[4:04] MVMT Watches
[5:34] Introduction to this Episode
[7:07] About Marcus Foster
[12:59] CT Scan vs. MRI Scan
[19:30] Marcus' Prolactinoma
[22:29] The Development of Klarismo
[25:13] MRIs And Non-Native EMFs/Electrical Pollution
[29:35] Ben's MRI Results
[31:51] MRIs and Body Fat Percentage Measurement
[37:57] Muscle on MRIs
[40:33] Anything Else Interesting About MRI
[47:15] How Much to Spend on MRIs
[51:32] Part Two
[54:37] Introduction to Part Two/ About Jack Kruse
[57:57] What is Redox Potential
[1:07:37] Ben's MRI Results Read By Dr. Kruse
[1:39:55] More on MRIs from Dr. Jack
[1:50:13] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey. What's up? It's Ben Greenfield sipping a hot cup of morning brew here in Finland. I'm actually staying at a farm about four hours outside of Helsinki, Finland. I'm out at the personal farm of a guy who I interviewed a few weeks ago on the podcast episode, a guy named Vessi, or at least that's the nickname that he goes by. One of the fittest 65-year old dudes on the face of the planet. He plays tennis left and right handed, he invents special chairs that allow you to sit in a chair that I'm sitting in right now that allows you to basically simulate the feeling of riding a horse. You need to see it to see what I mean, but go listen to the podcast episode I did with him. It's at bengreenfieldfitness.com/vessi, V-E-S-S-I. But that is actually not what this podcast is about.
This podcast that you're about to listen to is quite interesting. It's a two-parter, a two-parter. So it's technically about MRIs, magnetic resonance imaging, and things that MRIs can tell you about your body that you might not otherwise have known. In other words, you don't just have to get an MRI to figure out if you've blown out your knee or you need some kind of a shoulder surgery, but you can use an MRI to look into things like the size of your brain, and an extremely accurate measurement of your body fat percentage distribution, and even, as my second guest in today's show gets into, what's called a redox potential of your body. So my first guest is Marcus Foster, who actually hooks people up with the ability to do MRIs, and to use MRIs for things that go way above and beyond just medical imaging. And then in the second part of the interview, I get Dr. Jack Kruse on, and we talk about not just the health of MRIs, but also things that MRI's can tell you that go above and beyond what modern medicine even knows about. Specifically this thing called the redox potential.
Now of course, while here in Finland, I have had to deal with the effects of jet lag, with the curveball that your circadian biology gets thrown when you jet. Well, in this case 10 hours outside of my normal time zone. And one thing that I've been taking advantage of while I've been here is the fact that white light, specifically blue enriched white light, can flow through the ear canals and target and actually hit light sensitive regions of your brain. And when you do that, the effect is that you send a big message to your body that it is morning or it is daytime wherever you happen to be, and you can also do things like shut down seasonal affective disorder, or the type of depression that people, say, in Seattle or Portland get. My apologies to everybody listening in Seattle or Portland, but they're so depressed. You don't even know it.
Anyways though, what this device does is it actually targets your inner ear with bright light therapy. And the device that I use for this is called a HumanCharger. As a matter of fact, I was using it this morning right before I perched in my horse saddle chair to record this for you, and it really reduces jet leg and it feels like a cup of coffee for your brain. They call it “the sun in your pocket”. It is like you have the sun in your pocket. Tiny little device you stick into your pocket, and you put the little ear buds in your ears, and anybody listening in can get an enormous discount on this thing. 20% discount on this thing called the HumanCharger. And the way that you get that is you go to humancharger.com. Just like it sounds like, humancharger.com, and you use code BFitness, like Ben Fitness, for 20% off. And actually, the URL is humancharger.com/ben and use code BFitness. Humancharger.com/ben and use code BFitness.
This podcast is also brought to you by a beautiful time piece that happens to be on my wrist right now. It's called a MVMT Watch. A MVMT Watch. And what it is it's a company that was started by two broke college kids and they wanted to wear stylish watches, but they couldn't afford them. So they started their own watch company, and they cut out the middleman, and they deliver to you these classically designed, quality constructed, very minimalistly styled watches at a really, really good price. I mean we're talking about watches that would normally cost 400, 500 bucks for under a hundred Dollars. Mine's white with a leather strip on it, like a leather band, and it works amazingly. Imagine that, it actually tells time.
But more important than that, it actually looks good. And you get 15% off of any MVMT watch with free shipping and with free returns. And the way that you do that is you go to mvmtwatches.com/ben, but movement is spelled MVMT. MVMTwatches.com/ben. You can get a watch with a really clean design, and I've been getting lots of compliments on my watch. So if you want to step up your watch game like I did, go to MVMTwatches.com/ben. Now, let's jump into the first part of this interview which is with Marcus Foster of Klarismo MRIs, and then we'll jump into the interview with Jack Kruse.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“The most interesting thing we think is monitoring change. So developing and understanding how your body changes overtime naturally through aging or through some kind of lifestyle dimension, like training, or diet, et cetera.” “I need to explain to them how the photoelectric effect works without using any fancy terms, and the simplest thing to do is to tell 'em to go drink the coffee in the morning on the porch. And I tell 'em to do it with no glasses on, I tell 'em to look in the direction of the sun.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield, and I guess it was about two months ago that I was laying in this long white tube in a London hospital, just staring at these blank white walls all around me while the whole room buzzed and hummed with this high tech analysis. It was actually a magnetic resonance imaging that I was getting, a procedure that's known as MRI. You've probably heard of it before. But this was kind of a weird form of MRI because I wasn't injured and I wasn't sick. I kind of got recruited and immersed in this brand new form of cutting-edge image analysis.
Basically ,an ultra-fast MRI scan that's designed to deliver really precise quantification of things like fat tissue, and muscle tissue, and even your brain within a few hours. It gives you a complete analysis of the entire structure of your body and your brain, from like extremely accurate body fat percentages, to body fat distribution of like your visceral fat versus your subcutaneous fat, to the nitty gritty details of everything from your lean muscle, to your brain, and beyond. And if you don't know what any of that that I just went over means, don't worry because we're going to talk about it in today's podcast episode. We're actually going to take a deep dive into how you can do this type of advanced analysis on your body structure, and also the future of MRI testing for things like performance, and aesthetics, and longevity, and not just figuring out if your knee is messed up.
My guest today is Marcus Foster. Marcus was actually overseeing my MRI there at the hospital in London. He sent me all my results, we're going to go over those today, we're also going to go over how it is that folks are using MRIs these days, and how you can use these newer forms of MRIs to find out a whole bunch about your body that previously wasn't available when it comes to medical imaging.
So Marcus has a really interesting story in terms of his career at Google, and a whole bunch of accidents and issues that eventually led to him having a series of MRI scans, and kind of delving into everything from CT scanning, to MRI technology, to all sorts of interesting things that ultimately led to him founding and starting this company called Klarismo, which is the company that went through and kind of did my MRI. And I have a ton of data that I want to share with you guys too in addition to the show notes today. So as you sit back, or if you're an active person, as you walk, hunched over your bicycle, swim, whatever it is you're doing right now, know that you can access the show notes for everything you're about to hear over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri. So, Marcus, welcome to the show.
Marcus: Thanks, Ben! Thanks for having me on.
Ben: Yeah. And if you're game, I'd like to start here as long as this isn't too painful a point for you to begin with. I know that you kind of got started down this road while you were working at Google and you had a pretty bad cycling crash. Is that correct?
Marcus: Yeah. So I was working at Google for many years, and in around 2010 I started commuting to work in London by bike. Not every day, but occasionally. Sort of a 35 mile ride. And in November 2011, I was going down a road, you can imagine November weather in England, a bit gray, a bit wet, and a car cut in front of me, and my rear wheel slid out, and I hit the road pretty hard at high speed. And I broke four ribs on the right side, and my right collarbone, and I had a lot of very severe bruising on my right side. And as a result of that, then I went to hospital and had a CT scan done of my thorax, my rib cage. Sort of from the neck down to the bottom end of my ribs. And that really was the thing that got this whole interest in medical imaging started.
Ben: What do you mean? You were just like laying there in the CT scanner wondering how it worked. Or were you, as like a Google person, 'cause I know how you Google people think, were you trying to figure out how you could use something like that technology for a greater good than just like seeing how messed up your body got after a cycling crash?
Marcus: Well, it was kind of a transformational experience because I was naturally being curious. I request the raw imaging data and then spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to actually open these images because it comes in this cryptic daikon format which is really, really bizarre. And once I managed to look at the imagery and then started playing around with some 3D visualizations of that data, so having kind of a 3D model of my body in this area, I was just blown away by how amazing this looked, to some extent, how beautiful it was. But also how much there was to see that I didn't know about, how different you know bones hang together, what some of these organs are that are floating around there in my abdominal cavity that I never heard of. And so this was just extremely fascinating to me.
Ben: Now for people who don't know the difference, can you go into what would be a CT scan versus an MRI scan?
Marcus: Right. So a CT scan basically is a series of x-rays. So where a basically an x-ray machine takes a lot of very close together through a plane, usually an axial plan, meaning through a cross-section of your body. And then you can stitch that together and you get sort of a 3D representation. Now x-rays obviously produce ionizing radiation, so it's very well established that there are a lot of health risks as a result of that radiation. And so CT scans are considered pretty bad. You shouldn't have them for fun. There needs to be a very serious medical issue that justifies exposing your body.
Ben: Right. Just because it's like, well, I know with radiation's cumulative exposure over the course of a lifetime. It's like walking through the airport scanner isn't necessarily that big of an issue, but if you travel all the time, doing a hundreds of times a year kind of adds up.
Daniel: Exactly. Right. And so the CT scan is a really pretty massive dose of radiation.
Ben: Now the MRI, in contrast, how is that exactly producing an image of your body?
Daniel: So the MRI basically uses a magnetic field, and then modulates variations to that magnetic field, and then it measures how the protons in your body kind of respond to that. So, in an MRI, you create a very high static magnetic field that aligns all the polarity of all the protons in your water molecules in your body in a direction along that field, and then you send in radio frequency pulses that cause these protons to change their spin, to oscillate, basically, and then you measure how fast they recover from that oscillation into their original position. And from that, you can infer certain things about the tissues that they're bound in. And that creates kind of contrast.
Ben: So from what I understand, an MRI in most cases would be used for something like really, really detailed evaluation of soft tissue, like fat tissue or muscle tissue. Is that correct?
Marcus: Yeah. So typically, in an MRI, very simplistically, MRI's are better for soft tissues because they can produce more contrast there. Whereas a CT scan really just measure the density of tissue in terms of how good it is at absorbing the x-ray radiation. So it's very good at showing your bones because they're much denser than soft tissue. Whereas an MRI is much better at showing you the differences between different kinds of soft tissues.
Ben: You got the cycling accident and you were interested in CT scanning technology. You were basically geeking out all your CT data. What is it that you were trying to figure out? Just like what you could find out about your internal organs? Were you trying to just like get a good picture of the human body? I mean like why were you so intrigued with your CT scan results?
Marcus: Well, I had this imagery now of a part of my body. And my first thought was, “Wow. This is amazing. How can I get a scan of my leg, or other parts of my body that I didn't have imagery for, so I could build like a whole representation of myself.” Because I wanted to know what all these other parts of my body looked like. And of course, it came quickly to the realization that the only way to do that would be to break every bone in my body so I would have as a justification to get a scan. And this obviously seemed like a not very scalable way to do this. So I got kind of intrigued by why was it that I couldn't use this amazing technology that we have in medical imaging just out of curiosity to explore my body to understand it better.
Ben: So from what I understand you actually had like another cycling crash after that one?
Marcus: Yeah. That's right. So pretty much a year later, I had another accident where a car sort of drove into me from behind, and I broke my wrist in that context. So I had CT scan of my wrists that I now had also a 3D model of my wrists, and I was very excited about that. And it was literally, it was gratifying. While I was lying there on the street holding my arm, immediately there was kind of this little thought in my head. “Wow, now I can get a scan of my hand. That's going to be exciting. I wonder what that's going to look like.” And that was a bit crazy, actually, that that's the first thing that I thought about.
Ben: You were just out there trying to get hit by cars on your bikes so you can get fancy medical imaging paid for by insurance.
Ben: (laughs) So what happened after that? I mean you've got a series of CT scans, you've got MRI scans, but you were still just working for Google at this point, right?
Marcus: Yeah. I was still working for Google. You know, I just got more and more interested. I was posting pictures that I generated of myself on social media and stuff like that. It was just something that fascinated me. And then about another year afterwards, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my head, and had a, as a result of that, had a number of MRI scans done of my head.
Ben: You were diagnosed with a tumor in your head?
Marcus: Yeah. So it's a benign tumor. It's called a prolactinoma. It's sort of a growth around your pituitary gland which controls a lot of your hormones. And so it's a benign thing generally, and it's managed through a medication. But it meant that I had to have these repeat MRI scans of my whole head basically.
Ben: Interesting. That prolactinoma, I actually had a guy I interviewed a couple years ago on the podcast, we were talking about like levels of low testosterone and like hidden causes of hypogonadism in guys. And apparently, these benign tumors of the pituitary gland, these actually happen in guys. And a lot of times, they think, they get erectile dysfunction, and low testosterone, and all these things that make them wonder if they need to, whatever, eat more eggs, or take some viagra. And it turns out that they have this tumor. Is that something that you found via a CT scan?
Marcus: This was through an MRI scan.
Ben: Okay. So you found this tumor through an MRI scan…
Marcus: Well, I found it precisely for this reason that you described, that I was kind of saying to my doctor I don't feel right and I've had very, you have like no facial hair. Lots of kind of odd things I've had throughout my life. I said, “Well, can you like test my testosterone?” And he was kind of, “Nah. That's kind of a waste of time, but okay. Let's do it.” And literally 12 hours after they took the blood, the surgery called me and said I need to come in straight away, and drop everything, come and see us because my levels of prolactin, which is that hormone that gets secreted by the pituitary gland was like elevated by a thousand fold for its normal levels. And so it was pretty clearly that I had a very, very large prolactinoma.
Ben: So if people, if guys are listening and they want to know if they had something like a prolactinoma, they could actually first, before doing something like an MRI, for example of the head, they could just check their blood work to see if they have really, really high levels of prolactin?
Marcus: Yeah. That's right.
Marcus: That's a defining measurement.
Ben: Gotcha. Okay. Interesting. So you found that you had this prolactinoma, and then what happened?
Marcus: Yeah. Again, I was excited about getting more scans of different parts of my body.
Ben: Of course.
Marcus: Naturally. In particular with these scans of my head, what was very obvious to me was that, from a medical perspective, from a diagnostic perspective, the radiologist who analyzes the imagery is really only interested in this tiny, little gray block, which is this tumor. It's like two centimeters across, and that's the only piece of the image that's of any interest to them. And all the other stuff that's visible in those scans, my brain, all the different structures in the brain, your eyeballs and what they look like inside, massive nasal cavity that you have, like all these other different things going on your head. They were just mind blowing to me to look at, but of course from a diagnostic perspective, you have no interest whatsoever. So there's this kind of discrepancy in the value that you can derive from the imagery between what's interesting for the medical profession and what might be interesting for you as a patient or a consumer. And so this is kind of how we started trying to figure out whether there are ways that we can use this imagery to create something of value to people that they will find interesting that is not diagnostic.
Ben: So that's when you actually left Google and started a company that was just designed to do MRI scans?
Marcus: That's right. Yeah.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Now what exactly did you do when you started a company for MRI scanning? Did you have to like develop a new form of MRI technology, did you develop the actual hardware, or a special form of software? What exactly happened in the development of this company Klarismo?
Marcus: Right. So we started the company really with the idea of we want to make the technology more accessible to people for non-diagnostic purposes, to create sort of a more casual way to interact with this amazing technology. ‘Cause as I like to provocatively say, it's one of the most amazing inventions that mankind has ever made, but it's wasted on detecting cancer because that's such a niche use-case, really.
So we use standard MRI machines that you can find in any medical imaging facility where they have an MRI scanner, and we devised a proprietary protocol to acquire the images. So that's basically the way you program the scanner to run different kinds of sequences, and magnetic pulses, et cetera. You would use a certain set of data. And so we developed this protocol to do whole body acquisition of data specifically focused on differentiating fat and muscle tissue, and then we build a lot of software in the back that then automatically reassembles all these pieces of the body, and automatically segments and quantifies the different tissues that we're interested in. So muscle tissue and fat tissue, mostly. But now increasingly also organs.
Ben: So a normal MRI wouldn't actually give you that type of soft tissue detail?
Marcus: Well, it could if you run the right sequence. But the actual analysis, the segmentation, meaning saying this bit is muscle, and this bit is fat, and this bit is a piece of the liver, that's something that would normally be done manually. Typically, by grad students, I think they're painting slices mentally.
Ben: Okay. So you can basically hack the software of an existing MRI machine with the actual programming that you developed to be able to do a full-body scan that differentiates between like different types of fat, the amount of lean muscle, et cetera.
Marcus: Well it's more that we program the scanner with normal parameters, but then we build software afterwards that analyze this and automatically does this segmentation on the data we get from the scanner.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. One of other quick thing I wanted to ask you before we kinda delve into my own results and use that as a way to explain what it is that people can find out about their bodies when doing an MRI like this, we talk about radiation, how CT scans obviously have issues when it comes to radiation. One other thing I know people will ask about is this idea behind non-native EMF, or the amount of EMF exposure that you get similar to what you get similar to what you get from like a WiFi, or having your cell phone next your head, or whatever. Are there concerns with MRIs when it comes to non-native EMF or electrical pollution, so to speak?
Marcus: Yeah. So there is a certain amount of research into that subject. The results of the general opinion at this point is that it is safe technology. There are basically three types of fields that you're exposed to. There's this is high static field that I talked about, which generally is considered not any significant risk. There is the gradient magnetic field, which is a different field that changes very fast to create certain changes in the tissues that it examines. And so there's maybe some concern around like these fast changes might be a little bit more dangerous than the static field. And then there is the radio frequency pulses that are being sent, and again, there is no evidence whatsoever that this has any actual impact on changing the physical structure of any tissues.
Ben: Okay. Got it. One of the reasons that I bring this up, by the way, to interrupt you, is that of my friends, Dr. Jack Kruse, he's a neurosurgeon who looks quite a bit into like the magnetic potential of the human body and recommends the use of these like Magnetico sleep mats that you sleep on and also recommends you're very careful with EMFs. I know he actually is a fan of MRIs for determining what he calls the, I believe he calls the resonance frequency the body, and I have no clue what exactly it is that he's looking at. I didn't have a chance to talk with him prior to interviewing you. But he'll actually use MRIs to determine whether or not the body is, I guess, messed up more or less, from like a magnetic standpoint or whether or not the body is not carrying a specific charge. Are you familiar with any of these type of issues in terms of like using an MRI to go to like delve into the actual electric potential of the human body?
Marcus: No. I haven't really heard about any of that kind of research.
Ben: He has an article, it's called “Biohacking Your MRI”. I'll put a link to that in the show notes for people who want to read this article by Jack Kruse about biohacking an MRI, but it sounds like the biggest concern would be these radio frequency signals, like you just want to be careful, I would imagine you wouldn't want to get an MRI every day.
Marcus: Well, so basically it is considered so safe that you can get an MRI every day. Obviously, all the technicians who work in the imaging facility will be exposed for eight hours every day to parts of those fields. And there is some, basically people have agreed that we should do more research into the actual impact of this. But so far, nothing. There's no real evidence that there are any negative outcomes from it.
Ben: Gotcha. Over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri, for those of you listening in, I'll link over to Dr. Jack's article on biohacking or MRI so you can delve into that. But in the meantime, since we've put this off long enough, Marcus, let's go over my results. So you have this website Klarismo, it's spelled K-L-A-R-I-S-M-O. And within a few days after you had done that scan on me at the hospital in London, you sent over my results and I've actually got them pulled up in front of me, I'll also have them uploaded to this show notes for anybody who just wants to see, basically, what I look like completely naked in an MRI scanner. Don't worry. It is a cartoon rendering. It is not actually me naked. And there's a bunch of data there. So let's go over this stuff and, bearing in mind a lot of people are listening to this, not necessarily watching it, what kind of stuff can you glean from this data that you've sent over to me?
Marcus: Right. So our overall goal was always to make it both informative, but also interesting and visually engaging for people to look at. The stuff that always fascinated me at the beginning was really seeing my body from this completely new perspective. And as I said, for me, that was kind of a transformational experience. The analogy I always like to use is with going to space. Most people, if you asked them if they wanted to go to space, you could guarantee their safety, they would say, “Sure! Of course I want to go to space!” Even though there's no real utility, it's not like you have some business up there, you need to pick something up, or there's a meeting you need to go to in space, you just go because you know it will be a very exciting experience.
Ben: That moon rock that you promised your kid.
Marcus: Exactly. So a lot of what we deliver was really around visualizing your body in a way that you haven't seen it before. Now with your results, and a couple of other people that we've scanned, they're special, as I mentioned earlier, in that you are not like most of the other people that we scanned, as you probably know. You're pretty fit and lean. In fact you are by far and away the leanest person that we've scanned. Ever.
Marcus: And you know that actually caused a few problems for our algorithms in terms of the segmentation. And so with some of your results, they don't look quite as exciting as they might look for somebody who's more, let's say, normal in terms of their body composition. And that's why I sent you…
Ben: So I'm the freak of nature that broke the machine?
Marcus: Pretty much. Yeah.
Ben: Let's start there. So body fat percentage. Obviously you can get, there are gold standard methods out there for body fat percentage, like a DEXA scan. I know is one that a lot of folks will do, or like an underwater, hydrostatic weighing, or even these bod pods that you see at gyms. How does an MRI compare to some of those in terms of accuracy of fat measurement?
Marcus: Yeah. So all of these things call themselves the gold standard. The truth is they're not compared to an MRI scan. All of them rely on a lot of maths to infer things from measuring secondary values or observations. So a DEXA scan, for example, basically guesses what your 3D shape looks like by essentially looking at a 2D slice through your body. So obviously there's a lot of assumptions being made. So especially in terms of separating different types of fat tissues, or visceral forms of cutaneous fat, and just for an explanation, so subcutaneous fat is the fat issue that's underneath your skin, so between your skin and your sort of muscles. And from a health perspective, it's actually not that bad. It's more aesthetically relevant, and so from a medical perspective. And visceral fat is the fat that's inside of your abdominal cavity. So underneath your stomach and torso, muscles and surrounding your organs, and that's the stuff that's actually more relevant from a health perspective.
Marcus: It is luckily also metabolically more active, so you will lose it faster than the subcutaneous fat.
Ben: So I'm looking over my results here. It says that my fat percentage, am I correct, here is says 2%.
Ben: Okay. So total fat percentage would be like my visceral fat plus my subcutaneous fat?
Marcus: That's right.
Ben: Okay. And visceral fat here, it shows as relatively low, which would be, so someone who has high body fat percentage, it's not just a matter of the body fat percentage itself being unhealthy. It would be how much of that is visceral fat, which would be unhealthy, versus how much is actual subcutaneous fat, which would be less of an issue.
Marcus: That's right.
Ben: Aside from it, perhaps, being an aesthetic issue, like if you want to look ripped in your “Welcome to the gun show” t-shirt, you might want to have lower levels of subcutaneous fat in your arms. But ultimately, it's the visceral fat. Now this says I have. 0.08 liters of visceral fat. It's kind of funny. It says that's the equivalent to 0.2 two cans of soda.
Marcus: It's basically nothing. Like I said, it's by far and away the least we've ever measured in anybody. So the reason we give people this body fat percentage is so they have some kind of reference versus these other methodologies like DEXA and Bod Pod, and all of these. So you can kind of compare it to what you might get on another reading. But really the thing we're trying to push is for people to understand it. Really visceral fat is the thing that they should be most interested in because that's the stuff that actually matters.
Ben: Gotcha. Okay. So next, you also scanned my head and my brain. And I see there's actually some data here on my results. Like it says my brain is 5% smaller than Einstein's and 49% smaller than an average male Klarismo user. Is there a correlation between brain volume and intelligence? Is this something I should be worried about? That my brain is small?
Marcus: No. You shouldn't be worried about that. There is no established correlation at all between brain volume and intelligence. It's obvious from the fact, for example, that women's brains are smaller on average by quite a lot than men's brains.
Ben: I didn't know.
Marcus: Quite significantly.
Ben: Interestingly. But women are obviously not less intelligent than men, we're not suggesting that. So in terms of the actual data, when I find out this data about my brain I look at these images that you have here of my brain, it's kind of funny. You have like my hat size on here, along with all my clothing sizes. I guess that's one side benefit of an MRI scan is you know your exact clothing and hat sizes. But what else can I find here? I mean, there's a lot of cool cross sections here of my brain, there's a lot images of my brain, but is there anything, I guess, like playing devil's advocate here, so this all looks like interesting facts, but like where's the utility in terms of the brain scanning data?
Marcus: I would think definitely the brain scans are mostly novelty. There's no real utility in this. So one area that I've thinking about developing this is there's been a lot of research around how you can grow your grey matter, for example, using sort of mindful practices like meditation, et cetera. So that could be something that people might want to monitor, that could be something that people might want in engaging in that kind of behavior.
Ben: So related to what you're talking about with the grey matter, I'm looking over my brain data here. When I'm looking at the picture of my brain that you have on this MRI scan, can you actually look directly at the grey matter and see whether or not that's, like they say, for example, that you can grow you the grey matter of your brain through specific brain training exercises or that you could potentially shrink it through the overuse of something like marijuana, for example? Where here on my data can actually see the grey matter itself?
Marcus: We have that, but that isn't actually is exposed yet. We haven't put that on your profile.
Ben: So this is something that you're constantly, this actually looks a lot different than it did when I logged in like a month ago. But you're kind of like adding, I guess, like features to this online software that shows the MRIs as you build.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Pretty much all we can figure out is how are our head looks, what size hat we should get, and whether or not our brain is bigger or smaller than the average population. We can't actually look at gray matter quite yet.
Marcus: Not quite yet. I mean we have the data, we just haven't created sort of visualizations for it yet.
Ben: When do you think you're going to be able to do that?
Marcus: Probably soon.
Marcus: I've been running it for quite a while.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Now, muscle. You also have muscle. I'm looking at all the pictures, it's so freaky to just like see my whole body like laid bare like this and chopped up section by section. What can you derive from muscle? So if fat shows the difference between like visceral and subcutaneous fat, what kind of differentiations can we see here with regards to muscle, or muscle imbalances, or anything like that?
Marcus: Yeah. Muscle, we do a volumetric measurement of a few different groups. So basically your torso muscles, which is you know everything we get from shoulders down to your abdomen, then your thigh muscles, where we at the moment group together your glutes, and quads, and hamstrings all onto one chunk, lower leg muscles, and then the [0:38:42] ______ , which is sort of a muscle that runs along your spine. And these are mostly for measuring and tracking changes, right? Because people like to grow muscles by doing squats or whatever, and this is something that we can track here very nicely. And of course we can also expose imbalances to a certain degree, toward people who have, maybe, recovering from injury or other things like that.
Ben: So what about like fast switch versus slow twitch muscle? Can you see that?
Marcus: We can't see that at the moment. We have started. There's been some research into using MRI to do that, and we have been experimenting with ways to basically analyze that. There is a, I can't remember exactly how it's worked, but there is a certain part of you that you can look for and it indicates the balance between fast and slow twitch muscles, type I and type II.
Ben: Okay. Got it.
Marcus: So that's something, again, we're working on.
Ben: I see here, for example, my left thigh and my left calf actually are more muscular, they contain a higher amount of, I guess you guys quantify in liters. I have a total of 31.92 liters of muscle in my body, but like my left calf is 1.8 liters, and my right calf is 1.76 liters. Have you come across any research or any data that shows that would be related to like some type of muscular imbalance? I mean, is there anything that one can glean from this liter of muscle data?
Marcus: Well, I mean that's quite a small difference. And so if you're right handed, are you?
Ben: I am.
Marcus: Yeah. So then you will most likely jump more with your left leg, so you would expect your left leg to be a little bit more developed than your right like on a tiny little bit, but these are very small differences.
Ben: Gotcha. Okay. Got it. Now what else can you get from this data? Walk me through anything else interesting that would perhaps make people want to rush out and get an MRI or find some utility in this type of data?
Marcus: Yeah. Like I said earlier, your scan is a bit different and the experience, I think for you is a bit different than for many other people. One thing that we can do and that's for most people extremely exciting is strip back the subcutaneous fat layers and reveal the muscle structure underneath. Now for somebody like you who has basically no subcutaneous fat to speak of. This is not that different than what we can show you because it's kind of the same thing that you see when you look in the mirror, but if somebody who has an extra 10, 15, 20 pounds on their body, for them suddenly, they will look very, very different in this emission. That's why I sent you a comparison earlier so you can kind of see how different the experience might be for somebody who is maybe not quite as lean as you are. So for that kind of scenario, we can basically show you what you could look like if you lost some of that fat. There's this hidden Superman underneath your fat layer waiting to jump out. And that's been…
Ben: Everybody has a six-pack abs somewhere underneath that subcutaneous fat.
Marcus: Exactly. Somewhere underneath, you have a six-pack. It's just a question of setting it free.
Ben: Interesting, interesting. Okay. So as far as the data that will show the difference between visceral and subcutaneous fat, that sounds to me like it's one of the more valuable pieces of data, as is like tracking your muscle as your muscle grows, as your muscle changes, and then potentially seeing how your brain is responding in terms of not just the growth of the brain itself, but also the change in the amount of grey matter. What else is interesting about this type of MRI testing or what will we be able, do you think, to be able to find in the future using this special type of MRI testing?
Marcus: So definitely the most interesting thing we think is monitoring change. So developing and understanding how your body changes over time naturally through aging or through some kind of lifestyle dimension like training, or a diet, et cetera. And what we want to be able to do and sort of start trying to work on is being able to then also predict how your body will change if certain things happen. So imagine you have two scans within a year apart and you've gained five pounds of weight in certain areas, mostly fat for example, then we would love to be able to tell you, “Hey, if you keep going like this in three years, this is what your body's going to look like,” and give a very real representation of that. Or alternatively if you wanted to lose 20 pounds through endurance exercise, then this is what your body would look like at the end of that. This is a realistic goal of how you are going to develop over a certain period of time. Or if you started…
Ben: Oh, really? So you can forecast data that would show, for example, if I lose my fat at X rate of percentage, that I would look like this six months from now?
Marcus: That's the thing that we want to get to. Yes.
Ben: Interesting. So you could actually see what you look like skinny if you were fat, or what you look like more lean if you were, say, wanting to compete in a bodybuilding show, you could see like what your body is going to look like down the road, like how it's going to develop.
Marcus: Exactly. Right. Because we basically create like a full 3D model of your body and then we can analyze these vectors of change, how your body changes as a result to a certain kind of stimulus, and then predict where that will go if you keep at it for a certain period of time. And we get that from collecting a bunch of data from other people about how their bodies are changing.
Ben: So I have access to all my raw data. I actually uploaded it. It's like 300 megabytes worth of raw data. Now returning like what I was mentioning regarding, for example, like Dr. Jack Kruse, he says that MRI's have a ton of atomic data in them, and that if you know what to look for, you could actually be able to see the 3D atomic structure, different molecules in your body, and know what, for example, your redox potential is, like your actual ability to be able to have a certain amount of negative ions, or a certain positive ions, et cetera. In terms of the actual raw data, could I download this raw data and pretty much send it to anybody who's an expert at looking at an MRI and they can delve anything they want out of this data? Like is there more than just like the fat, and the muscle, and the brain visualization that one could theoretically glean from this stuff?
Marcus: Sure. I mean the raw data basically is… just to backtrack, when you talk about what raw data in MRI scanning, that's usually, the physicists at least refer to it as the actual data readouts sort of before that bunch fully transforms and things have been done to it, before it's been reconstructed in the imagery that you normally look at. The data that you can download it is the data that as it has been reconstructed by the console software on the scanner itself already. So it's not the raw complex data that you read out. But it is also before we have reassembled it. So the data that, if you downloaded it, it's not going to be one scan of your body. It's going to be a bunch of different chunks that overlap in some places. And so, yes. You could look at them and look for other things, but it's pretty messy if you just look at it like this.
Ben: But I would be able to find the positive and the negative charge within specific sections of tissue?
Marcus: You should be able to. I think the caution there is, the resolution of the whole body scan is only about 3×3 millimeters. So it's not really, they're relatively coarse tissue samples.
Ben: Gotcha. So is this stuff covered by insurance? Is this just a huge chunk of change? I know with me we did it as kind of like a guinea pig analysis of Ben so we could talk about it on the podcast. But how much can people be expected to spend on something like this?
Marcus: Yeah. So we have been offering sort of in the pending, in the range from like 99 to 199, maybe 249 US Dollars.
Ben: That's less than what I expected for an MRI test.
Marcus: Yeah. So we tried to do it for as cheaply as possible. The fixed cost of an MRI machine obviously are pretty high. They cost sort of around $2 Million, with all the extras. So you know it's kind of a big asset for people to buy, and so it is relatively expensive at the moment to rent time on a machine even though the incremental cost of doing additional scans very, very low.
Ben: Where can people actually get this done? Is it just in London right now?
Marcus: So at the moment, we can scan people in London and Los Angeles. And we're looking to really start scanning people in the Bay Area as well.
Ben: Okay, cool. Interesting. Well for those of you listening in, I am definitely uploading my results here to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri for you to check out 'cause it actually is a very, very cool way to visualize the body. Goes into a way more detail than, say, like a DEXA scan does. And I may in a future podcast, also, if I can get a guy like Jack Kruse to look at the results of this, delve more into how you can tell the redox potential of the human body using something like an MRI as well because I think, if you're listening in and you're one of those people who does things like uses earthing and grounding, or if you drink like reverse osmosis water, or you're very careful in terms of like your mineral intake, or you're into like cold thermogenesis for increasing your positive-negative ion balance, or you know limiting the amount of Wifi, you get exposed to all that stuff, this might be a very cool way to actually see how that stuff is impacting your health as well, and your cellular potential. So all sorts of cool stuff, I think, when it comes to the future of the use of something like an MRI for delving into fat, muscle, brain, and a lot more. One last question for you, Marcus. As you build out the ability to be able to utilize this data even more completely to find out things like gray matter, do I have to go in and get scanned again? Or do my online results, kinda like 23andMe, for example, just change as the technology gets updated?
Marcus: Yeah. I mean as much as possible, anything new that we do, we will try to make available to all the existing users who have had scans. Of course there may be new acquisitions that we want to develop, so we're looking at like liver fat, for example, where you would need to have another scan.
Ben: Oh, yeah. That's kinda cool. And it looks like you guys have a pretty huge team of physicians and investors on board. I'm just looking at your website and the “About Us” section. So it looks like you've got quite a few folks working on this, and I'm going to stay tuned to see where this stuff goes in the future 'cause I think being able to visualize your body, for everything from longevity, to anti-aging, to weight loss, to muscle gain, to everything else that we've talked about, I think it's pretty cool. And I'd encourage folks, just for sheer entertainment value, to go and download my raw data. And I'll put in the show notes for this over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri all the little pieces of software you can use on a Mac, or a Window, or a Linux to actually view the raw data.
So you can check all that out and much more, along with the Klarismo website. So, Marcus, thanks so much for coming on the call today and sharing this stuff with us, man.
Marcus: Yeah. Sure. No problem. Thanks for having me.
Ben: Alright. Cool. Alright. Well, this is Ben Greenfield and Marcus Foster from Klarismo, that's K-L-A-R-I-S-M-O, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Be sure to leave your questions, your comments, your feedback, anything else you want to add in over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri. And have a healthy week.
Ben: Hey. Ben Greenfield here. I hope you're waiting with bated breath, whatever that means, for part two of this podcast interview. Now before we jump into part two, I wanted to alert you to the existence of this special company that takes any fit people and hooks you up with extremely good rates on life insurance that are rate based on the fact that you're a fit and healthy person, living in a health conscious lifestyle. So what this company, they're called Health IQ, does is they use science and data to get you lower rates on life insurance. So if you cycle, or weightlift, or swim, or run, or do anything else active, basically what they do is they figure out a way to get you a better rate on life insurance. And the way that you get that is you go to healthiq.com/ben, whether you're a professional bowler, or an exercise enthusiast, or a weekend warrior, or recreational worker outer, anybody who's physically active can learn more about life insurance and get slammin' deals on life insurance by going to healthiq.com/ben. That's healthiq.com/ben.
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Ben: Hey, you guys. It's Ben Greenfield, and you've already learned a little bit about MRIs. How they work and what you can use them for when it comes to 3D volume renderings of the human body, looking at how much fat is in the body, or how much muscle is in the body, or looking at specific areas where there might be anatomical issues, but what we haven't talked about is how an MRI can be used for something most people frankly don't know in terms of this way to measure something else in the human body, something called the redox potential of the body. And if you haven't heard of the word redox, or you aren't familiar with the term redox potential, then you're going to be enlightened today. You're also going to be enlightened about how exactly MRIs can tell you a little bit more about what's going on in your body for more of a quantum mechanics standpoint.
And my guest today is really one of the world's leading experts when it comes to enhancing not just your neurological function, but your body's entire electric potential using everything from biohacks to self-quantification tools, like an MRI. His name is Dr. Jack Kruse. He's been on the show before to talk about, for example, things like cold thermogenesis, and things like enhancing neural function, and vagal nerve tone, and the autonomic nervous system. But today, we're gonna delve into something that he also happens to know quite a bit about, which is how to use an MRI to actually get information about the body that you can't get from other places. He's a neurosurgeon, he's the CEO of Optimized Life. You can check out his website at jackkruse.com, one of the best blogs that exists as long as you don't mind your head hurting when you read stuff. So, Jack, welcome to the show, man.
Jack: Hey. What's up, Ben? How are you?
Ben: I am well. I'm well. And you're down in Mississippi right now, right?
Jack: Correct. In the heat. It's pretty warm here for early November.
Ben: Nice. Everything's frosted over here, and the snow is actually beginning to fall up in the mountains, so we've got a little bit different scenario up here in the northwest. But, yeah. This whole deal with MRIs, man, before we delve into MRIs in general, can you explain what the redox potential actually is? What redox means?
Jack: Yeah. I think we probably should give a little background, kind of where this all came from. I wrote a blog post about two years ago, but why I wrote it was probably more important 'cause it gets to this issue about redox potential. I was giving a talk at a biohacker event that actually Ben was at, and we had a Q&A afterwards, and I had actually a radiologist in the group around me make a comment while I was talking to a medical student that he did not believe that I could tell the redox potential from reading MRIs. And you know, Ben, when you're talking to people at a Q&A, especially at an event, you don't have time to sit down and discuss quantum physics and actually how it's possible, but I made a promise to the medical student who was there, that I would, when I got home from Pasadena, that I would do that.
So that's what I did. I wrote “How to Biohack Your MRI” and I think the Redox 2 blog, 'cause I had already written a Redox 1 blog. And the redox potential, simply stated, is the amount of voltage that's present within or within certain parts of a cell. The easiest way to understand it, the more electrons you have, the better or higher your redox potential will be, or protons you have, the lower your redox potential would be. And we can decipher not only amongst labs, if you look in the first Redox RX blog that I wrote, I think I gave 30 different ways to give an insight to your redox. But I didn't really talk too much about the MRI. And then in the Redox 2 blog, all I talked about was actually the redox and how it relates to MRI pictures that radiologists and neurosurgeons get. Me as a nurse, in just about every day on in practice, I probably look between 30 to 50 MRIs per day.
Jack: So for me, I would actually say I'm one of the unusual people. I find the redox potential readings of films are more accurate from me than they really are looking at people's labs. So obviously you get even better when you have the ability to take the labs and the MRI together. And with people who are in my clinic, whom I see for a variety of different issues, I'm able to do that. Several people who are members of my site, I have a lot of physicians who are members at my site, I've actually invited them down here to my clinic, down in New Orleans and Mississippi to actually learn how to understand, how to read the redox potential off films.
And several of those guys have made comments about that, that it's not as hard as you think if you know what to look for, and Ben went, I guess the extra step about three months ago. He had somebody do a full body MRI on him and next thing you know I got an e-mail and it said [1:00:24] ______ tell me kind of what you think about me. And it's probably been two or three months before we could connect, get on to do this. And I remember, actually sitting here in front of me, I have the original paper from when your people connected to me the three things that I wrote down looking at your MRI.
And to be quite honest with you, I thought when you did this, I thought it was going to be a complete waste of time because when you and I spoke together in London, I made the comment that you're one of those guys' that I think redox potential is really good because you do a lot of things to protect yourself better correctly. I think eventually, as the decades go up and the heteroplasmic rate increases, you may have a problem. But I was surprised to see there was three things on your MRI, and I didn't know really the reasons why these things existed, but the funny part, and even Ben doesn't know what I'm getting ready to say, I figured out what Ben's problem was literally about two or three weeks ago when I was looking at his Facebook page.
Jack: Then it dawned on me what the cause of the problem was on the MRI.
Ben: Okay. Well, let's let people wait with bated breath for just a second 'cause I wanted to back up real quick, Jack, just to make sure that we put this in the correct light for people, redox potential. You were saying that low redox potential is not a good thing, and you said low redox potential was due to excess proteins, right? Or excess protons.
Jack: Yeah. It's too many protons. Now protons are another way we call pH, and pH links directly to Gerald Pollack's work, which I know you're familiar with, which is the exclusion zone inside a cell. And the exclusion zone directly is one of those other redox potential measures, and that directly ties to other effects in the cell that I probably haven't talked to you with, but we may get into it later.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So if someone has a low redox potential, what kind of things are they going to notice? Like why is that a bad thing from a physical standpoint?
Jack: Well, I mean the real big issue, let's make it really simple. Think about triple A, like where Ben is now. You said it's cold. So if he goes and tries to start a snow mobile up that he hasn't used since last year, it may not start. Well, the reason it may not start is 'cause the battery in the snow mobile has a low redox 'cause it has no water in it. So, in a human being, dehydration would be one of those signs. What's another sign? Loss of drive, loss of erectile function, loss of lubrication, small ejaculate size, changes in your skin, your hair, your nails. The big one that I always look for is poor sleep. Since I see much older people than Ben normally does, 'cause he's dealing with generally fit athletes, so he's looking for certain things. I see cataracts or [1:03:47] ______ reflux, GI reflux is another big one that I see.
In terms of sleep I ask about dreaming and how people dream. If they dream, it's usually a sign that they have a good redox. When they come to see me as a physician, one of the first things I look at is their potassium level and I look at their BUN and creatinine for the reasons I already mentioned. BUN and creatinine level's a measure basically of how hydrated or dehydrated somebody is. It also gives us an insight into how much ATP they're able to generate in their mitochondria. In fact, potassium is probably one of the most important labs that I use with an MRI.
And that's part of the reason why you'd probably be interested in that because for every 0.3 milli equivalents that we drop on our potassium level below 4, we're losing about a hundred milli equivalents inside the cell. This doesn't sound like a big deal to you guys now, but you have to realize we're dealing with atomic sizes in cells, and potassium has this ability to glue water together. And as it glues water together, it basically allows it to become, for want of a better term, a polarized layer of water in the cell. And the real key thing with that is most people don't know that sunlight, unlike all the man-made light that we're around, is unpolarized. So that means that our cells are designed to polarize sunlight in order to break it up and do some interesting things with the frequencies. But the main thing that maybe new for you and your listeners is that polarized light in the cell gets utilized by a non-liner aspect of light called the Fair Day Effect.
And the Fair Day Effect is an optical magnetic effect inside cells, and really all you need to know about it probably right now is that it is the wireless system, the wireless power grid inside a cell that allows you to turn sunlight into voltage that powers the redox potential in cells. And one of the proxies that we use as physicians and now scientists are beginning to use, like Gerald Pollack, is looking at the size of the exclusion zone of water. And that's the key. And Pollack is up your neck of the woods, Ben, and he's told you many times that the key thing with the exclusion zone is the net negative charge in it. Well, that goes back to the first two sentences you asked me in this podcast. Or back to net negative charge, which is electrons again. So these are all semantics. And once you begin to put 'em all together, they begin to make a lot more sense for people.
Ben: Yeah. And if you're listening in, if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri, I have a link to an excellent article that Jack has written called “The Redox RX”, which kind of delves into what you would feel if your redox potential were low. Some of the things that Jack just talked about, like the quality of your hair, skin, and nails, and loss of drive, loss of lubrication, and poor sleep, and a lot of these things that can be caused by a low redox potential. And in that article, Jack gets into things that can be clues, like low heart rate variability, or low levels of blood oxygenation, like low pulse oximetry, and a lot of these other things. But the MRI, of course, comes up there as, I guess, kind of like a more advanced or targeted way to look at what one's redox potential is. With that being said, Jack, let's go ahead and jump in to what you noted on my MRI. What was it that you found that leapt out at you?
Jack: Well, there was three things that I wrote down on the piece of paper after I reviewed it. The first one was I noticed an abnormality in the maxillary sinus. And the funny thing was I wasn't sure which sinus was truly abnormal because it looked like there was an injury that occurred to one of them. The second thing that I noticed, between T1 and T4, your facet joints definitely have a change. I wouldn't call it a pathologic change, but a change that I didn't see in the facets in the cervical spine, or down in the rest of the thoracic spine, or in the lumbar spine. And that surprised me 'cause I know how fit you are and all the things you do, and I was like, “Why would he have four vertebrae where he's got facet disease and not anywhere else. And then the only other thing I saw, and I thought this initially was an artifact was your right rotator cuff, I saw some abnormalities in the ligaments and the water content in the joint, especially one of the tendons in there called supraspinatus, and I noticed that your right deltoid was a little bit smaller, at least on the MRI, and I think it was because there was less water in it. And I wasn't sure because, I mean Ben, you have to fess up here a little bit too and tell some of your listeners. Ben didn't tell me (censored) about his MRI.
Ben: Nothing. I just sent 'em my MRI.
Jack: They just sent it to me, and I don't know Ben's medical history, I don't know anything about it. And I really thought, when he sent it to me, that he was looking to figure out was there something on there related to his endurance training and all the things that he does, but those were the things that stood out for me. And, like I said, that was about two or three months ago. Then I completely put it to bed. Ben and I haven't actually talked in a while, and then he contacted me this week and said, “Hey, man. Let's do this podcast.” And it was so ironic, I was looking through Facebook one day, and I saw you doing some kind of freakin' yoga pose where're putting hands up like this and that, and I looked at it and I said, “Son of a (censored). That's the reason why.” It turns out Ben's got this big, huge red tattoo between T1 and T4 on his back, and he's got a tattoo over his right deltoid, which I didn't know until I saw that picture.
Jack: And then one of my members actually, Ben, clued me in on the third thing when I kept mentioning your maxillary sinus, that you apparently had some kind of eye fracture.
Ben: I did. I got my eye broken, kickboxing a few months ago leading up to that MRI. I got what's called an orbital fracture where, it's pretty common. You get hit in the eye and it essentially like breaks that little sinus passage between the eye and the sinus, or the nasal cavity.
Jack: Right. And I didn't know that. Actually I didn't know that, but I kinda did know that 'cause apparently how I got reminded of this was you posted about this. You posted a picture of your eye and you had a subconjunctival hemorrhage, and you asked what it was, and I actually said on your Facebook feed, I said, “Dude, that's a blowout fracture.” And I had forgotten all about that. One of my members actually brought it to my attention. I said, “(censored). That's the reason why his MRI looked the way it was.” So from that standpoint, that's really all I picked up on it, but I thought it was kind of cool.
Ben: It's very interesting that you picked up on that without knowing about it, but even more intriguing to me is what you just said about tattoos. Why the heck would tattoos affect one's redox potential, or affect the health of joints, or the hydration of joints?
Jack: That's pretty easy. I remember what we just talked about earlier, that the way our body gets filled with light, most commonly that people understand, is through the eye. But the other way is through the skin. And we go back to Chinese medicine, they always talk about meridians and things like that for acupuncture. Well it turns out, if you read some of the latest research on biophotons is that it's now become pretty clear that the other way that the human body focuses a lot of it's light entries through the meridian system. And that basically is another synonym for the collagen system in the body.
Most physicians know that, and hopefully most of your readers know that collagen's a piece of electron. What does that mean? It means when you rub it, it releases a DC electric current. So where does a DC electric current come from? It comes from sunlight. That gets to the gist of what I mentioned earlier in this podcast about how the Fair Day Effect works to polarize sunlight to turn it in to different forms of energy that we use. Fair Day Effect is not actually how we turn sunlight into a DC electric current. I've actually covered that with you before, that's a big part of why DHA is really important within the eukaryotic cell membrane, which is also one of the ways that we increase that redox potential. The key thing is that sunlight, when you get a tattoo on your skin, it's in your epidermis, it's loaded with transition metals. Transition metals were a part of the periodic table.
Jack: And I think the one that you know the most is iron, because people get iron, bar's rusty. Your tattoo is red, and I didn't realize that. Well, red ink uses high levels of iron oxides. So that means that the amount of sunlight that you can assimilate over that part of your body is most reduced. So if it's reduced that means the cells deep to that surface will not, their mitochondria will not be able to generate the normal voltages that you see. And for example, in humans, that voltage is about -400 millivolts at cytochrome 1, then it goes all the way up [1:14:09] ______.
So the end result in a guy like you where you have this tattoo is that you'll see some evidence of early onset bone disease. And the reason why it was stark in your case is because when I see a regular Joe in my clinic, they're gonna have the same type of disease up and down in their spine. Yours was focal. The thing I thought of, I remember when I originally looked at the picture, “Maybe Ben got hurt in one of his Tough Mudder races,” or doing something that you do. The shoulder thing didn't even dawn me 'cause I just assumed, considering I know what you do, you probably jacked your shoulder up somewhere along the path. And, Ben, when I saw it, I was like, and I saw the picture, when I realized you were using red, I was like, “Hmm. That's interesting.”
The thing about tattooing that people don't know, and I see this a lot. You'd be very surprised because in your generation, especially women that get these tramp stamps, and believe it or not, we see pictures, their MRI where you can see a lot of the metal bar effects in the skin. And immediately below that, you'll see changes in the bone, the ligament, and degenerative disk disease is one of the most common things that we see. In fact in the Quantum Facebook group that you and I are both a member of, there's two huge threads in there, and I actually put pictures in that thread of the MRIs where you'll actually see the degenerative disk disease adjacent to the tattoo. So it's not an uncommon thing for me to see, but the thing is I didn’t know that you have that because when you and I have ever been around, I don't think I've ever seen you without your shirt on.
Ben: Yeah. We don't get naked together a lot. So, yeah. That's really interesting.
Jack: That's the reason they put two and two together when you sent me the MRI, probably three months ago. But seeing it now, it makes sense. And what people need to realize was that our skin is a giant solar panel. It actually, I call it an accessory solar panel for the brain and the heart because that's where we bury our mitochondia, and as you know, the redox potential really is associated with are mitochondrial voltage. And for those of you who don't know, mitochondria have tremendous voltages in them. In fact, if you were to do the mathematics and measure it out, because we're talking about [1:16:43] ______ , since the cell membrane, the outer inner mitchondrial membrane, are only about 4 to 6 nanometers thick. That means that a charge that's normally on a healthy mitochondria is 30 million volts. So just, for those of you who don’t know what 30 million volts is, that's the same type of voltage that you find in a bolt of lightning. And that's in one mitchondria. Realize that different cells have different amounts of mitochondria, but brain cells and heart cells have the most. On average, and I'm giving you averages here 'cause there's differences. 30% of the dry weight of the cell is mitochondria.
So that tells you that our body is designed to harness huge amounts of photoelectric power in the cell, and we hide it in different areas. We've already talked about cell membranes, DHA is important in turning that electric current into a DC electric current during the day, it goes away at night. The Fair Day Effect has different effects, but the key thing is where do we bury most of our charge? We bury it in cell water, we bury it in cell membranes, and then the big one is actually in the mitochondrial matrix, which is where all the hydrogen protons are. And that's kind of where, when you listen to solution based, ancestral, paleobiochemist, they focus their attention on that, and I don't focus my attention on that because to me, it completely takes the solid state part about chemistry away, and that's really the biggest part. It really allows you to understand kinda what's going on inside a cell.
Ben: Gotcha. Well, Jack, I've heard you talk a lot and write a lot about ways to improve the redox potential. And there are many things that I do, I've taken straight to heart and implement in my life from what you've written, such as frequent exposure to sunlight, and limitation of artificial blue lights, the use of infrared therapy, the use of cold thermogenesis, drinking good, clean structured water, that's filtered as well and has minerals added to it. I'll even use things like pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, and grounding, and earthing, and things like that, along with ketosis. I've heard you talk about a lot of these things, but as far as when you look over an MRI, like mine, and you see issues that have come up, like the ones you've highlighted, are there other things that you recommend for me or for folks listening in to improve redox potential? Things that you think fly under the radar, things that you think people should know about?
Jack: Well, you have to realize for your guys' listening to this, what I would tell a performance athlete group, I would probably focus about things radically different that I would do with my patients. And that's the difference, because you have to remember, I have a little bit more context with them when they're in front of me. I've got their demographics, their history, I know what they do. I know that they spend their lives predominantly indoors. And I have to tell you, most people I see, the number one issue is that they live an indoor existence, they're covered with clothes, they never see the sunrise, and they never see a sunset.
So really, the story for them is I need to explain to them how the photoelectric effect works without using any fancy terms. And the simplest thing to do is to tell 'em to go drink their coffee in the morning on the porch. And I tell 'em to do it with no glasses on, I tell 'em to look in the direction of the sun just like the Sphinx. And why am I telling them about the Sphinx? It's something that most people know, they also know the Sphinx is pointed to the east. All four of the Sphinx's extremities are on the ground. So I always tell 'em when you go outside, try to do it with no shoes on. If you can do it with as least clothes on as possible, they benefit. And the morning is really, really important. The water issue is probably the easiest one, at least for me down here. I just tell 'em I want them to move from a municipal water systems that's [1:20:54] ______ to one that's, you get the spring water. Or we'll talk to 'em about springs around here. So we have quite a few, but they'll just go to the store and buy the water that's commonplace down here. We're fortunate here, we have a (censored) of water. So that's not an issue.
The bigger one, and I usually don't talk about this with my patients when I see their MRI, 'cause I have to tell you, Ben, the thing that really makes the biggest impact on my patients is when you're sitting down with me and I have these discussions. Like you guys hear me on podcasts, but you're not with me in a clinical situation. When I'm showing you your MRI, pointing out that, “Hey, look. You're 26 years old and the reason I’m [1:21:37] ______ 'cause it’s happened yesterday with a 26 year old.” You have fat replacement in your bone marrow, you got fat replacement in your muscles. You're supposed to be skeletally mature at this time. Meaning your bones, and your ligaments, your disk, everything's supposed to be optimized. But why is this screwed up in you? The reason why the MRI is extremely important for patients is I can give them a visual and auditory sense when I'm talk to them and explain to them that these represent proton shadow cast. I don't use that term with them. Their proton shadow cast that tell me what the magnetic fields that they exist in are really all about. And I explained to them, with a kid yesterday, I told him cigarette smoking in depth actually could've led to this. I also explained to him how using his cellphone, and one of the interesting things in his case, he put the cellphone right in his back pocket, and it was one of these new 5G phones. So I explained to him how that worked, and he was totally freaked out.
It also didn't help that he also worked for the power company. So, he had a lot of reasons to come see me for degenerative disk disease at 26 years old. But none of them even realize, and the interesting thing is the first question that I asked him, 'cause his mom, and his wife, and new baby were there, and it just killed when I saw it 'cause the baby had that iPhone in front of him, and I was more freaked out about the baby watching the damn phone. But I said to him, I said, “Just tell me how long do you sleep?” And this was literally, every time I go and see a patient, I make sure that my nurse puts the MRI up on the computer screen and I always tell her to tell them, “Let them look at it.” And it was funny. When I walked in the room, his mom was actually really studying the MRI. So I said to her, “Tell me, what do you see?” She goes, “I don't know.” She goes, “But I'm hoping you're gonna be able to tell us.” And I did. And I spent literally, 'cause they were the last patient of the day yesterday, I spent almost 45 minutes. I went over the UVex glasses, I went over the stuff that we talked about with the skin.
But the number one thing that I focused in on, Ben, was his demographics. I wanted to know where he lived, I wanted to know a little about his family, a little about his mother. And I was lucky in his case 'cause mom was there, so I could ask her. And when I explained to her that I wanted to know about the mitochondria she gave her son to explain why he's got diseases of aging at 26 years old, I was able to completely come up with a coherently plan that I physically rode out on. I said, “These are the things I want you to do,” and your listeners and you may be really interested in this. You come to see a nurse, automatically you assume, “Okay. Is he going to operate on us? Is he going to put us in [1:24:26] ______ gonna do this, gonna do that?” Ben, nothing that I gave this guy is going to cost him more than a hundred bucks. He doesn't have to do PT. He's got to do things that I want him to do for the next two weeks. The other thing I made a prediction off the MRI, and I can share it with you guys because it's actually germane to what we're talking about, but I saw the fat replacement in his bone and his muscle. At his age, I knew immediately his vitamin D levels sucked.
And immediately, his wife and his mom said, “There's no way because he works outside. He's a lineman for the power station.” And I stopped them both right there. I said, “Let me ask you a question. When he came out of your vagina, did he have these clothes on?” And she looked at me like, “Huh. I never thought about that.” I said, “That's the point.” And then I said to her, “Since we live in a pretty rural area down here, do you know any other wild animal that comes out of its mother's vagina with that t-shirt and thing on?” She says no. And then I pointed out the window of the clinic, I said, “See that tree there? If me and you went to Home Depot right now and we bought a tree, and put it in your back yard, and we put a tarp over it, would it grow?” She goes no. And I said, “See? You got that immediately, but what you didn't get was that even though your son has an outdoor job, he's not getting any sun.” And this is when the kid stepped up to the plate and said something very interesting to me. He said, “Doc, this is really funny.” He goes, “When I first started to listen to you, I thought this was all a bunch of (censored).” He goes, “But you know when I feel best? When I'm riding my motorcycle and taking my shirt off.” And I just went… hmm. And these are the things, Ben, that when you're a clinician, especially when you're a quantum clinician that that's why seeing patients for me is, I love it. I absolutely [1:26:20] ______. The crazy thing is I didn't make any money off this guy at all. Do I know that I'm gonna be able to change his life because we're gonna be able to do things that are simple for him. So for him, one of the things that I did based on his MRIs, I made sure that I got him a home TNS unit, one of these real small ones. ‘Cause one of the things I'm really concerned about him…
Ben: A home TNS unit? Like the transcutaneous nerve stimulation?
Jack: Right. And the reason why is because if you understand degenerative disk disease from an MRI, your brain up here, and I know you probably can see this [1:26:55] ______ , 'cause I'm touching my head. This is where most of your DC electric comes from, from the sun. So it's based in your brain, 'cause that's where most of our DHA is. And you have two ligaments on the front and back of our spine that Ben can look at his MRI after he gets done with me here. They're called the [1:27:11] ______ . I want you to think about them kinda like wires. Well in between those two wires are where your disks are. So when you lose that DC electric current, when you lose that redox power, you start to lose water in the disk and the disk starts to shrink. So the analogy that I use on my patients, it's kinda like gas shocks in your pick-up truck. If you take the gas out, you won't drive that car over a country 'cause it's going to be bumpy. Well, the same thing is true with your back, and I explain it to him, the only way you can recapture the water in there without me doing a fusion operation is to improve the redox potential in that ligament. The best way to do that is to use the meridians on your back. And I don't tell him about meridians. I just say get a TNS unit, 'cause what a TNS unit does is delivers negative charge.
So the analogy that I use I use triple A. When you have a dead battery, can you jump it with triple A. And the answer is no. You can't 'cause the battery's dead. I'm like, right. So I need you to start drinking more water. When you start drinking water, you're going to start peeing, then I want you to put the TNS on. I want you to keep doing it. What's going to happen, you're jumping the distal part of those two ligaments so that you can start retaining the water in it and the disk can rehydrate. Kind of like when you take a sponge and you put it in the water in your house to let it [1:28:28] ______ . And since this kid was 26, his disease was completely reversible. But he needed to understand how to biohack, that's what we call it, but that's not what he calls it, how to biohack, how to rehydrate his disks. So basically in that 45 minutes, all the things I wrote down for him that I want him to do, he is going to do a biohack himself, and he's going to come back and see me in two weeks. And we're going to see how it goes, his last visit with his family, they were kind of shocked. They were like, “All of the stuff we can do, none of this is going to require surgery? You didn't even send us to PT.” I said, “No. I want you to do this first. There's things I may do based on how you do from there.” but one of the big things with him is he had a big time blue light exposure to the eyes.
And the funny thing, he was 26 both him and his wife, remember I told you about their daughter was on the cell phone, they both had myopia. And I explained to all three of them why they got myopia because I told them, I'm like, “When I was 26, I was always outside riding my bike. These guys are always on the phone constantly.” And even his mom said, he goes, “You can't get him off the TV at night when he comes home from work. And I was like, “We need to talk about the UVex glasses.” And what I told him this, he says, “Let me get this straight. Blocking the blue light at night can actually improve my back pain?” And I'm like, “Absolutely. We see this all the time. It's probably the most common thing that I see in the clinic. And if it lasts long enough, it'll affect other parts of your body.” I didn't bring up the terms mitochondria and the stuff that you and I talk about here, but you don't have to make this really difficult for a patient when you have an MRI film in front of them. And you can actually show them and then tell them that the choices that they're making are actually what's causing this, and then give 'em a real little plan over two weeks so they get small clinical wins. So when they come back, they're like, “Okay, Doc. I did it. I'm definitely better. What's the next step?”
And this guy, since he was the first time I saw him, I actually gave him a little bit more than I normally would because he was very interested. And that's when I explained to him I wanted him to go to his primary care doctor and get his vitamin D level 'cause I explained to him how do I look at a vitamin D versus just about anybody else you've probably ever interviewed. I [1:30:56] ______ dead battery. I want to know, based on [1:31:00] ______ is 28. Well, this time of the year, November, I want my patient between [1:31:06] ______ per deciliter. I told him this, “If your vitamin D level is 30 or below, I'm probably going to have use this TNS unit on you, and I may even have to use some other things on your like red light therapy to improve your situation and also tell me how long you're going to have to stay in PT.” I said, “If you're below 15, then we got a real problem. Then the TNS unit is not going to work at all.” It goes back to what we said before about triple A. You can't jump a dead battery. And that's when I would probably [1:31:36] ______ some of the labs we talked about earlier. I'd wanna know what his potassium is, his [1:31:39] ______ and creatinine. And the reason I'm concerned about that with him is because he works for a power company. And that means this kid's around humongous electromagnetic fields, and he doesn't know about it. And he kind of does because when he works on these lines, they make them wear, the best that I can describe is kind of like armor. And he says, doctors, a lot of times when I'm around the 740 kilowatt power lines, he goes, “I can feel the hair on the back of my neck stick up.” And I'm like, I said, “Dude, the hair on the back of your neck is like two or three centimeters away from where that [1:32:18] ______ is.”
So that kind of explained to me the whole picture that I was seeing. Because when you look at the picture and you look at the kid's age, you go, “There's something clearly [1:32:30] ______ .” Most spine surgeons would never ask the questions that I ask because they don't look at MRIs the way I look at them. They look at MRIs kind of the way people look at pictures when they go to a museum. I don't look at it like that. I look at those pictures really as a map of electrons and protons. I'm looking to see why there's more protons in a certain area, and then I try to fit it together with the puzzle that the patient brings to me. And that's why Ben's biohack for me was kind of interesting 'cause he sent me the MRI, didn't give me any background story, but I guess the point for this podcast that's probably good, 'cause you can confirm or deny, what we saw in your MRI I think was pretty accurate having no information.
Ben: Yeah. It certainly was. Not only, it's very interesting, and I know that sometimes when you go and you see, whatever, like a tarot card reader, a lot of times they'll tell you things that are like self-fulfilling prophecies like, “Oh, you had a harsh experience with love in your life.” And you're like, “Well, yeah. I did. How'd you know that?” And in many cases, it's just because who hasn't. But in a situation such as this, yeah. Not only have I had my eye broken, but I've had a huge amount of rotator cuff issues on that right side, and thoracic spine mobility has also been a big issue for me. When I look over for example, and again I'll link to this. For those of you listening in, you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri, I'll link to Jack's articles on this. But when you look, Jack…
Jack: Are you going to put your MRIs up on this blog 'cause I think that'd be kind of cool.
Ben: Yeah. They're going to be there for people to download and see as well. But I mean like your shopping list, for example, Jack, for fixing one's redox potential is the type of things that I think a lot of people who have listened to this podcast for a while will know about. For example, not only like a handheld electronic pulsed massager units like you just talked about, but like reverse osmosis water, or structured water, water with a higher pH, grounding shoes or earthing shoes, the book “The Body Electric” by Robert Becker. You even have something I use every day now that I've had been using for the past few months, the 810 nanometer infrared intranasal light therapy device. I swear by that thing.
Jack: I'm glad you brought this up. ‘Cause now we can go ta Ben Greenfield-ism that you need to know. This is going to be a biohack for you, Ben, and this ties directly to your result. I don't know if I'd want you to use that. How do you like that?
Ben: And why is that?
Jack: Well, here's the thing that people don't know. You know that cytochromes four and five, cytochrome four is called cytochrome-C-oxidase. It's a hene protein meaning that it absorbs red light. The ATP-ase also is a red light chromaforce. So those two proteins, the way I think about things, those are red light intense. So you're putting this red light up your nose, and I just told you that one of you paranasal sinuses is abnormal. Here's what a lot of people don't know about nasal sinuses and nasal mucosa. They make nitric oxide. And guess what? When you put too much red light in the nose, you actually can cause problems with the bone and the teeth around that area. And here's the thing, Ben, and this is one that I hope you do and biohack, there's a new device, it's not that new, it's been out for about two or three years, that we use for kids that have asthma. It's a fractional NO, nitric oxide device called the Niox Mino. And I believe you spell it M-I-N-O, and you can buy it anywhere. I think it's built somewhere out, close to you on the west coast of Arizona.
Basically what they have the kids do is they have them breathe into it. And if you have abnormal levels of nitric oxide, this thing is so accurate, it picks up five parts per billion. So when someone gets an injury in their aerodigestive system, in their paranasal sinuses, we look for that. And one of these really cool effects that people I think know about, but I've never heard anybody talk about it publicly, but we're going to talk about it. You know when you go out in the sun and you see really bright sunlight that has UV in it, people will start to sneeze?
Jack: Do you know why that happens? Because the pulse of UV light simulates the cilliary beat in all paranasal sinuses because there's a huge pulse of nitric oxide that's built. And the reason why I'm telling you this is if you put red light in there, you may stimulate too much bone healing. See, one of the interesting things about nitric oxide and with bone, and since I am a spine surgeon, I happen to know a (censored) about bone, nitric oxide makes bone much stronger, much faster. So that's one of the ways that we can biohack our own patients when we have to do surgery on 'em.
And you have to realize, Ben, where you had your orbital blowout fracture, you may not want a ton of bone. Because remember, the sinuses are designed to filled with air because you want to reduce the amount of the facial skeleton so that if it does get trauma, it collapses normally. So if you get too much bone formation there, you can actually cause a big time rhinitis, and some nasal polyps, and things like that. So I would tell you, and I actually mentioned this I think in another podcast I did with Luke Storey, that anybody who's had a previous deviated septum or nasal surgery, for your kind of injury, I don't think, at least initially, I would use the red light until I knew that my nitric oxide levels and my expired air was okay.
Ben: So that's where you do something like this Niox Mino device?
Jack: Exactly. And I know that you like doing a lot of hypoxic training and stuff, so just as kind of like a little toy that I think you would really like, and I know your injury was from a long time ago, so it's probably not an issue now, but it would be kind of interesting if you went back to the same MRI, say a year from now when the bone's healed and see is there a thickness where the blowout fracture was or not, because if you kept using the red light, I would tell you my prediction would be that you'd see much more bone formation right in that area.
Ben: Interesting. Well, I'll link to that. I see that it appears to be something that would need to be prescribed by a physician, this Niox Mino medical device for measuring fractional exhaled nitric oxide. But it looks very interesting. I'll link to that over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri if any of you want to check that out. Now we're running a little bit short on available time, and really when it comes, for those of you listening in, to fixing your redox potential, not just biohacking your MRI, but fixing redox potential in general, Jack does have a really comprehensive article about this that I'm also going to link to if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri. But Jack, in closing, are there any big messages that you would like to get out to people when it comes to their electric potential, things that you think fly under the radar, things that you've been looking into lately that you think people should know about that maybe you haven't had a chance to talk about?
Jack: Well, I talk about sunlight a lot, but I will tell you I still think it's the easiest, simplest, cheapest way to improve your redox potential, and people, Ben, they're just not down on what they're not up on, and sunlight happens to be one of those things. And I'm just gonna to tell you, it's not just about the spectral density. It's actually about how sunlight changes from the time it rises to the time it sets. There's three variables, and you need to learn about those three variables because I think they're very important. And the other thing that I think you brought up really well is that you need to realize that the surfaces, one of the things that I teach my members about that I made a prediction a long time ago that's really starting to come true, especially with the Nobel Prizes which were just given in October, that with time, it will be shown that our surfaces in our body are far more important than the biochemistry that happens below. The reason why, what happens at the surface dictates the biochemistry of below. I think you need to begin to understand that, for those people who are listening to this, we don't know anything about the two Nobel Prizes that I'm speaking of. Ben knows probably one of them pretty well, not so much on the other one. But the Nobel Prize for medicine was given for autophagy and apoptosis just recently. And I think most people listening to this know about that.
But what people don't know is the one that was given for physics was given for topology, something called topologic insulators. And what people don't realize is that topologic insulators in biology are actually what determines apoptosis and autophagy efficiency. And to me, that's the most interesting part of these two Nobel Prizes be given in the same year because even the Nobel committee doesn't realize this, and I've been talking about this a lot with my members and I have a current blog post. You don't have to worry about reading it, but there is one thing, man, I would tell you, take the .GIF off the blog post and put it in the show notes and let your people see it. It basically is a .GIF of a picture that shows you all you need to know about a topologic insulator. Basically, it's a two dimensional thin sheet that has three dimensional waveforms in it. And when you see the picture, it's in my Time 25 blog post, and you look at it, you begin to understand really how your skin works and why tattoos can affect it, why sun screen can bother you, why sunglasses, and contacts, and things that we use, you may want to start thinking, “Maybe this isn't such a great idea.”
And down the road when the science becomes mature, because right now, it's really only talked about in physics and also in biophysics, but it's very clear that topological insulators and understanding how we can improve our own, like for example, melanin, and eumelanin in or skin, is the number one topologic insulator that talks to our mitochondria. And you know this podcast was about the redox potential. Well, how do you recharge your mitochondria? One of the main things that you use is you use melanin and eumelanin to take sunlight and charge yourself up. It's just like having an electric car and going to Whole Foods and plug in. That's how I want people to start understanding because when you begin to see how these connections go, the story is very simple. Reconnect with nature. The physics doesn't have to be on the tip of your tongue. I want people to know, want you to go back and do the things that we're designed to do because too many of us have gotten too far away from that and we've become too beholden to gadgets and things that we use to biohack. And I know it's cool and things like that, but the longer I've been in this business, the more I'm starting to realized that there's downsides to it.
Maybe to end this with, Ben told me he wanted to ask me a question about did I feel that MRIs are safe. And this will probably open people's eyes. If you were to talk to me probably three, four years ago, my answer would've been unequivocally yes. But some biohacks that I've done on myself had now caused me to question that. And the reason for that is if you understand how MRI is generated, we use a uniform magnetic field, but we send pulse radio frequency to offset the tilt of the protons to measure what we call relaxation phases. And it turns out there is now data in the literature that show even those small little pulses that radio frequency can actually liberate metals in our body and do different things. And believe it or not, when I did some MRIs on myself a couple years ago, I found that I had spikes for a couple days of certain metals in my body. And why am I concerned about that? Well not only do I have a amalgams in my mouth that I refuse to take out, but that's for a totally different podcast, but I also do spine surgery on people where I use different types of implants.
So it turns out that one of the metals that we use is called titanium, and the reason is it's a transitional MRI compatible. It does cause some scatter, but not too bad. Believe it or not, there is now data in the dental and medical literature that show that we're starting to see free titanium in people's blood. And the crazy thing is if we image people too much, it seems like the amount of these transition metals show up in the blood, and for those of you who think this is total (censored). I'll just remind you that the contrast media that radiologists use for MRIs is called gadolinium. Gadolinium is a rare earth metal, and gadolinium is paramagnetic. But gadolinium also has another key effect that Ben asked me about my beer before we came on.
This is the effect that I'm biohacking right now. It's called a magnetocaloric effect, and gadolinium happens to be one metal on the periodic table that has the biggest magnetocaloric effect. So the question is an open one for me right now. Are MRIs completely safe? I think they're way safer than CT scans and some of the other things we do, but I can't give a definitive answer yet because I found the data, and it pains me almost to say this, but I, for the last four years, I haven't really limited how much and how many times I will order MRIs, especially in people who I know have implantable metals in their bodies. So that means knee replacements, hip replacements, even tattoos, and that's part of the reason I bring this up because you don't think about tattoos as metal implants. But that's effectively what they are. And I just figure we end on that because I think it'd be interesting for people to think about, and they can start looking into these things yourself, but that brings you straight forward to what I'm kind of doing and thinking about now.
Ben: Interesting. Very interesting. So maybe I just need to go get these tattoos lasered off and call it good, or avoid getting additional.
Jack: If you do that, you need to hack it because I've always wanted to, when someone does that, to see what the effect will be on their plasma. My prediction is you would see a pretty big change in your redox for a short period 'cause I think you would liberate tons of transition metals.
Ben: Yeah. Interesting, interesting. Well this has certainly given me, and I'm sure a lot of other folks, quite a bit of pause for thought when it comes to everything from electric potential, to sunlight exposure, to tattoos, and beyond. It makes me want to actually get outside and get in the sun right now, which is what I'm probably going to do as I eat lunch. So, Jack, thanks for coming on the show. And I'm going to link to all the excellent articles you've written on this stuff over at jackkruse.com so folks can go explore that. And if you want access to the links on the show notes, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mri where you can even download my MRI if you're really bored and just want to look at it. So, Jack, thanks for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us, man. I appreciate it.
Jack: Alright. Take care.
Ben: Alright, folks. This is Ben Greenfield and Jack Kruse signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
Two months ago, I laid in a long, metal tube in a London hospital, staring at the blank white walls around me as the entire room buzzed and hummed with the sounds of high-tech analysis.
I was getting a “Magnetic Resonance Imaging” procedure done – also known as an “MRI”.
But this was no typical MRI.
I wasn’t injured and I wasn’t sick: I was simply immersed in a brand new form of cutting-edge image analysis – an ultra-fast MRI scan to deliver precise quantification of fat and muscle tissue within hours – designed to give me a complete analysis of the entire structure of my body and brain – from extremely accurate body fat percentage and body fat distribution of visceral and subcutaneous fat, to the nitty-gritty details of everything from lean muscle and the brain, and beyond.
In today’s podcast, I’m going to take a deep dive into how you can do this type of advanced analysis of your body’s structure, the future of MRI testing for performance, longevity and aesthetics, and much more – including a very special appearance by Dr. Jack Kruse on how MRI’s can be used to analyze something called the “redox potential” of the human body.
My first guest in this episode is Marcus Foster. Marcus spent most of his career as a Product Manager for technology companies, including 8 years at Google. In November 2011, he was involved in a serious cycling accident, breaking four ribs and his collarbone. He started playing around with 3D volume renderings of the CT scan that was done of his thorax as a result of the accident. He was blown away by how beautiful the human body looks on the inside. A year later he got knocked off his bike again, this time breaking his wrist, leading to another CT scan. The next year he was diagnosed with a tumor in his head and had to have a series of MRI scans. While he was gradually collecting imagery of different parts of his body, it seemed difficult to scale this model. In 2014, Marcus left Google and started Klarismo with the goal of making medical imaging more accessible to consumers as a means to explore and understand their own bodies.
My second guest in this episode, Dr. Jack Kruse, is a respected neurosurgeon and CEO of Optimized Life, a health and wellness company dedicated to helping patients avoid the healthcare burdens we typically encounter as we age. He is currently in private practice in the Gulf South. As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Kruse’s research has been published in respected dental and medical journals. His popular blog, JackKruse.com, gets over 250,000 unique worldwide visitors per month from countries like Australia, Germany, Russia, and Zambia (Africa).
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-The series of horrific cycling accidents and eventually a tumor that led Marcus to delve into the fascinating world of CT scanning and MRI scanning…[10:45]
-The little-known medical condition that can lead to low testosterone in men, and how you can find out if you have it…[18:20]
-How something called a “Klarismo” scan is different than any other form of MRI…[24:12]
-Whether MRI’s are dangerous at all, especially in terms of radiation or exposure to “dirty electricity”…[25:30]
-How you can find out the size of your brain, and the link between that and intelligence…[35:00]
-What you can actually do with data that shows your precise fat and muscle distribution…[38:07]
-The future of MRI testing, and how you can actually determine the positive and negative charges within tissue…[45:00]
-What exactly “redox potential” is and what an MRI can tell you about your body’s redox potential…[58:10]
-Why Jack Kruse thinks Ben’s tattoos have deleteriously affected his redox potential…[71:40]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
–Click here to download Ben’s complete raw data from his own Klarismo scan. There are several free tools you can use to view this raw data (DICOM files):
-For Mac users: Horos
-For Windows users: RadiAnt