November 30, 2017
[00:00] Introduction/Oura Ring/Quip
[04:30] Human Charger
[07:50] About Thomas Delauer
[13:31] Tactics Employed by Thomas Delauer
[14:47] Thomas Delauer’s Role as a Health Care Professional
[17:28] Inflammation’s Role in the Troublesome Ability to Not Lose Fat
[20:35] White Fat Cells and Brown Fat Cells
[21:30] Lactobacillus 4 5 6: Bacterial Strains and Fat Loss
[28:32] Viome Tests by Naveen Jain
[31:06] Other Elements Used to Quell Inflammation: Prolonged Fasting and Intermittent Fasting
[33:20] Difference Between Ketosis and Fasting
[35:06] Interaction of Beta-Hydroxybutyrate and Glucose
[36:36] CrossFit and Beta-Hydroxybutyrate
[37:03] Cognition and Beta-Hydroxybutyrate
[40:47] Introduction to Curcumin
[44:34] Making Curcumin More Bioavailable
[45:45] BioPerine and the Absorption of Curcumin
[53:59] Lactoferrin’s Effect on Iron Metabolism
[55:41] Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Quelling Inflammation
[1:00:22] Ginger and Inflammation
[1:05:00] Curcumin and Massages
[1:05:45] Examples of When You Don’t Want to Quell Inflammation
[1:17:39] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, what’s up folks? It’s Ben Greenfield. Before we even mess around with today’s podcast, I’ve a very special announcement for you. I just found out that the company that makes the ring that I wear, the Oura Ring for self-quantification, they just released their brand new version. This thing is sick! It’s smaller, it’s basically as small as a wedding band. Extremely beautiful, has all the same advance sleep tracking, and HRV tracking, wireless charging, the complete absence of the WiFi and the Bluetooth so it’s not radiating your body all day long, everything that you might be accustomed to from this fabulous device, including completely water-resistant and the ability to smash into pieces during workout and still have it hold up. They’ve also added amazing, amazing new features like they’ve got chronotype detection that allows you to see your sleep and get recommendations based on your personalized sleep type along with circadian alignment guidance based on where you’re at in the world. Full time, 24/7 heartrate variability measurements, they’ve got extremely personalized messages based on your long-term data that they keep in the cloud on a dashboard for you to be able to track everything. It now tracks your naps; it will track your meditation breathing; it will track your relaxation exercise, your post-exercise, recovery. The sleep tracking has gotten even more advanced and even more accurate.
Here’s the cool thing, if you’re a personal trainer or you’re a physician or you’re a nutritionist or someone who works with clients, they have a dashboard that allows you to see all your clients at once. All their ring data, their readiness, their sleep, everything. This thing is sick. Just came out. I just read a blog post with all the features. Here’s how you can check out that blog post: go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NewOura. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NewOura and Oura is spelled O-U-R-A. BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NewOura lets you read all about the new ring and also get this special discount code that lets you grab this thing. So, enjoy this for yourself or for the person in your life who you want to buy the sickest Christmas present ever for!
And, let’s go ahead and jump into today’s show.
Ben: Hey everybody, what’s up? It’s Ben Greenfield and you need to slowly pull that stick of turmeric away from your gaping maw because in today’s episode you’re going to learn why curcumin may not work. What? Curcumin may not work! Blasphemy.
Now, anyways, really interesting episode. This guy named Thomas Delauer. This episode is brought to you by something that does work that you can put in your mouth and it’s called Quip. What’s Quip? Well, here’s something to chew on. A ton of studies now show, I actually read a really good book about this recently, I’m going to interview the author, I’ll save that for later, but your gum health and your mouth health and your tooth health drastically impact things like your gut health and the rest of your body and it’s really interesting, this link that there’s a mouth-gut-brain axis. Yeah, I just made that up. Anyway, there’s this company called Quip. I’ve got one, it’s an electric toothbrush and before you press fast forward because electric toothbrushes are not sexy, this thing is. It’s basically like if Apple designed a toothbrush. It’s got premium vibration; it has a timer feature in it that automatically teaches you how to shift to a new section in your mouth so you don’t have to remember; you can brush your teeth inebriated with this thing and still figure out how to do it perfectly. It was actually named as one of Time Magazine’s best inventions. They won a GQ Grooming Award. They made it on Oprah’s New Year’s O List. You get your first refill pack free without purchasing a big expensive toothbrush. This thing is extremely affordable and you get it if you go to GetQuip.com/Ben. That’s Get Q-U-I-P.com/Ben. You get your first refill pack free. You get the toothbrush for 25 bucks. It is an amazing toothbrush if I don’t say so myself. It’s like the Tesla of toothbrushes TM.
This podcast is also brought to you by not something you can put in your mouth, but something you can put in your ears. It’s something that I, here in New York City, where I’m recording this podcast for you, have been putting into my ears lovingly every single morning because it fools my body into thinking it is bright-light, sunshine-y morning no matter where I’m at in the world even if it’s dark, even if I’m jet lagged, even if I’d been travelling all over the globe “crossing the pond” as they say. “Crossing the pond!” Serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, it causes all of those to get released so it reduces the effects of jetlag but it also increases my energy level, my mental awareness, my mood. It’s a white light. Blue light actually doesn’t work in your ears, believe it or not, but you have these photosensitive proteins on the surface of your brain that white light does work on. You get 20% off of a Human Charger. How? You go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/HumanCharger. See? Aren’t you glad you asked? BenGreenfieldFitness.com/HumanCharger and enter code BEN20 to get a 20% discount. Alright, let’s go jump into curcumin and fish oil and a whole lot more on today’s show.
In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“Believe it or not, there’s not a whole lot of science that shows what is causing the inflammation right after a workout. It may seem logical, but it’s relatively inconclusive. We don’t necessarily know what’s happening. Is it the microtrauma, is it hormonal, or is it cortisol response? What exactly is triggering this…” “So the whole idea with curcumin is, if you were to take it with bioperine, the liver is going to help metabolize that curcumin and make it so that it doesn’t get shutout by the liver. The liver doesn’t say, ‘hey, this is poison, go ahead and just excrete it.’ The liver says, ‘nah, you’re good, you get a pass.’”
Ben: Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield and admittedly, I actually had never really heard of today’s podcast guest until last month when somebody sent me a link to his blog and his website and I immediately got sucked in. The dude has some killer content on a huge range of nutritional topics, some of the things we’ll actually jump into today! Things like glutamine rebounding, and bacterial strains for inflammation, and a whole host of things that, honestly, a lot of people aren’t talking about. His name is Thomas Delauer and he’s considered to be one of the leading experts in the world of chronic inflammation and also the low-carb diet, the response of the human body to a low carb diet. We’re going to delve into inflammation today and if we get a chance, we’ll also talk about low-carb a little bit as well, but perhaps, he’s most noted for his transformation. I’m going to put a picture in the show notes for you which you can access over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation.
He’s noted for his personal transformation from a 280-pound overweight, corporate executive to being on the cover of a bunch of different health and fitness magazines. You’ve probably seen him if you’ve stood around at the grocery store waiting in line to purchase your produce, and your milk, and seen some of those folks who are ripped on the cover of magazines, you’ve probably seen Thomas. He’s been on Ironman Magazine, Muscle and Performance, Natural Muscle, Icon Magazine, Platform Magazine, and even Ironman Japan.
So his background is actually in sports psychology and what makes the body and the brain tick, but he’s also deep into the science. He’s working on a project, and we’ll ask him in a second phase of trials with doctors at UCLA to identify that strain of bacteria I mentioned that could help to modulate inflammation in the body. He’s a real student of this whole concept of cellular inflammation and he also lives in California and has a wife, and three dogs, and two horses and I just found out, a brand-new, new-born son!
So, Thomas, welcome to the show and congratulations on expanding your family, dude.
Thomas: Thanks, Ben! You caught me on a day where my world has been eliminated in an entirely different light now having a new-born. So…
Ben: It’s crazy! So, that was literally today or yesterday?
Thomas: Literally, he was born on Friday.
Thomas: He spent a couple days in ICU because he aspirated when he was born and breathed in a little bit of fluids. So, he had to stay an extra day. There was a little bit of a delay in bringing him home, but we’re all happy and healthy now.
Ben: Yeah, okay, so I’ve got to ask you being a guy as immersed in healthy living as you are, what’s the number one thing you’re going to do for your son to optimize health? Is it hide those fish oil? Is it some crazy ingredient you’re going to add to breast milk? What do you think?
Thomas: I’m going to get him mega dosed on creatine right out the gate.
Ben: Boom, creatine shakes for the baby!
Thomas: No, a lot of what I’m focusing on, mainly, is the stress free life and really the healthy fat consumption for my wife. So, that’s what it’s really going to come down to, being that of course, he’s going to naturally fed and breastfed and we’re definitely of course not doing the formula thing. So, for her, it’s a lot of really focusing on good healthy collagen, getting the right DHA in her diet so it’s going to translate directly into him in a bioavailable form. I mean, that’s the best thing we can do in terms of his brain development; the best thing we can do for him to have really the first couple of months be the most stellar they can be for him.
Ben: Awesome! So, basically fish and bone broth.
Thomas: A lot of that. Also, a lot of taking in bone marrow capsules, taking in an organ blend, really focusing on getting the liver, getting the kidney, getting those things in that we’re not normally getting from in the diet. I can go off in a tangent about the world of iron and how the proper iron balance and iron chelation in the gut, but I’m not going to go down there. But, basically, getting your iron from a fully sourced organ blend is really one of the best ways that you can get that. So making sure she’s eating things like that, as much as it sounds disgusting, you know.
Ben: I order this stuff called from Braunschweiger a company called US Wellness Meats and it’s a whole bunch of different organs like heart, and liver, and kidney, as well as this thing called headcheese from them and that’s one way I’ll get my organ meats. But, it sounds like you’re getting this in some sort of encapsulation?
Thomas: Yeah, I’m doing whatever we can. Encapsulation as far as collagen goes, and collagen you can get from powder, but also eating the right sources of meat as well. So, for her, it’s all about making sure she’s got that balance. She’s not a big fish eater, that’s the biggest hurdle we had. So, getting DHA from a source of algal oil, and things like that because that’s always been a thing. She’s just been grossed out by fish, but that is so important for the child’s development especially at this stage.
Thomas: So, collagen from a powder form, algal oil, DHA coming from a supplemental form, and then, any kind of organ blend whether it’s coming from a capsule or even if she can stomach it, putting a little bit of actual organ meat down.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely. Cool. So, it sounds like you’re going down the right path. It sounds very similar to, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Weston A. Price Foundation, but they have some really good resources on holistic nutrition for children and I even interviewed one of their docs, Doctor Thomas Cowan, and we went down the rabbit hole when it comes to a lot of the things you’re alluding to. So, for those of you listening in who have a little baby at home and want to take a deeper dive into this stuff, I’ll put a link. Just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation and you can listen to that podcast I did with Dr. Thomas Cowan where we talk about some of these type of things that Thomas alluded to.
So, Tom, you went from being, as your bio says, a 280-pound overweight, corporate executive, to being on the cover of health and fitness magazines. I know there’s probably quite a story there, but the main thing I’m curious about is what tactics you personally used to achieve that.
Thomas: Yeah! Well, when it comes down to being able to make that kind of transition, first and foremost, there’s a strong cold action that has to occur in your life really. It’s like someone doesn’t just wake up one day and say “okay, I need to be able to change my life.” I’d look in the mirror, and when people say they look in the mirror and say they don’t like what they see, but usually there’s some kind of subconscious call to action that’s also occurring, and for me, before I get into the tactics, the true story on what happened and how I was able to look at myself in a different light was my wife being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. So, all of a sudden, inflammation, autoimmune disease, all this stuff was front and center in my life that wasn’t front and center in my life before.
So, my eyes were starting to become open to this entirely different world of health and nutrition that I had never even seen before. Even working in the health care world, it was close to me, it was what I worked with, but I had never seen the world of inflammation before. So, for me to be able to make that transition and to radically transform my life, I had to adopt a lot of different principles, but inflammation was at the forefront of that understanding. Okay, what diet principles can I employ that are going to reduce inflammation first and allow me to transform my body secondary?
Ben: Now were you a health professional at that point? When you said you were a corporate executive; what kind of executive were you?
Thomas: Actually, I did a couple different thing. For the sake of bio, I kind of abbreviated it. But, I actually owned an ancillary lab services company. So, I worked with a lot of concierge and fee-for-service physicians and if you understand the health care model and how that generally works, fee-for-service physicians and concierge physicians usually have the patient’s best interest in mind because they’re not working on being compensated based on reimbursement from the insurance and pharmacy benefit plans and things like that. They’re basically providing care on a cash basis to usually, a relatively affluent demographic, affluent patients. So, that being said, since there’s no additional level on under riding, there’s no additional level of potential kickbacks and Sunshine Act deals going on, they’re allowed to, or I shouldn’t say allowed, but they’re capable of truly providing the best care.
Now, in the business that I was in, I had established a very large network of physicians and they became very close to me; a lot of them became very good friends. So, by the time that the company was acquired, I had this huge network of physicians and that’s how I learned a lot of what I learned. So, when I say I was in the health care industry, I was not a practitioner, but I managed a large group of physicians from the admin’s side, basically on the ancillary lab services side. We provided lab services to different physicians. We provided mail-order lab services to different physicians that were working with patients on a cash basis. Does that kind of make sense?
Ben: Yeah, got it. So, you were somewhat involved in the health industry. You had access to some of these resources to find out what you needed to find out which is, it sounds like, was that you needed to quell inflammation?
Thomas: Exactly, and that’s what a lot of these docs had focused on with their patients. They were kind of on the cutting edge of this thing saying, “okay, inflammation is definitely at the root of so many chronic illnesses,” but when we take it one step further, most of the medical industry doesn’t look at inflammation from the side of cosmetic results because it’s just not what they’re focused on, it’s not their job. Their job is to get people well.
Thomas: While me, having this background prior to being overweight, I was an athlete in high school, I always had a passion for it. I started looking at this and saying, “well, wait a minute. This is a big problem for me; maybe inflammation is actually standing in my way.” If I can get rid of this underlying issue that’s going on here with my health, and perhaps I’m in a position where I can start capitalizing on other things to look my best as well.
Ben: Right. When you say for cosmetic results, basically you’re saying is a lot of people talk about inflammation as being something that might be related to an autoimmune condition or chronic pain whereas you specifically had this thought pattern that perhaps inflammation might have something to do with a troublesome ability to not lose fat?
Thomas: Absolutely. I mean, we look at how inflammation plays a role in how we absorb nutrients and how inflammation plays a role in so many other different variables all the way down to inflammation of the enterocytes where they literally can’t absorb nutrients as well. I mean, flat out, it comes down to the fact that we could be putting ourselves in these elevated heightened states of cortisol and different responses, even coming from the adrenal glands, I don’t want us to go down the rabbit hole of adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency, but if we have hypercortisol levels, then that could make a difference in how our bodies utilize nutrients. So I’m starting to connect the dots here when I’m overweight saying “wait a minute, not thinking inflammation is necessarily the big reason why I can’t lose weight, but there’s got to be a problem there as well. There has got to be something that has to do with it.” So it turned into, I would be lying if I didn’t say it was an obsession at that point in time, I became obsessed with inflammation; I became obsessed with fasting; I became obsessed with the ketogenic diet from a therapeutic standpoint. Again, we can go down another rabbit hole of ketosis, maybe that’s a different topic for a different day, maybe we’ll do another podcast on that.
Ben: Yeah, we’ve talked about that a lot on the show before: the pros and cons of ketosis as well as how to…
Thomas: Yeah, as you know, there’s therapeutic ketosis and there’s this other form of ketosis or modified Atkins. But, it became extremely interesting to me and intermittent fasting was a huge, huge part of it, in conjunction with ketogenic protocols and then of course applying anti-inflammatory tactics. So, looking at things like auto-immune paleo. Auto-immune paleo diet where you’re really doing full elimination diets where you’re eliminating tons and tons of different food that could potentially trigger different immunoglobulin responses and then slowly reintroducing them to see how your body responds. In order to do that, you need to have a fairly decent pulse on you own body. You can’t just expect yourself to take away all your dairy and then introduce dairy and if you’re not in touch with your body, you’re not going to really be able to necessarily see this response that occurs. But that was step one: how do I eliminate the inflammatory foods from my diet, here’s a whole plethora of them, and then also, at the same time, applying intermittent fasting principles as well as ketogenic protocols.
So, it was a very limited diet in the very beginning, but once I learned what foods were affecting me, it was definitely not limited anymore because then you start realizing that okay grains don’t necessarily affect me but dairy does. So, how do I apply that into a ketogenic diet? These fats seem to affect me, these lectins seem to affect me. So, really it was just checks and balances at first but I would say, by large from a mind-set perspective, being able to stick to something long-term was intermittent fasting that really ended up making it easy to drop that much weight that fast.
Ben: Now return to this role of inflammation and fat loss. I’d like to actually dive into that for a little more of a scientific standpoint because I spoke with Dr. Cate Shanahan who wrote this book called “Deep Nutrition” and in that, she went into some studies, I think they were in mice, where they found a lot of issues with the conversion of white fat cells into metabolically active brown fat cells which will basically burn calories to generate heat if inflammation was present. Basically inflammation seemed to shut down what’s called CGMP signaling which was… CGMP was almost like a fat-burning turbo charger, and in a state of inflammation, that just didn’t seem to be active. Once you shut down inflammation, you actually restore the body’s ability to convert adipose tissue into something other than adipose tissue. That’s one thing she talked about but in addition to that, you talked about enterocytes a little bit ago, hinted at that, I’m curious what else you found when it comes to a link between inflammation and fat loss.
Thomas: Yeah, and we can touch on this more when we start talking about the bacterial strain that I’ve been looking at too.
Ben: Yeah, and we can jump into that right now if you want.
Thomas: So, it circles back to that a lot of times. So, when you have different strains of bacteria in your gut, of course you’re going to have a natural level of inflammation that’s occurring there. Back to what Kate had said, I’ve read a little bit of her stuff, but I’m not super familiar with white fat, brown fat conversion that you’re mentioning, but the simple point is that when you do have a level of inflammation, yes it does disrupt that, but also, if you quell inflammation too much, it actually disrupts that too. So, there’s a fine line there. The same kind of happens in your gut biome as well and this is all embryonic. I mean, a lot of people are starting to dive in to the effect of the enteric nervous system and the gut-brain axis and how it affects brain inflammation, how it affects gut inflammation, how this whole interchanging axis works. But, what I’ve been working on with UCLA and Dr. [022:16] ______ over there is a form of lactobacillus, actually called lactobacillus 4 5 6, which is a form of lactobacillus that will actually stay colonized in the gut all the way from the small intestine and all the way through the colon. And we’re showing in second phase trials now that this bacteria will actually stay fully present all the way through feces as well.
Ben: Does that not usually happen when you take a probiotic?
Thomas: No, no.
Ben: I think a lot of people aren’t aware of that. So what would normally happen with a bacterial strain that you would consume, say, orally in a pill?
Thomas: Usually once pancreatic lipase hits, it’s over. It’s usually not getting much further than your stomach and maybe a tiny bit of your small intestine.
Ben: And pancreatic lipase is something that can be released by the pancreas in response to a meal or food consumption and that’s going to be present even in the stomach before it even hits the small intestine?
Thomas: That’s correct. As soon as something hits your tongue really. So…
Ben: Got it.
Thomas: That’s a big problem obviously. There’s a lot of different products that are out there that are circumnavigating that, that are successful, they’re able to get it into at least the small intestine, but being able to colonize in the colon is where we’re finding inflammation can really be quelled in a positive way. Simply because when you take a particular kind of lactobacillus, usually they don’t group together, usually they multiply, they grow, the bacteria in your gut biome just kind of grows and does its own thing, sometimes it’ll mutate, sometimes it won’t, but what it doesn’t do is it doesn’t clump together which is a very unique strategy when it comes down to how bacteria works.
Lactobacillus 456 has shown to clump together which means that it almost clumps and forms its own little safety barrier so that the bacteria that’s in the center of this clump can survive all the way through. Now, Dr. [24:03] ______ over at UCLA has actually been travelling the world actually doing fecal samples throughout all different kinds of cultures, and testing what kind of cultures have the best past-through rate of bacteria and which ones don’t and that’s how this hole all got to be. When you look at inflammation and how it works in the gut, a lot of it has to do with the chelation of certain minerals, the chelation of different things that are happening there.
So, one for instance is iron. We have a lot of iron in the gut, and we don’t realize it and iron is a massive, massive oxidizer. So, what is happening, is iron will oxidize and take up a lot of oxygen that normally the good bacteria needs to thrive. Now, a lot of people don’t know this, but the bad bacteria, depends on whether it’s gram positive or gram negative, because gram positive can be good, gram positive can also be bad depending on the situation. Essentially, when there is not enough oxygen to go around, then that bacteria doesn’t necessarily proliferate the way that it should. So, it’s being gobbled up by iron and we have this massive iron oxidation that’s going around. So, when we look at how putting this specific kind of bacteria that can actually clump together and consume enough oxygen, it can actually starve off that iron from really oxidizing which goes down an entirely separate rabbit hole of different things that can happen in terms of reabsorption in the gut, reabsorption back into the small intestine. So, everything we’ve been working on with UCLA has all been “how can we get this so that’s it’s actually in a stable form?” Because as of right now, it’s very difficult to get at in anything other than chocolate, in anything other than yoghurt. The yoghurt market is very, very tough because you can’t exactly just go make a yoghurt and compete with dannon activia yogurt, you know what I mean? You really have to license it. So, it’s a big process. Even putting it in a capsule form is very, very tough.
Ben: So you actually have to put it into chocolate or yogurt?
Thomas: The reason why is chocolate just makes it a palatable form. It could go into a number of different things but chocolate is the way we found.
Ben: So, it’s not like there’s something special in chocolate that’s helping the bacteria to survive? It’s just the taste?
Thomas: Correct. So putting it in chocolate, putting it in yogurt, anything that’s going to have a little bit of a lipid bi-layer that you can allow it to be stable in is going to help a lot more. Also allows it to pass through the first phase of digestion a little bit better.
Ben: Is there a way you could get this from…
Thomas: In terms of particular bacteria strains?
Ben: Yeah, that specific strain.
Thomas: As of right now, no. Not that we’ve found. So, this has been something that Dr. [26:30] ______ has actually been working on. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit because this is everything he’s been working on for the last six/seven years. He’s been focusing on this, studying inflammation, studying the micro-gut biome and enteric nervous system for the last 15/20 years over at UCLA. But now, finally getting to a point where he’s saying “wait a minute, if I make some alterations to this gut bacteria and I harvest this myself, this is actually working.” So, where I come in is looking at it from the side of inflammation, looking at the side of how can this be translated to normal people because, right now it’s extremely complex. How can we take this to an audience that’s going to understand it and not necessarily be persuaded by typical bifidus and typical lactobacillus that’s in everyday yogurt. So, it’s a very hard nut to crack.
Ben: Interesting. So, this bacterial strain is something that would not normally be present naturally inside the human body or is it something that we somehow kill via lifestyle that needs to be replenished? How does that actually work?
Thomas: That’s a super good question and something I had actually asked about three or four months ago and didn’t get a solid answer on it because I asked the same exact thing in terms of what are we doing? This lactobacillus 4, 5, 6, is it something that we have hurt ourselves just simply by lifestyle, by consuming excess fats, or consuming excess sugar? Anything like that. Everything we can find, there’s no real trace of lactobacillus 456, it has to be added exogenously. Now, that’s not to say 50/60 years ago it didn’t exist, we know from looking at different studies even looking at gluten metabolism that we had different bacteria back in the 50s and 60s than we do now. So, the problem is, we have to look at some different kind of plasma and looking at different gut biomes that are coming from the 40s, 50s, and 60s in order to really look at that. Those are extremely, extremely expensive tests to do.
Ben: Okay, got it. So, have you ever heard of this Viome test where you can get a full microbiome analysis and have you done something like that?
Thomas: I have not. It’s funny that you mention that because this is the second time that I’ve heard about this in the last month. So, no. Enlighten me a little bit!
Ben: Well, basically, they use a special form of analysis. They license some technology from, I believe, Los Alamos Laboratories because they just had a boat-load of cash. The guy who runs it is a billionaire or he’s got rights to land on the moon. Just a crazy entrepreneur. His name is Naveen Jain. Really interesting guy! Actually went to his house to interview him. He lives in this mansion on Lake Washington over in Seattle and I guess what they do to identify the microorganisms in your gut is a different type of microbiome sequencing. Meaning, from what I understand, the normal form of sequencing is called 16S sequencing which is what the American Gut Project or UBiome would use and that tells you a little bit about your gut bacteria, but this other form of sequencing called MetaTranscriptome Sequencing, which is what Viome uses, apparently allows you to identify all bacteria and really all living organisms in your gut like viruses, and archaea, and yeast, and fungi, and parasites, and bacteriovagus but at a very high resolution. So, instead of just getting what would be called the genus of the species, you get the species and the strain level as well. So, you can then know exactly what metabolites are being produced and which ones are missing. Even which food groups might need to add or avoid! It’s extremely interesting and the reason why I asked is because I’m curious to go back into my Viome results now that you’ve told me this and see if I have that specific strain present at all because I did test for all strains! So, I’m just curious now.
Thomas: That’s interesting! Give me a link to that as well because I’d like to find a way to check that out myself!
Ben: Well, also for the people listening, if you just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation, I interviewed this cat for two hours. So, you can listen in to that podcast with Naveen Jain and I’ll put it in there.
So, when it comes to inflammation, it sounds like somehow figuring out a way to reintroduce a specific bacteria such as the one you just talked about, was it lactobacillus…
Thomas: Lactobacillus 4, 5, 6.
Ben: Lactobacillus 4, 5, 6. So, colonizing the gut with good bacteria and specifically that strain, which it sounds like maybe that would eventually be available as a supplement, would be one anti-inflammatory strategy that one could use. But I’m curious when it comes to other elements that could assist in quelling inflammation. What else have you found to really move the dial?
Thomas: A few things! As far as diet and lifestyle goes, fasting is probably one of the quickest ways, that’s a very, very efficient way to reduce inflammation. The problem with fasting is that we can’t do it all the time. You take away cellular metabolism for a little bit, you take away aerobic metabolism, and the body has no choice but to start to reduce inflammation simply because it goes into protective mechanism. But again, we can’t fast forever and intermittent fasting doesn’t necessarily reduce inflammation, prolonged fasting reduces inflammation, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that’s probably the fastest way to straight up reduce inflammation.
Ben: So you just said intermittent fasting does not significantly reduce inflammation but prolonged fasting does?
Thomas: Yeah, and I have to tread lightly when I say that because it’s all how you interpret. I will say flat out that intermittent fasting should be taken as the word literally says. It should be done intermittently. The whole idea of intermittent fasting is simply a contrast diet. It’s comparatively, generally speaking, you’re going to implement a day of intermittent fasting, or two or three, throughout the course of the week, not necessarily intermittently fast every day. Otherwise, I would argue to say that it should be called intermittent eating diet because intermittent fasting means you’re implementing this level of fasting, or these days of fasting, periodically as sort of a metabolic shift of the body and by backing up and looking at scale and how much calories you’re taking in over the course of the day versus the course of the week, having a period of fasting two or three days per week is dramatically going to reduce your overall scale number of calories throughout the course of the week. Inflammation does show to be reduced after 16/18 hour fasts just because you’re having an influx of beta-Hydroxybutyrate going through the blood which is a natural anti-inflammatory. But as far as truly…
Ben: Really? That’s a ketone. So, the ketone beta-Hydroxybutyrate is a natural anti-inflammatory?
Thomas: Yeah, BHB is powerful. When you start looking at therapeutic ketosis and everything like that, that’s one of the major benefits. It’s BHB.
Thomas: In itself it’s anti-inflammatory. Now, that’s again where people say what’s the different between ketosis and fasting? They’re actually quite similar as far as what you’re trying to get in terms of benefits. Ketosis is almost like you’re stimulating fasting through diet by forcing your body into going into ketone production while still consuming calories. Whereas fasting, you’re forcing your body to go into ketone production by starving. So, basically you’re getting to the same place. One gets you there faster, one gets you there with calories in place, one gets you there without calories in place.
So, yeah, most of the benefits, most of the peer review studies as far as fasting goes, are almost all over 24-hours. There’s very few studies that actually take a look at the 6-8 window, or even the 16-18 or even 20-hour fast. There’s starting to come now because there’s money in that and people are talking about fasting a lot, so I think we’re starting to see more and more of that, but they’re not the most tremendous studies yet. That being said, anytime you have an influx of beta-Hydroxybutyrate when there’s not glucose present, you’re doing some positive things.
I’m not a fan, I don’t want to go off in a tangent because I tend to do that sometimes, but if you have beta-Hydroxybutyrate in place with glucose, that’s not a good thing because your body preferentially is going to want to run on beta-Hydroxybutyrate. If you were to put glucose and beta-Hydroxybutyrate in one body at the same time, your body is preferentially going to utilize the beta-Hydroxybutyrate because actually more easy to use than glucose.
Ben: Right, it’s more thermodynamically favorable; takes less energy to create energy with beta-Hydroxybutyrate.
Thomas: Precisely! So, when you have glucose present at the same time, what’s going to happen? Your body is going to utilize that BHB and what’s going to happen to that glucose? It’s going to sit around and it’s going to float around through your blood stream and it’s going to spike your blood sugar and potentially keep insulin levels chronically high.
Ben: Right. Now playing devil’s advocate the one time, because I’ve tried this, the one time that would be pretty beneficial would be during a very hard glycolitically demanding race or competitive event or extremely demanding event that’s both long and glycolitically demanding. I did it before, one of these Tough Mudder Obstacle Races, I took relatively large amounts of ketone esters and I also took a relatively large amount of glucose so I had high glucose and I had high ketones simultaneously and, honestly, it was like freakin’ rocket fuel. I don’t think someone would want to do that while sitting at their desk, but from my competitive standpoint, it seemed actually to be a pretty good ergogenic.
Thomas: Totally! Where have you been all my life, man? You’re someone who actually looks at that? I had no idea that you actually dove into that because as far as I’ve seen, no one’s talking about it, and you’re dead on. The thing is, a lot of it is just how beta-Hydroxybutyrate is marketed right now. People just don’t see it as… People see it as a cosmetic aid. They’re not seeing it as a performance aid yet and you’re dead on.
The thing is, beta-Hydroxybutyrate in that same instance that you’re saying for extreme glycolytic load and being able to perform where it’s going to allow you to work pretty well is in a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activity which usually, our body is running on one energy system and it’s pretty hard to find that gray area. That’s why I always talk about CrossFit for instance, the reason CrossFit can be difficult for some people to see cosmetic results with isn’t because CrossFit isn’t effective, it’s because their bodies are having a hard time transferring back and forth between aerobic and anaerobic without limiting the ability to perform well in one given area. They’re burning themselves out aerobically so then they’re tired anaerobically and vice versa. But in the presence of beta-Hydroxybutyrate, we could actually have the solution to where you can perform well aerobically and anaerobically at the same time.
The same is also going to go for extreme cognitive load. When I’m filming for instance, when I’m filming something where I need to be very, very focused and very, very articulate, beta-Hydroxybutyrate plus a little bit of glucose is actually my friend. Am I aware that it will cause me to store a little bit of that glucose? Sure. It may convert it to triglycerides, I’m not concerned about it, I’m aware about it, but the cognitive benefit is so powerful at that point in time that it supersedes any potential negative body composition effects that would occur.
Thomas: It’s safe to say you have to be doing that a lot to start noticing a negative effect in your body composition.
Ben: Right. So the big picture there is that beta-Hydroxybutyrate in addition to not just intermittent fasting but more specifically prolonged fasting that might be longer than say 18- to 24- hours is a potent anti-inflammatory strategy but really, if you were fasting, the two would kind of go hand in hand anyway. You don’t necessarily need to go rush out and buy a bunch of ketones if you were just going to fast to get that anti-inflammatory effect, like a weekly fast or something like that.
Thomas: Correct. I would just let your body do it naturally for sure.
Ben: Okay, got it.
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Ben: What else in addition to ketones and fasting and something like this bacterial strain would be some of your more potent tactics to reduce inflammation?
Thomas: I’ve always a big fan of curcumin. There’s probably something that’s not studied as much as curcumin when it comes down to reducing nuclear factor kappa b and having some pretty powerful effects on interleukin-1 and interleukin-6 which are some really big drivers behind inflammation. Problem is curcumin is swept under the rug a lot probably because it’s talked about so much.
Thomas: I think people probably say curcumin is just a fad, it’s just another curcumin. The thing is, it’s tough to say, but there’s so many different curcumin products out there that people are just talking about curcumin all the time that it kind of goes in one ear and out the other. But still continuing research day in and day out, we’re seeing new studies as far as cancer is concerned, but really the inflammation studies have been around for some of the longest and mainly has to do with that nuclear factor kappa b that’s the main epicenter for inflammation. It’s kind of a master regulator when it comes down to… People think it comes down to c reactive active protein levels, but the thing is, c reactive protein levels can change by the time of day you wake up.
Thomas: You can’t use c reactive protein levels necessarily as the end all be all, but when you look at nuclear kappa factor b and how these other regulators work, then that’s when you’re really knowing you’re dealing with something that’s effective.
Ben: So, if someone were to get tested over chronic inflammation. You hear a lot of people talk about HSCRP and that being something you’d want low, but because that fluctuates so much, you’re saying that if you were to test this nuclear factor kappa b, that that would be a better test to ask your physician for or to get tested to see if you have chronic inflammation?
Thomas: Yeah, nuclear kappa factor b is going to be something that’s directly correlated with stress and directly correlated with main drivers of inflammation. Now, it’s not to say that c reactive protein is not a good driver or biomarker because it is, but when, for example, Ben, if you were to go work out right now and come back two hours later or realistically, four hours later, and test your c reactive protein levels, there’s a good chance they’d be elevated.
Thomas: It’s just, the same with me, and that’s the problem. If you’re dealing with sedentary individuals that are not active, then that’s a fine test because their baseline, their control, is rather flat. But, guys like you and I, and probably your listeners, it would probably be volatile. You can’t just judge on that. I’ve had times where my c reactive protein levels are very, very happy and I’ve had times where they’re alarming where it would look like I’m almost in a disease state. So, nuclear kappa factor b can be tested, there’s, I’m sure you’re well versed in this coming from the ancillary lab services world, it definitely can be tested. It’s not the cheapest test in the world, but if someone is very serious about it, you can ask your physician.
Ben: Yeah, there’s a test, I do some work with Wellness FX and there’s one test that I helped them develop. Basically, it’s kind of expensive, it’s $1,000 plus, but it’s almost like a longevity testing package. Everything you’d want to test if you were concerned about longevity and that tests for all the inflammatory markers, not just HSCRP; it’s got homocysteine and of course CRP, and also your nuclear factor kappa b on there, and a bunch of other parameters. So, that’s one option, to just use a more comprehensive test like this which as you alluded to isn’t cheap, but is one option.
But, when it comes to curcumin in general and its ability to kind of make a dent in that inflammatory marker, from what I understand, curcumin is relatively or poorly absorbed. It’s not water soluble and has poor bioavailability and so I’m curious if you can get into how you can actually take curcumin and make it more bioavailable? Is it as simple as dumping curcumin capsules into a blender full of coconut oil or are there other solutions?
Thomas: To be honest, if you’re familiar with the fact that it’s actually somewhat lipophilic, so it actually has an affinity for being with fats. So, people do automatically think that means you’re going to combine it with coconut oil and you’re going to be fine, but the fact is, that’s only solving one part of the problem. Now, we have to look at how it’s going to get through the phase where it’s wanting to bind with water too.
So, curcumin is really interesting. It wants to bind with water and it also wants to bind with fat which means in order to really get solid enzymatic response where you’re going to actually absorb it, you have to be able to have both parties happy. You have to have a lipophilic side happy and also the lipophobic side happy. What that ends up doing is meaning it has to be combined in some kind of liposome or has to be combined with some kind of micellar form where it can actually combine with both water and fat to truly get into the system. Otherwise, you’re going to have to combine it with things like bioperine or black pepper, to really try to get the liver to really…
Ben: This is where you see a lot of people do… You’ll see a lot of curcumin supplements that are combined with bioperine or black pepper extract to somehow improve the absorption.
Thomas: Bioperine kind of scares me a little bit. I used to be okay with it until I found one particular article, actually I’ll send it over to you so you can put it in the show notes, but it was pretty interesting. It really does disarm the liver. We have to look at what bioperine does. I’m not saying bioperine is bad because there are definitely some powerful uses for it, but we have to look at what it’s doing to the liver. It is disarming the liver so that things can be absorbed so that things can go through that first pass of the liver without too much of an issue.
Ben: What does that mean, “disarming the liver”?
Thomas: Well, it’s a very abbreviated way of saying it. Basically what bioperine is doing is stopping that first pass to the liver or making so that it’s a little less effective so when you consume something, it’s going to go through the liver, the liver is essentially going to filter it, and when you have bioperine in place, you’re eliminating that process or reducing that process. So, the liver becomes a little bit less effective through the particular angle of what it’s digesting or what it’s breaking down. So the whole idea with curcumin is, if you were to take it with bioperine, the liver is going to help metabolize that curcumin and make it so that it doesn’t get shutout by the liver. The liver doesn’t say “hey, this is poison, go ahead and just excrete it.” The liver says, “nah, you’re good, you get a pass.” And that’s essentially what we’re talking about.
Now, if it’s doing that with curcumin, we have to wonder if it’s doing that with other things at the same time concurrently and that is when you start looking at people who are taking, I think a study was done with people who were taking anti-depressants, but any other medication and things like that, if the liver is disarmed, or the liver is giving curcumin a pass, what other compounds is it giving a pass to? Are we now opening up to all these different side effects from other drugs that we didn’t know we were going to have a place with? Now, I know better than to make claims and say that bioperine is killing us or anything like that. I do think bioperine has really good uses in small amount but some of these amounts that people are putting in into curcumin products just so that they could say that curcumin is being absorbed, I would almost wonder, and I would argue and go so far as arguing this, that the effects you’re going to get from the liver being disarmed are probably going to supersede the positive effects of the curcumin. Now, I don’t have anything legitimately to back that up, but just looking at the different signs that show what bioperine, or black pepper extract, can do in terms of the liver, it’s fairly safe to assume that.
Ben: Okay, got it. So if we weren’t going to consume curcumin in combination with black pepper, what would be the best way to ensure the best way we were getting absorption ability of curcumin?
Thomas: You’re fairly familiar with digestive things, obviously you’re very familiar with the gut biome, are you familiar with…
Ben: Yeah, I like to eat too!
Thomas: Are you familiar with what a micelle is?
Thomas: Okay, so, for the listeners who may not know exactly what a micelle is, when you digest fats, obviously we don’t ever really digest fats, we emulsify fats. We never break down fats all the way. Until they’re in their free fatty acid form and they’re in the lymph, they’re never really “digested.”
Now, what ends up happening is we have a thing called a micelle that comes in that further helps that emulsification process and allows it to go through the enterocyte and transfer it to the lymph. So, if you can find a way to have curcumin in a micelle or what’s called a micellized form, which is a more evolved form of a liposome, you’re basically putting curcumin inside this natural carrier that is already an emulsifier. So, when it meets with the body’s digestive juices, it’s literally just transferring the curcumin in through the emulsification process right into the enterocyte, right into the lymph, and ultimately into the bloodstream. So, you’re basically not trying to affect the liver, you’re simply trying to affect how this curcumin enters the lymph and enter the bloodstream.
Ben: Right. You’re essentially just wrapping them in a fat phospholipid that allows them to safely pass through the digestive system, kind of like that bacteria you talked about earlier, keeping it from being degraded by pancreatic lipase, the same way you’re keeping the curcumin from basically, you’re allowing it to be better absorbed by allowing it to safely pass through the digestive system.
Thomas: So, yeah, that’s one part of the equation. What you just described is exactly what a liposome is. Actually, you described exactly a liposome. So, now if you take that one step further, and you take a liposomal and a micellized form, then you get the best of both worlds. So, liposome survives the first phase of digestion: pancreatic lipase, the stomach, the small intestine or the first part of the small intestine, the micelle allows to actually go to the enterocytes. So, when you have a liposome, it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole because that liposome doesn’t necessarily match up with the enterocyte. Its’ actually too big to be absorbed through an enterocyte.
Ben: Right, the enterocyte, just to clarify for people, those are your intestinal absorptive cells. Those are the simple little epithelial cells that you find in the small intestine, right?
Thomas: Exactly. So, a liposome, you see a lot of liposomal product. Liposomes are huge right now. That’s a problem, when you end up having a liposome, then it doesn’t actually absorb because it’s getting blocked, it cannot fit through the enterocyte. But when you combine a liposome with a micelle, then you’re getting the benefits of a liposome being able to get through the stomach, transfer through the small intestine without being disrupted by the gastric juices, and then having a micelle actually emulsify and get it into the actual enterocyte and into the bloodstream so it can go do its job.
Ben: Fascinating. So when you’re buying curcumin and you see something like liposomal curcumin, that’s actually inferior to what would be deemed a micellular curcumin?
Thomas: Very, very true. It’s not to say that liposomal is not good, there’s a lot of studies that have shown that liposomal is significantly better than standardized curcumin extract without anything else. They definitely want to be getting a micellar form or a micellized form.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. Now, can you bind the micelle to anything to allow it to not be degraded in the gut because from what I’m familiar with, you can still basically have issues, I believe, in terms of the interaction of the micelle with iron in the gut? Is this true?
Thomas: Now, that has to do with how a lot of companies will take just a micelle form and not ever bind it with a liposome and this is the whole idea where you have a liposome and you think of a micelle inside of a liposome. So, a liposome can survive the gut bacteria and can survive that hostile environment. A micelle by itself cannot because a micelle is not really designed to be ingested. A micelle is designed to hang out in your small intestine. So, what you’re describing, if you were to just take and ingest random micelles, you need to have that micellized liposomal form. Now, what it sounds like your describing is a technology we’ve also utilized called receptor cell mediated endocytosis which is where we take lactoferrin and bind it to the micelle. So we’ve got lactoferrin bound to a micelle and to a liposome. So, actually going back up, liposome with micelle inside the liposome, and then lactoferrin bound to it. Lactoferrin is a very powerful iron chelator, so now…
Ben: That’s a protein right, lactoferrin?
Thomas: Correct, correct. By adding lactoferrin into the mix, you’re really putting yourself in a… Well, to add insult to injury in a positive way, you’re getting a nice, little gut biome that’s occurring there simply because it’s another iron oxidizer. But, by doing that, you’re allowing it to bind with the gut bacteria naturally or bind to the oxygen, I should say, and then absorbed. So, the lactoferrin allows it to survive all the way through that small intestine whereas the micelle and the liposome is really what’s allowing it to get through the stomach and ultimately get absorbed.
Ben: Okay, interesting. The lactoferrin has an effect on iron metabolism because it almost has an anti-inflammatory effect by chelating the iron. Is that correct?
Thomas: That’s correct. We have a lot of excess iron in our bodies. People talk about anemia…
Ben: Especially men.
Thomas: Especially men. You’re exactly right. So women talk about iron as this big problem, anemia and everything like that, when in reality I’d almost argue that it’s quite the opposite. We’re starting to develop this feedback where we have so much iron, we have so much calcium in our bodies, and it’s throwing off this entire loop or root causes really messed up.
So, being able to oxidize this extra will take away the oxygen from this iron so this iron doesn’t necessarily become iron oxide and stays in its ferric state, it’s a lot easier to pass it through rather than have it get absorbed into the body and slowing down the oxygen consumption that would normally happen with good healthy things that we’d want it to happen with. We’d want it to happen with our cells, we’d want it to happen with natural things that are really occurring in our body that are allowing us to be the best we can be and not necessarily just have this massive influx of iron that’s oxidizing, slowing us down, basically acting as a heavy metal.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So, big picture is we take curcumin, extract it from turmeric, and then put it into a micellular form and then wrap that with a liposome, and then attach that to a lactoferrin protein to allow for it to get absorbed and also to quell some of the inflammatory response that iron could cause and that’s the way you would enhance the delivery of curcumin into that anti-inflammatory effect most efficiently.
Thomas: That’s the only way that I would take curcumin. Otherwise I feel like it’s a waste.
Ben: Okay. Now what about omega-3 fatty acids because in many cases, you’ll see omega-3 fatty acids kind of reported to be one of the most potent ways to quell inflammation, why didn’t you talk about those as one of your methods? Or did I just not give you a chance to go down that rabbit hole?
Thomas: Well, part of it is not having the chance, but they really work on two different areas. Now, most of my research has been in the world of docosahexaenoic acid versus EPA.
Ben: So, DHA?
Thomas: Yeah, DHA. So, if you look on your bottle of fish oil or you look on your bottle of omegas, there’s a big chance you’ll see it’s got eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and doc0sahexaenoic, DHA, and they’re both good but the problem is that EPA is shown to reduce that wonderful CRP which is great but we don’t know exactly what’s happening there. We know it’s reducing inflammation throughout the course of the body but we don’t precisely know where. We look at docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, the studies are a lot more conclusive as far as too many crosses factor 1 alpha, again nuclear factor kappa b. So, omegas are great, two different worlds, whereas curcumin has been known to reduce inflammation throughout the joints, in a very much cellular level.
Omegas, particularly DHA, I’m going to speak mainly to DHA because EPA is not my world, but DHA definitely has been shown to cross through the blood brain barrier and actually make up a good percentage of the brain’s weight. So, a lot of the studies show that reductions in brain inflammation occur with DHA. So it’s almost like you sort of helped put together my stack here, because that’s exactly what I do in terms of inflammation, I’ve got curcumin, then I’ve got high quality or high potency DHA, so that I can actually feel like I’m getting the body and the brain side of things. That’s what I’m all about: how to get the best performance body and brain combined.
Ben: Okay, got it. So, in terms of DHA are you just using a fish oil?
Thomas: So fish oil is great. If you’re just going to be taking a standalone DHA and you’re not doing curcumin or anything like that, then straight fish oil is great. Sardine oil is usually one of the better ones. Calamarine is great! I’ve become recently a fan of algal oil which is actually derived from an algae.
Ben: Right, almost like a vegan form of DHA.
Thomas: It is a vegan form of DHA and I hate to necessarily refer to it as that because I feel that it pigeonholes and that’s been the problem with DHA is that, or with algal oil I should say, is a lot of times it’s been marketed as a DHA supplement for vegans which unfortunately turns off a lot of people that aren’t vegans because they just subconsciously say “I don’t need a vegan product” but realistically, algal oil is absorbed very, very well and you’re not dealing a lot with the potential toxins that you are with a lot of fish oils.
Good quality fish oil is great, I’m all about that. But I’m also all about trying to get the most potent form of DHA. Algal oil is straight up DHA with very, very little amount of EPA and the fact that you can get it from a very bioavailable plant source is pretty cool.
Ben: Yeah, I got interested in that stuff back in the day. I used to race Ironman Hawaii pretty frequently and they have part of the race going through this area of Kona, Hawaii called the Energy Lab and you run through that and it’s actually a place where they create algal biofuel as an alternative to liquid fossil fuel because algae fuel is basically releases CO2 when it’s burnt, just like fossil fuel, but it basically only releases it in a certain way via photosynthesis, it’s more environmentally friendly.
When I started looking into this, it turns out it’s a pretty potent fuel for the human body as well and it’s got super high levels of these omega-3 fatty acids in it. Again, without some of the potential of rancidity. Also for me, I do a really good fish oil when I’m at home. My kids do a fermented cod liver oil and I do a form of fish oil that’s kind of blend with astaxanthin and vitamin e and some other things that keep rancidity at bay, but when I travel, I of course travel in hot environments in many cases. I’ll typically have a bag of chlorella and spirulina and algae sources and that’s what I’ll use for my DHA.
So, it’s certainly something I endorse as a good source of omega-3 fatty acid. So, that in combination with curcumin, it sounds like good bacterial profile in the gut, intermittent fasting, ketones, this lactoferrin that you talked about preferably something bound to the curcumin. One of the things a lot of people talk about though, Tom, is ginger. What are your thoughts on ginger?
Thomas: I think it’s not talked about enough. I feel like it’s probably one of these compounds that gets basically overshowed by turmeric. People think of the roots and that ginger is good for my nausea that’s… They don’t think of it as something that actually has some very powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory components. So, I’ve become very interested in ginger as well, super hyper concentrated forms of it.
My interest in ginger started in the essential oils side which, sometimes, I’m not the biggest fan of essential oils, I have my take on it, but I honestly have always loved the smell of ginger. So, it was something I was pumping into my office all the time because it helped me feel really clear.
Ben: I actually have a diffuser on my desk for essential oils but I’ve never diffused ginger. That’s interesting.
Thomas: Oh, really?
Ben: So it gives you a clear head, huh?
Thomas: It’s helped me. I love it in the morning. What I do is I take a combination of ginger and tangerine for my sort of morning essential oil cocktail.
Thomas: Again, there’s lots of different he-said, she-said about what essential oils can do for your body and this and that, but all that aside, I just like the smell of this stuff. It’s good.
Ben: Oh yeah, I’m diffusing rosemary right now as we’re speaking.
Thomas: Nice. So, the main thing with ginger is the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects in the gut really helping us out. There are some studies that are starting to show a lot of the effects when it comes down to the ginger having an effect on cancer, particularly with digestive cancers and even ulcerative colitis and stuff like that. So, when we look at how different things are digested and how ginger has an effect on free radicals in the gut, reactive oxygen species, even just in the gut, it’s pretty powerful.
In my opinion, ginger is extremely underrated. It’s just something that if you were to take the one study I was reading last week, it was actually an older study that was something like in a double blind study, those that consumed one gram of ginger after each meal lost on average 27% more weight than those that didn’t.
Thomas: It’s got an extremely, extremely, extremely powerful effect just in terms of satiation, in terms of appetite, in terms of really being able to breakdown, and it’s finally getting to a point now where people are starting to study it to the extent that people were studying turmeric 10 to 15 years ago.
Ben: That’s super interesting. I didn’t know that. You don’t think it’s having an effect on GLUT4 transporters or quelling blood sugar response, you think it’s all really related to inflammation?
Thomas: I would argue that it is related to inflammation as far as GLUT4 or even GLUT5, it’s… Ginger does have an effect on helping fructose actually get through the system a little bit better too. So, when we start talking about GLUT4 or GLUT5, that’s actually a conversation for even another day as it can actually help that active transport chain carry fructose to the liver a little bit more efficiently.
Ben: That’s great because my favorite alcoholic drink is a Moscow mule.
Thomas: (laughs) Then you’re in good shape!
Ben: So I’m helping some of that fructose get through. You know what, when it comes to ginger, correct me if I’m mistaken, but you mentioned curcumin as being one of the few anti-inflammatories that has a potent effect on the NF kappa b. From what I understand, ginger is one of the others that kind of joins curcumin as having particularly a potent effect on that marker of inflammation.
Thomas: It does. It’s not quite as powerful as curcumin is, but as far as nuclear factor kappa b is concerned, ginger is one of the only natural compounds that’s out there that does have an effect on that. They’ve noticed a particular instance in terms of inflammation that’s related to neurodegenerative diseases. So, we’ve got another instance there when it comes to inflammation. Of course we’ve got the gut, but we’ve also got the powerful brain anti-inflammatory agent.
Ben: Okay, cool. I know there are some others out there that kind of fly under the radar. There was a study, it was a while ago, but it’s just basically a study on a whole bunch of different spices that can kind of decrease activation of that nuclear transcription factor and I think fennel was in there, and capsaicin was in there, and there were cloves and cumin and garlic, but I know ginger and curcumin are kind of a thing at the top of the list as two that are particularly potent. What I like for those, especially for our audience, a lot of exercising individuals, active athletes, etcetera, they’re so useful for joint pain and I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to do high dose curcumin prior to a massage, Thomas, but it literally feels as if your muscles are melting in terms of the pliability of the fascia. I’ll take it 60 to 90 minutes prior to a massage, just a lot of curcumin, and it has a really potent effect.
Thomas: Wow, so what kind of dosage are you recommending?
Ben: Well, in my case, for curcumin, it’s up around two or three grams. So, pretty high. Occasionally I’ll combine that with a CBD or a kratom or something else that really causes the muscles to just melt and relax and my massage therapist can just dig deep, deep when I’ve had that stuff prior to deep tissue sports massage. So it’s kind of like a little hack for tissue work.
One thing I wanted to ask you about now that we’ve got this expending list of pretty anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories would be this million dollar question that I get asked a lot, which is: when wouldn’t you want to quell inflammation? I don’t pop a bunch of curcumin and fish oil and ginger for example, or algal DHA or things like that directly after a workout because I don’t want to shut down the hormetic response to exercise, what are some of the rules when it comes to using some of these more potent anti-inflammatory molecules?
Thomas: Yeah, definitely. You don’t want to be taking it directly after a workout. It’s not one of those things. You don’t want to quell inflammation after a workout. It’s pretty straightforward. You want to be able to allow that inflammatory response do its thing.
In fact, there are a lot of people who would argue that even if you’re injured, you should let your body’s natural inflammatory response take over before you even pop an ibuprofen. So, the same goes for the micro-trauma that’s occurring in a workout. Now, believe it or not, there’s not a whole lot of science that shows what is causing the inflammation right after a workout. It may seem logical, but it’s relatively inconclusive. We don’t necessarily know what’s happening. Is it the micro-trauma, is it hormonal, or is it cortisol response? What exactly is triggering this? The answer is probably a number of different things, so it’s really hard to pinpoint where do ilwe want to reduce inflammation after a workout or where do we want to let it go. So, it’s really, really difficult.
So, the safe response right now is you want to let it go for a couple of hours because that initial inflammatory response is what’s going to allow you to get through that first phase of recovery. So, my general rule of thumb is I would rather take a little bit of an anti-inflammatory compound, like high power curcumin, a couple hours prior to my workout so that I am reducing any instance of pain or injury flare ups or anything like that and allowing it to quell inflammation a little bit throughout the course of the workout but I want it to subside after my workout so I get that natural rebound effect and I actually have an influx of inflammation for a small amount of time.
Thomas: And then go ahead and take my anti-inflammatories a few hours afterwards.
Ben: Are there any studies that look into the exact amount of time or is it kind of just a few hours after like two or three hours?
Thomas: Everything that I have found, I’ve tried to dive really deep into this, has really shown that it’s all dependent on the type of exercises. It’s all dependent on the person. I know for a fact with me, in terms of how I feel, I just kind of measured it out myself, when I take curcumin religiously right after a workout, I feel like I don’t get the recovery that I need. Now, I’m also very much in tune with my body and I can feel that, but I also know that a lot of endurance athletes don’t get the same inflammatory response that maybe a strength athlete would get. In fact, endurance activity, when you’re not in any kind of stressed form, is relatively anti-inflammatory in itself. So, where do you draw the line? So where do you start implementing something like curcumin? When do you abstain? So, it’s always a safe bet to say give it at least a few hours so your body can allow its natural response to do its thing.
Ben: Right! From what I understand, some of the studies that were done in say vitamin C and vitamin E, antioxidant supplementation where they saw a slowed increase in lean body mass as a result of strength training and they showed a blunted skeletal muscle oxidated response to endurance training, in many cases, these folks were kind of like the three-days-a-week-for-an-hour strength training or the 40-minute-bike-session-in-the-lab type. These were not Ironman triathletes or Crossfitters or people who likely have a much greater amount of inflammation than we would might see in some of these studies and so I think, as you’ve just alluded to, the actual amount of damage you’re doing, should be taken into consideration as well.
I’m kind of on the same page as you. For the same reason unless I’m trying to put on weight or trying to put on muscle, I actually don’t eat for a while after a workout so that I get a little bit of an enhanced growth hormone response to the workout. For a similar reason, I just wait several hours or until later in the day to use something like curcumin or fish oil or any substance or antioxidant that we’ve talked about.
Thomas: Yeah, actually, you might find this interesting, I can send you the link to this too, studies have actually show that even as far as muscle anabolism goes and [1:09:52] ______ goes and everything like that, you don’t even have to eat. Your protein synthesis stays elevated for 22 to 24 hours after weight training. So this whole 30-minute anabolic window thing where you need to eat if you need to build muscle actually doesn’t even matter.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Allan Argon has some really good writings on that about how yes you are in an enhanced insulin state within those 20 minutes or up to two hours after a workout, but the enhancement of the insulin sensitive state is actually not that significant compared to even the enhancement at the eight hour period or the 24-hour period. Ultimately when it comes down to post workout fueling is that if you’re some collegiate athlete at a swim meet and you have eight swims over the course of two days, yeah you’re probably going to want to fuel after your workouts or after your competition, but in most cases, like for a once-a-day-type of exercises, you’ll be fully refueled or restored within 24-hours post workout whether you suck down your Jamba Juice right after the workout or four hours later.
Thomas: Exactly, man. It’s a matter of finding a balance between where do you get this benefit of protein synthesis but where do you also get the benefit of riding the wave so to speak, with the heightened hormone response and also we do have to remember that if you were to remain fasted after your workout, your insulin sensitivity is going to continue to increase. It’s going to stay high after your workout for about 20 to 30 minutes then it’s going to decrease, but then as you go through the day fasted for another two/three hours, it’s going to increase probably above where it was right after your workout. So, you’re actually putting yourself in a potentially even better state if you can be very controlled with your diet to refuel a few hours later.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, when it comes to all of these nutrients we’ve talked about for quelling inflammation, and we didn’t even get the chance to dive into some of the things I wanted to talk to you about, so I’m going to have to put lots of links for folks in the show notes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation because you actually have some really interesting thoughts on getting by on less sleep and managing day light savings time and this whole idea of a glutamine rebound. A lot of interesting things! I’ll have to have you back on the show or else you guys can just go to the show notes and go read some of Thomas’ blog pots but I did want to kind of come full circle when it comes to some of these topics we talked about because there is one compound, I believe it’s called PuraThrive, or is that the name of the company that makes this stuff?
Thomas: Yeah, PuraThrive is the name of the company. So, Curcumin Gold is the actual compound.
Ben: Did you formulate that?
Thomas: I worked with a company out in Pomona and helped in the formulation of that. So, we’ve licensed the patent for the receptor cells mediated into cytosis so that that formulation lets us be bound to lactoferrin so that it could absorb. So that’s where I became involved: how that could actually work and how we can take these components put them together in a form with a technology that actually allows them to be absorbed.
Ben: Okay, so, what’s the name of that stuff?
Thomas: So the name of the actual product itself is Curcumin Gold. So Curcumin Gold is what’s going to contain curcumin; it’s going to contain ginger oil, and now we’ve got the algal oil as well. So, combining those we called it Curcumin Gold simply because curcumin is the most index in it and a lot of people know curcumin and if we were to just go out and say “hey this is algal oil,” it’s again, kind of going to go down that same path of being able to speak to the vegans and not being able to speak to everyone else. But being able to take curcumin and take it to a higher level and really predicate everything with education. We want to teach people that hey this is how this stuff works. This is how curcumin really works in your body and this is some of the factors you have to keep in mind when it comes to how you absorb it.
Ben: Okay, so that’s got the ginger oil, it’s got the micellular curcumin you talked about, it’s got the algal oil, and from what I understand, I actually haven’t tried it yet, I need to get some so I can see how I feel on it, but it’s a liquid, correct? So you can add it to a smoothie or a shake or something like that?
Thomas: Yeah, or just take it straight like I do. I mean, it tastes pretty darn good. It’s got sort of a citrus-y taste to it.
Ben: Okay, cool, sweet. What I’m going to do for you guys listening in, I’ll put a link to this in the show notes. It’s called Curcumin Gold. I believe we get a 15% discount on it. I’ll put a link where you guys can get a 15% discount on that from PuraThrive and the other things I’m going to do in the show notes is, for sheer entertainment factor because it’s so compelling, is this picture I have of you, Thomas, before and after that corporate executive mode to being a magazine cover model because it’s pretty shocking honestly. I think it’s going to get a lot of folks thinking about not just dieting and exercising to get this type of body recomposition effect you were able to attain but also to delve into some of these concepts that we just kind of touched on when it comes to quelling inflammation.
It’s kind of interesting, right? We see all these fat loss supplements that are almost ephedra and central nervous system stimulants and green tea extracts and raspberry ketones and all this jazz but you don’t see a lot of people talking about… The two things I see is kind of neglected components of supplementation for fat loss would be: control of blood sugar and control of inflammation. You don’t have to jack up the central nervous system activity or the metabolism, you want to control blood sugar and control inflammation. That’s going to solve 99% of the issues when it comes to metabolic issues when it comes to fat loss in my opinion.
Thomas: Yeah, and to be completely honest, if you were to completely over-zap your CNS, you’re going to trigger more inflammation.
Thomas: So you may have this temporary effect and we didn’t get the chance to talk about this, we’ll save it for another time, I know you’re going to be out in LA, maybe we can link up in person and do some video on it too, but talking about the world of caffeine and everything like that, it’s kind of like this gray area with caffeine because you do have the components of caffeine that can be very beneficial but there’s actually long term effects of caffeine like any other central nervous system stimulant that may ultimately cause a rebound in inflammation. So we’ll talk about that in another time, but yeah, basically if all you’re doing is popping fat burners all the time, you could be putting yourself in this heightened state of inflammation later down the line which is going to stand in your way later on.
Ben: Right, it’s fascinating. Dude, I could talk to you for hours. I know we only scratched the surface as far as you knowledge is concerned. I’m glad I found out about you and again, for those of you listening in, I’ll link to Thomas and his website over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation. Good luck spelling that! Google it if you want to know how.
I’ll also link to this PuraThrive compound that’s got the curcumin, and the ginger, and algal DHA in it if you want to try it and get a 15% discount up for you guys again at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Inflammation.
Finally, if you have questions, or thoughts, or feedback for Thomas or myself, just leave them over there on the comments section and I’ll be sure to jump in and reply. Anything that’s a real head scratcher to me, I’ll try to get it to Thomas. So, in the meantime, Tom, Thomas, do you go by Tom or Thomas? What do you prefer?
Thomas: Let’s go with Thomas.
Ben: Alright, I should have asked you at the very beginning of the episode, but oh well. Thomas, thanks for coming on the show, man.
Thomas: Absolutely, thanks for having me.
Ben: Alright, folks. I’m Ben Greenfield along with Thomas Delauer signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week!
Thomas DeLauer is one of the leading experts in the world of chronic inflammation as well as the response of the human body to a low-carb diet. He is noted for his personal transformation from a 280-pound overweight corporate executive to not only being on the cover of health and fitness magazines worldwide but pioneering some of the mainstream awareness of auto-immune diseases and inflammation in general!
Thomas has been highlighted in over 20 magazines showcasing his transformation and has been featured worldwide on the cover of Ironman Magazine, Muscle and Performance Magazine, Natural Muscle Magazine, ICON Magazine, Platform Magazine and Ironman Japan.
His background is in Sports Psychology, although it is this passion for psychology coupled with a career in healthcare as a physician recruiter and owner of an ancillary lab services company that sparked his love for nutritional science and what makes the body tick. He is currently working on a project in the 2nd phase of trials with Doctors at UCLA to identify a strain of bacteria that may help modulate inflammation within the body. It is partially due to his involvement in this study that he has developed such an interest in the world of cellular inflammation in the first place. Residing near Santa Barbara, California, with his wife, three dogs, two horses, and soon to be first son. Thomas promotes a lifestyle of living as close to the earth as possible to obtain the best possible results while still achieving maximum performance in every possible area of life.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-The top nutrients Thomas plans on feeding his newborn son to enhance his health…[10:00]
-The tactics Tom used to go “from a 280-pound overweight corporate executive to not only being on the cover of health and fitness magazines”…[13:10]
-The intriguing connection between an inability to lose fat and the presence of inflammation…[18:00]
-How a special form of lactobacillus 456 can colonize the gut and cause a quelling of inflammation and enhanced fat loss…[22:15]
-Whether you would want to combine a ketone such as beta-hydroxy-butyrate with glucose and when that would be a problem…[34:12]
-Why Thomas believes curcumin should not be combined with black pepper and better ways to improve absorption of curcumin…[40:45 & 43:45]
-Why excess iron is a big problem for your gut, and how to get rid of it using something called “lactoferrin”…[53:10]
-The single herbal extract that Thomas considers to fly under the radar but that has an extremely powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect…[60:23]
-The answer to the “million dollar” question on when you wouldn’t want to quell inflammation…[65:30]
-And much more…