Podcast #63 from http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2009/10/podcast-
Introduction: In this podcast episode: what you don’t know about bone
density, recommendations on food combining, healthy
saturated fats, whether you burn more calories in hot
weather, off-season training tips, how to become a better
Ben answers: Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and if the audio
sounds a little funky today I’m actually recording this
podcast on a tiny little handheld digital recorder from a
small bedroom in my condo in Kona, Hawaii where I am
staying for the week to watch the 2009 Ironman World
Championships. I know that some of you have been staying
updated on my video coverage. I’m actually doing media
coverage for a website called www.everymantri.com. So if
you surf over to www.everymantri.com, you’ll be able to see
some of what’s going on down here in Kona and we’re trying
to keep the videos as entertaining as possible. Anyways,
today’s podcast – we’ve got a lot of good listener questions.
We’ve got a fantastic interview with Dr. Carolyn DeMarco
who has some outside the box concepts to talk about when it
comes to bone density in females. We’ve got a few special
topics go over and it’s going to be a good podcast. Hopefully
you can bear with me on the audio here and let’s go ahead
and just dive right in.
Remember if you have a question, just email
email@example.com. Or you can call toll free to
8772099439. Or Skype me at pacificfit.
Christine asks: Hi Ben, I just tried a hot yoga class and a friend of mine
mentioned that you can burn up to 1000 kilocalories per 90
minute session. This seemed to be on the high side and I got
real curious about it. A quick Google gave me an estimate of
300-1000 calories per hour. I understand that my heart rate
goes up and my heart works harder to keep cool, but does my
system really work that much harder to burn so many
calories? I did an experiment after my workout at the gym
and got into the sauna. After about 5 minutes my heart rate
was 85 beats per minute and after about 10 minutes it was
close to 100bpm. I plugged in two numbers into a calculator
I found online at www.triathlontrainingblog.com. The first
was my resting heart rate in a hot environment of 100bpm
and the second was an estimate of my max HR doing hot
yoga, which was about 160bpm. The calculator told me I was
burning 361 at 100 beats a minute and 942 calories at 160
beats per minute. I don’t know my VO2 max that the
calculator asked for so just used the suggested number of 35.
I don’t know the math behind the calculator, but was
wondering if this is an accurate way of estimating calories
burned in warm or hot environments or if you know of a
better way. I often see weight trainers at the gym all bundled
up in sweats and wondered if this is really a good way of
burning more energy and if I too should bundle up and hit
the hot yoga class or sauna more often.
Ben answers: Wow, that’s a really good question. And the short answer is
that you do burn fewer calories when you exercise in cold
weather versus exercising in hot weather and the reason for
that is the hotter it is, the more work your heart has to do to
keep you from overheating. You’ve got all this blood in your
body and blood is how your body can keep itself cool by
putting more blood out to the extremities and the harder you
exercise, the hotter your muscles get so your heart has to
pump extra blood to get oxygen to the muscles but it also has
to pump all the hot blood from the heated muscles to your
skin or the heat gets dissipated where your body can actually
cool. So, it doesn’t have to do that quite so much when the
temperatures drop a little bit. So yeah, your heart rate is
going to go up in cold weather and kind of on top of that as
you lose fluid volume and you sweat fluid volume and your
blood becomes thicker and your heart has to beat even faster
then as well. Now, is it healthy to get your heart rate up with
simply making things hotter rather than say exercising more,
moving the muscles more, exercising at a more intense level?
It’s probably not. You’re not going to get the same type of
what’s called a protein fiber activation. You’re not going to
get the same bump up in your post-exercise metabolic rate.
You’re not going to get all the advantages that you would get
if you were to get your heart rate high through exercises
rather than through heat. But assuming that you are
exercising, exercising in a hot environment does burn more
calories than exercising in a cool environment and even
though there are more risks when you exercise in a hot
environment, yeah hot yoga is going to burn more calories
than room temp yoga. A hot spinning class is going to burn
more calories than hot yoga and so on and so forth. Now as
far as the best way to measure the calories, yeah, unless you
have access to be able to wear a mask the whole time you’re
working out to measure your oxygen expired and carbon
dioxide produced, heart rate is going to be pretty much the
closest estimation that you’re going to get, whether by using
a heart rate monitor or by using for example this calculator
that you mentioned. And I’ll put a link to that calculator in
the Shownotes. The calculator is essentially the same type of
equation that’s going to be built into your heart rate monitor.
So heart rate monitor just saves you the step of having to go
onto your computer after your workout. But that’s a really
great question. And I hope that answers it. So thank you
Christine. The next question comes from Listener Chuck.
Chuck Asks: I had a question on choosing real butter vs. trans-fat free
margarine products so I went back and listened to podcast
number 12 where you talked about butter and saturated
fats. As you discussed, I’ve read a lot lately about the a
moderate amount of saturated fats from butter and other
products being healthy for the body. With regards to this, are
all saturated fats equal? Would the saturated fat in butter be
the same as that in bacon and the same as that in say a 96%
lean ground beef? Obviously, the overall consideration here
is the amount of total fat in each product when it comes to
making decisions about which to eat. But in terms of the
saturated fats in these various foods, are they all equally
Ben answers: So before we talk about the actual healthiness of the fats
themselves, what Chuck is referring to when he’s talking
about saturated fats not necessarily being as dangerous as we
all used to think they were, the basic idea is that even though
the consumption of animal fats and cholesterol in the
American diet has decreased significantly, there really hasn’t
been a decrease in heart disease in America. At the same
time we have been increasing the consumption of things like
vegetable oils, processed fats, shortening and baked goods,
refined oils, and all sorts of things that cause that free radical
formation in the body that really causes a lot more
cardiovascular damage than just saturated fat consumption
or cholesterol. Now the problem with saturated fats is they’re
really calorically dense. You got to be careful with them, but
they do contain a lot of things that are good for your body.
They can help out with building your cell walls, your bones,
your skeletal structure. They can help with your immune
system, your fatty acid utilization. So the cholesterol that you
take in with those saturated fatty acids, again, it contributes
to your cell membranes, your hormone productions. So for
hormones like testosterone or estrogen, your body’s vitamin
D production which you know if you’ve been listening to this
podcast is really important. A proper digestive function,
proper antioxidant formation. Cholesterol even has an anti-
inflammatory effect when it comes from a healthy natural fat
source versus the type of cholesterol you would get from a
baked good. So yeah, saturated fat in moderation is fine for
you. It’s good for you and you have to have a little bit in your
diet. As a matter of fact, one of the t-shirts that we had made
for the www.bengreenfieldfitness.com show – you get a t-
shirt when you donate to the show. There’s a little button
there on the right hand side. The back of that t-shirt says
“My personal trainer told me to eat more fat.” And it’s all
based off that information that I gave you in podcast number
12. So saturated fat sources from say like bacon, yeah that’s
going to be different than some other saturated fat sources
because you are probably going to get some added
preservatives, some added sodium in something like bacon.
And a lot of meats as well. I try to choose the vegetable based
fats as much as possible. With the meats you try to choose as
organic and unadulterated as possible. So these are going to
be the best type of fats for you to start off with, the best
sources of saturated fats or cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil,
coconut oil which you can get… it’s kind of solid at room
temperature but you can use it for cooking. It’s very heat
stable for cooking. You can also put it by the spoonful on like
a smoothie. Flax seed oil, butter is good in small amounts
especially for cooking versus a heat unstable oil. Grass fed
beef, organic beef, bison – also very lean. Good source of
saturated fat. Buffalo, walnuts and almonds as well are going
to have some in there. So those would be your top picks for
saturated fats, Chuck. And I hope that helps. So the next
question is from Listener Todd.
Todd asks: Ben, I listened to this Podcast number 53 and number 62,
and have to say I was blown away. I had no idea that the
typical non-pro athlete had access to this level of nutritional
analysis. Thanks for being the guinea pig, and sharing your
results. My question is that if you had to choose between
Performance Testing like a VO2 max test or this type of
testing from Bioletics, which one would provide more or
better insight to your optimal performance? I think I already
know the answer, but was curious to hear your take on this.
Ben answers: Great question Todd. Here’s the deal. The performance
testing, like the VO2 max testing or the blood lactate testing
– it’s going to give you numbers that you can generate heart
rate training zones from. And those numbers can be very
good to guide your training. However, you can approximate
the results of those tests by doing what are called field tests.
So for example, rather than going to a lab, exercising for a
half hour on a treadmill and getting very precise blood
measurements from your fingertips that tell you exactly
when your blood lactate levels peak, you could go run 30
minutes, breathing hard, legs burning, sustainable pace, not
all out but pretty close to it. Observe your heart rate. Your
average heart rate during that time, and it’s a decent
approximation of your lactate threshold. So you can ballpark
it and you can get pretty close. You can’t ball park your
vitamin D levels or your testosterone levels or your essential
amino acids or your magnesium or your metabolic type or
any of those types of things that we found out through
Bioletics. So if I had to choose I would actually choose the
internal performance factor testing that I got at Bioletics
rather than the performance testing which I could stimulate
in the field if I absolutely had to. Obviously best of both
worlds would be to do both but sometimes what’s ideal is not
necessarily practical. So good question. Next up, Listener
Rob asks: Have you ever come up with what type of foods to eat with
each other? We usually only eat beef once a week and when
we do eat it it’s with vegetables, but I wanted to know if you
have ever put a plan like that together.
Ben answers: Two different directions I could take this question, Rob. The
first would be taking it in the direction of food combining
and a food combining diet means that essentially it’s built
upon the fact that carbohydrates take carbohydrate enzymes
to digest. Proteins take protein enzymes to digest. So if you
consume the two at the same time, you might get incomplete
digestion as the enzymes fight for space basically. Not a ton
of evidence that a food combining diet is highly effective. But
there’s all sorts of rules. Like don’t combine proteins with
starchy carbohydrates. Only drink milk by itself. Don’t drink
water during the time that you’re eating. Don’t add fats to
proteins, like a fatty sauce to a fish or chicken or creamy
sauce. Don’t consume starch foods and sugar foods together,
like a jam on toast or honey on oatmeal and then make sure
that your foods are protein only or carbohydrate only in
terms of the actual meal so your meal would only be fish with
asparagus or a sweet potato with asparagus. I’m not huge on
the food combining diet. I wrote an article on it once a while
back and I know a lot of people think I’m a proponent of it
based on the article, I’m not a proponent of it necessarily. I
have found that with some people who have stomach upset
or gastrointestinal problems, it can help a little bit to make
the meals more simple so to speak, less complex. But more
importantly than that is the other way that you could
combine foods and that would be combining foods that
aren’t necessarily a complete protein to form a complete
protein. Because if you’re not going to eat meat – and I don’t
necessarily encourage you to eat meat for every meal. It’s
good to learn how to survive on vegetable protein if you have
to, you combine foods to form whole protein. Some examples
of that. You could take in a whole grain cereal. You could
consume it with a dairy source like milk and that would give
you a complete protein. You could take a whole grain pasta.
You could consume it with cheese and that would give you a
complete protein. Rice, again you can combine rice with milk
and that will give you a complete protein. Wheat and peanuts
would give you a complete protein. So like a whole grain
peanut butter sandwich even though I’m a bigger fan of the
almonds than I am the peanuts. Beans and wheat or rice and
beans. Either of those would give you a complete protein.
Peas and rye interestingly are a complete protein. Beans and
corn, pretty popular Mexican kind of diet – that also is a
complete protein. And then soy beans combined with nuts –
kind of a less popular combination but you can do a soy bean
and combine that with almonds. That will also give you a
complete protein. So that is really the only type of food
combining I would say that I really think makes a lot of sense
and it can ensure that you don’t have to eat meat all the time.
You can combine vegetable and wheat and nut sources and
still get a pretty decent complete amino acid. So great
question. The next question comes from Listener Jason.
Jason asks: Ben, this is Jason here from Dallas, Texas again. I was just
wondering if you maybe had some advice for me. I’m looking
towards the end of the triathlon season now and going into
my first winter basically. What sort of training am I going to
be looking for and just basically should I do more, should I
work out more in the gym? Should I get off my bike and take
a break for a couple of months or what is your best
Ben answers: So Jason, it’s a pretty loaded question but I want to mention
that I did receive a related question about the Triathlon
Dominator package and I had listener Cindy ask…
Cindy asks: If I plan use the Triathlon Dominator Package to do an
Ironman in November 2010 – what should I be doing during
the months of November 2009, December 2009, and
January 2010? I’m also interested in post-Ironman.
Ben answers: So Cindy and Jason. I understand you ask that question
because the Triathlon Dominator package is a nine month
training plan and so yeah you do have an extra three months
during the year. The question is what do you do? And the
answer is one option is nothing. Which if you’re incredibly fit
when you finish a triathlon season in October could be an
option, but I don’t recommend it. I sat in a lecture by Paula
Newby Fraser down at the Ironman medical conference last
year and she said they’d finish big Ironman World
Championships and go surf and lift weights for three months.
What do my athletes do? Here’s what most of them do. We
have a foundation phase of weight training where you
actually build strength, then you add a few pounds of lean
muscle by doing full body exercises three to four sets of 10 to
12 reps trying to hit every single body part in the gym three
times a week. So you’re building that injury free foundation.
On the bike, what we work on are high cadence so lots of
super fast spins of 30 to 60 seconds in duration that take the
cyclist to 100 or 110 beats per minute. We do a lot of drills
with cycling. Single leg drills and spins like around town
where you have to change direction quickly, accelerate,
decelerate at a high cadence. That’s for the summer…
summer type athletes or athletes who are in hot climates. For
the winter athletes we’re doing a lot of those high cadence
efforts on an indoor trainer. Cycling, we also do force
workouts where we’re doing very slow kind of grinding hill
climbs at a low cadence. About 50 to 60 RPM so we’ll
combine slow cadence, force building efforts with the high
cadence neuromuscular type of efforts and those form the
foundation of the offseason in cycling. For swimming, what
we focus on again is force. So a lot of work with the paddles,
the pull buoys with kickboards. Sometimes with resistance
bands again building strength in the water and then tons of
drills. So, it’s the skills, drills and force – similar to what we
work on on the bike. On the run, again lots of drills. I also
encourage athletes who have other hobbies like tennis or
basketball or soccer to take those up in the offseason as an
alternative to running. Most of the athletes that I work with
only have one structured run in the offseason. By structured
run I mean a run where it’s like ok, you’re going to go out
and you’re going to do a 90 minute trail run. The other runs I
give them the option – they can go play pickup basketball,
they can go join an ultimate Frisbee league. But one of the
things that I do include in the running program especially for
the people who are weaker runners are running drills. Heel
to butt kick drills. Track drills. There are some great track
drills that are called As, Bs, and Cs. I have my athletes do
those. We’ll do high knee kicks, some aqua jogging, some
work on keeping the center of gravity forward, some
treadmill work to work on keeping the cadence up. So again
most of the running is slightly non-structured but still
focused on again, the skills, the drills and the force. And then
just kind of escaping some of the mental repetitiveness of
going out and doing a structured run per se three times a
week. So that’s the basics of the offseason. Now as far as
post-Ironman, typically it’s very light movement.
Maintaining blood flow and using lots of recovery methods.
When I say recovery methods, I’m talking about lots of cold
baths, lots of magnesium baths, lots of yoga, lots of massage,
lots of light walks, usually some light swims and that’s
typically for about a week. And for my athletes who really
push hard and are really going very, very hard in Ironman –
usually about two weeks of that type of treatment. And of
course total mental break from training. No requirements for
structure swim, bike and run workouts whatsoever. Because
the mental component is very important. The mental break
is very important to avoid burning out the next season. So
great questions, you guys on Ironman training. And then our
final question is another call in question from Listener Chuck.
Chuck asks: Hey Ben, this is Chuck, one of your loyal listeners and
triathletes. I just wanted to say first off, thanks for answering
all my questions. I really appreciate it. I get a lot out of the
answers and the podcasts. I have a question this week. I was
riding with a guy yesterday and we did about 30 miles at
about 21 miles an hour pace. And he told me that this was a
recovery day for him and when he goes hard, he’ll go at about
25, 26, 27 miles an hour. For 21, I was pushing pretty hard.
And I was wondering what can I do to become a biker at that
level? I mean, I guess just a better biker overall. Is it more
miles or is it the type of workouts I’m doing? I didn’t really
feel like it was a cardiovascular issue as much as my legs
were pushing hard and I felt I was going as hard as I could go.
So any advice you have, I would really appreciate it and
thanks again for answering all my questions. Take care.
Ben answers: Now Chuck if you listen to the answer to the last question on
what to do in the offseason of an Ironman – skills, meaning
high cadence repeats on the bicycle and overspeed repeats,
high RPM efforts, drills, single leg efforts if you have access
to what’s called a spin scan which is a computer you can
hook up to your bike that shows how much wattage you’re
putting into your right and left pedal stroke – how much
efficiency there is in those pedal strokes. Again, very effective.
As well as some of those slow cadence grinding type of hill
repeats. Even though I don’t know your personal limitations
– those are two of the best ways that I know and that I know
a lot of cycling coaches use to get an athlete to become
stronger on the bike. Now, as far as the intensity goes… yeah
anybody, I’m assuming, knows that if you go out and you lay
it on the line and you do intervals, you’re going to get fitter.
But there are finer points than just going out and smashing it
to get fitter. So work some of the drills, work some of the
skills, work some of the force repeats into your program.
Great questions this week. And remember if you have a
question, just email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Call
toll-free to 8772099439. Skype me at pacificfit and I will put
a link to all those ways to contact me right in the Shownotes.
Make sure you access the Shownotes. There’s a lot of cool
stuff and links that I put in there so you don’t have to be
running along listening to this podcast and stopping to write
it down --- wave down a car passing by to borrow a pen.
Anyways, great questions. We’re going to move on to this
week’s featured topic.
Ben: Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and I’m back
with Dr. Carolyn DeMarco and Carolyn is the author of a few
different books really. She’s written a book called The Bone
Building Solution. She’s also written a bestselling book on
women’s health. Fantastic book called Take Charge Of Your
Body and this book is considered one of the gold standards
for women’s health information. And she actually also has
what’s kind of a mini encyclopedia on natural remedies. It’s
called Dr. De Marco answers your questions. And she has
quite a background in both western medicine and natural
medicine – a forerunner in natural childbirth actually and
one of the first people to really promote the pro-active
approach to health care that we’re all becoming a little bit
more aware of here in America. So, Dr. DeMarco… and
Canada I guess as well, you’re up there in Canada right?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yeah that’s right. I actually live in the west but in this
interview I happen to be in Toronto.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Which is in the other side of the country.
Ben: Right. Now tell me a little bit more about your background
where you came to be where you are right now and what
your practice is currently like.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes. Actually right now I’m not practicing. More doing
lecturing and writing. But I also just want to mention, I’m
the co-author of the book The Bone Building Solution
published by Wiley and the other two books, the content is
available on the web at www.drdemarco.com. Those books’
info are available on the web.
Ben: And who did you co-author The Bone Building Solution with?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: The main author was Sam Graci who’s a famous nutritional
researcher and he did a lot of work for the (inaudible)
extension foundation. But I originally… I’m a general
practitioner. When I went into general practice I just found
that people had a lot of complaints and we go through the
standard procedures and refer them to a specialist and they
would be told that it was functional or all in their head so I
started looking at alternatives. Once I saw that, especially for
women’s health, there was a lot of over prescription of drugs
and even birth control pills, things like Depo-Provera which
by the way causes a lot of bone loss. That’s the new birth
control that’s being used for young women. A lot of people
may not be aware of that. But we can get into that. So I
actually became aware that there was a lot of abuse in the
medical system and at first I was just recommending that
people become educated and then I started to realize they
needed alternative recommendations also.
Ben: Okay. And so when you’re talking about things like birth
control pills and some of the effects that modern medicine
has on bone density, in your opinion as a general practitioner
how widespread was the use of the type of medication that
would cause low bone density?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Very widespread right now. Actually osteoporosis begins at
childhood when the bone mass is formed before age 21 and
now we have a group of very sedentary children and
inadequate nutrition, and then you have young women who
are being exposed to the birth control pill which in itself
causes almost up to 4% bone loss over time and that’s in
mainstream journals. Depa-Povera injections which is a new
form of birth control being promoted – it causes 6% bone
loss over two years. It’s very substantial. So you’re having
people who are not going into adulthood with a peak bone
loss. It’s quite a serious problem. And the birth control… a
lot of people don’t realize that. We started doing research
and were kind of appalled.
Ben: I actually didn’t know that. And when you’re talking about
going forward in the rest of your life with low bone density,
what I understand is that the amount of bone density that
you enter into a certain part of years of your life with is what
you’re stuck with, is that correct?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. That’s why we call osteoporosis… we call it a
pediatric disease with geriatric consequences. You’re stuck
with that and there’s widespread inadequate nutrition in the
children with some increase of diabetes. Many children don’t
have many vegetables. They’re drinking soda pop everyday
and they have little or no exercise and actually we
recommend that people start taking a bone building
supplement at age 6.
Ben: Interesting. Now when people are going forward in the rest
of their lives with x amount of bone density, is there a cutoff
when you quit building bone density? A certain age?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I think it’s 35 but 80% of the bone density is formed by 21.
I’ll just check that but it’s a phenomenal fact. I had no idea –
first of all I didn’t realize the birth control linked with so
many people. Yes, here it is. Actually according to our stats,
24 is when the bone stops growing. So 40% age 1 to 10, 40%
age 10 to 20, 20% between ages 20 and 24. So by age 20, you
have the majority – 80% of your bone mass formed. So they
are critical years and I think maybe anybody who’s training –
for instance running on a regular basis is bound to have
automatic bone density from the exercise. The stress on the
bones… really promotes increased bone density.
Ben: Did you say it promotes increased bone density?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes. Absolutely. Runners… they’re very protected, I would
Ben: Now what about the actual breakdown of bone from the
stress of running? The loss of minerals, things of that nature.
Especially for the long distance runners who are burning
through both a lot of calories and a lot of salts. Do you think
there’s a law of diminishing returns at some point there?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: You know, I’m not aware of many research in that regard but
the one thing with the bones is you also require antioxidant
protection and essential fatty acids. Many of the things
probably most runners are doing to protect themselves will
probably protect their bones.
Ben: Now what about their upper bodies, because the lower
bodies are primarily what’s striking the ground during the
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: There’s a problem where you’re having to address the upper
body strengths. Your bone density then will be weak in that
area. Wherever you exercise more – for instance if you only
exercise one arm, that would have the greatest bone density
so the bone density varies throughout the body. When you go
and get bone density testing, it only tests two areas. The
spine and the hip. So, for instance if you had your leg in a
cast for three months then the bone density in that is going
to be diminished and you’d have to work on it.
Ben: That’s something that I talk to a lot of my athletes about, not
just my female athletes but the male marathoners and female
marathoners that I coach who are doing a lot of running – is
they tend to dislike the strength training, especially the
upper body strength training and that’s one of the ways I
explain it to them when I have them doing four sets of
overhead presses with dumbbells is they’re not really doing a
whole lot for their upper spine, for their arms and for their
neck bone density when they’re out pounding the pavement
during the run. So the trick is not to put on muscle mass. The
whole reason behind doing that is to load the bones in a way
that they’re not being loaded. And you would agree with that?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. I have talked to a fitness instructor… I think his
name was (inaudible) and he emphasizes the upper body
because he says that most people have much more developed
strength in the lower body because of walking, because of
weight bearing alone and that if you don’t address the upper
body you’re never going to be truly fit. So I remember that he
emphasized that beyond anything – the upper body training.
Of course the balance training – we also emphasizes core
abdominal strengthening, core strengthening, balance
exercises as well as aerobic and weight bearing exercises.
Ben: And so guys do need to worry about bone density. It’s not
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. In fact I recently had a case of a man in his 40s,
early 40s who developed bone density and bone density
lowering and actual osteoporosis and I’ve seen that more and
more. And it is partially related to low testosterone.
Lowering of testosterone and now prematurely in men is
associated with it. It can also be related to toxins or other
exposures, unusual exposures. In his case he had the iron
load. So osteoporosis in men is quite neglected and the
research has all been done on women.
Ben: So he had a heavy iron load and low testosterone. Is there a
proposed mechanism of action as to why those factors would
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Well it’s well known that hormonal factors – the hormonal
factors are well researched. The iron… I did some research…
for some reason, excess iron inhibits the absorption of
calcium, I imagine. I don’t remember… but the interesting
thing is hormonal… whether it’s lack of estrogen or
progesterone and testosterone… and even in women
testosterone is a major bone building hormone as is DHA. So,
in both men and women testosterone is a major component
of building strong bones. In fact if a woman is not
responding to progesterone, we will definitely check and see
if her testosterone level is low which often happens in a peri-
menopausal lady. 40s, early 50s.
Ben: Yeah and I’ve actually been recommending to most of my
triathlete companies, especially the females that they have
their testosterone and DHA levels tested and I’m getting a lot
of results. They’ll get their results and then send them over to
me and it’s across the board… well not across the board but
very frequently, very low in both DHEA and testosterone.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Well you just reminded me of a study that a very good
endocrinologist up in western Canada did and she studied
female runners and they were having micro fractures on
their feet because they were deficient in progesterone. As
soon as she gained progesterone, that problem was ended.
But progesterone is also the other… it’s a very key
component to bone building. And I just remembered that. I
do quote that study in my PowerPoint. My whole PowerPoint
presentation on bone building is available on my website also.
Ben: And I do have another question for you about calcium but
real quick, is that the www.drdemarco.com website?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes. And right at the beginning you see the bone building
presentation. I talk also there about another critical (memo)
that I use which is strontium. Stontium is a natural mineral
and it is a very good at both inhibiting bone breakdown and
promoting bone build up and it has almost no side effects. In
fact it’s patented as strontium ranilate in 21 European
countries and also Australia where all the research has been
done but ranilate is an inert molecule. So in a (inaudible)
store now we can get strontium citrate and we can use it as
an alternative to the toxic (inaudible). They’re available. And
of course I do want to emphasize vitamin K and vitamin D. I
want to go back to those two nutrients which are critical for
Ben: And you had talked about the fact that having too much iron
can inhibit calcium absorption and be a possible factor in low
bone density. Are you of the opinion that some of the other
people have on this show… or some of the other physicians
who have come on the show have… that calcium is overrated
and magnesium is underrated when it comes to mineral
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. Magnesium is a critical mineral and it has –
there are recommendations, for instance on TV sometimes
you see a recommendation for a supplement that only has
calcium and magnesium is equally important – perhaps
more important. At least 60% of adults have magnesium
deficiency and it’s absolutely essential for bone building.
Ben: For people who are already getting into their later years of
life and beginning to struggle and we’re just going to say who
are past the age of that 30 to 35 range and maybe starting to
worry about osteoporosis or lack of bone density – is there a
certain dosage recommendation in terms of their daily
magnesium intake that they should be focusing on?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes, I usually recommend about 300 mgs of magnesium a
day with a calcium. By the way there’s a whole team of bone
building nutrients. So, I recommend... which includes things
like zinc, magnesium, silica, boron and also antioxidants.
Vitamins, which reduce homosistine and high homosistine is
actually a risk factor for bone loss. And no calcium – for 50%
of osteoporosis patients are deficient in vitamin D3 –
absolutely critical so everybody at every age should be taking
between 1000 and 2000 IUs of vitamin D3.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely. And the interesting thing is that a lot of the
women who come into me for exercise training – I do have
them bring me a big plastic bag of all the supplements that
they’re taking when they come in and almost always there
are two or three different calcium supplements in there. Like
calcium is just incredibly overrated and people are popping
calcium like it’s going out of style but there’s no other
minerals going into the body.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: It’s amazing because calcium… you try and add them all up
and they’re in different forms, like calcium carbonate – very
hard to digest unless you take it with a meal. Virtually
indigestible especially without adequate vitamin D3 and if
you have a calculator and add up all this calcium and then
one of the things we found in research, only about 500 mgs
of calcium can be absorbed at one time. So, we recommend
that people try to get 500 through their diet and the other
500 they take at bedtime if they can – sorry at supper or
meal. They usually end up taking it at bedtime but it would
be better if they took it at supper because the peak bone
building period is between 10pm and 4am. So therefore if
you take it at supper, by the time it absorbs… calcium is
slowly absorbed into the system with a meal. By the time it
absorbs… and you want the whole bone building team. So I
do recommend… in Canada I recommend Genuine Health
Bone Building supplement because it’s been researched and
in the US I like the Natural Vitality products like Osteocalm.
They’re very good products. Those are the two that I’m most
familiar with. I’m sure there are many other good products
Ben: The osteo made me think of another supplement that
someone had recommended a little while back that had
something called lactoferrin in it. Did you have any opinion
on lactoferrin or have you ever seen any results or studies
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I’m not aware of the studies with respect to osteoporosis. I
understand that it is a positive supplement but I don’t have
any research on it. So not helpful in that regard.
Ben: Perhaps a little bit of a change of subject here, but your book
Take Charge Of Your Body, The Woman’s Health Advisor,
what exactly is in that book and what sets it apart?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I wrote it many years ago before there was much done on the
– the Take Charge approach to woman’s health – because I
saw that women were being overprescribed drugs and
surgery and I wanted to have the right information on the
normal milestones in a woman’s life. Like pregnancy,
childbirth, menstruation, peri-menopause, menopause and
all the issues around that. And so, I just started writing
articles first in my office and just for a little magazine and
then I started compiling them because there just wasn’t
enough information – even on the basic facts so that women
were being – normal events in women’s lives were being
medicalized and then I got interested in alternative medicine.
First in childbirth and then the whole spectrum of women’s
lives and I have been promoting natural hormones and
natural solutions and then I got involved in natural medicine
including herbs and especially nutrition and natural
hormones. So this book is just loaded with information. A lot
of people keep it by their bedside. It’s still very pertinent
though it was published several years ago. I had written
some things ahead of their time so it’s still quite pertinent.
People are still using it.
Ben: Interesting. So I’m going to put a link to that book in the
Shownotes to this podcast, but I also have another couple of
questions for you. The first is let’s say, just as a recap here,
that I am a male or female – let’s say I’m an athlete, I do a lot
of running or I do a lot of exercising. I’m concerned about
making sure that when I’m 50, when I’m 60 I have nice
strong solid bones. I’m eating a healthy diet…
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: An alkaline diet. An alkaline diet is what we prefer. And
Ben: Can you briefly explain what you mean when you say alkaline
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: An alkaline diet is rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, lean
protein and low in acid forming substances like sugar and
excess carbohydrates and I’m sure many of the athletes you
deal with have a very excellent diet. Low carb diet with low
sugar and as I say, lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. Or
else taking a very high quality greens supplement every day.
Ben: That’s what we hope at least.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: And we all advocate that people test their PH to make sure
they are in the alkaline range. The alkaline…
Ben: That’s just the very simple urine PH stick right?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes. And actually at the University of Western Ontario, they
found that there is a PH receptor in the bone cells. So when it
shows the acid in the bone cells, it turns on the bone
breakdown cells. The osteo(inaudible) so it’s a very
important… we stress diet a lot in our protocol.
Ben: And if an athlete were to go out and get a urine stick and test
their PH, they’re looking to be right around 7, is that correct?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: That’s correct. Yes. And so all the colorful fruits and
vegetables and green drinks are very alkalinizing. And there’s
this recent book by Janet Gravin, she found that there was
only two green products that she liked. One was greens (flats)
that were palatable – but there’s many, many out there. If
people don’t get that five to seven servings.
Ben: I take one called EnerPrime and that’s what it is. It’s an
alkalinizing greens supplement – just a mix of a bunch of
different alkalinizing foods. Now, the other things that an
athlete should be doing – you said magnesium
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Absolutely. A good bone building supplement including
calcium, magnesium and all the bone building minerals and
at least 1000 of vitamin D3 a day. That would be the absolute
Ben: Okay. Now the other question that I had for you was I
noticed you’re described as a forerunner in natural childbirth
and we actually haven’t ever really talked about that on this
show, although we have done that in my family – would you
be interested perhaps in a future interview on that topic,
because I know that it doesn’t really fall along the lines of
sports and fitness and some of the things that we talk about
in this show, but it does follow a lot of the concept of taking
care of your body and taking charge of your health.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yes, I’d love to. I think it’d be really fun to do that. I was one
of the pioneers in the natural childbirth movement and I was
involved in training midwives in home births and there’s a
complete resurgence in that now.
Ben: If you are listening in to this show, and you’re interested in
that topic of natural childbirth just go ahead and leave a
comment on the show or email me and let me know and if
that is the case, we’ll try and get Dr. DeMarco back on the
show to talk about natural childbirth. Dr. DeMarco, I’d like
to thank you for coming on today.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Thank you so much. I appreciate it, and I didn’t mention
vitamin K2 which is so important. The latest research shows
that vitamin K2 in its various forms, not only is necessary for
bone density and these proteins that actually chaperone the
calcium into the cell, it also prevents calcium from being re-
deposited into the arteries. So as a vitamin, it’s just a
fantastic thing to take.
Ben: Do you have similar recommendations like you did for D3 on
the amount of vitamin K that people should be taking in?
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I don’t have those offhand but the vitamin K1 is present in all
green leafy vegetables and requires acidosis or some
fermented food to convert to K2 and there’s an argument
between what forms of K2 are the best but it’s all worked out
in the supplements. The supplements have this
Ben: Supplements or a nice piece of spinach pie with yoghurt on it.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Yeah I believe… all the various K2s have (inaudible) doses
and some are in milligrams and some are in micrograms. So
I’d have to write you about that. I don’t have it available.
Ben: Well thank you for coming on the show and perhaps we will
talk to you again in a future episode.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: I hope so. It was a pleasure talking to you, and you always
have a really educated audience which is always fun to talk to.
There’s so much to say about bone building that I sometimes
get carried away. There’s a lot. There’s a lot there. There’s a
lot of interesting things both in the over-diagnosis too. We
didn’t get into that but that’s alright.
Ben: Alright, well I’ll talk to you later.
Dr. Carolyn DeMarco: Ok. Thank you so much for having me, have a great day.
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