Episode #50 Full Transcript

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Podcast #50 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2009/07/brain/


Introduction: In this podcast episode: how to get smarter, the top 10 questions about fat loss, nutrition and human performance; information about the HCG diet for fat loss, how to shock your diet off a weight loss plateau, the link between magnesium deficiency and heart attacks in athletes and Listener Q and A on cafeeine , blood sugar levels during exercise, weight lifting for tritahletes, liquid vegetables and much much more.

Ben: Wow, as you may have guessed from the introduction there is a ton to cover in today’s podcast. This is in my opinion going to be one of our best podcasts ever and one of the reasons for that is this is the 50th episode and we didn’t have a podcast last week. So I’ve got to double up on the content. Before I get to anything, you know I know that some of you out there have had some trouble figuring out how to subscribe to the podcast or maybe didn’t even know that you could subscribe to the podcast on something like iTunes and then some of you also didn’t know that you could subscribe to the blog and you can literally get automatic emails whenever anything comes out. I just put the finishing touches on an update on the page that tells you how to subscribe, so if you go to www.bengreenfieldfitness.com, there’s a really apparent link in the upper right hand corner that says how to subscribe. If you click on that or you know someone who’s trying to subscribe and doesn’t know how and they click on that it’s literally just like a 1, 2, 3 easy as pie way to make sure that you automatically get the free audio episodes and don’t miss out on any of the content. So as I mentioned in the introduction to today’s interview – jam-packed – we’ve got a featured topic which is an interview with Dr. Arlene Taylor. She’s one of the world’s leading brain experts. Brand spanking new Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research just hit the shelves. I’m going to be bringing you the most relevant research from that. We have Listener Q and As on caffeine, liquid vegetables, blood sugar and weightlifting for triathletes and I do have some special announcements coming up as well and actually after I record this podcast, I am throwing my podcasting equipment into a backpack over my shoulder and biking down to the local Farmer’s Market where a couple of weeks ago I came across a Native American fellow who was selling a topical ointment that’s been passed down through his family for managing muscle inflammatory conditions and so I’m going to find out exactly what he’s putting in that stuff. So look for that next week along with a lot of other cutting edge next week including some information about water. Let’s go ahead and move into this week’s content.

Ben: This week’s Listener Q and A presents some pretty interesting questions from listeners and I want to start off with a question from Listener Andrew.

Andrew asks: I was hoping you could clear up some confusion I have about caffeine. Currently I avoid caffeine at all costs. I consume no caffeine whatsoever. My question is if caffeine can be part of a good nutrition plan, would it be ok to have a cup of coffee each day? Or perhaps to begin drinking green tea? What is your opinion on the FRS energy products and the caffeine they contain? I’ve heard glowing reviews of that product line even from Lance Armstrong himself. (Ooh la la, the Tour de France champion has endorsed it so it must be good.)

Ben answers: We actually covered FRS energy drinks quite a bit. I don’t want to completely blow off your question Andrew, but I’ve covered those drinks twice in the podcast so far. So I’m going to put a link after your question in the Shownotes but the synopsis when we covered is that the thing that makes FRS energy drinks unique is the component in them called quercetin and quercetin is actually an immune system booster you find in things like red onions and apples and it has been shown in research to help with immune system support, or the time that someone actually had a cold or the flu. But, the other things that are in the FRS energy drinks aside from of course the caffeine were a little bit suspect. Some artificial colorings, some artificial sweeteners that are suspect in terms of their health and of course the large amounts of sugar and typically the small amount of phosphoric acid and things of that nature that needs to be placed in a soda or energy drink. Caffeine in general is in my opinion a great tool in your fat tool box, in your energy tool box. The problem is you can’t overuse it. I personally do an 8 to 12 oz cup of coffee in the morning and occasionally in the afternoon if I have a very busy day or very hectic day I will do an energy drink that’s the equivalent of about one quarter cup of caffeine and it’s a green tea based energy drink. I use one called Delta-E. It happens to be the same one that Dr. Arlene Taylor also uses. She’s the lady that I interviewed today. But that’s one that I use. Caffeine is something that’s beneficial. If you build up a tolerance to it, it’s not that beneficial and you could actually do a little bit of damage to your liver and your kidney if you’re one of those people that’s consuming three 30 oz cups of coffee during the day. But a little bit of coffee to give you a jumpstart is great. It has what’s called a glycogen sparing effect, meaning that it helps you to burn less carbohydrate, a little more fat. It helps with your focus, it helps with your energy levels. It helps stimulate your central nervous system which is a good thing in a lot of cases, especially for those of us who need a little jumpstart to our day. So absolutely I do condone the use of coffee on a limited basis. As an athlete I do abstain from coffee for at least 7 days prior to competition and then I take it on the morning of the competition. So you can use it as what’s called an ergogenic aid as well. For more information specifically on what my opinion is on the FRS energy products – that I’m not super convinced Lance actually uses – write into me if you’ve seen him drink it. All I’ve seen is him endorsing it but I didn’t see him suck one of those down before the individual or team trials in the Tour de France this week yet. So, listen in to my previous podcast about that Andrew. Great question.

Amy asks: I’d like to see if you can clarify some information I’ve been hearing. Set me straight in other words. I’ve heard if your blood sugar is between 70 and 90 before you exercise, you will burn more fat. That is apparently the optimal level for burning the most fat. Can you confirm whether what I’m hearing is true or false? Also I’m told that you are supposed to drink your blood sugar level 20 minutes before exercise.

Ben answers: Amy, I don’t know if you’re diabetic and that’s why someone was talking to you about this, but for those of us who are not diabetic, checking our blood sugar levels, monitoring our blood sugar levels before and during exercise is really not necessary. Granted you could get it to an ideal level, but in most cases our body, if it is insulin sensitive and if it does operate directly – which it does not if you have diabetes type 1 or type 2 – then your blood sugar levels as long as you’re eating a healthy diet are going to be right where they need to be. However, I want to answer your question a little more specifically. You say that you’ve heard that blood sugar levels are supposed to be 70 and 90 before you exercise if you want to burn more fat. Well yeah, 70 and 90 – it’s called milligrams per deciliter in terms of your actual concentration, but 70 to 90 is low. Ok? You are going to tap into your body’s fat reserves because you don’t really have much carbohydrate circulating around to burn. Look at it this way, when diabetics have a blood sugar that’s lower than 100 that’s too low for them to exercise safely. They risk passing out or having even bigger problems if their blood sugar is lower than 100. So if your blood sugar is 70 to 90 and you go exercise, you probably aren’t going to have much energy at all. Yeah you’re going to burn fat but I mentioned a few times the research that shows that people who consume a carbohydrate based meal at the 30, 60 and 90 minute mark during exercise end up having a higher exercise post-metabolic rate and they end up burning more calories overall during the exercise session than if they exercise starved. So it returns to the point that I drive home over and over again to my clients and on the show. The one time that you do want to take care of your body and the one time you don’t want to be at a caloric deficit is when you’re exercising because if you take care of your body from a fueling standpoint while you’re exercising, you will actually in the long run burn more calories and burn more fat. So as far as blood sugar levels 20 minutes prior to exercise that you mentioned, not really necessary unless you are diabetic. And if you are diabetic you want those numbers to be about 100 to 250. Definitely not 70 to 90. So that’s really low.

Wayne asks: I’m shooting to go 9:40 or lower at Arizona. (Ok, let’s set this up. He’s an Ironman triathlete. When he says 9:40, he means he wants to do Arizona Ironman triathlon at 9 hours and 40 minutes.) And I’m going to be doing some intense training for it. My question is should I hit the gym again during the summer for strength training, etc.? I think the answer is yes. I’m currently sitting right around race weight but lifting weights tends to make me put the weight back on.

Ben answers: Now when I am writing up strength training plans for the Ironman triathletes who I coach online, the way that I do it is we do quite a bit of foundation building. We do quite a bit of hip strengthening, core strengthening, rotator cuff strengthening and spend up to 3 hours a week in the weight room during the offseason and during what’s called the base season. However, once we get around to race season, time is precious. Unless you’re a professional triathlete who has a lot of time to train, time is precious and those 3 hours that you’re spending on the gym are 3 hours that you could spend swimming, biking or running. So what I do is I use a technique. I’ve got about 12 different workouts that I draw on and for anywhere from 2 to 3 times a week, we do shorter exercise circuits of 20 to 40 minutes that are short, that are high intensity but that allow the athletes to maintain the benefits of the foundation phase that we laid in the offseason. I actually have all those workouts put together. That’s what my book – The Top 12 Resistance Training Routines for Triathletes – that’s what that book is actually all about. It’s just those workouts that we use during the race season as in boom, hit the gym, get the 20 minutes in, the 30 minutes in and then boom, leave and go back to your life. Go back to your training. So for example, on a typical bike day in the offseason I’ll ride my bike for 45 minutes and then I’ll be at the gym for an hour or 2 and a half hours, 15 minutes by the time I get out of there. And that just about flips during race season. During a race season on a typical bike day, I’ll bike an hour and 15 minutes and I’ll be at the gym for maybe 20, 30 minutes. So, it really does flip. It really does change in the race season. The other thing I design those workouts to do is not put on mass, not put on muscle. Just to maintain the amount of muscle that you do have. And then our final question was a call in question from Listener Sue.

Sue asks: Working 14 hours day right now, I don’t have any time to eat vegetables. Is there any creative way or good way that I can get vegetable nutrients aside from putting a salad in a blender and drinking it on my way to work? I look forward to hearing back from you, thanks a lot. Bye bye.

Ben answers: Sue, yeah. There is. But if you’re listening to the show or for anybody listening to the show, I don’t want you to use what I’m about to tell you as an excuse not to eat vegetables. All I’m going to give you is some information about a way that you could get in the equivalent of a few salads in a blender on your way out the door to work. But I really want you to focus on eating raw vegetables and raw fruit sources as well because the interaction of all those components in their whole raw form is going to be a lot better utilized by your body than a supplement. But if you do want to drink your vegetables, there are many types of supplements out there that are basically green powder – the one that I personally take is called EnerPrime. I’ll put a link to it in the Shownotes but it’s everything from spirulina to green barley grass. It’s got a vegetarian enzyme complex in there. It’s got rice maltodextrin, shitake mushroom extract, beta carotene, the full spectrum of multivitamins and it really is what you can get if you were to grind up a few salads in a blender and then some. It’s got about 32 different nutrients in it and what I do when I’m in a rush is I take a teaspoon or a tablespoon of that and I use it in a powder and I just mix it in a glass of water. Sometimes I’ll pour a little bit of OJ in to sweeten it up but you drink that down, and that’d be one way to do it. The same company that makes this stuff – the EnerPrime – they also make a capsule form. If you don’t like to take it in powder. So that’d be one way you can do this, Sue. But I really encourage you if you’re doing that, when you finish your 14 hour day, still try and get a big salad in. Still try and get some real food in if you can and bring some stuff to work too. Bring some mini carrots, throw some sugar snap peas, some broccoli, some cauliflower in a zip lock, bring that along. You can put a little bit of sea salt on it or put a little bit of apple cider vinegar mixed with stevia on it if you want to sweeten it up a little bit, but ultimately there is a way that you can get your vegetables in. Just don’t use it as an excuse not to eat your vegetables. So I’ll put a link to that stuff in the Shownotes. And remember, if you have a question, not only am I giving away a free copy of my 100 Ways To Boost Your Metabolism DVD to the best question this week but you might also get your question on some of those new videos that I’m making to answer questions. So email me [email protected] or call the show toll free 8772099439. And we’re going to go ahead and move on to this week’s research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Ben: Ok so one of the deals is that as a certified personal trainer, that means that I have to be a member of the organization that certifies me and what I happen to be a member of is one of the most respected certifying agencies on the planet. It’s called the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and they put out a peer review journal called the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and every month I receive this, I dig through it and I find the stuff that’s most applicable to the clients that I work with. So while you may not care about the swing velocity of a reverse jujitsu double jump kick when somebody has taken in half a gallon of caffeine and creatine pills, what you may care about are some of the more down to earth practical tips that you can glean from this journal. So what I’m going to try and do is filter for you and give it to you in a format that’s easily understandable. Because your ears would go buggy if you read some of the descriptions in the research and you got to be able to dig through it and find the actual applicable advice.

So the first study that I want to look at and I literally just have the journal sitting in here on my desk that I’m looking through. I know there’s a lot of triathletes that listen to the show. This study is called The Influence of Different Breathing Frequencies on the Severity of Inspiratory Muscle Fatigue Used By High Intensity Front Crawl Swimming. And what this study looked at was the difference in the amount of fatigue during a 200 meter freestyle swim, when people drink every second stroke – that’s stroke, stroke, breathe – with people who breathe every fourth stroke. So they weren’t looking at arm fatigue or leg fatigue or anything like that. They were looking at the actual inspiratory muscle fatigue and they were doing that by looking at the amount of tidal volume or air volume that people move in and out of their lungs – the lower tidal volume after this 200 meter indicated a greater amount of inspiratory muscle fatigue. Well what they found was there was a significantly greater amount of inspiratory muscle fatigue after the breathing every four strokes when compared to the breathing every two strokes and so the takeaway message from this is your lungs can get tired and you should think about training your lungs the same way you would train your arms and your legs and the whole idea is that when your lungs have to breathe off all this Co2 that’s being generated from your muscle activity, they will get tired. And so not only do we know now that the inspiratory muscles are proven to be susceptible to fatigue – somebody’s like “Duh, I can tell that I breathe hard or I have a harder time getting oxygen when I don’t breathe as much when I’m swimming.” But the second takeaway we can take away from this is that if you train your lungs – one thing I’ve been doing since I read this article is whenever I finish a swim workout, I throw in ten 25 meter repeats of what’s called hypoxic swimming where all I do is swim from one end of the pool to the other end and my goal is to not take a breath the whole time. I rest 20 seconds and then I do it again and I do it again. And I do that 10 times back and forth. My arms don’t get tired, my legs don’t get tired when I’m swimming fast… but my lung muscles, they get tired. And I’m noticing a difference in that type of training. So that’s what we can take away from that research study – if you don’t want to get as tired, breathe more often and think about actually training your inspiratory muscles.

The next study that I looked at – there’s about five of them in here – was the Effect of an Acute Bout of Plyometric Exercise on Neuromuscular Fatigue and Recovery in Recreational Athletes and this study looked at plyometric exercise which is kind of an explosive, jumping, maximal twitch type of exercise. It’d be like jumping on and off a box, doing lunge jumps, doing clap pushups, that type of thing. And what they found was that high volume plyometric training actually resulted in a pretty significant impairment of force after the workout. They noticed that the impairment remained for about 2 days after that workout. But the whole idea is that if jumping and bouncing and doing that type of motion causes the type of what’s called eccentric loading of the muscle – that causes that muscle damage – well you might want to avoid that type of activity prior to any let’s say 5k, 10k, triathlon competition, sporting event, that’s going to require for your muscles to be at their peak amount of efficiency or their peak performance. And so what I would recommend that you do, and I mentioned this once before on the show – I know there’s a lot of triathlons out there listening in. If you are tapering for a triathlon and you’ve got that last week leading up to your triathlon, prioritize the non-plyometric type of activities. Meaning you’re going to do a lot more swimming and you’re going to do a lot more cycling because you put your run of training and you’re not going to lose your fitness on the run if you’re not running much that week. But being that plyometric exercise can leave your muscles unable to produce their peak force and you’re going to want that wattage, you’re going to want that force when you’re out training. So avoid plyometric motions, especially in excess during a week when you’re going to need your muscles.

So the next study was really interesting. It was The Effect of Sprint and Interval Training in Body Weight Reduction On Power to Weight Ratio in Experienced Cyclists. Once again, I’m catering to you endurance athletes, to you cyclists who are out there listening in and the purpose of this study was to see what had the greatest effect on the power to weight ratio: doing interval training, which was some really high intensity sprints separated by a good amount of rest and then basically they were doing that kind of sprint training sessions two times a week for about 10 weeks. And they compared that group to a group that didn’t do any of the interval training but they intentionally reduced their body weight. They went on a diet. They didn’t fast but they went on a diet. And they lost a bunch of body fat. And then they had a third group and the third group performed both these interval training sessions and they also purposefully reduced their caloric intake and lost weight at the same time. Now the actual workout – the actual interval based workout that these people were doing was 5 minutes of warm-up and then they did four to five 5 seconds super all-out maximum sprints with about 30 to 45 seconds of rest after each and then they did another 5 minutes of aerobic exercise and then they did an all out effort as hard as possible for 30 seconds, at their highest possible cadence. So this was just a bunch of real short 5 second to 30 second intervals. So, what did they find from this test? Well remember they’re looking at power to weight ratio, which is a good thing. You’ve got a good power to weight ratio, you’re going to climb a hill a lot faster, you’re going to go a lot faster on your bike and you’re going to do a lot better if you’re out there racing. What they found was that the people who did the intervals for 10 weeks, they had a really significant improvement in their power to weight ratio. It got better. The people that were doing the dieting, that were purposefully restricting their diet – guess what? Their power to weight ratio also improved and got better. But here’s the kicker. The people who did the intervals and combined the intervals with weight loss, their power to weight ratio actually decreased. They actually lost their power as a cyclist when they tried to combine dieting with intense aerobic exercise. So what this comes down to is that what probably happened was during the prolonged 10 week caloric restriction period, they actually didn’t retain enough protein or their dieting didn’t retain enough protein to repair their muscles and they broke their bodies down and lost power by combining diet with intense exercise. The takeaway message for you is that if you are a competitive endurance athlete or you’re a competitive athlete in general, try not to be losing weight and going after performance at the same time. Try not to get to that point where your sprint triathlon that you’re doing is 2 weeks away and you think oh gosh I got to lose 5 lbs. You’d better have lost that 5 lbs a long time ago when you don’t have to do the intense exercise. So what it comes down to is you take care of your body when you’re in the offseason or base season or during the times when you’re not having to compete hard so when it comes time to compete hard, you don’t have to go on a diet and do your hard training at the same time. Because what this study found is that that actually hurts you a lot more than it helps you.

So the next study looked at The Effect of Sugar Free Red Bull Energy Drink on High Intensity Runs Timed to Exhaustion in Young Adults. Red Bull gives you wings right? And so I guess what they were looking at was whether or not it really does give you wings. So they had a bunch of young adults do a run timed to exhaustion test at 80% of VO2 max. They did one run timed to exhaustion test one week and then the next week they did another one and they compared sugar free Red Bull with a sugar free placebo, which was basically lemon lime, tonic water and lime juice. And what they found was that the sugar free Red Bull did not influence that run timed to exhaustion. So both groups averaged about 12 minutes at 80% VO2 max before they hit the wall. And the group that took that Red Bull didn’t go any farther than the other group. Now I just have my own little twist on this study because I suspect that caffeine is an ergogenic aid. There have been multiple studies, multiple meta studies which  were studies of studies that have found that caffeine really helps with exercise in almost any situation from explosive exercise to endurance exercise. However, Red Bull has a lot more in it than caffeine. It has a lot more bad stuff in it than caffeine. Artificial sweeteners for example, we talked about this with the FRS energy drinks earlier in the show. It’s possible that if these kids had just taken caffeine and not taken a Red Bull, they may have improved their run time to exhaustion. But when you’re sucking down a lot of crap in addition to your caffeine, I wouldn’t expect you to get any faster. So that’s just my twist on the study – don’t use this as an excuse not to use caffeine or not to use energy drinks, they have their place. But make sure you use healthy ones that don’t have artificial sweeteners and don’t have a lot of preservatives and phosphoric acids and other crap in them. Go after the healthy stuff that you can pronounce all the ingredients on. You know what you’re getting.

The next study, and this is the last one was a study entitled Carbohydrate Ingestion During Exercise Does Not Delay the Onset of Fatigue During Sub-Maximal Cycle Exercise. In this study, what they did was they compared people who ate during exercise about every 15 minutes to people who didn’t eat during exercise and what they found was there was no change in the amount of time people were able to exercise – it was about 90 minutes before they had that onset of fatigue and they weren’t able to keep up their – in this case – their cycling wattage any longer. So, what this shows and this is something we already kind of knew as exercise professionals was that the body does have enough storage carbohydrate on it to where if you’re going to go out and exercise 90 minutes and in this case they exercised 90 minutes at about 60 to 65% intensity, your body can handle it just fine. You don’t have to be taking Gatorade, Trail Mix or oranges and apples, chocolate bars to the gym for a 90 minute workout. You don’t have to do that. You’ll last through the workout. You’ll be able to maintain intensity assuming it’s not a super intense workout. However I don’t recommend working out for longer than an hour without actually taking some type of exercise fuel because it does affect your post-exercise metabolic rate and it does have implications for your recovery. So yeah you can last, but you may not be in quite as good a shape and you might not actually recover the same way than if you had taken in a carbohydrate. The other thing I want you to think about this study is it was done at 65% VO2 max. That’s not very hard. If you’re going to go out and snack hard for 90 seconds, you’re definitely going to benefit from carbohydrate ingestion and those higher blood sugar levels. So, with every study that you see like this, take it with a grain of salt. A lot of this stuff annoys the heck out of me. A lot of this stuff ends up in the media and the media takes it and runs all sorts of different ways with it and leaves us with an inability to really interpret the information the way it should be interpreted. So if you have things that you have questions on – studies that you’ve seen that media has been talking about that you have questions on – feel free to email me and I’ll talk about them on this show. I’ll look into them and I’ll dig through and find out how they actually did these studies. So, that is this month’s research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning. I know this has been a pretty long wait but we’re going to go ahead and move on to this week’s featured topic with the world’s leading brain expert, Dr. Arlene Taylor.

Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and on the other line today I have one of the world’s leading speakers on brain functions and I don’t like to throw this word around too much but she’s sometimes referred to as the Brain Guru. Dr. Arlene Taylor is with us today and she specializes in brain function. In a sense really unleashing somebody’s potential for their brain to thrive. So she does seminars, consulting, coaching, she’s been on television and radio. She has multiple books on brain function, CDs, DVDs, I’ve read a couple of her books. I actually have one sitting in front of me right now that I read on a plane that really impressed me. It really changed the way that I approach a lot of the things that I do in live. It was called Mind Waves and it was kind of an exploration of the way that we operate in terms of being auditory or visual or kinesthetic and I thought the book was just fantastic. It was really practical information. One of the things that I started thinking about after reading this book was gosh, we talk so much on this show about your biology and optimizing human performance and optimizing your health and your immune system but very rarely do we talk about your mental function, about your brain function – and that is Dr. Taylor’s specialty and today we’re going to talk about practical ways that you can actually optimize your brain function and why you might want to think about doing so. So Dr. Taylor, thank you for coming on the show today.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: It’s my pleasure. Good morning.

Ben: Tell me a little bit about your background in the brain. What got you started on this?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: You know Ben, lots of people ask me that and it’s sometimes difficult – since I was born in the late 1800s, you understand – it’s sometimes a little difficult to go back and trigger memory for one or two particular incidents. What I can tell you is that for as long as I can remember I’ve always been interested in the brain. It just seemed like such a mystery back when I was a child and of course that was long before we had any of the brain imaging modalities. But somewhere along in my life, I began to realize that the way I was living my life – there ought to be an easier more effective way to do that. Everyday just seemed so difficult and I thought life does have its ups and downs but there’s got to be a better way. And at that point, I was working on a Master’s in epidemiology and health education and I was looking for a couple of elective classes to take, and as I was looking at the board, there was one that said male, female brain differences and I remember some of the people, some of my classmates standing around laughing and going well duh? Who needs to take a class on male, female brain differences? We know the differences. And I thought hmm, I guess they’d wouldn’t be offering a class if it was just about the obvious differences so I enrolled.

Ben: Now was this before Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: That was before that, yes. Before John Grey came out with that book. So, I enrolled in the class and I swear Ben, it was the most exciting class I had ever taken because we were just starting to get some of the male female differences brain research and it so hand in glove went along with my interests and I just never looked back from there. In fact, I continually – I’m doing research myself on aspects of brain function at one of the health centers where I lecture but if I get a new piece of information I try to put it back up fairly quickly on one of my blogs or brain tips or somewhere on the website to stimulate other people’s interest in the brain because it is anything interesting.

Ben: Now, this may seem like a stupid question but I would really like to hear your take on why somebody should be taking care of their brain. Now when I say taking care – the reason I put it in that sense is kind of in the introduction, I mentioned that we talk a lot about taking care of your body, we talk about nutritional supplements on this show, we talk about exercise, we talk about fitness, we talk about eating healthy. But before we talk about how to make your brain healthy, why should somebody even care? Are there issues with the brain – is there a health or non-health of the brain?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Well first of all, there are no stupid questions. I know you meant that tongue in cheek Ben, however all progress begins with a question, and sometimes the question may not sound terribly erudite but it’ll stimulate someone to think about things in a new way. Now, this is my brain’s opinion and this is all I have because every brain is unique and we only have our own opinions. We can take the opinions of others and make it ours but that’s all we have and once I understood that – it’s been a long time since I had a foolish argument, the kind that we hear all the time like “I told you that,” “No, you didn’t,” and we waste time and energy on foolish arguments. So having said that, all we are is our brain in essence. And while I am absolutely committed to maintaining the health of the body and supporting immune system function, if you have a strong body and a good immune system function but your brain has gone to pot, you cannot meaningfully even use your level of health and engage meaningfully in a life. And the last part to go is your brain. So for me, everything pretty much starts and ends in the brain and the reason that I want a healthy body is to help support brain function. And the reason I want a healthy brain is so that I can use my healthy body for as  long as I possibly can for the full extent I possibly can which for me is aiming to be about 120.

Ben: You mentioned… you used the phrase “When the brain goes to pot” or allowing the brain to go to pot. Let’s be a little bit more specific and what I want to know is how does someone’s brain go to pot? What happens when someone’s brain is unhealthy? On a physical level?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: There are many factors that impact whether or not the brain is healthfully functional. And some of those, we can do something about and some of them, we can’t. The current research suggests that more than half of the factors that impact the health and functionality of a person’s brain are within our partial if not complete control. So those are the areas on which I want to concentrate. The kinds of factors, the kinds of behaviors that will help to keep my brain healthy. Now trauma sometimes, we cannot prevent trauma. That can affect the brain. There are times when we have inherited or familial tendencies that are not negative to the brain and sometimes we can’t prevent those. Although there are studies that indicate, if you know what those are, sometimes you can do things to delay the onset. For example, if you know that diabetes runs in your family, being really proactive about taking care of your diabetes can in many cases help to reduce the impact to the brain. Then there are things like viruses and bacteria and other infections, and you may be able to minimize those by living a high level wellness lifestyle. So you can’t do everything. But you can do something and my brain’s opinion is you figure out what you can partially or completely control and that’s where you put your time, money and energy.

Ben: And what type of factors can we control when it comes to our brains?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Oh my goodness, there are so many of them. In fact one of my latest books is 21 Factors that you can control that have to do with age proofing your brain and that goes – if I want to put it in a nutshell Ben, it’s living an absolutely high level wellness lifestyle to the best of your ability, meaning that you’re taking responsibility for what you eat, for what you drink, for how much water you get on a daily basis, for exercise, for learning how to manage stress, for taking time to play, for getting enough sleep, for challenging your brain everyday for a minimum of 30 minutes and so on and so forth.

Ben: Now when I am not doing these types of things, what happens to my brain? If I’m eating in an unhealthy manner, if I’m not exercising, if I’m not engaging in things that socially stimulate my brain, what actually happens?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: There can be any number of things that can happen. For example, there are no muscles in the brain per se.  And the only way that we really clean out waste products from the brain and bring it micronutrition and oxygen and glucose and other things that the brain needs is through exercise. When we do physical exercise, especially aerobic it helps to increase the rate at which the blood flows through the brain and that’s very good for it. Something as simple as brain breathing  several times a day, getting more air into your lungs and more oxygen to your brain can be very, very helpful. Not stimulating your brain can lead to what we often refer to as a lazy brain. Meaning most people are aware that your brain is filled with neurons – those specific cells that have an increased ability to talk to each other, to share information, how we think cognitively and by the way we now know that your heart has a lot of neurons as well which is fascinating in that that gives some basis for the emerging body of knowledge on emotional intelligence. But if you don’t, these neurons don’t touch each other. Most people got that in high school or college biology, there’s a space in them called the synapse or the synaptic gap and part of how well we think is related to the size of that gap. So when you are regularly, routinely stimulating your brain think of a neuron as your hand. Your palm represents the cell body, your thumb represents the axon – that large protection for most neurons – and then your fingers represent what we call dendrites that pull information into the cells. Well look at your hand and sort of form a loose fist. Take your other hand, form a loose fist and about a couple of inches apart from each other. Now stretch each hand out, your fingers as far out as you can go, both hands and now picture that this space between your hands is about a quarter of an inch across. That’s a rough model of what can happen in the brain when you don’t keep stimulating those neurons and keep them stretched out. You gradually, as the dendrites and axons begin to contract from lack of use really, this canal, this synaptic gap between them begins to widen. Now it takes longer for the little neurotransmitter boats if you want to use that metaphor to carry the information across the canal to another dendrite. And it can actually come to the point where it’s so far across that the boats just don’t make it. And then the brain can begin to exhibit symptoms of what we call, colloquially, senility. Meaning the person is just not thinking quickly and clearly. And in the absence of other brain damage or other chronic conditions, this can be reversed just by starting on a program of really stimulating the brain every day. And that’s pretty exciting to watch Ben.

Ben: And when you talk about stimulating your brain every day, are there specific exercises that people can be doing to ensure that this gap – this highway between neurons – remains as free flowing as possible?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Absolutely. There are specific exercises. I will start broadly and say that anything that’s challenging to the brain and involves new information or material can help those neurons stay stretched out. That’s why for example, travel is very good for the brain because you’re seeing new things, eating new foods, smelling new scents, seeing new people, doing things the brain has never done before. Now, you can look at going perhaps to the junior college, if you’re done with your formal education and taking a class for fun that your brain doesn’t know that subject or taking that subject further. And as you consciously have the brain do that, it will be very stimulating. There are any number of what I call brain aerobic exercises that you can do that range anywhere from Sudoku to crossword puzzles to brain perception, puzzles. I just finished with a co-author another book called Age Proofing Your Memory. And it’s filled with examples of those types of exercises. So we believe that that will make a huge difference in a person’s brain function barring some of the factors that you can’t do anything about. However, even those factors, Ben, if you understand what they are, you can be proactive to minimize that. For example, we know for example how traumatic trauma can be to the brain. So if you’re riding a bicycle or a motorcycle, you do want to wear a helmet. If you’re in a vehicle, you do want to wear your seatbelt and you do want to avoid tailgating. You do want to look around your house and get anything off the floor, especially as people get older, that might be a trip hazard. Because falls are a big problem for people if they fall and hit their heads. So, even the factors that you can’t totally control – that’s why we call them accidents – they were unplanned, you can minimize them. For example the 13th of July I’m going to have my left hip replaced. I have a familial history for several generations back of osteoarthritis and it has affected that hip. I’m planning to have a spinal anesthetic, not a general on purpose to minimize the anesthetic effects to my brain. Now there might not – every surgery you might not be able to do that. But I’m doing what I can to minimize the negative impact to my brain.

Ben: Interesting, and these specific lifestyle habits that people can incorporate such as the Sudoku, the crossword puzzles that you talked about, stimulating the brain by visiting new places, trying to travel, opposing those… are there lifestyle habits that you think people engage in these days that would be damaging to the brain? In addition to things that we know about like drinking too much? Are there other things that people do that you think are affecting the brain in a deleterious way?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Probably lots of things, especially for diet. High fat, high salt diets can contribute to atherosclerosis which is a narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain and when you can’t get enough oxygen through the brain that’s a problem. Things like exercising on a bright sunny day right beside a busy highway, because that means the breaths you take while you’re exercising will theoretically contain a large number of free radicals from vehicle exhaust. And free radicals are not good for the brain. You want to avoid those. So I always encourage people to exercise away from highways where there’s a lot of traffic, simply to avoid taking those chemicals into your brain.

Ben: Now what about exercising indoors? Do you think the type of toxins, cleaners, things of that nature, for example used in a commercial gym would also be something that someone should consider when it comes to their brain health?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Boy, that’s a hard one. I think it would depend on the gym and I think it would depend on what people’s alternatives were. There’s nothing flawless in this world, Ben. Nothing. You always give up something to get something. So let’s say you’re in a gym and they put in a new carpet and there is going to be some amount of (inaudible), if that is your alternative to be safer and to be protected for half an hour or an hour breathing in vehicle exhaust then I’d take the gym. So it begins to be a matter of – weigh things. Cause and effect. Which one do you think would be the least damaging? And I don’t worry about it. I analyze things, take which I think is my best option and then just go for it, knowing that nothing is ever going to be flawless but there can be definitely benefits to prevent what you can if you want to put it that way.

Ben: Now one of the things that I was thinking about as you were talking about continually keeping your brain, for lack of a better word, entertained is the fact that people fall into day to day lifestyle habits that put them into a rut or into a routine and it sounds to me like what you’re saying is that it may be beneficial to break out of that routine as you go through your day to day activities.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: I think it’s so – it’s not beneficial, I think it’s mandatory Ben.

Ben: What are some practical ways that people can incorporate things into their lifestyle that allow them to break out of that routine? Obviously travel is a great example but that’s something someone has to plan for and lay a schedule, but in terms of  just being able to get home or being at work and having a quick chance to stimulate the brain, what are some things that people can do other than Sudoku and the crossword puzzles?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Well let’s just make a comment about travel. I’m not talking about a 3 week trip to China, although if you can do that so much the better. But you can travel a different way to work, which will be different sights and make your brain function in a different way. You can take yourself or the family across town to see something you’ve never seen before. That is a form of travel. So you don’t have to think only of the big stuff.

Ben: That’s a good point. I actually – a lot of times after a long day at work where I’ve been stressed for several hours. I will literally – I never thought about why I did it – but I’ll just drive a different way home than I usually drive and maybe subconsciously I’m just trying to keep myself entertained and stimulate my brain. That’s a good point about travel.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Another thing that you can do is you can read aloud for a minimum of 10 minutes every day because studies have shown that something entirely different happens to the brain when you’re reading aloud as compared to reading quietly or silently to yourself. So you can read out loud to your kids, to your partner, to your cat, to yourself but reading aloud everyday is critically important. Many people in this country sit for many hours a day watching television and that’s what we call pastic picturing meaning that you’re processing in your brains something that another brain has created and while the research does show that a little television can be very helpful – in other words, people who watch no television often seem to exhibit in some studies the same brain characteristics as people who watch a lot. So the recommendation is watch about an hour a day, be careful what kind of programs you want to watch. But one of the biggest things you can do is just turn the tube off in favor of for example reading a book, because when you are reading silently or aloud, you are creating internal pictures in your brain about the information that you’re reading instead of looking at pictures created already by somebody else. You can decide for example to turn all the pictures upside down on your desk or piano or mantle for a day or two and your brain when it looks at them will go oh my goodness, that’s different.

Ben: Interesting.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: And then you can put them right side up and a week or two later turn them on their side. Anything that gives the brain something new to look at. If you are primarily right handed, decide you’re going to learn to eat with your left hand and believe me it’s going to be just a tad messy at first but it will really be worth it. In my case I certainly was born with a functional left hand but I was so strongly right handed Ben that I could hardly do anything with my left hand except have it be decorative and when I began to learn this information, I decided ok, enough of that we’re going to stimulate my brain in a new way. So I have two computers. I have one at the hospital office and I have one at the Realizations, Inc. office. So I made the decision that when I was at the hospital office, I would only and always use the mouse with my right hand. However when I was at the Realizations, Inc. office, I would always and only use the mouse with my left hand. Believe me, it was a steep learning curve. It took me weeks to get me really facile with that hand. But I would be hard-pressed now Ben to tell you that my left hand is not almost as good if not as good as my right hand when it comes to using the mouse.

Ben: Interesting, and people can do this with things as simple as brushing their teeth and eating, right?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Absolutely.

Ben: It seems silly that that simple change of just picking up your fork with your left hand rather than your right hand could actually make a difference in securing the health of your brain but it sounds like from what you’re saying is that research has actually shown that simple things like that can actually help?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Sometimes, the simpler activities are actually more beneficial to the brain than what we would consider complex activities. Take mathematics for example, studies indicate that simple math problems done quickly are probably more challenging to the brain overall in terms of the type of stimulation we’re talking about than complex. So you take a page or you buy a book that’s got a page of simple math problems – addition, and you do one for subtraction, one for division, one for multiplication and we’re talking simple here Ben. We’re talking 12 – 10, 7 x 6, 20 divided by four, 3 + 2 and you do a page of those, timing yourself with a stopwatch. Now your goal is to do it again the next day and see if you can beat your time and you keep doing that until you get the lowest possible time. Now you take another page and you go through that process again. And this appears to be much more stimulating to your brain as a way to keep those dendrites stretched out than the more complex, algebraic, geometric problems.

Ben: That’s a great suggestion. That’s something that I guess occasionally I’ll play mental exercises like that on the way to work where I’ll take 2 + 2 and take the product of that and add  4 + 4 and just see how far I can go and how quickly I can go.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Good.

Ben: Those are the types of things I guess I sometimes do when I’m bored but they actually can help make you stronger and increase your brain health.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: If you feel bored and what we know now suggests that the more extroverted a brain is, the more likely it is to become bored unless there’s a lot of variety or stimulating stuff going on around it. So if you anytime feel bored, that’s a marvelous time to pull a book out of your pocket and do some simple brain aerobic exercises and if you’re driving, you can’t pull anything out of your pocket, but you could definitely do it mentally, as you just explained. And that’s fabulous for your brain Ben.

Ben: In your book Mind Waves, you talk about the difference between the ways that people’s brains function from an auditory, visual or kinesthetic perspective and while the book goes into a great deal of detail about the differences between all those, I think that one of the biggest things that I took out of that book was the fact that if you are, for example.. which I am, an auditory person, it helps your brain to grow, to engage in activities that actually don’t cater to what your strengths are. So for example, for me as an auditory person I would want to engage in for example kinesthetic or visual activities. Can you talk for just a second about how that actually works and give me a couple of examples?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Well if you’re born with an unimpaired brain and I say that sort of tongue in cheek Ben, because we all have impaired brains, but in general if you’re born with a brain that’s generally considered to be normal, average – we have the ability to process sensory stimuli which is the only way really we can relate to each other in the world and the world. When we’re little kids, we talked about seeing and hearing and smelling and tasting and so on, things. In general, you can lump all of those types of sensory data into three groups. You are visual and that means what you take in through your eyes registers more quickly and intensely in your brain. Or your auditory and what you hear registers more quickly and intensely or you’re kinesthetic and what you smell and taste and sense in terms of the clothes against your skin and the temperature in your room and body position and muscle action registers most quickly and intensely in your brain. That doesn’t mean that you use all three. It means that if you’re subjected to all three, one type usually gets your attention most quickly. So your point that if you’re primarily auditory and so am I Ben, which means we’re usually pretty comfortable speaking and listening and reading because reading is processed in the same part as the brain as listening – you can read of course with your eyes and your ears or your fingers – it will be more stimulating to our brains to do things for which we don’t have this immediate, quick, intense response to. So since visual is my least sensory system – meaning I have eyes and I think things are out there but I don’t see detail in the way that people do that have the visual sensory preference – I get myself books for example that have find the differences between two pictures so that I can help my brain to take information in visually in the way that ordinarily I wouldn’t gravitate toward to because I’m so auditory. I can eat a bite of food and ask myself am I able to identify some separate flavors in this particular type of food which is very kinesthetic and something I wouldn’t ordinarily do. I can burn a scented candle while I am reading a book which is going to be stimulating my sense of kinesthesia which will perhaps give a different flavor to what I’m doing while I’m reading the books. So, Ben, the ramifications – the potential – they’re endless. They just depend on how creative you want your brain to be.

Ben: What I really appreciated was the fact that you can even incorporate this into your relationships, for example being an auditory person I am not as strong – and that’s actually where I ranked the lowest in the book – was the kinesthetic awareness. Just doing something as simple as not appreciating the fact that sometimes like in your family to be hugged or touched more. Just after reading the book I realized oh gosh, I maybe give my wife a big hug once a day and I could be doing that five or six times a day because if she’s a kinesthetic person she’s going to appreciate that even for myself as an auditory person, I find having a conversation with her to be something that I appreciate quite a bit. She might appreciate a hug just as much.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: It’s so key Ben. In fact the reason that I put the sensory preferences on my website and anyone can go download it free of charge and you did to figure out what their preference is. Most people, we believe, have one. Because the bottom line is that if we’re not aware, we tend to relate to others in our preference because we believe that takes less energy in our brain. Now if you happen to be partnered with someone who has the same sensory preference and your kids all have the same sensory preference, it’s a non issue. But that doesn’t always happen. If you’re auditory and your wife is kinesthetic and let’s say you have a visual and kinesthetic child. Neither one of whom is auditory – then figuring out what they are allows you to affirm them, to nurture them in the use of sensory stimuli that will register most quickly in their brains. And that’s how they feel loved and valued and comfortable. It’s so easy to do once you have that awareness. Your example is absolutely magnificent. As an auditory, you tend as I do to relate to others through sound. Whether that’s a word or a “hmmm” or something like that, that registers quickly in our brain. But if you’re dealing with a kinesthetic who is into odors and taste and touch, that won’t register very quickly in their brain and the first thing I want to remind people is that yes kinesthetics relate to touch but they are very discriminating about who touches them. So I don’t ever run up and hug a kinesthetic unless I know they’re open to that, but if they are they’re going to feel affirmed by a hug in a very different way than they would feel affirmed if I just said, well hi Jane I’m really glad to see you today. It’s critically important for children. When I have a parent bring a child to me and say “This year my child is not doing well in school and I don’t know what the problem is.” The first thing I’ll look at is can we figure out what the teacher’s sensory preference is and can we figure out the child’s preference. Because if they’re very different, that child may be struggling to learn simply because it’s so difficult to learn in a sense that it takes more energy in the brain and so on.

Ben: Interesting. Now I know that one of the things that the audience is quite into is exercise and I just want to touch on this before I move on to the last issue I wanted to ask you about and that is that I’ve been thinking as we talk about the fact that people tend to also get into a rut with their exercise routines and I personally just wanted to throw a word of encouragement out to you and that is at the end of every gym type of routine that I do, and typically I’ll go to the gym for about 30 to 40 minutes, I always save 5 to 10 minutes to throw something new at myself. Whether it be a new exercise machine or a new balance device or something that keeps my body and of course my brain guessing during the exercise routine, so as you’re out there in the audience listening in, realize that these types of techniques can also be used to enhance your brain fitness so to speak. Is that right?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: That’s such a good way to put it. In fact, the brain gets quickly. For example, about 18 to 24 months after you begin a romantic relationship, the brain goes “Ok, been there, done that. Now what else can we do?” And that’s the critical importance – to make a commitment to have a primary person your whole life, you need to continually do things differently with each other to keep the brain excited. Well exercise is exactly the same and many people get bored with the same type of exercise and the brain doesn’t like to continue something for which it does not get a reward. So one of the key important things that you can do is always change up your exercise routine. Let’s just say for example, and you’re the exercise guru, so you can refine this more than I can – but let’s say you go to the gym and you do 15 minutes on a treadmill and you do 10 minutes swimming and you do 10 minutes on a weight machine. You do that that in that order a few times and your brain starts yawning metaphorically. So change it up if you possibly can all the time. Swim 10 minutes then do your treadmill then do your weight. The next day do your weights, treadmill and swim. Next time do treadmill, swimming, weight. Do you see what I mean?

Ben: Yep, and that both from a brain perspective and a fitness perspective is important because whenever you’re putting the muscle into new angles it basically isn’t allowed to adapt or become efficient at that movement and that actually has quiet a good crossover into getting fitter.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: I think there’s so much crossover Ben, if people just understood that they can be exercising and we do need the aerobic exercise. We also need some stretching and some balance and some flexibility. But if they do those exercises in a novel way – we’re not talking unsafe – we’re just talking novel in the way they’re doing them or the order in which they’re doing them. They will also be stimulating the brain which of course has the potential for allowing the brain to stay healthier longer and therefore help them to be able to exercise longer. Because you know as well as I do that athletes at every age seem to be healthier in general than non-athletes. So we don’t have to be Olympic competitors but we can do something every day, every week to do both at the same time. Another thing you can do is if you are auditory and enjoy books on tape, which I do, which also other people can learn to do even if they’re not auditory – instead of just listening to the same music over and over on your iPod while you’re on the treadmill, try listening to something on tape that’s cognitive – a story that you have to follow a storyline that you’re making pictures in your brain while you’re exercising. If you do this on a topic that you’re already interested in, it can be amazing how you can hardly realize the exercise time has gone by because your brain was also engaged cognitively.

Ben: That’s a great point. Now there was one other thing that I wanted to ask you. I have a supplement that I talked about before on the show that I take for energy called Delta-E and one of the things claimed on the literature is that it has a component in it that actually helps with your mood. It helps with your brain function and I got a magazine in one of my orders that actually had an article by you about that compound called Theanine. And what I was curious was number one, is that something that you supplement with or that you take? And number two, is it something that really can help with the brain function or the mood?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: That’s a very complex question. First of all, yes. I take Delta-E everyday of my life and absolutely believe in what it does for my brain. Not only the B complex that it contains but especially the L-Theanine which is really quite a player. And there are some research articles out that indicate that for many people it is able… having adequate levels of L-Theanine helps to improve memory, learning ability and so on and so forth. Now, here’s the kicker. Not every brain needs the same thing. So when I take a nutritional product and I take two of them every day. Delta –E is one of them, the other one is EnerPrime which has as its base green superfood, I picture that I am giving my brain this exposure to a marvelous buffet. Many other brains can go to that same buffet but I might need certain things on that buffet for my brain that another brain won’t need but they’ll need something else on that buffet. And that’s why it’s so difficult to say, you take this micronutrient and it will do blah blah blah for your brain. If your brain doesn’t need that particular piece you’re not going to notice a lot of difference but if it does you can notice a huge difference and since L-Theanine for example does a lot of different things, most brains that I have interacted with that take the product definitely see some benefit and I’m taking it because I believe that long-term, it can help to strengthen both my brain and my immune system.

Ben: Interesting, so is that something that you think people are deficient in or something that people aren’t getting enough of? Or is it something that there still needs to be research done on?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Well I think there is ongoing research right now that indicates, unfortunately, just like many adults in this country especially as they get up to the age of 50, 55 are dehydrated, are not drinking enough water everyday which is lethal for the brain because dehydration tends to increase the production of free radicals. It appears that as the brain gets older, it begins to drop its levels of L-Theanine. And one of the things that L-Theanine reportedly does for the brain is stimulate the release of nerve growth factor or NGF as it’s called. And that particular factor contributes to the growth of dendrites – those little fingers on your neuron hand. And it’s definitely needed by the brain cells that use acetyl koline for signaling, meaning that it’s important for the cells to help you be alert, think quickly and calmly. And so I believe that at almost any age people can start perhaps preventing the decline of amounts of L-Theanine in the brain by going ahead and taking it. It also reportedly activates something called the 5th taste sense on your tongue. There’s a Japanese word for that which I can’t pronounce which has to do with your taste buds being able to process how delicious something else.

Ben: Interesting.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: Now one of the problems in our culture is monosodium glutamate. My brain’s opinion is that it is really lethal. It is a brain toxic. And I try to avoid anything that’s got MSG in it or…

Ben: I heard the fuzzy feeling that you get after you eat Chinese food is the feeling of a million brain neurons. I don’t know if that’s true.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: I don’t know but I ask in every Chinese restaurant if they use MSG and if they do, I don’t want to eat there. But here’s the problem. Anything that’s MSG or chemicals that end in –ate are called neurotoxic substances. Well L-Theanine activates that 5th taste sense which theoretically can do for your taste buds what MSG would do without the neurotoxic effects. And I love the taste of food even though kinesthesia is my second sensory preference, so I believe that I am enjoying my food more now that I’m taking Delta-E.

Ben: Interesting. I thought it was interesting to find out what the world’s leading brain authority actually supplements with for their brain, so that was good to know. Now do you have any final resources to which you would point the audience to learn more about brain function? I know that you mentioned the survey – the brain sensory survey that you have on your website – anything else that you think would be helpful for the audience in terms of growing their brain?

Dr. Arlene Taylor: What I’m trying to do, Ben, is make my website the most complete and user-friendly resources for what I’m able to discover about brain function. So individuals can go to my website which is basically my name, it’s really easy. www.arlenetaylor.org and they can click on “Brain Bits” and every week there’s a little new brain bit about what we’re learning about brain function. They can go to something called “Brain Facts” and there are dozens of links that will take them to the little piece of brain function research and where I found that. So they can do a tremendous amount of brain stimulation by looking at those types of resources and then if they find something, for example, that they’re really interested in then they can get books or look on the Internet for additional information and all of that is going to stimulate brain function and hopefully help them retain cognition for a very long time.

Ben: That’s fantastic. You have several books out. I’m going to put a link to at least the book that I have sitting here in front of me, just because it’s the one that I most recently read. I’ll put a link to that one in the Shownotes as well as a link to your website where I’m sure that people can find out about the other books that you’ve written. Just very easy to read, simple to understand books. It’s not like they’re textbooks on neurofunction – but I’ve actually enjoyed your books because they’ve got stuff that I can just practically implement right away. So that’s very useful. But I wanted to thank you for coming on the show today, Dr. Taylor.

Dr. Arlene Taylor: It’s always my pleasure to talk to you Ben. It’s fun to talk to somebody who has similar interests in health, immune system, exercise, the brain. Of course when we talk to people about similar interests, we always feel a little bit smarter and we can exchange information with each other so I appreciate being your guest. Have a wonderful day.

Ben: Alright, you too, Arlene. Thanks.

For personal nutrition, fitness  or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net

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