Welcome to Episode 318 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 Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.
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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #194 - Dave Asprey
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Intermittent fasting and protein pacing are superior to caloric restriction for weight and visceral fat loss
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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 318 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, biohacker, author of What When Wine, and creator of the supplement line AvalonX. And I'm here with my cohost, Vanessa Spina, sports nutrition specialist, author of Keto Essentials, and creator of the Tone breath ketone analyzer and Tone Lux red light therapy panels. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ketogenicgirl.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment. To be featured on the show, email us your questions to email@example.com. We would love to hear from you. Pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup 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 318 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with my still new co-host, Vanessa Spina. Vanessa, how are you today?
Vanessa Spina: I'm doing wonderfully. How are you doing?
Melanie Avalon: I'm so good. I've been looking forward to this. For listeners, we had to cancel one of our last sessions or reschedule it, so I've been so excited to talk to you, today.
Vanessa Spina: Me too. It's been way too long. I feel like it was forever ago that we got to record our last episode and it's been giving me extra happy just knowing that we were going to be recording today. So, I'm so happy to be here.
Melanie Avalon: I know we have so much to talk about. I have a super random question to ask you to start off, I thought about this like forever ago. I think I told you in a text, I was just going to save it for the episode. It's so random. It's very random. Are you familiar with the seven deadly sins?
Vanessa Spina: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: And like the seven virtues?
Vanessa Spina: I mean, Pete and I talk about them a lot together, and he has taught me a lot about them. He's taught me the meaning behind some of them that I didn't understand. He was like a Catholic school kid, and we both love the teachings of Jesus, and we try to follow by His example as much as possible, but we talk about what they mean and what the deeper definitions that they are sometimes just like when we're walking, going for walks and stuff.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Okay, so that was a much deeper dive. [laughs] Okay, the question I have for you, and I can answer it as well for me, the seven of them are lust. I'm looking at them right now. Lust, gluttony, pride, sloth, wrath, greed, and envy. I am wondering, which one do you struggle with the most and which one do you struggle with the least?
Vanessa Spina: Oh, it's such a good question, such a good question. I need to look at the list again.
Melanie Avalon: You can pull it up if you want.
Vanessa Spina: I mean, I feel like I have a little bit of all of them, [laughs] and I'm trying to work on them all the time, and become better and just be conscious of when I am engaging in those things, if that makes sense?
Melanie Avalon: For me, it's very intuitive. Like, I immediately know which one I struggle with the most and I immediately know which one I struggle with the least.
Vanessa Spina: Okay, you start then.
Melanie Avalon: I struggle the most with envy, for sure. I don't like it either. And okay, what's crazy is I had been wanting to ask you this question on this show, and then last night I was listening to Joe Rogan and David Buss. Have you heard of him?
Vanessa Spina: Mm-hmm.
Melanie Avalon: His research is in evolutionary psychology. His books are all about evolutionary psychology of sexuality and sex. So, basically dating dynamics, marriage dynamics, the evolutionary purpose behind male-female relationships. But he was talking about the evolutionary purpose of envy. It's a good thing. It's because men don't know necessarily, they need to protect the female they are with because they don't ever know that they're necessarily the father, because only a female will know that the child is her own because it came from her body, but a male doesn't know, so he has to aggressively be protective of the female that he is trying to bear children with. So, that's like the purpose of envy. That was like a whole tangent. So, I struggle the most with envy and I don't like the experience of it either like I just hate feeling jealous. I just don't like it. So, I actively try to work on that. I struggle the least with sloth.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that makes sense. I feel like when I was younger, envy was probably the main one until I realized that the feeling of envy means that you see something in someone else that you don't believe that you can have or experience. And when I realized that I could shift that to, if I feel joy when I see something in someone else that I would also like to have or experience, then that means I believe I can experience it as well. And that's when the joy grows and expands because you are like-- now when you see that quality in others, you're like, "Oh, that means I'm getting closer to it or I'm seeing more manifestations of it." So, it's a big shift, I think.
Yeah, but I think pride is the other one that jumped out at me. It's probably the one that I struggle with the most because I know we've talked about this before, just like in our personal conversations. But I really don't like excessive ego in others and because it's such an issue for me, I have concerns, there's probably some in me too or else it wouldn't bother me so much in other people. If I interview a certain guest and I feel like they have a really big head, it really bothers me. I really like humility. And so, I'm constantly concerned with am I being humble and meek in this situation. Am I grounding myself just being very self-aware of that? And the other ones? I think sloth also is not an issue for me. I like to hustle, but I love what Dave Asprey said in your interview with him, that biohackers are innately lazy and that humans are innately lazy and it's a survival mechanism, but that if you work smarter or you work really hard. I've always believed if you work really hard, then life gets easy. But if you take the easy route all the time, then life is hard.
Melanie Avalon: So, what's interesting about his thesis? Because you haven't read this book yet, right?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, and for listeners so, I recently aired, well, as of this recording, an episode with Dave for his new book Smarter Not Harder. So, I'll pull a link to that in the show notes. He actually thinks we should be lazy because I realized we did. I was like thinking back on that episode, we didn't really hardcore go into his laziness principle. He thinks you should not have to work hard. Like basically if we optimize short-term acute stress, then we get this maximum stimulus and maximum gain. But you don't have to do this chronic, drawn-out, draining work. So, like a marathon compared to HIIT training or now this new REHIT training like super short burst.
Vanessa Spina: Yes, I know he was specifically talking about fitness in that. I know he was talking about other areas too. But the main example he was using in your interview was fitness. He spent like two years or three years working out at the gym so hard and not really making much progress. And then he started using bio-hacks and he turned everything around, and he's like, at 8% body fat now and effortlessly so. [laughs] I like how he praised the value of work ethic and hard work. But it's a really interesting discussion to evaluate what laziness-- what role did that serve and why is it there and how can we work smarter not harder?
Melanie Avalon: Yes. I love it. You need to come to the Biohacking Conference.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it sounds amazing. I wish I could come. I really do. It sounds like something I'm going to have to come to in the future for sure.
Melanie Avalon: Can you imagine, if we could hang out?
Vanessa Spina: And we would have so much fun. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I will give a link for listeners, so as listeners know. Okay, so Vanessa and I are so similar in so many ways, and we're so opposite in other ways. Actually, we're not the opposite in very many ways, but one of the ways is Vanessa has epic travel skills, which I'm envious of and I do not. So, whenever I am actually traveling that means it's like a big deal and it's something I find very worth having my presence there. So, friends, a month from now, because this comes out May 22, a month from now, on June 22, you can go to the Biohacking Conference, the 9th annual Biohacking Conference in Orlando and I am going to go, which is crazy, and I'm so excited because, Vanessa, you've been to a lot of conferences and you've done a lot of talking, so you've met people in real life a lot, right, from our sphere.
Vanessa Spina: Yes. I was a regular mainstage speaker at KetoCon for the first few years before COVID everything got shut down. But I did a book tour, which I got to speak all across the US. When my book came out. But I've done a considerable amount of speaking at these different low-carb and Keto events in Canada, the US, and Europe, and they are so much fun. They're just so incredibly fun to get to meet everybody, all the other people that you know in person, and to just get to hug people all day. It's really, really fun to get to meet and connect with everyone and hang out with everybody. So, I'm excited to get to go to them again. It's been harder having a child, but we're figuring it out, so, I will get back to them eventually. The biohacking one sounds incredible.
Melanie Avalon: Just really quick, what was your favorite topic that you presented on?
Vanessa Spina: Oh, hands down was autophagy.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, nice.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I did a deep dive. That was my talk at KetoCon one year and The Low Carb Universe, which was in Spain, it was a deep dive on all the mechanisms of autophagy and mitophagy. A lot of people they know what it means, but in depth to really fully understand the mechanisms and what's happening is just fascinating. So, that was definitely my favorite.
Melanie Avalon: That's amazing. So, yes, I hope sometime you can come to the Biohacking Conference. That will actually be my first time at a conference for all of this stuff. So, I mean, what a way to start, I'm not speaking.
Vanessa Spina: You're going to get swarmed by so many people who know you. And I'll be so excited to see you. You're going to have so much fun.
Melanie Avalon: So, like, friends in the audience or listeners, you guys should come. We should come hang out because there're going to be so many people there, especially a lot of guests I've had on my biohacking show. You can look at the page if you go to melanieavalon.com/biohackingconference that will direct you to their page. And you can see the speaker lineup. So, people I've had on my other show, like, obviously, Dave Asprey, Joe Mercola, Catharine Arnston with ENERGYbits like the people at BiOptimizers, Max Lugavere, like so many people. Friends, come with me, and you can use the coupon code MA40, so MA40 and that will get you 40% off tickets, which is very exciting.
Vanessa Spina: That's huge. Yeah. I'm really tempted to come. It sounds like it's going to be so much fun.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. I would die someday.
Vanessa Spina: I can't wait to hear how it all goes, though, because I'm going to be in the US. I think, around that time. We're going to be on a more similar time zone, and it's going to be easier to communicate.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. Well, if you randomly want to make a pitstop in Orlando and come hang out. Although I feel bad because I feel like most conference-- I don't know, I feel like I'm not a conference person. I'm not going to be going all day to all the things. I'm going to respect my boundaries.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, you have to and then take breaks and stuff.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Vanessa Spina: I've been wanting to go to the Metabolic Health Summit for a while and they're moving it to Florida this year, so that's really interesting. And then there's the ISSN, which is the Institute of Sports Nutrition, which is like the organizing body of the sports nutrition specialization that I have. They do an annual conference in Florida. I just want to go to all of those. I would love to even just live in Florida because it would be amazing. It just sounds like there's a lot of people who have minded sorts of approaches to fitness and health in that area. So, I'm surprised it's not in Austin.
Melanie Avalon: I was going to say Florida and Austin. I actually feel like I might move to Austin. Honestly, like, everybody's there, everybody. I actually am surprised it's not in Austin.
Vanessa Spina: I would live there if Pete would move there. It's such a fun town that was one of the biggest motivators for me to go there for KetoCon, and they have the most amazing barbecue brisket ever. It's such a fun town. There's just so much going on. It's such a cute town. It's a walkable city. It gets very hot in the summer as were talking about, but I think it's an awesome place.
Melanie Avalon: Well, we should manifest hanging out in Austin sometimes. So, many things to manifest. Okay, so well, speaking of shows, that was again on The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. I'll put links in the show notes. Come see me June 22. Use the coupon code MA40 for 40% off tickets. Oh, wait. I was just about to go into you. But one last link for listeners. Dave also talked about his new Danger Coffee. You probably haven't tried it. Have you tried it, Vanessa?
Vanessa Spina: No. You're the first person who told me about it but sounds like it must be interesting.
Melanie Avalon: I just started drinking it and I really like it. So, he made it with-- it has, like, minerals in it. It's supposed to be a mineralizing coffee rather than taking minerals from you.
Vanessa Spina: That's so smart.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I've been drinking Bulletproof coffee before that. Anyway, that was the brand I drank, just because I really trust him with the mold stuff, and I'm very concerned about that. But the Bulletproof brand actually isn't his brand anymore. He made Danger Coffee, and I just got it, and I am really, really liking it. I've actually been getting a lot of questions for a discount code for it. So, I got one for you guys. If you go to melanieavalon.com/dangercoffee, you can use the coupon code MELANIEVALON to get 10% off. Okay, that was all the links about me.
What I wanted to say was, friends, Vanessa, who I know this is our third episode together, but she is also the host of the Optimal Protein Podcast. That show is absolutely incredible. You guys should all check it out. Vanessa is very impressive and how she really dives deep into everything. And she recently did an epic interview deconstruction of a new study that came out about intermittent fasting and the role of protein. And so, two things. One, check out Vanessa's interview or episode on it. And we'll put a link to it in the show notes because she does a really, really deep dive. But we also want to talk about it a little bit in today's show. I've been excited about this. It's been a while.
Vanessa Spina: Me too. It's such an interesting study, and I was so excited to see it finally officially published because I first posted about it almost two years ago when it was presented. I think it was just presented at an obesity conference and I think it may have been in a poster presentation. To now have the full paper, the whole research article, everything. I was so excited to see it. I mean, everything that you and I both talk about on our own podcast, you've talked about for years on the Intermittent Fasting podcast. It reinforces so many of the concepts we've talked about for years. It's just so exciting whenever you see a paper that is really investigating something that is important and doing it in a novel way and doing it in a way that gives us new conclusions, new information. I was so excited when I saw that it was officially published.
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The title of the study is Intermittent fasting and protein pacing are superior to caloric restriction for weight and visceral fat loss, published in Obesity. Like Vanessa said, it was a while ago, but just more recently-- So, when did they actually publish it?
Vanessa Spina: The date on here says that it was received in June and then it was revised and accepted in November of this year-- But then the first article that I found or last year. Yeah, was that it was officially published in the latest version was like January of 2023. So, yeah, it's pretty recent.
Melanie Avalon: I have a surprise for you about it. Trying to say which order to go with this. Do you want to tell listeners a little bit about the setup of the study and what they were testing?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I'd love to. I think what was-- when I posted about this, definitely the main questions that people had were specifically about the protocol of the diet. So, I was really interested in seeing exactly how they did it, exactly what the methodology was, because obviously, they had positive results or favorable results so I wouldn't be excited about the study. But I even dived as deep as going through the menus that they were eating on the different days in the two groups. So, they basically separated participants into two different groups and they were equated for calories. But one group did this intermittent fasting. They call it the IFP diet, which was doing intermittent fasting and consuming protein at regular intervals throughout the day. The intermittent fasting that they did was they then subdivided that group into two groups that they then put back together after four weeks.
But in that group, they either fasted once a week for 36 hours or twice a week for 60 hours. And they had exactly the-- calories were equated, which, actually the calories in the just calorically restricted group, which was the other group, were actually even lower than on the intermittent fasting protein pacing group. And they still got better results in terms of fat loss and mostly body composition. That's what really gets me excited about studies like this is they are improving body composition.
There's another study that I was just sharing about on the podcast in the most recent episode because they did a similar approach, but they didn't change their calories in either groups and all they did was increase the protein percentage. And they saw really positive changes in body composition, which means you get more lean mass and you lose body fat, and lower your body fat percentage without even changing the amount of calories that you're eating. Just switching up the macros.
So, I'm really passionate about this study in particular because it's combining intermittent fasting with also switching up macros a little bit to focus on a higher protein percentage. That to me, really excites me for the potential for improving body composition because we all know that you can get results doing intermittent fasting and not changing anything about your macros. But if your goal really is to improve body composition, if that happens to be your goal and why you're doing intermittent fasting, you're going to see, I think, much better results if you bump up the protein percentage a little bit. I know that's something that you're also really passionate about, Melanie.
Melanie Avalon: And you talked about this in your episode when you talked about the study as well. But something that really resonated with me about it or something that I thought was really, really important was I feel like there are a lot of studies. So, we have a lot of studies looking at intermittent fasting versus calorie restriction showing extra benefits with intermittent fasting. We also have studies. There was that one sort of recently where I don't know, I think there was like a few, but there's been somewhere it gets really sensationalized in the media and they say that intermittent fasting is no different than calorie restriction. And I just think it goes to show the major importance of, like you said when we focus on protein and on the diet quality and combine it with fasting, just the massive potential additional benefits in comparison to calorie restriction.
Vanessa Spina: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because so often it's not using something like that. So, I think it's really, really important. Although it's funny because I was reading the study and I kept reading it and I was like, I can't figure out what they're doing on the fasting day. And I was like, am I just not smart?
Vanessa Spina: I have to get the author of the study on my podcast somehow because I read this several times and I still cannot figure it out. When they talk about the protocol, they say that they fasted either for 36 hours once a week or 60 hours twice a week for two days a week. And then after four weeks, all they were doing was just once a week for 36 hours. So, it sounds like 36 hours fast. But then when you look at the menus, [laughs] it's a bit confusing. But it does seem like on the fasting days, they were still consuming things. But then when you look further into it, it's mostly like electrolytes and-- some ashwagandha like adaptogens, electrolytes sort of non-caloric beverages. That's what it mostly seems like. And then there is, I think, a snack that's consumed. So, in a way it almost makes like a fasting-mimicking approach, but it's really hard to almost impossible to figure it out from just reading the paper.
And then I don't know if that's what they did on the two 60 days. It's one of the issues I think sometimes you see in research is like, they'll say it's intermittent fasting, but it's like their version of intermittent fasting. I wish there was a little bit more clarity, like did they turn the clock on that day and then not eat anything for 36 hours? Which would make sense to me based on the results that they saw here or 60 hours. But then it's almost not even intermittent fasting at that point. It's more like fasting.
Melanie Avalon: So, like I said, I read it and I was like, I can't figure this out, and I was like, "Am I just not?-- Like, what am I missing?" [laughs] And then I listened to your breakdown, I was like, "Okay, it's not just me." Well, are you ready for my surprise? I emailed the author of the study.
Vanessa Spina: Oh my gosh.
Vanessa Spina: That's amazing. Did they write back?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Vanessa Spina: Oh my gosh. Paul Arciero.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. So, shall I read you his email?
Vanessa Spina: Yes, please. Oh my gosh, this is the best surprise ever.
Melanie Avalon: It's like Christmas. Okay, so this is from Paul. [laughs] He says, "Hi, Melanie and Vanessa." Because I talked about you in the email. Thanks for your interest in my research study on intermittent fasting and protein pacing and discussing it on your podcast. So, cool. To answer your question, sorry, I'm laughing. To answer your question, participants consume 400 to 500 calories during the 36 to 60 hours fast. They followed a similar timing schedule of consumption as they did on the protein pacing days. "Okay, ready for the good part?" Please know if you both agree. I'd love to be invited on your podcast and share the results in detail, including the effects of the intermittent fasting protein pacing on the gut microbiome. Thanks, and congrats on all your success with this awesome podcast, Paul.
Vanessa Spina: Wow.
Melanie Avalon: We should have Paul on.
Vanessa Spina: That is so incredibly exciting and wonderful. I was just going to say, when you said you emailed him, like, we have to get him to come on and talk about this because that would be so thrilling.
Melanie Avalon: So, isn't that exciting?
Vanessa Spina: That's amazing. Good job.
Melanie Avalon: I remember, I've really found, especially having this show, the biohacking show, I feel like there's a whole potential ocean of people, like researchers who are not-- they're doing studies, but they don't have books, they're not like in the popular media. I feel like a lot of researchers are so accessible, if you actually just email them, they want to talk to you.
Vanessa Spina: Yes. I mean, if someone emailed you and was like, I want to talk to you about your work, like your life's work, it's like, great. [laughs] Let's talk about it in front of thousands of people. Like yes, of course. I would love to. So, yeah, I agree. I love that you reached out to him because I wanted to but that's amazing. We have to schedule him ASAP to talk about it.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, Vanessa and I have been talking about all the random people we want to have on the show. We're going to have Rick Johnson back on. It's going to be so fun. So, yeah, okay, so I'll email him and we should have him on.
Vanessa Spina: Thank you. I can't wait.
Melanie Avalon: And that's interesting though and I guess we can talk about it maybe more when we have him on.
Vanessa Spina: What are your thoughts on that protocol that they did?
Melanie Avalon: To clarify for listeners, if it wasn't clear from his answer, they fasted on the fasting days, 36 to 60 hours and they were actually during that time having 400 to 500 calories. It's actually like a fasting-mimicking diet approach with the exception that the fasting-mimicking diet is very low protein and this was very high protein.
Vanessa Spina: Which also has a great purpose to cycle once in a while low protein and switch off mTOR and ramp up autophagy and everything. But how interesting to see a study doing the opposite of that.
Melanie Avalon: It's also like I'm thinking of protein-sparing modified fast where people have extremely low versions. What I would love to see? Now I'm like "I should be making a list of questions for when he comes on." I'm really curious why they did it that way. I would love to see if they had done it the way you were hypothesizing that they had done it, which I was also hypothesizing. I was thinking maybe they had the 400 calories as a meal and then fasted straight. Like I would love to see a third arm where they did that.
Vanessa Spina: They mentioned in the study about the metabolic switching and how you're ramping up fat-burning oxidation. You're getting ketogenesis, you're getting more ketones, you're becoming more insulin sensitive and you're cranking up autophagy, lowering inflammation, oxidative stress, and enhancing lean body mass. But that really gets ramped up when you are just fully not consuming all of those things. It was really interesting to see that. And in my podcast recap, I said this looks like a protein-sparing modified fast to me, it's like doing one day a week or two days a week of protein-sparing modified fast which is very effective for doing these kinds of things.
But they're not just doing that on the other days of the week. They are doing protein pacing which is like consuming I think at least four to six times a day consuming protein. They're maximizing all those opportunities for muscle-protein synthesis. And I think that's a huge reason why they had such great results in terms of lowering fat mass and increasing the lean mass and that it just was way more effective than in the calorically restricted group.
Melanie Avalon: In the fasting protein people, the non-CR people on their eating days, on the days when they weren't "fasting," which maybe we can circle back to that. Were those days calorie-restricted with protein or not?
Vanessa Spina: Both groups I know they were trying to equate calories between the two, but it's really interesting. I have the exact menus from the study that I was looking at because I was trying to figure out exactly what they were doing. But the men were eating 1800 calories a day in the intermittent fasting protein group and the women were eating 1450. They were all at a caloric deficit. But the calorically restricted group was doing 1500 calories for the men and 1200 calories for the women. Like much more caloric restriction, you would expect that they would have lost more weight, but they lost or if anything, that they would have been at least equal. But in the intermittent fasting protein group, they were eating a breakfast, a lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, a dinner, and an evening snack, and all of them were high-protein meals. And so, it's amazing to me that the calorically restricted group was like 300 calories lower for the men and 250 calories lower for the women. And yet the intermittent fasting protein group got better results.
That's initially what launched intermittent fasting was some of the studies that came out with, like, Mark Mattson and Krista Verity, who were showing that the intermittent fasting groups were getting better results eating more than the caloric-restricted group. So, all the fanfare around these studies showing that intermittent fasting and caloric restriction can be as effective for weight loss. They don't really say much, I think because we know that you can get even better results. I'm so excited to actually talk to the primary researcher and that's going to be an amazing episode.
Melanie Avalon: If you added up the entire week and accounted for these "fasting days," that's where they were trying to make the calories sort almost equal, right. Like, if you added up every day, but wasn't the CR group was still slightly less, I think?
Vanessa Spina: I think it was still slightly less, but I know that the goal was to have them be the same.
Melanie Avalon: Basically, it was comparing calorie restriction to calorie restriction, but a high-protein version. And then they were also comparing this fasting, but it was really more like a fasting-mimicking diet or like a protein-sparing modified fast.
Vanessa Spina: Yes. In the calorically restricted group, they were doing like, the heart-healthy approach to diet. And I think the protein was between 5% up to 15% and the protein pacing group was closer to 25%.
Melanie Avalon: Got you. Okay. Yes. I can't wait to have him on. So, how do you feel about-- Do you call that fasting if they're eating the 400?
Vanessa Spina: Not really.
Vanessa Spina: I was actually a bit let down when I saw that there were menus, because I was like, why is there a menu for a fasting day? Intermittent fasting was really defined for me by Mark Mattson. He talks about it all the time is like it's a pattern of eating, it's not a diet. It's a way that you structure your eating window and your non-eating window throughout the day. And that non-eating window is non-eating. So, I was surprised. But we don't know some people may have consumed it all in one go, like when they were given their menu, they may have had it all and then fasted the rest of the time. I would have preferred it.
I think it would have been like you were saying, to have a third arm where that fasting time was actually just complete digestive rest, complete fasted state because every time you consume food, you go back into the fed state for 4 to 5 hours, depending on the size of the meal of course, but if you're constantly eating during that fasted window, then it's not really fasted. And then we know there're exceptions, right, with certain beverages that are not sweetened or that kind of thing. But yeah, I was a bit disappointed.
Melanie Avalon: I was too. I was like, womp, womp.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Exactly.
Melanie Avalon: I guess I wish as well-- It's a great study. I wish the title because the title Is calling it intermittent fasting and I think that's where we run into just in general, all of this confusion with understanding what's happening and what we can draw from it. It's one phrase, intermittent fasting, that we use to describe so many different things. So, this example here of what they're describing it for is not even remotely similar to somebody doing one-meal-a-day approach where they're not eating all day and then eating like 2000 calories, completely different thing or like a 16:8 window.
So, yes, but regardless and regardless, there's definitely a lot to learn from it though. I think, like you said, just to bring it home, I think it really shows the importance of diet quality and the role of protein, especially the takeaway-- I would take away from it wouldn't even be so much about intermittent fasting, it would be when you're using calorie restriction to lose weight, go high protein. That's my takeaway.
Vanessa Spina: Yes. If you want to improve your body composition and be losing fat mass and gaining lean mass, you really want to optimize your macros.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, yes. So, okay, we'll put links to that in the show notes. Hopefully, we'll be back soon with Paul. I'm excited to hear his microbiome stuff. Do you know what he's talking about? Have you read that other--
Vanessa Spina: I don't. And when you said that, I got even more excited to have him on to talk about it because I'm sure our listeners also would love to hear more about that too.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I'm going to email him ASAP. All right, shall we get into some questions for today?
Vanessa Spina: Yes, I would love to.
Melanie Avalon: So, to start things off, we have a question from Nikki and this was specifically submitted for Vanessa. Oh, so, announcement, before that. We're still running our incentive. If you would like to help welcome Vanessa to the podcast, you can go to Apple Podcasts and if you already wrote a review, you can update it for this show. Or if you have never written a review, you can write a review. So, it's super easy to do. And just write a review and include somewhere in the review what you're excited to experience with Vanessa as the new co-host or what you're already loving about it with her. Send us a screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will enter you into a giveaway to win over $500 worth of products from BeautyCounter. I am not making that up. And you guys know that I love BeautyCounter's safe skincare and makeup free of toxins and endocrine disruptors, which can actually have a very obesogenic effect on the body. That's a whole tangent.
Actually. I recently had on Ben Azadi on my show, and we talked all about-- though think the number one cause of resistant weight loss isn't diet, isn't exercise. He thinks it's actually the build-up of these toxins in our bodies because they can cause weight loss resistance. They can literally act as obesogens where they cause cells to be in a more fat-storage mode and recruit inflammatory cytokines. And when people actually lose weight, it can have this negative detox effect where people release these endocrine disruptors. All that to say, I'm on a tangent, but our skincare makeup is actually one of our largest sources of those compounds every day. So, that's why I love BeautyCounter because they were founded on a mission to make products which are free of endocrine disruptors. Like, that is their mission. So, you can win over $500 worth of products if you go to Apple Podcasts, update your review or write a new review, say something about Vanessa, send us a screenshot, and we will enter you. Okay, all of that to say we have a question from Nikki and the subject is fasted exercise.
And Nikki says "Hi. Melanie and Vanessa. Welcome to the podcast Vanessa. Melanie asked us to send in questions for you." I did. She says, "So I'm so excited to get your thoughts on fasted exercise. You've talked about its benefits quite a bit in the Optimal Protein Podcast, but I'd like to break down the different types of exercise more because your answer may change my fasting days. My current protocol is 2 to 3 24-hour fasts per week with high-protein distinct meals on the other days, no snacking or grazing based off of the fasting method protocol. For my workouts, I strength train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with a personal trainer and lift pretty heavy two of those days. If there's time, I might do a very short, less than 10 minutes HIIT session afterwards." Side note "Do you call it HIIT or do you call it HIIT?"
Vanessa Spina: A HIIT.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. I never like, no. It's been like a decade of talking about it, and I never know what to say. "On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do a combination of walking, easy runs, and hot yoga. My goal is body recomposition. While I'm really happy with my muscle growth, I want to lose some remaining body fat based solely off of the types of workouts I'm doing and assuming I want my longer fasting days to be on weekdays only for family reasons, which days make for the best fasting days?" PS, "I forgot to mention I normally break a 24-hour fast at dinner with a high-protein meal. Also, I normally strength train in the afternoons. So, I'd definitely be deep in the fasted state if I did that on my longer fasting days. Best, Nikki." This actually flows in really well with the study were talking about the importance of protein. So, what are your thoughts on this Vanessa?
Vanessa Spina: This is such a great question, Nikki, thank you so much for listening to both of our podcasts. It's so nice to hear from you. I am really happy that you have been learning about the importance of fasted workouts and the main sort of benefit of fasted workouts that I talk about a lot on the podcast is the mitochondrial biogenesis because there is research showing that if you are doing fasted workouts, you will get more mitochondrial biogenesis or the genesis of new mitochondria which will help you to have better functioning mitochondria, a greater number of them and it really helps optimize overall wellness. I would say it depends on which of the two goals you're optimizing for, and I think the one that you're optimizing more for right now because we're always switching up our goals is to lose some body fat, and little bit of conditioning there, lose some fat mass.
And so, if that is the main goal, then I would say what stands out to me is that-- you could definitely switch it up either way because you mentioned at the very end that you do break your 24-hour fast with a high-protein meal. But if you want to optimize for building the muscle and losing the fat, I think the way to do it would be to do your workout days on your eating days because you'll maximize the muscle-protein synthesis if you're having more than just fasting in one protein meal. It depends on how experienced you are when it comes to resistance training, because if you're more so in your first like five years of training, your window for building muscle is like 24 to 48 hours, that anabolic window after you work out. So, you can have protein anywhere in that 24 to 48 hours as long as it's enough to raise the leucine level in your blood, enough to trigger muscle-protein synthesis, which is usually like 2 to 3 grams.
I would say that you probably could do either because you are doing a high-protein meal. Personally, if it were me, I would strength train on, like you said, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and make those eating days and then do those fasts on the other days when you are doing more so walking, easy runs, and some yoga. And I think that's what I would do because you're going to optimize body composition better, you're going to build more lean mass and that's going to also help lower body fat percentage.
I think that some people get more power and output when they do fasted workouts. So, that may be something to look at for yourself. Like, how do you feel when you're working out fasted versus not? But you can still get the benefits of mitochondrial biogenesis if you do your workout, say in the morning or a time when you haven't had a ton of food, you could still get that. Also, if you're doing a higher protein approach that's lower carb or you're eating more so like a protein and fat meal for breakfast, there's research showing that you can get about two-thirds as much mitochondrial biogenesis than if you were just doing that workout fasted. That would be my take on it. What about you?
Melanie Avalon: I felt the same way. Might as well, especially-- Well, this is going to be backtracking because we get so many questions about people worried about muscle loss with exercise, especially with muscle-building exercise, and strength training, and fasting. We've done a lot of discussions for years on this show about how you can maintain muscle with intermittent fasting. It can actually be supportive if you do it correctly. I don't want to undo all of that by saying, yes, have it on the muscle days to support muscle growth. I do think that you'll probably get the maximum bang for your buck with all of that because like Vanessa said, you're really creating all the signals for muscle growth on those days that you're doing the strength training and really supporting that with the protein.
We know that something like walking and easy runs, yoga, those are perfect, steady, low, consistent cardio-type states to be fueled by fat burning. So, those I think pair really, really well with fasting and are a great way to gently lose that fat that she's trying to target without sending overly stressed signals to the body.
Vanessa Spina: Yes, I concur.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome, awesome.
Vanessa Spina: You'll have to let us know what you end up doing and report back Nikki?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I also like what you said about how we're all individuals and people really do have to find what works for them. I'm curious what type of exercise-- are you like an exerciser person, Vanessa?
Vanessa Spina: Yes. I'm really passionate about resistance training, and if I can't do any other exercise in the week, I at least get that done. So, I prioritize it above other forms of exercise, like HIIT for example. I try to get three to four sessions a week and it's usually about a 40-minute workout. I do it at home and I have free weights at home and I really enjoy it. I think it's so important for improving body composition and putting all that protein to work, building more muscle. I'm really interested in trying out some of the newer technologies for building muscle. I know we've talked a little bit about what you do with the EmSculpt, but I also heard Dave talking about some other technologies on your podcast, so I want to try all of these out.
Melanie Avalon: Did I tell you they're sending me the CAROL Bike?
Vanessa Spina: I heard you say it on the interview. So, that sounds really interesting.
Melanie Avalon: It's supposed to come Thursday, so it's supposed to come two days from now. So, apparently, friends, we'll see when it gets here. Apparently, it's an exercise bike, so backtracking again. I mentioned HIIT, which is high-intensity interval training which for people who are not familiar, it's something that Dave talks all about in his book. But it's basically going all out max effort for a very short amount of time. So, you're basically pushing your body to the edge like the hardest that you can go. And it's sending all of these signals and then you stop and you rest, and then you do it again. You rinse and repeat. And there are different protocols for it. The benefit of it is that it's a very short workout overall. Probably most HIIT sessions what range from 10 to 20 minutes depending on the format that you're doing it in. But you actually get the benefit of both fat-burning and carb-burning compared to just one or the other.
And then the afterburn effect is very extended. So, studies have shown that you continue to burn fat for quite a while after that workout. So, apparently, the new version is REHIT which I'm still a little bit unclear on. I have to reread his book. Now, there's this advancement with technology where they can use AI to evaluate your heart rate and everything like that and adjust the machine, you're using to give you the maximum bang for your buck. So, apparently, this CAROL Bike that I am receiving, you wear a heart rate monitor. I don't know if it has other biometric data that it takes from you, but I think the bike actually adjusts to be harder or easier to do. So, you get the ultimate workout in the shortest amount of time possible.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I can't wait to hear how it goes when you try it.
Melanie Avalon: I know, me too. I just don't know where I'm going to put it. I'm like looking around my apartment. Yeah. So, I'll keep listeners attuned of that. You know what? I don't have the discount code for them yet, but I probably will. It will probably be MELANIEAVALON. So, I'll make a link for it at melanievalon.com/carolbike. And I'm just guessing the coupon code is MELANIEAVALON but I will let you guys know if that changes. [laughs] So, yes, but it's really exciting though to see the future, like you said, of technology with all of this. Yeah, I also have a mirror. Are you familiar with those?
Vanessa Spina: Yes, I've seen them. I've seen them. It's like a standing mirror where you can do workouts and stuff.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, like with other people and everything.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. That's so futuristic. I love it.
Melanie Avalon: I need to get in the habit of using it. Like it's there. I forget that it's there.
Vanessa Spina: I'm sure you have stockpiles of biohacking equipment and things. I'm looking over at my desk and I have so many things that are waiting to be tested out that I'm just like-- and people are like, "Are you going to test it out soon?" I'm like, "Maybe if I can." [laughs]. Yeah. There's just so many things, so many amazing products, technologies. I just love things that make us more efficient, can leverage our time more. So, I think it all sounds really awesome if you can get more done in less time. I'm really, really interested about specifically building muscle with some kind of stimulation because I've heard now from a few people about, specifically the EMS, the electromagnetic stimulation of the muscle. For years before I heard that it was completely worthless. Now I'm hearing a lot of people are getting a ton of results from it. So, I really want to try it out.
Melanie Avalon: So, interestingly. Have you interviewed Terry Wahls?
Vanessa Spina: No, but I know her.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, you know her personally?
Vanessa Spina: Like, I know of her.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, know of her, I'm sorry. I had her on a while ago for The Wahls Protocol. She's actually going on a lot more shows now because she is publishing a new study. So, if you'd like to have her on her show, I know she's like wanting to go on. She randomly came back to me and was like, can I come back on for this study? Interestingly, she talks in her book and we talked on the show about using that E Stim for muscle recovery in people with MS. It's profound, the effects it has on their metabolic health, actually because they're not able to really maintain and create muscle easily. And so, this is a way that they can. We talked about how they are testing using it for astronauts in space because normally astronauts lose muscle due to lack of gravity. So, it's pretty cool.
Vanessa Spina: This episode is brought to you in part by AG1. Some of our listeners have really had wonderful experiences with AG1 and we wanted to highlight some of them on the show. Anna says I like the fact that I can stop ordering a bunch of supplements and have an all-in-one drink plus it has pro and prebiotics plus adaptogens, plus my husband is drinking it too, which makes me happy. I love getting to highlight some of our listener's own experiences using Athletic Greens. If you would like to take ownership of your health, today is a good time to start. Athletic Greens is giving you a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs. With your first purchase, go to athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast that's athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast and check it out.
Melanie Avalon: We have one more question before we go and this question comes from Amy. This was actually from our Facebook group. She says, "Can you use the Joovv, which is red light therapy for 10 minutes all over your body or only 10 minutes a day on a part of your body?" I will say we've mentioned this before in prior podcasts, but we obviously adore Joovv on this show. And Vanessa also has her own red light therapy line, which is so cool. Tone Lux, she's an expert in the red light therapy world. So, Vanessa, red light therapy, 10 minutes all over your body or only 10 minutes one part? And is it only 10 minutes? That's my additional question.
Vanessa Spina: Yes. It's such a great question, Amy, thank you for submitting it. When it comes to using red light therapy panels, you really need to know the power output of the panel. There's something known as irradiance, which is the power density measured in milliwatts per square centimeter, and it's going to tell you how many joules are actually delivered to your tissues, and the joules make up to the dose for what your specific objective is. As many of you know which I think the reason you're asking this is because you're familiar with the fact that there is a bell-shaped curve when it comes to red light therapy. If you don't do enough, you won't see results. If you do too much, there's something known as the biphasic dose response where you don't get results either. You really want to be in that sweet spot. And that sweet spot is determined by the power of the panels and the time and the distance you are away from the panels.
With my panels, for example, I have very specific dosing guidelines in the manuals for different things. Like, if it's something more topical, then typically red-light wavelengths are better for that, as opposed to infrared, which go more deeply into the skin. As sort of a general practice that I've received from real experts like Ari Whitten, who wrote a book on red light therapy, he tends to say 10 to 20 minutes around six inches away is like a good guideline, but I always like to preface it with, you want to build up to that. If you're brand new to it, you could start with one to three minutes. You can do skin sensitivity tests before that, but then do 1 to 3 minutes and sort of build-up. I've been doing it for a couple of years and I don't do more than 20 minutes, so I alternate the different things that I'm doing.
Just like with resistance training or workouts, I have my leg day and I have my face and abdomen day. I have the day that I focus on the muscles that I'm conditioning my body for, so I don't do more than 20 minutes in total. You'd be amazed at how effective though the panels can be in small increments. So, for example, for your face, if you want to use it for boosting collagen and elastin factors, it's stimulating the epigenetic signaling that is going to boost those factors in your face. If you're using it on your face, you can use it for as little as four minutes on your face if you don't have any makeup or anything on your skin. And because you're using red light, which just goes on the surface and you're pretty close to it like six inches away, you only need like four minutes.
So, you can actually do a lot of different parts of your body depending on what you're wanting to treat it for within that 20 minutes. But I wouldn't go above that. Some people do it for different amounts for longer. Again, it really goes back to the irradiance or the power density of the panel that you're using because you can also not see results because you're using a panel that's not powerful enough. You want to make sure to be using panels that are very powerful as well.
Melanie Avalon: I learned so much. That was very helpful. So, a question for you. I have my device. Well, I have a few devices. I have a Joovv panel on my desk and I'm just so bad at gauging distance. It's about like I literally need a ruler. Like I can't gauge distance. It's probably 2ft away and I have it on like when I'm working at my computer, I just have it on because the light makes me happy. So, do you think that's an issue? Like it's on me.
Vanessa Spina: Personally, if I'm using it for ambient light, I don't shine it at me, I shine it at a wall, and that then reflects around the room. I like to use it at night for that. In the morning I actually turn it on when I get in the shower and then I'll shine it in my direction. I'm like 5 or 6ft away from it at least. If you are shining it directly on your body, I also turn down the intensity. I usually put it on like 25% or 50% of the total power in ambient mode. I wouldn't recommend having it shining in your direction for more than 20 minutes even if you're far away, because you could potentially activate the biphasic dose response and not get the results you could potentially see because of too much. But it's really hard to say, like I said, it depends on the power. But I know it's a nice feeling and it's a nice balance out from all the blue light to have it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's why I do it. It feels like you just said, like balances. How eloquent can I be in what I just said? [laughs]
Vanessa Spina: Yes. The sign of a powerful panel is that when you're using it about six inches away, it should feel like a day at the beach, you know what I mean, like that feeling.
Melanie Avalon: That's such a good little practical that's going to stick with me. That's great.
Vanessa Spina: Like a day at the beach.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, well, now I'm just thinking how I've literally, how many years have I been sitting here with this panel on me? Half a decade.
Vanessa Spina: I'm sure it was only doing good things. There's cell free mitochondria. Your mitochondria are probably doing amazing, but we just still don't know what exactly can trigger that biphasic dose response. That's why people just always say to play it safe because humans have a tendency to do if something is good, more is always better, but it isn't with red light.
Melanie Avalon: Well, how can listeners get your device?
Vanessa Spina: Wow, thank you for that. If you go to ketogenicgirl.com, I have the three Tone Lux panels there. I have the half-body panel, which is the Sapphire, and I have the Diamond, which is the face panel, but you can use it anywhere else on your body. And the Gem, which is the portable one, that is great because you can take it with you when you travel, but you can also put it quite close to your skin because it doesn't have the nonnative EMFs because it's not plugged in.
Melanie Avalon: I love those travel units. They're game changers for when you're traveling. I'm also thinking about now, how about the Joovv that I have is always on my left side. It's been five years of it, like, one side in my body. Okay, it's fine. Wait, I do have one last question, and then we'll go. I promise listeners. So, you know what's really interesting being in this biohacking sphere and all the men I talk to. This actually comes up a lot with men I talk to in this world.
Vanessa Spina: It's the number one question they have. Right.
Melanie Avalon: I can't tell you how many-- and this might sound crazy that this has come up like platonically, but it does. How many of them talked to me about using it on their manhood?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I know. It's the number one question. I did an interview last week with someone and we're talking about red light, and he's like, "So I've heard that it boosts testosterone if you shine it on your undercarriage." I'm like, "Yep, they all want to know." I think it's mostly because of Ben Greenfield, because I think he was, like, doing that a lot, and talking a lot about it a few years ago on his podcast. It's kind of, like, filtered through the ether to lots of men. But it scares me because you have to be careful because it's such a sensitive area there. The worst thing for men, like, the whole reason that men's gonads are on the outside of their body.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I'm about to learn something. I'm about to learn something. Okay, wait.
Vanessa Spina: The whole reason that theirs are outside instead of ours are inside, our ovaries are inside is so that they can stay cooler. Because it's so important for that area to not get overheated because it could damage sperm. That's why baths are really bad for men's fertility. Imagine you're shining like a laser there. You have to be really careful and make sure that it's like one to three minutes and you're keeping it at least like a foot away. I think people could do-- there're no negative side effects really to red light that have been reported, but I don't think it would be good to heat that because especially with infrared, you could really heat the area. But there're so many studies about it improving men's fertility as well as women's fertility. There're some really amazing studies on that. So, it definitely can boost testosterone levels. It can boost fertility it can boost motility of sperm and function. But. Yeah, you have to be really careful.
Melanie Avalon: Wow, that's so interesting. Yeah. So, when it comes up, like I said, in conversations with male friends in the sphere, I mean, most of those conversations have been about them actively doing it. So, again, it's funny that that would come up. But like, in the biohacking world, you talk about this stuff all the time. It's like not, I'm not flirting with them.
Vanessa Spina: No and I knew exactly what you were going to say before you said it.
Melanie Avalon: Oh man, it's so funny. Do you know, is sauna bad for male fertility, then?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I think it depends on the kind and how long you spend in it. But, I mean, there's a reason why men are less tolerant to heat. There're lots of different reasons, but I think that's part of it. But I know baths are not recommended if you're trying to conceive or anything like that.
Melanie Avalon: Wow, fun times on the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. So, speaking of listeners, thank you so much for hanging out with us today. If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, please do so. Just directly email email@example.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. These show notes will have a full transcript as well as links to everything that we talked about and we talked about a lot of stuff. So, those show notes will be at ifpodcast.com/episode318.
And again, just a brief reminder. Come hang out with me at the Bulletproof Conference in Orlando, June 22. Use the code MA40 to get 40% off. Also enter to win $500 worth of BeautyCounter by updating or writing a new Apple Podcast review and talking about Vanessa in the review and sending that to firstname.lastname@example.org. And then you can follow us and-- you can also check out Vanessa's other show, the Optimal Protein Podcast, and mine, the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. You can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. I think that's all the things. Anything from you before we go?
Vanessa Spina: Oh, I just loved all the questions and all the different topics that we got to cover in this episode and I already can't wait to record the next one.
Melanie Avalon: Me too. I'm so excited to record with Paul.
Vanessa Spina: Yes, that's going to be mind-blowing I'm sure.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. Awesome. Well, I will talk to you next week.
Vanessa Spina: All right. Sounds great melanie.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice and no patient-doctor relationship is formed. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing your review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team. Administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and recomposed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]
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
Vanessa's Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight
The Tone Device Breath Ketone Analyzer
The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Vanessa: ketogenicgirl.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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