ben greenfield

The Latest Research on Longevity, Ketones, Caffeine, Creatine, Sleep, Plant vs. Animal Protein Intake, Ben’s New Book & Much More! – Ben Greenfield Fitness

Check Out the Ben Greenfield Fitness Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Bone broths and organ meats are an excellent source of glycine, an amino acid important for opposing the adverse effects of a meat-based protein-rich diet
  • All things considered, animal-based proteins > vegetable proteins
  • If you’re active, you don’t necessarily have to limit your carbs to 30-50 grams/day to maintain a state of ketosis
  • Sleep & exercise:
    • Research has shown that ~20-30 minutes of aerobic activity prior to breakfast can enhance deep sleep levels later on at night
    • Taking a cold shower after a late-night workout improves sleep by lowering your body temperature
  • The seven most crucial genes to focus on when examining your genome analysis: MTHFR, GST, COMT, DAO, MAO, NOS3, and PEMT

Products & Supplements Mentioned

  • It might be a good idea to supplement with glycine powder if you don’t get much bone broth or organ meat in your diet
  • Creatine has efficacy as an anti-depressive agent
  • Ben’s preferred brand of magnesium: MagSRT
  • After a late-night workout, supplementing with phosphatidylserine can lower cortisol and improve sleep
  • The best way to measure your sleep latency and heart rate variability: With an Oura Ring 

Books Mentioned


  • This is a solo episode in which Ben (@bengreenfield) dives into the latest biohacking research, and answers questions about his new book

To Counter the Adverse Effects of Excess Protein, Consume Adequate Glycine & Leucine

  • The latest longevity research cautions against protein-rich diets, but Ben has other thoughts: 
    • “I stand by my recommendations to get about 0.55-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, erring towards the higher side of that if you’re an active individual. I also recommend making sure that if that protein is coming from primarily meat-based sources, you’re getting adequate amounts of glycine in the diet to balance out the methionine. So, we’re talking about bone broth, organ meats, and even glycine powder supplementation. That’s going to be very important at opposing a lot of what methionine is going to do to mTOR.” – Ben Greenfield
      • For background: Glycine and methionine are amino acids (AKA the building blocks of protein)

Animal Proteins > Vegetable Proteins

  • 🎧 Cooking plant-based proteins reduces their bioavailable protein content
    • It’s commonly thought that legumes are the best plant-based protein alternative to animal-based protein, but you should know that their protein percentage is reduced 3-4x when cooked/hydrated (dropping from 20% to ~7%)
      • With animal protein, the exact opposite occurs—bioavailable protein contents nearly quadruple when cooked (because of the meat protein hydrolysis)
  • Vegetable proteins have low digestibility 
    • There are various anti-nutritional factors in vegetables that reduce digestion and absorption (i.e., fiber, hemagglutinin, proteolytic enzyme inhibitors, etc.)
  • Vegetable proteins have a much lower percentage of essential amino acids compared to animal-based proteins (essential amino acids are the amino acids our body can’t make, and therefore, must obtain from food)
    • Legumes, for example, are deficient in sulfur-based amino acids 
    • Soy protein might be an exception, but it’s been shown to stimulate far less muscle protein synthesis compared to whey protein, beef protein, and milk

Black Coffee (Without MCT Oil) Can Increase Ketone Production (Study)

  • First, this point: “Ghee, I think, is one of the best things to put in your coffee because of the extremely high butyric acid content. Butyric acid can mimic what fiber does for your body in terms of amplifying your fatty acid production and feeding your gut bacteria in a way similar to a prebiotic fiber.”Ben Greenfield
  • In one study, men consumed black coffee with no added MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), black coffee with 28 grams of MCTs, and black coffee with 42 grams of MCTs
    • Result: Men who consumed plain black coffee showed a significant elevation in blood ketone levels (there was no difference between this group and those who consumed the coffee with 28 grams of MCTs)
    • The takeaway: If you’re in a fasted state, drinking black coffee may just accelerate you deeper state into ketosis

Active Individuals Can Maintain a State of Ketosis While Eating 100+ Grams of Carbs/Day

  • Most of the diet recommendations for maintaining a state of nutritional ketosis dictate one should eat just 30-50 grams of carbs/day
  • One study recently found that people following diets containing 15-25% of their energy from carbs (if you’re an active person eating 2,000 calories/day, that’s ~100 grams of carbs) were maintaining significant levels of blood ketones
  • Going a step further, one study examined ultra-marathon runners
    • The finding: Participants were able to maintain a state of ketosis while eating 500+ grams of carbs/day
  • The takeaway: “Even if the goal is ketosis, you can maintain high levels of those brain-boosting and beneficial ketones without carbohydrate restriction” – Ben Greenfield
    • That said, it’s probably best to limit your carb intake during the day (to facilitate a state of ketosis), and then refeed with them later on in the evening

Increased Sleep Latency and Decreased Heart Rate Variability Increases Injury Risk

  • One study examining athletes found a direct correlation, in the night’s leading up to an injury, between sleep latency (how long it takes one to fall asleep) and the occurrence of injury
    • This is something that’s also been confirmed with heart rate variability (HRV): “If you’re watching your heart rate variability, and it’s going down and down and down, you can almost, with laser-like precision, predict that you’re going to get injured or ill if you don’t nip that in the bud and throw in a recovery day.” – Ben Greenfield
  • How can you measure your sleep latency and heart rate variability? – With an Oura Ring (purchase a ring from our link for a $50 discount applied at checkout)

🎧 Creatine Has Efficacy as an Antidepressive Agent (Study)

  • We already know creatine can act as nootropic, as well as stave off sarcopenia by maintaining bone density
  • The optimal dose: 5 mg/day
    • That said, your body can only absorb 1.5-2 grams at a time, so it’s best to space out consumption throughout the day
    • Also, creatine is best absorbed when taken with warm water

To Increase Autophagy, Limit Non-Native EMF Exposure and Supplement with Magnesium

  • Calcium channel blockers, which are used for the treatment of hypertension, can increase autophagy by down-regulating mTOR’s response to the amino acid leucine 
    • For background:
      • Autophagy is the process by which cells eat themselves – the dysfunctional cells (like cancer cells) tend to be “eaten” first
      • mTOR activation (caused by eating protein, and this consuming amino acids) inhibits autophagy
    • Digging deeper: One of the things that causes a significant influx of calcium into the cell is non-native EMF exposure—from Wi-Fi routers, cell phones, 5G, etc. (so one can assume that limiting EMF exposure would limit calcium flow across the cell, and thus enhance autophagy)
  • Another way to help maintain normal levels of calcium across the cell: Magnesium supplementation
    • Ben’s preferred brand of magnesium: MagSRT

Boundless (Ben’s New Book) Q&A

The 7 Most Crucial Genes to Focus on When Examining Your Genome Analysis

  • (This is discussed more in the book, Dirty Genes)
  • A common question: After I receive my data from 23andMe, what should I focus on? Ben’s got you:
    • MTHFR
    • GST (which regulates glutathione levels)
    • COMT (which regulates dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine levels)
    • DAO (which gives into into your histamine response to foods)
      • “I’m shocked at the number of people who have a genetic response to foods that can be controlled via something as simple as a histamine blocker, without changing any other aspect of the diet” – Ben Greenfield
    • MAO (which also affects dopamine and norepinephrine, in addition to serotonin & sleep)
    • NOS3 (which regulates everything from circulation, erections, and orgasms)
    • PEMT (associated with gut & liver health

How to Increase Your DHA and EPA Levels (Without Fish Oil)

  • Fish covert the plants they eat—mainly algae—into EPA and DHA with the help of several enzymes
    • “People who consume adequate amounts of those same enzymes—or precursors for those enzymes—can up-regulate their conversion of plant-based oils into DHA and EPA, without necessarily mega-dosing on fish oil or fish.” – Ben Greenfield
    • Which enzymes and precursors?
      • Omega-5, omega-7, omega-9 (all found in pomegranate seed oil, macadamia nuts, sesame oil, and extra virgin olive oil)
      • Omega-11 (found in spirulina, chlorella, and marine phytoplankton)
      • Zinc (found in shellfish—particularly oysters)
      • Magnesium (found in leafy greens)
      • Gamma linoleic acid (found in spirulina, raw oats, and organ meats)
      • Conjugated linoleic acid (found in raw dairy and grass-fed lamb)

Lets Talk Exercise & Sleep

  • Research has shown that ~20-30 minutes of aerobic activity prior to breakfast can enhance deep sleep levels later on at night
  • Hard early-morning CrossFit-syle workouts have been found to damage sleep patterns
    • However, these disruptions can be mitigated with a short mid-day nap
  • 🎧 Taking a cold shower after a late-night workout improves sleep
    • “A lot of the sleep deficits that occur in response to hard workout done later in the day appear to be related to body temperature. So, if you’re forced to finish up your workout around 8 PM, you can take a quick cold shower or cold soak to get your body temperature back down, and not experience those sleep-disrupting effects.” – Ben Greenfeld
      • Don’t worry about the cold water blunting the hormetic response of exercise (you have to take a 10+ minute ice bath for this to occur, a short cold shower won’t have any adverse effects)
  • Short bouts (~10 minutes) of intense exercise alleviate sleepiness caused by a night of sleep deprivation 
    • All it takes: A few sets of squats, push-ups, sprints, etc. done for 10 minutes at a time, three times during the day 
  • Magnesium and Epsom salts baths can help calm the nervous system after a late-night-workout and enhance sleep
  • Another sleep hack if you’re forced to get in a late-night workout: Supplementing with phosphatidylserine, which helps lower cortisol levels

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