[Transcript] – The “Monster Mash” Muscle-Building Tactic, Live Like A Polar Bear, Decoding Vitamin C, Melatonin, Iodine, Magnesium & More With Dr. Leland Stillman.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/leland2/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:52] Podcast Sponsors

[00:05:33] Introduction

[00:07:55] Over-exercising and over-training

[00:13:50] Mechanism of Action

[00:17:00] Seasons of life

[00:20:48] Putting on Muscle

[00:26:33] Thoughts on melatonin

[00:33:38] Podcast Sponsors

[00:39:02] Audio Disclaimer

[00:40:42] Vicious cycle of overworking

[00:56:57] The benefits of iodine

[01:18:31] Closing the Podcast

[01:19:25] End of Podcast

Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Leland: When we look at the historical literature on iodine, the discoverer of vitamin C, Albert Szent-Györgyi, one of my heroes, he said, “Basically, when in doubt, prescribe the patient iodine.” It was incredibly common to use it therapeutically back in the day. When you look at the number of things people have used iodine to treat, they'll treat acute illnesses with it, colds, flus, gastroenteritis. I mean, they'll treat all kinds of things with topically. Topically, iodine's incredibly powerful.

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

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Ben: Alright, guys. So, I've got a repeat guest on the show today. He's actually right here with me as I'm recording intro. Say hello, Leland. 

Leland: Hey, everyone!

Ben: So, that's the voice of Dr. Leland Stillman, who you're about to hear a lot more from in today's podcast. So Leland is a doctor, who first joined me for a show in which we talked about light as medicine, metabolic typing, some pretty controversial stuff regarding COVID, which we were hot in the middle of last time I hosted him. We talked about his Polar Bear Fitness protocols and healing yourself with mindset and laughter and a whole lot more. What I'm going to do is link to that original episode with Leland if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Leland2, L-E-L-A-N-D, the number two, which is where you'll find the shownotes for this podcast. So, if you want to really get to know Dr. Leland and his history, go back and listen to that first podcast.

So, basically, we've been hanging out for the weekend. I've been feeding him raw liver smoothies, and we've done breath and heat and cold. These are all things that are kind of part of his personal and his medical protocol. He's been involved in natural and integrative medicine for a long time since at an early age and he majored in Environmental Health at Connecticut College. He got his medical doctorate from the University of Virginia, School of Medicine, got his training in Internal Medicine at the Maine Medical Center. So, he's board certified in internal medicine, specializes in integrative medicine, but he really goes after the root cause of his patients' medical problems, does a lot of advanced lab testing, and addresses a lot of imbalances not with pharmaceuticals, but with dietary and lifestyle interventions.

Dr. Stillman has been a guy who I've also had time to spend with at the RUNGA event that we both speak at. That's the one that's put on by my friend Joseph Anew down in Austin, Texas. So, he's also a well-known personality down there. And again, he's into everything from photobiomodulation, to nutrition, to toxicology, to the immune system. I think that you're going to absolutely love this podcast recorded, while Dr. Stillman and I take an icy, cold walk outside in Spokane, Washington. So, enjoy this one, and keep your fingers crossed that the microphone doesn't freeze or that we don't freeze to death. Alright, here we go.

Oh, here we are in this cold, foggy, scary road. Here, Leland, hold the microphone for a second, while I put my gloves on. Otherwise, my hand's going to freeze. Oh, you guys, so, for those of you listening in this might be the coldest podcast episode we've done yet. I don't know, we'll see. Yeah, yeah. So, as a matter of fact the last time that we did a podcast, Leland, I remember you were talking about the, what'd you call it, the Polar Bear Diet or the Polar Bear Program?

Leland: The Polar Bear Fitness was like the first fitness program that I ever launched.

Ben: What was that?

Leland: Oh, we talked about this on the last episode, but basically.

Ben: Remind me, the preview of it, just in case people like me are too lazy to go back and listen.

Leland: Basically, fix your circadian rhythms, wear blue blockers, get red infrared light, get your environment dark and quiet at night, so you can sleep well. And then, use cold and potentially ketogenic diets in order to lose weight, improve metabolism, and so on and so forth.

Ben: Yeah, I don't see a lot of polar bears wearing blue light-blocking glasses, dude.

Leland: Yeah, I know man. It's true.

Ben: But, the rest of it I get. By the way, Florida boy, how you doing with this temperature? How'd you like that cold plunge last night that we did?

Leland: It was great, man. But I'm definitely not cold to that anymore. I was just in Nicaragua for the week and it was very tropical.

Ben: More importantly, how did you like the raw liver smoothie that I fed you yesterday after our workout?

Leland: It was delightful. I’m shocked.

Ben: It was good? People always tell me, I tell you, “It tastes like ice cream.”

Leland: I'm shocked that it doesn't taste like liver.

Ben: Yeah. No, it tastes like nice chocolatey ice cream, depending what you put in it. I put the vanilla whey protein in it with a little bit of cacao yesterday in bone broth, frozen raw liver, with cinnamon, a little bit stevia. My audience is probably bored. They're like, “Ben, he's talking about the raw liver smoothie recipe on like at least one podcast a month. We know how to make it already.” But, it really does taste like ice cream.

Leland: It does.

Ben: So, yeah. There's a lot of things that you had mentioned that we could revisit where we, to have another discussion. So, here we are walking down this farm road in the foggy cold. One thing that kind of left out that you brought up as a topic of discussion was this concept of people who over-exercise or overwork and over-train. And yesterday, we were talking and you said, like you were shocked at the number of people you run into now, who are just like pushing it way too hard with exercise. 

I commented that I heard an interview with the Liver King, where he was describing how one of the things that got him on like that controversial hormone and steroid protocol he's on now was he got to the point where he felt like he had zero self-worth unless he hit the gym, and even got to the point where every time he had a meal, he felt like he had to earn it, so you had to go like do a hard workout every time before he ate, or when he was on vacation, he had to go find the gym and hit it like three times a day or he didn't feel whole or complete or he was just a complete bear to be around. It got me thinking that it kind of sounds like what you were describing to me in terms of patients or people you increasingly run into who are like overdoing it, overworking, overtraining. Get into that.

Leland: Yeah. So the way this happened was I hired my dear friend, Jim Laird, to work with me on my team, seeing my patients, because I realized that I bring a lot of knowledge with biochemistry and biohacking and light and all these other things, but I don't have enough time, and so, I needed help anyway. And then, I also don't have a very strong fitness and exercise background. I've been like a desk jockey my whole life. So, I recruited Jim to do the exercise component, and really like wellness and health coaching. And so, he came in and one of the first cases we were on, within like five minutes of me telling him about the case, we'd been consulted, because this girl had really terrible abdominal issues and pain. But, she didn't really give me more than that.

Ben: Uh-huh.

Leland: And I thought maybe this was a GI imbalance.

Ben: Right.

Leland: And within five minutes, Jim just said, “Leland, she's an exercise addict.” I was skeptical of that, because you always have to be skeptical of things that people come up with in five minutes.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: But we went through her labs, we went through her Oura ring data, we went through her workout routines, and sure enough, she was over-exercising.

Ben: How would you define that, over-exercising?

Leland: For her, very intense HIIT workouts, up to an hour a day, sometimes. You can do that for short periods of time, but you also have to really be careful, maintaining your body. So, I mean you have to eat a huge amount of food to sustain that.

Ben: Right.

Leland: You have to get great sleep. I don't see people pulling it off for long periods of time when they're also very successful professionals, or.

Ben: Not professional athletes with dedicated time for recovery for luxuriously long meals that they can chew for long periods of time.

Leland: Right.

Ben: Red light therapy and compression boots and massages and all the things like, unless you're a highfalutin executive CEO. And I do have, I guess, I have like some clients and I've run into some people who are like, these guys do their business from the golf course, do like two workouts a day and then, still have four or five hours a day to devote to like recovery and napping. And that's what they do they're almost like professional executives slash athletes. But unless you're a professional athlete or someone with a very deep disposable income, who has a lot of people doing things for you, what you're saying is it's hard to have a professional athlete training protocol and then, also be a professional.

Leland: Yeah. That's exactly right. My practice has basically attracted a lot of these people over the years. So, I've seen it more than once now.

Ben: Let's talk about mechanism of action. A lot of people who have gut issues are, do you suspect that it is the sympathetic nervous system simulation drawing blood away from the gut? Is it inflammatory cytokines from exercise causing a shift in the biome? What's exactly going on in a case like that?

Leland: So, I think it's all of it. You need a certain amount of energy. Whenever I think about the body, I always go back to Einstein's equation for relativity E equals MC squared. So, I always try and think about the energy, and I always try and think about the matter. So you can create this picture of dysfunction with inadequate or the wrong types of matter. So micronutrient deficiencies, macronutrient deficiencies, the wrong number of calories per day, right?

And then, you also have to worry about the energy side of the equation. So, what's the light environment like? What's the light environment at night like? What kind of light therapy is available? All these things you have to really look into, because people forget, but any energy that your body is subjected to can tax the system. It creates a cost, right? So, like there's this great paper I love referencing. It shows that exposure to sound greater than 100 decibels for four hours increases your magnesium losses in your urine by something like 100% for like two days.

Ben: Wait, so what you just said is basically sound pollution depletes minerals in your body?

Leland: Correct. But, I would extrapolate that and I would just say any excessive amount of any stimulus can do that, right? And so, the more stress someone's under, whether it's artificial light at night or sound pollution, and there's everyone's different, right? So, a lot of this may come down to genetics that we haven't yet quantified, because some people, it's easy to replete this or that, and other people it's really hard, right? I wonder about that, but I don't have the data, at least from what I've read, to really opine on it. But, the point is just that all of it seems to come together to create the stress, that then wastes the micronutrients, that then creates the state of deficiency.

Ben: Why can't I just keep working hard, crushing life, and being a hard-charging, high achiever and do things like take minerals in the morning and make sure I get decent amounts of sleep, maybe less than the average person, maybe throw in a nap, and take a multivitamin to replace all those minerals and kind of like have my cake and eat it, too?

Leland: Yeah. I think I would say you can, but it's a little bit like the faster you drive your car, the better you have to be as a driver, and the more informed you need to be. I just see people taking the curves like really well, and they're sticking to the track and everything is great, and then, at 90 miles an hour, they make a very small mistake, and they spin out of control and they wind up wrapped around a tree. In this analogy, they're not wrapped around a tree, they're dealing with crippling IBS or depression or anxiety or insomnia or whatever, and then they're asking me like what happened.

Ben: Yeah. I sometimes empathize, I don't know if that's the right word, with people like that, who have dug themselves into that kind of a hole because I go through seasons in life particularly when I'm working on book projects, which I'm doing right now. I mean, I shared with you the other day, like I'm up some mornings just realized it’s 3:45 AM now, just working on because I've got two book projects going right now, a cookbook and like a book of proverbs or precepts. And so, I have to write a lot.

But, I'm also running my company and trying to stay in shape and trying to spend time with my sons. And then, my sons and I are working on a new game that we're designing. And there's like, so now, I'm after research Kickstarter campaigns. And there's so much going on right now this season in life.

And so, I'm using like smart drugs and nootropics and caffeine and then, high-dose melatonin at night and kind of like on the up or down a roller coaster ride. And this will be a season of life for me that lasts about six weeks. And then, once April 1st, both of those books are done and off to the publishers and the editorial team, I then shift into a season where I'm like sleeping nine hours a night and snuggling in bed with my wife in the morning until like 6:30 or 7:00 and giving myself luxurious recovery.

It seems to me that, sometimes, if you have periods that you're working really hard that happens. Rather than pushing yourself the entire year and hitting a wall and your body stopping you versus you stopping your body. What do you think about just like planning for different seasons and having seasons that include more luxurious rest, almost the same way a farmer has like harvest where they're working 16 hours a day, but then other times of year when they're sleeping in?

Leland: I mean, it's essential, right? I love that you brought back to seasonality, because that goes back to that first, like, basically foray that I made into integrated medicine as my own as a doctor, Polar Bear Medicine. Because the seasonality is really critical, right? The pattern that I've seen is that emotionally healthy people understand that they need to have seasons of life, seasons where it's okay to work 80 hours, 90 hours, 100, 120 hours a week. But, it becomes pathological, when you don't build in the rest and recovery that you need, which may not be on a daily basis. It may be seasonal.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: That's something that they really struggle to see.

Ben: I actually have this metric heart rate variability, I don't know if you track that at all.

Leland: All the time.

Ben: With your patients, with your clients, that I track on my aura ring. And during my hard seasons, my rule is that if it consistently drops below 80, then I will throw in like, on a day, I'll climb into the hyperbaric chamber for like two hours, and just like do like a Yoga Nidra session, followed by a long meditation or do like a super long BrainTap session or something that on the day during the work period that I get to the point where my heart, my HRV is dropping so much, my body's going to stop me in two or three days. I'll identify that and then throw in — The other thing I'll do sometimes is I'll call up a massage therapist and just like a super long massage in the evenings. So, I find I can get through these work stints if I keep my eye on the HRV and make sure that I step back and do something slightly more mindful and integrative and long for recovery on the days where it really starts to dip. And then, I get straight back into the work mode after.

Leland: Yeah, that's exactly what we'll tell patients to do. And we found that it's very, very effective. We have people coming in, whose HRV starting out is in the single digits.

Ben: Wow.

Leland: You really have to work hard to get them out of their own way. Because there's always some reason, right? Sometimes, it's purely professional, but oftentimes they'll start to tell you their deepest darkest secrets, the things that have happened to them that they're running from, they're constantly trying to achieve in order to not sit with their feelings and really, really process them, which has become it's why mind-body medicine is becoming more and more a part of what I do.

Ben: So, you mentioned this Jim Laird guy. Is he the same guy who you told me you were working with, who put like 16 pounds of muscle on your body in the past few months?

Leland: That is correct. Jim Laird did put 16, 18 pounds of muscle on me in the last three months with just like 20 minutes, 30 minutes, three or four times a week at the gym.

Ben: How many times was he injecting your right butt cheek with special juices? Juicy juice?

Leland: Not at all. You want to know what the secret was? The secret was the protein.

Ben: Really?

Leland: I just didn't understand.

Ben: Just tell me the whole protocol, go ahead.

Leland: Well the protocol is basically, we go to the gym, three to four times a week. We do a combination of machines, we do a combination of what he calls resets, which if people want to see those, check out his Instagram because he'll be sharing a lot of them. We'll use everything in the gym because he is a former powerlifter. He set records back in the day, when he was at his peak, when he was injecting huge amounts of testosterone. So, he's got a lot of experience with like, high performance and pushing yourself too hard. So, go to the gym, it really isn't that hard lifting. I mean, I'm not that sore, I'm not like struggling to get out of bed. It's challenging, I feel it. But, I want people to understand like we're not driving people into the ground with this. That's what makes Jim so good. He knows how to get great results without beating people up.

Ben: So, by the way, are you doing like multiple sets per muscle group or are you kind of doing like the single set to failure type of approach or does it vary?

Leland: We don't do single set to failure. It's just a really, a hodgepodge of different things. I mean, it might be the trap bar one minute, it might be free weights the next, it might be a machine the next, it all depends on what's available.

Ben: Okay. And then, you said protein. Tell me about that.

Leland: Well, Jim has this recipe for what he calls Monster Mash. Let's just say it's true to its name. So, their basic recipe is you take a couple of pounds of ground beef. This is what you want if you've got like two people, right, because we'll often have meals after the workout together. You cook that up with onions, garlic, herbs, spices, you throw in some kind of starch. I'm a big fan of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and then, rice. You might add tomatoes, you might add other vegetables, I mean, I think it's really important to add the vegetables, the greens, the peppers, the mushrooms. I already said onions and garlic. So, you're getting all that those micronutrients. I actually like to add some nuts and seeds, obviously whole, obviously organic, for the high-quality stuff, so I'm getting some arginine from that. And then, you add bone broth and that's kind of the secret, because if you put all that together you can make it really palatable.

Ben: Like in a blender?

Leland: No, no, no, in a big, big pot. 

Ben: Oh, okay. I was imagining a smoothie. Like my friend, Mark Bell, has literally like a steak smoothie. That's like a powder and he shipped a canister to my house and it's literally like a bunch of like ground-up bones and meat and liver and all sorts of stuff and it's a like a protein, probably make a smoothie out of it. So, when you said Monster Mash, I was thinking like a Nutribullet or Vitamix.

Leland: No.

Ben: And you eat two pounds of ground beef post-workout?

Leland: Between the two of us, yeah.

Ben: Oh, between the two of you. Okay.

Leland: But, Jim will vary it, right? So, we might throw in chicken sausages with beef, we might throw in shrimp. Usually, it's actually two proteins. Eggs are another really common ingredient.

Ben: No organ meats?

Leland: You know, we will add in organ meats. Now you mentioned it, I need to actually go buy. I got to figure out how I'm going to incorporate that.

Ben: Yeah. Oh, so good, heart, liver, kidney, bone marrow. Now, I'm sounding like that Liver King guy.

Leland: You get to like a 90-gram serving of protein from that.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: Which is insane.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: I never thought I'd be able to do that, but because of the way it's prepared, it works.

Ben: And so, before you weren't putting on much muscle, it sounds like one thing you weren't doing is adequate amounts of protein. So, how much protein would you say you're getting like, have you looked at like grams per pound body weight or total grams?

Leland: It's about a gram per pound of body weight.

Ben: A gram per pound. So, pretty much, I usually tell people 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound is a general range. And then, the only population I've seen who needs to eat more than that are like high school football players putting on mass, bodybuilders, et cetera. So, you're kind of like hitting that protein range that I would argue based on mTOR stimulation for long-term longevity is not something that pairs well with an anti-aging protocol, but is pretty much unparalleled when it comes to muscle mass and hypertrophy.

Leland: Yeah, I agree. I think that's what's interesting about what I do with patients. I'm often counseling them, they'll say, “Well, look. I want to be ripped. I want to be shredded. I want to be lean, and I want to be able to bench this,” right? And I say, “Look, I get that, but you also want to live a long time, right?” And I'll use this example. There's this old study from back in the days, when we had psychiatric hospitals, and this is in Russell Rider's book on melatonin, where they took some of the inmates, who were really violent and they thought, “Okay, well, these male patients are really violent, really dangerous. Maybe for the safety of the staff, if we castrate them, so they don't have any testosterone, they'll be safer, right?”

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: Let's just say this was in a different time.

Ben: This was in the good old days.

Leland: Different time, right?

Ben: You could do things like castrate your human subjects.

Leland: Yeah, so they did it.

Ben: Before we discovered fruit flies.

Leland: That's right.

Ben: Little castratable fruit flies.

Leland: So, they did it, and lo and behold, the castrated male patients didn't just live longer than the non-castrated male patients, they lived longer than the women.

Ben: I don't like the direction the moral of this story is going, but keep going.

Leland: Well, what I asked men is I say, “Look, let's just say for a moment, that I find definitive proof that castration will increase your lifespan. Are you going to ask me for a referral to a surgeon for castration?” And so far, I've had no takers.

Ben: No, instead, I'm going to physiologically castrate myself by sitting in an ice tub, over-exercising, under-sleeping, and not having enough protein.

Leland: I mean, whatever floats your boat.

Ben: I get it, though. I get what you're saying. By the way, you mentioned Russell Rider.

Leland: Yeah.

Ben: You had told me that there are times when you use that whole, like high-dose melatonin sledgehammer approach that I talked to Dr. John Lieurance about. And Russell Rider is a guy Dr. John Lieurance has talked about before in my interviews with him. He developed the high-dose melatonin suppositories that I'll use when I travel or when I want to do kind of like a melatonin sledgehammer for circadian reset.

Ben: What are your thoughts on melatonin?

Leland: So, I, initially, was very bearish on it, because I was reading all this literature about how we can disrupt systems with things that we use exogenously. There's a lot of truth to that, right? But then, I really doubled down on researching the melatonin literature and asking myself, “Okay, like, can I harm people with this?” Because it's all well and good to say, “Well, there's this possible problem,” right? But the other thing is can you actually document that it happens?

It's not like melatonin hasn't been around as a supplement for long enough and it's not like it's not available in doses that are big enough. So, I looked and I couldn't find anyone, anywhere, documenting that anyone had really lasting negative effects of melatonin. That really got my attention.

And then, I had a patient, who I don't think I told her to do this, but she did it anyway. She wound up on 60 milligrams of melatonin, twice a day, and.

Ben: It's 60 milligrams, twice a day. That's a lot.

Leland: It's a ton. It's also got nothing to do with her circadian rhythms.

Ben: Well, a lot of people have told me that melatonin, because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential, if you've got enough light hitting the retina, can be used daytime for anti-inflammatory without making you drowsy.

Leland: Yeah, and that's the thing about melatonin, right, is that it's secreted and produced in cells, in responses to different stimuli, at different times of day. And that's why I've looked at taking exogenous melatonin as a little bit like being, trying to wash your dishes from your sidewalk.

Ben: Okay.

Leland: You know, it's better to turn the faucet on in the kitchen, rather than try and squirt the water in through the window.

Ben: Okay.

Leland: As in, you want to rely on and optimize your endogenous production first, and of course, I do that with patients with red light and infrared light and sauna and circadian rhythms and blue blockers and adequate tryptophan in the diet, not to mention B6, magnesium and all the other stuff, right? But then, I still would have these cases, where we were having trouble getting symptoms under control.

And as I was saying, this patient put herself on 60 milligrams of melatonin, twice a day. And lo and behold, her night sweats got better, her fatigue got better, her headaches got better. I mean, I'd helped her make an enormous amount of progress already, but then when I asked her about it, she said, “Look, Dr. Stillman, I feel so much better. I really don't want to stop my melatonin. So, I'm just going to continue it indefinitely.”

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: She's still on it.

Ben: Wow.

Leland: And then, I started to use it in more cases, where women were complaining of,

Ben: Only in America, right, because this would be a prescription in Europe like you can't even buy melatonin over the counter.

Leland: I did not know that.

Ben: Yeah. It's considered to be like a hormone that you have to have prescribed.

Leland: Wow.

Ben: Yeah. We're one of the only countries you can actually buy melatonin over the counter.

Leland: Wow, I didn't know that, yeah.

Ben: Yeah, which kind of speaks a little bit to its power. So, what about you, do you use high-dose melatonin at all, like when you travel, because you're here in Idaho, you live in Florida.

Leland: Right.

Ben: Like, when you travel down here, did you take melatonin?

Leland: So, the other thing that happened in this case that got me really curious was that when she was taking this high-dose melatonin, we took a hair tissue mineral analysis of her.

Ben: Okay.

Leland: She broke the level for, I mean, her aluminum level was off the charts.

Ben: Oh.

Leland: On the little piece of paper they give you, it goes up to four.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: Her level was 119.

Ben: Why?

Leland: I don't know, but my theory is that maybe the melatonin is inducing a detox.

Ben: Oh, like pulling metal out of tissues?

Leland: Right. So, I'm trying to confirm.

Ben: Or, whatever supplement she was taking.

Leland: Yeah. So, I'm trying to just confirm or disconfirm this by putting different people on melatonin and then, checking HTMA, because I'm just really curious if this could work.

Ben: HTMA, being the hair tissue mineral analysis?

Leland: Hair tissue mineral analysis, yeah.

Ben: Wow.

Leland: Because I really would like to know if it works for that or if it's a fluke. Because if you look up aluminum detox, you're going to get some pretty bread and butter stuff, you're going to hear about things like silica and you're going to hear about things like vitamin C and you could do things like penicillamine protocols and you can get really crazy with all that stuff. But, if it was as simple as just putting someone who had aluminum toxicity on a little bit of melatonin, and they would just naturally get rid of it.

Ben: So, the fact that it's high on the HTMA can mean the body is getting rid of it, doesn't necessarily mean it's super bad and your tissues are accumulating it?

Leland: Right. It's more a marker. The HTMA is more a marker in many ways of excretion than it is of total body accumulation.

Ben: Okay.

Leland: But, it depends on the mineral and it depends on the conditions.

Ben: Okay. So, do you take melatonin?

Leland: Occasionally, yeah. Because with jet lag, it's just so rock solid.

Ben: I agree.

Leland: And particularly, if you have someone who's having trouble sleeping at night, there's a lot of simple, bread and butter, over-the-counter stuff like your can’t-sleep protocol product is great. I'll use that and other things to get people to sleep. And then, there's herbs, right? And then, there's things like progesterone. There's so much you can do for sleep.

But then, at the end of the day, you'll still have some people who are just like, “I can't sleep.” And I say, “Look, let's sort all this stuff out, one day at a time. For now, I want you to get some rest first towards sleep. So, start 20 milligrams of melatonin and go up by one capsule a night until you get a really solid, rock-solid sleep.”

And so, Jim, my strength trainer, who I mentioned earlier, he had a really terrible TBI last year. He basically couldn't function. He was barely able to talk. He had this terrible stutter. He's had a bunch of concussions in the past because he did security work and he fought MMA and he’s had a lot of head injuries. He wasn't able to sleep for like four or five months. His ordering data was terrible, his HRV was terrible. Finally I just said, “Look, Jim, try some melatonin.” He tries it. He's like, “Leland, it didn't work.” I was like, “Alright, man, we'll go up on the dose.” He goes up to 80.

Ben: 80 milligrams? 

Leland: Yeah.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: He says, “Leland, still doesn't work.” Like, “Look, man, just go up by 20 milligrams a night until you sleep.” He got up to 300 milligrams of melatonin and he slept like a baby. It effectively reset his ability to sleep.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: And since then, his sleep is progressively recovered.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: We did a bunch of other testing to figure out what other things he needed. But, the melatonin was really instrumental in getting Jim back to really being well and able to get restorative sleep.

Ben: About 300 milligrams is what's in that super Sandman suppository that I'll use when I travel or like when I get home from travel I need to do a little bit of a reset. That seems like kind of the sweet spot. I have in the past even used like a couple just see, “Well, 300 is good. Is 600 better?” You actually don't see much of a difference, because there’s kind of like a saturation threshold or something like that.

Leland: Well, what's funny about that, right, is that I talked to John Lieurance about this, because I thanked him I said, “Hey, listen I really helped Jim with this piece of advice you basically gave me at RUNGA.” I told him, I was using, I'm using high-dose melatonin for some of my patients now. He's like, “What does that mean? Like, are you using like a gram?” And, I was like, “No, John, I'm just using like dozens or hundreds of milligrams.”

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: I'm not using like a thousand-milligram dose like he's using.

Ben: Well, you probably know that maintaining muscle health is critically important to longevity and enduring good health in general. And postbiotics, which are the active nutrients your body makes during digestion, are also an emerging research driver of good health. Now, this compound called urolithin-A is one of the only postbiotics shown to have major health benefits and be bioavailable if you're able to get it into your system orally. It can also help to maintain your overall muscle health, which is, of course, very important for longevity and overall good health. That's one of the reasons why exercise and weight training in particular is so good as an age reversal strategy.

But, getting high levels of urolithin-A puts the icing on the cake. It upgrades your body's cellular power grid. It gives your body the energy it needs to optimize. 500 milligrams of urolithin-A alone have been shown in clinical studies to significantly increase muscle endurance and muscle strength with no other change in lifestyle, which is pretty significant.

Timeline Nutrition makes this stuff called Mitopure. Mitopure is one of my go-tos for increasing my urolithin-A levels. I like to use their little powdered packet. I can just drop it in a smoothie. It's like putting pounds and pounds of blueberries in my smoothie without all of the fructose and carbohydrates and everything else. I have nothing against blueberries, but concentrating some of the good stuff that you would get from blueberries from a high intake of fermented foods et cetera, in one tiny packet of powder is amazing. That's what this Mitopure stuff can do for you.

They not only have the powder, but they also have soft gels and they have a protein powder that combines whey protein with the bioenergetics of Mitopure. So, for any of these, and you can get a mix of all three of them if you want to, you can get 10% off. You go to TimelineNutrition.com/Ben, any of the three products are going to be 10% off. That's TimelineNutrition.com/Ben, T-I-M-E-L-I-N-E-N-U-T-R-I-T-I-O-N, TimelineNutrition.com/Ben. I recommend trying that starter pack with all three formats. So, check them out. It's Mitopure for your urolithin-A.

Hey, so the biggest complaint, at least one of them I get from my clients, who are business owners, is they can't get their employees excited about improving their health. It's no surprise when they have corporate wellness initiative that involves like sticking a fruit bowl and some raw almonds in the break room or some generic fitness app that's boring and adds just another thing to an employee's already long to-do list.

So, I stepped back. I looked at corporate wellness programs from a fresh angle. Like, what if we could do nutrition, fitness, mental, health, sleep, productivity, make it fun, make it exciting, make it all-inclusive, make it easy to succeed in, incorporate all the latest science and the cool biohacks, without breaking the bank and have a team of coaches to customize a corporate wellness program to the exact needs of a corporation's team. So, they do all the work, meaning my coaches do all the work. All you have to do is say, “Yes,” to improving the health of your employees, and then, we come in, we take care of everything, you get to sit back and watch morale, productivity, and engagement increase, while you get a huge team of happy and healthy employees. To learn more about my Corporate Wellness Programs and how they'll make your company a better and ultimately a more successful place to work, you can go to BenGreenfieldCoaching.com. That's BenGreenfieldCoaching.com. Check it out.

I am coming to London, June 16th through the 18th and I'm going to be a part of the Health Optimization Summit over there. If you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar, you can check out that event, fantastic kind of like biohacking meets wellness meets massive health technology expo.

But, while I'm there, I'm going to be in London with my whole family. We're actually going to head to Italy afterwards and cycle through Italy. But, I decided to put on a very special, private, intimate VIP event with me while I am in London. It's at this crazy place called HUM2N, H-U-M-2-N, like human except for the two. So, HUM2N Labs, they are a creme de la creme biohacking facility. I mean the best hyperbaric chambers, amazing selection of IVs, super nutrient cocktails, cryotherapy, red light therapy. We're basically going to party and biohack and do a Q&A with me and the fine proprietor of that facility, Dr. E, who's a wealth of knowledge in and of himself at that event. It's Monday, June 19th

So, it's going to be private networking, live Q&A, great food, great cocktail slash mocktails, experiential biohacks, a variety of healthy gourmet foods, it's just going to be really amazing. You're going to get a swag bag, too. Your swag bag includes super nutrient IV, cryotherapy, red light therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen. That's worth 750 pounds alone. Then, you got the H2MN supplements. They're going to give you their brain sharpener and their super blend protein. You get a travel voucher to take your to and from the event, meaning using a company called UONO, they will bring you to and from the event, if you have trouble finding it or don't want to drive. So, there's a lot more they're going to go into those swag bag, too. But right now, I have to tell you this thing is going to fill up fast. It's in London, June 19th and you get there by going to BenGreenfieldLife.com/HUM2NLondon, that's BenGreenfieldLife.com/HUM2NLondon. That will allow you to claim your spot at this fantastic event. So, BenGreenfieldLife.com/HUM2NLondon.

Well, folks, you might notice a little change-up in the audio here, because Leland and I continue to have a fascinating discussion on that walk a few weeks ago now. It wound up we had about, gosh, almost a half hour of pure gold to share with you towards the end. I think it really sucked until we lost the recording, right, Leland? 

Leland: That's right, man, yeah.

Ben: Yeah. Yes. Now, people are in for a real treat, now that we've had a chance to warm up. Anyways, though, the last part of our discussion was so fascinating I, of course, didn't want to leave you all hanging. So, Leland and I reconnected and we're re-recording this bit that we lost because there's a few other key areas that I really wanted to make sure that you guys knew and that Leland has some really, really great insights on. 

Now, in the spirit of us being out on that trail walking Leland, I'm actually walking on my treadmill right now. I figured I might as well just keep it up. Yeah.

Leland: That's awesome. I just had a really, really good workout at the gym with Laird, of course, I mentioned before. And now, I'm sitting in front of my Photon from Ryan Richards.

Ben: Are you eating that meat bowl that we talked about?

Leland: I just had the Monster Mash, yes, and [00:40:13] _____ Monster Mash.

Ben: I got to try that sometime. I just got done making a mash-up in the kitchen. I'm interviewing some guy, who invented like an overnight oatmeal company on my podcast tomorrow. So, I just got done putting oatmeal in the refrigerator for overnight oatmeal. But, I got to admit, the Monster Mash sounds pretty palatable right now.

Leland: I mean, listen, if you want to gain a lot of weight fast, there's nothing better.

Ben: Yep. That and bench pressing, baby. Old school. Okay. 

So, speaking of bench pressing, one of the things we were talking about during our recording and also before when you're at my house, was this idea of how often you're running into people who don't necessarily fall into that category that a lot of doctors have to deal with, which is people who need to get off their butts and move. But instead, people moving too much, paired with people working too much. Can you tell me what you're running into in your practice with that?

Leland: Yeah. I mean it's just the fact that the vast majority of Americans are very sedentary, dare I say, lazy, at risk of offending or being unkind to them but, they don't do a lot of work. They aren't very ambitious in their careers, they're not very ambitious in the gym. Sometimes, it's hard to find what they're ambitious about. But then, there is another segment of the population and you recorded a great podcast with a guy named Doug Brackmann on this.

Ben: Oh, yeah, “Driven.” That's a fantastic book, great podcast, too.

Leland: Yeah. It's really important for people who are driven to understand that they're just wired differently. They look at it and they're like, that's the big source of my success, that's why I'm a CEO, it's why I'm a VP, it's why I'm a super mom, super wife, super PTA member or whatever. But, it's also their downfall and their Achilles heel because they'll get overextended and they want to be excellent at everything and they spread themselves too thin. Sometimes, we need to be their wake-up call saying, “Hey, listen, you cannot do as much as you're doing in a sustainable way.” Look at your HRV, look at your labs, look at your performance, look at these different things. “It's time for you to get realistic about your expectations of yourself and maybe dial it back.” 

Because the tendency for those people is to come to us looking for enablement. Basically, “Okay, I'm not making my gains or keeping my gains in the gym. I'm not able to keep up the times I was hitting on the bike or the treadmill or whatever. I need you guys to give me some peptides or some hormones or whatever in order to enable me to keep doing that.” But that's not a great long-term strategy. There's real consequences for that. It's not like those things aren't good, useful, whatever, I mean, it's funny, Jim just like ordered some peptides for us to use.

Ben: Wait, I got to ask. Do you inject the peptides and sprinkle them into the Monster Mash or you take those separately?

Leland: That cracks me up. Actually, Jim just ordered some intranasal ones. I may or may not have a raging case of ADHD and these just wants me to focus a little bit more. We'll see. 

Yes, it's sort of like the secret to people's successes being really, really driven, right? I certainly fall into this category myself and I just can't stop. I'm just constantly on the move, doing things. I have to know myself and be realistic with myself and know when to dial it back. A lot of things I've learned along the way have really helped me, right? So, like blue blockers put me asleep like a double dose of Benadryl. That helps me not overwork at night. Getting wiped out at the gym, it helps me like sleep as long as I'm not doing too close to bedtime. Getting plenty of sun helps me relax so that I don't get too worked up and too dialed in for work. I know what happens to me when I get too focused and fixated on work. I'm not taking enough time for me and doing those things that help me really restore. I see my HRV tank, my labs don't do well, it's just not good.

And so, a lot of people coming to us they're actually doing too much. They're either, and it's never the same, right? I mean, some of them they're doing too much at the gym. More and more I appreciate that people are also not just doing sometimes too much in the gym. They're just doing things in a way that's really bad for them. Like, people just don't realize that their rib cage and pelvis position governs which muscle groups are going to be worked in an exercise and it can create dysfunction in their shoulders, their hips, their knees, all their joints. They don't realize it's just because of their form. 

Like I said I'm talking about lifting with Jim I've just learned more and more of that from him. Going to the gym with him is really fun because he points out, that's an outside hitter in volleyball or that person over there played basketball or that's a lefty pitcher. It's really funny. He can just tell how people moves.

Ben: Yeah, people move and also, some of the athletes have good body awareness. But, I agree, you see a lot of folks kind of moving like Muppets at the gym, from a biomechanical standpoint, kind of flailing all over the place or stooping a poor posture. I think part of that leads back to what you were talking about earlier, that need to simply use exercise as something, another thing to simply check off the list and just get through and do without a whole lot of attention to excellence, presence or form, or the mere goal of exercise to burn stress or burn calories, both of which can lead to simply just push, push, pushing versus using the gym as a way to make yourself, pardon the expression, harder to kill, stronger for life, better prepared for life's activities and very focused with a goal in mind that goes beyond catharsis or calorie burning.

When you're talking about this idea of enablement folks going to their doc, looking for the doc to be able to allow them to continue to push at a pace that perhaps they shouldn't have been pushing at in the first place, I mean, that recently blew up in the news and I wouldn't throw them under the bus unless he'd already admitted this on other podcast interviews, The Liver King, Brian Johnson, recently busted for, even though it wasn't illegal activity that he was up to, but it was revealed that he was using a lot of steroids, a lot of hormones, a lot of stuff that went above and beyond just liver and say, the Monster Mash. He said that a big part of that was he simply had to figure out a way to keep pushing at the level that he was pushing and food and supplements weren't quite enough and he had to add in a bit more of what many call, “better living through science,” to be able to scratch that itch of what I think he's referred to as a combination of kind of like body dysmorphia, exercise addiction and a drive to exercise at a level that if you didn't do it, he wouldn't even feel sane or normal or confident during the day.

And so, he dug himself into that hole and you see that sometimes, people get on one upper, then another smart drug, then a nootropic, then a cough, cough intranasal peptide, I'm just kidding, and try and just get themselves up, up, up to the point throughout the day. And then, of course, I'm sure you experience this also, Leland, then turning to the downers at night because a lot of that stuff, the half-life of it dictates, it's still in your bloodstream. When it's time to hit the sack and so you get this, this vicious cycle. I've found that, for me, a lot of times, I'm not tired, like in the afternoon. I want to push. I don't want to keep working like an animal. I'll even admit that perhaps some of the caffeinated compounds or energy compounds I've consumed in the morning are probably still kind of pushing me through the day. But just through self-discovery, I found that if I don't almost force myself to do a Yoga Nidra session or a meditation session or a more relaxing, not a Wim Hof-y, but a more relaxing breath work session or a siesta, if I don't do that by the time I get to dinner with the family in the evening, I'm toast, I'm grumpy and I feel like I have been gas pedaling it the entire day. 

So, even when I don't feel like it, I lay down and sometimes within about 10 minutes my body begins to down-regulate and my brain recognizes that it can rest and it can check back for a little while. That's just a gift that I give myself for 20 to 45 minutes on as many days of the week as possible. So, yeah, I think there's a lot of things that people need to consider when it comes to this, this idea of over-exercising and overworking.

Leland: I understand the appeal of mindset. Like, when I first got into Functional Integrative Medicine I worked at a very intense wellness center. We did a lot of IV stuff and it was really fun. You know, you can really push the limits with that and you can get some amazing results. But as I may have mentioned earlier, I just saw people who would fail. And then, as I worked and worked and learned more, I realized, “Okay, the people who fail are the people who don't get fundamentals.”

One of the things they didn't do a good job of explaining in medical school is that in medical school and in residency, you get kind of indoctrinated into this idea of, “Okay, you put the orders in the computer, the electronic medical record, you give the orders to the nurse, the team, whoever, right? Their orders, they get done. That falls apart when the patient leaves the hospital. I mean, even if it even gets done in the hospital, you do have to double-check and make sure everything's actually happening, right? I sometimes used to joke in the hospital that the orders were really just suggestions. Sometimes it's a good thing, right? Sometimes, people like, don't follow stupid orders. That's good.

But when patients go home what they do on their own time is, sometimes, they don't do anything you tell them to do. And again, sometimes, that's good and sometimes, that's bad. But, when you're practicing integrative and wellness medicine, you're looking at this case and you're like, “Wow, like we have them on all the stuff, and they're on this and that, and they're eating it this way and that way, and we did this test and that test and we treated this and that.” And then, you get into, “Okay, what's going on, that's like, it's not working?” It works for everybody else, why isn't working for them? And it'll be, “Oh wow,” like they're going through divorce, or their business partner just dropped dead, and suddenly, they're picking up twice as much work or they're going through a divorce in their business or something like that. There's some kind of big psychosocial stress that's wrecking them. And sometimes, it's chickens coming home to roost after I mean, years, right?

So, like with the Liver King, I look at patients who get into trouble with the law, trouble with their wives, trouble with their husbands, trouble with their whoever, right? They get caught, they're almost looking for someone to catch them when you look at how they're doing what they're doing. They're almost desperate for somebody to talk to them about, “Hey.”

Ben: Interesting.

Leland: You know, “What's really bothering you that you're actually engaging in these behaviors?” That all comes out in their physical training with guys like Jim and in their medical treatment with guys like me because it takes a long time, I think, to get really comfortable with having those conversations with people. Most clinicians, I think, are not even aware that those problems are going on.

It took me a long time to realize that sometimes, I'm the only person that someone has a positive interaction with in their week, right? They have nagging or unpleasant or just negative family. They may have toxic work environment, they may not have any close, intimate relationships at the moment. Being able to talk to people about that is sometimes the most cathartic and therapeutic thing that I do. I would never, I would never realize that coming out of residency, because it's something that they didn't teach us. I've realized it's so powerful what you can do, just with your words and your presence to help patients heal.

Ben: Yeah. I think that you're right. I think a lot of times people get stuck into this cycle of overworking and over-exercising because that's not really identity, but that's how they feel, they need to show up to the world. I think one of the best ways to return to your true authentic self and being, your true authentic self, rather than who you think the world wants you to be, is to have people you can talk to and people you can be your true self around because it's pretty easy to just carry this image.

You know, I've had years of my life, where I've done this before I had close friends I could confide in, besides my wife, for example, close friends, who have challenged me about what I am or I'm not doing or how I am or I'm not, showing up when it comes to displaying a fake me versus a real me. It's been a long journey but I've realized that solid relationships, people you can confide in, people you can talk to, and you're right, I think for some people, that could be their GP or a doctor like you. I think that's super healthy to be able to do that because I think once you talk about it, you realize, sometimes by expressing it to someone else, how silly it is, how many hours you spend in the gym each day, or how many hours you're working on any given week or how many supplements you're using to stay awake or to fall asleep at the beginning or the end of the day. So, yeah, I think that that's a really good point.

Leland: I mean they're just strategies, right? It's a strategy of, “I feel incredible anxiety when I sit still.” So, my strategy is study all the time, or be at the gym all the time, or be cooking all the time, be busy all the time, right? Or I feel like bad about myself when I don't have a, I don't know, 28-inch neck. So, I just have to go to the gym and do an unbelievable number of neck exercises, whatever. That's what it is, it's a strategy to try and cope with their feelings.

It's pretty remarkable when you think about the fact that people really, they think they do things because of how they think, but the truth is they do things because of how they feel. They'll find a way to rationalize what feels good. And then, they'll have to figure out through sort of trial and error and really, sometimes, the ugly feelings that people get when they do things they're not proud of, right? “Oh, wait a minute, there's a reason why I'm using this coping strategy,” instead of hitting the bottle every night, I need to go back and forgive some people, or improve my relationships, or find something to do socially out and about, so that I'm not just sitting here a lot at night.

We have a lot of those conversations in our practice and some of the most life-changing work that we do because we help people understand why they're doing the things that sometimes, they didn't even realize were destructive. Or then, it may not be destructive, right? I mean, I'm not like saying going to the gym is bad, but there's a big difference between doing an hour of really high-intensity interval training every day for six months and doing high-intensity interval training for like 20 minutes two times a week.

Ben: Yeah, that's something a lot of people are talking about now guys like probably, Dr. Peter Attia, most notably. I talked about this a lot in my endurance training book, “Beyond Training.” You don't need that much high intensive interval training to move the dial on VO2 max or mitochondrial density. It's typically one workout a week. That's short 10- to 30-second bursts typically five to ten of them with long luxurious rest periods, another workout once a week that's anywhere in the four- to six-minute range of maximum sustainable pace with like a one-to-one work-to-rest ratio, where you're going hard recovering, going hard recovering that's typically around four to six times. That would be classified as like a Zone 4 up to Zone 5 cardio intensity and the rest can literally be slightly above conversational pace walking or something like that what would be referred to as Zone 2 cardio.

I think people sometimes get the impression that because HIIT is good, you must do a lot of it to stay fit. It's good, but it's so darn good and so darn effective you don't even need to do that much of it. And so, yeah, I think, sometimes, people just get sucked into some of these exercise myths weight training, if you go heavy and you go hard and you go to failure a couple times a week, and you're going to be strong like bull mitochondrial density those short bursts once a week, and you're going to have good density, VO2 max, those little maximum sustainable pace efforts once a week, and you'll be good. And then, cardio is just keep moving, walk on a treadmill, we're recording a podcast.

By the way, yeah, I agree with the neck damage. You're going to be seen and heard and loved, even if you have a pencil neck despite what Hollywood or Men's Health or Women's Health magazine would have you to believe. Most of the time, the person that cares the most about your neck is pretty much you and usually, only you unless you're getting a paycheck to be a supermodel or on the cover of fitness magazines.

Leland: Right.

Ben: There was another thing you mentioned to me at my house. This might seem like a little bit of a non-segue way and unrelated, but I was fascinated about it and I got to ask you about it. You said something like, and I remember you mentioning this on the walk and the recording that we lost, that you have found a ton of benefit from iodine. That's not something a lot of people talk about. Tell me about that.

Leland: It's funny. It goes back to this statement that Dr. Jack Kruse made a long time ago that just resonated with me so much I never forgot it. I don't even think I heard him say it more than like once or twice. He, and it's just this, it's biohacking the periodic table of elements. When he said that I thought, “Oh my gosh. That's exactly where we should start with medicine, at least on the matter side of the equation,” right? E equals M-C squared, energy equals mass times the speed of light, squared. That's Einstein's general relativity.

And in medicine, basically, the way I look at it, we have energy and we have matter. And if anything you're doing in the physical biochemical world, you're dealing with both sides of that equation at all times, because they're inseparable. But, with the matter part, right, you have it very conveniently laid out for you in the periodic table of elements.

When he said that, it really made me realize that for a long time, I've been so curious about what does this element do or that element do? What we do with big things like testosterone or other hormones or peptides, and when I say big, I mean, many different elements and atoms put together in a very specific arrangement, right, that's very different from the fundamental elements of the matter that compose our physical bodies, and that then our bodies really rely upon in order to have normal and optimal function.

So, iodine's kind of at the end of the periodic table. It took me a long time to get around to really learning about it. It's a really funny element because it's part of the halogens on the far side of the periodic table, which include fluoride, chloride, bromide. And there's different forms, right, fluorine, fluoride, chlorine, chloride. I won't get into all that fundamental chemistry, because to be honest with you, it bores me and isn't really clinically relevant.

Ben: Although, you are one of the few people who refers to the humor and funniness of where a certain compound is located on the periodic table of the elements, Leland. I think that's the first time someone has commented on the funniness of it.

Leland: I know, right? But, if it's just true, the niceties of these little things, like they'll escape my brain because I can just look them up. But, anyway, iodine is really important, right? People think of it as just one of the precursors to thyroid hormone, but that's such a gross understatement of what it does, particularly in our modern world.

So, I got two great books on this recently. One of them is “Iodine” I think it's, “Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It”. That's by Dr. David Brownstein.

Ben: Okay.

Leland: And then, a premium Substack subscriber of mine actually sent me a book, which I was so impressed by. This book is called “Hidden Cause of Acne.” It blew my mind. This girl is, her name is Melissa Gallico and she's a former military intelligence officer, Fulbright scholar, really smart. She put together this incredible book on how fluoride, she believes fluoride is behind the acne epidemic. I don't think it's just that, for the record, but she makes a really compelling argument.

Ben: By the way, her argument doesn't have to do with nitric oxide, does it? Because I know people use fluoridated toothpaste, also mouthwash is another, they tend to have low levels of nitric oxide production, because it kind of nukes the, I believe it's the bacteria in the mouth responsible for the nitrate conversion.

Leland: That's very interesting. I didn't know that. It's probably connected, but she doesn't bring that up in the book.

Ben: Okay.

Leland: But, she really geeks out on fluoride and all the different places where you can get it and I have to admit, even though I've heard a lot about fluoride, there were some areas, where I just didn't realize we were potentially getting it. Like it's a really common ingredient in certain pesticides, in certain wines from certain areas, I think it's the San Diego Cane Valley of California. Apparently, it's higher in processed fortified dairy products, because it's concentrated. She's got all these great, great little pearls in there about where fluoride is.

The tying with iodine is that iodine is not only responsible for producing thyroid hormone. Iodine is responsible for interacting with different components in your cell and creating what are called iodolactones and various other constructs that conclude iodine. From the epidemiological data, it would seem that the higher the iodine content of the diet of the populace, the healthier they are and the less degenerative disease they suffer from, as well as less thyroid disease they suffer from.

Melissa and her book goes into really amazing detail about how various cultures that people think of as not eating a high iodine diet probably did eat a high iodine diet, despite what people have previously thought. Again, tying fluoride and iodine is that iodine can replace and push out fluoride and bromide, and the other halogens in the body, but because iodine is such a trace element, it's found in very small quantities in all, but very few foods. Seaweed's the major, major source. Because it's present in trace quantities, when you use it at like really high doses in things like Lugol's iodine, you can push way more iodine into the body than you usually do and you can get some really powerful healing reactions from this.

Ben: When you say healing reactions, do you mean like detoxification, almost like a Herxheimer's diarrhea-releasing-the-stool type of reaction?

Leland: Yes. I have to be gentle with people.

Ben: Because I always like to have the diarrhea warning on the podcast.

Leland: Well, what's funny about it, yeah, I mean, it could do that, I mean. the problem is it's so interesting, it's not as, and people get this idea like, “Oh, if you use iodine, you may screw up your thyroid.” That's actually probably total nonsense. I'm not saying it's not possible. I think anything is possible, but when we look at the historical literature on iodine, which Melissa goes into a nice detail on her book, the discoverer of vitamin C, Albert Szent-Györgyi, one of my heroes, he said, “Basically, when in doubt, prescribe the patient iodine.” It was incredibly common to use it therapeutically back in the day. When you look at the number of things people have used iodine to treat, they'll treat acute illnesses with it, colds, flus, gastroenteritis. I mean, they'll treat all kinds of things with topically. Topically, iodine's incredibly powerful.

Ben: Yeah, it's very well absorbed, a little bit like a transdermal magnesium, gets pretty decent absorption, too. I know some of it depends on the Dalton size. The same would go for some of the transdermal peptides, but yeah, I mean, isn't that like a test, if you put iodine, I don't know how accurate this test is, if you apply iodine topically, the rate at which it disappears can be indicative of your level of iodine deficiency?

Leland: In my knowledge, no one's ever substantiated that that's actually a real thing. But yeah, I mean, I just, what I do in my clinic is at a certain point with somebody, once I think their fundamentals are dialed in, I'll just say, “Look–” I tend to recommend that my patients eat seaweed. You know, seaweed is safe, seaweed's a food. If seaweed was really going to hurt a lot of people, I think we would have found out about it. I mean, the FDA and the USDA are just like, they love banning things.

Ben: Yeah. By the way, it's also a great spice, kombu, dulse, kelp, you can buy these as amazing spices like Dr. Thomas Cowan, he has a heirloom vegetable company, where he packages up, amongst other things, super flavorful seaweed powder and ships it in these really stable Miron glass jars to your house. Because it pairs really well as you, I think, noted or alluded to with that balances out the selenium in fish, for example, a lot of those iodine sources go really well with the fish meal. So, I'll often, what I used to do is I would sprinkle it all over fish before I broil or bake fish. I've since learned that cooking with some of those more potent herbs is best done by only using salt as your primary spice and then, using your other spices once you've removed it from the heat because you get better stability of the extra, say, sea vegetables, in this case, that you're adding to. It's now a baked fish with salt and olive oil and sometimes, a little lemon juice, pull it out and then, just do a generous helping of that sea vegetable powder all over it. I think, that's a wonderful way to get iodine, especially if you don't want a slimy nori sheet or something.

Leland: That's really funny, yeah. Those are good options. I just ordered a couple pounds of seaweed. I like to get a variety. I think I just ordered from Maine Coast Sea Vegetables.

Ben: Oh, yeah, the Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, fantastic.

Leland: Yeah. And so, I cook with it in soups, stews, I throw it in the Monster Mash. And then, I've been experimenting on myself with high-dose Lugol's iodine for weeks now. I haven't had any problems. I figure if I'm going to tell people to do this for long periods of time, I should at least say that I've done it. And I've gotten up to 50 milligrams and I do that pretty much every day.

Ben: That's a lot of iodine, 50 milligrams a day.

Leland: 50 milligrams is as much as I've heard anyone use in clinical practice for prolonged periods of time, but it's clear from whoever people I've read, Brownstein and Ms. Gallico, probably the foremost among them, that there's people who are taking 50 milligrams of iodine for months and months and months and months with no adverse effects and in fact, reporting remarkable improvements in performance and their health. I have to say in the last couple of months, there's two things I've changed that were significant. I got a new Sauna Space and a Photon from Ryan Richards. I mean, I can't stop they're so good.

Ben: Because of the heat or because of the infrared light, like were you doing sauna before and you switched to red-light-therapy-based sauna?

Leland: I didn't have a sauna set-up before.

Ben: Okay.

Leland: I'd had a sauna space previously and then, I just moved a bunch and downsized. I bought a new one and it's sort of like, I kept telling myself, “Well I live in Florida. Well, like, do I really need a sauna? It's like a sauna outside seven to eight months of the year.” Like today was like 65 here. Jim is 250 pounds, and 5'10.” He's, and I joke that, he's a furnace and I'm a radiator, because he's like, he's like built like a fire hydrant and I'm built like a beanpole, but he's helping that in the gym, obviously. But like, I'll cool off so fast. And so, I love having a sauna, even when it's only a little bit cold outside.

But, I mean, I just, the energy I feel, the productivity I see in myself between that, and I'm convinced the iodine has a lot to do with it. But either way, I mean, I've never been more productive, I've never been more physically powerful, fit, better sleep, better mood. The more I read about iodine, I mean, it has all these important effects on the brain to the point that if you look in the literature, right, if you look in the literature, it's pretty clear that the more fluoride you take in, the lower your IQ is going to be.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: We've tested that in kids a lot and it's one of the big problems the fluoride lobby has right now in terms of overcoming like all my teeth could rot out of my head, I wouldn't bat an eye, but you tell me that I'm going to lose a couple of points of IQ, I'm going to freak out, right? It's just a simple matter like what's it worth to me, right? My brain's worth a lot more to me than my teeth. Fortunately, I don't have to make the choice between the two, right? You see where I'm going with this, right? I mean, fluoride might be good for your teeth. Let's just suspend our disbelief there. But if it's coming at the cost of IQ and this is where the iodine is important, right, if iodine can push fluoride out of cells that the fluoride's poisoning, right, it could be basically the antidote for fluoride toxicity.

I've been struck by the number of patients I've seen over the years. And so, if I'm thinking of one right now who I noticed that they had what looked like dental fluorosis and they had terrible acne and I wish I'd known about iodine back then, because I would have been really curious to see what happened because we tried a lot of things on their acne and not a lot of things really moved the needle on it.

Ben: I'm going to have to check out that book. By the way, the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Leland2, Leland, the number two, I'll hunt down those books and put them in the shownotes. That's fascinating. I mean, I would and you'd probably agree with me, Leland, I proceed with caution by saying that nearly everything could be cured with iodine. That's probably a fast track to be called a medical kook.

Leland: I know, right? But, listen, you're just parroting Albert Szent-Györgyi.

Ben: Yeah, don't do this. I was reading, and this happened multiple times to me over the years, I was reading a book two nights ago on what this doctor claimed was the root cause of many cancers and chronic diseases. It was a certain carbohydrate-binding protein I believe called galactin and fascinating book. He makes a pretty good case, but he and another guy, I mean I love him, but he does this, another guy who does this is Dr. Steven Gundry, who's great, but these are two examples of guys who will paint a villain in the former case, galactin, and the latter case, lectin, as being the main thing you need to worry about for just about every disease and health risk factor on the face of the planet. 

And then, somewhere around like chapter, usually it's between like Chapter 8 and 10 of the book, like the latter three quarters, there is the chapter that details why you got to be careful of your source of some type of anti-galactin enzyme or lectin-digesting enzyme. Here's the one that I'm inventing and am now selling to you. Here's your discount code on the website. It's kind of like the fox guarding the hen house. Again, like it's super good information, but what I wish a lot of these docs would do, would say just come right out in the very beginning of the book and just be like, “Hey I sell a product that's going to help you with the issues that you're about to read about,” because sometimes you get towards the end of the book and you almost feel like as the reader, you've been a little bit deceived like you've gotten your hopes way up about fixing everything and then found out the person who is telling you all this information kind of profits from selling all that information. And I'm one to talk because I have sponsors on the podcast and things like that, but it's interesting. 

And so, what I'm getting at here, Leland, is don't write a book about all the health issues of iodine and come out with Stillman's Iodine 3.0. That's my business advice to you.

Leland: You know, it's really funny you mentioned that because Jim's got a friend in Charles Mayfield, who makes lard skin care products.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: Did you know Charles?

Ben: What's his last name again?

Leland: Mayfield.

Ben: Oh, yeah. I used to hang out with him. I think it was at the Paleo f(x) Conference as they'd have down in Austin, Texas, if we're thinking of the same Charles. Yeah, nice guy.

Leland: Yeah, right. And so, I told Jim for some cracks in his feet, I was like, “Hey, listen, man. Throw some iodine in that.” He's like, “Yes, that's a good idea.” And so then, I was like, “Listen, pitch Dr. Stillman's iodine-infused smart lard.” Charles actually likes the idea. So maybe, we'll do it.

Ben: That's fine.

Leland: But no, I agree with you. There's a lot of perverse incentives, I mean, that's the technical word for perverse incentives, but the reality is you have to make a living and particularly, if you're providing all your content for free, and I mean, I don't think you have a paywall up anywhere, do you?

Ben: If there is one, I'm unaware of it.

Leland: Yeah, right. So, I mean that's one of the reasons why I decided to go behind a paywall with a lot of my content. You know, if I write a blog post, where I explain to you how to save and I looked at the imaging, it cost recently, like a brain MRI, like $8,400. In about five minutes, I can explain to you how to get it for like 350. So if I charge $20 for a Substack premium subscription for the month, I think that's a pretty good deal. If you're going to save 8,000 on your brain MRI, if you really need it, which a lot of people don't. That's the simple reality of it, right, is when I see guys like that doing the thing with their books, it's so funny. A medical marketer that I know who markets for a lot of integrative docs and clinics, he said, “Don't hate the player, hate the game.” And, he's right.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: Because that's all there is to it. I mean, human nature's got a lot of problems and we just have to live with it.

Ben: Yeah, I agree. By the way, total aside, I think with the sauna thing, you're on to something even though you live in Florida, that sauna is a good idea because I think the amount of kind of like that 600- to 810-ish nanometer wavelength of red light that you feel really good on getting exposed to and that has a host of the benefits that get reported a lot of and the red light literature would dictate you'd have to spend a lot of time in the sun and get a lot of UVA and UVB exposure to get that amount of light. I think, you can concentrate it without risking the potential for that grandma from “Something About Mary” skin effect from three, four hours in the sunlight each day, especially down in Florida. And so, I think, even if you're in a hot environment, having some form of red light therapy is a good idea. It just allows you to concentrate without a ton of time in the sun. I'm totally not sun-phobic as you know, Leland, but I think it's a good idea.

Secondarily, I think, that the fact that you feel so good with the red light, I think it is a little bit different than what you get from sunlight and even from sauna, right? Like I've done dry sauna for a series of years and eventually switched to infrared and I feel better after the infrared, deeper sweat, more endorphins, feel a little less drained because the heat is lower, but the sweat is equivalent. So, yeah, I agree. I mean, for me, personally, the sauna is a game changer. 

I haven't done the iodine yet, but I can tell you, related to the sea vegetable concept, I think that two things that also go very, very well with red light would be any of these melanin-enriched compounds that assist with the cytochrome conversion to ATP in response to photons of light, like a lot of the I think they're called thiocyanins or something along those lines, like the blues and greens that you find in chlorella.

Leland: Yeah. Right.

Ben: Marine phytoplankton, et cetera, or the blacks that you find in shilajit or the blues that you'd find in like methylene blue, fantastic to pair with red light therapy.

Then, the other one, and I recently came across some very interesting research on this and its effect on the cell membranes and also, the activation of cytochrome for ATP production. Higher dose DHA on any days that you do red light therapy appears to be a pretty good idea, also. So, I think some type of bluish-green compound, some type of DHA source, and then, hit the sauna and it just stacks a few modalities that I think make this on even better.

Leland: Yeah, you're making me remember one of my favorite stacks is methylene blue, hydroxylamine and folic acid minerals not mixed together. There's something that happens between those three with the methylene blue doesn't mix in, but I'll stack them in the same glass one after another after another. Now, I'm going to stack those and go use my sauna space and see what happens. I'll let you know.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: I'll be really curious to hear. I would love to know what you see if you try high-dose iodine. I start people on a real simple taper up and I start them on one drop of blue balls and I'm very clear with them, “Look, if you have palpitations, if you start losing weight, it's the iodine.” You have to eat a lot, because it will upregulate your basal metabolic rate, just as a matter of pushing that iodine-dependent thyroid pathway.

Also, I mean, to be fair, I suspect that it acts to actually change cellular metabolism through other pathways as well. There's a ton of literature iodine consumption and cancer rates showing that iodine consumption seems to drop your risk of cancer. That's one of the reasons why I'm using it more clinically and in myself as well in a world that's full of halogens from, I mean, they put bromine in like energy drinks, breads, fluorides, just everywhere. And so, no wonder, I mean, I think, no wonder I feel better right on this high dose of iodine. That's one of the reasons why I'm using it clinically. I really suspect why it helps protect the cell from cancerous changes. It's something that I'm talking to my patients more about. You've got a history of cancer, I'm like, “Look, maybe for all we know, you're going to do way ,way better on higher doses of iodine, even if you don't want to use it as Lugol's, which is like it's just, it's like the F-16 compared to the AR-15 of like, of iodine.

Ben: Yeah.

Leland: It's a really powerful, powerful supplement. But I'll start people on one drop, taper them up to 20 over 20 days, one drop increase a day, and then, maintain them and just watch what happens, because they'll start sleeping better. We had it guys, blood pressure in our program, optimal male vitality, dropped by about 30 points. He did that and he did some blood donation a couple of other things, but the improvement people see with high-dose iodine is really, really remarkable.

Ben: Yeah, yeah. I'll have to try it and compare it to how I feel with the sea vegetable, which I would say I might be getting maximum like 5 milligrams a day with, so that upper range of 20 to 40. I'll mess around with it a little bit.

But like the only other people I've seen talking about iodine would be like some of these more fringe longevity enthusiasts, I believe, Brian Johnson, another guy I'm going to get in my podcast who does a lot of age reversal tactics. He both tracks iodine pretty intensively because he does a lot of self-quantification, but I believe also uses iodine and I've heard him note somewhere that he notices a drastic effect in energy as well.

So, thank you so much, Dr. Stillman for giving all of us a, yeah, another thing to add to our giant plastic bag full of supplements.

Leland: I mean, I know you guys are looking for more stuff to put in your cupboard.

Ben: All those uppers to support our narcissistic overworking tendencies. But no, seriously, I will try it out and if anybody has questions, comments or feedback about that, the shownotes, where you can leave your comments and everything, BenGreenfieldLife.com/Leland2, that's BenGreenfieldLife.com/Leland, the number two, where you can also listen to the other fantastic podcast that Leland and I had a couple of years ago. I suspect that you're going to hear more from Leland in the future on this show because he and I have got to know each other. You're a good man, Leland, I really appreciate you giving the time, too, for the show.

Leland: Thanks, man. Thanks for having me. It's good to be here.

Ben: Yeah, for sure. Alright, folks. Well, enjoy your iodine, your melatonin much more, and go to the shownotes for links to Dr. Stillman's stuff, his substack, and everything else. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time, I'm Ben Greenfield, along with Dr. Leland Stillman, signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.

More than ever, these days, people like you and me need a fresh, entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. If you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much, means a lot.



Dr. Leland Stillman is one fascinating doctor and a man after my own heart…

…meaning he's interested in everything from how polar bears use cold thermogenesis and hibernation to enhance longevity to how your environment drastically shapes your health no matter how hard you exercise or how perfectly you eat.

Early on, Leland was drawn to natural and integrative medicine. After majoring in environmental health at Connecticut College and earning his medical doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Leland completed his training in internal medicine at Maine Medical Center. Board-certified in internal medicine and specializing in integrative medicine, he is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to discover the root cause of his patients' medical problems through advanced laboratory testing, and then addressing those imbalances with dietary or lifestyle interventions. Leland focuses not only on the patient but on all aspects of the environment they live in. Some of Leland's professional interests include phototherapy (photobiomodulation), nutrition, toxicology, and the immune system.

In our previous podcast with me, “Light As Medicine, Metabolic Typing, COVID Controversies, Polar Bear Fitness, Healing Yourself With Laughter & More With Dr. Leland Stillman.“, Leland and I covered:

  • His history and training
  • Why he is not planning on getting vaccinated for COVID
  • How to mitigate the effects of, and how to avoid contracting, COVID
  • Optimizing light for biology
  • Proper home lighting
  • “Eat like a shark, live like a polar bear”
  • How to use melatonin as a “circadian reset”
  • Leland's breathwork protocols
  • Dietary protocol for him and his patients
  • The two elements of health he views as non-negotiable

And in this episode, recorded during a chilly walk in Spokane, Washington – combined with a “make-up” recording of the latter half from my home studio treadmill – we dive right back into some of that content and so much more.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Who is Dr. Leland Stillman?…05:33 

-What happens with over-exercising and over-training…07:55

-The importance of the seasons of life…17:00

  • Ben’s experience
    • Very intense and busy seasons vs. more relaxed seasons
  • Seasonality is crucial
  • Emotionally healthy people understand that it’s ok to have seasons in your life
  • Tracking HRV
  • Oura ring
  • Hyperbaric chamber
  • Yoga Nidra session
  • BrainTap
  • Jim Laird helped Dr. Leland put 18 pounds of muscle in 3 months
    • The secret was protein
    • 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week in a gym
  • Monster Mash recipe by Stan Efferding 
    • A couple of pounds of ground beef
    • Onion, garlic, spices
    • Starch (potato or rice)
    • Greens and vegetables
    • Seeds
    • Bone broth
    • Shrimp, eggs
  • The Vertical Diet by Stan Efferding
  • Leland takes a gram of protein per pound of weight
  • Ben usually recommends 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound weight as a general range

 -Leland's thoughts on melatonin..26:48

 – The vicious cycle of overworking…41:10

  • Podcast with Douglas Brackmann:
  • Driven by Douglas Brackmann
  • Some people are very ambitious and success driven
    • They need help to maintain their lifestyle and their pace
  • Blue light blockers
  • Liver King Brian Johnson revealed he was using steroids and hormones
  • People need something to help them push through the day then something to calm them in the evening
  • Talking to people about their problems is cathartic and most therapeutic thing; helps in healing
  • People get into the cycle of overworking
    • Importance of finding your authentic self
    • Talking to someone is essential
  • Overworking may be a strategy to cope with feelings
    • People do things because of how they feel and they try to rationalize it
  • Beyond Training by Ben Greenfield

– The benefits of iodine…58:40

– And Much More…

Upcoming Events:

  • Health Optimisation Summit: June 17th – 18th, 2023

Join me at The Health Optimisation Summit in London! This is your chance to be part of a community of 2,500 like-minded people and learn from world-leading health speakers. You'll be able to fast-track your health journey, discover cutting-edge secrets and hacks, explore the latest tech and gadgets, and find the cleanest and healthiest supplements and nutrient-dense foods. Don't miss out on this incredible experience! Learn more here.

  • Hum2n Event: June 19th, 2023

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to learn from the best in the field and take your biohacking journey to the next level. You’ll get the chance to be involved with a private network of biohackers, a live discussion with myself and Dr. E, a live Q&A, an experiential biohacking experience, tasty food, and a chance to win some mind-blowing prizes! Learn more here.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Dr. Leland Stillman:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Dr. Leland Stillman or me? Leave your comments below, and one of us will reply!

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