For Episode 401 of the podcast we’re here with Q&A #7 with Robb and Nicki.
And don’t forget to submit your own questions for the podcast here: https://robbwolf.com/contact/submit-a-question-for-the-podcast/
1. [3:41] Fasting and silent reflux
I can’t thank Robb enough for the impact he has had on my health! I have been following him for years, i was paleo for 5 years before doing the carb tests in Wired to Eat. Much to my surprise, i was sensitive to every single carb i tested. I immediately went the keto route, and have been so thankful. Not only have i lost 32 lbs and feel a lot better, this has greatly benefited my vision. I have retinitis pigmentosa, and i was shocked by how much worse my vision was during the carb testing. I feel that learning this will definitely help prevent my vision loss from progressing as rapidly as it would have with higher carbs. My mom is almost totally blind, so i am doing everything i can to prevent the same fate.
After about 8 months of keto, i discovered i have silent reflux. I was baffled, as i have never had any problems like this before. I tried everything, the supplements, raising the bed, eliminating foods, and nothing helped. Then, we went on an 8 day cruise, and my reflux wa gone! It dawned on me that i was eating three meals a day, instead of my usual two within a six hour window. I have continued to eat three meals a day, since returning home, and still no reflux! My problem is that my fasting blood sugar is higher than it was while i was fasting. It’s not terrible, but i am noticing a bit worse vision while it is higher. I am normally in the 70s or 80s, and now am regularly in the 90s.
What is your thought on a possible correlation between fasting and silent reflux? I am a healthy weight, don’t drink, don’t smoke, and don’t even drink coffee. I started fasting about a year ago, so that wasn’t anything new. I likely had reflux for awhile before i realized it. Another side note, like Robb, i was also on a form of tetracyclene for many years as a teenager. Is SIBO something i should consider as a cause of the reflux after that much antibiotic use?
Sorry this is so long, i just felt some of the details were necessary! I really appreciate everything you do, and i can honestly say you have tremendously impacted our entire family’s health!
2. [9:52] Keto protocol for lower belly fat / excess skin?
Hey Robb and Nicki,
I’m loving the return of the Q&A — and especially the addition of Nicki (now I can get my girlfriend to listen without her feeling like I’m jamming my male-centric “unorthodox” health podcast down her throat — no offense Robb, but now she can relate).
I’ve been Keto for a while, loved the tips from the MasterClass and recently finished the Ketogains bootcamp, with Luis — both lead to a big transformation, 22 percent body fat down to 13 percent and still going. Only lost about 4 lbs, but put on a bunch of lean muscle.
Here’s my question — most of my fat is held in my lower belly flab. I’ve never been this lean, but I’ve also never been super fat. Nor did I lose a bunch of weight really fast — point being, I’m not sure if I’m dealing with excess fat or skin, but I don’t care cause it’s flabby.
Plainly put, how can I get rid of this?
I swear at one point, I heard you (Robb) talking about a ketogenic diet with limited protein and prolonged fasting for obese people that have lost a lot of weight and have excess skin — even in place of skin surgery…
I am curious could this approach possibly be a good protocol for getting rid of last amounts of skin/flab/fat once one has achieved a desired body comp — for example if I get to single digit body fat and still have the flab, could I bump up my fat macros and reduce protein?
If so, what might those macros and the protocol look like?
Basically, I want to look like the shredded, and tight, animal that is always timidly posting shirtless selfies to the dasrobbwolf instagram account… You know, the “Writer” that killed an Elk with a stick on I, Caveman… I’ll have what he’s having…
Anyways, love what you all do. You’ve been the pioneers of a revolution and helped a lot of people.
Keep up the great work.
3. [21:45] Terrahydrite
You guys know anything about Terrahydrite? Good, bad, snake oil?
4. [23:28] Emu Oil
I have listened to a couple podcasts about Walkabout Emu Oil and how great it is. I haven’t been able to find where you’ve ever mentioned this supplement. What are your thoughts on it? If it is as great as it sounds, then would you still have to take fish or cod liver oil or could you just take the emu oil since it has omega 3’s? My main goal to assist my paleo/keto diet in fighting inflammation from PCOS.
5. [26:25] Avoiding sunburn during excessive sun exposure at work
CONTEXT: 26yo Male, eating full paleo, lifting 3-4 times a week and working an outdoor labour intensive job. Moderate to high carb intake on training days (100-150g) sub 50g cards on non training days. Northern European descent brown hair brown eyes, medium pale complexion – tans well. Recent vitamin d status test 42ng/mL
GOALS: Avoid skin damage, gain as much benefit from outdoor working as possible.
Hi Robb and Nikki,
Really enjoying the q&a format, here’s my input..
I travel a lot for work, in the coming months I’ll be travelling to some fairly hot, sunny countries: Mexico, Chile, Pakistan.
My work involves me being outdoors at sports stadiums for full days on end with very little shelter and due to my Northern European genetics I don’t do well with intense sun exposure in the short term. However having previously lived in Australia for a year I adapted well, being able to moderate my exposure, and within a few months was able to spend hours outside without burning.
I would like to avoid using sunscreen where possible and enjoy the full benefits of the sun on my skin during my working days, as such how can I pre-condition my body to tolerate these intense bursts of sun exposure when I live in a predominantly cloudy, cold country? I’m thinking vitamin d supplementation, possible intelligent use of UV tanning beds? Any dietary tweaks worth considering?
Thanks in advance, kind regards
James – hope there’s no flies in here!
I, Caveman episode where Robb takes down the elk: https://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/full-episodes/i-caveman-the-great-hunt
Robb: Hey, folks, welcome back. Another edition of the Paleo Solution podcast. I am here with my lovely amazing co-host, Nicki Violetti. Wife, how are you doing?
Nicki: Sometimes a pain in your ass, I guess, too.
Robb: Well, on days that end in Y, yes.
Nicki: You make me sound so nice.
Robb: So not like who you really are. Nicki definitely wears her heart on sleeve. When we owned a gym and then when we ceased to own a gym, people still liked us but they did say that when they showed up at the gym they were curious what Nicki they were going to experience that day.
Nicki: In all fairness, while I loved parts of running a gym, it was not–
Robb: It was not a good fit for you.
Nicki: It was not my calling. I get roped into it when I met you.
Robb: I’m still curious. Why did you even…?
Nicki: I don’t know.
Robb: Is it really the Chico State effect? The fact that there were five women for every one dude there?
Nicki: No. No, it wasn’t that. I didn’t go to Chico State. I was just in–
Robb: You were in Chico though.
Nicki: I was just there, yeah.
Robb: The dating pool was limited.
Nicki: I know.
Robb: To be honest.
Nicki: And then be a tapered acid wash jeans and big arms. That wasn’t really the look I was going for at that time either. But somehow you bamboozled me.
Robb: You were vegan at that time so I was very much a departure for that.
Nicki: Robb is very persuasive. He is charismatic and persuasive, I’m sure you all–
Robb: I had to make up something because I’m not good looking.
Nicki: Okay. This is a big diversion.
Robb: Anyway, enough of our background. We have a pretty good list of stuff here. Props to Chris a.k.a. Squatchie for curating these things. Thank you, folks, for continuing to send in great questions. I really enjoy doing this and you seem to and folks seem to be enjoying the new format. Thank you again for helping us to help you. You jumping in?
Nicki: All right. I’m ready to jump in. Okay. Our first question is on fasting and silent reflux. This question is from Kristin: I can’t thank Robb enough for the impact he has had on my health. I have been following him for years, Paleo for five years before doing the carb test in Wired to Eat. Much to my surprise, I was sensitive to every single carb I tested.
I immediately went the keto route and I’ve been so thankful. Not only have I lost 32 pounds and feel a lot better, this has greatly benefited my vision. I have retinitis pigmentosa and I was shocked by how much worse my vision was during the carb testing. I feel that learning this will definitely help prevent my vision loss from progressing as rapidly as it would have with higher carbs.
My mom is almost totally blind so I’m doing everything I can to prevent the same fate. Now, after about eight months of keto I discovered I have silent reflux. I was baffled as I have never had any problems like this before. I tried everything, the supplements, raising the bed, eliminating foods, and nothing helped. Then we went on an eight-day cruise and my reflux was gone.
It dawned on me that I was eating three meals a day instead of my usual two within a six-hour window. I’ve continued to eat three meals a day since returning home and still no reflux. My problem is that my fasting blood sugar is higher than it was while I was fasting. It’s not terrible but I’m noticing a bit worse vision while it is higher. I’m normally in the 70s or 80s and now regularly in the 90s.
Her question is: What is your thought on a possible correlation between fasting and silent reflux? I am at healthy weight. I don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t even drink coffee. I started fasting about a year ago so that wasn’t anything new. I likely had reflux for a while before I realized it. On another side note, like Robb, I was also on a form of tetracycline for many years as a teenager. Is SIBO something I should consider as a cause of the reflux after that much antibiotic use?
Sorry this is so long. I just felt some of the details were necessary. I really appreciate everything you do and I can honestly say that you have tremendously impacted our entire family’s health.
Robb: That’s awesome. Well, it’s awesome that we’ve had some impact. Not that Kristin is having some problems here. I do, before we launch into this, just want to throw out there that one of the things that I personally have noticed when the safe starch topic was big, Paul Jaminet, who I love, he’s a brilliant guy, was talking about that whole thing.
One of the first things that I noticed was that my vision was blurry. I had some vision problems fiddling around with this stuff. It’s one of the things that I noticed almost immediately, if I get over the tips of my skis with regards to the amount of carbohydrate intake. And if you do some poking around and look at macular degeneration and other eye pathology, that’s really easy to visually diagnose. It is a really early indicator of these metabolic syndromes, high blood sugar scenario.
I think it’s an underappreciated diagnostic tool, and also one of these things that eating an appropriate level for one’s ability to manage those carbs, it’s a really huge benefit. That part. On the fasting and reflux part, we have definitely seen a lot of folks that are trying to push these time restricted feeding windows and they end up eating rather large meals and fewer of them and they end up with some GI problems.
Not everybody is the case though. Some people notice that their digestion is better. This is where I default back to. How do you look? How do you feel? How do you perform? We might throw the performance piece in this bucket because the digestion is not performing as well. The concern about the fasting blood sugar, this is where I would default back to looking at more than just the fasting blood sugar.
What is the overall blood sugar story? This is where I would look at A1C and also fructosamine in addition to the fasting blood sugar because even though it may be fasting in this little window it may, in fact, not be problematic in the greater scheme of things. And so that’s what I would look at. I forgot to put the notes in here but we do have a link to Especially Health where we have the recommended blood work from Wired to Eat and within that recommended blood work it includes lipoprotein analysis but also this A1C and fructosamine. We have a link to that.
What I would recommend, Kristin, is checking that out and see where you are in that story. Let’s just track that maybe every three to six months and see where things are going. The A1C gives us a picture of blood sugar over time. Fructosamine is a secondary validation on that advanced glycation in products. For some people their red blood cells last significantly longer under a low carb dietary approach and so it can artificially make the A1C look elevated. So, we use the fructosamine to triangulate in on that.
Between the combination of fructosamine, A1C and fasting blood sugar, we should get a pretty good picture on that. Let’s do that and then maybe you can report back, let us know what that stuff looks like and we can keep an eye on this over time. If all of this ends up being a situation where the digestion is better but the blood sugar on average is a bit higher then maybe what we do is a little bit of exercise pre or post meal, on more meals to not.
I mean, this can be taking a quick walk. You can do 50 squats, 50 push-ups against the counter. It doesn’t take a lot and it ends up knocking the blood sugar down. There are some mitigating strategies that we can do to help with that. But focusing on good digestion would be smart. And, yeah, there certainly could be some SIBO issues here. Always love to recommend Dr. Michael Ruscio’s book Healthy Gut Health You. We will throw that in the show notes as well. Yeah, just keep us posted and we’ll get back to you. Nicki is rapidly taking notes on that.
Nicki: Okay. So, our second question is regarding a keto protocol for lower belly fat or excess skin. This is from Peter.
He says: Hey, Robb and Nicki, I’m loving the return of the Q&A and especially the addition in Nicki. Thanks, Peter. He says: Now, I can get my girlfriend to listen without her feeling like I’m jamming my male-centric unorthodox health podcast down her throat. No offense, Robb, but I actually can relate.
Nicki: I’ve been keto for a while, loved the tips from the Masterclass and recently finished the Ketogains Bootcamp with Luis. Both led to big transformation, 22% body fat down to 13% and still going. That’s really cool. I only lost about four pounds but put on a bunch of lean muscle. This is so cool because so many times people get stuck at that scale weight and they fixate on that and they’re like, “I’m not losing weight,” but it’s not the whole story. Peter, you’re describing this beautifully.
Robb: Yeah. Just a quick diversion here. When you go through the Ketogains Bootcamp, they recommend that you weigh daily and report that and–
Nicki: In the Keto Masterclass we recommend weighing monthly.
Robb: There’s really good reasons for that. You want to flesh some of that out?
Nicki: We just noticed frequently back when we had the gym that people that would step on the scale every day would just get so obsessed over that number and your body weight fluctuates daily depending on your sleep, depending on–
Robb: Did you have a bowel movement or not?
Nicki: Yeah. Stress, a whole host of things. So, what we really want to focus on is the trend. Is it trending down? Obviously, most people, if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you want to pay attention to the scale weight. But more importantly, how are your clothes fitting? Is your body composition changing in a favorable direction? Because like Peter, he has lost only four pounds but he has dropped almost 10% body fat. That’s a huge transformation. When you look at, if you had a before picture and an after picture it would be a dramatic difference.
Robb: Right. In the Ketogains example, they are coaching you daily. It’s a high touch program. And just part of the benefit of this thing. With something like the Keto Masterclass, we do the best that we can to try to support people every day but there’s reality.
Nicki: It’s an online program.
Robb: It’s an online program.
Nicki: It’s not as high touch.
Robb: Yeah. We’ve found that a monthly — People will say, “Should I weigh daily or monthly?” In the Ketogains process, it totally makes sense to do that daily weighing because you’ve got a coach to–
Nicki: Because they can talk you off the ledge. You’re like, “I’m five pounds up from yesterday and I’m doing everything right.”
Robb: Or two pounds up, yeah. Whereas with the Keto Masterclass, even though we answer questions all the time online and I answer this question a lot, there’s still a reality that folks can spin out and so we have tended to only do a monthly weight check in. We’re really encouraging people though to — how do your clothes fit? Take photos about as often as you want, and all that type of stuff.
It’s just an interesting diversion. Even though we and the Ketogains folks are super tight, a huge synergy within the programs, because the Masterclass is a low touch offering comparatively, we’re trying to deal with the neurosis of weight change by looking at it less frequently. Whereas in a heavily coached environment, it makes sense to track that every day. Just as an aside.
Nicki: I think in your first book you said, you had a line something to the effect of like take your scale and give it to someone you don’t like.
Robb: We saw that, yeah. Put a bow on it and give it to the — use it once and then give it away and then go to their house to check it. Again, in the gym setting, we would see people pretty frequently, but people can get so spun out. There’s this expectation that every single day you should see downward trends in weight. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. You have to figure that out.
Nicki: Or in the beginning especially on the keto diet people will lose a lot of easy weight in the first couple of weeks and then they think that they’re stalled and their plateaued and something is wrong. That’s like, no. You lost the initial water weight which is totally normal and typical and then you’re still making positive gains but it’s just, it might not show up on the scale every single day.
Robb: Right. And particularly if you’re doing a smart resistance training program and gaining muscle mass at the same time, which is really, man, that’s what you want. Lose fat, gain muscle. Nobody, without significant anabolic use or something, is going to blow up into this huge bodybuilder. I could argue that there’s virtually no one who wouldn’t benefit from gaining two to five pounds of muscle and losing two to five pounds of fat. It’s a rare individual that wouldn’t benefit from that. Sorry. Just as an aside.
Nicki: Okay. Now, we get into Peter’s question. He says: Okay, here’s my question. Most of my fat is held in my lower belly flab. I’ve never been this lean but I’ve also never been super fat nor did I lose a bunch of weight really fast. Point being, I’m not sure if I’m dealing with excess fat or skin but I don’t care because it’s flabby.
Plainly put, how can I get rid of this? I swear, Robb, at one point, I heard you talking about a ketogenic diet with limited protein and prolonged fasting for obese people that have lost a lot of weight and have excess skin even in place of skin surgery. I’m curious could this approach possibly be a good protocol for getting rid of last amounts of skin flab fat once one has achieved the desired body comp?
For example, if I get to single digit body fat and still have the flab, could I bump up my fat macros and reduce protein? If so, what might those macros in the protocol look like? Basically, I want to look like the shredded and tight animal that is always timidly posting shirtless selfies to the dasrobbwolf Instagram account, the writer that killed an elk with a stick on I, Caveman. I’ll have what he’s having. That’s awesome, Peter. Anyways, love what you all do. You’ve been the pioneers of this revolution and helped a lot of people. Keep up the great work.
Robb: Yeah, I’m always trying to remind Nicki of stuff like that but she’s so completely unimpressed with me it doesn’t really improve my status. It’s really a bummer because I had Tyler and Luis from Ketogains here in Reno a couple of months back and we were, I thought, recording a podcast and, in fact, the whole thing didn’t record. It recorded five minutes and the damn thing turned off.
We talked a lot about this. Some folks like Jason Fung, who I respect, he has some controversial ideas occasionally that are at 90-degree angles with what the Ketogains guys recommend. Dr. Fung has made this case that fasting in particular may be a strategy for dealing with this loose skin issue. The idea being is that if you’re in a caloric deficit and a low protein environment, that the body is going to get really thrifty at recycling and reusing that protein and so it’s going to breakdown all the collagen and loose skin and tighten stuff up.
I honestly don’t know where the truth is in all that. I was having a conversation on Twitter the other day with a vegan doctor. We were going back and forth about lipoproteins and cholesterol. I had made the comment that in some instances elevated lipoproteins and cholesterol appear to be protective against certain types of cancer and this guy just freaked out.
I showed him a bunch of the research on it. He was like, “Huh, this is really perplexing.” Because he is definitely in this camp that all fat is bad, cholesterol should be effectively zero. In my opinion, not super well-educated. But the point that I was making to him is that in biological terms there’s always tradeoffs. It’s not a white hat/black hat deal. It’s what do you want to accomplish? If you go this way, what’s the tradeoff that you’re giving up elsewhere?
In this story, the idea around fasting to deal with that loose skin, the upside, if this is true, is that we would deal with this loose skin like there are many people that need to go in and get post weight loss surgery to deal with the loose skin. In theory, this low protein environment could deal with that. The downside is that you will lose lean body mass in the process. This is part of what we’re losing, that loose skin technically is loose lean body mass in the technical idea.
Even though adipose tissue is mainly lipids, mainly fat, there’s a bunch of protein matrices that tie all that stuff together and that’s what’s getting broken down and recycled.
Nicki: And it also would be losing like actual muscle mass too, right?
Robb: Muscle mass, bone density, all that stuff. This is the compare and contrast. Whereas in the protein sparing modified fast, you could really make a credible argument that we keep protein at a very high level comparatively and then this is going to all but prevent any muscle mass loss particularly if we have some smart strength training going on in the background of this.
I honestly don’t know what the ultimate story is here. That said, I don’t know what the total tradeoff is with this. There is an example of a guy who was on a 382-day medically supervised fast. They gave him water, vitamins and electrolytes. Otherwise, the guy didn’t consume any calories and he did this again for 382 days. This guy had absolutely no loose skin left at the end of this at all. This guy was comparatively young when he did this. I think that that’s definitely a factor. He was large enough in starting that I think he had — Just when you’re overweight, because of carrying that extra weight around, you actually carry oftentimes a decent amount of lean muscle mass.
So, he had a buffer in that regard. This is a tough thing. I wish I had a more concrete answer to provide on this. But what I again might throw out there is that there are probably tradeoffs in this story. There may be some people for whom that fasted approach will, in fact, result in a scenario on which we deal with this loose flabby skin.
In other people, it may not work. It’s always within the context that we may be losing lean muscle mass in the process which is something that’s really, really concerning to me. So, again, I wish I had a more concrete answer than that. But I see this being a lot of potential tradeoffs. I don’t have a really definitive answer about this is good, that’s bad, this is the thing that I would do.
Certainly, you could play around with doing a couple of days that look like a protein sparing modified fast and then you could do a couple of days of just straight up fasting too. Particularly if you’re in that keto-adapted state, you should mitigate, minimize how much lean body mass you do lose during those fasted periods but you do still lose lean body mass. Depending on the person’s size, you lose about a third of a pound of muscle per day. This is a lot less than somebody who’s not keto-adapted. I mean, it is a thing. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Nicki: I don’t.
Nicki: Okay. Let’s see. Our next question is from Mike on the topic of Terrahydrite which I have never heard of. Hopefully, you have, Robb. Mike says: You guys know anything Terrahydrite? Good, bad or snake oil?
Robb: I had, in fact, not heard of this. And so with the aid of Dr. Google, I did some poking around on it and it appears to be a product that might have some efficacy in improving tight junctions with intestinal permeability. So, I have personally not tinkered with it. I did look at some of the primary literature as well as the claims that go along with the commercial products. It seems to have some efficacy behind it for intestinal permeability.
Nicki: Is there a way to — How do they measure that? How are they substantiating their claims?
Robb: It gets complex. You’re looking at things like the rate of LPS translocation into the circulation which is a really tough assay to do. It’s a little bit tough but also you can assess it just by clinical symptoms. Do you have better blood sugar management? Do people generally feel better? Do we see reductions in inflammatory markers? None of that stuff is perfect. Like looking at C-reactive protein can be as misleading as it is informative depending. You have to really read the tea leaves on that.
Nicki: It could be something to try, see if you notice anything.
Robb: Could be something to tinker with for sure.
Nicki: I don’t know how expensive it is.
Robb: It’s not super expensive, and doesn’t appear to have any significant toxicity, side effects, all that stuff. That’s a good point.
Nicki: Okay. Moving from Terrahydrite to emu oil. Don says: I have listened to a couple of podcasts about Walkabout Emu Oil and how great it is. I haven’t been able to find where you’ve ever mentioned this supplement. What are your thoughts on it? If it is as great as it sounds then would you still have to take fish or cod liver oil or could you just take the emu oil since it has omega threes? My main goal is to assist my Paleo keto diet in fighting inflammation from PCOS?
Robb: Yeah. It’s funny, emu oil is one of these things that was really popular maybe mid 90s within the supplement scene. This stuff goes in and out of vogue. It’s used both topically and internally. Interestingly, the topical application, there have been some studies that suggest that it decreases potential skin damage in folks undergoing radiation therapy. They’ve used it topically for breast cancer patients.
It’s not a magic cure but it does appear to mitigate the radiation induced damage in these skin cells from radiation exposure. There is some indication that it reduces inflammation on a systemic level likely due to the omega three fat content, reduces various interleukins. It does seem to have some immune modulating effects, some anti-inflammatory effects. I don’t know. I would have to look closer at the total amount of omega threes and the ratio, if any, of EPA to DHA and I think that this varies from product to product to some degree as to whether or not it could completely supplant your fish oil intake.
That would be a tough one to perfectly pin down. But it does look like it’s pretty legit stuff. There are absolutely applications for it. Some of the claims when you poke around the commercial sites are pretty hyperbolic and over the top as many of these things tend to be but, yeah, it’s a legit supplement and definitely could be helpful. Maybe we should grow some emu on the Lazy Lobo Ranch, I don’t know.
Nicki: I seem to remember that somebody had an emu farm in between Red Bluff and Redding. Remember that?
Robb: Yeah. It went tits up. It didn’t go anywhere. People like chicken but they don’t like Velociraptor-sized birds apparently.
Nicki: I grew up in Red Bluff, California and Robb grew up in Redding. We didn’t meet until after college in Chico. But we would always drive to Redding because that’s where the mall was.
Robb: The big city of Redding.
Nicki: There was, in fact, an emu farm off the I-5.
Robb: Again, late 80s, early 90s, emu meat was going to be the super lean red meat and all this stuff. Yeah, never caught on.
Nicki: Just like cricket protein. That’s in process, I guess. Okay. Next question from James on the topic of avoiding sunburn during excessive sun exposure at work. He says: Hey, Robb and Nicki, really enjoying the Q&A format. Here’s my question. I travel a lot for work and in the coming months I’ll be traveling to some fairly hot sunny countries, Mexico, Chile and Pakistan.
My work involves me being outdoors at sports stadiums for full days on end with very little shelter and due to my northern European genetics I don’t do well with intense sun exposure in the short term. However, having previously lived in Australia for a year I adapted well being able to moderate my exposure and within a few months was able to spend hours outside without burning.
I would like to avoid using sunscreen where possible and enjoy the full benefits of the sun on my skin during my working days. As such, how can I precondition my body to tolerate these intense burst of sun exposure when I live in predominantly cloudy cold country. I’m thinking vitamin D supplementation, possibly intelligent use of UV tanning beds. Any dietary tweaks worth considering? Thanks in advance. Kind regards.
Robb: Yeah. This is kind of–
Nicki: He says: Hope there’s no flies in here. Referring to our — Tony, we got flies.
Robb: Tony, we got flies. Oh, man. So, this is interesting stuff. When I did the I, Caveman show, just to give a little nod to your husband who killed a 648-pound elk with a hand-thrown spear, I went into that show — I’m a coward at heart. I knew there were going to be certain things happening. One, that we were going to starve. Two, that we were going to be exposed to some really significant UV.
We were at 8,000 almost 9,000 feet in the Colorado mountains in early summer. I knew that that was going to be a problem. I started poking around on supplements that can help with UV exposure. A couple of the things that popped up are product called Zeaxanthin and Astaxanthin. If you’re familiar with pink flamingos, they are pink because of the marine carotenoids down in the food that they eat.
If you don’t feed the flamingos these pink carotenoids from the food they eat then they aren’t pink. This stuff interestingly can provide a pretty interesting buffer with regards to UV exposure. I don’t know if it would be a four or ten or exactly how you would quantify that. This is very much an N equals one deal. Out of the cast of folks on that I Caveman show I literally was the only person who did not end up with blistered lips and really significant sunburns.
We even had a couple of people who were African American, dark complected, lived in LA, get outside a lot, and they sunburned. The Zeaxanthin, Astaxanthin supplements, I think, were really legit adjunct to the diet. They’re fat soluble product and so you would want to eat that with a fatty meal and you could take that prophylactically before heading out. I would probably start taking it a couple of weeks at least before heading out to location because it takes a while for all this stuff to get associated with your lipid membranes and whatnot.
Very recently, I was pinged by some folks who have a product. It’s called Sundots.com. It’s an extract of polypodium leucotomos. It’s a fern extract. This actually has some clinical trials demonstrating that it will help mitigate UV damage to skin and, basically, extend the amount of time that you can be out in the sun without burning.
You will eventually burn but whatever — Let’s say you could spend 15 minutes in the sun because you’re very, very light complected, it may extend it to 30 minutes. Again, this is just guesstimate. I would recommend exploring this Sundots product. I have not used that. I don’t have any financial ties to it. I’m actually going to talk to these folks in a couple of days and then I would definitely track down a Zeaxanthin, Astaxanthin product which we have some links to that. Again, no financial ties. Just recommending that you check that stuff that out.
In general, eating an anti-inflammatory diet. This is one of the things that we’ve noticed. Even with our kids, we all, compared to when I ate differently, 20 years ago, if I got to burn, man, I burn, peeled nose, all kinds of problems with it and everything. I’m careful with sun exposure. Mainly I try to get my appropriate dose and then I’ll do a big brimmed hat like, rash guards or long sleeved shirts. I really try not to use sun block per se unless we’re at the ocean and you’re getting sunlight reflected left, right and center. I’ll use some on the still exposed surfaces.
Nicki: I mainly wipe it on my face. I mean, your face is–
Robb: Wrinkles, yeah. So, those are the mitigating strategies that I would recommend really good anti-inflammatory diet. Again, eating things that are really rich in dark colored chemicals like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, all of these carotenoids and dark colored constituent seem to have some built in UV protection to some degree. Again, this is not going to let you go out in midday sun at the equator. If you’re Danish in origin, you’re going to have to have some–
Nicki: You have to ramp up. You can’t just —
Robb: You have to ramp up and have some mitigating strategies. James did mention the use of tanning beds. The data on this is really unfortunate. It appears that UV tanning bed use is overall a bad idea. It just consistently comes back as being a bad idea. One of the things that I’ve had problems wrapping my head around most of these studies don’t really consider the dose response time.
It’s general use. And when people are generally using these things they’re trying to get pretty damn brown. I still can’t help but wonder if — Let’s say you’re two weeks out from getting into a very sunny environment. Let’s say on day one you buy a 20-punch card deal to go to a tanning booth. On day one, you go in for 30 seconds. On day two, you go in for a minute. On day three, you go in for a minute and 30 seconds.
Nicki: Really ramp up slowly.
Robb: Really ramp it up slowly. Again, this is complete guessing. I’m sure there’s a bunch of dermatologists that would just freak out. I can’t help. This is just getting in shape for an athletic event or something, a minimal dose to just get all the enzyme systems ramped up. You’re starting to encourage the melanocytes to produce whatever degree of skin protection you can get going in that regard.
Here’s one interesting aside. I would, when you start getting out in the sun a lot, I would pay particular attention to making sure that you get enough folate, enough methylated folic acid. Part of the evolutionary tradeoff between the production of vitamin D and tanning is the degradation of folate. People exposed to a lot of sun can actually end up folate deficient because the folate gets degraded due to photo exposure. That is something that’s not specifically related to sunburn protection but is a factor when somebody is out in the sun a lot.
Robb: Is that it for today?
Nicki: I think that’s our final question for today.
Robb: Okay. Do you have any closing words of wisdom or…?
Robb: No? Okay. All right. It’s funny, Nicki can’t stop talking at me but she gets a little shy around you, guys. Thank you all again. Hopefully, look forward to seeing you in real life at some point soon here.
Nicki: Follow us on @dasrobbwolf on Instagram. Facebook.
Robb: @robbwolf on Twitter. I’m doing a lot of Q&A, folks popping up over at the robbwolf.com online and I think it’s my Facebook gig. Okay. Talk to you soon, guys.
[0:34:57] End of Audio
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