Ben Greenfield Podcast 120

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  • 1.Podcast # 120 from 120-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-paleo- diet/ Introduction: In this podcast episode: Everything you need to know about the paleo diet, glucosamine chondroitin vs. MSM, is it a myth that electrolytes prevent cramping, how to stay fit when you cant run, and whether converting slow twitch to fast twitch muscle is a good idea. Ben: Hey folks, this is Ben Greenfield podcasting to you once again from Spokane, Washington. In todays podcast weve got a great interview with the author of a book called the Paleo Solution. A guy named Rob Wolff and hes going to tell you everything you need to know about the paleo diet and maybe some things that even if youre familiar with the paleo diet already, you may not have known. And were also going to have a Q and A with a few special announcements before we get on to that Q and A. So lets jump right into podcast number 120 from Now remember if you have a question you can email You can Skype to username pacificfit especially if youre international. Thats a good solution. Or you can call toll free to 8772099439. Actually the first question today came through via Twitter. And to ask me a question via Twitter just go to, follow Ben Greenfield and ask your question. This question is from gmurran. gmurran asks via twitter: @bengreenfield: Which is better Glucosamine vs. Sulfate for athletes? Ben answers: So let me start by noting that theres really no studies that have compared glucosamine chondroitin and a sulfur based anti-inflammatory compound like MSM or DMSO, those are the two most popular, when it comes to athletes. Really there havent been any direct comparisons that Im aware of between those two supplements in the population as a whole and the glucosamine chondroitin basically its made of glucosamine which is an amino sugar and chondroitin which is a carbohydrate and the glucosamine part of it is supposed to be able to or the hypothesis is that you get increased stimulation of cartilage cells because that amino sugar assists in helping to synthesize what are called glycoso aminal glycans or proteo glycans and the chondroitin is a carbohydrate and thats supposed to help promote water

2. retention, elasticity and also to inhibit some of the enzymes that break down cartilage. Glucosamine, you typically get that from shellfish, chondroitin usually from cow cartilage sometimes from chicken cartilage and there have been studies that have been done on glucosamine chondroitin. Theyre better known for a while. The bigger studies were funded by the National Institute of Health done on multi- thousand patients on a long term basis and really found no significant effect in terms of reduction of pain or symptomatic relief when comparing glucosamine chondroitin versus a placebo. There have been a couple of other long-term follow up studies. Same thing, no real proof that the stuff works. Of course if you have a shellfish allergy youre going to want to avoid glucosamine in the first place. However, I personally do have glucosamine chondroitin on hand. Now the stuff that I have is called CapraFlex and its got some other enzymes and herbal anti-inflammatories in it. its got cherry juice, ginger, turmeric, things like that in it as well as protolytic enzymes which can help to control inflammation and so I suspect that the reason I feel that stuff is maybe not due to the glucosamine chondroitin but due to some of the other things that are in that particular supplement. However if you find a glucosamine chondroitin supplement and youve got knee pain, joint pain and you want to try it out, thats the type of stuff that this is marketed for and indicated for. Thats the relief of arthritic type of symptoms or chronic pain or even acute pain, in some cases from joint wear and tear. MSM is a little bit different. The idea with MSM is that its supposed to improve your cell membrane permeability, your cell membranes they essentially have kind of a fatty acid on one side and a sulfur containing amino compound on the other side and by adding MSM whether via topical or oral form or adding an anti- inflammatory sulfur compound to an area then the idea is that you can improve cell permeability and you can help with some of the removal of the byproducts of inflammation, improve oxygen and nutrient delivery to the tissue, etc. Same thing, not a lot of studies that show much effect of MSM. Theres been a couple of smaller studies and really, there isnt a ton of evidence that the stuff actually works and furthermore, kind of if you have shellfish allergy, you should avoid glucosamine. If you have a sulfur allergy, youll of course want to be careful with these sulfur based compounds. But again Ive had some athletes, I personally havent but Ive had some athletes that I coach use a topical MSM or DMSO which are both sulfur containing anti-inflammatory compounds and had some success in terms of pain control 3. with those. So if you try it out and it works for you, then more power to you. But theres not a ton of evidence behind these. Also though, not a lot of risks. Not a lot of side effects, and not a ton from a safety perspective unless you have a lot of those allergies that I talked about. So worth looking into, worth trying and if it works for you, let me know. Leave a comment on the Shownotes and its also nice to hear if someone finds something that works for them, what situation it worked in, what they used and what they felt. So, the next question is interesting. It comes from Patrick. Patrick asks: Just how important is it to supplement with electrolytes during exercise? A recent Tri-Talk episode made some pretty bold claims about the need to take in salts during exercise; more appropriately the lack of need in most situations. The podcast went on to say that the only reason one would put such a premium on taking in salts while exercising is if he or she knows from personal experience that salt either helps or doesnt hurt. What is your take on the issue? Ben answers: I heard that episode and that episode was about muscle cramping. Essentially David Warden whos the host of that podcast Ive co-hosted that podcast before, guest hosted that podcast. He was laying out all the different reasons that muscle cramping might occur. So for example, he put up lack of fitness so if youre out racing in competition in the heat of battle so to speak, you might be subjecting your muscles to greater contracture than they would experience under training conditions. Just because of adrenaline and competition and so you might experience a cramping due to lack of fitness in a situation like that. He brought up a possibility of lack of flexibility. Really not any research behind that but the idea that maybe if muscle doesnt have enough elasticity or enough flexibility or if youve got a lot fascial adhesions, knots and things of that nature that a muscle might be more prone to cramp. And then he brought up hydration and electrolytes. And he did make some interesting points and specifically cited a couple of studies. One that was done on Ironman athletes that really didnt show an association between electrolyte and water intake and improved performance or a reduction of cramping. As a matter of fact, one of the studies that was done in medicine and science and sports and exercise in 2005 that he cited took 20 Ironman athletes and they divided them into those who had muscle cramps and those who didnt during an entire Ironman triathlon and the group who did cramp actually was more dehydrated. They lost more body mass 4. through water loss than the group that did cramp and the group that did not cramp took on less potassium and magnesium electrolyte supplementation than the cramping group. And so they suggested its possible that having too much or too many electrolytes and too much fluid could actually aggravate muscle cramps rather than getting rid of muscle cramps. And one of the ideas behind this of course is that your body is pretty good at maintaining balance or homeostasis. So as you lose water, the concentration of electrolytes that you have available to your muscles to maintain that proper muscle conductants across their membranes will actually stay pretty much the same assuming you have enough storage electrolytes or even extra electrolytes coming in to a limited extent and taking in too much fluid will decrease that concentration and taking in too many electrolytes will increase that concentration to a detrimental effect. So, interestingly David went on to bring up a study that was titled Reflex Inhibition of Electrically Induced Muscle Cramps in Hypo Hydrated Humans. And thats a heck of a title, but basically what this study looked at was whether or not ingesting small amounts of pickle juice could reverse a cramp within about 30 seconds of ingestion if folks were dehydrated in a similar fashion that they would be during an endurance event and what they found was that the ingestion of pickle juice compared to a deionized water placebo could inhibit those muscle cramps in people. And the interesting thing about this study is that 30 seconds is too fast for your electrolyte balance to be restored. Or for your body fluid balance to be restored. And so the researchers in this study hypothesized that what happened was the taste of that salty fluid actually caused your brain to get this signal this neurally mediated reflex that inhibits the firing of alpha motor neurons which are the the alpha motor neurons can cause that spasmic or that cramp to stay within the muscle. And so rather than ingestion of salts actually working in physiological electrical fashion, its possible that it could be actually a neural inhibition of the spasming or the cramping. This is really interesting because Ive personally broken up a salt capsule during a cramping session i