22: Ben Greenfield - Wheat From Chaff in Human Fitness

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Wheat From Chaff in Human Fitness
Guest Ben Greenfield
Length 01:10:39
Release Date 15 February 2020
YouTube Date 10 March 2020
Art19 Listen
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Episode Highlights

Eric sits down with leading fitness geek, guru, thinker and human guinea-pig Ben Greenfield to learn how one of the world's most highly regarded trainers and fitness experts cuts through the nightmare that is our medical literature.

The academic and medical literature in health and medicine is a disaster. Studies are performed and reported in non-standard and idiosyncratic ways which are then further distorted by a press often looking more for headlines and scoops than facts and rigor. In this episode we get to ask one of the most sought after fitness optimizers how ordinary people can better understand their own minds, brains and bodies in light of the cacophony of 'expert' opinion. Ben, here in his role of master pedagogue, gives detailed implementable answers as well as simple to follow priorities that sum up his years of study and training for the mere mortals who wish to better everything in their lives by tackling health at the fundamental level.

Eric Weinstein (right) talking with Ben Greenfield (left) on episode 22 of The Portal Podcast


Episode Summary[edit]


Raw Transcript File

[00:00:08] Eric Weinstein: Hello, you found the portal. I'm here today with my guests in studio Ben Greenfield down from Washington State. Ben, welcome to the program.

[00:00:15] Ben Greenfield: Thank you. And hello.

[00:00:17] Eric Weinstein: Hello, sir. So you are the first health guest I think that we've had on the program. We can talk about other things,

[00:00:24] Ben Greenfield: -but you've had healthy guests?

[00:00:26] Eric Weinstein: We've had healthy, health-ish. Okay. Yeah. And what I wanted to talk to you about is a little bit this issue of how we sort through our bodies and our minds as mechanical systems. What do we do with integrating the tremendous amount of information some some of the literature in the biomedical field is almost unreadable and it's extremely confusing. You have small studies, you don't have a lot of discipline across different different fields to keep any kind of interoperability. And so, I've always been afraid to enter the space but you've been recommended as one of the countries or if not the world's top trainers, you've been an extreme athlete. You've been studying this from an academic perspective and you seem the ideal person to be our jungle guide into the wilds of what is known about us.

[00:01:23] Ben Greenfield: Aside from the extreme athlete piece, I don't think masochism lends any any great deal of credibility to one, aside from a little bit of time spent testing things like you know, ketones and carbohydrate mixes in the trenches and finding out what might give you explosive diarrhea. But, but I do love to read I love to study this stuff. I've always been a voracious and curious consumer, I just-

[00:01:46] Eric Weinstein: I figure if we can profit from your pain. That seems like a pretty good deal.

[00:01:49] Ben Greenfield: Well, yeah, yeah, maybe a little bit. But yeah, you're right. It is difficult with you know, closed access to many of these journals. And you know, the ability to be able to review an abstract and as We're discussing before we started recording, you know, inability to determine whether or not a fasting study was done on a male or female population or, you know whether or not a headline that might say, vilify red meat is actually looking at the lifestyle practices of the people consuming said meats or the sourcing, you know, processed versus unprocessed. There's just so many, so many nuances to take into consideration. And I think the saving grace though, is that we live in an era now where the type of self quantification that would have been prohibitively expensive 10 years ago, is now readily affordable and available in the comfort of your own home in many cases. And so I think that - and we can delve into this if you would like - the ability to be able to gather data about your own body and then decide what type of nutrition or exercise as loved and how Haitian protocol be appropriate for you allows you to bypass a lot of this epidemiological data that paints with a very broad brush.

[00:03:13] Eric Weinstein: So these are all great topics I mean one of the great mysteries since you've already brought up explosive diarrhea we probably lost our listeners with that one is why is my you know, why is my toilet not a laboratory that is always taking data away from what I'm passing through me,

[00:03:29] Ben Greenfield: Right? Or your toilet paper and a dongle on your iPhone. And, you know, that's that's one of the tests. That's certainly very helpful, I think, actually more helpful than these newer microbiome companies that are making a lot of predictions based on biome data collected from stool that don't have a lot of research behind them such as you know, we've tested your stool and determined that based on your biome data, you should be on XYZ probiotic that we are by the way manufacturing and selling. But there are other tests that you can do that I think are very helpful and we could start with the bathroom. Since we're there already. Not literally,

[00:04:11] Eric Weinstein: We're gonna have to get back to like just introducing you but we're already-

[00:04:14] Ben Greenfield: We're not actually sitting on porcelain these chairs are more comfortable. There are tests like, you know, I run once a year a test from Genova diagnostics. It's a three day stool panel. And a multi day collection is important because you're everything from parasitic activity to yeast, fungus, bacteria, all that changes on a day to day basis. And you can learn a great deal about your gut and inflammatory markers in your gut bacterial balance the presence or absence of parasites or you know, a yeast or something like Candida for example. By simply on a yearly basis doing doing a panel like this, you literally for three days in a row, just swab and it goes into a little too. You keep that much to the chagrin of my Wife, typically in the refrigerator until all of your, your poop is ready to ship off to FedEx, and you receive a beautiful PDF in two weeks, that's got everything you would need to know about whether or not you might need to say supplement with a digestive enzyme because you have low pancreatic enzyme production, or whether you actually do need to take that popular cleansing supplements because you have some kind of a parasitic overgrowth or something like

[00:05:26] Eric Weinstein: I mean, I actually want to get back to this issue of your wife because I think the issue of whether or not your behavior is viewed as bizarre by your family has a lot to do with whether or not most people can stick to a regime. I mean, I am someone who believes that in general, institutional wisdom is usually so polluted by the economic incentives of the institutions, that I'm always open to the idea that the conventional wisdom is exactly what you would expect when institutions have perverse incentives.But if everyone in your family or your social environment doesn't worry about these things the same way you might and isn't sort of willing to take responsibility for you know, "you break it you bought it"-style approach can be very difficult to, you know, to get somebody to go along with putting your stool in the refrigerators if that was normal. Let's get to that in a second. So I can at least sort of get a background from you. Can you just give us a very quick sketch of your academic and non academic experience that brings you to being one of the most sought after fitness experts?

[00:06:43] Ben Greenfield: Yes, academically, I attended University of Idaho, not necessarily known for its rigorous health and medical program, but I studied exercise physiology and biomechanics there because for most of my younger years, I was most interested in exploring the boundaries of human performance and how to maximize human performance, which, in retrospect is a far cry from enhancing health or longevity and there are many people who are, you know, fit on the outside, but once you take a look at blood and biomarkers

[00:07:19] Eric Weinstein: -it may go exactly opposite...

[00:07:20] Ben Greenfield: Exactly, yeah, some of the self quantification we're talking about earlier, it actually can often fly in the face of longevity to be operating at peak performance. However, I studied that at University of Idaho and competed in, tennis and in bodybuilding and water polo and volleyball just played a lot of sports, and progressed from there to almost 20 years of competing in professional endurance sports, and doing things like Ironman Triathlon and Spartan racing obstacle course racing, and adventure racing and just all sorts of kind of masochistic multi day type of events which were interesting to me just from a pure physiological standpoint, because those are those are really sports of attrition, right? Where you must have pretty robust management of everything from macronutrients to things that would affect fatigue more dramatically than say, you know, baseball where you might be, you know, sitting in the dugout, and if you if you stop moving, you know, many cases, you're still going to be okay. And that was a great playground for me to explore a lot of the the nutrition and performance and the recovery concepts that I've been toying around with and still utilize. But I also am just a voracious consumer of content. You know, I pour through research every morning, I read a lot of journals I read, try to read a book every day, you know, typically it's in the health or the performance or the nutrition realm, andI podcast, blog.

[00:08:57] Eric Weinstein: Can we plug your podcast?

[00:08:59] Ben Greenfield: It's The Ben Greenfield fitness podcast okay I believe narcissistic title that doesn't lend itself well to branding. But that's that's, that's my podcast and I write books I just finished a 650 page book on on all things anti aging, longevity, gut immune system, hormones just kind of delved into every nook and cranny of human physiology-

[00:09:23] Eric Weinstein: Heart Rate Variability?

[00:09:24] Ben Greenfield: Quite a bit in there 'bout heart rate variability. It's an interesting topic that you bring up or is that something you're interested in?

[00:09:32] Eric Weinstein: You must know Joon Young of Palo Alto partners who was a physician turned sort of hedge fund manager,

[00:09:40] Ben Greenfield: I do not.

[00:09:41] Eric Weinstein: So we were talking about how to make radical longevity a normal part of health and physiology. And because it had this sort of bizarre patina of a quixotic desire to find the fountain of Youth there was a period of time where it had to be de risked by Silicon Valley. So it was sort of almost seen as being immoral to pursue radical longevity as a research program and Aubrey de Grey and Peter Thiel, and various people were instrumental in kind of taking the slings and arrows from the outside world. So this is rich people trying to live forever, on the backs of everyone else. But June, was instrumental in trying to work through the system by giving some money for the Palo Alto prize, and he asked me to give the keynote...And we were talking a lot about if you strip off things like environmental insult, or the burden of disease, or self harm, or all of these other things that one can die from. Are you left in the end with trade offs between cancer and ageing, "senescence", and do we understand the essence and so June's perspective was that heart rate variability was the best concrete marker to target, to proxy for improving longevity in a meaningful way, because his theory was about homeostatic capacity. Can you get back to

[00:11:25] Ben Greenfield: Absolutely, I would say, pushing aside some of the more fringe markers out there that you can track for longevity, let's say there's something like telomere length or or a Horvath methylation clock or any of these things

[00:11:40] Eric Weinstein: that are a close friend, I would say that they're just bad proxies.

[00:11:43] Ben Greenfield: Yeah, they're poor proxies. They're also less, um, they're less available and less scalable and less affordable for the general population. So there's no big deal. Yeah, compared to what I would consider to be three very useful markers to track overall health. And in longevity, and that would be glycemic variability. And how often is the blood sugar fluctuating throughout the day and to what extent is the sugar remaining in the bloodstream versus transiently passing due to, you know, physical activity or good insulin sensitivity or good blood sugar management, something that can be measured via a 20 to $30 blood stick from CVS or Walgreens or something I wore the entire year last year and gleaned a great deal of actionable data from a Dexcom G6 continuous blood glucose monitor, which allowed me to see everything from blood glucose response to a cup of coffee to the man plate of green beans to to, you know, exposure to heat versus cold and I learned some very interesting things. For example, the blood glucose rises dramatically in response to a cup of coffee, which is actually what you'd want, you know, it's mildly hyper cortisol ik and, you know, it gives you a surge of energy and that sugar, assuming that the coffee is black and doesn't have a lot of calories in it, that sugar is mostly glycogenolysis, it's released from the liver. And it's a short spike in blood glucose and doesn't contribute a great deal to glycemic variability. But I found it interesting how high the blood glucose rises after a simple cup of black coffee in the morning. So it's a narrow peak.


[00:15:30] Ben Greenfield: I also found that that my blood glucose responded quite dramatically to green beans of all things which which were kind of a staple in my diet. And so because of that, I went out and got what I would consider to be one of the gold standard food allergy tests out there that doesn't give you a laundry list of false positives. It's called a cyrax food allergy panel. C Y R A X. And it turns out that one of the only foods that I produce a signal If again immunoglobulin reaction towards his green beans, and the blood glucose response that I saw after eating a vegetable was actually my body mounting and inflammatory autoimmune bass response. You had no clue that that was a vegetable, right? But it gave me gave me a clue that I was able to dig more deeply into. I also found something very useful and quite useful for us.Since we're sitting in a cold room right now, the best thing I could do to lower glycemic variability and keep my blood glucose stable, the entire day was a brief bout of cold in the morning, just two to five minutes cold shower, cold soak, jump in a cold river, dramatically control blood glucose the rest of the day. So, glycemic variability would be one thing that I think is important to measure. Inflammation would be a second. inflammation is a little bit trickier because it does require a blood measurement that you typically right now requires you to go toe to toe labs do a blood draw but I'm talking about getting a measurement of something like HS CRP to see if your your C reactive protein is low. There are other inflammatory markers like fibrinogen or homocysteine or cytokines that you can measure. But But doing something like a quarterly measurement of just your HS CRP levels, you know, that's a 30 to $40 lab test that you can run. That also is because inflammation is so tied to stress and a variety of other health conditions you see that responded, it's something like dairy.It can respond to food allergies, it can respond to stress it can respond to and this is something to be careful with in terms of the timing of when you run the test exercise can elevate it significantly, which is why sometimes if someone does a hard weight training session or a run, then does their fasted lab test the next morning the results come back show elevated CRP and a doctor wants them to go in for a heart panel and spend a whole bunch of money when their CRP was just elevated due to

[00:17:57] Eric Weinstein: this is one of the newest monitoring Is that it has really shown us just how inadequate it is to pick some random moment. And then like decide that that is where your body is because your body may just be passing through that value of whatever it is it needs

[00:18:14] Ben Greenfield: to be precisely controlled. And when you look at hormones, it's even more important because if you look at the the gold standard right now for hormone measurement, at least what's used predominantly, and then we can get back to heart rate variability, which I would consider to be the third measurement to look at in addition to glycemic variability and inflammation. But when you look at hormones, for example, you know, most tests are running a fasted blood draw in the morning of testosterone, estrogen DHT a what have you, but hormones fluctuate widely throughout the day. And because of this, I think that that a urinary measurement for hormones, you know, there's another test that that I think is great for self quantification. It's called a Dutch panel to dried urine tests you pee on a stick five times during the day and you get a running value of where Your hormone levels are fluctuating throughout the entire day. So that you can see if you're truly whatever high cortisol, low cortisol, high testosterone, low testosterone, etc. And furthermore, a urine test will show you the upstream and downstream metabolites of a hormone. And the reason that's important is because many people will, for example, get a blood measurement of their cortisol levels, and see that they have very, let's say, very low cortisol and some functional medicine doctor or naturopathic physician or something like that will tell them they have adrenal fatigue, you know, your adrenals are pooped out, you're not making cortisol, you need to stop exercising and go to a Vipassana retreat for 10 days or whatever. And it turns out that for example, in highly active exercising individual who is producing cortisol just fine cortisol gets turned over very quickly. And you aren't going to see this on a blood test but on a urine test you would see high levels of cortisol metabolites mean a cortisol is being produced just fine by the adrenal glands but it's cleared very quickly. And so so paying attention to the actual the the fluids being used to to run the test is important as well, you know, so something like hormones should be tested via urine, but for the inflammation piece, you know, just running like a quarterly blood panel to see if your inflammation is staying under control, I think would be the second most useful measurement that is low hanging fruit for a lot of people in addition to the blood glucose. And then the final would be heart rate variability.

[00:20:30] Eric Weinstein: You'd have more about that given that we started to fully define it?

[00:20:34] Ben Greenfield: Yes, yes, so heart rate variability, you know, I wear for example, a ring to track it. There are wristbands that track it. Bluetooth enabled heart rate strap is a little bit more of a gold standard more accurate measurement, but it is simply a measurement of the delta between your heartbeats you know the the inter beats, variation from heartbeat the heartbeat which should display mild variations from beat to beat meaning that your vagus nerve, which innervates, the sinoatrial node of the heart, and monitors or, or controls to a certain extent the electrical activity of the pacemaker cells of the heart by feeding into the sinoatrial node that should be giving good sympathetic fight and flight and parasympathetic rest and digest information to the heart. And if someone is able to control stress well, is in a relatively low state of inflammation and a high state of health well rested etc, and has good vagal nerve tone, the heart rate variability tends to be high. And I originally became interested in heart rate variability because it is an excellent predictor of injury and illness in athletes. Meaning that if you're if you're training a team or an individual athlete and the heart rate variability begins to drop, typically you can predict injury or illness about two to three days later, surprising accuracy. And so that's a situation in which You would adjust the training program and give someone a rest day or recovery day. Well, in a in a person who's just tracking this for health, maintaining a high heart rate variability, and maintaining good vagal nerve tone is one of the best things you can do for decreasing stress for controlling inflammation, etc.And the vagus nerve itself is just fascinating. I mean it you know, we were briefly chatting about the gut brain connection earlier. And the vagus nerve is largely responsible for that. I mean, it snakes throughout the entire body innervates this,

[00:22:32] Eric Weinstein: we should just say, for the listeners that there's two very strange things about the gut. One is that it's a home to a large number of people who sort of are you But aren't you

[00:22:43] Ben Greenfield: Yes, exactly.

[00:22:44] Eric Weinstein: In your microbiome and the other is, is that it has a very extensive Nervous System all its own which has been called it was Gershwin's title, the second brain,

[00:22:54] Ben Greenfield: second brain, you know, the enteric nervous system and the the efferent fibers of the vagus nerve will feed From the central nervous system to a wide variety of organs you know the pancreas to control insulin, the the kidneys to control blood pressure, the liver and the gallbladder to control bile production, and detoxification. And then the afferent fibers will travel from all of those organs including the biome back to the brain. And so there's this constant interplay occurring between the gut and the brain which is why for anyone who wants to to maximize cognitive performance, you know, care for the gut is actually very important and vice versa for anyone who wants to limit things like gas bloating, gut motility issues, etc. Paying attention to the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis the amount of stress they sit as again like the the HPA axis, the amount of stress that you're placing on on your central nervous system FX digestion quite dramatically. You know, that's, that's why when we have family dinners at our house, we all take a deep breath in through Nose through our mouth. Three times when we prepare our parasympathetic system for digestion, we're activating the vagus nerve and settling down stress from the central nervous system, which would impact the the enteric nervous system. And when you look at research done on vagal nerve tone, their variety of things that tone the vagus nerve that increase heart rate variability, because a lot of the vagus nerve travels through some of the muscles around the throat and the neck, chanting, singing gargling.

[00:24:34] Eric Weinstein: So how much are religious and cultural traditions are cryptic health programs that we throw over at our peril.

[00:24:42] Ben Greenfield: They they are indeed I mean, that that fasting originally was was a religious practice, not a not a weight loss or a ketogenic fad. You know, it's tied into, for example, the Mediterranean diet. That's the often neglected thing that that people don't bring up when they talk about the health impact of the Mediterranean diet. If you look at the way that say the Orthodox Church practices, the Mediterranean diet, there's a great deal of fasting there, there are periods of time spent in protein restriction, you know, we know that metabolism and the cellular cleanup of the what's called the autophagy that takes place during those periods of protein restriction. That's what has life extending properties and fasting is a big part of that diet, as well. It's not just about you know, unlimited breadsticks and goat cheese and you know, noodles, noodles of extra virgin olive oil. I mean, there are other components of that diet tied into the religious aspect. In all meaning, you know, such as in meditation or the breath, work and yoga, these things can turn the vagus nerve cold water, the mammalian dive reflex that you know, when a baby is first born and many cultures would splash cold water in the baby's faces or for several months dunk a baby in cold water to tone the vagus nerve, to activate digestion to activate the building of that biome. We talked about. about all of these things are wonderful for the vagus nerve breath work. And so you can you can train and control heart rate variability. And I really like that because it's so easy to track in real time. And I would say if you're tracking glycemic variability, yeah, inflammation and heart rate variability those would be those would be the three biggest things when it comes to health longevity.


[00:28:38] Eric Weinstein: But that's very helpful that you're narrowing it down to three things that many people will never have heard of or thought about right but that are easy. But the thing that I want to get at and maybe this is a good place to break. Most of us don't know how to think about these things. I can't tell you the number of times I've been walking down the street and somebody says Wow, would you look at the nerve to On that I mean nobody nobody talks about these Vegas nerve on that day I know that we don't know how to think about all of the messaging chemicals all you know that if you ask people to break down the body into three layers how many people would come up with cytology histology physiology and anatomy? We don't remember all the cranial nerves we can't quite keep straight with the pancreas the gallbladder and the liver up to cranial nerves. Yeah.

[00:29:33] Ben Greenfield: I remember the Mnemonic "On Old Olympus’ With Towering Tops, A Fin And German Viewed Some Hops"

[00:29:43] Eric Weinstein: Hey, I never get it.

[00:29:43] Ben Greenfield: Just don't ask me to name them all.

[00:29:44] Eric Weinstein: Yeah, that's funny. I hadn't thought about that in a long time. We don't know how to think about our bodies and prioritize these things. In other words, if somebody says Look, I don't want to get this deep into what it is that you're talking About here's my time budget, here's my mental budget. What can I afford to think about without feeling lost? Because I think one of the things that I find very off putting is that there seems to be kind of a Rubicon, either you go in for this health thing and it becomes a large part of what you discuss every day with your health friends, or you're sort of frozen out on the other side of this thing. Not quite sure of yourself. You know, in some ways people feel the same way about this as they feel about mathematics. They're lost.

[00:30:35] Ben Greenfield: Yeah. I don't necessarily think that you need to be immersed in the data of self quantification. I think that there is a great deal of value if you do want to learn about your body and do something like a yearly comprehensive blood panel, a yearly gut panel, heart rate variability, tracking Measurement irritation.

[00:31:01] Eric Weinstein: I've done some of these things, I get it back, I scratch my head, somebody tells me what something means I start doing that thing to rectify the situation somebody else says, Well, that's not what that means. Right? And so my question, I mean, here's my ideal. I'd like to get the 10 sharpest minds in the field into a room, and then ask questions and watch them duke it out intellectually. So somebody can say, Well, you know, that's true in general. But if you condition on this variable, then that's no longer true, because that's just part of this natural response. And some, you know, fair or not fair. Well, that study, you know, really only looked at a very small sample

[00:31:44] Ben Greenfield: that's the tricky part is the biochemical individuality. And Roger Williams, I believe, was back in the 60s wrote a wrote a book that dictated the 12 different shapes of a liver and a stomach and pancreas and the fact that some people have extremely robust vitamin D excretion rates and should therefore get plenty of sunshine and perhaps even supplement with vitamin D, whereas other people would get arterial calcification from supplementing with vitamin D. Some people have very high rates of oxalic acid and uric acid excretion and can eat, you know, nuts until the cows come home and other people will get gout and pain in their big toes from having a few handful of almonds each day. So it varies widely from person to person. I mean,

[00:32:29] Eric Weinstein: that's the variability of the person under study. I'm saying that's part of the whole quantified self thing, which is understanding which particular machine you've inherited and what you can do with it and what you can't. But then there's the other issue, which is sort of sensitivity analysis for information that is, if there is a slight change in our understanding of something, does the prescription flip wildly or does it move a small amount, you know, so the idea and then just to, to get really into where I think a lot of these problems will go wrong. I want to hear many more of these things talked about in terms of trade offs, where, well, this is good for you in this regard, but probably bad for you in that regard. Whereas a lot of the advice is phrased, in terms of that's a great thing for you. Mm hmm. And I just don't even believe in general

[00:33:29] Ben Greenfield: The ketogenic diet is a perfect example of that same way, many of the studies on its myopically focus upon weight loss, you know, or sometimes upon lipids you know, your cholesterol values. When you look at you know, the ketogenic diet that may have helped your neighbor to lose 20 pounds, you know, putting coconut oil and butter in their coffee every morning and having, you know, some kind of ketogenic fat bomb after dinner every night. Some people have for example, an FTO gene that would predispose you to very high levels of inflammation, which we talked about earlier in response to high amounts of saturated fat, particularly levels of saturated fat that exceed 10% of total daily intake of fat, which is which on standard modern ketogenic diet, you know, it's common to eat 3040 50% of your total fat intake from saturated fat. Others have familial hypercholesterolemia, which would dictate your cholesterol values. And this would be I don't necessarily think LDL cholesterol is is indicative of cardiovascular risk, but in people with fH, it actually is so very rapidly high levels of cholesterol in response to a ketogenic diet. Other people have poor liver and gallbladder function, which would dictate that they're going to have, you know, horrible bowel movements and a great deal of digestive distress in response to that diet. But if you look at it at a meta analysis of ketogenic diets that say that this is favorable for the general population in many cases, they're looking at weight loss, not inflammation, not bowel function, not not lipid panels. And so the problem could sometimes be the value being measured.

[00:35:12] Eric Weinstein: Right, what I'm trying to get at is, I don't see a solution for muggles, for civilians, for the average person who's not a hit a high net worth individual, not a fitness geek, they want to avail themselves perhaps, of whatever the best thinking is. But they don't know what happens when people conflict. I mean, like, right, if I listen to physicists, or mathematicians, you could very quickly usually tell who's talking sensibly. You know, they're willing to give up while you know, that's absolutely that's technically true, but in this case, blah, blah, blah. When I listened to health people, the conversations are usually dyadic. It's usually two health people talking to each other. Yeah.

[00:36:08] Ben Greenfield: And with a great deal of conflict of interest, because there's, there's a Diet book or a supplement company involved that.

[00:36:15] Eric Weinstein: Right? So conflict of interest is terrible within the health institutions. It's terrible within the anti anti institutional experts as well, because of the fact that there are products on the other side of this thing. And then there's this question that every single biological system I've ever studied, is incredibly complicated. If you look at the Cascades, you know, just from one homologous system to the next, they're totally different. It's very hard to figure out what we're talking about and trade off space, you can measure a bunch of stuff, but even there, if it doesn't, if it doesn't lend itself to continuous monitoring through a cheap device, relatively cheap device, you can be pretty unclear as to whether or not those values even really represent you.

[00:37:10] Ben Greenfield: Right and and from one standpoint, it's a frustrating conversation because it is such a soft science and because there is so much biochemical individuality at the same time, to me, it's an exciting and promising conversation because I believe we're on the cusp of everything from you know, micro needling patches that can be you know, slapped on and you forego the trip to a laboratory, you put in an envelope, you mail it off, and you have all the data, right there are hundreds of blood biomarkers, from the comfort of your own hometo you know, iPhone dongles or anything else that can be used to collect this data. If we were to combine that with AI or algorithms that can actually feed through that data and produce digestible information that's understandable to the general public. And people can take their health into their own hands using easy self quantification combined with, you know, essentially using using AI and algorithms which I have a hunch, you know, a great deal more about than I do.I think that that is that's the promising future of healthcare and self management were in jeopardy they were in an intermediate state, and there are companies working on this but I think the difficult piece is curating and collecting all the laboratory measurements that are going to give the most useful and actionable data because it can't just be you know, I said like a micro needling patch that you could you could put on your arm but we already talked about the urine. We talked about the stool, right? You have to collect more more fluid from the body than just blood

[00:38:55] Eric Weinstein: I'm thinking that should be done passively.

[00:38:59] Ben Greenfield: What do you mean?

[00:39:01] Eric Weinstein: My toilet should be a laboratory.

[00:39:02] Ben Greenfield: That'd be amazing, that'd be absolutely amazing. I mean, it could have a hot - cold - warm bidet, vibration and wipe your ass for you, it should be able to [...]

[00:39:13] Eric Weinstein: Like, the Japanese have thought about all sorts of aspects of my comfort and luxury, and what I really want to know is my markers.

[00:39:19] Ben Greenfield: Yeah. And it shocks me that that doesn't yet exist, the ability to be able to more easily and precisely quantify this and then have it fed into an algorithm that will spit out actionable data that's easy to understand. But the fact is, I should say, to my knowledge, it doesn't yet exist. And I'm pretty plugged into this sector when it comes to all the different ways out there that one can test and the different companies that are doing the testing and the information they're putting out. And there's there's no platform yet that's doing blood, gut, urine, saliva, heart rate variability, and some of the other metrics you'd get from a wearable device, then taking that putting it through an algorithm, and then pushing out the exact lifestyle, dietary and supplementation or medication steps that someone could take to affect the biomarkers that tested.

[00:40:13] Eric Weinstein: Well, the other thing that I would love to see this coupled to is some sort of a software product that has the 15 leading health and performance experts talking about the same data, so just the way you have market analysts, and you want to see whether the market analysts are all talking to each other or whether they're disagreeing. And then you want to listen in on the disagreements. I mean, one thing I'd love to do is to have you back with three or four other people in your field, who if you all respect each other and say, Well, you know, I think that that could easily be misinterpreted or you're taking us too far into the weeds or I think that that study has been given far too much weight...

[00:41:01] Ben Greenfield: You know, people have toyed around with that I think, you know, Joe, for example, has hosted a meat plant debate. Yeah, you know, and there's some chatter like that going on I, I personally don't really use my own podcast as a platform for argumentation or debate as much as exploration of ideas. But you're right, it would be interesting. I think it might just lend more confusion to the matter.

[00:41:27] Eric Weinstein: I don't think so. I think this is a big, big Miss. I think that one of the things that I'm finding is that the public wants to listen in on conversations between people who are talking almost in tongues. And then because they have the ability to slow it down and annotate. Like right now, there is a Discord server that pours over every episode. So that I released of this podcast and these guys dissect everything that gets said they hyperlink it. And they teach each other they're forming reading clubs, the whole thing.

[00:42:09] Ben Greenfield: And in the audio searchable now too, Google is searching audio, I use an app called CastBoxx. It's fantastic. I use it for all my podcasts not only because you can, it's got good smoothing algorithms where you can play 123 and four times speed and it still sounds good. But I can use the search function on that and it will search the audio. Let's say I want to learn about some random health concept like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, I can search it'll scrape not just the show notes and the title and the description, but the actual audio itself, and I can go directly to the timestamp where that discussion begins. and jump right into

[00:42:47] Eric Weinstein: If the fidelity is high enough, depends with the with the nature of

[00:42:50] Ben Greenfield: I don't know how the fidelity feeds into it, but it's...

[00:42:52] Eric Weinstein: No sorry, the searchability of the transcription.

[00:42:54] Ben Greenfield: Right, right. No, it's not searching the transcription. It's searching the actual audio. It's an Audio search engine.

[00:43:01] Eric Weinstein: So if you say something that's technical, I mean, I guess I'm just confused as to how you're saying it.

[00:43:13] Ben Greenfield: No what I'm saying is that let's say someone is searching for glycemic variability, a term that I've already sed two or three times. And whoever's producing the shownotes for your show or the title or the description isn't actually typing glycemic variability. It's not scrape Abul by a search engine in terms of the text that the audio is now being searched as well. And that phrase will be picked up on the audio and display in search results.

[00:43:42] Eric Weinstein: Okay, but it has to have so if you if you put in the search as a sound, and then it's looking for some bright purple zactly, but it may miss in a highly technical and highly technical speech. I don't know that we're there that it's 100%

[00:43:54] Ben Greenfield: Yeah, I don't know the level of accuracy, but I found it to be a great utility.

[00:43:59] Eric Weinstein: So leaving That aside, I mean, the the point that I was trying to get at more was just that. If you had like healthy UFC where experts go at it with each other. what's what's the old MTV that the

[00:44:14] Ben Greenfield: Death-? Death-? DEATH BATTLE? Oh, yeah, DEATH BATTLE, this claymation - Yeah, exactly.

[00:44:18] Eric Weinstein: Exactly. Well, but I think that's what people want that and they believe in some sense that once they can hear a group of experts sort of handle their concerns. It's, they don't have to be the one filtering what's durable, what's ephemeral? What's a fad? What is fairly solid? I think, you know, that's the that's the great appeal of listening in on an expert conversation, when you have a community that's actually dissecting it, and is able to do more with it.

[00:44:53] Ben Greenfield: Yeah, I think as long as people are aware of any pre existing bias, you know, because there's a thing from you You know, the the investments that that expert might be involved in to the supplement companies they might own to the dietary books that they wrote five years ago that they're still married to, even though research has changed because those diet books have served them quite well, from a monetization standpoint. I mean, there's, there's a lot of kind of back end issues you got to pay attention to, but... But yeah, I mean, it would be interesting,

[00:45:22] Eric Weinstein: at least, let me do something dangerous for my own podcast, I have a few products that have health implications that some of which I've come to really like. Are you familiar with any of these cooling systems for mattress pads so that you don't wake up in a pool of your own sweat?

[00:45:40] Ben Greenfield: Yes. The bed jet. I'm familiar with that one, which uses air to cool and then I personally use one called the cooler My wife has one as well. I don't think it's ever been flipped on you know, returning to your, your illusion to, to the to the bizarre health practices and spouses sometimesdon't adopt, but-

[00:46:01] Eric Weinstein: "That's the great thing about the Uhler systems is you and your wife don't have to have the same set."

[00:46:06] Ben Greenfield: Yes, yeah. And I find it useful you can set it at 55 degrees. You know, I would say just when you look at a lot of the wearables out there one of the sleep metrics that people struggle with the most is deep sleep right during which a lot of the nervous system repair and recovery is going to take place.I mean, memory consolidation and learning [...] - things like that would occur during dreaming during the during the lighter REM sleep stages, but deep sleep is particularly important for recovery and seems to be the one that people struggle with the most and the two things I have found impact deep sleep the highest are sleeping in a cool room sleeping on a cool surface. If I've done anything to heat the body, such as a heavy meal or heavy exercise session within three hours prior to bedtime, some kind of cold walk or cold shower or something to cool the body back down and wearing wool socks to bed and that were when you were socks to bed it actually cools the rest of the body. So that and higher dose CBD have been the two things that have increased my deep sleep the most. So yeah, I sleep on one of those pads.

[00:47:10] Eric Weinstein: So that's- By the way, that's the spons- The one that you sleep on is my sponsor, which I didn't mention. Yeah.

[00:47:15] Ben Greenfield: Yeah, I'm still confused about whether they're calling it the chilli pad or that Uhler, but it's-

[00:47:19] Eric Weinstein: I think they have two different products. But that was my favorite find of 2019 because I didn't know and i get i like the pad really cool. Yeah, I like the Comforter to be really warm. I don't even know what it is that I'm interested in.

[00:47:36] Ben Greenfield: But it's it's interesting because,- there's actually a couple of interesting things. A) I think it is at Stanford that they have research now that cooling the forehead is particularly helpful for sleep latency, meaning shortening the time that takes you to fall asleep. So they've just developed this company called I think it's Ebb. I'm not financially affiliated with them at all. But it's it's a it's a headband that cools the head as you're falling asleep and and it's similar to the chilli paddocks if you wear it on your head and then the other piece-

[00:48:13] Eric Weinstein: Are wives into this?

[00:48:14] Ben Greenfield: What's that?

[00:48:15] Eric Weinstein: Do wives think this is attractive looking?

[00:48:17] Ben Greenfield: No, not in the least, the chili pad can be set to to switch to a warm setting at whatever time you want to wake up so slowly warm the bed as you wake. I haven't messed around that function at all. I just set it at 55 degrees and pass out but it's useful so, I would say yes there's something to the idea of sleeping on a cool surface. Absolutely. I remember the other thing I was going to say is you know people talk about sleep hygiene, you know absence of light, presence of cold, a silent room.

[00:48:50] Eric Weinstein: Red [..] blue light.

[00:48:51] Ben Greenfield: Right. My entire bedroom is red incandescent light bulbs because you don't have any suppression of melatonin levels when you flip off the lights at night to pee or when you're getting ready for bed at night. But I think one thing that folks neglect in sleep hygiene is safety. Right? This comes all the way back to the vagus nerve and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, the same reason that you would take three deep breaths and chew your chew each bite of food. With pretty high frequency. If you are sleeping and your brain is convinced you're in a safe environment, you sleep much better. And this is why so many people struggle with sleep when they're traveling. I found one of the best things aside from never having my laptop in the bed - because if my brain associates the bed with work, you get sympathetic nervous system activation and lack of safety

[00:49:43] Eric Weinstein: One of our biggest battles - I can't stand bumping into the metal of a laptop.

[00:49:48] Ben Greenfield: Even if I'm in a small hotel room, the laptop I just don't allow it near the bed. It's always somewhere else in the room. If I want to lay on my stomach and work on my laptop, it's on the floor. But the other thing is a gravity blanket. I don't know if you ever used -Like high compression?- 20 to 25 pound like breathable, cooling, gravity blankets but I do is I have the chili pad underneath me. I pull this gravity blanket over top of me and it feels like you're just blanketed in safety. It's amazing.

[00:50:15] Eric Weinstein: I totally believe in this madness.

[00:50:18] Ben Greenfield: It's one of the best sleep hacks I've adopted over the past year.

[00:50:22] Eric Weinstein: Okay, another one of my sponsors. I'm curious. I hate mushrooms like with a vengeance and a passion that you can scarcely believe. The one way which I get mushrooms -

[00:50:31] Ben Greenfield: Is this was a psylocibin experience from college or...?

[00:50:34] Eric Weinstein: No, no. This is a experience with my parents growing up putting things in my spaghetti. I don't think it was psychoactive spaghetti. I actually love this company that puts mushrooms in coffee and tea. And because I'm able to get it in, I think that it has some kind of psychological impact. I can't prove it. But I believe that mushroom chemistry is incredibly powerful. Are you devotee of any of these particular I like Chaga? lion's mane? and other mushrooms?

[00:51:04] Ben Greenfield: The cognitive piece I find particularly intriguing because if you if you look at this idea of the "doctrine of signatures", it's this idea that the way that things look in nature indicate the biological impact they might have on the body. So you know, we know that walnuts have high amounts of Coleen and DHA in them and they're good for your brain. We know that pomegranates are good for cardiovascular functions or tomatoes and when you cut them open they almost look like the ventricles in the atria of the heart. You know

[00:51:36] Eric Weinstein: This is some serious meringue county thing...

[00:51:38] Ben Greenfield: crack it open in a pan it you know, kind of looks like an eye and we know that the lutein in the egg is good for the eyes. And when you see Lion's Mane mushroom in nature growing it looks like a cluster of axons and dendrites and it turns out that it's chock full of nerve growth factor, which is actually wonderful for neurogenesis and neuroplasticity and cognition. And so, yeah, there's there's something To be said for for Lion's Mane for cognition, some of the the beta glucans and say turkey tail have been demonstrated to be anti carcinogenic and anti angiogenic to tumor growth so that that's another useful one. I use reishi mushroom for relaxation, you know, cordyceps is good for-

[00:52:19] Eric Weinstein: These are all the ones..

[00:52:20] Ben Greenfield: - pre workout. Yeah, there's all sorts of interesting blends out there. So yeah, I'm a fan of a fan of mushrooms. I think I think they have a lot of utility.

[00:52:32] Eric Weinstein: Or you could be are you a fan of psychedelics? And I'm happy to ask the question official.

[00:52:37] Ben Greenfield: Yeah, yeah, I mean, psilocybin, particularly when, when combined with lion's mane, in small doses, I'm a fan of that as a nootropic blend. My concern with psychedelics is that they have become, it seems of late so culturally acceptable and also culturally acceptable and more and more accessible, that I think there's some rampant abuse going on that is now justifiable, you know, whereas whatever, dropping into a K hole or doing ecstasy on the weekends, you can now say you're using ketamine to manage some mild depression issues and, you know, using MDMA for for some self therapy work that you're doing for PTSD or, you know, you're using LSD with great frequency, you know, many people using that as -

[00:53:33] Eric Weinstein: - micro dosing -

[00:53:34] Ben Greenfield: - as a micro dose every day. And the problem is, you know, you look at something like like ketamine or MDMA, which people are using a lot of that's neurotoxic. And if you look at something like

[00:53:45] Eric Weinstein: that was it's one of those things that I keep hearing going back and forth.

[00:53:49] Ben Greenfield: The neurotoxicity?

[00:53:50] Eric Weinstein: That how neurotoxic MDMA is

[00:53:52] Ben Greenfield: It is in a trip dose. It's definitely neurotoxic. I would say a micro dose of ketamine for something like managing mild depression or anxiety is relatively safe, but there are people using a lot more than that. I mean, I know people who are addicted to their ketamine nasal sprays and their ketamine trophies now and using those, I think

[00:54:09] Eric Weinstein: and that the high degree of harm and in fact, the - I was shocked to find out that I had been propagandized in that the harm had been exaggerated. there was a there was an initial issue that a lot of the sort of schedule one treatment of some of these drugs was so preposterous given the twin criteria that are supposed to define what goes on schedule one that has a high propensity for abuse when you know, LSD is weirdly self limiting, for example,

[00:54:43] Ben Greenfield: The lethal dose of LSD is through the roof.

[00:54:45] Eric Weinstein: Nobody's ever found it, I think.

[00:54:46] Ben Greenfield: Yeah, I think I think the one elephant that they were able to kill and find a lethal dose of LSD for, it turned out that it was actually the drug they were co administering with the LSD some kind of a tranquilizer or something -

[00:55:00] Eric Weinstein: I don't even want to think about it.

[00:55:01] Ben Greenfield: - to keep the elephant from berserking. But my concern was the potential for neurotransmitter depletion and imbalances due to overuse of psychedelics as well as potential neurotoxicity.

[00:55:12] Eric Weinstein: Let me let me just clarify the question. So my guess is that we've gone through - there was an initial lie, the lie was found out to be a lie. Then there was a new lie that was told by those using the psychedelics that effectively these are not that dangerous, that the load is quite modest. And there are ways in which that might be true. And there are ways in which that's not true even for something where the physical load is modest.I mean, I don't think we know how we're reordering the mind. Even if you don't find a strong physiological impact of something like LSD...

[00:55:54] Ben Greenfield: Yeah, that's my concern is serotonin imbalance, dopamine imbalance. dependency. There there is a biological impact that I think a lot of people do not take into account. But you know, to reply to your initial question. Yeah, I'll microdose occasionally with psilocybin. I wrote a fiction book last year and I'd write every Friday on a micro dose of LSD. I will

[00:56:22] Eric Weinstein: What's a microdose for you?

[00:56:23] Ben Greenfield: For LSD, about 20 micrograms.

[00:56:26] Eric Weinstein: It's a fairly large microdose.

[00:56:27] Ben Greenfield: I tend to have high tolerance. Yeah. And on a quarterly basis, I will journey with my wife actually, we we do couples therapy every quarter. And our facilitator uses a variety of different Amazonian medicines. There's always a great deal of preparation going in a great deal of integration going out and even then, this is actually fresh on my mind because I have a journey coming up in six days. I take vitamin C i take 5HTP I take methyline donors or methyl donors like SAM-e, I use NAD-IVs. And injections I completely prepare my cells for the toxic overload -

[00:57:10] Eric Weinstein: [unintelligible]

[00:57:11] Ben Greenfield: they're going to experience. Exactly. And then I supplement going out with everything I know my neurotransmitters need to repleat themselves, you know, dump them akuna and more 5HTP more vitamin C for the toxicity. So there's a great deal that I do to reduce the biological impact that I know even a single journey can produce

[00:57:30] Eric Weinstein: Is this a DMT based journey, or is this more of a mesculine

[00:57:34] Ben Greenfield: This, this would be similar to something like MDMA, Ayahuasca and psilocybin over the course of, you know, anywhere from 10 to 20 hours.

[00:57:46] Eric Weinstein: The Ayahuasca would be isolating though, wouldn't it?

[00:57:48] Ben Greenfield: Well, it's a similar feeling. It's not Ayahuasca that's being used. It's actually - the person who facilitates this for me, they're using a series of injections and pills that because of legal reaso, they actually won't tell me what they're using. But I can tell you it's similar to the same type of feeling as you'd get from something like 5MEO combined with Ayahuasca or MDMA or psylocibin.

[00:58:11] Eric Weinstein: 5MEO is the extract isolated from or Sonoran Desert toad?

[00:58:17] Ben Greenfield: Yeah, yeah. But what concerns me are the people doing their 38th Ayahuasca treatment in some New York City loft with their personal shaman and just completely abusing, you know, in terms of frequency of these things and not taking them as seriously as they should.

[00:58:32] Eric Weinstein: What do we do about explaining quickly to the government that it's in everybody's interest to stop bullshitting about schedule one designation, and to start talking about really coming up with some regulation that is beneficial, that recognizes the health benefits, seems to me that we've got sort of a wrong new culture in place around the use of these things to compensate for the wrong culture that we have it illegal from.

[00:59:01] Ben Greenfield: I think Johns Hopkins and the Maps Foundation they're beginning to roll out good research that that's actually being paid attention to. I think academic institutions are doing good service for that. I think that the implementation of physician

[00:59:13] Eric Weinstein: [..] at NYU at the same time...

[00:59:15] Ben Greenfield: Right, NYU, physician assisted PTSD and trauma clinics that are using ketamine or or what I would imagine pretty soon will be psylocibin under physician supervised protocols with proper integration and proper medical management going in and going out.I think that that will will be something that we see with increasing frequency, you know, actual physicians overseeing clinics.

[00:59:36] Eric Weinstein: Do you think that there's an aspect where we're expecting the physician to step into the role that a shaman previously inhabited and that maybe physicians aren't really they may be more medically skilled, but that a lot of the impact is not at the level of nursing.

[00:59:56] Ben Greenfield: There's a need for physician education programs. Absolutely. I know that field trip, which I think is rolling out in Toronto, LA and New York over the next year, they're combining like physician education programs with physician clinics for things like PTSD and trauma using plant medicines or using ketamine. But yeah, I think we're gonna see this strange kind of like hybrid physician shaman type of model, where folks are actually educated in clinical management, medically educated, but also have a working knowledge of things like Amazonian medicines and you know, integration and you're able to facilitate as well. I think the music is huge. And I think that when you look at, you know, I was even toying around with some apps because I love to play hand pan and guitar and ukulele and there are somatics apps that you can download that will translate the music into recognizable geometric patterns. And I think that the use of music in conjunction with some of these therapies can elicit almost like a vibratory response within the cell that's that's based on a response to the sound frequencies that can enhance the journey, you're taking the stat-

[01:01:06] Eric Weinstein: I don't know about cell, you really think there's like a cellular level for music?

[01:01:09] Ben Greenfield: I think there's a cellular level. And I'm not speaking based on science or research or anything like that. But I suspect that we are actually impacting ourselves with sound frequencies. And that these geometric patterns are that that we're seeing that you can visualize that music is producing and you know, like an app or actually occurring within our bodies as well.

[01:01:33] Eric Weinstein: Have you looked at these hints(?), from the perspective of frequency analysis?

[01:01:39] Ben Greenfield: No, but I can tell you that I feel amazing. I have a hand pan that I'm learning to play right now I place it in my lap each night. And they're impossible to sound poorly on because they're all tuned to a specific scale like mine isn't a B scale. I can, I can strike it anywhere and it sounds great and it's very calming,

[01:01:58] Eric Weinstein: I tried to look at this and my understanding is that if you think about steel drums, steel drums have that very muddy kind of sound. And that with the hang, which is sort of the great innovation in this area coming out of Switzerland. The problem is that a two dimensional metallophone doesn't have good harmonic discipline relative to a one dimensional media so that if you think about a flute, or if you think about a vibrating string that you would have, let's say, on a violin or a guitar, the harmonics have to sort of line up in some well defined fashion because of the one dimensional nature of the medium that's vibrating. When you have a two dimensional medium, everything is off. And what the Swiss did was to figure out how to get enough precision to get the two dimensional medium to sound, at least for the first few harmonics, as if it was a one dimensional meeting. [Hmm!] I don't know.I don't exactly have that right. But that's why it's impossible to sound bad because you're hearing something that effectively would never be found in nature by just taking a metal plate and banging on it.

[01:03:12] Ben Greenfield: Yeah, that makes sense. I was always under the impression that it was simply the tuning of the instrument itself, in that each place where you strike where each of the different locations for anyone listening hasn't seen a hand pan, usually there's eight or nine different locations that you strike. It's basically all tuned to the same scale.

[01:03:32] Eric Weinstein: Well, you may have a pentatonic scale or something like that, where it's hard to find a wrong note,

[01:03:36] Ben Greenfield: right, you know, tuned to the same root, I guess I should say, you know, in this case B

[01:03:43] Eric Weinstein: well, I think you could tune it to any...

[01:03:45] Ben Greenfield: Oh, yeah, you can you can turn to C you can tune into D. But when once you're buying a pan that is tuned to a specific frequnecy. And you can't play and sound good a pan that's tuned in B you know, with someone who's got a pan tuned to C, for example,

[01:04:01] Eric Weinstein: What can you leave my audience with? As the best way for somebody who's not familiar with a lot of the words that you've used or concepts we've discussed, but they're realizing that the processed food that they're eating might not be good for their lipid layers, they know that their sleep is off, stress is too high. They don't know enough about physiology anatomy to understand everything that's being said, What is the best way of handing off from the show to somebody who wants to enter a kind of more mindful and intentional space and feels unsure that they have what it takes to digest the information and confusing signals that are coming out of this?

[01:04:54] Ben Greenfield: I have two thoughts. The first is: Be patient and wait when it comes to the self quantification piece, because, as we discussed, I think we're in an intermediate phase and I think it's moving quickly. And I don't think that the frustration and confusion is going to be around much longer. As we roll out tools that allow for easier self quantification and interpretation of that data. For now, I would pay attention to eight things.The first would be regardless of the exercise program, just regular low level physical activity throughout the day. We know this concept of N.E.A.T., non exercise activity thermogenesis regardless of whether you go to the gym just moving throughout the day as much as possible. That's the first thing. The second would be of all the diets that I've seen out there in terms of good research. I think one of the best ways to eat would be some semblance of a relatively low carb Mediterranean diet. I think that that's the one that seems to be the best for most people, because it controls glycemic variability, introduces you to some elements of fasting has lots of herbs, spices, supportive oils, etc. I would be out in sunlight frequently, because we know that photons of light are very healing to the body. And there's this amazing new concept of human photosynthesis and our ability to create electrons in ATP in response to photons of light. I'm immersed in a few books right now and that it's absolutely fascinating. In the same way I would be outside barefoot or touching the ground every day,

[01:06:35] Eric Weinstein: Is this #4 or is this still #3?

[01:06:37] Ben Greenfield: This is #4. Okay, so we have low level physical activity. We have some kind of a low carb Mediterranean type of eating approach, exposure to sunlight, being outside barefoot or in touch with the planet which allows for if you look into the research on "earthing" or "grounding", a great decrease in inflammation and improvement in a wide variety of health parameters.

[01:06:56] Eric Weinstein: [With shoes of the] fingered Vibram type?

[01:06:58] Ben Greenfield: These are not grounding shoes, but going outside barefoot without big rubber soled shoes on. Introduce heat and cold. We know from finnish longevity studies for example, that sweating or being hot on a frequent basis is very good for the body. And we know that cold thermogenesis, cryotherapy cold showers, things like that are wonderful for things like weight stability, nitric oxide production, blood flow, etc.Low level physical activity, some kind of a low carb Mediterranean diet, sunlight, grounding & earthing heat & cold. And then finally, good clean water and minerals like a good salt, good trace liquid mineral, anything like that. I would say that if you address those eight parameters, the movement and the relatively-

[01:07:43] Eric Weinstein: Right, but we didn't 8, let me see if I got it.

[01:07:45] Ben Greenfield: Okay.

[01:07:46] Eric Weinstein: All right, so low level physical activity,

[01:07:48] Ben Greenfield: regardless of the exercise,

[01:07:49] Eric Weinstein: regardless of the exercise program, a low carb Mediterranean diet, [Yes.] Then there's going to be sunlight, then being bare foot and alternating hot and cold regime

[01:08:03] Ben Greenfield: Heat and cold would be #5 and #6

[01:08:06] Eric Weinstein: Oh, #5 and #6. I didn't realize we had two there. Yeah. And then minerals and -

[01:08:12] Ben Greenfield: Minerals and water,

[01:08:13] Eric Weinstein: -minerals and water are seven and eight.

[01:08:15] Ben Greenfield: Yeah.

[01:08:15] Eric Weinstein: Okay, now I got it.

[01:08:16] Ben Greenfield: -and largely and I know we're running a little short on time but largely the idea behind those latter six photons of light negative ions from the surface of the earth, the movement of electrons via heat and cold and the carrying of electrons with water and minerals essentially treats the human body as a battery. And because each of the cells operate on electrochemical gradient of a negative charge inside and a positive charge outside, one of the best things you can do to charge your human battery is light, earthing, grounding heat, cold water and minerals. So that's where I'd start.

[01:08:51] Eric Weinstein: Alright, this is pretty intense. Ben, we would love to have you come back and potentially we'll pair you with somebody who is more up to your level of knowledge of the human body, the amazing machine

[01:09:05] Ben Greenfield: When we decide to call it "The Deathmatch".

[01:09:07] Eric Weinstein: Yes!

[01:09:08] Ben Greenfield: "The Portal Deathmatch"

[01:09:09] Eric Weinstein: Well, "Health UFC" for the moment. You have anything that you'd like to tell people so that they can come find you and get some more wisdom if they're hungry for more? Other than the Ben Greenfield Podcast.

[01:09:22] Ben Greenfield: I would take a dive into my new book. It's called called "Boundless" and you can get it anywhere.

[01:09:27] Eric Weinstein: Fantastic. All right, you've been through the portal with Ben Greenfield. Thanks for tuning in. Remember to subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, CastBox, wherever you listen to podcasts. Also meander over to our YouTube channel and remember to both subscribe and click that bizarre bell icon so that you're notified whenever we get around to dropping the next video episode. Thanks for being with us and be well.

Portal Player Markup[edit]

Ben Greenfield is an ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, Spartan racer, coach, speaker and author of the New York Times Bestseller “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life.