Today’s episode is with the one and only Ben Greenfield, the bossman of biohacking and New York Times Bestselling author of several books, including his latest work, Boundless, which is a delicious buffet of techniques and tricks for optimizing your mind, body, and spirit.
And with most of us huddled up in our homes with our families, only venturing out for necessities like groceries and toilet paper, what better subjects to talk about in this moment than immunity, longevity, and . . . sex!
In this episode, Ben and I chat about . . .
- How specific breathing techniques and nasal breathing can decrease stress and improve your sleep
- Ways you can support your immune system
- The benefits of cold exposure
- How “sex salad” and oxytocin can enhance your drive and satisfaction
- “Doomsday” prepping and using newly found pandemic time productively
- And more . . .
So, if you want to live a longer, healthier life while avoiding disease and optimizing your brain, listen to this episode!
9:40 – What forms of breath work do you discuss in your new book?
13:29 – How can you train yourself to breath through your nose when you sleep?
17:44 – How can you boost your immune system?
37:53 – How can you increase satisfaction while having sex?
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hello, and welcome to a new episode of Muscle for Life. It’s a me Mike Matthews, your pandemic pal. Your Corona chum, your quarantine. Um, quixote. And this time around I have the one and only big boss of biohacking, Ben Greenfield. Back on the podcast, if you’re not familiar with Ben, he is a New York Times bestselling author of several books, including his latest one, boundless, which is a delicious buffet, a smorgasbord of techniques and tricks for optimizing your body.
Mind and spirit, and Ben is the host of the wildly popular Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast, which is often sitting in the number one spot over at iTunes in the health and fitness category. I think that’s what it’s called. Maybe it’s just the fitness category. Anyway, what with most of us huddled up right now socially, Stranded steadily, sanitized, and maybe a slightly stir crazy thanks to the rona, which is not merely another flu.
As many not doctors on, uh, delete your Instagram would have you believe. We have a lot of time on our hands right now to talk about things and what better to talk about right now. Then immunity, longevity and sex, and that’s what Ben and I chat about on this episode. We talk about how you can use breathing techniques and nasal breathing in particular to decrease stress and even improve your sleep.
Several ways you can support your immune system. Some of the benefits of cold exposure. Ben’s secret sex salad recipe that can, uh, enhance your performance and satisfaction, I guess you could say. We also talk about doomsday prepping and using a lot of this newly found pandemic time productively and more.
I. And quickly before we get into it, I want to tell you about a charity sale that’s going on right now [email protected]. So here’s what I am doing. I have put my bestselling health and vitality supplements on sale for 15% off. So that’s my multivitamin, my green supplement, my fish oil, my joint supplement, my sleep supplement, all on sale for 15% off, and I’m going to donate 20% of this.
Week’s profits to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which is supporting healthcare workers, quarantined, and especially vulnerable individuals. So again, that is legion athletics.com and our Health and Vitality supplements are on sale for 15% off. And the more stuff we sell, the more we are going to donate because I’m gonna be giving 20% of this week’s profits to a charity that is helping virus first responders and people who are most negatively impacted by this situation.
Mr. Greenfield, it’s been a while, man. Thanks for making this work. I know that we got our schedules mixed up a couple times, but here we are.
Ben: It’s been too long, man. I’m just glad you’re alive. You’re in DC right?
Mike: Yeah, yeah. Outside of DC in, uh, Northern Virginia. The streets, the hard streets.
Ben: Are there riots and grocery stores being depleted of toilet paper and elderly people running for quarantine and everything else that’s going on out here?
Mike: Lots of scary, balding, middle-aged men and, uh, their meek wives, uh, peering out of their windows of their homes. Yes,
Ben: I. Yeah. Lots of fear. Lots of fear. I’m actually out walking right now. I heard that ultraviolet might potentially just kill off Coronavirus. Just nuke it. So I’m just getting toasted going out in the sunshine as much as I can. That’s my remedy.
Mike: You’re just gonna get severe sunburns every day. Then you know you’re gonna be corona free. That plus toilet paper. I mean, come on, dude
Ben: can answer a few melanomas. Well, yeah, that’s the other thing is I have to go out in the sunshine ’cause I need to go out and hunt now for any plant-based alternatives to toilet paper.
I can find, I hear lamb’s wool might work. There’s another one, I think it’s called mullen plantain leaf. So I’m just gonna start going out with like big plastic garbage bags and finding anything I can find to wipe my ass. That’s an. Toilet paper if you can
Mike: find something nicer, you know, that might have more value per strip than money soon, you know?
Ben: Yeah, well I mean I’ve got a lot of stinging metal ’cause there’s whitetailed deer all over my property and they just go ape nuts over that shit. So I don’t know how well it worked to wipe one’s ass. Might create a little razor blade on the anus effect. But all joking aside, that metal that grows all over my property, I love to go out and learn about plants and forage plants and you know, sprout.
I make all sorts of recipes in the kitchen from what I find outside, and man, this pesto I make out of the wild metal is absolutely amazing. I just go get big bags of that, bring it back and blend it up with some good extra virgin olive oil, some Parmesan cheese, some walnuts or some pine nuts, a little bit of salt, a little bit of black.
Pepper. There’s some pretty cool recipes I can make regardless of whether or not I decide to use this toilet paper. So I’m happy either way.
Mike: I’m jealous that you’re kind of off the grid, you know? Check this out. A year ago or so, I was talking to my dad and my wife and I was saying, I was like, you know, it would be cool to have a farm property that’s like full prepper mode, ready to go off the grid where you can.
Grow your own food and hunt. I wouldn’t wanna live there full-time per se, but it’d be nice to have it. I live in Virginia, Northern Virginia. You go into the state, you can get that for not as much money as you might think. And they laughed at me. I was actually telling my dad, I was like, we could go in on it half, half, and we could just.
Have it. I’m just that kind of person where I go, it seems like everything is just going along fine and it’s gonna be like that forever. But a lot of the systems that we rely on for our comfy life are pretty precarious, and we’re seeing that now and for really an inconsequential amount of money or take on an inconsequential financial burden.
You know, I have two kids, my parents, both of them are still here. I have a brother. I have a brother-in-law. It might not be a bad idea to have that. They laugh at me. Now I’m in.
Ben: I was actually talking about this with my boys last night. I have twin boys and I was telling them, look, this whole coronavirus thing is the sickness that’ll blast through and hopefully we get herd immunity or develop a decent vaccine for it, and the people will realize what defenses need to be shored up.
People might realize that they actually do need to have more food in stock or, you know, speak of the devil toilet paper. You know, like companies might realize they need to do a better job setting up their employees with the opportunity to be able to efficiently work remotely or virtually. I think if anything, some blessings will come out of this
Mike: or maybe pay more attention to your health.
Even if more people now are like, you know what, I really want to get healthy.
Ben: Right. You might actually want to start washing your hands for 20 seconds, or what I learned is the equivalent of seeing Happy Birthday twice. People hopefully are just gonna become healthier as a society on a whole, in terms of their immune systems.
And also just from a pure preparation standpoint, be a little bit more well equipped to deal with something that could actually be more serious than something like Coronavirus, like let’s say a solar flare, for example, that knocks out all the electricity and bones and communication services. I mean, that’s the type of epidemic that I think would be a lot more serious.
Than a virus. Based on that, I think it’s not only worth stocking up on stuff, but also you mentioned land can be, and I realize for some people, this might sound like a couple of rich ERs talking about buying land, but Idaho for example, right across the border from me, there’s so much acres, it’s dirt cheap over there.
Like I live on 10 acres in Washington state. I bought 10 acres for $90,000. You get that? You get a home loan, which is of course dirt cheap right now with what the feds have done with interest rates, you can get set up for not a whole lot. And then you know from there, in terms of the information out there that teaches you how to do everything from hunt to plant forage.
This week alone, I’m learning a lot of new things, just being stuck at home with a little extra time on my hands. But I figured out this whole idea of sprouting. I had no clue how many nutrients you could unlock an alf. Fast, you can sprout seeds. So I’ve got like alfalfa, I’ve got red clover, I’ve got broccoli sprouts.
My wife is doing microgreens. I mean, she’s a big green thumb gardener. Anyways, I’m making a ton of different like yogurts and ferment and I mean, there’s so much you can do even without a garden. Like this stuff is not rocket science, even if you don’t have a bunch of land. I’m actually just devouring a bunch of books on sprouting right now.
You know, I’m sure the carnivore folks would go nuts over this because of all the plant defense mechanisms. Sulfur Ahan, I’m probably consuming, but incredibly nutrient.
Mike: The anti, the anti-cancer molecule. That one?
Ben: Yeah, that one. Yeah. So I’ve got all these wonderful nutrient dead sprouts going. I’ve got huge batches of yogurts and ferments.
It’s kind of fun just being stuck at home, figuring out how to survive on cool shit.
Mike: Well, I mean, I like that you are occupying your time. Productively and you’re staying positive. I think that that’s a lesson that everybody can take with them. Don’t just sit and watch the news all day or read headlines all day.
That’s, I think, the worst way you can spend your time right now.
Ben: I mean, I’m sure there are a lot of people just working through their weeded supply and watching Netflix. Clicks. I’m using it as an opportunity to not only prepare just in case this goes on for a long time, learning a lot of new food preparation techniques that are relatively inexpensive and you know, affordable.
Should grocery stores not really stay stocked up, but also learning new songs on the guitar or the ukulele. I got a hand pan. I’m messing around with a lot more quality time with my boys. I decided to use all this time at home that I’m with them to teach them some really cool breath work tactics. So they’re learning like Wim Haw.
An intermittent hypoxia and holotropic breath work. And so every single day I’m taking them into our little infrared sauna and just teaching them how to play with their prana, how to play with their breath, which is actually something I wish I’d have learned to do when I was a kid. Like, learn how to activate your sympathetic or your parasympathetic nervous system without.
Drugs or medicines or supplements, just using your breath. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with that alone.
Mike: Let’s what we talk about in your new book, right, boundless, which you said is doing really well. Yeah. It seems to be doing fantastically on Amazon.
Ben: I get into this in the book quite a bit, like all these different forms of breath work that can be used for a variety of different kind of physiological functions.
Like, you know, there’s this idea that I talk about in the longevity chapter of c o two tolerance. Like if you look at a lot of long-lived speciess, like the bowhead whale or the naked mo rat for example, they actually appear to have much higher c O two tolerant than average. And what that means is they’re retaining c O two, which we know in physiology based on something called the bore effect.
If you have simultaneously elevated levels of c o two and oxygen, oxygen more readily dissociate. Into tissue from the bloodstream. And so if you, for example, just learn something as simple as exhaling for twice as long as you inhale, you’re not only maintaining higher levels of c o two, but when you exhale for a long period of time, that actually based on the way the vagus nerve response to that, Parasympathetic nervous system function.
So your heart rate drops, your heart rate variability goes up, your stress levels decrease, your cortisol levels decrease. It’s a very simple method to learn. Like you can literally just go for a walk like I am right now and say, okay, I’m gonna breathe in for 10 steps and then for 20 steps I’m gonna breathe out.
Right? And, and by doing so, you can trade c o two tolerance. Another way that you can kind of play with breath work is to induce the release of something called h i s Hypoxia Inducible Factor. And that’s the, uh, inter. In the hypoxic training where you might breathe like into out 2, 3, 4, into out 2, 3, 4, and you do that for like two or three minutes.
Then you finish with a full exhale. You hold that for as long as you can, and you go through a few rounds of that. You know, you can do 12 minutes, you do 20 minutes. You know, if you want to do something more like, uh, holotropic. Breath work where you get the D M T release that feels like you’re on L S V.
You can do that for a full hour and there’s actually some pretty cool physiological effects that occur from that as well. You know, the other thing I talk about in the book is nasal breathing, right? Just this idea that when you breathe through your nose, not only do you better oxygenate the air, you heat the air, it passes through the turbines in the nasal cavity, and that produces more nitric oxide.
It forces you to breathe diaphragmatically rather than the shallow chest breathing that activates some of the barrel receptors in the chest That can cause a cortisol response. And teaching yourself how to, even during like a hard exercise session, engage in nasal breathing versus mouth breathing, you actually get a lot better oxygenation and a higher level of nitric oxide produce.
And the other thing that’s really interesting, I get into this a little bit in the chapter on symmetry and beauty, is the concept of breathing through your mouth constantly. Which is one reason why, what I think is kind of a silly idea of like mouth taping as you’re going to sleep has become popular is that when you’re breathe into your mouth constantly, it can actually change the shape of the jaw.
Mm-hmm. And cause some crowding in the teeth, it can disrupt some sleep cycles. And so learning how to breathe nasally when you sleep, when you’re at work, when you’re stressed, et cetera, it’s actually a pretty cool concept. There’s kind of this idea that congestion. Brought on by food intolerances, food allergies, you know, kids who might be consuming hefty amounts of, let’s say commercial dairy, or, you know, high, high amounts of processed or packaged foods that it might cause some amount of congestion that’s forcing kids to breathe through their mouth and.
If you can reverse that and begin nasal breathing, you can actually do everything from like, you know, eliminate the crowding of teeth to causing better formation of the structure of the jaw. Better posture, things like nasal breathing, things like c o two tolerance training, intermittent hypoxic training.
There are so many cool things that you can do. With breath work. It’s an amazing tool. And again, like being stuck at home with my kids and able to just teach them every day, some of these more advanced breath work techniques, I think is gonna give them a pretty good tool they can use for the rest of their lives.
Mike: Yeah, that’s interesting. As far as you mentioned to learn how to breathe through your nose when you sleep, I’m assuming that’s just getting into the habit of breathing through your nose generally, and then it transfers to your sleep? Or is there some other specific
Ben: Uh, see that’s my approach, like I’m doing kettlebell training right now.
Three days ago, because I was stuck at home. I was supposed to fly down to Austin to pass my Russian kettlebell certification and had to like video it in. Instead, I was doing my Russian kettlebell snatch test. A big part of my training for the kettlebell cert involved. A lot of, you know, get up, swings, snatches, single arm swings, goblet squats, queens, and a lot of that was interspersed.
I do a lot of kind of concurrent strength and endurance training. It’s just leftover from my triathlon competition and obstacle course racing days. That’s just like, A flavor of training I really enjoy is training strength and endurance simultaneously. And because of that, a lot of times during a workout you’re a little bit gassed and if you can train yourself under that kind of stress to continue to breathe through your nose, and then when you are, say, at work, you know, stressed out from the emails.
Flying out from your inbox or whatever. You can also continue to breathe through your nose or even use some kind of a self quantification device that detects stress and reminds you, you know, there are some really good tools out there. Like one new one is called the Leaf. You just kind of put it over your ribcage.
It’s essentially very similar to an E C G. And so it, it’s monitoring your heart rate and your heart’s electrical signal, and then it starts to gently vibrate. As soon as your H R V drops, one of the first things that you do is you start breathing through your nose and after about a minute or so it’ll stop vibrating ’cause your H R V goes back up again.
And so if you’re using tools like that or strategies like that to learn how to breathe through your nose, even when you’re in a state of sympathetic stress, then I think you just kind of do it naturally as you fall asleep at night. But at the same time, you know, like on Shark Tank for example, mark Cuban invested in that company, saw me fix.
Which has like these mouth taping strips that you put on your mouth to force yourself to breathe through your nose when you sleep, and it may be for people who just can’t seem to crack the code on nasal breathing, that kind of forced nasal breathing might be effective. The company sent me a couple boxes and I tried it out for a few nights, but.
You know, as I’m falling asleep, my wife and I chat in bed and that’s our time to just like catch up and talk to each other. And you know, I’ve got this mouth tape over my mouth and I’m trying to figure out when to put it on. And you know, a lot of times we’d literally just like fall asleep as we’re talking.
So for me it didn’t work. But I think that mouth taping could work for some people who wanna make sure that their nasal breathing while they’re asleep too. As a last resort maybe. Yeah, and I mean, if you’re concerned about. Sleep apnea, you can pretty easily get one of those pulse oximeters off of Amazon.
That’ll just track pulse oximetry the entire night while you’re asleep. And if you look at your data in the morning and you’ve got multiple forays into like, you know, 70 to 80% or lower ox oxygenation levels, it’s probably a pretty good sign. You’ve got some kind of a sleep apnea issue going on and. You know, learning how to nasal breathe as you’re asleep can often be just as effective as getting one of those custom mouthpieces or a C P A machine that would normally be used to fix an issue like that.
Sometimes it can be as simple as just mouth taping and nasal breathing, so you know, you could do a little self quantification and decide how high in the totem pole you’d wanna put something, like a mouth tape for sleep. I think what you just talked about is fine, like teach yourself how to nasal breath during the day.
And a lot of times, at least I found this for me, from personal experience, you’ll kind of naturally begin to breathe through your nose while you’re asleep too.
Mike: I want to tell you about a charity sale that’s going on right now [email protected]. So here’s what I am doing. I have put my bestselling health and vitality supplements on sale for 15% off. So that’s my multivitamin, my green supplement, my fish oil, my joint supplement, my sleep supplement, all on sale for 15% off.
And I’m going to donate 20% of this week’s profits to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which is supporting healthcare workers, quarantined, and especially vulnerable individuals. So again, that is legion athletics.com and our health and vitality supplements are on sale for 15% off. And the more stuff we sell, the more we are going to donate, because I’m gonna be giving 20% of this week’s profits to a charity that is helping virus first responders and people who are.
Most negatively impacted by this situation. Let’s talk about immunity. It’s particularly relevant right now and it’s something that I’m getting asked a fair amount about, and I have an article I wrote some time ago on it. I’m updating it though, but I’ll open this with saying, it’s interesting how the word boost is kind of stigmatized here.
So if you say that something boosts the immune system, some people will say immediately that you’re a whack. I actually didn’t understand it at first. I was like, wait a minute, so riddle me this, okay, I’m gonna restrict my sleep to four hours per night. For the next week, and then I’m gonna sleep eight hours a night for the next week.
Did I just boost my immune system? Like Yeah, that’s exactly what’s gonna happen. I mean, the dictionary definition to improve, to enhance the activity of if I do something that impairs my immune system and then I do something that is good for it and it boosts it. Okay, so we agree on that. Do you agree that the weight of the available evidence suggests that if you eat a clove or two of raw garlic every day, it.
Can quite literally boost your immune system, enhance NK cell activity, T cell activity, and then somebody will go, oh, well no, but it could support or assist the immune system. And so I’ve had this discussion with a couple people. I’m like, oh, so now we’re just playing semantic games. I don’t get it. But then what I realized is, quote unquote immune boosting, I guess that well has been poisoned by scammers just selling like vitamin C and lysine pills or something.
So that’s interesting that there’s good evidence. That there are behavioral things you can do. There are some foods that you can eat. There are even some supplements you can take that probably will enhance your immunity. And of course, it’s not a replacement for just basic good living habits, but especially in a time like this, if you could add some extra little things to your regimen and bolster strength and support, assist, boost, whatever word you want to use, your immune system, why not do it?
What are your thoughts?
Ben: Yeah, I agree. A big part of that’s just semantics. I mean, you could say the same thing about training, right? Like blood flow restriction straps, right? Like if you could say that that’s a workout boost, if you wore them during any workout that you normally do, you might get a little bit better satellite cell proliferation and a better growth hormone response post-training when you train with B F R straps versus without.
And sure, those could be marketed as like, I don’t know, a workout boosting device or, You could just also classify it as blood.
Mike: An alternative method. Yeah. Especially, right? If you want to use lighter weights. I think that’s one of the big benefits, right?
Ben: Yeah. By the way, to jump in there, I have a lot of physicians who I talk with, and many of them are actually being careful with very high intensity interval training and very inflammatory training at this time, just because we know that sub coronavirus can cause what’s called like an inflammatory storm or a pretty pronounced cytokine response.
And theoretically, if you’ve already got a bunch of inflammation from, let’s say, you. Anything from, you know, lack of sleep like you just outlined to excess exercise or over training, it may aggravate the issue. And we also know that, you know, in somebody who’s, let’s say, run a marathon, they actually have a suppressed immune response for like two or three weeks after running a marathon’s where a lot of people will get the sniffles or get sick, you know, after they do an Iron Man or a marathon or something like that.
So this idea of, you know, smartly programmed training in a situation in which. You might be at risk of having a compromised immune system. I think it’s smart. I’ve actually been doing speak of the Devil a little bit more B F R training because it appears, and I talked about this on a recent podcast, about some research that shows that you still get that satellite cell response and mitochondrial proliferation, but at lower levels of inflammation.
So yeah. Rather than me going out and doing like, you know, German volume training or something that might cause a pretty pronounced inflammatory response, I can instead use B F R lightweight, elastic bands, et cetera, and still get a training response with less inflammation. So I’ve actually personally been doing a lot more body weight training, B F R training, long walks in the sunshine, you know, some sauna, some cold water soaks, you know, stuff like that just to make sure I’m not over training at the same time that there’s a virus going around.
You know, I’m just trying to be smart about that. But as far as immune system, well, Heck, let’s just piss people off and call ’em boosters because yeah, there’s some stuff that seems to be pretty prudent. There’s other stuff that’s honestly kind of marketed as an immune system booster that I think people should be careful with because it appears that, you know, for this particular issue at the time that we’re talking coronavirus, you know, one of the ways that it can kind of do damage is by interacting with some of these.
Angiotensin receptors in lung tissue, and there are certain things that can actually increase sensitivity to that, that are common immune boosters, like B ProPlus for example. A lot of people will use that to protect themselves from airborne pathogens, and it appears to have some kind of antiviral and antibacterial effect, but it also seems to increase sensitivity on those ACE receptors.
That would be an example of an immune booster that for this particular issue, you might want to avoid. There’s also some evidence that high dose vitamin D and high dose vitamin A. Another thing that a lot of people are doing or have heard are good for immune boosting may actually do the same thing, make the lungs more susceptible to damage from something like the coronavirus.
Mike: Not to mention if we’re talking about retinol, high dose vitamin A is not a good idea, just generally.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. I mean, any of the fat liable vitamins can induce toxicity pretty easily. And you know, some of that can depend on your excretion rates, and that’s something you’d wanna consider on a case by case basis.
Mike: Elderberry as well. Right. I’m sure you saw the research estimate, elder, what are your thoughts on that?
Ben: Yeah, elderberry. Elderberry may trigger a little bit of a cytokine response that could contribute to that. I’m not convinced that as much of an issue as much as the sensitivity of the ace receptors and lung tissue, but elderberry just because it’s questionable and there are good alternatives to it, that’s another one.
Not doing the high dose vitamin D, high dose vitamin A. I’m not doing B propolis. I’m not doing elderberry. Not that I wouldn’t use those in certain situations to help my immune system, but in this particular situation, I’m not, A few things I am doing, I am using vitamin C and lysine. You know, even if, you know folks aren’t on the Linus polling bandwagon, you know, as a water soluble vitamin, that’s not that harmful.
I’m, it’s at. Present some of the same issues and some of those other things I talked about.
Mike: Just to clarify if anybody’s wondering my comment on vitamin C, I mean, you’re familiar with this research in athletes, it shows that a gram per day can increase the incidence of cold and help recovery. So I’ve taken a gram of vitamin C a day for some time and it does seem to have a mild immune.
Enhancing or immune boosting effect. What I don’t like though is the immune products that are out there that are just vitamin C and lysine. Maybe a little bit of zinc, maybe like a proprietary blend of a few other things that either are hit and miss, like elderberry or don’t do much of anything like probiotics, especially if they’re just dead.
Crap pro probiotics and then over promise and oversell the product as something that is going to supercharge your immune system. And if you’re around sick people don’t even worry about it. Just swallow these pills. And so it seems like a lot of people immediately when they hear immune boosting, they think, oh, one of those people.
Ben: But I can tell you probably the top three things that I’m doing, I’m a big fan of glutathione and acetylcysteine and in particular, considering the lung tissue doesn’t actually have a lot of antioxidant activity in and of itself. And this is something that. Medicine docs have used for things like mold and mycotoxins and biofilm that build up in nasal cavities and lung tissue for a long time.
But this idea of actually breathing or using like a nasal spray glutathione and an acetyl cysteine, I think it’s smart. And this time. And so what I did was I bought, I think it was like 40 bucks on Amazon a nebulizer, which is a little mask that you wear. And you know, you can nebulize essential oils, you can nebulize glutathione, you can nebulize n-acetyl cysteine.
So I’ve got liquid glutathione and liquid N-acetyl cysteine, and I actually use a little bit of colloidal silver as well. And for about 20 minutes while I’m just standing in front of my computer, replying to emails during the day, I actually breathe in via nebulizer, glutathione, and ende cysteine. I just alternate between one deep breath in through the nose.
One deep breath in through the mouth. And that in particular targeted towards the respiratory passages that this virus seems to actually be most targeted towards, I think is a good idea. And it’s not that expensive to nebulize glutathione and end acetylcysteine. So that’s one that I’ve been doing on a daily basis.
Another one, and this is a little bit more involved and might be kind of eh for some people, but I’m not opposed to the use of ozone. It seems to have pretty good antiviral activity. So I actually have an ozone generator machine, and I’m doing just a quick rectal insufflation of ozone, which is the quickest way to get in the bloodstream.
You know, I learned this tactic from a really good doctor down in California named Dr. Matthew Cook, who does a lot of ozone dialysis on his patients for everything from Lyme to mold to mycotoxins, and now he’s using it for a lot of his patients for these viral issues. And so I have a ho ozone machine and I’m doing, uh, basically rectal ozone.
Mike: So how are you getting it in your ass? What are the mechanics here?
Ben: Fit the plastic ozone bag over the outlet port on the ozone machine. It fills it with ozone and you literally just put it in your ass, squeeze it, and that you don’t have to hold or anything. It gets in your bloodstream within about 20 seconds.
And then that’s it.
Mike: That to the panic buying list, run to Amazon.
Ben: Grab your ozone machine and your ozone insufflation bags. So I’ve been doing that. And then the last thing is just because I think it has such a good immunomodulatory effect and it’s just beneficial for strengthening the immune system anyways, is I’ve been doing breath work and cold, like about three rounds of that kind of Wim hawk breath work technique.
I’ve got a really nice cold tub right outside my office. It’s one of those done for you units and just stay super cold. Like I gotta break through the ice. I have one of those maces next to the bath, so I use the mace to break up the ice. Do about three rounds of Wim Hop. Breath work and get, you know, pretty hypoxic, get in the ice, hang out in there for about five to 10 minutes.
And I think that’s actually really good for the immune system. And granted it’s anecdotal, but there’s even, you know, guys like, you know, Wim H who had a, I think it was e coli that he actually had himself injected with or that he consumed and he was able to show that. He was able to modulate his immune response to that just using cold and breath work.
So I’ve been doing that as well.
Mike: I remember reading some papers on winter swimming, so like my takeaway when I was doing some research on cold showers, which I actually have been doing for a couple years now, and I don’t think that I’m getting much health benefit. Sad of it at all because it’s not long enough.
You know, it’s a couple minutes. I live in Virginia, so the water actually is pretty ice cold even still right now, even though the temperatures are heating up. But my takeaways from the research I did was the minimum of what you’re doing, let’s say it’s five or 10 minutes and it’s frequent and it’s exposure all the way up to your neck, or if you are into winter swimming where people are just.
Out there for hours, sometimes swimming around in ice cold water, that you may be able to strengthen your immune system through that alone. So I’d say there’s probably some evidence,
Ben: yeah, there’s a lot of studies on cold thermogenesis or cold exposure and a strength and immune system response in excess.
Some of the studies that show a really large drop in muscle core temp, it’s kinda like exercise and what I mentioned about, you know, a marathon or an Ironman tri. Law on actually suppressing the immune system and excess cold can do that as well. But brief, frequent bouts of cold exposure actually appear to be pretty good for the immune system.
And in the recovery chapter of the book, I kind of tackle this a little bit because there’s also the anti-icing, anti cold crowd who just think it blunts the hormetic response to exercise so significantly that it should be avoided. But if you actually look at the blunting of things like inflammation, satellite cell response, et cetera, most of that.
Peaks within one to two hours after you finish the workout. So if you’re timing your cold exposure to not be acute, and they’ve actually compared immediate post-workout, 30 minutes post-workout, an hour post-workout. And what they found is that once you get an hour after the workout, you actually don’t see that same blunting of the hormetic response as you do if the cold takes place, immediate post-workout.
So, You could argue the same thing for like antioxidant consumption, right? Which would also blunt the hormetic response. You’d want to time that at least an hour out from the workout.
Mike: I wait a few hours before taking the vitamin C.
Ben: Exactly. I wait until the evening just because it appears that deep sleep is enhanced by a drop in core temperature Anyways, so I like to get cold in the evening, usually before dinner, so you get the enhanced insulin sensitivity, the upregulation of Glu four transporters, the decrease in core temps that helps you to sleep later on.
I’m a fan of actually, you know, if you’re doing a morning workout, just saving the cold. Until the evening. But then the other thing is that the drop in muscle temperature is something like eight to 10 degrees to actually get yourself to the point where you’re really significantly blunting a hormetic response.
And if you look at, let’s say like a cryotherapy chamber, and I think the gold standard time in one of those is like three and a half minutes. The actual Muscle Core temp drop after like a crowd therapy session is about one and a half degrees max. So you’re not getting anywhere near the drop in core temp that you’d get from like what they might be doing in a football locker room.
You know, a 10 to 15 minute ice cold soak, post scrimmage or post practice or post-workout.
Mike: And that’s reflected in research too, that that compares cryo. To the ice baths. Right. And if I remember correctly, cryo wasn’t nearly as effective for this reason.
Ben: Right, exactly. But even an ice bath, you gotta be in there for 10 plus minutes to actually drop the temperature low enough to significantly blunt the hormetic response.
So even then, you gotta be in cold for quite a while. To a pretty significant extent at a really low temperature to cause some of these effects that everybody is concerned about. So I play it safe and just wait, and I don’t do any cold or antioxidants for at least an hour after the workout, and I try to wait a few hours and it really only turns into an issue if you’re staying in there a really long time and getting significantly cold.
So I think people worry about that whole blunting of a hormetic response to exercise with cold too much. Like it’s too,
Mike: are you trying to get more jacked at this point? Do you care whether you gain a little bit less muscle from your workouts or not? I mean, I can say no, I don’t because in my case, I. I know you stay a bit leaner than I do generally, and I’m a bit bigger than you are.
I carry on a little bit more muscle, but naturally this is about it that I’ll ever get. Like the only way to really get much bigger or stronger than where I’m at now would be drugs, and I don’t wanna do that. So people should keep that in mind too, like if you like, Doing the ice bath and you already are basically tapped out in terms of what you’re gonna get out of weightlifting.
No matter how hard you train, no matter how you periodize your training, no matter how much work on the programming, you’re only gonna get so far. I think there’s also something to be said for the context. That’s also why I’m not too concerned. Yeah, I take a gram of vitamin C per day because I don’t like getting sick, and even though I do time it, if that does impair my post-workout recovery to a small degree.
I’m not concerned. I don’t live or die by my power lifting total or like my biceps peak or something.
Ben: Yep, that’s a good point. Or even just from a societal standpoint, right? If your hard morning workout leaves you pitting out at the office and stinky all day long and kind of like annoyingly hot to the extent that you’re aggravated, dude, just go take a long cold shower after your morning workout unless you’re being paid to have that extra slab of muscle.
Mike: Exactly. What are your thoughts on, and this is something I’ve been asked quite. On calorie intake right now and how that can affect the immune system?
Ben: Well, again, dose response, right? We know that excess fasting is something that can be stressful and that can suppress the immune system, whereas, you know, brief bouts of fasting or compress feeding windows or longer periods of time between meals may actually suppress inflammation a little bit.
So I’m not doing any long fat, which I’m not a fan of anyways. I just don’t enjoy. You know, three to five day water fast. I think that in active individuals, probably the majority of the people who listen to yours or my podcast this, this whole idea of excess fasting, if you’re already achieving autophagy through things like cold heat, exercise and active lifestyle, sleeping enough or hermetic stressors from, you know, like plants and herbs and spices, et cetera.
Arguably, you may not need to fast as much as has become popular of late. For me personally, I do an overnight 12 to 16 hour intermittent fast just about every day of the year anyways, and I enjoy that. I don’t usually even get hungry anyways till about I. At least 9:00 AM in the morning and usually close to like 10, 10 30.
So you know, I’m just doing what I do anyways, which is a 12 to 16 hour intermittent fast. And aside from that, I’m always careful with my consumption of, you know, a cellular carbohydrate or processed carbohydrate. I’m always extremely cognizant, even more than carbohydrates, because I think those are over vilified as well.
I’m much more careful with my consumption of inflammatory seed oils, you know, like canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil. I’m. More careful with that. And it’s actually pretty easy being stuck at home because really most of my exposure to those type of oils comes when I’m going out to restaurants or when I’m traveling through airports, you know, and eating packaged food, et cetera.
So just being really careful with mitigation of vegetable oils and a lot of glycemic variability, I think is smart anyways, but I’m cognizant of that. And as far as the fasting goes, I’m keeping up. The 12 to 16 hour intermittent fast. I think that excess fasting in this scenario is again, gonna be one of those things that could suppress the immune system response.
Whereas for men, 12 to 16 hours, for women, especially lean and active women, you know, not going much longer than about 10 to 12 hours. It’s a good anti-inflammatory strategy. This whole idea of the compressed feeding window,
Mike: and it’s easy to do and is probably natural for many people. I mean, for me, I eat dinner and that’s pretty much it.
You know, sometimes I’m eating home a little bit later, depending on work. I might eat dinner anywhere between seven and eight, I guess, and then I’m done eating. I have my first calories around, like you probably, uh, around 9, 9 30. Yeah.
Ben: The only situation and a lot of people just like to eat that way. Yeah.
The only situation which I’m actually going to start to adopt during this scenario, those longer, like 2, 3, 5 day fasts, are if we really truly run out of all toilet paper or toilet paper alternatives, I’m gonna have to figure out ways to not poop. And I think not eating might be one of the best strategies for that.
Mike: Well, you shared though some pretty unique options that you have. Uh, you’re gonna be able to forage for exotic toilet paper. Maybe that’ll be like an et. You business, you can start a side hustle if you need to.
Ben: Well, my wife was joking. She’s like, well, Ben, if you start killing the whitetailed deer on the property, we can just figure out how to use their height in the toilet paper.
So we got that as an option.
Mike: That’s true. That’s creative as well. One other point on diet and immune function is energy status. So being in a calorie deficit versus just eating maintenance or even in a surplus, what are your thoughts? A lot of people were cutting before all of this shit started to get serious.
And so they’ve been asking like, should I continue cutting?
Ben: What should I do here? I’ve seen no data on whether hypocaloric state is gonna have a significant effect on the immune system. I know that fasting, compressed feeding windows will actually downregulate inflammation and may boost unquote the immune system to a certain extent.
But as far as calorie cycling or whether or not your fasting is in the context of a hyper caloric state versus an isocaloric versus a. Caloric. I can’t say that I’ve seen anything on that related to the immune system. You know, even in folks who are, let’s say, consuming a hyper caloric diet for mass gains, I still think that compressed feeding windows are a good idea, just so you can kind of have your cake and eat it too, right?
So you have your phase of autophagy and downregulation of mTOR where you’re going for a certain period of time without eating, but assuming you’re choosing the right foods, you know, seeds and nuts, and avocados, and coconut milk and meat. You all these nutrient dense slash calorie dense foods, you can easily squeeze, you know, five to 6,000 plus calories into a eight to 12 hour compressed feeding window on two to three square meals, and kind of have your cake and eat it too, still get the fast in, get some autophagy, and then go back into a hyper chloric kind of intermittent fasting state.
Type of scenario. So I don’t know how much of an effect that’s gonna have on the immune system, though I doubt that anything except long-term hypo calorie intake is going to be that big of an issue, and that’s what I would be careful with is just, you know, anyone who’s dieting down without any refeeds at all.
That’s where I’d be careful.
Mike: Yeah, that’s exactly what I was telling them is if you’ve been cutting for a while now and you’re feeling a bit run down, this would be probably a good opportunity for a diet break. That’s the case, regardless of some new virus going around. It’s just the right way. To do it, but if you are feeling fine, if you’re just starting restricting your calories, I wouldn’t be concerned about it.
I would say do what you want to do. If you wanna take a diet break now do it. If you don’t, you feel fine, that’s probably fine too. Yeah, I agree. There are so many other things that you talk about in your book. Just for people listening. Again, the book is boundless. There is stuff on sex. Why don’t we wrap up with that?
Let’s talk about sex. That’ll be fun. I’ll turn it on a high note.
Ben: Yeah, why not? What do you wanna talk about
Mike: In this section, you’re talking about tantra. You’re talking about increasing sex drive, you’re talking about getting more satisfaction out of sex. I’ve hone in on those.
Ben: Let’s start with the free and easy stuff that’s related to something we already talked about breath work, so if you’re.
That type of intermittent hypoxic training where you might go into out to three, four into out to three four, what you can do is you can actually train yourself how to move sexual energy. This would be more from like an eastern medicine standpoint, up the chakra. So you’re starting with the root chakra and try to move it.
Up towards your head, especially for males. This is useful, but women can use it too. You can train yourself how to get into a multi-orgasmic state. You can orgasm without an ejaculate. It’s kind of like this trapping technique. It’s very well explained in a book called the multi-orgasmic male. But essentially what you do is when you breed in on that end to out to three, four, you actually contract.
To your peridium and essentially do what would be the equivalent of like a Kegel esque exercise when you breathe in. So it’s a contract on the in, and then you relax everything on the out, and then you’re in to contract out, 2, 3, 4, relax into contract, out to three, four, relax with the contraction, the relaxation being all around the.
Pelvic muscles, and then what you do is at the very, very end of that breath work cycle, you take a very deep breath in and you just pull all the energy from your perineum, from your groin and everything all the way up your magical and all the way up to the top of your head, and you suck in all your breath.
You just hold that for as long as possible. If you could train yourself how to do that during breath work, and you get right to the point where you’re orgasming during sex, you can actually keep the ejaculate in and come back an orgasm over and over and over again.
Mike: Have you. Successfully done that.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Tantric sex technique. I learned it two years ago when I was doing an article for Men’s Health on Sexual Performance and they wanted me to try it out, so I spent a month figuring out how to do it and learning it, and it’s a fantastic tool. Like I said, I’m taking my boys through breath work. They don’t know why I’m teaching them that.
Part of it right now, but they’re gonna thank me when they’re 18 and they understand how to move the sexual energy through their body. So that’s one thing you know that’s free, cheap, and easy.
Mike: I have to ask because I’m ready to start trying it myself. What does this routine look like? Like how many breaths, how many reps, how many sets?
What are we talking about?
Ben: I like a sweet spot about 12 to 20 minutes. Okay. ’cause anything longer than that, you’re just not gonna do it. You could do it every day if you’re a big meditation fan, or you can just do it two to three times a week. You’re sitting cross-legged, right? You play a little music or you just have your eyes closed or whatever.
And again, it’s just into out 2, 3, 4, into out 2, 3, 4, and text. Technically, if you really want to get the benefits of the intermittent hypoxic component, let’s say you’re doing a 12 minute cycle after you finish 12 minutes of breathing like that. And by the way, you’re getting all the benefits of meditation.
’cause this takes some focus too. You know, you’re sitting there cross legged with your eyes closed, breathing like that. At that very last breath that you take into. Then you breathe everything out, like completely empty. The lungs, drop the chin, push, push, push, push, push everything out. You hold that for as long as you can on the exhale.
After you’ve done that, you take that and you breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe everything in, and kind of at the very top of that breath, keeps sucking it in. It kind of sounds like this. Like you’re sucking through a straw. You trap everything up in the head, you’re squeezing the perineum, and you can do all that.
Mike: And the Kegels, the Kegel squeezing is on the inhales, right?
Ben: Yep. The Kegel squeezing is on the inhales. If you decide you want to experiment with your breath, I would lay down if you do this, but you can do that for like an hour. And that’s technically what holotropic breath work is. And if you do it for an hour, usually you’re doing that full exhale, followed by the inhale about every 10 minutes or so.
So you’re doing like six different cycles and you’re in a completely different universe. By the end of that less breath hold at the end of an hour. I only do this about once a month ’cause it’s very physically demanding. You feel as though you’ve dropped about a hundred micrograms of L S D. When, when you finish that last breath cycle, you’re on cloud nine.
The rest of the day, if you say like, you know, get up in the morning when the house is dark and quiet and go lay on your back and, you know, whatever place you go typically to do meditation, it’s amazing. So that’s one thing for sex. Another couple of things that I really have found interesting, at least that I talk about in the book.
I don’t know if you’ve messed around much with oxytocin, like, uh, these intranasal oxytocin sprays that you can get. Nope, not at all. Oxytocin. We release it anyways, you know, from the time we’re babies and we’re breastfeeding, you know, all the way to after we orgasm during sex. You know, a woman releases a bunch when she’s giving birth, but if it’s feel good, trust cuddly hormone, and you can actually buy intranasal, oxytocin spray.
And if you huff a little bit of that, Before sex. You want your partner to do it too. But when you have sex on a whole bunch of oxytocin, it’s amazing. Like it increases your connectedness to your partner. Everything feels better. It increases tactile sensation on the skin. So there’s a little bit better sensory awareness and you know, everything feels better.
So I always have a little bottle of, uh, intranasal oxytocin and the drawer of the fridge for those. Date nights where we really wanna, you know, amplify the sexual experience. Remember though that oxytocin is a trust hormone, so don’t huff a bunch of that stuff and then go negotiate, you know, buying a used car or whatever.
So, um, be, be careful when you use it ’cause it turns you into a cuddly little softie. Finally, anything that is a really good potent nitric oxide precursor, I’m a huge fan of that. And in the book I get into this idea of making like sex salad and. You know, you can use arugula, extra virgin olive oil, pumpkin seeds, cubed watermelon, like a nice beet, you know, throw some goat cheese in there for flavor.
And this idea of just like choosing a bunch of nitric oxide precursor rich foods and consuming those, you know, prior to a date night or prior to night, where you know you’re gonna have sex versus feel like, kind of like the four hour body old school Tim Ferriss approach was, have a fatty steak with a bunch of cholesterols from egg yolks.
’cause it’s gonna amplify your testosterone and your hormones. And I’m not opposed to that strategy for endocrine support as a practice, but all that’s gonna do is draw a bunch of blood away from the organs that you want to have blood flow to before sex. So save those meals for, you know, other times when you’re actually trying to build up your hormones and get your cholesterol up and amplify some precursors for testosterone and D H E A, et cetera.
But for hot date nights or sex nights, go with some of those lighter meals with metric oxide. You know, use the old bodybuilding trick of a little red wine and dark chocolate to increase vascularity. Same thing. You can use that for a little dessert or have that along with your sex salad. And sounds simple and stupid, but I mean, you know, in the absence of sildenafil or something like that.
And by the way, the other thing related to nitric oxide, That’s right next to my oxytocin nasal spray in the fridge is nitroglycerin cream. You don’t have to, if the idea of rectal insufflation of ozone for your immune system made you cringe, you can just apply it to your scrotum. But if you take a dab of nitroglycerin cream and your finger, stick it up your asshole so it gets absorbed super fast.
It basically gives you the effects of Viagra within about two minutes without having to time the little blue pill or anything like that. So nitroglycerin cream is actually, Pretty damn amazing in and of itself.
Mike: Fascinating. You know, I think this is something I’ve experienced myself and I hear from people who use my pre-workout and not for a shameless product plug, but because of the citruline ’cause it has, uh, eight grams of citruline per serving and a little bit over two grams of bte e.
And if you take that, even if it was my product or just. Buy them in bulk, whatever, I don’t care. But having those two ingredients in your daily regimen definitely makes a difference in terms of erection, hardness, it’s noticeable.
Ben: Oh yeah. And some of those things that don’t involve food, but they’re more like pre-workouts or nitroglycerin cream or anything like that.
You can use those two before a sauna session. And if you wanna sweat bucket sauna. If you’re using a sauna for something, like let’s say you tested high for heavy metals and you wanted to sweat a bunch out, or you just want to get hotter in the sauna, any of that same stuff that you’d use for sex if you do it before a sauna session, it’s amazing.
Like you sweat buckets and buckets. You know, some of this stuff you can use for other purposes too.
Mike: Yeah, Yomin is another one that’s good for big dick energy as the internet kids. Say,
Ben: yeah, that stuff’s not bad either.
Mike: Well, hey man, this was a great discussion. This was fun. If we could do it again sometime, pick another several subjects outta your book.
’cause there are 21 chapters in Boundless and
Ben: yeah, the book split up into basically mind optimization, brain optimization, everything from new tropics and smart drugs to biohacks for cognition, et cetera. And then I get into a lot of fitness, a lot of body enhancing tools, recovery, immune system, beauty, symmetry, et cetera.
And then what’s a large portion of my life and really where I think ultimate fulfillment and happiness lies beyond just being able to memorize a deck of cards or get a six pack abs or, you know, whatever you’re doing for the grain or for the body is. The spirituality component. You know, happiness, love, gratitude, family, sex, all those things that sometimes I think get neglected in the fitness sector or, you know, I tackle those pretty heavily towards the latter part of the book.
Originally, the book was actually just gonna be a book on anti-aging and longevity, and then it just kind of blossomed from there into a whole different piece. So there’s about 170 pages just on this whole. Sector of anti-aging and longevity and everything from peptides to hormones, to blue zones, to all these things you can do to increase lifespan.
Mike: Yeah. I remember when you were telling me about when you started working on the book, well, you’re in the middle of it, but at that point it was just gonna be a longevity book. I remember that.
Ben: I’m happy it turned out to be a little more comprehensive than that because obviously guys like David Sinclair, for example.
He just came out with a really good book on longevity and there are others, I think Peter Attia is publishing one too. They, they are great books on longevity, so this one’s got a lot of that stuff in it, but obviously based on the age count of the book alone, which is like 650 plus pages, it wound up being a lot more than just that.
Mike: Yeah, it’s cool. It’s a buffet of all kinds of interesting health and fitness topics, so again, it is boundless and you can find it wherever you like to buy books, right?
Ben: Yeah. And there’s an audible version, Kendall version. Hopefully people enjoy it.
Mike: Yeah. Thanks again for taking the time to do this, Ben.
Really appreciate it and I look forward to doing it again.
Ben: Alright man. Make sure you go buy an ozone machine for your rectal insufflation before they all disappear. After this podcast.
Mike: Uh, you sold me. I already placed the order. Good man. Cool man. That was perfect. All right. Well, that’s it for today’s episode. Hope you found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from? Because those reviews not only convince people that they should check out the show, they also increase the search visibility.
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