get four nights full board accommodation in a deluxe room there at the facility. And, this thing, as you can imagine, is going to fill up fast. It's in Portugal at the Six Senses retreat in Portugal.
Again, all the details are at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SixSenses. And, the dates are February 27th through March 3rd, 2023, February 27th through March 3rd, 2023. I hope to see you there.
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.
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