October 7, 2009
Introduction: In this podcast episode: what you don’t know about bone density, recommendations on food combining, healthy saturated fats, whether you burn more calories in hot weather, off-season training tips, how to become a better cyclist.
Ben answers: Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and if the audio sounds a little funky today I’m actually recording this podcast on a tiny little handheld digital recorder from a small bedroom in my condo in Kona, Hawaii where I am staying for the week to watch the 2009 Ironman World Championships. I know that some of you have been staying updated on my video coverage. I’m actually doing media coverage for a website called www.everymantri.com. So if you surf over to www.everymantri.com, you’ll be able to see some of what’s going on down here in Kona and we’re trying to keep the videos as entertaining as possible. Anyways, today’s podcast – we’ve got a lot of good listener questions. We’ve got a fantastic interview with Dr. Carolyn DeMarco who has some outside the box concepts to talk about when it comes to bone density in females. We’ve got a few special topics go over and it’s going to be a good podcast. Hopefully you can bear with me on the audio here and let’s go ahead and just dive right in.
Remember if you have a question, just email [email protected]. Or you can call toll free to 8772099439. Or Skype me at pacificfit.
Christine asks: Hi Ben, I just tried a hot yoga class and a friend of mine mentioned that you can burn up to 1000 kilocalories per 90 minute session. This seemed to be on the high side and I got real curious about it. A quick Google gave me an estimate of 300-1000 calories per hour. I understand that my heart rate goes up and my heart works harder to keep cool, but does my system really work that much harder to burn so many calories? I did an experiment after my workout at the gym and got into the sauna. After about 5 minutes my heart rate was 85 beats per minute and after about 10 minutes it was close to 100bpm. I plugged in two numbers into a calculator I found online at www.triathlontrainingblog.com. The first was my resting heart rate in a hot environment of 100bpm and the second was an estimate of my max HR doing hot yoga, which was about 160bpm. The calculator told me I was burning 361 at 100 beats a minute and 942 calories at 160 beats per minute. I don’t know my VO2 max that the calculator asked for so just used the suggested number of 35. I don’t know the math behind the calculator, but was wondering if this is an accurate way of estimating calories burned in warm or hot environments or if you know of a better way. I often see weight trainers at the gym all bundled up in sweats and wondered if this is really a good way of burning more energy and if I too should bundle up and hit the hot yoga class or sauna more often.
Ben answers: Wow, that’s a really good question. And the short answer is that you do burn fewer calories when you exercise in cold weather versus exercising in hot weather and the reason for that is the hotter it is, the more work your heart has to do to keep you from overheating. You’ve got all this blood in your body and blood is how your body can keep itself cool by putting more blood out to the extremities and the harder you exercise, the hotter your muscles get so your heart has to pump extra blood to get oxygen to the muscles but it also has to pump all the hot blood from the heated muscles to your skin or the heat gets dissipated where your body can actually cool. So, it doesn’t have to do that quite so much when the temperatures drop a little bit. So yeah, your heart rate is going to go up in cold weather and kind of on top of that as you lose fluid volume and you sweat fluid volume and your blood becomes thicker and your heart has to beat even faster then as well. Now, is it healthy to get your heart rate up with simply making things hotter rather than say exercising more, moving the muscles more, exercising at a more intense level? It’s probably not. You’re not going to get the same type of what’s called a protein fiber activation. You’re not going to get the same bump up in your post-exercise metabolic rate. You’re not going to get all the advantages that you would get if you were to get your heart rate high through exercises rather than through heat. But assuming that you are exercising, exercising in a hot environment does burn more calories than exercising in a cool environment and even though there are more risks when you exercise in a hot environment, yeah hot yoga is going to burn more calories than room temp yoga. A hot spinning class is going to burn more calories than hot yoga and so on and so forth. Now as far as the best way to measure the calories, yeah, unless you have access to be able to wear a mask the whole time you’re working out to measure your oxygen expired and carbon dioxide produced, heart rate is going to be pretty much the closest estimation that you’re going to get, whether by using a heart rate monitor or by using for example this calculator that you mentioned. And I’ll put a link to that calculator in the Shownotes. The calculator is essentially the same type of equation that’s going to be built into your heart rate monitor. So heart rate monitor just saves you the step of having to go onto your computer after your workout. But that’s a really great question. And I hope that answers it. So thank you Christine. The next question comes from Listener Chuck.
Chuck Asks: I had a question on choosing real butter vs. trans-fat free margarine products so I went back and listened to podcast number 12 where you talked about butter and saturated fats. As you discussed, I’ve read a lot lately about the a moderate amount of saturated fats from butter and other products being healthy for the body. With regards to this, are all saturated fats equal? Would the saturated fat in butter be the same as that in bacon and the same as that in say a 96% lean ground beef? Obviously, the overall consideration here is the amount of total fat in each product when it comes to making decisions about which to eat. But in terms of the saturated fats in these various foods, are they all equally “healthy”?
Ben answers: So before we talk about the actual healthiness of the fats themselves, what Chuck is referring to when he’s talking about saturated fats not necessarily being as dangerous as we all used to think they were, the basic idea is that even though the consumption of animal fats and cholesterol in the American diet has decreased significantly, there really hasn’t been a decrease in heart disease in America. At the same time we have been increasing the consumption of things like vegetable oils, processed fats, shortening and baked goods, refined oils, and all sorts of things that cause that free radical formation in the body that really causes a lot more cardiovascular damage than just saturated fat consumption or cholesterol. Now the problem with saturated fats is they’re really calorically dense. You got to be careful with them, but they do contain a lot of things that are good for your body. They can help out with building your cell walls, your bones, your skeletal structure. They can help with your immune system, your fatty acid utilization. So the cholesterol that you take in with those saturated fatty acids, again, it contributes to your cell membranes, your hormone productions. So for hormones like testosterone or estrogen, your body’s vitamin D production which you know if you’ve been listening to this podcast is really important. A proper digestive function, proper antioxidant formation. Cholesterol even has an anti-inflammatory effect when it comes from a healthy natural fat source versus the type of cholesterol you would get from a baked good. So yeah, saturated fat in moderation is fine for you. It’s good for you and you have to have a little bit in your diet. As a matter of fact, one of the t-shirts that we had made for the www.bengreenfieldfitness.com show – you get a t-shirt when you donate to the show. There’s a little button there on the right hand side. The back of that t-shirt says “My personal trainer told me to eat more fat.” And it’s all based off that information that I gave you in podcast number 12. So saturated fat sources from say like bacon, yeah that’s going to be different than some other saturated fat sources because you are probably going to get some added preservatives, some added sodium in something like bacon. And a lot of meats as well. I try to choose the vegetable based fats as much as possible. With the meats you try to choose as organic and unadulterated as possible. So these are going to be the best type of fats for you to start off with, the best sources of saturated fats or cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil which you can get… it’s kind of solid at room temperature but you can use it for cooking. It’s very heat stable for cooking. You can also put it by the spoonful on like a smoothie. Flax seed oil, butter is good in small amounts especially for cooking versus a heat unstable oil. Grass fed beef, organic beef, bison – also very lean. Good source of saturated fat. Buffalo, walnuts and almonds as well are going to have some in there. So those would be your top picks for saturated fats, Chuck. And I hope that helps. So the next question is from Listener Todd.
Todd asks: Ben, I listened to this Podcast number 53 and number 62, and have to say I was blown away. I had no idea that the typical non-pro athlete had access to this level of nutritional analysis. Thanks for being the guinea pig, and sharing your results. My question is that if you had to choose between Performance Testing like a VO2 max test or this type of testing from Bioletics, which one would provide more or better insight to your optimal performance? I think I already know the answer, but was curious to hear your take on this.
Ben answers: Great question Todd. Here’s the deal. The performance testing, like the VO2 max testing or the blood lactate testing – it’s going to give you numbers that you can generate heart rate training zones from. And those numbers can be very good to guide your training. However, you can approximate the results of those tests by doing what are called field tests. So for example, rather than going to a lab, exercising for a half hour on a treadmill and getting very precise blood measurements from your fingertips that tell you exactly when your blood lactate levels peak, you could go run 30 minutes, breathing hard, legs burning, sustainable pace, not all out but pretty close to it. Observe your heart rate. Your average heart rate during that time, and it’s a decent approximation of your lactate threshold. So you can ballpark it and you can get pretty close. You can’t ball park your vitamin D levels or your testosterone levels or your essential amino acids or your magnesium or your metabolic type or any of those types of things that we found out through Bioletics. So if I had to choose I would actually choose the internal performance factor testing that I got at Bioletics rather than the performance testing which I could stimulate in the field if I absolutely had to. Obviously best of both worlds would be to do both but sometimes what’s ideal is not necessarily practical. So good question. Next up, Listener Rob says…
Rob asks: Have you ever come up with what type of foods to eat with each other? We usually only eat beef once a week and when we do eat it it’s with vegetables, but I wanted to know if you have ever put a plan like that together.
Ben answers: Two different directions I could take this question, Rob. The first would be taking it in the direction of food combining and a food combining diet means that essentially it’s built upon the fact that carbohydrates take carbohydrate enzymes to digest. Proteins take protein enzymes to digest. So if you consume the two at the same time, you might get incomplete digestion as the enzymes fight for space basically. Not a ton of evidence that a food combining diet is highly effective. But there’s all sorts of rules. Like don’t combine proteins with starchy carbohydrates. Only drink milk by itself. Don’t drink water during the time that you’re eating. Don’t add fats to proteins, like a fatty sauce to a fish or chicken or creamy sauce. Don’t consume starch foods and sugar foods together, like a jam on toast or honey on oatmeal and then make sure that your foods are protein only or carbohydrate only in terms of the actual meal so your meal would only be fish with asparagus or a sweet potato with asparagus. I’m not huge on the food combining diet. I wrote an article on it once a while back and I know a lot of people think I’m a proponent of it based on the article, I’m not a proponent of it necessarily. I have found that with some people who have stomach upset or gastrointestinal problems, it can help a little bit to make the meals more simple so to speak, less complex. But more importantly than that is the other way that you could combine foods and that would be combining foods that aren’t necessarily a complete protein to form a complete protein. Because if you’re not going to eat meat – and I don’t necessarily encourage you to eat meat for every meal. It’s good to learn how to survive on vegetable protein if you have to, you combine foods to form whole protein. Some examples of that. You could take in a whole grain cereal. You could consume it with a dairy source like milk and that would give you a complete protein. You could take a whole grain pasta. You could consume it with cheese and that would give you a complete protein. Rice, again you can combine rice with milk and that will give you a complete protein. Wheat and peanuts would give you a complete protein. So like a whole grain peanut butter sandwich even though I’m a bigger fan of the almonds than I am the peanuts. Beans and wheat or rice and beans. Either of those would give you a complete protein. Peas and rye interestingly are a complete protein. Beans and corn, pretty popular Mexican kind of diet – that also is a complete protein. And then soy beans combined with nuts – kind of a less popular combination but you can do a soy bean and combine that with almonds. That will also give you a complete protein. So that is really the only type of food combining I would say that I really think makes a lot of sense and it can ensure that you don’t have to eat meat all the time. You can combine vegetable and wheat and nut sources and still get a pretty decent complete amino acid. So great question. The next question comes from Listener Jason.
Jason asks: Ben, this is Jason here from Dallas, Texas again. I was just wondering if you maybe had some advice for me. I’m looking towards the end of the triathlon season now and going into my first winter basically. What sort of training am I going to be looking for and just basically should I do more, should I work out more in the gym? Should I get off my bike and take a break for a couple of months or what is your best suggestion basically?
Ben answers: So Jason, it’s a pretty loaded question but I want to mention that I did receive a related question about the Triathlon Dominator package and I had listener Cindy ask…
Cindy asks: If I plan use the Triathlon Dominator Package to do an Ironman in November 2010 – what should I be doing during the months of November 2009, December 2009, and January 2010? I’m also interested in post-Ironman.
Ben answers: So Cindy and Jason. I understand you ask that question because the Triathlon Dominator package is a nine month training plan and so yeah you do have an extra three months during the year. The question is what do you do? And the answer is one option is nothing. Which if you’re incredibly fit when you finish a triathlon season in October could be an option, but I don’t recommend it. I sat in a lecture by Paula Newby Fraser down at the Ironman medical conference last year and she said they’d finish big Ironman World Championships and go surf and lift weights for three months. What do my athletes do? Here’s what most of them do. We have a foundation phase of weight training where you actually build strength, then you add a few pounds of lean muscle by doing full body exercises three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps trying to hit every single body part in the gym three times a week. So you’re building that injury free foundation. On the bike, what we work on are high cadence so lots of super fast spins of 30 to 60 seconds in duration that take the cyclist to 100 or 110 beats per minute. We do a lot of drills with cycling. Single leg drills and spins like around town where you have to change direction quickly, accelerate, decelerate at a high cadence. That’s for the summer… summer type athletes or athletes who are in hot climates. For the winter athletes we’re doing a lot of those high cadence efforts on an indoor trainer. Cycling, we also do force workouts where we’re doing very slow kind of grinding hill climbs at a low cadence. About 50 to 60 RPM so we’ll combine slow cadence, force building efforts with the high cadence neuromuscular type of efforts and those form the foundation of the offseason in cycling. For swimming, what we focus on again is force. So a lot of work with the paddles, the pull buoys with kickboards. Sometimes with resistance bands again building strength in the water and then tons of drills. So, it’s the skills, drills and force – similar to what we work on on the bike. On the run, again lots of drills. I also encourage athletes who have other hobbies like tennis or basketball or soccer to take those up in the offseason as an alternative to running. Most of the athletes that I work with only have one structured run in the offseason. By structured run I mean a run where it’s like ok, you’re going to go out and you’re going to do a 90 minute trail run. The other runs I give them the option – they can go play pickup basketball, they can go join an ultimate Frisbee league. But one of the things that I do include in the running program especially for the people who are weaker runners are running drills. Heel to butt kick drills. Track drills. There are some great track drills that are called As, Bs, and Cs. I have my athletes do those. We’ll do high knee kicks, some aqua jogging, some work on keeping the center of gravity forward, some treadmill work to work on keeping the cadence up. So again most of the running is slightly non-structured but still focused on again, the skills, the drills and the force. And then just kind of escaping some of the mental repetitiveness of going out and doing a structured run per se three times a week. So that’s the basics of the offseason. Now as far as post-Ironman, typically it’s very light movement. Maintaining blood flow and using lots of recovery methods. When I say recovery methods, I’m talking about lots of cold baths, lots of magnesium baths, lots of yoga, lots of massage, lots of light walks, usually some light swims and that’s typically for about a week. And for my athletes who really push hard and are really going very, very hard in Ironman – usually about two weeks of that type of treatment. And of course total mental break from training. No requirements for structure swim, bike and run workouts whatsoever. Because the mental component is very important. The mental break is very important to avoid burning out the next season. So great questions, you guys on Ironman training. And then our final question is another call in question from Listener Chuck.
Chuck asks: Hey Ben, this is Chuck, one of your loyal listeners and triathletes. I just wanted to say first off, thanks for answering all my questions. I really appreciate it. I get a lot out of the answers and the podcasts. I have a question this week. I was riding with a guy yesterday and we did about 30 miles at about 21 miles an hour pace. And he told me that this was a recovery day for him and when he goes hard, he’ll go at about 25, 26, 27 miles an hour. For 21, I was pushing pretty hard. And I was wondering what can I do to become a biker at that level? I mean, I guess just a better biker overall. Is it more miles or is it the type of workouts I’m doing? I didn’t really feel like it was a cardiovascular issue as much as my legs were pushing hard and I felt I was going as hard as I could go. So any advice you have, I would really appreciate it and thanks again for answering all my questions. Take care.
Ben answers: Now Chuck if you listen to the answer to the last question on what to do in the offseason of an Ironman – skills, meaning high cadence repeats on the bicycle and overspeed repeats, high RPM efforts, drills, single leg efforts if you have access to what’s called a spin scan which is a computer you can hook up to your bike that shows how much wattage you’re putting into your right and left pedal stroke – how much efficiency there is in those pedal strokes. Again, very effective. As well as some of those slow cadence grinding type of hill repeats. Even though I don’t know your personal limitations – those are two of the best ways that I know and that I know a lot of cycling coaches use to get an athlete to become stronger on the bike. Now, as far as the intensity goes… yeah anybody, I’m assuming, knows that if you go out and you lay it on the line and you do intervals, you’re going to get fitter. But there are finer points than just going out and smashing it to get fitter. So work some of the drills, work some of the skills, work some of the force repeats into your program. Great questions this week. And remember if you have a question, just email me [email protected]. Call toll-free to 8772099439. Skype me at pacificfit and I will put a link to all those ways to contact me right in the Shownotes. Make sure you access the Shownotes. There’s a lot of cool stuff and links that I put in there so you don’t have to be running along listening to this podcast and stopping to write it down — wave down a car passing by to borrow a pen. Anyways, great questions. We’re going to move on to this week’s featured topic.
Ben: Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and I’m back with Dr. Carolyn DeMarco and Carolyn is the author of a few different books really. She’s written a book called The Bone Building Solution. She’s also written a bestselling book on women’s health. Fantastic book called Take Charge Of Your Body and this book is considered one of the gold standards for women’s health information. And she actually also has what’s kind of a mini encyclopedia on natural remedies. It’s called Dr. De Marco answers your questions. And she has quite a background in both western medicine and natural medicine – a forerunner in natural childbirth actually and one of the first people to really promote the pro-active approach to health care that we’re all becoming a little bit more aware of here in America. So, Dr. DeMarco… and Canada I guess as well, you’re up there in Canada right?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yeah that’s right. I actually live in the west but in this interview I happen to be in Toronto.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Which is in the other side of the country.
Ben: Right. Now tell me a little bit more about your background where you came to be where you are right now and what your practice is currently like.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes. Actually right now I’m not practicing. More doing lecturing and writing. But I also just want to mention, I’m the co-author of the book The Bone Building Solution published by Wiley and the other two books, the content is available on the web at www.drdemarco.com. Those books’ info are available on the web.
Ben: And who did you co-author The Bone Building Solution with?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: The main author was Sam Graci who’s a famous nutritional researcher and he did a lot of work for the (inaudible) extension foundation. But I originally… I’m a general practitioner. When I went into general practice I just found that people had a lot of complaints and we go through the standard procedures and refer them to a specialist and they would be told that it was functional or all in their head so I started looking at alternatives. Once I saw that, especially for women’s health, there was a lot of over prescription of drugs and even birth control pills, things like Depo-Provera which by the way causes a lot of bone loss. That’s the new birth control that’s being used for young women. A lot of people may not be aware of that. But we can get into that. So I actually became aware that there was a lot of abuse in the medical system and at first I was just recommending that people become educated and then I started to realize they needed alternative recommendations also.
Ben: Okay. And so when you’re talking about things like birth control pills and some of the effects that modern medicine has on bone density, in your opinion as a general practitioner how widespread was the use of the type of medication that would cause low bone density?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Very widespread right now. Actually osteoporosis begins at childhood when the bone mass is formed before age 21 and now we have a group of very sedentary children and inadequate nutrition, and then you have young women who are being exposed to the birth control pill which in itself causes almost up to 4% bone loss over time and that’s in mainstream journals. Depa-Povera injections which is a new form of birth control being promoted – it causes 6% bone loss over two years. It’s very substantial. So you’re having people who are not going into adulthood with a peak bone loss. It’s quite a serious problem. And the birth control… a lot of people don’t realize that. We started doing research and were kind of appalled.
Ben: I actually didn’t know that. And when you’re talking about going forward in the rest of your life with low bone density, what I understand is that the amount of bone density that you enter into a certain part of years of your life with is what you’re stuck with, is that correct?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. That’s why we call osteoporosis… we call it a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences. You’re stuck with that and there’s widespread inadequate nutrition in the children with some increase of diabetes. Many children don’t have many vegetables. They’re drinking soda pop everyday and they have little or no exercise and actually we recommend that people start taking a bone building supplement at age 6.
Ben: Interesting. Now when people are going forward in the rest of their lives with x amount of bone density, is there a cutoff when you quit building bone density? A certain age?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I think it’s 35 but 80% of the bone density is formed by 21. I’ll just check that but it’s a phenomenal fact. I had no idea – first of all I didn’t realize the birth control linked with so many people. Yes, here it is. Actually according to our stats, 24 is when the bone stops growing. So 40% age 1 to 10, 40% age 10 to 20, 20% between ages 20 and 24. So by age 20, you have the majority – 80% of your bone mass formed. So they are critical years and I think maybe anybody who’s training – for instance running on a regular basis is bound to have automatic bone density from the exercise. The stress on the bones… really promotes increased bone density.
Ben: Did you say it promotes increased bone density?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes. Absolutely. Runners… they’re very protected, I would say.
Ben: Now what about the actual breakdown of bone from the stress of running? The loss of minerals, things of that nature. Especially for the long distance runners who are burning through both a lot of calories and a lot of salts. Do you think there’s a law of diminishing returns at some point there?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: You know, I’m not aware of many research in that regard but the one thing with the bones is you also require antioxidant protection and essential fatty acids. Many of the things probably most runners are doing to protect themselves will probably protect their bones.
Ben: Now what about their upper bodies, because the lower bodies are primarily what’s striking the ground during the running gait.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: There’s a problem where you’re having to address the upper body strengths. Your bone density then will be weak in that area. Wherever you exercise more – for instance if you only exercise one arm, that would have the greatest bone density so the bone density varies throughout the body. When you go and get bone density testing, it only tests two areas. The spine and the hip. So, for instance if you had your leg in a cast for three months then the bone density in that is going to be diminished and you’d have to work on it.
Ben: That’s something that I talk to a lot of my athletes about, not just my female athletes but the male marathoners and female marathoners that I coach who are doing a lot of running – is they tend to dislike the strength training, especially the upper body strength training and that’s one of the ways I explain it to them when I have them doing four sets of overhead presses with dumbbells is they’re not really doing a whole lot for their upper spine, for their arms and for their neck bone density when they’re out pounding the pavement during the run. So the trick is not to put on muscle mass. The whole reason behind doing that is to load the bones in a way that they’re not being loaded. And you would agree with that?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. I have talked to a fitness instructor… I think his name was (inaudible) and he emphasizes the upper body because he says that most people have much more developed strength in the lower body because of walking, because of weight bearing alone and that if you don’t address the upper body you’re never going to be truly fit. So I remember that he emphasized that beyond anything – the upper body training. Of course the balance training – we also emphasizes core abdominal strengthening, core strengthening, balance exercises as well as aerobic and weight bearing exercises.
Ben: And so guys do need to worry about bone density. It’s not just the…
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. In fact I recently had a case of a man in his 40s, early 40s who developed bone density and bone density lowering and actual osteoporosis and I’ve seen that more and more. And it is partially related to low testosterone. Lowering of testosterone and now prematurely in men is associated with it. It can also be related to toxins or other exposures, unusual exposures. In his case he had the iron load. So osteoporosis in men is quite neglected and the research has all been done on women.
Ben: So he had a heavy iron load and low testosterone. Is there a proposed mechanism of action as to why those factors would lower…
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Well it’s well known that hormonal factors – the hormonal factors are well researched. The iron… I did some research… for some reason, excess iron inhibits the absorption of calcium, I imagine. I don’t remember… but the interesting thing is hormonal… whether it’s lack of estrogen or progesterone and testosterone… and even in women testosterone is a major bone building hormone as is DHA. So, in both men and women testosterone is a major component of building strong bones. In fact if a woman is not responding to progesterone, we will definitely check and see if her testosterone level is low which often happens in a peri-menopausal lady. 40s, early 50s.
Ben: Yeah and I’ve actually been recommending to most of my triathlete companies, especially the females that they have their testosterone and DHA levels tested and I’m getting a lot of results. They’ll get their results and then send them over to me and it’s across the board… well not across the board but very frequently, very low in both DHEA and testosterone.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Well you just reminded me of a study that a very good endocrinologist up in western Canada did and she studied female runners and they were having micro fractures on their feet because they were deficient in progesterone. As soon as she gained progesterone, that problem was ended. But progesterone is also the other… it’s a very key component to bone building. And I just remembered that. I do quote that study in my PowerPoint. My whole PowerPoint presentation on bone building is available on my website also.
Ben: And I do have another question for you about calcium but real quick, is that the www.drdemarco.com website?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes. And right at the beginning you see the bone building presentation. I talk also there about another critical (memo) that I use which is strontium. Stontium is a natural mineral and it is a very good at both inhibiting bone breakdown and promoting bone build up and it has almost no side effects. In fact it’s patented as strontium ranilate in 21 European countries and also Australia where all the research has been done but ranilate is an inert molecule. So in a (inaudible) store now we can get strontium citrate and we can use it as an alternative to the toxic (inaudible). They’re available. And of course I do want to emphasize vitamin K and vitamin D. I want to go back to those two nutrients which are critical for bone building.
Ben: And you had talked about the fact that having too much iron can inhibit calcium absorption and be a possible factor in low bone density. Are you of the opinion that some of the other people have on this show… or some of the other physicians who have come on the show have… that calcium is overrated and magnesium is underrated when it comes to mineral importance?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. Magnesium is a critical mineral and it has – there are recommendations, for instance on TV sometimes you see a recommendation for a supplement that only has calcium and magnesium is equally important – perhaps more important. At least 60% of adults have magnesium deficiency and it’s absolutely essential for bone building.
Ben: For people who are already getting into their later years of life and beginning to struggle and we’re just going to say who are past the age of that 30 to 35 range and maybe starting to worry about osteoporosis or lack of bone density – is there a certain dosage recommendation in terms of their daily magnesium intake that they should be focusing on?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes, I usually recommend about 300 mgs of magnesium a day with a calcium. By the way there’s a whole team of bone building nutrients. So, I recommend… which includes things like zinc, magnesium, silica, boron and also antioxidants. Vitamins, which reduce homosistine and high homosistine is actually a risk factor for bone loss. And no calcium – for 50% of osteoporosis patients are deficient in vitamin D3 – absolutely critical so everybody at every age should be taking between 1000 and 2000 IUs of vitamin D3.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely. And the interesting thing is that a lot of the women who come into me for exercise training – I do have them bring me a big plastic bag of all the supplements that they’re taking when they come in and almost always there are two or three different calcium supplements in there. Like calcium is just incredibly overrated and people are popping calcium like it’s going out of style but there’s no other minerals going into the body.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: It’s amazing because calcium… you try and add them all up and they’re in different forms, like calcium carbonate – very hard to digest unless you take it with a meal. Virtually indigestible especially without adequate vitamin D3 and if you have a calculator and add up all this calcium and then one of the things we found in research, only about 500 mgs of calcium can be absorbed at one time. So, we recommend that people try to get 500 through their diet and the other 500 they take at bedtime if they can – sorry at supper or meal. They usually end up taking it at bedtime but it would be better if they took it at supper because the peak bone building period is between 10pm and 4am. So therefore if you take it at supper, by the time it absorbs… calcium is slowly absorbed into the system with a meal. By the time it absorbs… and you want the whole bone building team. So I do recommend… in Canada I recommend Genuine Health Bone Building supplement because it’s been researched and in the US I like the Natural Vitality products like Osteocalm. They’re very good products. Those are the two that I’m most familiar with. I’m sure there are many other good products as well.
Ben: The osteo made me think of another supplement that someone had recommended a little while back that had something called lactoferrin in it. Did you have any opinion on lactoferrin or have you ever seen any results or studies from that?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I’m not aware of the studies with respect to osteoporosis. I understand that it is a positive supplement but I don’t have any research on it. So not helpful in that regard.
Ben: Perhaps a little bit of a change of subject here, but your book Take Charge Of Your Body, The Woman’s Health Advisor, what exactly is in that book and what sets it apart?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I wrote it many years ago before there was much done on the – the Take Charge approach to woman’s health – because I saw that women were being overprescribed drugs and surgery and I wanted to have the right information on the normal milestones in a woman’s life. Like pregnancy, childbirth, menstruation, peri-menopause, menopause and all the issues around that. And so, I just started writing articles first in my office and just for a little magazine and then I started compiling them because there just wasn’t enough information – even on the basic facts so that women were being – normal events in women’s lives were being medicalized and then I got interested in alternative medicine. First in childbirth and then the whole spectrum of women’s lives and I have been promoting natural hormones and natural solutions and then I got involved in natural medicine including herbs and especially nutrition and natural hormones. So this book is just loaded with information. A lot of people keep it by their bedside. It’s still very pertinent though it was published several years ago. I had written some things ahead of their time so it’s still quite pertinent. People are still using it.
Ben: Interesting. So I’m going to put a link to that book in the Shownotes to this podcast, but I also have another couple of questions for you. The first is let’s say, just as a recap here, that I am a male or female – let’s say I’m an athlete, I do a lot of running or I do a lot of exercising. I’m concerned about making sure that when I’m 50, when I’m 60 I have nice strong solid bones. I’m eating a healthy diet…
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: An alkaline diet. An alkaline diet is what we prefer. And that’s essential.
Ben: Can you briefly explain what you mean when you say alkaline diet?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: An alkaline diet is rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low in acid forming substances like sugar and excess carbohydrates and I’m sure many of the athletes you deal with have a very excellent diet. Low carb diet with low sugar and as I say, lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. Or else taking a very high quality greens supplement every day.
Ben: That’s what we hope at least.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: And we all advocate that people test their PH to make sure they are in the alkaline range. The alkaline…
Ben: That’s just the very simple urine PH stick right?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes. And actually at the University of Western Ontario, they found that there is a PH receptor in the bone cells. So when it shows the acid in the bone cells, it turns on the bone breakdown cells. The osteo(inaudible) so it’s a very important… we stress diet a lot in our protocol.
Ben: And if an athlete were to go out and get a urine stick and test their PH, they’re looking to be right around 7, is that correct?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: That’s correct. Yes. And so all the colorful fruits and vegetables and green drinks are very alkalinizing. And there’s this recent book by Janet Gravin, she found that there was only two green products that she liked. One was greens (flats) that were palatable – but there’s many, many out there. If people don’t get that five to seven servings.
Ben: I take one called EnerPrime and that’s what it is. It’s an alkalinizing greens supplement – just a mix of a bunch of different alkalinizing foods. Now, the other things that an athlete should be doing – you said magnesium supplementation.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. A good bone building supplement including calcium, magnesium and all the bone building minerals and at least 1000 of vitamin D3 a day. That would be the absolute minimum.
Ben: Okay. Now the other question that I had for you was I noticed you’re described as a forerunner in natural childbirth and we actually haven’t ever really talked about that on this show, although we have done that in my family – would you be interested perhaps in a future interview on that topic, because I know that it doesn’t really fall along the lines of sports and fitness and some of the things that we talk about in this show, but it does follow a lot of the concept of taking care of your body and taking charge of your health.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes, I’d love to. I think it’d be really fun to do that. I was one of the pioneers in the natural childbirth movement and I was involved in training midwives in home births and there’s a complete resurgence in that now.
Ben: If you are listening in to this show, and you’re interested in that topic of natural childbirth just go ahead and leave a comment on the show or email me and let me know and if that is the case, we’ll try and get Dr. DeMarco back on the show to talk about natural childbirth. Dr. DeMarco, I’d like to thank you for coming on today.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Thank you so much. I appreciate it, and I didn’t mention vitamin K2 which is so important. The latest research shows that vitamin K2 in its various forms, not only is necessary for bone density and these proteins that actually chaperone the calcium into the cell, it also prevents calcium from being re-deposited into the arteries. So as a vitamin, it’s just a fantastic thing to take.
Ben: Do you have similar recommendations like you did for D3 on the amount of vitamin K that people should be taking in?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I don’t have those offhand but the vitamin K1 is present in all green leafy vegetables and requires acidosis or some fermented food to convert to K2 and there’s an argument between what forms of K2 are the best but it’s all worked out in the supplements. The supplements have this recommended dose.
Ben: Supplements or a nice piece of spinach pie with yoghurt on it.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yeah I believe… all the various K2s have (inaudible) doses and some are in milligrams and some are in micrograms. So I’d have to write you about that. I don’t have it available.
Ben: Well thank you for coming on the show and perhaps we will talk to you again in a future episode.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I hope so. It was a pleasure talking to you, and you always have a really educated audience which is always fun to talk to. There’s so much to say about bone building that I sometimes get carried away. There’s a lot. There’s a lot there. There’s a lot of interesting things both in the over-diagnosis too. We didn’t get into that but that’s alright.
Ben: Alright, well I’ll talk to you later.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Ok. Thank you so much for having me, have a great day.
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