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News topic du jour:
High-dose Thiamine and Essential Tremor
1. Heavy metals in canned fish
Long time listener and fan of your work in general. I have a question that I hope you can answer but before that there is a topic that needs addressing! I really hate to bring this up but since this has been the topic for two of your warm up talks in a row, I feel called to set the record straight! 😉 It is about the all too important battle of the cold snaps! I think you need to check your conversions from Fahrenheit to Celsius, because -30 Fahrenheit is not -50 Celsius, it is -34. -40 degrees is where the two systems converge. I am from Northernmost Scandinavia above the arctic circle and we regularly have -40 in winter and sometimes -50 degrees Celsius which is -58 degrees Fahrenheit. If you had ever experienced -50 degrees Celsius it would forever be ingrained in memory, believe me. So lets get to my question now that the record is set straight! 😉
I have been doing keto for many years which is great for all the reasons we know all too well but it can sometimes be hard to find easy to grab healthy snacks and meals. I have eaten a lot of canned fish throughout the years, I enjoy it and it is quick and easy. But what about the heavy metal content?! We are constantly told that we shouldn’t consume too much of it, but I have struggled with this since I find it hard to believe that all oceans at all depths could be so saturated with heavy metals that it renders all canned fish poisonous. The ones who advise against consuming too much canned fish also advise against red meat consumption and would rather see that we all went vegan. What is the real story on this, are there real concerns or are they just making assumptions without evidence to back their claims as they do with red meat? I have been sort of thinking that if there are some heavy metals in canned fish it has to vary and might not be a problem in the overall context of a healthy diet and lifestyle? Am I completely wrong and slowly poisoning myself with my daily canned sardines and tuna?
2. Activated Charcoal
I love your work and have been a long time fan. I came across someone the other day saying we should be taking activated charcoal due to all the toxins we encounter in today’s world. I don’t know who this guy is and I’m not sure if he has any credibility. It just got me to wondering. I’ve never heard of this before and was wondering what your thoughts were on the subject?
3. Homelessness, TBI and addiction
Dear Robbo and Nicks,
I love putting 50 pence in the Robb Wolf question and listening to what comes out. And there are a lot of questions I would like to ask including one on the Great Reset. I’ll forgo that today although I will say we have entered into what will turn out to be a historical, epoch defining shit show that will go in down in history as a transitional event that will forever change the world just like the industrial revolution did, whichever direction, good or bad, it takes.
Instead I will focus my question of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Not my own but a friend of mine who we’ll call Danny. I first met Danny in 2007 through a mutual friend after finishing my first bullshit humanities degree. It was one of those Indian summers we sometimes get in the UK where September turns out to be rather warm. I was sitting with a mutual friend called Paul out front of bar near to the River Trent in Nottingham when Danny turned up with another friend of his who I would also go onto befriend. My first impressions of him were that he was a bit nuts which turned out to be the correct inference I could make from this gregarious character who is the funniest person I have ever met.
Something that I have been doing in my own recovery from TBI has been reflecting a lot about my life as once the fog of TBI began to clear certain things do look different. Based on my own anecdotal epidemiology I think there is an epidemic of mental ill health out there related to TBI as I know of seven people who have had their lives devastated by it. This includes Danny who before I met him got assaulted and whilst he was on the floor had his head kicked in like a football. He lost most of his teeth and to boot, got a TBI with it. I haven’t seen Danny for over two years now as he is now homeless, addicted to heroin and is now estranged from his family and friends for reasons I won’t go into.
I will make the point here that as someone who believes in the complete legalisation and regulation of substances as the war on drugs has been a complete and unmitigated catastrophe, you have to understand why it is that people go on to develop addiction. It’s no use treating the addiction in isolation. You have to do some reverse engineering to find out what the addiction is in response to. For Danny it was self-medication for some mental health problems as a result of TBI.
I have some money invested in crypto (which is the future of money), however I need to wait until the next bull run or until my trading has built up enough money to pay for him to see someone similar who can put Danny through Dr. Gordon’s TBI protocol.
I’ll phrase my question as more of a thought experiment to both of you. What would you do if you had a friend who was homeless and addicted to heroin because of TBI and you wanted him to get better?
I mean this in terms of a multi-pronged approach so;
- What supplements would you use?
- Exercise and training programs?
- Diet and food (low/carb keto)?
- Rebuilding social connections?
- I have access to a sauna so how would you use that?
- Anything else you can think of?
This is unrelated to the question above but does involve TBI. Back on episode 112 you had a question from Charles who said he was suffering from strength in his erection. What was screaming out to me in brightly coloured neon lights was TBI. He mentioned in his write up to his question that he was involved in a car accident and was knocked off his bicycle. This, based on his description, indicates these were events that caused some sort of brain trauma and the resultant HPA axis dysfunction, with the consequent hormonal problems and sexual dysfunction he was/is experiencing. I would highly recommended he checks out Dr. Mark Gordon’s appearances on some of the podcasts he has done, including with Joe Rogan, and he should be able to implement some changes from what Dr Gordon says that should help him. I did and it changed my life. As well as being as being super knowledgeable on TBI Dr Gordon comes across as a really nice person. One of the good guys.
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Download transcript of this episode (PDF)
Nicki: It is time to make your health an act of rebellion. We’re tackling personalized nutrition, metabolic flexibility, resilient aging, and answering your diet and lifestyle questions. This is the only show with the bold aim to help one million people liberate themselves from the sick care system. You’re listening to the Healthy Rebellion Radio.
The contents of this show are for entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast should be considered medical advice. Please consult your licensed and credentialed functional medicine practitioner before embarking on any health, dietary or fitness change. Warning: when Robb gets passionate, he’s been known to use the occasional expletive. If foul language is not your thing, if it gets your britches in a bunch, well there’s always Disney Plus.
Robb: Welcome back.
Nicki: Hello everybody. Welcome to Episode 139 of the Healthy Rebellion Radio.
Robb: What’s the deal with the kids, like the throwing nines or adding nines or …?
Nicki: Casting nines?
Robb: Casting nines.
Nicki: Yeah, but that has nothing to do with this.
Robb: Well, no, it does because-
Nicki: The nine reminded you of it?
Robb: Well, with the Dark Horse Podcast, they always ask, is it a prime number?
Nicki: Right. But you can’t determine if something is prime, if you’re casting nines.
Robb: If it adds up to nine.
Nicki: So casting nines allows you, is a way to verify if your multiplication problem is correct. So if somebody, and I’m just making numbers up, so this is not going to be correct, but if somebody said, “Is 2,333 times 629 equal to a 122,523?” So you have a problem and an answer. You need to determine if that’s accurate. So all you do is you add each digit of the factors in the multiplication problem. So that first number I said, you add all of those digits together, and you keep adding them together until you get a single digit. So if you add it, and it turns into like 221, you would add two plus two plus one for five. So that would be five. Then the second factor in that problem, you would also do the same and get it down to a single digit.
Then you would multiply those two together. Then let’s say it was like five times four, so you got 20. So you’d add the two plus a zero and come down to a two. So you always keep simplifying down to a single digit. Then you do the same thing for the answer. If they’re the same, then the answer is correct, and if they’re different, then the answer’s incorrect. So casting out nine is very different than what you were doing.
Robb: Yep. That’s incredibly unhelpful for that. I thought it’s not a factoring thing. It’s just a kind of interesting way of figuring out if your multiplication was correct.
Nicki: I think there’s another one, and I could be getting this wrong, but Zoe and I were reading in Fred where if you add all of the numbers, like let’s say this episode 139, if that all added down and simplified down to three, then that number is also divisible by three and therefore not prime.
Robb: Okay. That’s what I was going for.
Nicki: Okay. That’s what you were going for.
Robb: Yeah, Something like that.
Nicki: Sorry, guys. For the total. Thanks for derailing us, Robb, at the beginning of this episode.
Nicki: Well, I guess I can’t be too hard on you. This is one day post your 51st birthday.
Robb: I’m fucking old, man.
Nicki: Yeah, happy birthday, babe.
Robb: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Nicki: I know we missed last week’s episode. Forget what was going, we had lots of little stuff going on. We had John Frankel, our jujitsu coach from Korea is visiting. He’s still in town for one more day. So it was nice. He was able to come out and celebrate you with us last night. Also-
Robb: Good time.
Nicki: With Travis and Kisa.
Robb: A fair amount of cider was consumed.
Nicki: Yes, it was a good time. Then we also did something completely new. You did something you haven’t done in like I don’t know if you’ve ever done it.
Robb: I think I was like 12. I can’t even really remember. I mean-
Nicki: Where would you have done it at 12? In Redding, California there’s no ice rink. There is a roller skating.
Robb: So maybe that was the first time.
Nicki: So I think that might have been your very first time on ice skates. I have been on ice skates only twice, two or three times in my life. But the girls wanted to go ice skating, so we took them ice skating and it was-
Robb: It was fun.
Nicki: It was fun. yeah.
Robb: I’m looking forward to the next shindig and we have a little lake in our backyard. It freezes generally in the winter, so-
Nicki: So if we get some proficiency where we feel like we’re not going to fall down and break something, then we can shovel off the snow and skate in the backyard.
Nicki: It should be fun. Okay. I think that’s all of the upfront.
Robb: The hip, hip and whatnot.
Nicki: Hip, hip and whatnot. Okay. What do you have for us, for our news topic?
Robb: The ever wonderful Jack Rustin of Rustin Boneyard, also one of our moderators and just rock stars within the Healthy Rebellion, ping me this paper about high dose thymine and essential tremor. I still haven’t been able to track down the full paper. They’re trying to shake me down for 40 bucks for this. So it’s really interesting because it suggests that high dose intramuscular thymine application was really beneficial. It’s only two people. But this is, again, this …
This is where science progresses, particularly medical science. You have some clinician somewhere doing something non formulaic and kind of off in some corner of a research. This person probably had an idea about a mechanism of action and gave it a shot. They gave it literally a shot. Thymine is well understood. The dose response curves are well understood, the toxicity is well understood. So comparatively safe. But is this a randomized control trial? No. Is it huge numbers? No. Is it this? Is it that? Is it the other? No, but this is where this stuff starts. Very important to me because still dealing with essential tremor have better and worse stays around that. If it’s something as simple as once every two or three month IM injection of thiamine could knock this down to completely asymptomatic levels, that would be incredible. So I will update folks on that.
Nicki: Yeah. It says here that the treatment with intramuscular high dose limine has led to a rapid, remarkable and persistent improvement of the symptoms in two patients with essential tremor.
Nicki: That’s pretty encouraging.
Robb: The results encouraging suggests the possibility that high doses of intramuscular thymine may be an affordable alternative, highly effective and long-lasting medical treatment that has shown no relevant side effects.
Nicki: Babe, I think you can spend $40 and get this paper.
Robb: Well, I’m trying to shake it down for there should be … These outlets are supported by public funding for the most part. So it’s like, give me a break. So if push comes to shove, I will in fact buy this, and I’ll let folks know what’s up with it. I’ll make sure that it ends up on Sci Hub most likely so that other people can access it for free. God, I had one other thought about this. One of the other treatments that I have been tinkering with is this focused NMR, transcranial NMR stuff. It looks really interesting, and apparently it’s fairly efficacious. It’s really expensive. Really, really expensive.
Nicki: It’s not everywhere. Right?
Robb: It’s not everywhere.
Nicki: You don’t have one in Montana, you would have to go-
Robb: No. My closest deal is probably either-
Robb: Texas or possibly Colorado. So yeah, versus depending on your state, like in some states’, naturopaths can apply IM injections. Other places you have to go to a MD or nurse practitioner or PA or something like that. But really interesting and not surprisingly, because everything seems to be on the rise, essential tremor is on the rise in folks. Yeah, yeah. So I will keep people updated on that.
Nicki: Awesome. Very cool. Okay. The Healthy Rebellion Radio is sponsored by our salty AF electrolyte company Lmnt. I know in previous episodes, we’ve shared stories from moms who have noticed Lmnt having a profound effect on breast milk supply, electrolytes, particularly sodium is very important when it comes to breast milk production. I wanted to share another message that the Lmnt team received just a couple days ago from a customer on this very topic. So this is from David.
He says, “I heard about your products through the Model Health Show Podcast. My wife is breastfeeding our infant daughter and was struggling with her milk production. I gave her a pack of Lmnt after she expressed she felt exhausted the next day her milk supply increased drastically. I asked her what triggered it, and she said the only thing she did differently was took an Lmnt. I encouraged her to stick with it, and it’s evident your products impact her production because on the days she doesn’t take a pack, there’s a reduction in her supply. I say all that to express my appreciation toward your product products and the mission your team is on. Thank you. Keep leading the way. Stay salty.”
Nicki: That was super, super cool.
Nicki: I also wanted to share that we still have some chocolate medley left, so if you enjoy warm delicious flavors, be sure you grab a box of that. Our insiders bundle is your best value. So when you buy three boxes, you get the fourth box free. You can do all of that at DrinkLmnt.com/Robb. That’s drink L-M-N-T.com/Robb.
Robb: Very nice ad read.
Nicki: Thank you. Okay, we’ve got three questions for you today. This first one is from Frederick on heavy metals and canned fish. He says, “Hi there, longtime listener and fan of your work in general. I have a question that I hope you can answer. But before that, there is a topic that needs addressing. I really hate to bring this up, but since this has been the topic for two of your warmup talks in a row, I feel called to set the record straight. It is about the all two important battle of the cold snaps. I think you need to check your conversions from Fahrenheit to Celsius because minus 30 Fahrenheit is not minus 50 Celsius. It’s minus 34. Minus 40 degrees is where the two systems converge. I am from northernmost Scandinavia above the Arctic Circle. We regularly have minus 40 in winter and sometimes minus 50 degrees Celsius, which is minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have ever experienced minus 50 degrees Celsius, it would forever be ingrained in memory. So believe me.” So he said, “Believe me. So let’s get to my question now that the record is said straight.”
Robb: It’s funny. I am much chagrined to our good friend John Frankle, who lives in Korea. Because he lives in a civilized part of the world, they are on the metric system unlike the United States. It is always a bit of a hip fake because below that minus 40 point, then the Fahrenheit cold is colder than the Celsius cold. But because I think it’s like 9/5 plus 32 Celsius equals Fahrenheit or something to that effect, the Celsius basically has a larger spread between each numerical increment than it does in Fahrenheit. So it does add up. Yes, I am chagrined.
Nicki: Thank you, Frederick, for setting that straight.
Robb: I had deleted that out of this like a time or two.
Nicki: Oh you did?
Robb: You kept adding it back in, I think. Yeah, yeah.
Nicki: Oh, I didn’t add it back in. I think you maybe meant to delete it, but I think it was fun to rib you, so I’m glad it’s in there. Okay.
Robb: What’s today?
Nicki: Onto his question.
Robb: What’s today at Jujitsu?
Nicki: Neon belly.
Robb: Yes, it is.
Nicki: You will not be my partner. Okay. He says, I’ve been doing … Yeah. This is his question. “I’ve been doing keto for many years, which is great for all the reasons we know all too well, but it can sometimes be hard to find, easy to grab healthy snacks and meals. I’ve eaten a lot of canned fish throughout the years. I enjoy it and it is quick and easy. But what about the heavy metal content? We are constantly told that we shouldn’t consume too much of it, but I have struggled with this since I find it hard to believe that all oceans at all depths could be so saturated with heavy metals that it renders all canned fish poisonous. The ones who advise against consuming too much canned fish also advise against red meat consumption and would rather see that we all went vegan.”
“What is the real story on this? Are there real concerns or are they just making assumptions without evidence to back their claims as they do with red meat? I have been sort of thinking that if there are some heavy metals in canned fish, it has to vary and might not be a problem in the overall context of a healthy diet lifestyle. Am I completely wrong and slowly poisoning myself with my daily canned sardines and tuna?”
Robb: Super good question. One of the pieces to this is just the relative size of the fish and where they are in the food chain. So things like mackerel and sardines, and I really wish I could eat mackerel, like they’re so good for you, but I can eat a lot of weird stuff. But mackerel is just like, oh, it’s a tough sell. But it can do sardines, but they’re lower down the relative food chains, so they tend to bioaccumulate less.
Salmon is kind of more up the food chain, but less so than tuna. Tuna is higher up the food chain. It tends to on average, bioaccumulate more things like mercury. The mercury comes from both kind of quote “natural sources” and also interestingly, coal is a non-trivial input as some of the byproducts of coal per production or burning get oftentimes offloaded in the ocean that gets converted via bacteria into this biologically active form of mercury. It can bioaccumulate and all that type of stuff.
But interestingly, also, and I’ll track down the link for this because Chris Kresser did a pretty good dive on this. Something that’s not well appreciated is that fish is also typically a pretty good source of selenium. Selenium has this interesting effect of blocking to a large degree the absorption or bioaccumulation of these heavy metals. And this is a little bit like the piece that in theory I’m going to do at some point talking about chocolate. Every couple years there’s a news piece that like, “Oh my god, chocolate has cadmium and lead. It’s going to kill you,” and people super freak out. It’s a little bit unnerving to find out that a food that we’re eating might have some non-trivial amount of heavy metals because these things are not great for us. But the thing is, it’s not just what is in the food, it’s how much you absorb.
In the flip side of this, we have talked about a lot like soaking and sprouting grains if you’re going to eat grains because the phytic acid tends to bind to zinc and iron and magnesium. There was a really fascinating study that looked at folks consuming shellfish and the amount of zinc that they would get from the shellfish, but then they ate the shellfish either with corn tortillas or with some other equal amount carbohydrate, but that didn’t have phytates in it.
Basically the corn tortillas, the unsoaked sprouted corn tortillas, 100% blocked the absorption of zinc. So this can cut both ways. This could be beneficial in certain circumstances of mitigating the accumulation of heavy metals in different toxicants like that. In some circumstances, like selenium can play a role. In other circumstances with cacao, the phytates and different polyphenols act in a way that make the absorption of heavy metals more problematic, more difficult, which is good. Then in some cases, this can lead to over nutrient deficiencies. If you’re eating tons and tons of standard modern like corn tortillas, that could probably get you into a zinc deficiency status because corn tortillas are delicious when you eat them with the right stuff. They’re cheap and easy and all that, and so they can be a problem.
One other thought on this, and again, if you’re focusing more on sardines and whatnot, then I think that this is kind of a nonissue across the board. We do have some limited capacity to offload different types of heavy metals. It’s limited. We can lose some via sweat, we can lose some via some other excretory pathways and whatnot. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I think this just makes the case for eating lower down the food chain from oceangoing items. I think if you’re doing a couple of cans of salmon a week or tuna even, I really don’t see that being a huge issue, but it depends also.
Nicki: Is there any easy test for this?
Robb: There are tests. I’m getting out over the tips of my skis. I would want to research this a little bit. I do think that the hair mineral testing is good for this.
Nicki: Because it might be a way, a thing that if he’s really concerned about this, if he’s wanting to have tuna daily for example-
Robb: Yeah. See where your baseline is.
Nicki: Maybe if there is a test that would be somewhat reliable, you could see what is my status right now. Then that would be moderate good consumption from there.
Robb: That would be a good Chris Master John question because he is the knower of all things, but I do. One of the problems with that is that heavy metals don’t just kind of cruise around in the plasma. They associate with proteins, although we do have protein in our plasma, but they tend to associate with other structural proteins. I do think that the hair mineral testing is a pretty legit way to assess that. But again, I am going completely from memory and maybe wrong on that. So if listeners know better, please let me know.
Robb: To the Celsius versus Fahrenheit and we can kind of go from there. Actually, it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Maybe we’d get Chris Master John on at some point. I want to start doing a few interviews here and there, but our internet is so appallingly bad, the Q&A works well because Nikki and I can spin this thing up and then we can let it upload over the course of three hours, and we’re cool. Whereas doing an interview, it’s been really problematic. But I could also try to do a little bit of a dive on just … So I grew up in some apartments that we know for a fact had lead paint. Did I get some sort of a exposure as a kid? Incredibly possible. This was still during leaded gasoline, and I remember my cousins and I spitting gasoline into fires and stuff like that.
Nicki: Oh geez, babe. Are you serious?
Robb: Yeah, yeah. This is why biology makes more boys than girls because we’re idiots, but yeah.
Nicki: Wow. You’d learn something new about your husband every day.
Robb: You do.
Nicki: Okay. All right. Our next question-
Robb: Probably won’t make it to 61.
Nicki: Our next question is from Sarah on activated charcoal. “Hey guys, I love your work and I’ve been a longtime fan. I came across someone the other day saying we should be taking activated charcoal due to all the toxins we encounter in today’s world. I don’t know who this guy is and I’m not sure if he has any credibility. It just got me to wondering. I’ve never heard of this before, and just wondering what your thoughts were on the subject.”
Robb: Yeah. Activated charcoal is really powerful in dealing with orally ingested toxicants. It’s used in some drug overdose scenarios because the activated charcoal binds to a host of different substances, but it’s not just this. If you’re getting airborne toxins, if you’re getting transdermal toxins, if you’re getting toxins from water, even the activated charcoal may or may not be as efficacious. So it’s really, really powerful and a remarkable tool, but it has super specific use case. It’s not just this one size fits all, like it’s going to reduce your toxicant load.
Nicki: It’s not just eat your tuna and take your activated charcoal and-
Robb: Correct. Yeah, yeah.
Nicki: Yeah. Okay. Cool. Cool. All right. This last one is a big one. This one’s from Jamie on homelessness, TBI, and addiction. Jamie says, “Dear Robo and Nicks, I love putting 50 pence in the Robb Wolff question and listening to what comes out. And there are a lot of questions I would like to ask, including one on the great reset. I’ll forego that today, although I will say we have entered into what will turn out to be a historical epic defining show that will go down in history as a transitional event that will forever change the world, just like the industrial Revolution did, whichever direction, good or bad, it takes. Instead, I will focus my question on traumatic brain injury, TBI. Not my own, but a friend of mine who we will call Danny. I first met Danny in 2007 through a mutual friend after finishing my first bullshit humanities degree.”
It was one of those Indian summers we sometimes get in the UK where September turns out to be rather warm. I was sitting with a mutual friend called Paul out front of a bar near to the River Trent in Nottingham. When Danny turned up with another friend of his who I would also go on to befriend, my first impressions of him were that he was a bit nuts, which turned out to be the correct inference I could make from this gregarious character who is the funniest person I have ever met. Something that I have been doing in my own recovery from TBI has been reflecting a lot about my life as once the fog of TBI began to clear, certain things do look different. Based on my own anecdotal epidemiology, I think there is an epidemic of mental ill health out there related to TBI as I know of seven people who have had their lives devastated by it.
This includes Danny who before I met him, got assaulted and whilst he was on the floor, had his head kicked in like a football. He lost most of his teeth and to boot, got a TBI with it. I haven’t seen Danny for over two years now as he is now homeless, addicted to heroin and is now estranged from his family and friends for reasons I won’t go into. I will make the point here that as someone who believes in the complete legalization and regulation of substances as the war on drugs has been a complete and unmitigated catastrophe, you have to understand why it is that people go on to develop addiction. It’s no use treating the addiction in isolation. You have to do some reverse engineering to find out what the addiction is in response to. For Danny, it was self-medication for some mental health problems as a result of TBI.
I have some money invested in crypto, which is the future of money. However, I need to wait until the next bull run or until my trading has built up enough money to pay for him to see someone similar who can put Danny through Dr. Gordon’s TBI protocol. I’ll phrase my question as more of a thought experiment to both of you. What would you do if you had a friend who was homeless and addicted to heroin because of TBI, and you wanted him to get better? I mean this in terms of a multi-pronged approach. So what supplements would you use? Exercise and training programs, diet and food, would it be low carb, keto, rebuilding, social connections? Would psilocybin and LSD? I have access to a sauna. So how would you use that? Anything else you can think of? Thank you. Love, Jamie.”
Robb: Do you want to jump in there? Do you want to cover some of …?
Nicki: So he also has a PS talking about his own TBI situation. Actually another, actually I’ll read this one because this is actually-
Robb: Okay. Yeah. It is interesting. Yeah.
Nicki: Okay. PS this is unrelated to the question above, but does involve TBI. Back on episode 112, you had a question from Charles who said he was suffering from strength in his erection. What was screaming out to me in brightly colored neon lights was TBI. He mentioned in his write-up to his question that he was involved in a car accident and was knocked off his bicycle. This based on his description, indicates these were events that caused some sort of brain trauma and the result in HPA access dysfunction. With the consequent hormonal problems and sexual dysfunction, he was/is experiencing. I would highly recommend he checks out Dr. Mark Gordon’s appearances on some of the podcasts he has done, including what Joe Rogan. He should be able to implement some changes from what Dr. Gordon says that should help him. I did, and it changed my life. As well as being super knowledgeable on TBI, Dr. Gordon comes across as a really nice person, one of the good guys.
Robb: There’s more. One, Jamie, this is one of the more beautifully written questions that we’ve had. Not an expert on TBI. I’ve been in and around this scene though because of the work that I’ve done with Naval Special Warfare and some of the work that we’ve done with MMA fighters and stuff like that. Jamie lays out a really smart protocol here in that we’re looking at a multi-pronged approach. What supplements would we put into a scenario like this? The evidence-based go-to is definitely adequate vitamin D levels. That seems to play an important factor. It’s not the whole story, but it’s some of the story. This is something that we’ve talked with Doc Parsley about, and this is something that he’s pieced together in dealing with what he called the Seal syndrome or the Seal flu.
A lot of what those guys experience as far as long term problems is the result of accumulated TBIs, like firing a fairly high powered rifle like a 50 cal or even smaller rifles. Each time you fire it, there’s a shockwave that causes some amount of a TBI. Being on a roller coaster, standard roller coaster, the 1G acceleration, deceleration of changing directions causes a mild TBI. So you think about parachute deployments for the Seals riding a zodiac rubber boat at super high speed across choppy water and just vibrating, sometimes folks end up with kidney damage. It rattles them so hard. So you think about your brain case. This is just all really evolutionarily novel stuff. We’re not fucking designed for these types of things. We are resilient. We can bounce back, but I think you take all of that and then you take a modern world of altered circadian biology, which I think is a biggie, altered gut health.
In general, most people just don’t eat as well as what we did in the past. So just as a baseline, this pro-inflammatory state that is worse. We’re lacking in social connections in large part compared to what we have in the past, whether it’s church or social groups, and just this kind of weird junk food analogy of socialization via social media that doesn’t help things. So again, sorry, I’m rattling on here. But supplements, I think vitamin D and fish oil, there are some great evidence-based material to support that. Exercise, zone two cardio has some good efficacy there.
High intensity interval training also is really interesting because the disproportionate production and BDNF, brain-derived neurotropic factor. The interesting thing though is that people with TBIs, they oftentimes do have this HPTA access dysregulation. So they’re kind of in this adrenalized state, and I think you have to really ease them into the high intensity activity. High intensity can be really subjective to the individual. I think building an aerobic base first and building mitochondrial function and whatnot, and then really judiciously dosing in that high intensity activity, like maybe it’s four cycles of 22nd 80% effort on an aerodyne ten-second recovery, like a half Tabata protocol and see how the person does and slowly increase volume and intensity with that type of activity. I think some on the diet side.
Nicki: Sorry, before you go there, this just popped into my head. I didn’t think of it previously, otherwise I would’ve pulled it up. But I remember there being a question on TBI in the Rebellion two years ago. I remember John Wellborn weighing in on it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with John, he’s a 10 year NFL veteran. Some things that he added in there was brushing your teeth with your opposite hand. So if you’re right hand dominant, brush it with your left. Doing-
Robb: Difficult things.
Nicki: A lot of these difficult things like with the opposite hand and more like physical brain challenges, like hand eye stuff. I’ll see if I can dig that up.
Robb: John did a ketogenic diet for quite some time. When John first got out of the NFL, and John’s a super sharp accomplished guy. But later, we didn’t do it at the time, but later we teased John lightly because we’re like, you know, would tell the same story three times.
Nicki: He would, he would.
Robb: In a conversation. He doesn’t do that now. John had some brain imaging when he first got out of the NFL, and it showed some pathological consequences that you would expect to be pretty typical of 10 years of starting as an NFL lineman. Then he’s worked, and he’s done all kinds of magnet therapy, vitamin therapy, like just kitchen sink approach in addition to doing, brushing his teeth with his left hand and doing new novel activities.
But when he is done subsequent brain imaging, the people reporting to him have said, “It doesn’t look like you played in the NFL,” basically like that loss of gray matter and some of the other structural morphological changes. He seems to have reversed that stuff. But John took this really integrated approach. I’m going from Jamie’s pieces here, like rebuilding the social connections. It’s interesting.
Jiu-jitsu’s been this pretty valuable, and I believe even some independent research supporting the benefits of jiujitsu practice for folks with PTSD, TBI type things. I think it’s because you’re learning something new. It’s difficult, it’s challenging, and there’s a strong social connection there, the low dose psilocybin LSD, it’s a burgeoning field, but I think that all of that has huge potential application. Jamie asked about Asana. I think that this is another one of these multi-pronged things where hot and cold exposure, both of those we know have some pretty significant benefits on improving dopamine levels. This kind of circles back to the potential for addiction, which leads into all these other problems. Being able to improve your ability to just enjoy and appreciate the day and the moment, I think is one of these really powerful tools.
Breath work, we’re big fans of the Zeva meditation, but Huberman Lab recently has made the case that five minutes of doing the physiological sigh, like two nasal breaths in fully filling your lungs, brief hold, full exhale through the mouth and kind of pushing the air out and repeating that seems to reduce stress levels, cortisol, improves heart rate variability score better than the 20 minutes, 15 minutes of meditation. So I think that’s another one. I do think just broadly, this needs to be a kitchen sink approach. Jamie, didn’t get into it really deeply. But the homelessness piece, the Dark Horse podcast had a bit on this.
It’s interesting when homelessness is generally discussed, usually the solution that’s put forward is, well, these people need homes. It seems kind of straightforward, but they got into some of the research on this. These folks end up being homeless because of a bunch of different factors, not specifically related to a lack of housing. It is because they have mental health issues and addiction and all these things that end up just creating the inability of making a more normal life occur.
But I think that this is an interesting angle on all of this, again, from the multifactorial piece, which is if we’re trying to address this, and clearly there needs to be some help and some support there, but if the sole focus is just to provide a roof over one’s head, and that’s the end of the story, it doesn’t really seem to be addressing the underlying root causes and all the other issues that are going on. So Jamie lay a really good question, and I think the way that you laid out the question was probably better than the rambling that I did here. We were talking to other jujitsu coach, Travis Davidson, about this. It’s interesting looking at MMA athletes. We’ve had a few people in our Straight Blast Gym organization take their lives after apparently battling with some really significant mental health issues.
Robb: Depression. All these folks were hard chargers and did a lot of boxing, a lot of kickboxing, clearly had some non-trivial mileage on their brains and could get into a cycle of alcohol. One thing that definitely doesn’t help this is alcohol. It definitely worsens and accelerates all of this stuff. Man, it’s a huge problem. It’s a difficult and expensive problem to deal with because there isn’t a pill, a potion. You have to do an integrated approach to this.
It takes a lot of time, and there’s a lot of ways of triggering people into kind of backsliding. So it’s not an easy thing to address. A lot of times when the person is in this TBI-ed state, they’re just not making great decisions themselves. So it’s hard to even get the buy-in from the person. So do you have any other thoughts on that?
Nicki: I don’t. I don’t. Nope. Definitely a big problem. I mean, we’ve seen the homelessness situation, pictures coming out of San Francisco and Los Angeles. We have a little bit here in Kalispell, though it’s so freaking cold here. It’s not as big of an issue as it is in some of the warmer climates, but it’s an interesting suggestion that obviously mental health is at the root of most of it, but how much of it is tbi? Right. Interesting. That was our final question. Any other parting thoughts, Hubs?
Robb: I don’t think so. Very grateful for another lap around the sun.
Nicki: Lap around the sun?
Nicki: Yes. Yep. I’m grateful that you had another lap around the sun too.
Robb: Thank you. Thank you. You’re pretty hot though. You could probably bring in a hot strapping young stud if I were to kick the bucket.
Nicki: Yeah, I’m not looking for that.
Robb: Not in the market for that. Okay.
Nicki: Nope, nope. I’m happy with what I have.
Nicki: All right, everyone. Thank you so much for tuning in for yet another episode of our show, The Healthy Rebellion Radio. Have a fabulous weekend. We’ll see you next week.
Robb: Take care, everybody.
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George Harris says
Fascinated to hear about the Huberman lab breath research (having not made note of them before).
Found this link
Is this what you’re referring to (for those of us wanting to learn more about said research)?
Mark Williams says
Big fan of the show.
Just to ask, have you tried Residential Starlink to solve your internet issue: https://www.starlink.com/ ?
It looks to be available in Montana. A bit pricier than regular internet, but just sharing in case it can help get some of the interviews going!
In regards to canned fish, it was a bit unclear if the question was asking about the fish or the fact that it’s canned. Is it possible that the canning imparts heavy metals into the food?
Robert LaFleur says
I do read your stuff often. I was wondering how you can get safe Salmon to eat. It is great protien and being in mid-60’s and still power lifting and Hiking in NE, I need good protien. I love salmon and now am seeing all the hype about PFA-PFO found in almost all US Rivers and Lake fish and even that Alaska Wild caught Salmon is full of the crap. Is there ANY safe Fish to eat out there? I am even hearing reports that Restaurants and Large chain stores and small are selling Farm Raised Salmon and other fish as Wild Caught. ANy help on who to trust – where we can get the real thing and is there any such thing as CLEAN FISH anymore? Keep it up. You and others like you have at least brought out how crazy the US food market has gotten and unfortunatley how polluted things have gotten. Thanks.