Welcome to Episode 237 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.
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1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get A FREE Holiday Turkey In Your First Box!
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9:45 - robb's Personal Story
14:45 - the beginnings of LMNT
21:40 - How do you know what the right combination for your body?
23:10 - our taste for sodium
27:30 - Hydration & pH Balance
32:45 - nicotine
33:10 - Where is the line between hydration and dehydration?
35:30 - sodium depletion during sweating
36:30 - dilution ratios for LMNT
38:00 - GREEN CHEF: Go To greenchef.com/ifpodcast125 And Use Code IFPODCAST125 To Get $125 Off Including Free Shipping!
40:00 - can you have too many electrolytes?
45:30 - how Frequently do you have to replenish electrolytes?
49:40 - exercise
54:25 - oura ring
56:45 - timing your electrolytes for working out
1:01:00 - how well do we need to track electrolytes?
1:03:00 - thermoregulation and sweating in the sexes
1:04:30 - does salt concentration in sweat indicate anything?
1:10:00 - how many LMNT can you drink a day?
1:15:45 - being sensitive to the salty taste
1:16:50 - having the flavored LMNT during a fast
1:18:30 - longevity: are we trying too hard?
1:21:00 - does it break a fast?
1:23:45 - do you need more if You're keto?
1:27:30 - what is the role of dietary carbohydrate?
1:28:25 - what about the natural flavors?
1:32:00 - BIOPTIMIZERS: Go To magnesiumbreakthrough.com/ifpodcast And Use Code IFPODCAST10 To Get Your Discount And Free Gifts Today!
1:35:00 - labeling in supplements
1:37:10 - should you take LMNT if you use the sauna?
1:40:00 - need vs optimization
1:42:00 - the therapeutic benefit to sweating in the sauna
1:45:30 - is it good for kids?
1:47:35 - regenerative agriculture
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 237 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny® Intermittent Fasting. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea, or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.
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Hi everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 237 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon, and I am here today with a very, very special guest. Oh, my goodness, friends, I am so excited. So, I talk about a lot of people on this show, as you guys know, I'm always throwing you author recommendations and people to listen to. And I think I can honestly say that probably the person I have talked about the most is a Mr. Robb Wolf. And that is because when I first fell into the whole diet world, I was doing low carb and then in 2012, I read a book called The Paleo Solution and that honestly just changed my life. Since then, I became a little bit of a Robb Wolf fangirl, listening to his podcast, his books since then. So, he also wrote Wired to Eat, which I know I talked about at length on this show, that is a really cool book if you're interested in learning how we all react completely differently to carbs in particular, macronutrients and how things affect people differently. And then after that, he wrote Sacred Cow, which is all about the regenerative agriculture world, which is so, so important to me. I will put links in the show notes because we actually did an episode on that book on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. So, I will link to that. And then beyond that, Robb also released the Sacred Cow documentary, which I just watched, by the way, Robb, I'm embarrassed to say, I haven't watched it yet, but it was incredible. I watched on Amazon Prime.
And then lastly, well, not lastly--, but lastly, for this intro, Robb is one of the amazing figures behind LMNT, which is an electrolyte company supplements that you guys love, love, love. We just figured it was high time to have an educational episode on electrolytes, especially because it relates so much to people doing fasting and it has really benefited so many of you guys, I hear from you all the time about it. So, I have collected a lot of listener questions about electrolytes and then maybe some other topics if we have time. But, yes, I'm just so excited. Robb Wolf, thank you so much for being here.
Robb Wolf: If I grin anymore, my head may literally split in half and just fall off. Thank you. I am so honored by the intro. Thank you very much.
Melanie Avalon: You've been on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast twice, and I think I told you this at the time, but I literally almost started crying the first time I interviewed you, which has never been before in an interview. So, I'm just so in awe and so grateful for everything that you're doing.
Robb Wolf: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Melanie Avalon: To start things off, I did a second interview with Robb on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast all about electrolytes. So, if you want to really, really deep dive into that conversation that we had, I'll put a link to that. But in today's episode, I have a lot of listener questions about electrolytes. But before we get to that, Robb, I mean, a lot of my listeners are probably very familiar, but would you like to tell them just a little bit about your personal story? I want to hear like your entire life story, but I guess what led you to developing LMNT, the topic of today's show?
Robb Wolf: I did an undergrad in biochemistry and was looking at either medical school or more of a PhD research route in the autoimmunity cancer area. Around this time, I developed ulcerative colitis, really, really terrible case of it. I'm 5’9” about 170 pounds, it hit the low ebb of my ulcerative colitis, I was about 125-130 pounds. So, I was a mess. I knew enough about ulcerative colitis at that time, that the surgery was the main option on the table, some immunosuppressant drugs were also in the potential future. I knew enough about things at that point that that I did not want to head down that road in a complex set of circumstances put the idea that maybe my diet was the cause of my ulcerative colitis. I started doing some researching. This is about 1998, mind you, and this idea of a Paleo diet got on my radar. I did a little bit of research, there wasn't a lot of material at that time, there were only a few folks, anthropologists researching things, but what I found was really compelling. It talked a lot about Neolithic foods, grains, and stuff like that. For some people, they do wonderfully on them. And for other folks, they oftentimes have some GI and autoimmune-related problems and that really seemed to describe me, I was sick enough that I figured what have I got to lose? And so I embarked on what would now be considered a lower carb paleo-type diet. And it was nothing short of life saving for me. It was really miraculous.
I've continued to tinker and fiddle and improve my health over the intervening 23 years, but as good as things were eating that way, particularly for like my blood sugar levels, not suffering carb crashes and not having weird GI problems and whatnot. I participate some old guy Brazilian jujitsu when I was really early in the CrossFit scene, I co-founded the first and fourth CrossFit affiliate gym. So, I've been around activities most of my life that are pretty high intensity. And if people have ever tried to do high intensity activity on a low carb diet, it's tough. The fueling just seems completely at odds and it was a lot of struggle. I spent a lot of time on the struggle bus trying to figure out, “Can I add some carbs around workouts or post workout or different things to try to fuel my training and also feel pretty good? But I eventually met two guys, Tyler Cartwright and Luis Villasenor, who are the founders of a community called Ketogains.
They have hundreds of thousands of people in this community and they're just doing amazing body composition transformations with them. Mainly women, about 85% women between the age of like 35 and 55 thereabouts. People were getting amazing body composition changes. We weren't seeing crazy, like menstrual cycle issues or low thyroid and whatnot. I started asking these guys, I'm like, “What are you doing that's different, and then what do I need to do to be better at what I'm doing?” The long and short of it was that I and many other people when they are doing low carb or fasting, folks tend to be deficient in electrolytes in general, sodium in particular, which is a controversial topic because we're told time and again, that sodium is something that needs to be limited and we can dig into why that is here in a bit. But as most people will do when they have a world expert giving you advice, I ignored their advice at first. I said, “Oh, I salt my food. I'm totally squared away.” The thing was, is that when I finally listened to them, weighed and measured my food, really did a proper accounting of the amount of electrolytes I was consuming, they wanted me at, at least 5 grams of sodium per day and I was getting less than 2 grams of sodium per day.
I fixed that initially by just literally drinking some pickle juice, which I like and is actually a wonderful option in this whole sodium-electrolyte story. And I felt better immediately. And then I tried some pickle juice pre and post jujitsu training, which I'm sure I had the most amazing breath ever on that particular training day. But I felt really, really good. I had this low gear that I just didn't remember having for ages. I circled back with Tyler and Luis. I'm like, “Hey, this sodium thing is really, really important.” They're like, “Yeah, we've known that for 10 years. [laughs] You're an idiot.” We put together a free downloadable guide that we call KetoAide, and it was basically take this much table salt, this much no salt, which is potassium chloride, a little bit of magnesium citrate, some lemon juice, stevia, water, shake it up, and use it. Within six months, we had like a half million downloads of this thing when we released it, and which we thought was great, it was really helping people. But then folks started asking us for a convenient option, like, they would mention that they were traveling and they're going through TSA and the TSA would look stink eye at them for having three bags of white powder in their carryon bag and stuff like that.
Tyler and Luis were very dialed in on the need for electrolytes within the context of fasting and low-carb diets. When I became aware of that, it was world shaking. I knew that the bulk of the problems that folks in both my community and the bigger ancestral health community that so many of the problems that people were facing, were electrolyte driven. We started with this freemium option, we just wanted the information out there and we talked about things like pickle juice, and olives and salami being really nutritious sources of sodium rich foods. You don't just have to drink it, but ideally, you get it as part of your diet too. And then, it was actually the folks using that that free downloadable guide that they goosed us into starting this product, like we really didn't set out with the plan of selling people salt, but there was clearly a need there in-- knock on wood, but it looks like we really found a need and have a great solution to it. And everything is gone wonderfully. Like partners, we have with you have been able to spread this message. The really cool thing in it, it really jives with my nutritional philosophy is, if you're struggling at some point, let's figure out a game plan, let’s generate kind of a hypothesis or an idea about what's going on, and then let's test it. Let's try something and you give it a day, you give it a week, you give it a month, whatever the timeline makes sense on that, and then we can assess it. And if you're looking feeling performed better than cool, if not, then we'll iterate and keep going.
What we've generally found with the electrolyte story is that folks just feel better immediately when they get this addressed. And it's a very enviable place to be when you have some sort of a product because it's like, I've taken vitamins and minerals and different things over the years, and I think they're helpful, but I don't know that I really notice all that much of a difference and it's like, “Oh, this protein powder is great, it was good in a shake. But I don't know if it's really like doing something for me, other than it's just food of some kind.” When you were off on electrolytes, and then you fix it, the results are so profound, and it's over the top, it's hard to ignore. And that's been a really cool position to be in because we do free giveaway stuff and whatnot. We're like, “Just try it, and then let us know how it goes.” It is led to really remarkable growth. So, there you go.
Melanie Avalon: That is an incredible story. And that's what I was actually just thinking was-- the times when I think I definitely needed electrolytes and then had them, you feel it right away, literally feels like a light switch going on or something. I was also just thinking that it wasn't really until I had the episode with you on the other show, and we dived really deep into electrolytes. I realized because I've had this show for over 200 episodes now and people ask us questions all the time about having issues with fatigue or lethargy, or just not thriving, especially on a low-carb diet. It wasn't until you-- I really became aware of this whole electrolyte thing that I was like, “Oh, this is something I should have been recommending for a long time.” So, apologies to listeners, if I dropped the ball on that.
Robb Wolf: Well, I only dropped the ball for 22 years. So, keep that in mind. I'm the biochemist guy and I dropped the ball for 22 years. So, no worry. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Picking the ball back up. Really random personal question. I'm curious how many colonoscopies did you have in your adventures with UC?
Robb Wolf: Like two or three, it wasn't that many. They verified it and then just clinically the symptoms kind of loose stools and gas and just pain--, pretty remarkable pain, was a pretty good bellwether for what my current status was.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I just asked because I just had my third one, a few weeks ago, so I thought maybe you might have been up there with me with the colonoscopies. Fun times.
Robb Wolf: Yeah, we're around that two to three level. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: I'm actually about to get the PillCam, which I'm excited about.
Robb Wolf: Oh, interesting.
Melanie Avalon: Nervous about the EMFs. But whatever, we'll see, in the name of science.
Robb Wolf: I'm definitely in a minority here. But I'm not nearly as freaked out about EMFs, as a lot of people are. And I take some heat for that. I did a piece, it was more COVID related, right at the beginning of COVID. I'm a biochemist by training, but I really like physics, and I was reasonably good at it. And I got in and looked at it the way a physicist would with the amount of energy released the type of energy and all that type of stuff. I don't know that I would want to do hot yoga, on top of like a, an electrical transformer deal, but there are these things like the inverse square law, when you get twice as far away from a source, it's four times less powerful, and all these types of things. So, I'm way, way less worried about EMFs than a lot of people are, in-- particularly in a situation like this, where it's a transient process. That seems like a completely trivial risk profile in my mind.
Melanie Avalon: No, thank you, that makes me feel better. I actually did an interview this week on it, and he was talking about that about how quickly it does dissipate when you're farther away and then also the cost benefit of what is this bringing you. I think the cost benefit, even though it's going to be super close up to my intestinal cells, so but short time and good information should come from it. So, very measured approach, but back to electrolytes. I'm stopping myself from just asking all my own personal questions, because I know, people have a lot of questions. So, this is something that you just touched on in your intro, and it was knowing-- well, maybe I don't know if you actually said it, or I just thought about it when you said it, but actually knowing what you need when it comes to electrolytes. For example, we have a question from Nikki and she said, “I had heard when it comes to electrolytes, everybody needs a different combination in order to be really effective. How do you know what the right combination is for your body? Does it depend on your gut microbiome?” And then just looping in with that one. Josie says, “How would you even know if electrolytes are out of balance?” So, is it individual to the person?
Robb Wolf: It is, but our physiology is pretty good at sorting that out if we give it the right stuff. Person A versus Person B versus Person C, they may have some individual needs there. But let's just put on like our evolutionary biology hat for a second. If we're living as a hunter gatherer tribe, or even late 18th century farming community, how do you customize every single situation for a given person? That gets a little bit crazy, but this is where our sense of taste, our appetite for things like sodium, out of all the molecules that are involved in health, like vitamin D, and vitamin A, and B vitamins. All these things have a flavor they will taste like something. But literally a huge chunk of our sense of taste, sweet, salty, sour, umami, is allocated to sodium. Sodium, when it's found in fairly high concentrations and foods, usually, denote some high nutrient density and stuff like that. Our most organisms really have a draw towards sodium.
The symptoms of low electrolytes or maybe one of the best places to start there, because I think it starts giving folks an operational framework for figuring out what's going on. In early signs of low electrolyte status, and when I say that, I'm really mainly focusing on sodium. And maybe we could get a little nuance to that in a minute. But lethargy, fatigue, brain fog, those are kind of the early signs and symptoms. As it gets later, we might see an elevated heart rate because we have both low sodium and low total body water, which would be dehydration, and we want the right amount of water going through our circulatory system, when the heart loads to get ready to pump, it's almost like bouncing on a trampoline. If we're bouncing on a floor, not much rebound, and if we bounce on like a gymnastics mat, there's maybe a little bit of rebound. But it's actually kind of soaking up the energy. But when we bounce on a trampoline, when you get that thing going properly, you're actually benefiting from some of the energy of loading the trampoline to launch you back into the air.
When our heart is properly loaded with the blood volume, it's very efficient. When we lose fluid volume, when we become dehydrated, the blood volume can become low enough that the heart doesn't really load in the proper fashion. And then it needs to be faster to get the same rate of circulation going through our body, and so it's a stress on the heart. So, elevated heart rate is one of these later stage signs and symptoms of inadequate electrolytes and also hydration. And then further down the road is things like cramping, getting toe cramps and calf cramps and stuff like that. Once we get to that point of cramping, then we are really, really quite far down the low sodium, inadequate sodium, improper electrolyte status.
In some people when they're in that phase, particularly if they're fasting or low carb, if they go from like seated to standing, then they get very lightheaded, normally like pass out and whatnot. And so that's a spectrum of the symptoms that one might experience when they are low in electrolytes. Oftentimes that like midafternoon energy slump, it's a variety of things that could go into it. But oftentimes it's low electrolytes, folks will notice that if they drink some electrolytes in lieu of a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, getting some more caffeine in their system, what they find is they just needed some more electrolytes, and then they feel really good. When you consider the fact that our sodium, potassium pumps are the main energy production centers in our body, this is the way we make ATP, this is the way we make energy for every single thing that we do. It makes sense that if our electrolytes are a little bit off than our energy, and the way that we feel will be a little bit off.
I know one of the folks had a question around, does gut microbiota influences? It does, if somebody has, say, like SIBO and very rapid gut transit, it's very easy for these folks to become electrolyte deficient, because they tend to have loose watery stools. The gut contents are going through so fast that the large intestine and colon aren't able to do their job of reabsorbing water and electrolytes, and keeping that balance. Folks with different types of SIBO or other kind of permeable gut situations, they can find themselves in an electrolyte deficient state pretty easily. And this may be some of the chronic fatigue and lethargy that these folks experience because they're constantly dumping that-- that water in sodium, and so feeling kind of rough as a consequence.
Melanie Avalon: Gotcha. Actually, that just made me think of a question about the actual hydration process as it relates to, the water-- the water we take in, the water in our intestines compared to the actual hydration status of our cells. For example, we got a question from, her name is Met, I think, but she says she's pregnant, and she sometimes throws up because of it. She wants to know does throwing up mess with your electrolytes, how much does it actually affect our electrolytes? And how bad does it have to be to cause harm? And if it does cause harm, can it be canceled out in some way by taking supplements? So that question and then I was just thinking, like losing, water throwing up or taking a lot of water through drinking or through food? How does that actually compare to the hydration status of your body? Because they often say that your intestines--, stuff in your intestines is actually outside your body in a way?
Robb Wolf: Yeah, it's a tube. It's effectively a tube from mouth to hoo-ha, and technically that stuff is all outside of one's body. That story of say, like vomiting and the potential health effects, it can affect electrolytes, but the thing that it affects sooner than that is pH, because our stomach contents contain a lot of acid-- hydrochloric acid. If we lose a lot of stomach contents from vomiting, people will can end up in a very dangerous situation of being hyperalkalinized. This is actually a really cool and well-timed question and ability to comment on this stuff. If we think about the most tightly regulated processes in our body, arguably pH and electrolytes are it. If you or I show up unconscious to an emergency room, the very first thing that the doctor is going to do is check our electrolytes and our pH, heart rate and stuff like that. Is he or she still breathing? We're going to tick that box, but when they start doing some lab work, electrolytes and pH, pH goes a little high or a little low and we get sick or we can die. Electrolytes go a little off and we can get sick and we can die. There's really a pretty narrow window there.
Now, if you throw up once or twice, yes, you're offloading some acid and transiently your body is going to be in a bit more of an alkaline state, but then your body will just not dump as much carbon dioxide out breathing, your kidneys will not excrete as much or-- will excrete more bicarbonate. And so, there's ways that the body will adjust to that pretty quickly what becomes problematic is, if this is really explosive for lack of the better term. Oral rehydration therapy was developed for people with cholera, which is a gut microbe which causes really, really severe water loss via diarrhea and that can create an electrolyte imbalance that can kill you. And so oral rehydration therapy is very sodium forward, it has potassium, magnesium also, but it also has a little bit of glucose to really accentuate the uptake of the electrolytes. This has been turned into this idea that you can only absorb electrolytes in the presence of glucose, which is not true, but it can enhance it, but that's another example of an acute situation in which we're dumping either acid in the case of vomiting or electrolytes in the case of very severe diarrhea that could get ahead of our body's ability to deal with that and it can get ahead of anything we can do orally to fix it. It can even get out ahead of IV therapy to be able to stay ahead of that stuff and that's why these things can become life threatening emergency situations.
Now all that stuff said, generally in the case of morning sickness, this is not what folks are facing, unless it's really severe and really prolonged, I just don't see that being a super significant problem. Some folks do report that consuming saltier beverages, like chicken broth or pickle juice or maybe something like LMNT helps with the morning sickness symptoms, but there's a lot of different things out there that range in the quality of the research that supports it. But there is some that suggested sodium rich beverages can help, bubbly beverages can help, but it's not something I would be super worried about. It's just something that you would take care of with your general nutrition and hydration and whatnot, we’ll sort it out pretty thoroughly.
Melanie Avalon: My little quick throw up story and I'm just telling you this because I know you might relate to the reason that this happened. I haven't thrown up in like forever, but I was playing around with nicotine patches, and I guess I was not ready for that nicotine patch. And I was, “Oh, this is like college.” [laughs] So note to self, do not put on too much of a nicotine patch.
Robb Wolf: Nicotine is a really cool molecule for cognitive enhancement, neuro protection, but man, you got to really wade into the water carefully.
Melanie Avalon: That was my problem, because I had been doing them for a while daily, and I stopped until then I just jumped back in. And then it was not a good idea. So, going back to the hydration aspect, I had this question and so did Katie, when does or where does the difference between hydrating and dehydrating happen? She says salt is used as an electrolyte, but too much is a desiccant.
Robb Wolf: Absolutely, yeah. It's a really good point. This is like chapters of physiology textbook, and I'm trying to think of a-- it's a really, really good question, and it shows actually a deep understanding even asking the question, but in any given situation, our hydration status, this is worth mentioning, in general parlance, like if we look at a checkout counter magazine, typically they'll talk about hydration, and only what they're talking about is water. But if we look in a textbook of medical physiology, hydration means the water and the electrolytes that go along with it. And that's one thing that we missed in this whole story that we really should be thinking about the electrolytes that are supposed to accompany the water to reach a balanced position there.
We tend to have more sodium outside of cells and more potassium inside of cells. Our body spends a lot of energy to create that gradient, because then when the process of sodium going towards potassium and potassium going towards sodium, is involved in things like the action potentials of muscles, the way our muscles contract, the way we breathe and the nerve impulses in our brain, like it really kind of underlies everything that we do is, is the gradient of the sodium potassium pumps. And this thing is dynamic. It's everchanging. There's bracketed ranges that they ideally exist within and it's worth mentioning that if we are too low in sodium, it becomes challenging for the body to stay on top of that. And this is a situation where, unfortunately, every marathon, every triathlon, there are folks that get hospitalized. And occasionally they die because they are working at a really high output, it might be hot, it might be humid, the individual is sweating. When we sweat, we lose about 100 to 1 sodium to potassium. The main thing that comes out with our sweat is water and sodium. So that sodium becomes depleted at a very rapid clip. And if we just add water on top of that, internally in our body, what we're doing is further diluting the amount of sodium that's still available.
There was some old folk wisdom 1940s, 1950s, that folks would say, “You shouldn't drink water, unless you can have some salt tablets with it, because it'll worsen cramping.” And now people look at that, and like, “Oh, that's crazy.” But it was actually some really good advice. And clearly, this runs into a problem at some point, you're going to die of dehydration or there's going to be problems. But there's danger associated with drinking water, absent adequate electrolytes. The thing about all this stuff is that so long as we provide adequate sodium to the body, the kidneys do a really good job of sorting out whether we have too much or too little. If we have inadequate sodium, however, it's difficult for the body to get ahead of that. It can become a downward spiral. And I do like the point that that was made in the question. At some point, sodium can become a desiccant. I mean, this is how we make jerky and part of how we can foods and whatnot. So, there is a dose limitation on that, clearly, when we make the recommendations with LMNT around how much water to dilute the element in when you are at 32 ounces per stick back, then you're in what's called a slightly hypo, it's slightly more dilute than what we would have in our bodies' fluids. It's a little bit more water relative to the electrolytes. If you're at about 24-25 ounces, then you're what's called isotonic, it's about the same ratio of water to electrolytes as what you would find in the body.
And then in the case of about 16 ounces, it's called hypertonic. It's more concentrated in electrolytes, relative to what our body is. Generally, we want to consume things that are either isotonic, or slightly hypotonic. If you're having a good margarita base, I think making it hypertonic is fantastic because it tastes amazing. But again, our physiology is pretty crafty at sorting that out. So long as we kind of prioritize the right things. And I don't know if that was a good answer to that very good question, but that was my best stab at it for sure.
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Melanie Avalon: We have another question because I was just thinking about the nuance that you were talking about with how if we're depleted in sodium, adding too much water, might actually make things worse by further diluting everything. This is the flip side of that. Nicole said, “I've heard that taking too many electrolytes when you don't need them causes the body to flush them out to keep the body balanced and usually results in a deficit when you need them soon after. Example, pre-gaming with electrolytes and then working out could create this deficit, then they aren't there when you need them during the actual workout. How does one know if you could benefit from them during a fast excluding the typical symptoms without your body trying to flush the excess and creating a deficit, which might affect you later during the fast.” So, does that happen? Can that flipside thing happen where if you add too many electrolytes, gets rid of them?
Robb Wolf: Not really-- I guess if you did like really-- not really accurate. If you had a really hypertonic solution, like very, very concentrated, one thing that could happen is folks can get disaster pants because it actually pulls fluid into the intestinal contents, trying to dilute it effectively and it will and it's just really physics doing this. It pulls water into the gut. So, if something is really hypertonic you could end up with GI upset and diarrhea. The other side of this is that our body is changing, we talk about homeostasis, but this is a moving scale and again it exists within brackets, like sodium levels may go up, they may go down but it's going to be a cyclic process there.
We've been able to do some really cool work with some NHL teams, the big hockey player guys. These are some pretty big dudes, pretty athletic, 200-220 pounds. These guys because of the gear they're wearing and the amount of activity they're doing, they will lose 10 pounds of water in a game. And that 10 pounds of water may remove as much as 10 gram of sodium in the course of the game. Now these guys need to prehydrate pretty aggressively and they need to be topping that off as much as they can during the game. And then after the game, they're still going to need to continue topping that back off or they're going to be really depleted, the next day. And this is where they go to bed and they have the elevated heart rate and whatnot because their electrolyte status is really depleted. So through the course of the game even if the person preloads the electrolytes and then they begin sweating and they're still trying to drink someone top it off. I mean, if we're only consuming 32 ounces of water on some cadence and it's only got a gram of sodium, but at the end of two hours, we've lost 10 grams of sodium. We may still be significantly sodium depleted relative to where we start. We're going to need to take additional steps to address that. In a physical activity standpoint, I'm much more concerned about ending up depleted than I am overcharging, maybe a little bit on the front end and then certainly paying attention while we're doing the event.
Melanie Avalon: That was the example of athletes, but in general, let's say that you take in a certain amount of electrolytes sodium in particular, and then you go super high on sodium, as an individual how long it would take to go back to what you were before? I've noticed with me if I'm just following my normal diet and then I have a super salty day, it's almost I feel my body losing the salt over two or three days. I don't know, is it individual? How long that process last?
Robb Wolf: Yeah, but that sounds about right. You might even experience that on a per meal basis, our lunches--. My daughters are seven and nine, and we homeschool and the whole family does jujitsu and we have a really cool life, but it's very, very busy. I can pull off cooking breakfast and I can pull off cooking dinner. I can't pull off a hot lunch. It just doesn't happen. It's where the wheels fall off the wagon. Lunch is frequently like a charcuterie board. It's salami and cheese and olives and pickles and all that stuff. And that's mainly what we do for lunch, like probably five days out of seven or we have some leftovers from something else. What I notice is that if I don't do that charcuterie board-type thing, which is very sodium rich, then I'll usually want some LMNT somewhere later in the day, but if I do something like the charcuterie board, then I'm just doing like water or tea because I got the sodium from that meal. And I just-- even if I taste LMNT, then even if it's properly diluted, it tastes really salty because I already consumed more than enough sodium for that--, that window of time.
Melanie Avalon: The days that I have those salty days, it's usually, whatever reason I'm craving the deli meat, organic turkey and the sodium just shoots up through the roof, especially because I eat so much protein and meat that if I go overboard on that [laughs] it really lasts. Another question about the timing. Dorothy says-- and we danced around this or addressed it, but just to clarify, she says, “How long does an electrolyte stay in your body before needing replenishment? I'm an avid walker/hiker and gardener.” And then similarly, Holly says, she has some kind words. She says, “I'm so glad you're having Robb Wolf on again, he is a great source of information. And I am only recently learning how electrolytes play such a profound role in our physiology. My question is, are we better off taking electrolytes in a consistent lower concentration throughout the day? Or will your body store higher doses to some degree for use later when needed?” For example, I think I heard somewhere that taking them as a shot is a thing. So, I assume that way they're quite concentrated.
Robb Wolf: It's tough to say on this. The main thing that I recommend is, folks, it slays me because I'm a biochemist by training, I love really solid empirical benchmarks. The dosing thing is one of the most challenging features of this because it really does depend. We spent two years living in Texas and even on Christmas day, it was 85 degrees and 90% humidity. I used a remarkable amount of electrolytes, even just like living. Not a jujitsu day, not a workout day just motoring long. We live in Montana now and it's much cooler, and although it's dry, it's not bone dry here, like what it was when we lived in Reno, Nevada and so finally electrolyte needs are just generally less.
Now if I do a class of Brazilian jujitsu, if I do a pretty long workout or something, then my electrolyte needs go up. I've just gotten to a point where I just pay attention to how I'm feeling, am I feeling a little lethargic? Am I a little bit off? And I just also kind of noticed that I know the things that, okay, jujitsu, I really don't want to go to a class without some electrolytes. If we're going to do just a walk around the neighborhood, no big deal. If we're going to go two-hour hike, and I might end up carrying the kids on part of this hike, then I'm definitely going to want some electrolytes. I think you just have to play with it a little bit. I guess it's a little bit similar to just fueling in general, do you need to eat before a workout? Well, it depends on you. I really like to have a little bit of food in my system. Fasted workouts don't work well for me. I'm type A, wound-type person and the stress that comes about from some time restricted eating is more than enough for me as a baseline. I don't need to compound that with stress of fasting and exercise. It just doesn't work out for me. Some people do great with it.
So, I think that this is just an area that you really need to tinker and experiment. And then on that, like, should you do a bolus versus a low titration? It's going to really depend. Again, maybe using my lunch example of some lunch meat, I usually end up being able to work out if I'm hitting more of a gym session, say around like 4 O'clock. I will do my lunch around noon to 12:30, because it's more like salami and cheese and all that type of stuff. I just sip on water after that, but that's my big sodium bolus early, and then I sip on water to kind of bring things back to equilibrium. And then I'm pretty good to go by the time I get ready to workout. I usually do bring another LMNT with me and if I feel I'm running out of gas and need a little bit of a boost, and I'll sip on it. Or, oftentimes, I feel I'm pretty good because I did have that pretty significant bolus earlier in the day. All that stuff said, if we consume more sodium than what we need, the kidneys are pretty good at sorting that out, and it's about 25-30 minutes before you get back to kind of a normal baseline with that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm so glad you went that direction with the working out because we got quite a few questions about that. Shantelle wanted to know, “If you work out daily, but you don't sweat very much should I still take them?” Candace says, she works out in the mornings, mainly weights and drinks about 96 ounces of water a day. How do you know if you need to drink electrolytes? Is it mainly for people who sweat a lot and are outside? What are the benefits for the average person? Then Ashley wants to know as well. “Do most casual gym goers actually need to drink an electrolyte drink after a workout? Or is water sufficient?” So, it sounds like people are very curious if they're working out, is their level of sweat, a gauge for if they need more electrolytes, how would they know?
Robb Wolf: It's a piece of this and maybe a way to think about it, is like a bathtub that's getting filled. If we turned water into a bathtub, the bathtub is going to fill up. Unless, the drain is open and then we're losing some amount of water. If the inflow is greater than the outflow, then we're okay or maybe it's at a stable state, where the same amount going in is coming out. So, this whole picture is going to be really dependent on how much sodium are these folks consuming as part of their just diet, their background, food intake, and whatever other supplements and whatnot, they're taking in. Generally, when folks are eating anything approximating, a minimally processed whole food-type diet, and this could be paleo, this could be vegan, it could be Mediterranean, but the bulk of the sodium that people consume in the modern world is associated with highly processed foods.
When people move away from highly processed foods, they tend to consume markedly less sodium. It's going to depend on whether or not-- again, somebody, we threw out LMNT as a stop gap-- here's maybe something that will help. The way that we formulated LMNT, the way that we arrived at the amounts and ratios, we looked at about 300 diet records that folks were doing on chronometer, and they were very detailed. The protein, carbs, fat, but also the amount of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium. What we found was that people eating a minimally processed, lower carb, whole food-based diet, they were fine on calcium, they were a little bit deficient in magnesium, more deficient in potassium, and they were really, really, really deficient in sodium. That's reflected in the ratios that we have. So, if folks are eating, let's say their family is more Japanese or Asian in derivation. And they do a lot of soy sauce and kimchis and stuff like that. As a background, they are consuming a lot of sodium. They might not need to supplement with something like LMNT or a different electrolyte. But, if somebody is doing a more traditional Mediterranean diet with lentils and beans and some fruits and veggies, usually the sodium there is very much a garnish. There's not much present and that individual may end up benefiting tremendously from additional sodium intake.
The main feedback that I have for folks on this, is try supplementing around workouts or around walking or if you have a low energy portion of your day, usually like that 2:00 to 4:00 PM, something like that, try supplementing with some electrolytes at that time. Again, it could be like 10 olives, it could be a swig of pickle juice, it could be LMNT, there's a lot of different options on there. But I would look at those spots and just see like, do you notice a difference in your recovery, in your energy level? Do you see an improvement in your sleep quality? If people are tracking heart rate variability, one of the biggest things that we see is a dramatic increase in HRV score, which shows that the individual is recovering better and sleeping better when they get their sodium properly addressed. And that might actually be one of the better objective measures of whether or not that electrolyte is really benefiting. Feeling better is I think a pretty profound tool in that whole thing. But when your HRV score consistently improves, then that's a pretty good indicator that things are on point.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. We were talking earlier about how it's hard to gauge sometimes what things are actually doing, like vitamins and things like that. Do you wear an Oura ring or how do you measure your heart rate variability?
Robb Wolf: I did for a long time, but I got frustrated with it, because I would lay down and start reading to go to bed, and then it would ding me because it thought that I had sleep latency.
Melanie Avalon: You're going to bed?
Robb Wolf: Yeah. Then I would get a lesser score. So, then I started taking the ring off while I read and then put it back on. And really, I had reached this point where I think that platforms like that are really, really valuable to provide some guidance, but I find that for a lot of people it's good. It became frustrating to me because I started doing goofy things to try to just improve a somewhat arbitrary score. I think heart rate variability is very, very important. It's a very valuable tool. But this is some of where the biohacking stuff raises my hackles a little bit where people lose touch with just what their body is telling them. It's like do you get sleep better, did you wake up more refreshed, and doesn't really matter. When you've got that across like 15 days, 20 days, 100 days, but I'm still getting ding because these platforms are still far from perfect, they get better all the time. So, I ended up abandoning my Oura ring. I use the Morpheus platform occasionally around my jujitsu training. In particular, when I do any type of zone two cardio because it's remarkable how little effort you need to put into getting into zone two for that really restorative cardiovascular training. So, I will use it for that more gauging my heart rate at that time, so that I don't overdo it and start turning it into a stressful session instead of a restorative session.
Melanie Avalon: If I ever really did get into the working out stuff, I would probably want to do that whole-- the zone, figure out what zone I'm in. I haven't done that at all. It took me forever to get an Oura ring because I thought it was going to make me super neurotic. But I actually have I think a very healthy relationship with my Oura ring. When I first got it, and I realized it was recommending that I go to bed at 1:30 AM I was like, “Okay, we're fine. Like it knows me. [laughs] It knows I'm not going to go to bed earlier.” Question about the workouts though. When they are taking supplements, what would be the timing of it? Dori wants to know, “Before, during or after workout?” Lydia wants to know, "Before or after a run." And Abby wants to know, “Timing with a workout, does it coincide at all with your workout?”
Robb Wolf: Yeah, it certainly can. There's a couple of different ways that one could tackle this in for-- let's see the little bit more sophisticated in performance-oriented people. There's a little bit of a hack that you can do, you have to get the timing right. But let's say you do your stick pack in 32 ounces and then let's say you down about half of that pretty quick, like you chug it. Again, this will vary from person to person, like a 5’2” female, that amount may need to be less, because she's just going to be like, sloshing around with a belly full of electrolyte mix, so it's going to vary a little bit there. But there's an interesting phenomenon that occurs when we begin exercising, our urine output drops dramatically. And this makes sense because the body is like, oh, we're beginning to heat up. We're going to start sweating, we need temperature regulation, we don't need to get fluids out of the body, we don't need to get sodium out of the body via the urine, we're going to handle that via the sweat and we want to allocate it to the sweat. So, you can stack the deck a little bit if you know the timing of what's going on, because then you enter into that that situation with a little bit more fluid volume than what you would normally have. It's almost like you threw it down the hatch and we're normally, if you drink a lot of fluids 20 minutes later, you would need to pee. You throw it down the hatch, maybe 10 minutes later you start exercising and you do your warm up, you don't just launch into like a full fledge crazy CrossFit workout, you need a little bit of ramp up. But what you end up doing in that situation is trapping some of that water between your mouth and your kidneys basically, and it's going to be allocated into allowing you to sweat more and maintain that fluid volume for proper cardiac output and whatnot. But you need to tinker with that, you have to figure out the timing. Otherwise, you could shoot this stuff down and maybe have a bellyache, you could shoot this stuff down, and then it takes a little longer to get the workout going than what you thought and then you need to pee every five minutes to deal with that. So, but that's a higher level, trick that folks could do to maybe get a little bit of performance bump. I do very much that at jujitsu.
I sip on an electrolyte usually when we're driving to the gym, I sip maybe about a third of a 32-ounce container on a 20-minute drive to the gym. And then the one hour of technique stuff, it's active, but it's not super active and maybe every 5, 10 minutes, we have a little bit of a water break and sip on some water. Right before I begin rolling, I will drink probably about 15 to 20 ounces of electrolyte and then I immediately turn around and start getting after the hard rolling then, and so I end up doing both. I'm titrating a little bit of electrolytes early in and then I end up hyper loading right before the harder training session. And then at the end of that, if I have a really hard training day, I will notice that I may do two, three, four more LMNTs in that day, or just sodium equivalent. And I gauge my relative fatigue as to whether or not I need more. If I still feel knackered and cognitively out of it, then I'll keep on sipping on some more. So, that's a maybe an example that encompasses all of these questions where I use a little bit pre, I use a little bit during, and then as the intensity changes, I actually preload a little bit, so that it's going to carry me through the remainder of that hour of hard training.
Melanie Avalon: Within the LMNT community, within the Ketogains community, with all people experimenting with taking these electrolytes to boost their performance, do some people just go completely intuitive? Do some people really plan it out? What do most people do? How intense do people need to be with tracking this compared to just being intuitive?
Robb Wolf: I really do think that most folks, they need a game plan. But then at the end of the day, it does fall down to a bit of an intuitive level. A habituated schedule lends itself to figuring this out much better than a super randomized schedule. If you don't know when you're going to be able to exercise, then you don't really have an opportunity to preload and tinker with those LMNTs. It really is paying attention to how you're feeling and that brain fog and fatigue, it's something that historically I've attributed to blood sugar imbalance. I thought that that these energy slumps were low blood sugar, what have you, and when I did some work with a CGM, that really wasn't the case.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. CGM is so eye opening. It's like, “Oh, okay, that's not what I thought that was.”
Robb Wolf: Yeah, because it'd be great if every problem was blood sugar related, and certainly there's a lot of them that are, but that wasn't it. I felt okay, and then I didn't feel okay, and the blood sugar was effectively the same, both of those points, but then I started layering in some electrolytes with it. It's like, “Oh, this is what I needed.” Again, it pains me because being able to provide a really prescriptive dosing regimen would be wonderful. We've talked about some kind of AI driven LMNTs with that.
Melanie Avalon: I was going to say, make an app or something.
Robb Wolf: Yeah. But how-- are you male or female. Like females sweat in a bit of a different way than males do. Females sweat tends to be much smaller in the droplet size and it's much more efficient, like women are much more efficient at thermal regulating than men are. Men tend to be more in what we call the super sweater category, where it's just beads of sweat that pour off of guys. Men tend to lose more sweat, more sodium relative to, if we had a male and a female 155 pounds each, all other things being equal, there's a pretty good chance that the genetic male is going to lose more water and more sodium at any given workout put in heat and humidity and all that type of stuff. There's genetic pieces, there are environmental pieces, altitude plays into this. People at high altitude tend to lose more water and require more electrolytes. But then you've got the flip side of that, usually when one is at altitude, it's also colder. When we're colder, we tend to have a suppressed thirst mechanism. It's one of these things where we are going to put some thought and some skull sweat into creating an algorithmic dosing regimen, but I'm not optimistic. There's a lot of moving parts on there.
I don't know if it's going to be anything closer than like, we’ll just get in and tinker with it. I mean, if we have a 50% error rate in our recommendation, I don't know if it's really helping people all that much. And there's so many different spots there that I could see error introduced into this.
Melanie Avalon: If you had unlimited time and resources and really could dive deep into it, does the salt concentration of a person's sweat indicate things? If you could test all the things to see what your perfect number is or perfect amount? Because sweat can be like more salty or less salty?
Robb Wolf: Yeah, absolutely. There are genetic factors there. There's environmental factors. Some of the genetic factors are these folks that are super sweaters tend to produce more sweat, and it tends to be saltier sweat. So I'm not sure-- I see it a little bit more like an accounting ledger, where you've got maybe the beginning of the day and the end of the day. And we need to make sure that books balance by the end of the day, or they maybe don't balance for two days, but we need to make sure that they balance on days, three, four, and five, or something like that. This is where it's such a dynamic open system, that it's funny, being a biochemist, I'm actually one of the more cynical critical people of this quantified self-movement, because we can be buried in information and it's like, “Okay, how is it going to inform it doing anything differently?” Is it going to qualitatively cause you to do anything differently? And if it does, how are you going to gauge that as a beneficial or negative metric? Relative to I'd love things like performance output, like, if you lift weights, or you run or what have you, a little bit of heart rate.
Let's say the individual is a runner, and they know that they can run a certain course at a certain pace and they have an average-- a given average heart rate. Now, if we do some breath work and we do some like diaphragm development, and we get our electrolytes on point, a goal could be to run, let's say, a mile or two miles, and you do it as fast as what you've done in the past. But you do it at a heart rate that is five to eight beats per minute less. And then you could get in and say, “Okay, now I'm going to run it faster. But I'm only going to keep my heart rate at the rate that it was previously.” So now, you're running the same distance, maybe a couple of minutes faster, but it's still at your old max heart rate. So, things like that, I really enjoy because it's a really hard endpoint. If one lifts weights or they do calisthenics, if you go in and you can bust out 10 really nice pull ups, and then you do some neurosynaptic facilitation, some Russian strength magic or whatever, and you go back out there and you have 15 pull ups in a couple of months, that's a really solid endpoint. Whereas so much of this other stuff, I am just left wondering, what is this really telling us? What's it really doing for us? I really do performance metrics, and this could be like, is it facilitating you learning a language and you're using Duolingo and you're rocking all the quizzes, or like, you're using Yousician, or something like that, which helps people to learn musical instruments.
There are some really quantifiable end points there that I think are valuable, but a lot of this stuff of taking a snapshot of what my sweat status is mid workout, it's possibly interesting data. But I'm not entirely sure what I would do with that. Maybe over the course of time that might help to inform what my hydration strategy is, and maybe even some of my fueling strategy. But I think that there are less invasive ways of getting there. Again, I'm Luddite with that, like, I'm literally a caveman with this stuff. I've just seen so many screening the gut microbiome, there was all this promise around that. And we know the gut microbiome is important. We know gut health is important. And in my opinion, that's literally all that we know. When we really critically assess, well, is Akkermansia really good for you? Well, some people, it seems to be great, and other people that are super healthy, have none. Some people have this really profound profile of a Bifidobacterium bacteria, and they seem to do a lot of fermented foods, but then you have cultures that don't really do that many fermented foods, and they have wonderful gut health, and they don't have any of these Bifidobacterium bacteria. A lot of this deep information driven diving, I am still waiting for a better outcome that it's going to provide us versus like picking a performance-oriented benchmark, and then structuring our life around improving that.
Melanie Avalon: I cannot agree more. I think one of the most dangerous things I see is just people drawing these black and white conclusions about so many things, health and fitness from all of this information that we have, but I'm like, “Do you really know that? I'm not sure.” And people will ask questions in my Facebook group and talk amongst themselves all the time about they took this supplement and then it caused this and I'm just like, “I don't know how we know that.” So, I think it can be a little bit dangerous.
Here's two really good questions speaking about the intuition when it comes to drinking LMNT. This is basically the same question, but we have two listeners that are a little bit obsessed with LMNT and they want to know if they can overdo it. Angelo says, first she says, “What's in it that gives me so much energy?” So maybe we can circle back to that. But he says, “I need to be well hydrated in order to play tennis. So, is it safe to drink more than one package per day? I have a feeling I'm overdoing it, all I want is to drink this magical concoction.” And then Robin says, “Love the podcast. I found out about LMNT through this podcast and ordered my free package. I love the taste and the different flavors so much that I ordered more. It's the only electrolytes I can drink. Any others are too sweet, too yucky, and just horrible that I gag. My question is can I safely drink LMNT other times when I'm not sweating, or exercising and not needing to replace my electrolytes? I like to drink at least one envelope per day on the days I'm not working out, as I enjoy the taste so much, my family members are worried I am taking in too much salt. I do have AFib and this causes them to worry about my health. Thank you so much for such good information you give the audience.” People will really, really like drinking LMNT, can they drink too much of it?
Robb Wolf: Generally consuming too much means that we're going to get loose stools, like the disaster pants scenario. That really is the first spot that I noticed people experiencing some problems. The other spot, there's a little bit of science on this, but this is way more speculative, and I want to be totally transparent about that, there are not randomized control trials. There's a little bit of neuro regulation of appetite research and some things that support this. But if the sodium is in an isotonic to hypotonic solution, it's not super concentrated. If people need more, particularly with LMNT scenario where there's an overlying sweet flavor, they will taste sweet. And then if they hit a point where they don't really need more sodium, they're topped off, all of a sudden they'll notice that it starts tasting saltier, and really less appealing. I think that that's a pretty good benchmark to use in this case.
There are some things like the Zinc Tally Test and whatnot where they will use a aqueous solution of zinc and people who are deficient in zinc, they'll put the Zinc Tally solution under their tongue and it doesn't taste like anything, they'll do it again. They maybe do it three or four times, and then the fifth time, they do the Zinc Tally, and it tastes like they're sucking on a chrome bumper. And then ostensibly like their body is saturated with zinc. Again, there's no studies on this stuff. Nobody's done a randomized control trial. So, it's a little bit out into the woo-woo realm, but it makes sense in, I've just had this report from firefighters, hockey players, so many people where they're, like, “Yeah, when I'm really working hard, I never am able to reach a point where it starts to taste salty, like it always tastes sweet.” But then if they're in a situation, say like, they're driving cross country and they're just sedentary and they're not doing a whole lot, they'll be sipping on it, and then they just reach a point where they're like, “Eh, that doesn't taste so great anymore.” And then they just don't drink any for several hours.
I think maybe that addresses some of that, that dosing and relative perception thing. Angelo's question on the energy, I really think that this goes back to the sodium potassium pump story. Something I need to do, is pull up there are great like Khan Academy and whatnot, but a 32nd video that describes the way the energy is produced via the ATP production sodium potassium pumps would really help people understand this. If you're deficient in sodium in particular, and then you fix that, then you are going to feel better. It's kind of funny, I don't know if we are going to run with this angle, but we are internally saying that currently we are the only real energy drink out there because sodium potassium is the currency of energy. Caffeine is great, caffeine is a great tool, but interestingly, part of what it's doing is goosing the adrenals and the release of adrenal hormones.
One of the first things that they do is cause a retention of sodium. Some of the benefit that we get from it and they are diuretic also, so there's push-pull on that, but one of the interesting features is that we get an enhanced sodium retention with caffeine exposure. Some of the bump that I think that we get from caffeine in addition to being legitimately a stimulant is that we're getting some sodium retention out of that, but I think that is probably what Angelo's experiencing. You end up in this low sodium ebb and you're feeling kind of tired and lethargic, and then you address that, and you feel much, much better.
Melanie Avalon: So, does something like Gatorade, does it have potassium in it?
Robb Wolf: It has a little bit of potassium. Yeah, Sodium and a little bit of potassium. And it's maybe worth mentioning, we had a client that went to the Gatorade Hall of Fame, and saw one of the very first packages of that Gatorade came in. And it used to have a gram of sodium per serving, and then over the course of time, it's gotten much less power than in sodium, much higher power than in sugar.
Melanie Avalon: This might have answered Melissa's question, which when I first read her question, it never occurred to me what the answer might be, but based on what you just said, I'm wondering if this might be the answer. She said, “I have tried so hard to drink the raw unflavored LMNT packet in my water and I can't get beyond the salty taste. I've even tried half a packet at a time. Is this a taste you grow accustomed to over time? I know I would benefit from the electrolytes during my fast. but I'm really struggling. So, would that be something where her body is just saying she doesn't need that amount of salt?
Robb Wolf: It could be or she may be legitimately more sensitive to that sodium taste, I would still try doing at least 32 ounces for that dilution. I know folks get a little bit-- this is a value judgment here. So, this is Robb's opinion corner real quick, but I think people get a little bit neurotic on how fastidious they are with their fasts. They look at it the flavored version and they see some stevia and they're like, “Oh my God, I can't do stevia because it elevates insulin levels.”
One thing with that is it elevates insulin levels in some people not all. Even if it does elevate insulin levels, it's super transient, and it is remarkably small. This is possibly problematic when we're in a situation where folks are eating a mixed diet and this sweet beverage is going to cause people to spin out and make dodgy food choices. But something to keep in mind too, is even if we get a little bump in insulin while we're fasting, what is that ultimately going to do? It's going to lower blood sugar levels on the back end of that and elevate ketone levels. Net-net, I just don't see where that's all that concerning. People will see that it's got a couple of calories in there because there's a little bit of malic acid and citric acid, fasting and autophagy and all the associated benefits in fasting. It's not an on or off switch, it's more of like a dimmer switch. If we're going from consuming normally 2000-2500 calories a day, and then you use an electrolyte product that facilitates you sticking to your fast for multiple days and you're consuming like 10 calories a day as a consequence, that is not a loss. Particularly, when overlaid with, well, you're not mentally able to continue because you feel like such garbage.
I did a talk, and there's something, Melanie, if you reach back out to me I have a talk that I'd be willing to give to you and you could share it with your community, it's called Longevity: Are We Trying Too Hard? I released it right at the beginning of 2020 and then COVID hit and all the speaking gigs dried up and so this thing has just been sitting pretty much in darkness. But I really take a pretty critical look at, the way that folks are looking at fasting and intermittent fasting and that I think that folks are really over complicating this stuff. Valter Longo’s work, The Fasting Mimicking Diet, they're still eating 500 to 700 calories a day and they show virtually all the benefits that we get from 100% fast. And people recognize that and they acknowledge that, but then they get really twisted around when they notice if there's some stevia or a nominal amount of citric acid or malic acid in a product like LMNT.
One thing for this person, I would definitely make sure to do the 32 ounces. And then, the other thing is try one of the flavored versions. It may really make that much easier, and if the fasting protocol is super important, I wouldn't sweat the little bit of stevia, a little bit of malic acid that's in there in the bigger context of garnering the benefits from the fast.
Melanie Avalon: Perfect timing that you said that. I actually the episode coming out this week on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast is with Valter Longo. We've had him on this show and then I had him back on the other show. I love talking with him. We get a lot of questions though. He has a messaging about anti fasting because of the gallbladder, which is a whole rabbit hole tangent. So, yeah, as far as I'm actually more closer in line with you on your thoughts with all this because my cohost Gin, is her thing is that the clean fast and so just water, just coffee. I think that does work really well for a lot of people, especially if people have been-- haven't tried that. And they've been struggling and a lot of people do find when they do cut out the sweeteners that when they go to that approach, it really helps.
I know for me, when I started fasting, I actually used stevia, and a lot of things like that, and I was fine. So, listeners, I'm not undoing everything I've said. I will say that I am definitely more open to the possibility that for some people, it's not going to be as much of a problem. Yeah, like Elaine said, “Does it break the fast? Will the stevia in it stimulate an insulin response and make me want more?” Becky wanted to know if it's clean, fast, friendly electrolytes? Are they necessary for fasting? That was actually a separate question. But so to clarify for listeners, the clean fast approved LMNT version, especially with Gin Stephens is the raw unflavored, but the other ones, they don't have sugar, they are sweetened with stevia. And so, it might be that they might work for you, I will say.
Robb Wolf: Yeah. And that's this great thing of just tinker and see. I will say the central backbone of this whole story is this process called the naturesis of fasting, the loss of sodium due to fasting. And so this is something that was catalogued, I think, more than 100 years ago. And it's super well understood that people lose prodigious amounts of water and sodium while fasting in particular, and also ketogenic diets but those are lesser magnitude. I'm of the opinion that if you're going to stretch this out much beyond a day, that it is going to be really sufferville if you're not topping off electrolytes in that process. Some people are really mentally tough, they can do it. But I think for folks that are just not into the headaches and the lethargy, and the super low energy and all that stuff, like topping off electrolytes by hook or by crook, somewhere in this thing is going to really improve the ability to stick with that fast over the duration that you want to do it.
Melanie Avalon: So, to clarify, it would be the fast longer than 24 hours where that's really going to become an issue?
Robb Wolf: I think it's going to become really important at the longer point, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Chris Masterjohn had, I don't know if it was one of his podcasts or if it was just like a Q&A, but he had a really good conversation about when are you actually fasted? It was like what you were just saying about something being a dimmer switch. I have to find a link and put a link to it in the show notes, because it made me think, it was like, “Oh, how do you even really quantify what is fasting?” Especially because there's just the nature of the timeline of food and us and what different fuels we're using, and he was making the point that you could be fasted, but you could be running on glucose and so what does that mean? I thought it was a really good nuanced perspective. I also want to ask, so that longevity talk that you did, because I remember leading up to it, you talking about it a lot on your show, and then, so did you have it?
Robb Wolf: I did it once at the Metabolic Health Summit. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: I want to watch it. Question to clarify about the diet because you were talking about the keto. So, Stephanie says, “How much sodium should you consume if you are low carb or keto versus not low carb?” And then Joel wants to know, “What's a good dose to take of LMNT while one is on keto? And does it matter about male versus female?” In general, is it a massively bigger requirement if you're keto compared to not keto? Do some people not even need electrolytes if they're not keto?
Robb Wolf: Again, it's going to depend a little bit on what-- so when we're talking about electrolytes, we are talking about all of the food we consume and in potentially something supplemental like LMNT. I love soups. I make soups all the time, I make soup for breakfast some time and I'll add a significant amount of sodium or even like a bouillon cube to that. So, in that situation, like I'm good, I ticked my box for that. It really depends. Again, how large or small is a person, what's their physical activity level. In general, this is worth mentioning, this is kind of the way that we bracket things with LMNTs on our science pages.
There's some good research that suggests that all cause mortality is lowest at about 5 grams of sodium intake per day, for a general population, which is about double what the USDA and the AMA and whatnot recommend. They recommend less than 2 grams per day. But it's worth mentioning that some cultures like the Japanese and Okinawans consistently consumed 10 to 11 grams of sodium per day, and they don't have dramatically higher rates of cardiovascular disease, they have less. And this is usually the main concern in all those stories. And, generally, most of the cardiovascular risk in all this is due to chronically elevated insulin levels. And low carb diets and fasting are great ways to address that. They're not the only tools in the shed, but they're good ways to address that. Five grams per day from all dietary sources seems like a safe beginning place for most people to play with. If somebody is on a ketogenic diet, I just can't imagine them feeling or doing well at anything much below that, like it's going to be really hard to make things work. If somebody is put on a medically supervised ketogenic diet, the dietitian will make sure to prescribe at least 5 grams of sodium per day. So, that's kind of a low inbound.
We look over it, some very mainstream American Council of Sports Medicine recommendations for more vigorous activity. And even the ACSM, which is in this very high carb centric camp, they recommend 7 to 10 grams of sodium per day for athletes training in heat or humidity. We've definitely seen that reflected within our populations. Small female CrossFit Games competitor, she's doing 12 grams of sodium per day. Again, from all sources, it doesn't mean they're doing 12 stick packs of LMNT. They're eating salami and salting their food and getting all different sources in here. So, I would say somewhere between that like 5 and 10 grams of sodium per day is going to address virtually every person's needs, especially if they're in more that, that low carb side of things. And again, can't emphasize it enough, not saying you do 5 or 10 stick packs of LMNT today. If you do, that's fine. Whatever makes things best for you. But I get more than half of my daily sodium needs from just dietary background, not from stick packs of LMNT.
Melanie Avalon: What is the role? You touched on this earlier, but the role of carbs with the need for that. I've noticed for me, what's interesting is because I oscillate between either low fat or low carb. And if I'm low carb, I will feel the need for more electrolytes. But if I'm low fat and doing higher carb, I don't feel that need as much, but I'm not adding any sodium through the carbs, because it's just fruit.
Robb Wolf: But your body is retaining more of the sodium because of the greater insulin load. Insulin goes up, aldosterone goes up, and then your body will be more effective, but retaining sodium. Just real quick that in that low carb state, your body is really primed to offload sodium, it is actively offloading sodium, so you have to get out ahead of that even more aggressively.
Melanie Avalon: That makes sense. This is a question we get about LMNT. Stephanie says, “I've heard bad things about “natural flavors,” given it's an LMNT ingredient, what are your thoughts on natural flavors? And should we avoid them?” And then Mary Ann said, “Where are the natural flavors derived from?”
Robb Wolf: Yeah. It varies a bit. Let's take watermelon for an example. Watermelon is in the same family as cucumbers. And if you really close your eyes when you drink a little bit of the watermelon, and if we were to tell people, “Hey, this is cucumber,” and you start sipping on the watermelon, it'll taste like cucumber. And it's because there are the same natural compounds that exist in both of these plants. So, what you end up in, I went into this thing, oftentimes people will say, “Oh, you guys are being nefarious.” And it's like, “No, there's just limited--, there's matter and energy and physics and chemistry, and there's just certain constraints on this stuff.” We have a flavor profile that has a certain assortment of chemicals that you could find in either watermelon or cucumber. And cucumbers have some other things that aren't in watermelon, but if there were two Venn diagrams of watermelon and cucumber in the chemicals that make up their flavor profile, there's a ton of similarity, but there's also some, some differences.
In these natural sourcing stories or natural flavors stories, like if it's a citrus flavor, sometimes that comes from lemon, sometimes that comes from lime, sometimes that might come from grapefruit or something like that. So, it really depends on what we're catering to those that this is a non-synthetic source of the flavor constituent, and it is derived from oftentimes a variety of different food sources. But if we were to run it through this thing called HPLC, or a gas chromatograph, where we separate out every single chemical constituent in there, then we would see little graphic peaks that indicate, “Oh, this is d-limonene and this is this one, and this is cinnamon aldehyde. And so that is where these natural flavors come from. I wish that there were supernatural flavors, but there's not. We haven't found super flavors from another dimension. And the other alternative is synthetic flavors which honestly is a chemist, whether-- at the end of the day whether they came out of a lab beaker or the chemical factories within a line peeled, it does end up being the same molecule at the end of the day. But the natural flavor sourcing provides this really rich bouquet of flavor and smell and that's the reason why we go with that. And the reason why it's not more specific is the exact sourcing varies from batch to batch. They might use, again, for watermelon there might be a little bit more sourcing out of cucumbers this time versus watermelon because they're trying to hit a certain flavor profile with that.
We're really not trying to be nefarious and as always, the reason why we did the wrong flavored, we knew no matter how perfectly we tried to put together the flavored versions, for somebody it's not going to spin their propeller, they're going to have objections with either stevia or the natural flavors or whatever, and that's where the raw unflavored is, and then even layer beyond that. We still have our free KetoAide formula, where you use this much table salt, this much no salt, this much magnesium citrate or magnesium malate and you flavor it or don't flavor it exactly the way you want. Just make sure that you get your electrolytes addressed.
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Melanie Avalon: I will say speaking to the nefariousness, today I just right before this signed the final forms because I'm creating my own supplement. But I have learned so much about labeling and what you can say and what things mean and it's just a whole world, so I bet you probably learned a lot creating this, about the whole supplement creation.
Robb Wolf: We really did and we thought it was going to be a simpler process than what it was. We've been as transparent with things as we can. We still have a money back guarantee deal, like you buy it, you don't like it, we'll refund your money, we'll send you a different box. We'll bend over backwards to accommodate people, but also folks always make the decision that is best for you given your risk tolerances, or your goals and all that type of stuff. But I do also think a lot of this, if it gets filed under the majoring in the minors, people with really significant health concerns, they have some gut issues and stuff like that, I get it. I'm celiac, so I definitely can't tolerate any type of gluten exposure and stuff like that. And there are people with some complex health issues, that knowing the exact details of natural flavors, they might be really reactive to nightshades or something, they would like to know whether or not that is a constituent in there. I do acknowledge that, but I think for a lot of people, again, they can probably simplify this stuff and not worry so much about those exacting details all the time.
Melanie Avalon: I will say since you mentioned the grapefruit, we did have just a little testimonial and request from Margaret. She says, “Please ask him to bring back the grapefruit flavor permanently. And tell him thanks for the awesome product. They helped me fast and have helped relieve muscle cramps. My husband takes them to the golf course and also gives them to his friends when playing golf. They've kept him from getting dizzy and dehydrated all summer. People are amazed at how they feel so much better, and only about 15 minutes after drinking these. LMNT is one of my favorite things ever!” Is this grapefruit flavor coming back by chance?
Robb Wolf: It's coming back but I do think it's going to remain a seasonal option. I don't know that it's going to become a permanent feature in the lineup. I think it's going to remain seasonal similar to what we are launching in November with our fall flavor. When it's here, folks need to jump on it. [laughs] Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. Well, I think we got, yeah, most of the stuff. We did have a question about saunas. Like Joan said, “Do you need to take electrolytes when using a sauna?” Brian said, “If you take an infrared sauna daily, should you supplement them each time?” Would that also be an intuitive thing kind of like the working out?
Robb Wolf: When people say need, “Do you need to do this?” I don't need to, but I think that your sauna experience is going to be a lot better if you are properly hydrated and have adequate electrolyte levels. You don't need to run with good fitting shoes, appropriate gear for the weather and all that stuff. It's 32 degrees outside right now, so I could go barefoot running in a pair of like Navy SEAL short shorts and go do it but it's going to be terrible. My feet are going to be cold, everything else is going to be cold, the drizzle is going to make it miserable, but I didn't need to do that. But even a pair of like Vibram Barefoots and some mittens on my hands and a beanie on my head would make that whole thing way more enjoyable and I would actually get more out of the training experience because I would probably be able to stay in and do the whole thing.
The deal with sauna, oftentimes, I don't think folks are even fully aware of why they're doing something. What is the benefit of sauna? I really see it being two pronged. The first prong is the cardiovascular fitness that people obtain from that elevated heart rate while experiencing that heat stress. It's a non-trivial thing. People can maintain a good cardiopulmonary function, by just doing sauna, in wrestlers and some other weight category athletes will curtail their physical activity and rely on sauna to maintain some cardiovascular fitness while weight cutting and doing some different things like that. So, but to get the benefit, you need to be in the sauna about 20-25 minutes at a minimum. If you can't motor through that long without electrolytes, then that's a problem. You're not really getting a benefit. These benefits around heat shock proteins and the anti-aging effects that people get from that, it's a dose response curve. The longer you stay in, the better the kind of response there is.
And if you start experiencing really severe heat stress because your body's out of water, your body's out of sodium, then you're not going to stay in there as long as what you would have done otherwise. The goal why is one doing the sauna? Well, there are these benefits. Well, the better you can optimize your performance doing that, the more benefit you're going to get from it. I get nervous about like, “Do I need this?” I don't know if you need it, but if you want to garner the most benefits from it, you take more appropriate steps and proper hydration is part and parcel to that. I see it a little bit like, do people need to eat adequate protein when strength training? No, you don't need to, but you're going to get really lackluster results. If you're eating like 30 grams of protein a day and you're strength training, it's better that you're strength training the night, but you're certainly not going to get the benefit of eating 100, 120 grams of protein a day. The need question, I think, there's a better question to be asked behind that, like, what is the benefit here? That would be something that I would throw out to folks instead of asking, “Do I need this?” Like, how do I optimize results? If we were talking about money and finances, how do I optimize my return on investment with this. If I could get a 3x return doing this, but a 10x return doing that, and there's no additional danger or downside, then clearly, I would want that 10x return. So, I would really encourage people to couch these things not so much in like, do I need this? Or do I need that, but how am I optimizing things and what is my goal for even doing this?
So often, I see folks start fasting or doing sauna and they will ask a question around it. And I'll say, “Well, what is your goal here?” And I get like deer in the headlights look and they're like, “I don't actually know why I'm doing this.” [laughs] Well, that's a problem. If you don't even know why you're doing it, then how do we gauge whether it's a good or bad thing? Whether then maybe it's like, “Well, I'm just going to try out sauna and see what it feels like.” Okay, that's cool. That's totally cool, but we're getting in and getting more sophisticated about this, like we got to move beyond this like, “Do I need this or do I need that? What's optimizing returns?”
Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad you said all of that. Speaking to that, so I do an infrared sauna session pretty much every night. The reason I do it is, the cardiovascular benefits for sure, the stress relief, it makes me feel so good. But then the third thing is the detox and the sweating. And this is the question I've actually had about salt intake and electrolytes and sauna because I was speaking earlier about how I can tell how long it takes for me to offload a high salt intake day. And that's how I tell. I was like, “How do I tell?” It's from the sauna. So, like that night, the next night and then maybe the third night, I will sweat much more in the sauna and then it goes down. Do you know if there's a therapeutic benefit to sweating more in the sauna?
Robb Wolf: I would say that there is just spaced around, you're more likely to stay there longer, but if the timing is the same-- so your suffering is-- I would guess that your suffering is probably less on these high sweat days. If you ever noticed that, like your perceived suffering.
Melanie Avalon: Do you do infrared sauna? Or do you do traditional heat sauna?
Robb Wolf: I do both. Mainly traditional hot sauna. The place that we go to is like 200 degrees, so it is no joke in there.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I have a Sunlighten, and I have their solo unit where your head isn't even in it. So, it's remarkably pleasant. Like I could stay in there for three hours. I don't, but I'm not a good gauge for that but if it were unpleasant, I could see how that would definitely be a factor.
Robb Wolf: Yeah, like this 200 degrees, if I'm not topped off on electrolytes, I maybe make it 10 minutes and then I am in a panic to get out. If somebody is on the other side of the door, I'm like, “You better move because [laughs] I'm coming out fast.” Whereas if I'm topped off on electrolytes, like 10 minutes it starts getting uncomfortable, but I make it to 20 minutes and the perceived suffering, like my relative perceived exertion or whatever, if we're using like exercise terms it's a lot less if I'm properly topped off on electrolytes. And I'm not an expert on, I know that infrared in particular is really powerful for inducing some of that mitochondrial biogenesis and stimulating some of the detox through the skin but I'm not well versed on like-- I would assume that some of that is moving-- all the water-soluble stuff is moving with the fluids, and so if you've got more fluid to offload then you're just potentially transporting more.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I mean that was my thought that maybe like the detox, I know people think that's like a woo-woo thing, but the sweating detox aspect of it might be greater if you're sweating more.
Robb Wolf: Yeah. The detox associated with fasting is a no joke deal. I mean, like phthalates and xenoestrogens and doesn't really address heavy metals, but all of these fat and water-soluble chemicals that we're inundated with in modern world, it's legit there. Oh, gosh, I'm blinking on his name, but he's a Mayo Clinic researcher who's super sharp on this stuff. He wrote the book Estrogeneration, Anthony Jay. He would be a great person for the podcast, but he's posted great research, good peer reviewed stuff where they're actually like assaying the contents of the sweat and you're getting gunk out of there for sure.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I did a deep dive into the sauna literature and I think it's very promising, such as the cardiovascular health and all of that. One last electrolyte question. “Is it okay for kids?” Theresa says, “Are they okay for kids?” Katie says, “Are they good for kids younger than 10?” And then Amanda says, she has teens who have been media hyped into thinking Gatorade is healthy. So, is it good for them?
Robb Wolf: Yeah, I think that it's great for kids. One of our big goals with LMNT is to upend this childhood obesity story and so much of that starts at the youth sports level where these kids, youth soccer, these five-year-old kids, they run around for 30 minutes and then they've got juice and Gatorade. It's like they barely did anything. They don't need their glycogen stores topped off yet again. What we do for our kids is I have a big 64-ounce pitcher and we're normally for myself, I do one stick pack per 32 ounces. With the girls end up doing it, it's technically a 34-ounce container, but I'm able to get 80 ounces in it. I do two stick packs in there and then I end up with 80 ounces of water. So, it's like I was doing one stick back and 40 ounces. I just keep that topped off and the girls completely self-regulate that. I don't monitor it at all. They either do water or that based off of what they want and they seem to do great with it.
There's certainly no need to add carbs at that point. If they were doing some sort of really hard physical activity, like a soccer tournament where they've got six games over the course of a weekend and each game is 90 minutes, then we're going to start talking some different stuff. But even then, I would mainly to try to address their energy needs via whole foods, not drinking liquid calories, but yeah, it's totally, totally fine for kids. All I do is just dilute it a little bit more than what I do for myself. And I don't even know if that's necessary just the kids really enjoy it that way.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, awesome. Listeners, moms, you can get it for the whole family. I just have three quick questions. They're not super sciency or intense like that, but they're about the regenerative agriculture. I was wondering if we could end with that, because it's so important to me. Sophia says, “Has Robb seen any change on the heels of publishing Sacred Cow? It seems that more people are interested in regenerative agriculture, but I'm in that space. So, it's hard to judge. And then similar to that Sherry says, “How far along are we with convincing farmers? Does he see regenerative farming becoming the norm in our lifetime at least in Western society”? So, I was wondering after Sacred Cow and the documentary, which by the way, listeners, you have got to watch and read. Have you seen any change specific to that and also the future, do you see change happening? Are you optimistic?
Robb Wolf: I'm still mixed. I have seen change happen. Diana Rodgers just had an outreach from some industry folks, actually, and putting together an institute for education around this stuff. Now, industry backing these things is always dodgy because, “This study on milk brought to you by the dairy industry, this study on corn brought to you by the corn.” There's always challenges with that, but nobody else cares enough to put any money into this, but there is a lot more interest. There is more pushback around the standard climate change narrative, that grazing animals are like the primary driver of climate change, which is one of these really common things out in the world. It's a tough thing to push back against. I don't want to overlay politicize this, but we're in a weird spot now. We're even saying, “Hey, we need to have a nuanced discussion around climate change.” All of a sudden, that will go to, “Will you deny climate change? So, you're probably a holocaust denier and you're certainly also a racist.” It's just this like, “How did I end up here?” It's a weird spot in the world to be motoring through this stuff. But there are definitely more and more folks, and interestingly, it's developing countries that are adopting this because developing countries are poised to be crushed by the diabesity epidemic. They are starting to wake up to the danger of having all or most of their food distributed to them from the industrial food complex.
This is the flip side of this, there is massive money, absolutely ungodly amounts of money that are going into the fake meat, the lab grown meat. There are things that have come to light that two or three years ago, I suspected were true. But it was super tinfoil hat stuff, and then I've actually seen World Economic Forum documents on and I was like, “Holy shit, that's not a conspiracy theory. They're being honest about this stuff.” There's this goal that the consumption of red meat in particular would drop to the size of, basically your thumb per week per person.
Now, on the heels of that, it's acknowledged, like, people in those same circles also say, “If we do this, then obesity will increase because people are eating such a low protein diet, that they're going to overeat everything else.” And we're also going to have all these nutrient deficiencies, these very plant-based diets look indistinguishable from the problems that we see in developing countries where people just don't get enough food. In particular, not enough animal products. Low B vitamin status, low zinc, low iron, developmental difficulties, pregnancy issues, and whatnot. But there's a mountain of money to be made from tying all of this story into climate change, and social justice topics. And there's all super legitimate compelling stuff in there. But it's also what's fascinating to me, Forbes actually had a great piece on this, and it said, the kind of vegan backed fake meat story was so ironic because the only winner in that is, is Big Food and Big Pharma. Those are the winners in this story. Your decentralized local food production is done with that.
In many cases, there are initiatives that are being put forward that would make like your ability to go get locally raised, pastured meat, illegal or difficult, or tax it so that it becomes even more prohibitively expensive. And then who suffers from that? Poor people, ethnic minorities. There's a lot of ironic astroturfing and stuff like that, that's happening in this stuff. I'm optimistic on the one hand, but it's going to be a really big lift, like it's going to be a big lift. It's a complex topic to unpack, the process of unpacking it really quickly. You can get one labeled as some sort of like right wing extremist and most of the people doing regenerative Ag are like hippies from the 60s and 70s, they just really believed in pure natural food. [laughs] There is not right wing aligned as you could find someone, but just because they're like, “No, I really think that, here's this plot of land that we-- and here's all the desertified damage to the land 20 years ago, and now look at this like Verdun green oasis that we've produced by holistically managing these grazing animals.” And they have really solid outcome on that, but you become labeled a horrible person pretty quickly by advocating for that stuff.
It's a complex topic that requires some nuance and some detail and in the current environment, and unfortunately, I feel going forward, it's very difficult to unpack those things and have discussions around them and there's so much-- one thing that that COVID did, it really awakened and people the sensed it like, everybody should do one thing for the greater good. Sometimes that's appropriate, sometimes that's completely inappropriate and really dangerous. And this is COVID, climate change, and social justice topics have all gotten wrapped together in this super ambiguous, easily manipulated fashion that even the real important stuff that needs to be addressed in these situations isn't really being addressed, because we can't talk about it in any meaningful way. So, I find that to be really difficult and dangerous. I guess, if folks believe in this regenerative vaccine, or even just curious about it, when they see people getting dog piled when they're trying to have a discussion like this, these are the folks that we need to stand up for, even to the tune of like they may be wrong, maybe Diana and I are totally wrong, we got all this stuff wrong, but we've carried sway with a good number of people. So, maybe we should have a big discussion around this so we can figure out what we did get wrong. Or maybe we're right about it. It would be helpful to get the winning methodology out there, so that we can scale this and make sure that this benefits many more people.
Melanie Avalon: Censorship and not being able to talk about things, it's just frightening to an unbelievable amount in my opinion. And I cannot recommend enough that listeners read Sacred Cow. Now anytime that I have a conversation with somebody where they have a very one-sided opinion about the climate change and the role of farming and agriculture, I'm like, “Just read Sacred Cow and then let's have a discussion about it.” But I think what's so confusing, and it's confusing to me, is that it's just presented, especially the people that present a completely plant-based system for the sustainability of our future and our environment. It's just presented as fact. And it's coming from people who I think would know a lot about it, because they're so obsessed with it. It's confusing, just reading your book, I'm like, “Oh, wait, maybe this isn't actually what's going on. And maybe the stats are a little bit different than what we've been told.” It's very confusing, and there's just a lack of education. I understand why people are confused. I just thank you for what you're doing to spread more information about all of it.
Robb Wolf: Thank you. I always think back to like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where cartoon characters are in the military, and they're all lined up. And then they're like, “We have this dangerous mission and we need two volunteers.” And the whole line takes a step back, except the two idiots not paying attention. And I feel like that Diana and I are the two idiots we just looked around, we're like, “Oh my God, how did we end up here?” It's interesting.
Just as a point here, I mentioned this in the news topic of my recent podcast, but for two decades, it's been recommended that folks with risk of cardiovascular disease should take a baby aspirin a day. This idea came about because it's understood that aspirin has some anti-thrombotic, some anti-clotting properties, and clots are at least a part of some cardiovascular events, some stroke events. There was some good thought behind it, there was a good hypothesis, there was a plausible mechanism, there was some research, it seemed to suggest that this was beneficial, but then as time motored forward, and we started looking at 5 years, 10 years, 20 years and people doing baby aspirin, and we looked at all-cause mortality, it didn't seem to benefit anybody, and it seemed to actually be doing damage, like the all-cause mortality was greater in the baby aspirin situations, than-- than the people who weren't taking the baby aspirin across these big groups, people. And correlation isn't always causation, but it starts becoming compelling, the larger the sample size, the more data that's there, and all that type of stuff.
So, now, the American Medical Association and associated bodies are suggesting, don't take the baby aspirin. This is something that became medical orthodoxy, it was an idea that got tested, it looked promising. Time went by, and then more data was accumulated, and upon further review, it looks like it's more dangerous to take the baby aspirin in general than not. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that there are some people for whom that baby aspirin is likely a really smart move. And that's probably something that working with your doctor and maybe doing a little genetic testing and stuff like that to figure out if that really is a good fit for you, but at a population wide at a public health level implementation, they are completely upending that recommendation.
When people say follow the science, you've got to have an understanding that science should have a sign on it. That says, “Good until further notice.” When you say the science is settled, unless we're talking about things a pool table, and billiard balls and we know the mass of the pool, pool balls and how the velocity and where they're going to bounce on this very simple system. Okay, the science is settled, gravity we can predict where the planets are thousand years from now. But when you get into even more complex systems, like biology and human health and public health, it's a really slippery slope to say much of anything [unintelligible [01:59:10]. Antibiotics save lives, healthy eating is good, proper sleep hygiene is incredibly beneficial, and then it starts getting really dubious from there. Exercise will improve the quality of your life. It probably won't extend the duration of your life. We have some understandings there, but then above and beyond that things get murky really fast. And then when we start talking about like a global food system and what should or shouldn't be, the mainstay and do we really want it even more mono-cropped and less variety, which is what a plant-based story. It's like people at the Arctic Circle are going to be eating greens raised at the middle latitudes. And does that make sense from a distribution perspective and a whole bunch of other things?
Melanie Avalon: Well, to that point, so for people wanting to make change, Todd and Mary Ann, they say, “What is a good starting spot for those interested in regenerative agriculture?” She says, “I have huge chunk of land and want to make it bountiful.”
Robb Wolf: Hmm.
Melanie Avalon: Isn't that a great question? That made me so excited. [laughs] I was like, “Oh, tell me more, I'm jealous.”
Robb Wolf: There's lots of things you could do. Running the animals yourself can be a big commitment. That's something we've wanted to do, but we just haven't been in a position to do ourselves. But if you are in a position to manage those animals yourself, you can reach out to a Savory Institute hub or Holistic Management International. And you can go through training courses, they'll help you figure out, so you live in this environment, and maybe sheep would be better than cows or whatever. You start thinking about the animals and the plants that you could do in that scenario.
If you have a big chunk of land, but you aren't in a position to manage it yourself. We are friends with the roam free bison operation here in Northwestern Montana. And what those folks do, they own some significant chunks of land, but they've also leased land from some of the local Native American groups and some private individuals. So, you might open up your land for lease and you find somebody who is doing this holistic management process, and then afford them an opportunity to, to make use of that land into reinvigorate that land, because these grasslands co evolved with grazing animals. The two go hand in glove, and without grazing animals on that land, it will desertify--. It will revert to this kind of desertified area, that's a lot of like sagebrush and high erosion and not very productive. That stuff can be recovered. It takes a lot of effort and time. But it's better to head that off, and the way that you prevent that occurring is by implementing these Holistic Management Practice. So, making that land available for lease could be an amazing opportunity there.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Do you guys have land in Montana?
Robb Wolf: Just a little bit. We're on two acres here. We're right on a little cattle lake. The HOA is preclude having any animals, but we are looking at some land within a 10-minute drive because both of the girls are getting into horseback riding, and we want to do some other kind of resiliency related stuff. We're looking at trying to find something within a short drive of where we are, and then we could start spinning up some of that stuff.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Very, very cool. Well, thank you so much, Robb, this has been absolutely amazing. I know listeners are going to love it, and I'm excited because now we can use it as like a resource episode that I can refer listeners to whenever we get questions about electrolytes and all the things. And I haven't even yet mentioned the amazing offer that you have for our audience, which, friends, if you haven't done this yet, you have got to get on this. It's a no brainer. You can actually go to drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast. That’s drink, L-M-N-T dotcom forward slash IF Podcast. And you can get a free sampler pack for LMNT. Yes, completely free. You just pay a small shipping. And then I know Robb has made it known that even if you don't like it, for whatever reason, they will even reimburse you shipping. And that's been very, very popular with our audience. So, definitely get on that.
Thank you so much. I'm just always forever in awe, and grateful for everything that you're doing. It has personally changed my life, I would not be doing what-- I'm almost crying again, I would not be doing what I'm doing today, if I not read your book. Listeners, if anybody has benefited from this show or from any of my shows or any of my content, I wouldn't be here without Robb Wolf. I'm not going to cry. Thank you. This has been amazing. So, I really can't thank you enough and hopefully we can connect again in the future. There are so many things, so many topics, but thank you for all that you do.
Robb Wolf: Thank you. I've got to say there is no greater joy than knowing that one's-- I am going to start crying. There is no greater joy knowing that one's work has benefited someone else. And particularly someone like you, that you've helped so damn many people, so that that really is just the crown jewel of my life and my existence, is knowing that my work has mattered to you. So, thank you.
Melanie Avalon: Well, thank you. Have a wonderful rest of your evening. Enjoy the cold. I'm so jealous. Enjoy the snow flurries.
Robb Wolf: I will. I'm going to take the dog for a walk, and it's a little bit of snow flurries, so we'll see how he handles it. He's kind of a wimp in the cold. I'm going to have to buy him a jacket.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, have a good evening. Thank you.
Robb Wolf: You, too. Bye-bye.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Theme music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine
Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle
Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle
Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide
Clean(ish): Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body's Natural Ability to Self-Clean
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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