Low Hemoglobin – Episode 165

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [3:48] Steam Rooms
  2. [8:38] Turning Silver Jewelry Black
  3. [12:15] Looking at Boobs to Increase Testosterone
  4. [15:43] Pine Pollen and Bee Pollen
  5. [18:26] Human Placentophagy
  6. [21:33] Oly Lifting with Fractured Vertebrae
  7. [28:21] Oxalates and Seizures
  8. [30:47] Low Hemoglobin in Blood Donating Meat Lover
  9. [36:41] Vitamin D Bolus vs. Consistent Dosage


Front Desk HQ




1. Steam Rooms

Troy says:
Hey Robb and Greg I love the podcast, it has changed my health in a lot of ways. My question is, do you see any risks to 14+ minute wet steam room sessions after a workout? The sauna at my gym gets really hot and there are usually a handful of people that cycle in and out in the time that I am in. I use this time to work on my breathing and always assumed staying in that long flushed out extra toxins. Afterwards I always lick some pink crystal salt, take magnesium, and drink extra water…along with my other post workout eating routine. Any thoughts on saunas?


2. Silver gone bad

Sam says:
Hi Robb and Greg

Thanks for taking the time to read my question, although I hope that it’s just a quick one! (not that I don’t enjoy Robbs whirl winded answers).

I have been flirting with the Paleo diet for a few months, with full fat milk during training and the occasional blowout, as the only diversions in my otherwise Paleo paved road.
My girlfriend is the same, other than an increased carb intake in the evening after exercise. She performs mostly cardio and is tinkering with resistance training, with me being the reverse (although tinkering with cardio would be an overstatement… I lift heavy things as much as possible). Anyway! to the question.

My girlfriends silver ring has turned black within about a week of being (almost) Paleo, where as mine hasn’t changed at all? Is this a good sign? because I have read that it could be a sign of increased fat oxidation? However I have also heard that it can mean the sweat is turning more acidic? Does this mean the body is turning more alkaline, as a result of sweating excess toxins? Could this simply be due to the increased need for carbs with her training? By answering this question you could potentially negate the need for me to begin cardio, while seeing if my silver ring does in fact turn black! please help!

Any answers you can give would be much appreciated.

Oh and please shout out the Isle of Man if you can, I know that at least one of your six listeners come from here!

Keep up the good work


3. Boosting testosterone

Donnacha Ni Bheolain says:
Hey guys,

I started listening to the Paleo Solution a couple of years ago and I’ve been ramming the Paleo dogma down the throats of all the non-believers since then. Only joking! But my mate Gary counts calories and he’s still fat, so I like giving him some shit.

My question…

You’ve mentioned before that looking at certain foods can lead to hormonal responses similar to those that we would expect if the food had actually been eaten; the “food porn” effect, if you like.

My question is this: is there a “porn” effect? Will looking at boobs before I work out increase my testosterone? If so, how long do I need to look at porn before I work out? Should I space it out evenly during the week? Most importantly, what sites do you recommend??

Ok, the last question was a joke, but seriously, is there any merit to this idea?


p.s. looking forward to hearing you pronounce my name :)


4. Pine Pollen Powder and Bee Pollen

Eliot says:
I was wondering your thoughts on pine pollen powder as a supplement to both keep testosterone levels as bay, as a performance booster for an endurance athlete and for health in general.
Also, if you have any thoughts on bee pollen on the same topics, I would greatly appreciate it.


5. Human placentophagy

Trev says:
Hey there,

I’ll keep this short and to the point.  My partner and I are expecting Twins.  We are curious what your thoughts are placenta encapsulation and the potential nutritional benefits for the mother.  After back-spacing out multiple attempts at comic relief, I’ve decided to simply leave it at that. Thanks, love the podcast.


6. Oly lifting options with a fractured vertebra

OneSingularPerson says:
Alright so I have isthmic SPONdylo-lisTHEsis; yes the transverse process of my L5 vertebra is just flapping away back there; one too many judo throws my neurosurgeon suggests. I found out I had this unfortunate condition when it ended up causing the discs above and below it to degenerate and the L4-L5 disc to herniate pretty badly, leaving me with some rather rough sciatic pain and muscle problems –to put it mildly.
I do however have this problem to thank for my stumbling onto the Paleo diet, my not so little silver lining, and was able to drop my inflammation from what must have been sky high, what with all of those “healthy” omega-6 oils and whole grains I had been eating for years, to something more reasonable as I was able to go from maxed out on Percocet and Zanaflex to totally without drugs (still bedridden) in a matter of weeks and did the endgame microdiscectomy entirely without drugs, which drove the nurses in the hospital nuts.
I healed quickly and continued losing fat and gaining muscle, all of which initially started while laying in  bed all day :)
Fast forward to now(almost 5 months after the surgery) I have been doing pullups, pushups, rows, overhead presses, sliding split squats and just recently assisted pistols. I have gotten hooked on your podcast and would love to try my hand at Olympic lifting, but am scared shitless of further neurological problems and the “inevitable” disc fusion.
Am I better off just sticking to body-weight stuff, or have you guys trained people with this problem before without it causing further issues? If it is safe for me to try do I need to modify anything? Are there things I need extra time to work up to, etc?
(6′ started out 232# 31%BF, now 232# 22-23%BF (are Tanita scales calibrated for SAD or something?) and paying attention to how I look rather than the scale because it hasn’t moved in a long time, but I look better every day in the mirror)
Oh, and we all know you guys know you’re awesome, so I want one episode where instead of self-deprecation you boast incessantly the entire podcast. (remember it isn’t arrogance if you really are that great :)
Thanks a ton,


7. Oxalates and seizures

Sean says:
Have you heard of the role oxalates have on seizure thresholds? Someone brought it to my attention that foods high in oxalates can lower the seizure threshold, but after a little bit of digging, it looks like that’s because oxalates bind to magnesium preventing proper absorption. Since magnesium can increase the seizure threshold, I figure that this is why. Have you heard of this?


8. aneamic meat lover – how does that happen?

Matt says:
Greetings Wise Ones.

I am a 42 year old male who has been fortunate to enjoy good health and fitness my whole life. I used to have more of a cardio bias, but, in the past few years, have shifted more to Crossfit Football style workouts, with the occasional hockey game. I dont work out for long duration, and not more than 4 times per week. I get good rest – 8 hours almost every night, despite being a shift worker on a full-time police tactical unit.

I eat both eggs and meat, including wild game and grass-fed beef, in generous proportions. I eat a bit of yogurt and cheese, and a few grains, like rice and corn, on occasion. I have avoided wheat, barley and rye (except the distilled kind – I am Canadian!) for several years, and have seen an improvement in digestion and sense of well-being. I supplement with high quality fish oil, 5-10 ml per day (1200-2400mg EPA/DHA combined), and I have added vitamin D (1000-2000 IU) a few times per week, when I cant get sun.

A medical in April showed my hemoglobin at 130 g/L. Another follow-up a few weeks later was 127. My doctor suggested I stop donating blood (which I have done every 8 weeks for several years) and ordered a fecal occult blood test. That was neg.

I looked back at results from 2 years ago and I was at 137. (Low, but nobody mentioned it because the ‘healthy’ range is 135-180)

I followed up again in October, and I am still at 130 g/L.

My doctor has offered no dietary suggestions, and has referred me for a colonoscopy. As much as I am looking forward to that procedure, I’d sure like your thoughts on any other possible causes besides blood loss.

If nothing else at least I can listen to Robb laughing at his own poop jokes while I get violated by several feet of medical apparatus!

Rock on, and keep up the pseudoscience shenanigans!


9. Vitamin D Bolus

Jeremy says:

Lots of talk on Vit D lately. Even in previous podcast people mentioning their supplementation of D, however their levels remain low. I recently read this in one of Charles Poliquin blog topics.

“For some physiological reason yet to be fully explained by science, a large bolus dose twice a week seems to work better than the same dose divided over 7 days. A “bolus” dose is one that is prescribed to raise a blood compound such as vitamin D to an effective, therapeutic level. In other words, 35,000 IUs twice a week works better than 5,000 IUs every day for 7 days.”


What are your thoughts on a “bolus” dose, and why that might be more replenishing then the alternative.

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  1. Daniel Sparks says

    Great show. I enjoyed watching it on YouTube. I’m going to give the porn before workout a try. Never thought of viewing BTF before lifting. Thanks.

  2. Jason says

    Hey guys,

    Has it been answered at some point in the archives whether cutting out a food (such as legumes or rice) for many months and then reintroducing it could cause problems, even the food wouldn’t typically cause much of a problem?

    I recently had some peas and nightshades (tomato-based sauce) after almost a year of strict paleo, and almost went into anaphylactic shock! Clearly legumes aren’t for me, but I’ve never had a reaction like this.

  3. Mike says

    When you got to the Vitamin D question, I realized how much of a theoretical chemist I am. To me, the answer to “why do punctuated large doses of D do better than average doses even if the total is the same” is “there’s a superlinear term in the rate equation for absorption”. That is:

    rate of absorbtion = k[D]^a

    where a is larger than 1.

    But what you care about is why a is larger than one.

  4. Elissa Morris says

    Hey guys! I’m the girl whose silver ring has gone black – (trying to be careful with wording here) Haha!
    My ring IS silver, and i have always worked out in it.. and sweated with it on my finger for the past 8 years and it hasnt changed at all! However! As soon as i changed my diet to eating paleo when I work out and sweat with my ring on it turned black within the first week! As has my silver links bracelet… I havent changed soaps or cleaning products.. are you sure there is no correlation here?


  5. Mike says

    Hey guys, THANKS for transcribing this! I can’t do podcasts…..this is the first episode where I noticed there’s a transcript. Just wanted to say MUCHAS gracias!

    (nice to hear….err, see folks with a sense of humor on food :) )

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