[Transcript] Q&A #458 – The Official Guide To Fructose, Triglycerides, Heart Health, Heart Testing, Keto Risks, Statins, Why You Should “Eat Like A Pig” & More.

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From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/qa-458/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:35] Podcast Sponsors

[00:05:11] About this Q&A Episode

[00:06:39] AI and Heart Health

[00:23:12] More on heart health: Plasma Viscosity

[00:26:53] On Aspirin

[00:31:07] Ginger for Heart Health

[00:34:41] Podcast Sponsors

[00:40:27] The hidden benefit too so-called dick pills

[00:47:01] Risk tool for Statins and Hearth Health

[00:51:18] EXCESS fructose can make you fat, but not if you're NOT in caloric excess

[00:56:14] Eat like a Pig to Combat Obesity

[01:12:43] Low-carbohydrate diets, low-fat diets and mortality in middle age and older people, a prospective cohort study

[01:18:00] On Dr. Davis's SIBO yogurt and the oregano protocol. I think I could benefit from both, but should they be separated or could I do the both of them in four weeks?

[01:24:08] Isn't their product against what is considered healthy? All their oats have sunflower oil in them? You've taught me to avoid these oils, I'm so confused.

[01:28:39] Closing the Podcast

Ben:  In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life show.

The official guide to fructose, triglycerides, heart health, heart testing, keto risks, statins, why you should eat like a pig, and a whole lot more.

Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.

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Well, hello, folks. If you're watching the video version of this podcast, fancy spanking camera setup in my office, I'm waving at the camera right now. Hello. You can check out the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/458. And yes, if you heard right, there actually was a brand-new paper about how we humans should indeed eat like swine. And, I'll be talking about that. So, welcome to this show. This is a solo Q&A show. If you have a question that you would like to leave for this show and I am addressing a few listener questions today namely on yogurt, oregano, whether oregano kills good bacteria in the gut, and also a question about sunflower oil, you can actually leave your question by visiting the shownotes. You go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/458. You leave your question there. Sometimes if you hit me up on socials, I might see some of those questions and be able to put them into the podcast. But, usually going to the shownotes is the best way to leave your actual question.

So, that being said, the way these episodes go if you're a first-time listener, welcome, I go through some news flashes, a lot of different articles and updates and papers that I come across in my morning readings that are sometimes sent to me or sometimes introduced to me and sometimes come across in all these different digests that I follow as well as the research journals that I read. And then, also, I respond to listener questions

Alright, so as you probably gathered from the introduction and the title to this podcast, I'm kind of a little bit infatuated with heart health and metabolites in general because, well, frankly, I'm going to open the kimono for you. So, I've recently gotten this Cleerly test done, C-L-E-E-R-L-Y. Now, this is important because I think that lipid testing is going to be a thing of the past in probably five years compared to more advanced diagnostic imaging. One of the reasons for that is because when you get a cholesterol panel, it's really not showing you what's in your tissue. That's a blood measurement of your cholesterol. It could correlate to how much cholesterol is say in your brain increasing risk for Alzheimer's or how much plaque is potentially building up in your heart, but when you measure your cholesterol and you get those values back, it's not actually indicative of what's building up from a tissue standpoint. And, that's very important and I'll be doing a more comprehensive heart health episode in the coming months to dig into some of the subtle details surrounding what I've just described.

But, long story short is I personally went and did a Cleerly test, C-L-E-E-R-L-Y. Now, this is an AI-driven test that is based on non-invasive coronary CT scanning to measure the amount of plaque buildup in the coronary artery. So, its aim is to detect heart disease before symptoms arise because this is important to know. The first symptom for more than half of coronary artery disease patients is actually a heart attack. And, that's a pretty unpleasant way especially if it's one of the widowmaker varieties of heart attacks for you or a loved one after you've deceased to find out that there was something going on with your heart that all the lipid panels, all the LDL and HDL and triglyceride measurements on the planet didn't actually indicate to you was going to occur because there are a lot of people walking around with pretty healthy lipid panels who actually have some type of blockage, some type of plaque buildup. In many cases, unstable plaque, which can be the more concerning variety.

So, this Cleerly scan is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to actually truly see what's going on in terms of plaque buildup in your heart. So, the way that it works is you go into a doctor's office and they use what's called coronary computed tomography angiography. So, yeah, there is a little bit of radiation involved with this test because they actually do have to use radiative imaging to see what's going on. So, when you do this test, what they're using is a diagnostic scan or imaging of the heart that then goes on to use AI to basically predict the amount of no plaque, mild plaque, moderate plaque, or severe plaque in the arteries. And, this is very significant because it is really the only way to directly measure the levels of atherosclerosis that might be occurring.

So, this has been studied and I'll link to a really impressive study in the shownotes. It's called “AI evaluation of stenosis on coronary CTA.” So, what they're looking at is comparing whether this coronary angiography is actually able to, based on some of the artificial intelligence-based solutions built into it, allow you to truly know what's going on in terms of plaque buildup in the heart. And, it has been identified as a very accurate and robust non-invasive tool for the identification and exclusion of cardiovascular disease; namely the type of cardiovascular disease that's related to plaque buildup in your arteries.

So, I went in and got this test done. First of all, I know that some of you might be concerned about the amount of radiation that might be occurring in response to a test like this. And yes, you do get exposed to radiation and know its faults when you hear people say, “Oh, you're getting exposed to far more radiation when you travel on an airplane or go through an airport scan.” The fact is, you'd have to take about 500 transcontinental flights to get exposed to the same amount of radiation that you would get exposed to during one of these Cleerly scans. Yet, I think that doing one of these every three to five years is actually pretty prudent in my opinion because at this point I truly believe it's the best diagnostic stand that you can do to actually know what's going on in your heart. Can you actually take care of that radiation exposure, mitigate it somehow? Well, it's also false that all these different herbs out there can protect you from the effects of radiation. People talk about alpha lipoic acid and mistletoe and ginkgo and apple pectin, all these things that you should take in response to radiation. It's possible that those might have a mild effect, but the only supplement so to speak that I think really truly works and has effective evidence behind it for radiation is simply iodine.

For example, I have two bottles in my pantry of Life Extension's Potassium Iodide, it's a pretty hefty dose of iodine. I still take it once per week just because I travel a lot, I go through a lot of airport scanners, et cetera. There's a lot of non-ionizing and ionizing radiation that we're just naturally exposed to during the course of our lifetimes. So, I use it as almost a preventive agent. If you're interested more about iodine and the other effects that it can have in terms of improving metabolism, improving thyroid health, et cetera, go back and listen to my podcast episode with Dr. Leland Stillman. Dr. Leland Stillman and I talked quite a bit about iodine. So, if anything, you can take potassium iodide for a few days leading into a Cleerly scan and after a Cleerly scan if you want to address some of the radiation that you're going to get exposed to during this thing. But nonetheless, I still do think that it is a prudent test to do.

And, just so you know, the radiation is measured in what's called millisieverts. So, 1 millisievert would be equivalent to the average amount of radiation that a person receives in a year. And, I believe one of these scans exposes you to something in the range of anywhere from 5 to 15 millisieverts. So, it's pretty significant, the amount of radius you naturally get exposed to over the course of a year or over many, many transcontinental flights on an airplane, for example.

So, that all being said, I went in and got this Cleerly scan done and I did this a few months ago. My results showed a high amount of plaque in my arteries. Now, some of this is based on genetics, some of it is due to a robust history of masochistic amounts of endurance exercise, which as Dr. James O'Keefe has demonstrated definitely has a law of diminishing returns when it comes to heart health. Once you exceed a certain number of minutes of endurance exercise per day, you see arterial stiffening and inflammation and plaque formation that occurs that dictates that more endurance exercise is not better. It's something right around the range of more than 90 minutes of the type of marathon type training, Iron Man Triathlon type training per day that would result in unnecessary stress on the heart.

Now, the interesting thing is that a lot of the type of plaque or if you've gotten, let's say, a calcium scan score, the type of elevated calcium that you might see in the arteries of an endurance athlete is more stable. It's more tightly packed and it's less likely to result in some of that plaque breaking off and causing something like a stroke or a heart attack, but nonetheless, it is concerning, especially if let's say, you've done a whole bunch of endurance exercise, seen the light and realized that it might not be all that great for you stopped but then are living with all of that leftover plaque in the arteries and perhaps even aggravating that with a high intake of oxidized fat, saturated fats, a dirty keto diet, which we'll talk about later, et cetera. It's something that you definitely need to worry about or at least be aware of especially if you're an endurance athlete. 

And, sure enough, my levels were around in the mid-400 range, which is pretty high for plaque. I'd love to see that below 100. And so, as a result of that, I've actually been researching a lot of different arterial scrubbing compounds. Pomegranate would be one. There are other fantastic supplements and I'm currently going through and testing many of them short-term though; however, I am using red yeast rice extract, which is basically nature's statin. I'm using niacin and I'm using CoQ10 because any type of statin whether a prescription-based statin or a natural statin like red yeast rice extract can strip the body of its coenzyme Q10 levels and cause issues in the tissues so to speak and mitochondrial health.

So, I have already started on addressing the buildup of plaque in my arteries, but that's what kind of got me down this road of being very interested in plaque formation and what one can do about that if you do a Cleerly scan and find out that it is indeed an issue.

The last thing that you should know regarding this whole idea of cardiac blood tests, diagnostic imaging, and even the use of artificial intelligence to develop algorithms for predicting risk of heart disease is that there is one other company I kind of have my eye on and will likely do a test with at some point during my year of the heart so to speak. And, this company actually is indeed called a HART, H-A-R-T, or at least their test is called the HART test. The company is Prevencio Med. Now, they're very interesting. You can go to PrevencioMed.com to check them out. But essentially, they have a test called the CVE, which measures in a pretty significantly accurate way, your risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiac death. And, all they're measuring are four different proteins. One called NT-proBNP, which is associated with myocardial heart stress. 

One called kidney injury molecule-1 or KIM-1, which is associated with cardiorenal dysfunction and injury. One called osteopontin, which is associated probably most notably for me or anyone else concerned about plaque with calcification and plaque formation. And then, one called the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases, which is associated with plaque rupture potential and also left ventricular enlargement and dysfunction or so-called athlete's heart.

So, the way that their tests work is they take these proteins and based on previous research and their internal algorithms associate these pretty simple protein measurements with your risk for anything that they are measuring for. They also have one in addition to the CVE, I just described to you, the CADhs, which assesses three different proteins to look into your risk of obstructive coronary artery disease. And, they have a few other tests that look at more obstructive peripheral artery disease. One that looks for aortic valve stenosis. One that even looks at your blood test for risk of amputation. One that looks at kidneys. But, I think the most compelling is this CVE test and the CADhs test, which again will test for obstructive coronary artery disease and heart attack, stroke, or cardiac death. So anyways, I'll link to Prevencio Med also in the shownotes because that's another one that I will likely be exploring in greater detail this year.

Another important thing to note is that in a lot of the research that I've done, these newer PCSK9 inhibitors appear to be a pretty safe and effective way to treat plaque when it comes to melting plaque so to speak. And, I'm going to do a big podcast about this with a cardiac physician in the coming months. But, it turns out that some of the PCSK9 inhibitors and perhaps to a lesser extent some of the statin dosages that can be used in small to moderate amounts have quite a few benefits that I think overcome any of the potential deleterious effects of statins such as the stripping of coenzyme Q10 in the body or soreness or things of that nature.

So, what I'm actually doing right now is a test. I'm doing this protocol of red yeast rice extract, niacin, CoQ10, pomegranate, and a few other arterial scrubbing agents. And then, I'm going to go in and do a repeat Cleerly scan and lipid panel. And then, I'm going to start on a statin, namely I'll be taking a small dose of what's called ezetimibe and a small dose of what's called rosuvastatin. I'll be taking about 10 milligrams of the rosuvastatin, about 5 milligrams of the ezetimibe per day. And, that's based on a pretty robust paper that showed that depending on the stage of plaque accumulation in one's heart, there are certain levels of statins that you'd want to take. For example, stage two, which is technically where I'm at would be well-treated by rosuvastatin, ezetimibe, a small amount of aspirin, which I'll get into soon, and then what's called rivaroxaban. If it were a much, much more significant amount of plaque, you would also throw in cardiac rehabilitation, PCSK9 inhibitors, what's called bempedoic acid, ASA, and a few other long alphabet letter soup names that I'll link to a paper if you want to clarify this.

So, the paper is called “Integrating Coronary Atherosclerosis Burden And Progression With Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors To Guide Therapeutic Decision-Making.” I know that's a mouthful but basically what they did was analyze all of the different statin-based and medical-based methods to get rid of atherosclerotic burden because frankly, this is not something plaque accumulation. What I'm referring to is not something that you're necessarily stuck with for life. You can literally melt it away. And, I had one physician friend who was showing me his plaque score which was up in the 500s and he's since gotten it down below 100 using some of the statin-based approaches that I've talked about combined with a little bit more of a Mediterranean diet physical activity, et cetera. However, my take as I'm trying the natural root first, and then I'll try the statin root. And, I'm just basically using myself as a guinea pig to see which one has the greatest impact on plaque score and on lipid panels. So, ultimately that is the TLDR of how I've gotten to be so interested in heart health in the first place and why several of the things I'm going to mention on today's show are indeed related to heart health.

So, that all being said let's address a couple of other things related to the heart while we are on this topic. So, the first is let's say that you did not want the radiation and you weren't able to go in and get something like a Cleerly scan. There are companies such as Fountain Life, which has several locations in the U.S. There are companies like Next Health as well that can offer this type of Cleerly scans. There are also one-off locations, for example, a friend of mine recently in Austin, Texas was asking me about where they could get this scan in Austin, Texas. There's a place called Austin Heart that does it. You would just google the name of your city plus Cleerly scan to see if it would come up.

But, a recent article actually indicated that an even less invasive measurement could also tell you some things about your heart that go above and beyond what a simple lipid panel or even more advanced lipid panel could tell you. The most notable that was recently published was a research paper on what's called plasma viscosity. Now, plasma viscosity measures the viscosity or the thickness of your plasma. That's the liquid part of your blood and it's affected by the amount of proteins in the blood. So, protein levels in the blood can increase as a normal response to infection or inflammation and plasma viscosity will increase when these proteins are produced abnormally. So, when you measure the viscosity of the blood, it's a direct indication and even more sensitive I would say when it comes to heart health of your actual atherosclerotic risk compared to something like, let's say, C-reactive protein or even things like Applebee or your HDL to triglyceride ratio. This appears to be even more accurate than that.

So, you can actually ask your physician to order this test for you. It's a blood test that they do. They measure it by taking your plasma and they calculate the force that's needed to send your plasma down this thin tube over a period of time. So, normal plasma viscosity, the plasma would go down the thin tube more quickly but the thicker or the more viscous your blood is, the slower the blood would travel down that tube. So, this is probably one of the reasons that aspirin seems to be so effective for a variety of reasons including heart health because it can decrease plasma viscosity. And, I'll talk about aspirin here shortly because there's some interesting things you should know about it.

But basically, this plasma viscosity test in a recent paper basically showed significant correlation to indicating your risk of a cardiovascular disease event and also just all-cause mortality in general. So, the takeaway from this is that from here on out, if I do get a lipid panel, I'll be asking my doctor if they can also order a plasma viscosity test. And then, in an ideal scenario, if you're throwing in something like diagnostic imaging with a Cleerly scan every three to five years or perhaps a little bit more frequently until you're sure that you've reduced your plaque burden, that's in my opinion kind of a gold standard for many of the type of things that you should look at for the heart.

Now, if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/HeartHealth, you'll find a podcast where I actually took a video camera and an audio recorder to a doctor's office about four years ago and talked about a lot of other things that can be used to find out everything that could be going on with your ticker so to speak. And, this included an electrocardiogram, both resting and with exercise, a blood flow score, nitric oxide measurements, an echo ultra or ultrasound echocardiogram which shows kind of the thickness of the muscles in the heart. And so, if I could go back and do that entire podcast all over again, I would have also done the Cleerly scan. However, everything that I talk about in that podcast episode is pretty decent as far as if you want to know everything that was going on in your heart, what to actually go and ask your doctor about ordering or doing for you. So, that's kind of the idea behind plasma viscosity and kind of a newer measurement that's come up as far as something that could be good for the heart.

Now, I also mentioned just a little bit ago aspirin. Now, aspirin is interesting because not only can it be used for treating something like plaque accumulation, but there was also a recent paper that shows that aspirin actually mimics everything that calorie restriction does for you. So, we get this age-associated deterioration in cell function and overall organ function that is associated with what's called disabled autophagy, meaning your normal autophagic flux in the body, the extent to which your cells clean up is something that tends to decrease in its efficacy over time. 

Now, this is why intermittent fasting can be a good life extension strategy because if done properly without excess of restriction of certain macronutrients like never eating carbs or being a pre-menopausal woman and doing excess intermittent fasting or being a very lean active weightlifting male and not eating enough food for too long a period of time. There are some issues with intermittent fasting, but overall, it is a fantastic way to increase cellular autophagy, especially if the fast is longer than 16 hours. I'm not necessarily endorsing fasting longer than 16 hours every day. I think that something like a well-timed one to four time a month 24-hour such as a dinner time to dinner time fast is a good way to spark cellular autophagy. And then, you can do a shorter 10- to 12-hour intermittent fast on a daily basis to get some of the other gut-relieving benefits of fasting and some of the other longevity benefits of fasting.

But nonetheless, aspirin appears to induce the same type of autophagy benefits that fasting does and that many of these calorie restriction memetics like metformin or berberine or bitter melon extract can do. Now, the dosage of aspirin needs to be taken into account because even though low-dose aspirin can be very effective for this, if you're already on other blood thinning agents, particularly fish oil would be the one that leaps out as the most commonly taken supplement that would thin the blood, you do need to be aware that there is increased risk of bleeding. And, while a baby aspirin can definitely decrease your risk of a heart attack or a stroke, you want to be careful if you're combining with other blood thinning agents and that's just something that you can talk to your doctor about or you can analyze any other blood thinning agents that you're taking and make sure that you're taking a very low, low dose of aspirin if that is the case.

And so, just to contextualize this for you, a low, low dose of low-dose aspirin would be somewhere around 70 to 80 milligrams per day. A slightly higher dose of low-dose aspirin would be above that like 80 milligrams all the way up to around 300 milligrams per day. A typical aspirin dosage taken for pain or inflammation or fever is 600 plus milligrams. So, when we're talking about low dose, it's close to 1/10 of what a normal dose for inflammation or pain would be and you'd want to be on the low end of low dose if you're already taking fish oil or any other blood thinning agents. But, what's interesting is, and this has influenced me to think a little bit more about in addition to getting on red yeast rice extract, niacin, and CoQ10, getting on low-dose aspirin is because it appears to bleed into other areas of your life, pun intended, see what I did there, in terms of the longevity enhancing effects. So, aspirin at low doses seems to be relatively risk-free, especially if you're not getting a brand that's high in aluminum, which some of them are. You can do a Google search for aluminum-free or low-aluminum aspirin to see some brands. But basically, it acts almost like a calorie restriction memetic, which can induce cellular autophagy. So, good to know about aspirin. And so, that's one thing that you can add to your list of something to look into as far as heart health and also cellular autophagy goes.

Now, another thing to look into and this was also a recent paper that was just published is ginger. So, this was this was a paper that came out a couple of months ago on the effects of ginger on human serum lipid profiles. What it found, long story short, is that ginger had a significant impact on triglyceride levels in human subjects. So, the reason this is important is because there's something called your atherogenic index, which is your triglyceride to HDL ratio. Ideally, that should be, in my opinion, below 1. Meaning, my HDL for example is up at about 130 my triglycerides are around 70, so I have a very low triglyceride to HDL ratio. A ratio above 4 is considered to be pretty significant as far as increase for cardiovascular disease risk. And so, the idea of lowering triglycerides through mitigating sugar intake, vegetable oil intake, overall calorie intake, excess fructose intake, et cetera, is a good idea. But, it appears that throwing some ginger into the mix and using that frequently as an herb or a spice if you want to call that because it actually is pretty spicy in your cooking is a good idea.

And, this isn't the first paper or investigation into ginger in correlation to heart health that has come out. Ginger has been studied since the '90s as far as I'm aware for reducing plasma cholesterol, for inhibiting LDL oxidation, for attenuating the development of atherosclerosis, and now, it's shown for decreasing triglycerides. So, I actually use ginger quite a bit already so I'm not really needing to change much up there. I use ginger powder. I just have a big herbal glass container of ginger powder. I use dry ginger quite a bit when I travel as a cheap digestive hack. Not only do I travel with peppermint oil in my fanny pack, but I grab ginger root when I go to the grocery store. I chop up ginger root, I put that in a pot or a pan in water, which is especially good if I'm staying in a suite or an Airbnb or a place where I have access to water that I can boil. And, every morning, I just wake up and I boil the water with the ginger tea and then I have that to sip on throughout the day. And then, I also have the little ginger pieces that get all nice and soft in that water. And, I'll chew on those and it's fantastic for gut health as well as many of you know. 

But ginger also has a really great impact on the heart and it's pretty dirt cheap to just go grab some ginger root if you happen to be traveling somewhere, organic please because this is a root and can bioremediate certain things from the soil. But, organic ginger root that you just boil in water each morning whether you're at home or on the road can be a really great way to easily get access to ginger pretty cheap, and then ginger powder that you use in cooking, for example, or some of these dried gingers, that can also be a good way to do it.

My wife likes the ginger chews, but in my opinion, those are just a giant sugar bomb that you're chewing on throughout the day. So, I think they're called the Gin Gins. I'll occasionally have one of those Gin Gins, but what I like better is some of these herbal supplement companies that'll sell ginger lozenges or ginger chews with lower amounts of sugar or again, save money, cut out the sugar entirely and just go straight to the ginger root. And yes, you can put a little bit of organic stevia or monk fruit extract into ginger tea and it's actually pretty tasty. A little bit of a raw organic honey in there can be pretty good too if you're not concerned about the fructose. And, I will get to the fructose here shortly because that's something else I want to tell you about.

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Hey, so you may or may not have heard my podcast with Dr. Jeffrey Bland, crazy smart father of functional medicine doing things like harvesting rare known wheat varietals from long-lived populations in random places in China, importing them to the U.S., growing them, isolating the probiotics and prebiotics from them and then delivering you this comprehensive immune wellness and longevity enhancing approach using an ancient grain that's been reinvented that by the way, most people have gluten issues handled just fine. Another example of what he's doing is harvesting fresh Alaska salmon, flash freezing it, guts and all because the guts contain a bunch of stuff most other fish oil manufacturers don't use, packaging that up, flash freezing it, and making that available as a fish oil. I think if you were to get anything he has available right now although his entire shop called Big Bold Health is amazing, you should look into Microbiome Rejuvenate.

He took all that 100% organic Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat and then he studied up levels of lactobacillus rhamnosus CRL 1505 and micro algae-derived beta glucans with key polyphenols. So, all that means in non-geek speak is some of the most gut-friendly compounds and immune-friendly compounds. And, since your gut immune axis is incredibly related essentially healing your immune system or strengthening your immune system directly through your gut, I've started to use this stuff and it's really nice to have that insurance in the morning that I'm popping what science knows to be one of the best things I can do for my immune system every single day.

Big Bold Health is going to give you 10% off anything from their website. Very simple. Their Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat flour, that Microbiome Rejuvenate I talked about, go to bigboldhealth.com and use code BEN10 for 10% off. That's bigboldhealth.com and use code BEN10 for 10% off.

Alright, folks, here's the deal. A lot of you probably wonder how I run my business. All the lessons that I've learned in the past 20 years going from fledgling personal trainer, recording a podcast, my basements to writing books, to driving books all over Spokane and dropping them off at GNCs, to eventually speaking and doing conferences and building a supplements company, I'm going to open the kimono on all that with everything I've learned from a business and a business development standpoint. And, I'm going to do that at an event that's coming up in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Now, this event is geared towards people who are in the fitness industry, health industry, people who want to study up on how to make more money with what they do, how to be more profitable with their businesses, and perhaps most importantly, how to make the most impact and disrupt their industry. It's going to be an event that I'll be giving my talk and there's going to be a lot of other really great stuff with this event. It's called Disrupt. It's in Atlanta, Georgia September 29th through October 1st. so, Atlanta, Georgia, September 29th through October 1st. It's put on by a friend of mine who's been a podcast guest twice, Dr. Isaac Jones who's fantastic. But, also speaking there is going to be Dr. Dan Pompa, Eric Zielinski who runs drz.com, Dr. Jockers, very popular article writer and blogger, Dan Pompa's son Daniel Pompa who's a marketing expert ninja with things like YouTube, Instagram, et cetera, Josh Isaac who is an expert in sales and scaling, a whole bunch of other folks. And again, it's in Atlanta, Georgia, September 29th through October 1st. This is a really cool event if you want to build your business and you're in the health industry.

So, here's how to get in. disrupthealthcare.co/2023. I realize that's a mouthful, so I'll say it again, disrupthealthcare.co/2023, disrupthealthcare.co/2023 September 29th through October 1st. Would love to see you there with me.

We've talked about ginger, we've talked about aspirin, and then also it turns out that there's a hidden benefit too so-called dick pills as well. That's right. Viagra, which I think — this is based on memory recall not something that I'm looking at as far as a paper but I believe that Viagra was first investigated for its blood pressure lowering effects before it became rebranded as a men's sexual health agent. Although it works fantastically for women also in the blood flow sexual performance orgasmic departments, but tadalafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, and sildenafil is also acting similarly. It's what's called a PDE5 inhibitor, a phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor. And, essentially what that means is it's going to increase nitric oxide pretty dramatically, particularly in the nether regions although it does have a full body flushing vasodilatory effect. And, because of that, it opens up the arteries.

So, no surprises here that it turns out that both of these compounds, sildenafil and tadalafil, have been shown now to significantly reduce the likelihood of progression to heart failure, myocardial infarction, and death compared with people who were not taking either those drugs. So, they studied men for five years and found that they had a much lower risk of most heart disease risk factors if they were taking an erectile dysfunction pill.

Now, could you skip the pharmaceutical prescription or the sketchy online dick pill pharmacy and get a similar effect from something like a nitric oxide lozenge or nitric oxide supplement? Most likely. I've used the nitric oxide supplements before. I have used the JOYMODE, which is a sexual performance booster with arginine and citrulline and things like that in it. And, that's got vitamin C in it as well to lower the rate of breakdown of the nitric oxide. And, I've also used Viagra. I think that Viagra is definitely the most powerful and the only way I'm gauging this metric is literally by the hardness of said dick. But, at the same time, the nitric oxide pills seem to work pretty well and that JOYMODE stuff also despite it being a central nervous system stimulant that if you take too close to bedtime is going to keep you awake works pretty well also.

There are also certain formulas. Dr. Mike Major, a doctor out of Phoenix, introduced me to a little lozenge I've talked about on podcasts before. It is a mix of tadalafil, amorphine, and a certain peptide called PT141 that is fantastic for both libido and erectile quality all at once. And, it's also great for women also. There are also companies, one being Nootopia, for example. Nootopia is mostly known as a nootropic or a smart drug company run by BiOptimizers, the same company that makes some supplements that I like, Gluten Guardian, for example. Great supplement that turns gluten into soup basically if you have it prior to eating bread or pasta or something like that. So, a great friend for your trip to Italy or your next trip to the steakhouse. But anyways, Nootopia has a blend now of a nitric oxide precursor, a dick pill-esque type of compound that I recently received in the mail. That one I've used a little bit of too and it also seems to work pretty well.

So, ultimately, it doesn't have to be Viagra or sildenafil or tadalafil, but what you should know is that many of these supplements that can increase sexual performance have a direct positive impact on the heart. Now, the only thing that I'm concerned about here is that there are, to my understanding, many adolescents and teen boys and young men who don't need an erection pill actually taking it for sex. There's a big, big difference between the type of erection that you get when you take particularly something like Viagra versus a normal natural erection. What happens, I think psychologically, is that guys get addicted to this stuff and can't really engage in confident sex unless they have this pill in their body because they're a little bit fearful about maybe the person that they've been having sex with suddenly seeing that or feeling that their dick isn't quite as hard as it used to be and so that gives them performance and anxiety issues or they feel like they just can't get it up unless they take their supplement beforehand.

So, I want to issue a word of caution if you're a young man listening into this that I do not recommend that you begin to rely upon these things as a crutch in the same way that I don't think anyone in a healthy state should have to rely on coffee or some type of nootropic or smart drug as a crutch to get throughout the day. Good sleep is better. The same thing with something like your erection quality, fellas. If you're eating a diet rich in nitrates with arugula and you're working in beetroot and a lot of natural compounds, getting high amounts of vitamin C and making sure that your underwear isn't too tight and lifting weights with your legs, which triggers a lot of these androgen receptors in the legs. If you're doing all of these things, then the Viagra or the nitric oxide or the PDE5 inhibitor or the PT141 or whatever, that should be the icing on the cake. But please, do not use my podcast as an excuse to think that you got to take some kind of a fancy supplement every time that you want to have sex. I don't. But, yeah, there's certain nights where I just know it's going to be a big date night with my wife. I'll take something like that. And then, now that I know the benefits for heart health, I'm making sure that I make a point especially when it comes to my plaque score and what I've seen as far as my own risk for atherosclerosis using some type of nitric oxide precursor or blood flow or vasodilatory agent on a daily basis.

The other cool thing is if you have some type of a sauna practice, infrared sauna practice, et cetera, there's a very popular protocol called the Niacin Flush that is a protocol where you take a high dose of niacin before you go and get into the sauna because you increase your sweat rate, your removal of toxins, you increase your body temperature a little bit. And, this type of compounds have a similar effect as that high-dose niacin. So, it's great for kind of going along with sauna like a turkey and cranberries so to speak. I suppose in this case, beetroots and goat cheese. So, there you have it.

Okay. The next thing that I wanted to talk about while I am still, yes still, on the topic of heart health, now I did mention earlier probably much of the chagrin of my don't ever go near a prescription statins are the devil listeners that I am considering low dose statins. I'm going to do low-dose statins. I already have them. I'm just doing a washout period where I compare them to red yeast rice extract, again just using myself as a guinea pig so I know which one is better for me to be taking for life. But, I do still think that statins are overprescribed.

Now, there was a recent article that came out that looked at a risk tool that was released by the American Heart Association. And, what that risk tool is is it's what physicians use to identify people who should be prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins. So, this is a risk tool that combines age, sex, smoking status, cholesterol level, blood pressure, and other factors to calculate your risk of having a heart disease or a stroke or a fatal coronary disease in the next 10 years. 

So, the problem is that it turns out that when they looked at the calculated risk that would indicate that someone should be put on a statin to the actual incidence of heart attack stroke or death from blocked arteries, the correlation was not that great, and actually indicated a pretty significant risk for over-prescription of statins. And, not just over-prescription of statins at a low dose which is the exact protocol that I'm considering, again, 5 milligrams of one, 10 milligrams of another, but a pretty high dose of statins that considering some of the side effects and expenses of statins would dictate that this risk calculator is not all that great. It strikes at the heart of the risk calculator and the severe overestimate of risks in this article. And, it turns out that there are a lot of people who are at high risk based on this calculator who actually are not. And remember, they're not doing actual diagnostic imaging, they're not doing a calcium scan score, they're not doing Cleerly score. This isn't even based on your lipid panel, it's just looking at some of these factors that you would literally almost type into a web browser or answer on a piece of paper. And, those calculator risks would put you on a medication that you don't actually need to be on. 

The other thing that's just shocks me about these calculators is they don't take into account diet and exercise. Obviously, if you have a healthier lifestyle and a healthier diet, those same inputs would add up to less risk. So, being this age with this cholesterol level and this blood pressure would add up to a lower risk if you're exercising or avoiding trans fats or say eating a bunch of blueberries or something like that.

So, long story short, the reason I bring this up is because it returns back to the value, in my opinion, of getting actual data, getting actual diagnostic imaging, and not just using some type of a American Heart Association risk estimator to look at whether or not you actually do have cardiovascular risk or whether or not you should be say placed on a statin. And, of course, the other very important thing to remember is that many people have normal lipid values, a low-risk score on a test like this risk estimator by the American College of Cardiology, and still have high levels of plaque. In some cases, that can be unstable plaque or a high calcium scan score in which case your lipid panel isn't telling you much. This risk factor screening isn't telling you much, but the diagnostic imaging is where the real magic lies in terms of telling you what's truly going on with your heart.

Now, I did speak incorrectly, I think, as I was describing that risk estimator tool to you because it does actually take into account your total cholesterol, your HDL cholesterol and your LDL cholesterol. That's it. But, it doesn't take into account triglycerides, APOE, the cholesterol particle size, inflammation, blood sugar status, et cetera. So, that's just something to think about again when it comes to the weakness of something like a risk estimator.

That really wraps up most of what I wanted to tell you about heart health unless you think that fructose is related to heart health because it actually can be.

Now, fructose, and the reason I want to bring this up is often vilified as poison. I think there's people most notably Robert Lustig who have really thrown fructose under the bus and I think made many of us fructose phobic. Now, the interesting thing is that there are studies that–and there's many of them and this most recent one is the one I want to point out to, I'm going to link to it in the show notes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/458. That show that fructose-containing sugars are actually a near non-issue unless you are in a state of caloric excess

So, this most recent paper included 169 trials that assess 14 different food sources of fructose at four different energy levels, a negative calorie intake and even calorie intake and excess calorie intake and a very excess calorie intake. And basically, what it showed was that if you are eating a high amount of fructose but if you're still at a caloric balance, the fructose is a non-issue when it comes to adiposity or triglycerides or heart health or anything like that. Meaning technically, and I don't endorse this because you're going to get pretty low on micronutrients and proteins and things like that in the long term, but technically when we're just looking at, let's say, weight gain and adiposity, if you're burning, let's say, 2,000 calories a day, you could literally drink 1,999 calories of pure soda on a daily basis and not gain a pound, and not get obese and not see an increase in adiposity or not see an increase in triglycerides. 

The only problem with fructose is when it is consumed whether from natural or more unnatural high fructose corn syrup type of sources such as soda. The only time when it becomes an issue is when your calorie intake is in excess. And, this most recent study was a pretty robust study of a lot of different other trials on fructose and it just found the same thing. Fructose is a non-issue. And, many people even lose weight with high fructose intake as long as they're at a negative calorie balance. And, of course, like I mentioned, if you're eating a whole bunch of fructose, you're cutting out the amount of protein that you could consume, you're cutting out the amount of low glycemic index carbohydrates, probably not getting as much fiber, probably not even getting as much omega-3 fatty acids or monounsaturated fats as you should. But, I really want to tell you that you do not have to be guilty even if you're eating, I don't know, three apples a day and a fresh juice or you found out your kid had a coke at a birthday party but was running around burning 400 calories all time and jumping up and down on trampolines. Ultimately, fructose, is not that big of a deal. 

I mean, I have probably the equivalent of nearly a tablespoon of raw organic honey per day or a little bit of fructose from a Kion Energy Bar which uses fructose as its main sweetener. I typically have a handful of berries each day. I am definitely not fructose-phobic. I would say less fructose phobic than I've been in the past just based on study after study that I see that shows that fructose is only an issue. Even if it's 100 pure fruit juice or sugar, soda, unless you're at an excess calorie intake.

Now, the only thing I should note here is that there is a thing called fructose intolerance. Okay, fructose intolerance means that you don't contain the enzymes in your body that allow you to break down fructose properly. It's called fructose malabsorption that you get as a result of this, your cells of the intestine can absorb fructose normally that leads to bloating, diarrhea, constipation, flatulation, stomach pain. And so, that's actually something that apparently about 30 to 40% of people in Westernized societies have. This would also be very similar to what's called FODMAP sensitivity where you tend to get bloating gas, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, things like that in response to, oh, let's try this off the top of my head, fruit tans, oligosaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyol-based sugars. So, wheat, apple, onions, fructose, energy gels, et cetera, make you super bloated and gassy and really do a number to your gut. 

So, those would be two times if you have let's say SIBO, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, or fructose digestion intolerance. That would indicate that regardless of whether or not it's going to make you fat, fructose is probably going to at least make you pretty miserable. So, there might be other reasons to avoid fructose, but it's definitely not the fact that fructose is going to make you fat. So, yay for fructose, yay for Coke, yay for Pepsi. I'm just kidding. I think there's better cleaner sources of fructose like that amazing spoonful overall organic honey that I drizzle over my salad at lunchtime. Making me hungry.

Okay. Speaking of making me hungry, the other super fascinating and actually pretty entertaining article that came out in the Journal of Metabolites was called “Eat Like A Pig To Combat Obesity.” This was actually fascinating. I'm going to link to this article in the shownotes, but you might be aware of this; Pigs are often studied for human-related research because they are eerily close to a human when it comes to their digestive tract. So, pigs and humans have a lot in common. In the wild, both would have consumed omnivore diets, scavenging a variety of plant products, ranging from roots to fruits, to eggs and insects and honey and the like, eating meat when it was accessible but not all the time. The digestive tract of a human and a pig is remarkably similar. That's why pigs are high on the list of candidates is cross-species organ donors for humans metabolically were similar. Where do you think we get insulin from prior to the introduction of biotechnology-produced insulin? Pig-derived insulin was the primary treatment for type 1 diabetes. When you have digestive enzymes, many of those digestive enzymes are literally harvested from pig pancreases, porcine pancreases, swine pancreases. That's what's used to treat human pancreatic insufficiencies.

Winston Churchill actually said he had an interesting quote. They talk about in this paper. Winston Churchill said, “I like pigs. Cats look down on human beings. Dogs look up to them, but pigs just treat us as their equals.” And physiologically, it turns out that Churchill was pretty accurate in that statement. So, what can we learn from pigs when it comes to how humans should eat and whether or not we should actually eat like a pig? So, pigs actually do a fantastic job in intuitively predicting what is happening in terms of their total energy output versus their total energy intake. When a pig is studied, they will not eat ad libitum food despite our stereotype of a big fat pig if they are in their natural environment. Meaning a pig will eat approximately as many calories as it's burning if it's staying at a stable weight or if it's living in its natural environment. So, this would even mean if it's cold out, a pig eats more. If it's warm out, a pig will often eat less. It will basically eat less if it's moving less. It will be more of it's moving more. Humans could actually take a note from pigs in that regard, basically keep track of how much you're moving during the day, keep track of how much you're eating during the day. And, if you don't want to gain weight, just don't eat more calories than you are burning. That's the number one thing and pigs do it very well naturally.

Now, the next thing is pay attention to genetics. So, in pigs, there's two different genetic examples I can give you. There's one called the patron pig, one called the Meishan pig. The patron pigs are typically very muscular. They look like they work out in the gym on a daily basis and the Meishan pigs are typically chunky little pigs. They're almost couch potatoes. 

Now, in the patron pigs, the muscular ones, as you would imagine, they have much higher metabolisms, they have much greater energy burn, they often appear to be less obese. And, it turns out that they actually eat a higher calorie intake for weight maintenance; whereas, the Meishan pigs naturally intuitively, like I mentioned earlier, eat fewer calories. And, there are literally companies. The DNA Company is one example that comes to mind. Kashif Khan runs that company. Shout out to Kashif. He just wrote a fantastic book. It's back over on my shelf there, it's called “The DNA Way.” I just read it, but you can get your DNA test and actually find out your fast twitch slow twitch muscle fiber composition, your propensity to obesity, your fat-burning propensity and kind of a Meishan versus, what was the other kind of pig called, Meishan versus the patron pig. You can actually adjust your calorie intake or at least be aware of your metabolism based on genetics. And, you can of course also go into something called a physiology laboratory and get what's called an indirect calorimetry test. It tells you how much carbohydrates and how much fat you're burning at any given intensity including rest during the day. 

For five years, I ran a physiology lab and I would do tests on people almost every day who wanted to just know how many calories should I eat to stay at maintenance calories or maintenance weight. And, that's a fantastic test you can do as well. It's just called an indirect calorimetry test or a metabolism test. You should be able to Google the name of your city and that test. Many universities will do them. Many universities have physiology labs as do sports performance centers, et cetera. And, there are even some home tests now. I think one's called the Lumen that will approximate this for you at home.

Pigs will vary in terms of their epigenetic programming. Meaning that young pigs who were born with inadequate nutrition and hypoxia and in a stressed-out environment tend to suffer from higher body fat content. So, this can give humans good indication of how we actually birth or bring young humans into the world. We want to make sure mom is on something like a very nutrient-rich Weston A. Price diet and in a low-stress state. We want to make sure that the child is in preferably a low EMF, really good oxygen, natural lighting type of environments that they have very low amounts of stress early on in life paired with high intake of breast milk or colostrum or a good baby food or baby supplement. I like the Serenity baby foods. For example, they have a fantastic baby formula and baby food pouch. I actually still eat their baby food pouches with my lunchtime salad along with that spoonful of honey because it's just so fantastic and nutrient dense.

But basically, the way that we treat our children early on in life, particularly when their babies, is going to influence their propensity for weight gain later in life. We see the same thing in pigs. Pigs who get inadequate nutrition, hypoxia, are born in a high-stress environment, et cetera, tend to have poor insulin sensitivity, more rampant fluctuations in blood glucose. And, what they've actually shown, however, is the number one thing that allows these pigs to develop normally is lowering the glycemic load of their diet. Meaning that a pig or a human born in a high-stress low nutrient-dense, low oxygen type environment, one of the number one things that they could do is to eat a diet that has low-sugar carbohydrates or low glycemic index carbohydrates paired with preferably a decent amount of fiber and some fats to lower the glycemic index. And, pigs seem to just naturally do this. The pigs that are born under more stress naturally even without being given it, choose a diet with a lower glycemic index versus a higher glycemic index, which is just fascinating.

So, the next thing with pigs is that we find that they tend to choose, especially because pigs like humans do have rampant fluctuations in blood glucose with an improper diet. But, pigs seem to naturally choose slow-digesting starches like a high-amylose maize starch is one of their favorite foods. And, a substantial portion of that starch is what's called a resistant starch. It's fermented by microbes in the large intestine. And, when that happens, volatile fatty acids are formed and also heat is formed, which can increase the metabolism and cause a higher calorie burn during the day. So, if you're not familiar with things like resistant starches or high molecular weight starches such as you would find, things like sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, Japanese yam, things along those lines, a lot of roots and tubers, it turns out that these can be fantastic when it comes to your overall metabolism, the glycemic variability during the day. And so, that would be in contrast to very, very simple sugars like rice or quick oats or wheat or something like that. So, you'd want to choose foods that have a higher starch chain or even a resistant starch. And, of course, I mentioned rice, but if you cook and cool rice, then cook it again or soak some of the cooked rice and coconut oil. Cool it and cook it again. You can actually lower the glycemic index of rice and cause more of that rice to have resistant starch aspects. And, you can just Google how to turn rice into resistant starch or I'll include some helpful tips about that in the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/458.

Now, eating patterns are also interesting. Pigs when held in confinement with ad libitum unrestricted access to food will eat numerous times throughout the day, but they're not randomly sped throughout the day. Pigs have circadian timing. They eat a breakfast early in the morning, they eat a dinner late in the afternoon and they almost have this diurnal feeding variation. They're not just eating and stuffing their faces all day long like humans with rampant access to hyperpalatable foods often do. That big bag of potato chips or bar of dark chocolate or bowl of raw almonds that you're mowing on throughout the day would put you into a state where you are seeing a large amount of variations in your glycemic index and also a high potential for what's called lipogenesis. In pigs, that results in slightly obese pigs when pigs are fed out of line their natural diurnal variation. And, in humans, we see the same thing.

So, if you look at primitive man, they arguably would spend the day gathering food to prepare a meal in the late afternoon, probably fueled by some type of leftovers they had for breakfast in the morning. And so, our natural pattern probably matches those of pigs reasonably well. So, eating a solid breakfast either before or after workout, having something like a light lunch and a nutrient-dense dinner, not too late not too far before bedtime or not, I'm sorry not too close to bedtime seems to be a pretty good idea.

Now, pigs that are fed a hyper-processed diet, a diet rich in foods that are easily broken down, high in sugar, high in fats, these pigs actually tend to see, no surprises here, a pretty significant increase in weight gain and adiposity as do pigs who are eating a hyper-processed diet that is imbalance in terms of micronutrients. The thing is it's very difficult unless you're taking a lot of supplements to eat a hyper ultra-processed diet and have normal physiology and metabolism. So, the idea is that if pigs are eating a large variety of whole foods, low in glycemic index, high in resistant starches, and controlled in calories, we humans should be trying to do the same thing as well. So, if we feed pigs or as we see now, young humans hyper-processed foods that are easy to break down not only is it very easy to overeat a lot of calories before your incretin hormones, which control your appetite kick in but it's also horrific for, especially in a young child, the growth of the teeth, the jaw, the bones, the structuring of the face, the chewing muscles, the satiety that can occur when you're chewing, the production of digestive enzymes and hormones related to digestion that can occur when you're chewing your food adequately. So, ultimately, the idea here is that hyper-processed food is bad for a pig as is food low in micronutrients and it is for you as well.

In addition to that, pigs have a high amount of fiber in their diet for their gut microbiota. And, I'm certainly not fiber-phobic. I think that it can cause a high amount of fermentation flatulation in some people, so you may need to choose your fiber sources accordingly and possibly try something like a low FODMAP diet. But, fiber is another hyper-present component in a pig's diet.

Next, the Mediterranean diet. Textbooks will claim that the Mediterranean diet yields health benefits because the consumption of olive oil and fish for the oleic and omega-3 fatty acids combined with vegetables and beans that are low in the glycemic index and whole grains. Well, it turns out that pigs also thrive on a very similar diet and interestingly in pork production. You may have experienced this if you've gone to a fancy restaurant and ordered a pork chop that is made of Iberico pork or what's called a Pata Negra pig. These pigs are fed mostly acorns. Acorns are a very rich source of tannins. And, the thing is that they simulate many of the same benefits of a Mediterranean diet when they're fed to pigs, the pigs consume, you get a great-tasting pig with a really healthy fat content. And, it turns out that in humans, your own fat content and your own composition, although hopefully, no one's going to eat you and turn you into a pork chop, is best achieved through some semblance of something like a low glycemic index fiber-rich Mediterranean diet.

Now, interestingly, I talked about this with the guy who runs–his name's Brad. He runs Fire In A Bottle podcast and website. We did a whole show about his croissant diet rich in a lot of stearic acids. And, we also talked quite a bit about pig and pig-based fats. And, the thing is that in pork production, there are swine farmers, swine farmers, it's a tongue twister, who will incorporate mayonnaise in the diets of their pigs because mayonnaise is high in unsaturated fatty acids, meaning it's liquid at room temperature. Now, these unsaturated plant oils are something that society's been pushing for some time to replace animal fats like dairy-based butter being replaced by plant-derived margarine because the margarine has more unsaturated fat, so it's easier to spread on bread. But, we also note that these type of unsaturated fats are way more prone to produce free radicals during their oxidation. And so, unsaturated fatty acids are susceptible to oxidative damage in contrast to more stable saturated fats may pose some challenges to the body in terms of oxidative stress.

Now, at the same time, we also see that high saturated fat intake, and there's actually a very interesting article that just came out that I'll link to in the shownotes showing that if you're eating a low-carb high-fat diet but the high-fat diet is comprised of a lot of oxidized fats or a high amount of saturated fats without much fiber and plant-based compounds, it's actually pretty bad for you. The same can be said for pigs. The same can be said for humans. So, technically, you should avoid a high intake of unsaturated fatty acids susceptible to oxidative damage, but at the same time, if you're eating a high intake of animal fats or saturated fats, you need to take into account all the other aspect of a pig's diet. Namely the fiber intake, the low glycemic index, carbohydrates, the micronutrient density, the Mediterranean diet type of approach. I think that in most people, saturated fats painting with a pretty broad brush even though you can again get a genetic test to look at this, I think that most people generally do best with about 8 to 10% of their total fat intake made up of saturated fats and the rest composed of more monounsaturated and stable polyunsaturated fatty acids; extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil. There's a guy I interviewed on the podcast named Andreas who has a company called Andreas Seed Oils, which are cold pressed oils, all of those would be good–and then dress it up a little bit here and there with some bone marrow, some grass-fed butter, some coconut oil and some sources of fats that tend to be a little bit more saturated.

So, I kind of just scratched the surface of what is in this eat like a pig type of article, but it's very, very interesting just how much correlation there is between pigs and humans, and what we can learn from the natural diet of a pig that's not getting obese, getting diabetes and getting cardiovascular disease and how that actually applies to a human. So yes, I think in many cases, you should indeed eat like a pig to prevent obesity and heart disease. Meaning high intake of fiber, low glycemic index diet, high intake of monounsaturated fats, a Mediterranean-esque approach, adjusting your calorie intake based on your level of physical activity during the day, maybe looking at your genetics, and adjusting your diet based on your genetics and your metabolism. And then, for the children in your life, making sure that they're not born into a high-stress low oxygen-poor micronutrient type of environment. And, if they are, they're definitely, when they're put on their diet for life, eating a low glycemic index diet. So, a lot there I realize, but it's pretty interesting. And again, I think you'd love this paper if you read it. And, I'll link to it in the shownotes.

So next, and this is the last paper I want to get through before we turn to just a couple of the questions that I want to address real briefly. Now, this is interesting because there's been a lot of chatter about this recent study that came out entitled “Low-carbohydrate diets, low-fat diets and mortality in middle age and older people, a prospective cohort study.”

Now, the reason this has been getting a lot of attention is because it investigated the effectiveness of low-carb diets and low-fat diets for weight loss and cardiovascular benefits. What the news media headlines are mostly showing you is that it indicated that a low-fat diet was far healthier than a low-carb diet. And indeed, a low-fat diet could decrease the risk of early death by up to 34% while a high-fat or keto diet could raise mortality risk by almost 30%, even compared to a high-carb intake. And, for many of you who are on the low-carb, control your blood glucose, low glycemic variability, fight diabetes with more fats and less carbs bandwagon, this could be shocking news. However, very few people actually click through and read the actual study. I went through and read this thing cover to cover so to speak and they left out some pretty important parts in terms of the way that the news headlines treated this study.

So, first of all, yes, a high-fat diet was found to be more deleterious compared to a high-carb diet if and if the high-fat diet was comprised of unhealthy carbs, a low amount of plants, and a high amount of oxidized fatty acids and/or saturated fats. Exactly what I was getting at when I was talking about that pig-based diet. Now, a healthy low-carb diet with adequate fatty acids, with adequate plant proteins, with adequate amounts of fiber, et cetera, actually did not appear to be an issue at all in this study. Adequate protein was another factor for that to be the case. Because this study actually looked at both healthy and unhealthy low-carb diets, everything that all of the news headlines were saying about a low-carb diet being inferior to a low-fat diet failed to differentiate what this study found when it came to a healthy low-carb diet versus a healthy low-fat diet. There were actually not a lot of advantages of either approach provided that the diet itself was healthy; low glycemic index, adequate fiber, adequate protein, low intake of saturated fats or oxidized fatty acids, a diet rich in legumes and whole grains and nuts and plants.

And, it turns out that the problem here is the whole dirty keto approach; extremely high intake of saturated fats. Sometimes no attention paid to vegetable oils, you're just going to the fast-food restaurant and having a couple of burgers that you rip the buns off of and you throw away the French fries and maybe have a little bit of extra ketchup on the side and a piece of a very humble butter lettuce. So, the idea here is that, yes, you can be healthy on a low-carb diet, but you need to make sure that it is comprised of a lot of healthy foods. It is only the unhealthy so-called dirty keto low-carb diets that appear to be an issue in the same way that fructose only appears to be an issue when conceived or when consumed in caloric excess. 

So, I think that if I did not have access to healthy foods, I would actually eat a lower fat higher-carb diet. I just keep things super simple, rice, fruit, honey, a salad here and there, and I'd avoid oxidized fats. I'd avoid poor-quality meat. I'd avoid super high intake of saturated fats. I'd avoid a low intake of fiber. But, if I could have my cake and eat it too, and this is what I've said many times on the podcast and I'll end with this before addressing a couple of questions, I think one of the healthiest diets on the face of the planet painting with a broad brush for a very large number of people from an epidemiological standpoint is some semblance of a Mediterranean diet that is controlled in terms of the amount of ultra-processed foods, sugars, and rapidly digestible starches. So, some semblance of something like a low-carb or a low to moderate-carb Mediterranean diet with a whole bunch of healthy fats. If you just had to choose one diet, that's the one that I would eat if you didn't know anything about your body but you just kind of wanted to blindfolded throw a dart at what you think could actually allow you to get by in life with a low risk of disease.

So, that being said, remember folks, read the whole paper. This paper actually had both an unhealthy low-carb diet and a healthy low-carb diet arm. And, the healthy low-carb diet arm turned out to be associated with lower total mortality risks. So, something good to know.

Alright, I want to briefly address a couple of questions. And, I'm going to be pretty brief on these. The first is from Michael. Michael says, “I have questions about Dr. Davis's SIBO yogurt and the oregano protocol. I think I could benefit from both, but should they be separated or could I do the both of them in four weeks?”

This is important. It's kind of a classic question I've gotten a few times and that is whether or not oregano kills off the good bacteria in the gut. The fact is despite many natural news websites telling you that oregano somehow magically and intelligently only allows the good bacteria to survive and just kills the bad bacteria, well oregano oil has some pretty potent antimicrobial properties. That's why it can be good for parasites and pathogenic bacteria, but it's effective and multiple studies have shown this, research in microbiology that gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria are both killed off or damaged by oil of oregano. 

Now, it doesn't damage your gut walls. As a matter of fact, oil of oregano can help to prevent leaky gut, which is a problem that occurs when gut walls are damaged and creates holes that leak toxins in your body. So, oil of oregano can help with that, but pathogens suffer death from oregano oil and so does bacteria, thanks to its carvacrol component. So, carvacrol significantly alters the bacterial cell wall, damages it in such a way that the bacteria's defenses, the shield wall is lowered and then the oregano oil components like the calcium and the intracellular substances, those attack and kill off the rest of the bacteria. And, that can include the good bacteria.

So basically, what this means is that not only should you not consume oil of oregano at the same time as you're taking your expensive probiotic, but you should time your oil of oregano separately from something like high intake of fermented foods, yogurt, et cetera because it can kill off probiotics and good bacteria. So preferably, you should separate oil of oregano intake with any probiotic or fermented food by about two to four hours. You shouldn't take excess oil of oregano in the same way I don't think you should use excess, let's say, ozone oil capsules because both of those can nuke the good bacteria in the gut. And so, I do think oil of oregano is fantastic but you want to separate it from fermented foods and probiotics by about two to four hours preferably. And, that's just how long it takes for the probiotics and the fermented foods kind of empty out of your gastrointestinal tract before oil of oregano can catch up and kill them off.

Now, the SIBO yogurt, I have to mention that real quick because those you haven't heard about it, you've got to listen to my podcast with Dr. William Davis. He talks on that podcast about the fact that he has worked with a lot of people with SIBO and even with cardiovascular disease risk, poor sleep, et cetera, and found that a certain bacterial strain called L. reuteri can actually eradicate SIBO and cause a whole bunch of other beneficial side effects. It can affect restless leg syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia, and even the oxytocin that it produces can be fantastic for dream cycles and sleep parameters. 

And, he shares this whole homemade yogurt recipe. Ever since I found this recipe two years ago, I actually or somebody in my house makes it about every two weeks. It's a 36-hour fermentation process with a strain of bacteria called L. reuteri. The SIBO version of this actually uses not just L. reuteri but L. gasseri and bacillus coagulants, two other types of bacteria that help to control SIBO. So, you're either doing a 36-hour fermentation using goat milk or coconut milk or whatever with one bacterial strain if you want the normal yogurt or three bacterial strains. I'll link to the paper on how to do this in the article about how I make this yogurt in the shownotes, but you ferment it for 36 hours which gets you a super high bacterial account for pennies on the dollar compared to what you'd spend for these expensive probiotics. And then, when you're almost out of the yogurt, you just use a couple spoonfuls of it to repeat the cycle, start over again and make a new batch just like you would do with kombucha or kefir. It is one of the hollowed items in my refrigerator in a large glass Mason jar, this yogurt. I have several spoonfuls of it throughout the day. And, if you want to better wrap your head around it, how to make it, and what it does, go listen to my podcast with Dr. William Davis, which I'll put in the shownotes. But, I definitely do not for the reasons I've just stated take something oil of oregano or ozone oil or anything that at the same time that I take that yogurt because I want to keep all those baby bacteria alive.

The other thing that you should know is I recently stumbled across a supplement that apparently Dr. William Davis advised the making of this supplement, it's a blend of L. reuteri, astaxanthin, and hyaluronic acid. Because they found that Dr. William Davis's yogurt was super good for the gut skin axis, and so what they did was they made this supplement, they combined it with collagen hydrolysates which support collagen density and skin moisture and elasticity, they added hyaluronic acid which helps with things like wrinkles and more radiant skin. They threw in astaxanthin, which is an edible sunscreen with really good antioxidative effect for the skin. And then, they have it in a capsule. 

Since I don't take or make my SIBO yogurt on the go, I'm now throwing a bottle of this stuff in my bag when I travel. So now, I can get the benefits of this fantastic L. reuteri bacteria in this Oxyceutic stuff, it has a 40 million CFU count or I'm sorry, 40 billion CFU count, which is significant. And so, I eat the yogurt when I'm at home. And then, this stuff, I'll link to it in the shownotes, Oxyceutic, it's called Gut to Glow. I really didn't start taking it for the skin, I was just like, “Hey, I want to take something that's well-formulated that Dr. Davis helped to make and that I can just take with me on the go when I don't have the time to make the yogurt or don't want to throw a giant mason glass jar of yogurt in the cooler and try and sneak that through TSA.” So basically, that stuff's called Gut to Glow. And, I'll link to my podcast and my articles about Dr. William Davis and the SIBO yogurt in the show notes.

And then, final, last question. We'll keep this super quick. You may have heard me interview Michael Chernow, he makes this overnight oatmeal called Kreatures of Habit, which is fantastic. It's this very simple oatmeal packet with a whole bunch of superfoods and chia seeds and pumpkin seeds and you just pour it into something like a mug or a glass jar, add some hot water, or what I do is a little apple cider vinegar and water and I soak it in the refrigerator overnight and make overnight oatmeal. Brandon wrote in and said, “Isn't their product against what is considered healthy? All their oats have sunflower oil in them? You've taught me to avoid these oils, I'm so confused.”

Well, first of all, when it comes to their oats, because I asked, they're glyphosate-free oats. And then, sunflower oil, it depends. I would not recommend high intake of sunflower oil in general just because of the linoleic acid content, but there's three different types of sunflower oil each with a different fatty acid composition. So, you have high linoleic sunflower oil, which is 70% linoleic acid, extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids but also pretty sensitive to oxidation and temperature damage. Okay. 

Then, we have mid-oleic and high-oleic sunflower oil. That has more of the beneficial oleic acid and higher omega-9 fatty acid content. Meaning that the fatty acid composition of a mid-oleic and high-oleic sunflower oil is superior to that of the high linoleic sunflower oil. And then, finally, you have high stearic or high oleic sunflower oil, and that's solid at room temperature because the stearic acid, it's that same type of fat that I was talking about in the pigs earlier. That's often used in ice creams and packing foods and industrial frying because it's a stabilizing agent.

Now, it's my understanding that the Kreatures of Habit overnight oatmeal uses the sunflower oil varietal that is higher in the oleic acids and lower in the linoleic acids. And so, I'm comfortable consuming this stuff. I wouldn't recommend that you overdo your intake of sunflower oil in general because there is a drawback when you get to the very high levels of linoleic acid. But, as a matter of fact, sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, it can help even moderate amounts of linoleic acid can help to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. It can be really good for the skin and it can also help with infections because linoleic acid and oleic acid have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting and infection fighting properties. And so, I'm okay with low to moderate amounts of a healthy form of a sunflower seed oil. But again, you just want to make sure that you're sourcing it properly. And, I know Michael Chernow, I interviewed him on the podcast, he's very committed to high-quality ingredients and I wouldn't worry about having a pack of this overnight oatmeal on a daily basis, for example.

Hey, just a quick thing about the Kreatures of Habit Meal One oatmeal piece. After recording this episode, I actually was able to have a little bit more detailed conversation with Michael Chernow, my former podcast guest who's also the former celebrity chef responsible for designing this oatmeal and he got really committed to high quality. And, I'll link to the oatmeal in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/458 if anybody wants to try it. But basically, he filled me in that they actually don't put sunflower oil in the formula; however, those fabulous crunchy pumpkin seeds that you find in the Meal One packet are roasted using sunflower oil, very small amount of sunflower oil. He actually said they're in the process of even with that trying to go to dry roasted seeds with no oil, but the problem from a manufacturing standpoint is it's not easy because once you add liquid, the structure of the seeds breaks down and gets soggy pumpkin seeds, and that kind of defeats the purpose of having pumpkin seeds in there for the texture.

So ultimately, they don't use sunflower oil in their blend but the pumpkin seeds they use are roasted in sunflower oil from their supplier. They actually are kind of interested in exploring the idea of even going with something even higher quality in sunflower oil like olive or coconut or avocado oil or possibly a dry roasted seed. But in the meantime, it's such a small amount and is just used for the light roasting of the pumpkin seeds that, again, I wouldn't worry about it much at all. But hey, there's a little bit more clarity for you if you really want to geek out on this stuff.

So gosh, we're running out of time. I actually have a phone call I got to be on in five minutes. So, I'm going to have to wrap this bad boy up. Tell you guys what, I'm going to link to everything I talk about in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/458. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/458. You can also leave your question over there. There's a video version of this podcast if you just like to see my talking head chatting at you, my wide-open gaping maw. 

And, if you like this episode, leave us a kind review, wherever fine, fine podcasts are found, leave a comment in the shownotes. I actually read them all. I love to read your guys' comments and see what you think and see your questions and see what I did or didn't say the right way that you wanted to hear about. And so, you can go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/458. I hope you enjoy these solosodes. It's actually really fun for me to just get on here by myself and talk with you guys about a whole bunch of stuff I've been wanting to talk to you about. I promise you way more on the heart health front to come. I'm going to have at least a couple of podcasts to take a deep dive into diagnostic imaging, statins, heart health in general on the show before. I'm even in the process of establishing a pretty sweet partnership with a company that actually produces these shotgun formulas for arterial scrubbing and heart health. And so, all sorts of cool things happening on the heart health front, so stay tuned for that. But, in the meantime, you can visit BenGreenfieldLife.com/458 for the shownotes and all the goodies. Thanks for listening and until next time. Have an amazing week.



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Want to submit your question for Ben to answer on the podcast? Direct message Ben on social media: InstagramTwitter, or Facebook, or drop your question in the discussion section of any show notes page. To make it easy to spot, preface your question with “Q&A Podcast Question: (ask question)” and keep it concise, please.

Q: Michael: I have questions about Dr. Davis’ SIBO Yogurt and the Oregano Oil protocol. I think I could benefit from both.  Should they be separated or could I do both in the same 4 weeks?…78:00

Ben Recommends:

Q: Brandon asks: RE: The Kreatures of Habit Podcast, isn’t their product against what is considered healthy? All of their oats have sunflower oil in them. You’ve always taught me to avoid these oils. I’m so confused…84:08

Ben Recommends:
  • Podcast with Michael Chernow:
  • Kreatures of Habit (KOH) overnight oatmeal (use code BGL20 to save 20%)
      • Glyphosate-free oats
      • The oats do not contain sunflower oil
      • The pumpkin seeds are roasted in sunflower oil
  • In general does not recommend high intake of sunflower oil, though there are three types:
    1. Linoleic Sunflower Oil
      • 70% linoleic acid
      • Extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids
      • Sensitive to oxidation and temperature damage
    2. Mid-oleic and high-oleic sunflower oil
      • Contains more of the beneficial oleic acid
      • Higher in omega-9 fatty acids
    3. High stearic sunflower oil
      • Solid at room temperature
  • Some benefits to sunflower oil
    • Vitamin E rich
    • Can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels
    • Good for the skin
    • Can help with infections
      • Both linoleic acid and oleic acids have anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and infection-fighting properties
  • Ben is okay with low to moderate consumption of a healthy sunflower seed oil

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