Time to Rethink Alcohol
Love you guys!! I would appreciate your take on the effect of alcohol on the body.
I am a health coach and I am trying to get as many perspectives as possible so I can offer knowledge to the clients who ask, about the pros and cons of the nightly glass(es) of wine, or the occasional weekend over indulgence. It seems that the deeper I dig on the subject, the more I feel we as a society need to educate ourselves about the potential impact that alcohol can have on our health rather than just look at it as a social acceptance or a “good source of resveratrol”. Please feel free to take a deep dive into the industry as well and a possible comparison to the tobacco industry and the lies that were being told regarding smoking. Are we being told the truth about the effects of alcohol on our body?
Please know that your podcast is very much appreciated and I look forward to hearing what is going on in the Wolf household. (Team Home Schooling!!)
Thank you for your time.
Cauliflower ear and BJJ
Hi Robb and Nicki,
Have you found cauliflower ear to be something to worry about in BJJ? I worry about it more as a woman, so I’m curious especially if Nicki has ever thought about it. Do you see a lot of people in classes developing it? Do you do anything like putting binder clips on your ears to prevent it?
Thanks, and I appreciate all you both do.
|Essential Tremors and GABA connection?
Because I haven’t seen a response on the podcast yet re: the potential connection between ET’s and a GABA deficiency, I was curious what your thoughts were on that deal. I got diagnosed with ET’s about 18 months ago and noticed that my sleep has also been inconsistent in that time. I assumed it was mostly lifestyle (stressful job, two special needs kids, etc), but started to wonder how the sleep inconsistency and ET’s could be connected. I know it’s a bit of a correlation/causation deal, but based on Doc Parsley’s work on sleep and this study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4108714/), I’m curious what your thoughts are on the subject and if you’ve had any more luck in piecing this whole thing together.
If it helps, been Paleo for a more than a decade, and recently leaned into more of Paul Saladino’s stuff, especially adding the fruit & honey after jits, which I’ve been training for 2-3 days a week for about 8 months. I too notice a bit uptick in the ET severity after more than 2 cups of coffee, which is pretty rare nowadays since cutting back the caffeine helps so much with sleep and the ET severity.
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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 1 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 bridges in a bunch, well there’s always Disney+.
Robb: Welcome back friends, neighbors, loved ones.
Nicki: Hello everybody. This is episode 171 of The Healthy Rebellion Radio, Hubs. How you doing?
Robb: Good. Good. We are clearly in the beginnings of winter, I guess. Is winter officially here or is it… When does that… Is it the solstice?
Nicki: Well, the solstice is when it starts getting lighter.
Robb: Okay. I’m not really too sure how that works.
Nicki: So we’re, I don’t know where.
Robb: We’re a ways off from spring, but we’re looking ahead at a few projects that we have cooking. Nicki has wanted to do bees for a long time. And her horrible husband got rid of most of her bee gear when we left Texas because we were-
Nicki: Because we had it in Reno. And I never took the step of actually purchasing a package of bees to have a hive. I had everything else and then we moved it all to Texas and moved a lot. And Robb was…
Robb: Well, we were leaving things on the doorstep, calling neighbors, asking them to come grab it.
Nicki: So we ended up donating my bee gear to one of our friends who was running grass fed beef on a 2000 acre ranch there in the hill country, so I no longer have bee gear. So we’ve printed out plans for both bees and we also are planning on doing chickens. And we don’t have any kind of chicken henhouse or tractor here yet, so we need to build ourselves a chicken tractor.
Robb: So we’re looking into two different varieties. One is the Suscovich Chicken Tractor, and the other one, I don’t know that it has a name, but it’s made out of a hog wire. And it’s got some repurposed bicycle parts in it, so you can lever the thing up and move it around. So we’re looking into the plans on both of these. And we will report back which one we decide to do. Both of them are vastly above my current skillset in making, so it’s going to be an adventure.
Nicki: We probably get a lot of laughs if we recorded our attempt at building these things and shared them with the world.
Robb: People realize how limited my working and welding skills are pretty quickly.
Nicki: We won’t. Yes, we don’t do that.
All right, let’s see here. Hubs, what do you have for us for a news topic?
Robb: So there was a cool piece that popped up on YouTube. It’s from a guy called No Lab Coat Required, and he does some just phenomenal videos. Not a ton of material yet, but each one I’ve been really impressed with. And this one is called Salt and Blood Pressure, How Sady Science-
Nicki: Shady Science.
Robb: … Shady Science Sold America a Lie. A little bit of a tongue twister, but really great.
Nicki: It’s called alliteration.
Robb: Thank you.
Nicki: Or actually, no, it’s not because shady is a different sound than science. It’s [inaudible 00:03:56]. Sorry, detour, homeschool, fail.
Robb: You were saying. So yeah, it does a really great job of talking about the history of how we were told that sodium is unequivocally this primary driver of blood pressure. And really the science behind that is pretty weak, and porous, and it reminds one a lot of cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. There are relationships there. There are definitely pieces that fit into this. Not everybody benefits from a super high sodium intake. But this guy did a great job.
And he really, at the end, he didn’t go deep into the whole story, but he pulled together the final piece, which is that 75 or 80% of the sodium that people consume in the modern world comes from processed foods, hyper palatable, highly processed foods, and that perhaps it is the delivery system that is causing problems. And I’m of the opinion that most of the cardiovascular disease risk with regards to sodium is an outgrowth of insulin resistance, which then tends to make one sensitive towards sodium intake, and abnormal retention and whatnot. And that can drive the blood pressure vector for people. But it’s really good. It’s about 20 minutes long and he does a fantastic job.
Nicki: Awesome. So we’ll have a link for that in the show notes.
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Robb: Sorry, sorry, sorry.
Nicki: Again, it’s limited time, so it will be available as long as supplies last. Grab a box for yourself or maybe even as a holiday gift for a loved one. You can go to drinklmnt.com/robb. That’s drinklmnt.com/robb. Get cozy and snuggle in with a hot mug of LMNT salty goodness. Again, that’s drinklmnt.com/robb.
Robb: See this is where you do the universal sign of advance the feed or twirling the finger to move it along.
Nicki: Yeah, maybe it’s a different sign that I could give you.
Robb: Several come to mind. Yes.
Nicki: All right, folks, we’ve got three questions today. The first one is from Karen on alcohol. Love you guys. I would appreciate your take on the effect of alcohol on the body. I’m a health coach and I’m trying to get as many perspectives as possible so I can offer knowledge to the clients who ask about the pros and cons of the nightly glass or glasses of wine or the occasional weekend over indulgence.
It seems that the deeper I dig on the subject, the more I feel we as a society need to educate ourselves about the potential impact that alcohol can have on our health rather than just look at it as a social acceptance or a good source of resveratrol. Please feel free to take a deep dive on this. Are we being told the truth about the effects of alcohol on our body?
Please know that your podcast is very much appreciated and look forward to hearing what is going on in the Wolff household team homeschooling. Thank you for your time, Karen.
Robb: Man, where to jump in on this? So when we first started running the gym, or as we ran the gym, I had to adopt a more lenient posture with booze consumption because we wanted to keep clients quite frankly. And a overly hard line was antithetical to keeping people as paying clients. We had a whole bunch of realtors initially, and when we convinced them to stop drinking as part of a 30 day reset, and then maybe that would carry on, they would complain that they were selling fewer houses because they couldn’t go out and wine and dine people quite the same way-
Robb: And socialize and all that type of stuff. And that’s where I modified my position to the NorCal Margarita, basically like clear spirits with some lime juice and soda water and all that type of stuff. So they at least weren’t getting the gluten from beer, the sugar from sugary drinks, and even just the sugar from wine. And it seems like wine disproportionately seems to negatively impact sleep. It just seems like on a-
Nicki: More people report that as a.
Robb: Yeah, some sleep disturbance.
Nicki: It’s tricky when you’re working with people, you can, especially somebody who’s living sort of the standard American lifestyle. So when they come to a trainer, or start going to a gym, or wanting to make some changes, we find that not everybody’s up for, “Let’s change everything all at once today.” So in our experience, obviously we wanted them to start moving their bodies. So coming into the gym. And then let’s tackle the food piece. Let’s get protein in front of, increase our protein. Let’s cut out some of these processed sugars and processed foods. And maybe let’s just do one glass depending on what the person was consuming, like instead of a six pack of beer, let’s do two. You had to titrate people down into a spot and then they’d start feeling better. And then they would notice the effects of alcohol on them more in a more prominent way.
Robb: Particularly if they went extended periods of time without drinking, which is oftentimes what would happen. And I know that Andrew Huberman has done a deep dive on alcohol and it’s toe curling. It disturbs sleep, it damages the liver. The sleep disturbance piece is just, it’s pretty profound. Because when you look at all the gnarly effects that come as a consequence of just poor sleep. And then you overlay the reality that most people, they feel like they come home and they’re like, “I’m only having two cocktails a night.” And they feel like they’re doing pretty good. And again, maybe relative to where they were in their college years, it may in fact be an improvement, but the thing that they’re fighting is aging. And as we get older, the effects of alcohol just become more and more obvious and prominent.
When I was talking to Dr. Anthony Jay about my genetics report, it just came up that when you do a bender in your twenties, you feel bad for a day. The next day, whole day can be a wash. You do a bender like that in your fifties and you feel bad for a week. You do something like that in your eighties and you may not come back for it.
Nicki: But Robb, there’s the hair of the dog. You can just wake up the next morning and take some shots and you feel better.
Robb: Some do.
Nicki: Kidding folks, kidding.
Robb: Some manage to do that. And everybody has a story about the uncle Fred that smoked and drank, and lived to be 98 and all that type of stuff. And I think that all of that is true in anecdotal form, but it’s a funny thing. I drank socially because I already… And even within the last 20 years doing this paleo type stuff, I maintained some amount of alcohol consumption just because I was already a weirdo on so many other levels. It’s like the gluten-free thing, the low carb thing. I react to this, I react to that. Oh my guts, it’s just on and on and on.
But I definitely, I think that just my neurochemistry is such that I don’t really get that much joy from alcohol. I think that some people, it really loosens them up. I think some people get a legitimate euphoric experience off of alcohol, and I just don’t. I know that there’s different responses to it.
So probably the last year I’ve had every three months I might have a drink. And when I do, I’m like, “I don’t even know why I had that.” And it’s funny, a number of our friends in our social circle, particularly people who are still working out and maybe doing jiu-jitsu and pushing their bodies, trying to-
Nicki: And they’re older.
Robb: And they’re in their late forties.
Nicki: Early fifties.
Robb: And in their Fifties. And they’re just like, “It’s not worth it.” Or they really punctuate the consumption. Maybe it’s at a wedding or something like that. And I do think that if one is critical and honest, and you overlay the probable effects of alcohol, it’s challenging. It’s difficult to really make a case for it being all that helpful.
I think one of the interesting features though is that it is still that gateway into socialization. You hang out with people, “Hey, let’s meet after work and go get a drink.” And maybe you grab some food and all that. And I think that this is also some of the mixed signal that we see around alcohol consumption and potential health because so many people tie socializing together with alcohol consumption. We know that socialization and community and all that are really important. So it’s tough.
It’s funny too. I find that there are so many different situations, like if I were to attend a concert at this point, I would want it to be during the middle of the day. I don’t want the dark, I don’t want the late, I don’t want the booze. I don’t want the people who are doing the booze. And again, this is probably just a reflection of getting old, but this has also always been my jam. I would much rather get up and have coffee and get after that stuff.
Nicki: You’ve always been an early riser and early to bed.
Robb: Yeah. So I don’t know. And Nicki, you have a few more cocktails than I do throughout the course of any given week, month, or year. What are your?
Nicki: Yeah, I don’t tend to drink unless we have company over or we’re out. I do enjoy having… I don’t drink wine anymore really because I do find that I feel worse from that. But I usually limit myself to one, maybe two max because I feel shitty if I have any more than that. But it’s definitely a sleep thing.
And then as you mentioned, that Huberman podcast, which we will link to that in the show notes, the sleep thing is everything, especially as folks are getting older, maintaining sleep, it’s just from a physical perspective, a cognitive perspective and aging perspective, all of it. It’s all about sleep. And so if you know that, so it’s a trade off. You’re making a decision. I know I’m going to have this beverage and I know it’s going to impact my sleep. What do you have going on? Is it worth it? It’s sort of a cost benefit trade off.
But Karen it’s tricky. As a health coach, obviously you want to give your folks the best information you can, but you also have to work within where they’re coming from. And I don’t know, maybe there’s a way to query these folks to see how ready they are for change and what type of a change… How do I want to say this?
Robb: Let me jump in with something really quick, which is the way that we’ve always couched the 30 day reset. Pull out grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, the whole thing. 30 days, how do you look? How do you feel? How do you perform? If you want to, do blood work before, do blood work afterwards. And then my greasy used car salesman pitch has always been, then look back and decide if it’s worth it. And I think that that removes all the emotionality, or at least it should remove some. And you’re not like the heavy that’s like, “Stop drinking alcohol.”
Nicki: “You’re never going to have a drink ever again in your life.”
Robb: But I think just asking people and reminding them, is the juice worth the squeeze. To go way back in our history here, then it’s really on the individual. If you really just want that drink, and you’re okay with, you understand that it’s probably going to negatively affect your sleep. Or if you can put your dinner parties together earlier and you have your cocktail or-
Nicki: Or you do brunch parties and you just have coffee and tea.
Robb: And you knock that out early.
Nicki: And skip the mimosas and just orient your social things to be more conducive to a health goal.
Robb: Yeah. But I think that that’s a great way to couch it. Is it just worth it to you? And if it is, great, keep doing what you’re doing.
Nicki: And for some people, they’re making change A first now, and they get used to it, and then they’re ready for change B and change C. And so it’s a multi-month, multi-year process. Other people are cold turkey, like, “I feel shitty with this,” or, “I have this health concern and I’m just going to cut this out because it’s not worth it to me.” So just recognizing where people are coming from.
Robb: Just really quickly, I have two jiu-jitsu coaches that have socially drank quite a bit in the past, and both of them have pulled that completely. And both of them are like, “I don’t know if I’m never going to have a drink of alcohol again.” But it’s interesting. One in particular is just like, “I sleep so much better, and my recovery is better, and the gym is better. I haven’t missed a gym session in nine months, and so my lifts are going up and this is-“
Nicki: “The relationships are better.”
Robb: Yeah. So I do think that providing that space to just get some compare and contrast. And then you go 30 days without the booze and then you reintroduce it and you’re like, “Wow, okay, that left a mark. I’m not sure that it’s really worth it anymore.” It does the Huey Lewis and the News, “I want a new drug.” You hit this point where it’s like, for me, coffee makes me all jittery and fucks up my essential tremor. And then alcohol makes the tremor worse because my sleep is negatively impacted. So I steward so much of my life around just trying to not be a seizure salad when I’m out functioning that it’s just not worth it for me, very, very rare circumstances.
But again, Karen, I think that just the basic thing of putting it on people, “Is it worth it to you?” And just pay attention to what… Give them, I think it’s reasonable to ask people, “Hey, go 30 days.” What is it? Sober November.
Nicki: Lots of people do a dry November, and those types… I feel like those have become pretty big movements, like every year there’s hundreds of thousands of people that do the dry January. So that might be-
Robb: I think it’s Veganuary.
Nicki: Is it really?
Robb: Yeah, yeah.
Nicki: Is that bigger than-
Robb: I think it’s like Sober October.
Nicki: No, no, no, it’s not. It’s definitely not October because that’s Oktoberfest. That’s when everybody wants, all the beer drinkers want to drink anyway.
Robb: Sober November.
Nicki: Maybe it is, who knows? I’m totally out of the loop in all-
Nicki: … All of those things. But I cannot believe that the vegan January is more-
Nicki: Veganuary is more followed or attended than the dry January.
Robb: I don’t know.
Robb: I don’t know that it’s more, but it’s-
Nicki: It’s a thing.
Nicki: Okay. All right.
Next question is from Christie on cauliflower ear in Brazilian.
Hi Robb and Nicki. Have you found cauliflower ear to be something to worry about in Brazilian jiu-jitsu? I worry about it more as a woman. So I’m curious, especially if Nicki has ever thought about it. Do you see a lot of people in classes developing it? And do you do anything like putting binder clips on your ears to prevent it? Thanks. And I appreciate all you both do.
Robb: So we went to a higher power on this. We talked to our coach Jon Boone.
Nicki: Well, first the reason why I went to a higher power, is Christie, I’ve never had cauliflower ear. I’ve never felt like it even coming on. That said, I am a pretty mellow player. I’m not super competitive. I don’t compete. I am not in tournaments. If somebody gets me in a headlock, I’m not yanking my head out. I tap.
Robb: Well, and I’ll push back on that. In our the SBG stuff, we actually, because of the self-defense part of this, with the headlock or something like kesa gatame where it’s a head and arm hold, you don’t always get out, but we have technical solutions to that other than just scraping your head out from under somebody. And even in cross side bottom, when people are doing a cross face, many people will just scrape their head out. And they’re being held very tightly. And that’s really one of the main areas in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu that you’re going to get cauliflower ear. Some wrestling like Greco because it’s more upper body oriented and people head fight a lot, and will push their head into the other person’s face and into their ears, you can get it from that. Boxing and kickboxing, impact injuries are hard to avoid. Somebody’s punching you in the head, you can get a cauliflower ear from that.
But in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you should have technical solutions to getting out of these sketchy scenarios that don’t involve just wresting your head out of somebody’s armpit. And that’s really where this stuff comes from for the most part. It can pop up elsewhere, but I’ve had very little. I had a little bit, and it’s usually when I’m with some huge three stripe white belt or new blue belt wrestler.
Nicki: Former wrestler.
Robb: Former wrestler. And then even for my… And this was earlier in my career. I haven’t experienced anything like that in the last probably five years. So I think that that’s all-
Nicki: I remember when we were in Reno, Kelly, who was a black belt at one of the schools we trained at early on, she had, but she was a competitor. She would compete and do the tournament circuit and whatnot, and she had to drain her ears a couple times.
But I think if you’re… Christie, I don’t know how old you are, I don’t know if you are planning to compete or you want to compete, but again, that’s a little bit of a different story potentially. Because obviously if you are in a tournament, you’re going to do anything you can do to win.
So we did ask our good friend Jon Boone, who’s a black belt and mentioned the binder clip thing, and he was like, “eh” to the binder clips.
Robb: Well, there’s much more benign, like if you do-
Nicki: Yeah, there’s some magnets apparently that you can get to put on there.
Robb: Which if you get a little bit of fluid buildup in the ear, these binder or the-
Robb: The magnets are kind of rubberized. And so you put one on each side of the ear. It just provides this gentle, consistent pressure that pushes the fluid out of the ear. And so you can drain it. You can also do the magnets, which are pretty effective. But again, in the circles that we run in, this has not really been an issue.
Nicki: I haven’t seen a single female in Kalispell or even here in Bozeman have to deal with cauliflower ear, or even any of the guys.
Robb: Yeah, yeah.
Nicki: I’m trying to rack my brain in the last three years, like zero.
Robb: And again, because the schools that we are a part of, people are taught… They go through a foundations program, so there’s like 18 to 36 classes that they go to before they’re invited into what’s called the Combat Athlete Program, CAP Program. And so they learn some legit techniques too. And it’s not that they… You do it all right, but they’re not just flailing. And if they get put into some sort of a headlock or kesa gatame or something like that, they have some technical responses to it other than just scraping your head out of there, which is the main way that your ears get folded back and problems happen.
Nicki: Yeah. So I wouldn’t let that deter you from doing jiu-jitsu if it’s something that you’re considering starting. So yeah, I don’t think it needs to be a thing unless again, unless you’re like, “I want to compete in the highest levels.”
Robb: And even in the competition level, it might raise the stakes a little bit, it might raise the likelihood, but I still don’t know that it’s like a guarantee that that’s going to be a problem. Yeah.
Nicki: Okay. Last question is from Drew on essential tremors and GABA.
He says, I am wondering what your thoughts were on the connection between essential tremors and a GABA deficiency. I got diagnosed with essential tremors about 18 months ago and noticed that my sleep has also been inconsistent during that time. I assumed it was mostly lifestyle, stressful job and two special needs kids, et cetera. But I started to wonder how the sleep inconsistency and essential tremors could be connected.
I know it’s a bit of a correlation/causation deal, but based on Doc Parsley’s work on sleep… And this study, which we’ll link to in the show notes, it’s a pubNIH study. I’m curious what your thoughts are on the subject, and if you’ve had any more luck in piecing this whole thing together. And if it helps, I’ve been paleo for more than a decade and recently leaned into more of Paul Saladino stuff, especially adding the fruit and honey after jits, which I’ve been training for two to three days a week for about eight months, I too notice a bit of an uptick in the essential tremor severity after more than two cups of coffee, which is pretty rare narrow days since cutting back the caffeine helps so much with sleep and the tremor severity.
Robb: So the paper is, the title, The GABA Hypothesis in Essential Tremor, Lights and Shadows. And it’s really interesting. It makes the case that it’s a four-step deal. One, cerebellar neurodegeneration with purkinje cell loss. Two, a decrease in GABA system activity and deep cerebellar neurons. Three, disinhibition in output to deep cerebellar neurons and pacemaker activity. And four, an increase in the rhythmic activity of the thalamus and thalamocortical circuit contributing to the generation of the tremor.
So it’s basically like these GABA circuits deep in the brain act as a modulating factor. The theory here is that if they’re taken offline, if there’s this neurodegeneration, then this natural noise that emanates out of the nervous system manifests as tremor. And it’s still up in the air whether this is a hundred percent accurate. There are people that push back on different pieces of this theory. But I think that the notion that there’s some GABA element to this is pretty spot on.
When I used to use Modafinil for travel. Modafinil blocks GABA. And oh my God, it would make my tremor really bad, and this was back when my tremor wasn’t particularly bad. It would just go from basically being unnoticeable at that point to being pretty significant, pretty severe. More recently, one of the mitigating things that I do, and I know it’s probably just dealing with symptomatic elements, but it is taking phenibut, which is a blood brain barrier, a permeable form of GABA.
GABA is kind of tough. You can take regular gamma aminobutyric acid, and it’s difficult to get it into the brain. There’s a lot of sorting and shuffling that needs to occur for that to happen. Phenibut goes straight through the blood-brain barrier. It’s very active and efficacious in doing what we would want GABA to do in the brain. The downside of phenibut is that it can be addictive. You can get the same type of response as alcohol cessation.
Our dog is shaking his collar around us.
And so phenibut is kind of a dodgy item. I use it when I go to jiu-jitsu because sometimes when I’m picked to be one of the demo people, I’ll get some of the tremor going on. I use it before bed. I use fairly high doses because I’ve worked myself up to that. And again, I acknowledge that there may be some downside to it. And people who have had alcohol dependency in the past may need to tread lightly with this.
This is one to the disclaimer. This is not health advice. This is just my N=1 experience. Phenibut can fuck people up if they abuse it. One of the interesting things about it is just as a general baseline, it’s almost like a recreational drug. You could be wound up and anxious and not having a great day, and you take a big whack of phenibut, and man, it’s butterflies. And it’s really, it’s all the stuff that people usually report from consuming alcohol, like the stress level goes down and their social inhibitions decrease and whatnot. So I think that that is helpful.
Stimulants of any kind, including the nicotine mints that I use, which help my gut, but definitely make my tremor worse. If I’m doing a podcast where there’s going to be video, I can’t do any of the nicotine mint within 20, 30 minutes before that thing rolling or it will absolutely make that a disaster.
Sleep I noticed to be a huge thing. The days that I don’t sleep as well, the essential tremor is worse. It’s generally been… My tremor has been better. The last maybe week, week and a half, it’s been worse. And I don’t know why, because my digestion has actually been better.
And this circles around to an interesting thing and just, again, very N=1, but I notice that if I do decaf coffee versus decaf tea, the coffee makes things worse. If I do a little bit of caffeinated coffee versus caffeinated tea, the coffee makes things worse. And this is something that I wanted to flesh out when we talked about my genetics, is that there is some guess that coffee may be a cross reactor from a gluten perspective, like Cyrex Labs is an outfit that has had a panel that gets in and looks at that. It also considers chocolate as a potential cross reactor. Dairy is a cross reactor, a bunch of these different things.
So if you’ve got some sort of a substance that is potentially introducing a neurotoxicant, then it’s going to make things worse. And I think that in the management of essential tremor, this is just where you have to pay a lot of attention to what you’re doing and just see what makes things worse, what makes things better. Deep breathing, meditation, Wim Hof type breathing, these things that really activate the parasympathetic nervous system helps it. We just got a sauna and we’ve only used it one night, but after the sauna, my tremor was better. After I do cardio my tremor is better. Generally after I’ve done physical activity, it’s generally better.
Boxing and kickboxing type stuff make it worse in my hands just because of the impact, and I’ve known that since my teens and twenties. So that’s an interesting thing. So not all physical activity has benefited from it. But yeah, I don’t know. I’m trying to think of anything else to cover on that.
So Drew, I do think phenibut can be helpful in lieu of… Doctors will usually recommend a beta blocker and things like that to help with the essential tremor. Funny enough, they will also say if you have a speaking engagement or something like that, a shot of alcohol can help you for a period of time. The only thing with that is you have to get the timing right because after the alcohol wears off, your tremor is much, much worse afterwards because it-
Nicki: So you can’t do a talk and then go immediately out into a social-
Nicki: Like shaking hands and speaking with your audience.
Robb: Yeah. Yeah. So that’s tough. The beta blockers are gnarly because they cap what your heart rate is. So if you were called upon to do physical activity, it’s horrible because you’ll be pushing like crazy and your heart rate caps off at 120 beats per minute or something like that. And Peter Attia talked about doing some experimentation around this, like trying to go as hard as he could while on a beta blocker. And he said it felt like he was dying. And I don’t doubt it.
So I do think that the phenibut is an interesting option, like if folks do need to get out and do a public event or a social gathering or something like that, I think it could help on getting through that. And then for me, the phenibut does seem to help my sleep. I feel like my sleep quality is better and more consistent with it. And when I sleep better, then the tremor is better.
Nicki: Which is his main question, is how connected is poor sleep and tremor.
Robb: For me, it’s massive. And this is where if we do any travel, and I get some time zone change and I don’t sleep as well, or if we just have a funky life event where I don’t sleep as well, it’s orders of magnitude worse. Yeah.
Nicki: Okay. Let’s see. I think that’s a wrap for this week. So Drew, I guess just figuring out how you can shore up the sleep to the best of your ability, and which I know is always everybody’s big challenge, especially with kids, let alone special needs kids so.
Robb: And then I think anything else that, cold water immersion, if you can handle it, the heat exposure, all of these things that are supposed to improve BDNF, the brain derived neurotropic factor, I think that those are helpful. I have noticed that a reasonably deep state of ketosis seems to help. And ketosis is neuroprotective. I think folks could do a modified Atkins or just a low glycemic load diet, not necessarily ketogenic, but then put 15 milliliters of MCT oil into each meal, and that can get you into a mild state of ketosis. That might be enough to help with that too.
But it’s interesting also, I talked to Dom D’agostino about this. And one of the features of ketosis is that it increases endogenous GABA production and maintains GABA in the brain longer, which tends to be a calming sedating type of process.
Nicki: Cool. All right, folks, I think that is a wrap for this week’s episode. Thank you for tuning in. Remember to check out our show sponsor LMNT. Grab one of our limited time chocolate medley boxes. Again, that’s a 30 count box with 10 each of chocolate chai, chocolate mint, and chocolate raspberry. Those are available for a limited time at drinklmnt.com/robb. That’s drinklmnt.com/robb. I wish you all a fabulous weekend and we’ll catch you next week.
Robb: Bye everybody.
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