Podcast #94 – Hacking pH w/ Steven Fowkes, Part 1 – Bulletproof Radio

Podcast #94 – Hacking pH w/ Steven Fowkes, Part 1 – Bulletproof Radio

Dave: Today’s cool fact of the day is about
liver. In particular, polar bear liver. If you eat one you are going to die. We don’t
handle vitamin A very well. You can have a little bit of it, in fact, I even recommend
you have a little bit of preformed vitamin A but too much of it is a bad thing. Vitamin
A is a crucial building block for lots of animals. You need it for your eyesight, for
reproductive tissues, for fetal development, for growing, for immunity and even to form
new cellular tissues and the tolerable upper limit for adults is at about 10,000 IU and
people tend to show some toxicity at around 25,000 to 33,000 IU. When you don’t have enough
of this stuff you can find yourself facing symptoms just as bad as those that happen
when you have too much of it. Deficiency in vitamin A can cause dry skin, diarrhea, blindness,
retarded growth or even death. The funny thing is that polar bears themselves aren’t immune
to consuming too much or too little vitamin A. If they have too much they get the same
problems. If they have too little they have the same problems. The difference they have
is that they have a much higher tolerance. If you compare a human liver which has maybe
575 IU of vitamin A per gram with a polar bear’s liver, you are going to see it has
24,000 to 35,000 IU per gram which is why you actually shouldn’t eat polar bear liver.
It’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Executive. I just had a shot of expresso made with upgraded
coffee beans so I am talking a little bit fast and I apologize for that but it’s worth
it because I needed to maximize my brain power for today’s guest. He is a total badass. Before
then though I want to say thanks. Thanks because you’ve made this podcast number one on iTunes
and I really appreciate it. If it’s been helping you, I’d also appreciate it if you would go
to bulletproofdietbook.com and registered in order to get a copy of the Bulletproof
Diet Infographic for free and the first chapter of my book for free. This is going to help
me go to publishers and explain to them exactly how many people want to read the bulletproof
diet book so I can get the right book deal. I really appreciate your support there, bulletproofdietbook.com.
And now, who is this amazing badass we are talking about? This is a guy who, probably
the only guy I can say literally saved my career and this is Steve Fowkes who is the
master of smart drugs, the author of Smart Drugs and Nutrients II. He blogs at Project
Wellbeing.com and executive director of the Cognitive Enhancement Research Institute,
the CEO of Nanopolymer Systems Corporation, a co-founder of Vitamin Research Products,
this company that introduced major nutritional products like DMAE, selenite, BHT and tyrosine
to the whole industry. These are things that you see written about all the time. I talked
about using pyrozine. This is now 20 something years later. He has a bachelor’s in organic
chemistry, he is a former pyromaniac child. The books he’s written include Wipeout Herpes
with BHT, by the way that rocks, the BHT book, and he knows something about Alzheimer’s disease
because his grandfather passed away from Alzheimer’s. It helps that maybe he was a dentist and smoked
and had emphysema that contributed but Steve knows things that I don’t know and his influential
newsletter series called Smart Drug News is what turned my brain on. When I first started
having brainfog in my early 20s I went to UltaVista because Google really wasn’t around
then and I found Steve’s newsletters online and I read every single one of them and I
bought the stuff he recommended. I had to order it from Europe at the time. It turned
my brain on enough to keep learning and to go down the path of [inaudible 00:04:01].
So Steve, thanks man. I appreciate that and I appreciate you coming on the show today.
Steve: You’re welcome. Dave: It also helps that Steve, you are a
regular attendee and advisor to the Silicon Valley Health Institute, the anti-aging group
that I am the chairman of. Every month, if you are in the Bay area on the third Thursday,
you can go to Palo Alto at the community center there and you can actually see Steve in real
life. He has this aura around him that comes from all the smart drugs he’s taken and there’s
a circle of people asking him questions all the time. This is pretty accurate, isn’t it
Steve? Steve: Yeah.
Dave: Maybe the aura I am exaggerating but he is an incredibly well-acknowledged expert
and someone who’s accessible to the community and he runs Project Well-Being meetups as
well. Steve, really I’m in your debt and I asked you to speak at the first Biohacking
conference that we put on last year and we’ll be doing another one this year and of course
you’re perennially invited because you have this massive skill set. Welcome to the show,
man. Steve: Thank you. It’s great to be here and
let’s have some fun. Dave: The reason I invited you on is that
I think we could talk about 50 things but you are into hacking Ph in a way that I’m
not. I take alkaline water, it gives me the runs. I think a lot of the alkaline claims
don’t make sense to me and the human body is a battery. If some parts are not acidic
they don’t work very well. That would be your digestion. Other parts of you need to be alkaline
and there is a delicate balance and think a lot of the marketing stuff I have seen,
all the various things I have tried haven’t worked out that well but I haven’t tried your
protocol. You’ve given some fantastic talks about pH and circadian rhythm so we are going
to talk about acidity and alkalinity and get your take on it because you have the most
rational scientific approach to this I’ve come across and there’s a lot of like woo-woo,
you know, alkaline water blessed by fairies and stuff like that. So first off, is fairy
blessed water better? Steve: In my opinion, no. I mean, it might
be to some people a slight source of reducing equivalents so you know we live in an oxidizing
environment and we need reducing equivalents to stay alive but the problem with water is
that it doesn’t carry much. It’s like all voltage and no amperage and therefore if you
put one drop of an oxidizing agent in it the reducing power of the water disappears so
it really isn’t the same thing as let’s say eating a pineapple guava where you’re going
to get a gram of vitamin C and that that’s going to have better reducing effects on your
body or the alternative of eating MCT oil or coconut oil and having it rev up your mitochondria
which will produce reducing equivalents dynamically at the cellular level.
Dave: I understood all of that but I think everyone who’s listening to the podcast right
now driving in cars either ran into a median trying to think about it (laughs). So, lets
break that down, so to speak, electrically and let’s talk about why reducing matters
to people and what … Just explain what reduction is in layman’s terms so we can start to talk
about why alkaline water or other alkalines being herbs or diets might be helpful.
Steve: Okay. I think that that’s easy to do with a temperature and color analogy. You
know we live in an environment where the outside world is oxygen. It’s an oxidizing environment
and you think of it as being hot or think of it as being red which would be a color
of heat and it’s a fundamentally dangerous environment. When you go into our bodies and
look at what happens down at the cellular level, it turns out that our bodies are cold
and blue and that there’s that fundamental antagonism that we have to defend that. We
have to keep our body temperature cold in order to survive and that is the energy that
we extend in our life. We bring in fuel, we burn it, we get rid of CO2, we use that energy
to keep our bodies cool so that the oxygen in the atmosphere isn’t dangerous. It can
be cleanly directed through the mitochondria to produce energy without damaging our DNA,
our proteins, our minds, you know other kinds of sensitive molecules in our body.
Dave: Okay, and the act of reduction there is … What are you doing specifically with
the oxygen? Steve: Well, you’re not doing anything with
the oxygen so much as you’re just channeling the oxygen in a way where the oxygen can’t
accidentally damage something that’s critical like your genes or important proteins or structures
in your mitochondria where you’re generating energy. In a sense you can think of it as
a kind of [inaudible 00:09:00] where the universe is disordered and our bodies are ordered and
thus we’re using that energy to create order and so we’re borrowing order from the universe
to keep it in our bodies and we’re dispersing disorder into the universe and that takes
energy to do it and oxygen is the source of that energy. But, because we are highly reduced
environment, we’re a very cold environment, a very blue environment, that surrounding
heat, that redness and energy and heat is a potential threat to our systems and so when
we lose that ability to keep our bodies cold, we end up dying and this is the process of
life. We have to … we have to borrow energy from the world in order to keep our structure
intact so that we have the knowledge in our brains and the structures in our body and
the health of our vascular system and etc., etc.
Dave: Okay, that makes sense in the act of reducing something there is basically maintaining
that balance between the energy of oxygen and the destructive oxidizing nature of oxygen.
Steve: Yeah. You can think of it as a refrigerator …
Dave: Okay. Steve: An antioxidant is like an umbrella
that protects us from the sunlight so it doesn’t really cool us it just prevents us from heating
up from direct sunlight but the mitrochondria are like a refrigerator. It’s actually cooling
our bodies down and we need that refrigeration. If all we had was antioxidant protection we
would not survive. We need to have that actual drawing down of the temperature below baseline
so that we can then cool off the hot spots of our body which would be caused by free
radicals or by cosmic rays or by eating rancid fat or having an infection or being allergic
to a wheat protein, you know, that kind of thing.
Dave: These are different environmental stressors. And what does an environmental stressor do
to your pH? Steve: Well, typically it’s acid stress.
Dave: Okay. So an acid stress comes in and increases acidity of the body and what impact
does that have on our ability to stay cool so to speak but our ability to effectively
operate as biological creatures? Steve: Well, we need to have a certain pH
range in which we operate for ourselves to be healthy and it’s somewhere around the vicinity
of 7 in terms of our body and somewhere around the vicinity of 6 in terms of our urine because
our bodies do produce enough extra acid that we need to dump that acid in our urine and
so our urine shows a net acid influence from the pH of the rest of our bodies.
Dave: Your blood and most of your meat should be around … and probably your saliva then
should be around 7 and your urine should be around 6?
Steve: That’s right. Dave: Okay.
Steve: And so by studying that dynamic you can get some insight into how your metabolism
is working, so for example during the day we run a large net acid production because
our mitochondria are tuned up, our immune systems are highly active, we can run into
things, we can get bitten by insects and by snakes and lizards and spiders and we can
run into antigens, you know, viruses, bacteria, that kind of stuff, all of that requires us
when we’re out in the world to have an active defense mechanism which is our immune system
and so our immune system is highly active during the day and it’s driven by acidity
and our energy system when it goes into high gear during the day that produces the net
of acidity so that’s part of our natural rhythm and when that acidity is being generated our
kidneys are taking the blood that’s going through and any extra acid that’s being generated
and dumping it into the urine. After the day is over we go into nighttime mode, this is
when we’re sleeping and this is when we’re repairing. We need to be alkaline at that
time so our energy systems drop down so the acid that is being produce by our energy systems
goes down and then our kidneys will start conserving acid to keep us balanced so our
urine will go from let’s say 5 which is … Dave: Which is acidic.
Steve: Ten times more acid than average to pH 7 which is 10 times less acid than average,
and so we can see this kind of tide where we swing from acid during the day to alkaline
at night and this is a natural rhythm and if this doesn’t happen you are at risk for
developing cancer and other degenerative diseases. Dave: Thank makes a lot of sense, Steve, and
the idea that we’re changing on a daily basis. I mean, we have almost every hormone that
we have goes through a circadian rhythm so why wouldn’t our acid/alkaline balance and
probably also our CO2 reserves … Steve: Yes.
Dave: Also which affect acidity very directly you get those from breathing. Those also probably
have a cyclical thing. Is it just directly tied to acid/alkaline the way you’re asking
or is your CO2 separate because you breathe differently when you’re sleeping so your CO2
changes or is that just a part of the acid of the body?
Steve: Well the body balances its breathing based on pH control. You know, most people
think since we’re breathing oxygen and we need to have oxygen from the air that our
breath is controlled by regulating oxygen. Well it isn’t at all. There isn’t an oxygen
sensor in the brain that’s controlling our breathing, it’s actually controlled by carbon
dioxide which is the by-product of oxygen and so if your CO2 goes up you tend to breathe
more to get rid of it and if your CO2 goes down you tend to breathe less to conserve
it and that’s all built into the wiring of the nervous system, the autonomic nervous
system. Dave: So what happens when I drink what I
happen to be drinking now, San Pellegrino, which is relatively acidic. It’s full of carbon
dioxide, right, but it does have some calcium, magnesium, some sulfite … sulfate in it.
What is ingesting CO2 to the GI tract do to this whole balance? Am I completely jacking
it up? Steve: You are jacking up your CO2, absolutely.
This is a great self-care test to experiment with yourself, would be to look at something
in your life that would be directly related to CO2 levels and my suggestion would be breath
hold time. Dave: Um-hum.
Steve: How long can you hold your breath? If you just take a deep breath and hold it
when do you have to breathe? Is it 30 seconds later …
Dave: [inaudible 00:15:42] Steve: Is it a minute later, is it a minute
and a half later? That makes the difference because if your CO2 is low you can hold your
breath longer. It takes longer for your CO2 to build up because it was starting at a lower
point but if you drink a bunch of CO2, water or you take some baking soda that would have
CO2 in it raising your CO2 up then you can only hold your breath for a short period of
time before you get that feeling and the CO2 forces you to take a breath.
Dave: It’s interesting. I tend to have high CO2 in my blood. I don’t think it’s from drinking
Pellegrino. A bottle a day isn’t that much, but it’s funny, I should be excessively acid
according to most of the nutritional people telling us what to eat because I eat meat
and fat and all those … coffee, all those evil things, bacon, but I’m consistently alkaline
to the point that if I take baking soda or even too much magnesium I start panting at
night like it doesn’t feel good, which is one reason why I’m kind of suspicious of these
people who say well if you burn your vegetables and test the pH of the ashes that is what
happens in your body. Is there any rationale to that?
Steve: Oh yeah. I mean that does happen but the regulation of pH is a higher level function
and so for example if you are parasympathetic, sympathetic balanced and your heart rate variability
is in the green zone … Dave: So what that means for people listening
is we’re talking about fight or flight response. Steve: That’s right. So if you go into fight
or flight response that sympathetic activation that causes you to breathe more rapidly and
to breathe shallow and that blows off carbon dioxide, okay, so CO2 is … CO2 release is
dependent upon the style of breathing. If you’re breathing shallow then you are blowing
off CO2 and if you’re breathing slow and deeply you’re conserving your CO2 so being centered
and not being nervous is actually … it influences your resting CO2 level …
Dave: That’s why it’s high. Steve: So if you go into a doctor’s office
and you get a CO2 assessment, you’re typically measuring yourself in a highly stressful environment,
the white coat syndrome, and so you tend to be breathing more and in terms of driving
through traffic to get there and waiting and the issue and being irritated because you’re
appointment is 25 minutes late and these kinds of things, you will tend to blow off more
CO2 and that’ll influence your readings. Some of these kinds of tests aren’t particularly
useful but when you take it into your own home and you start studying things like your
breath hold time and how it responds to different things that you might do, you can actually
learn a lot about what’s going on with your metabolic rate.
Dave: Interesting. So a potential biohack for people listening would be once a day when
you wake up or when you go to sleep, hold your breath for as long as you can. But there
is a training effect too, if you do that regularly you would just get better at it.
Steve: There is. I was a lifeguard and a swimmer in college and I could hold my breath for
two minutes easily and even though according to my metabolic type I should have been able
to hold it for 45 … a minute … 45 seconds to maybe a minute, a little over a minute.
I could hold it much longer because of that training. The point is though that it’s not
so much about how long you hold your breath, it’s about how it changes dynamically for
you. It’s all about you, so if you can old your breath for a minute and a half then you’re
looking at only being able to hold it for a minute or being able to hold it for two
minutes as being a significant change in your CO2 state, where as if you can only hold it
for 30 seconds, then going to 40 seconds is a significant change in your CO2 state.
Dave: Okay. So then is it because I’m too alkaline that I start panting when I taking
baking soda or something like that? I feel like I just have to breathe really shallow,
really fast breaths. Steve: Yeah, you’re blowing off … well no.
That would just be CO2 loading. Dave: Okay so I’m adding …
Steve: You can load CO2 with baking soda and you can load it with carbonated water and
one’s alkaline and one’s acid but it’s still a CO2 load.
Dave: Okay. Steve: So that would tell me that it’s all
about the CO2 for you and whenever you drink carbonated water or you’re taking baking soda,
you’re just loading yourself up with CO2. Now, you could take an alkalizing agent that
didn’t have any carbonate in it and see a totally different effect.
Dave: Interesting. So I need to play around with that. What would an example of a non-carbonate
alkalizing agent be? Steve: Lemon juice.
Dave: Okay. [inaudible 00:20:12] Steve: [inaudible 00:20:12] seaweed.
Dave: Isn’t lemon juice acidic? Steve: Well it’s acidic on your tongue and
it’s acidic to your stomach but it’s alkaline ash when it burns in your body so that’s again
going to that kind of question, so lemon juice would be tart on your tongue and therefore
you might think it’s acidic but it’s not, but the ash is very alkaline but seaweed is
even more alkaline than that and that doesn’t have any acid or alkaline taste to it at all.
Dave: If you put a pH meter in lemon juice though it actually is acidic?
Steve: That’s right. Dave: The body doesn’t burn things. If it
did we could eat candles and we’d be totally happy on that, so why does what a chemical
reaction that doesn’t happen in the body … if we do that to lemon juice, why does that tell
us what’s going to happen in the body. I’m very skeptical that that is a reliable 100%
accurate indicator, like you burn your food and it can tell you what it’s going to do
in your body, because we don’t do that. Steve: We burn food, so you burn the carbohydrates
and the citric acid, things like that in the lemon juice, and there’s also other kind of
residues in the lemon juice that would be left over, so if you have let’s say potassium,
that’s going to change your pH and so once the fruit acids are burned off depending on
how they go, you’re either getting an alkaline effect or an acid effect from it that will
… the ultimate pH that you’re left with is more about the ash than it is the pH of
the food itself. Dave: Okay, so the point there …
Steve: Let me give you an example. Citric acid, very tart, pucker your mouth big time.
Dave: It’s an acid. Steve: Rearrange the carbon and hydrogen atoms
and you get sugar, not tart at all. Dave: Right. So, the question tehre is whether
a combustion process with heat is leaving the same residue as a metabolizing process.
I’ve always been suspicious of that but I’ve never had great evidence otherwise. It seems
like the reactions that are driven by high temperatures when your burn something are
just not like what happens in the body so the residues would be different in the body.
Steve: They are alike in terms of O2 and carbon in and hydrogen in and water and CO2 out,
they’re alike in that respect, but you’re right in the sense that let’s say if you are
anaerobically dominant at the time that a food comes in, the sugar is going to burn
to lactic acid instead of burning to CO2 … Dave: Alright.
Steve: And that’s going to affect your pH balance because CO2 flows from the cell out
through the tissue to your lungs and is efficiently mobilized and flows from your body whereas
lactic acid comes out of your cells and sticks in your tissue and doesn’t move very well
so that’s your classic acidic American body type from the traditional Chinese medical
kind of message and that’s why most people will say alkaline, alkaline, alkaline is the
way to go and they are not recognizing that they are only talking about one layer of the
body and under that layer and above that layer you also have pH effects that are not at all
connected to it. It’s not uncommon to see somebody with lactic acidosis on the tissue
level have blood alkalosis. Dave: Interesting. So now I’m sure some people
listening to this are lactic, acidic and their eyes are crossing because we’re getting pretty
scientific pretty quickly here. Steve: Yeah.
Dave: There’s a point to all of this though that is really worth understanding and it’s
that you can measure your pH at different times of the day and that’s going to tell
you tweaks that you can make to your diet to increase your performance, increase how
you feel and increase even your health level. What’s the best way that someone listening
to the show could go out today or tomorrow and measure their body’s acid/alkaline balance
by pH. What’s your recommended method? Steve: Well, it’s not something that people
should do if they’re not really dedicated because when you want to measure your pH because
it’s a dynamic rhythm, you need to measure it every time you pee and typically for three
to five days in a row in order to be able to verify that the acid and alkaline swings
that are taking place on one day actually correlate with the swings the next day and
the day after that. In a sense you’re looking at your overall pH rhythm rather than looking
at the fact that you had salad for lunch one day and chili for lunch the next day.
Dave: It’s sort of like when women track their morning temperatures for ovulation calculations.
The day to day changes might not be that important but you can tell when overall it’s climbing
or overall it’s falling. Steve: Yes.
Dave: So this is something for people who really are willing to spend a week understanding
how their body works but listening to this show we have all kinds of people who, you
know, they drink [inaudible 00:25:17] every morning because they feel better, they wear
a Nike fuel band or a Basis band, they’re doing all kinds of stuff because they’re willing
to invest that. They’re the kind of people who come to Silicon Valley Health Institute.
Let’s assume that people listening are willing to basically carry around a little bundle
of sticks or something else and every time they pee measure it, what do you recommend?
Is it a pee thing or is it a saliva thing? Steve: Well I recommend urine just because
I understand it better and so if somebody does some urine measurements and they submit
the data to me I look at it and I can make sense of it faster.
Dave: Got it. You recommend people pee on a strip and write it down?
Steve: That’s right and track it over time and if you collect your pH data on one side
you want to collect how you feel on the other side. You know, I’m feeling plus, better than
average; 0 neutral; negative, worse than average; negative negative, I’m really … you know,
can’t get out of bed this morning. That kind of data can help and also tracking when you
drink a cup of coffee, when you eat a meal, whether the meal is high protein or low protein,
whether it might contain let’s say wheat and you might be allergic to wheat, all of these
things can be correlated with the urine pH changes so that you can learn by associating
some perspective cause with an effect. Dave: Okay.
Steve: This is all a learning process. Now, for those people who aren’t willing to be
… to dedicate their life to this kind of thing, because carrying around pH papers with
you all the day and having to think every time you need to go to the bathroom, oh, measure
my pH, you know, and have a notebook to write it down …
Dave: It’s good for five days. Steve: It’s a lot of overhead.
Dave: Yeah. Steve: And if you’re at work you’ve got a
contract that’s coming up, youÕve got some deadline, how much of your coping power can
you dedicate to this kind of thing can be a real challenge …
Dave: [inaudible 00:27:13] Steve: For those people who aren’t in that
kind of position, there’s a general rule about pH and it has to do with how you handle your
energy. Do you produce energy aerobically or anaerobically which makes a huge difference
on your pH control and in terms of how you handle alkaline food. Do you handle it gracefully
or does it derail you? So if you are … let’s say youÕve got multiple sclerosis or some
kind of autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and you eat something that’s highly
alkalizing, it’s likely to derail you. It’s likely to make you feel really, really bad.
Especially if you do it first thing in the morning. So that tells you that if you’re
paying attention to this, just not bothering to measure your urine but paying attention
to the kinds of things that I’m describing, you can say okay I’m having a problem generating
acid and generating energy. The energy I’m generating is going into lactic acid instead
of CO2 and therefore, the alkalinity that I’m putting into my body is overwhelming my
… it’s not balanced with my acid-generating system. On the other hand if you are aerobic,
you’re now … when you eat a high alkaline meal your body can raise its energy level
to balance it and it doesn’t derail you at all and you actually feel better.
Dave: So for people who are say endurance athletes or people who are exercising a lot,
then they’re probably going to benefit more because they tend to be in an aerobic mode
more often? Steve: They’ll be in aerobic mode more often.
Dave: Right. You have to be in aerobic not anaerobic.
Steve: Yes. Dave: Good catch there. That could be off
a little bit on the radio. Steve: And they’re the kind of people who
would thrive on a highly alkaline diet. They’d be able to eat fruit, they’d be able to eat
veggies and raw veggies and lots of veggies because their aerobic capacity would be augmented
by their exercise. Dave: So now here’s the weird thing. The bulletproof
diet recommends like nine to 11 servings of vegetables. I eat tons of vegetables and I’ve
got like pro athletes like world champions who are on the bulletproof diet and it’s totally
upping their game but they’re eating tons of fat, not these alkaline breakfasts, they’re
doing classic bulletproof coffee, right, and coffee isn’t considered an alkalizing food
last I checked, right? Steve: No, it is. Coffee is highly alkalizing.
Dave: It is? Steve: [inaudible 00:29:41]
Dave: It’s been a while since … Steve: It’s a boomerang food like chocolate.
Coffee and chocolate have this two hour acidifying effect and an eight hour alkalizing effect
afterwards. Dave: See, I didn’t know that about coffee.
There’s not a lot about coffee I think I haven’t read but I would love to see like any data
on that because that would be an amazing post. So you get two hours of acidity in the morning
and that’s going to probably make you feel good because you’re turning on your acid in
the morning because you want to essentially turn on your immune function and go out and
seize the day, and then the alkaline there is enhancing endurance essentially?
Steve: Well it can. There’s some really interesting stuff that’s been done by people who’ve been
experimenting. They’ve shared this kind of stuff with me that if you approach exercise
and you know, people have an inclination to exercise or not, if you’re in an acidic state
you’re inclined to exercise. If you’re in an alkaline state you’re inclined to just
kick back and relax, and so what they found is that if you take something that is acidifying
prior to exercise you go into the exercise better. You initiate the exercise you’re more
enthusiastic about it, but you also hit the wall faster and so the people with the best
results do acidification prior to exercise and then immediately once they’ve started
the exercise, they alkalize at that point and that gives them the stamina to withstand
long-term exercise. Dave: Wow. You just got this from data because
you are like the master of biohacking some of this stuff, stuff that I haven’t done like
acid/alkaline pH. Like I’ve played it it. I have digital pH meter and all that stuff
but I’ve never graphed it out like you have. This is where that data comes from. There
isn’t like a formal study of that? Steve: No.
Dave: Alright. Steve: You know that there is from the perspective
of lactic acidosis as the pathology associated with long-term exercise, so people hit the
wall because they burn through their glycogen, they hit the wall before their fat burning
turns on or they get the burn that happens from lactic acidosis and these kinds of things
are recognized as encumbering factors for people working out, especially peak performance.
Dave: Wow. This is a totally … I’ve never seen this published anywhere. The first time
I’ve seen it in public, the thing about coffee, and that’s really cool, Steve. I have to learn
more about this but we probably don’t have to dig in further on that one on the show,
but that does explain why some of these incredibly high performance athletes are really into
it. What about using brain octane, the extra MCT oil or even just regular MCT oil at different
times of the day? Does your acid/alkaline circadian rhythm affect what the best times
are to take something that’s going to give you more BHB co-enzyme A and ATP?
Steve: Yes, absolutely. And so that would make a difference, for example, in terms of
your bulletproof coffee where you’re getting butyrate or MCT oil and depending upon whether
people are using butter or not, and that will rev up your metabolism and help shift you
from a low energy, low metabolic state at night when you are sleeping into a high energy
state of the day, so there’s that transition from alkaline to acid, from low metabolic
rate to high, from low CO2 to high CO2, that can be facilitated and so it matters for you
whether or not you are in tune with that process or that process is late. If you’re a night
owl for example, that process is going to be delayed two to four hours, so when you
wake up in the morning you’re still metabolically kind of asleep and that’s that groggy, oh
God I’ve got to get out of bed, where you need an alarm clock and that kind of thing.
Then you have the opposite people who are the morning larks that just pop out of bed,
bright-eyed, bushy-tailed … Dave: Those people.
Steve: Yeah. No prejudice on this show, right. Okay. Those people are making that transition
from alkaline to acid in the late stage of the morning before they’re actually waking
up and so they pop out of bed and for those people you have a totally different pH pattern.
Their acid momentum is fully developed, whereas a night owl type is retarded.
Dave: So if you’re an early morning, catching worms kind of person, what’s the best time
to drink your bulletproof coffee? Steve: It might be never.
Dave: No, don’t say that, Steve. Because these are people who might not benefit from coffee
at all. Steve: They’re naturally doing bulletproof
without the coffee. Dave: Okay. From a CO2 perspective, right.
But what about like the anti-inflammatory stuff that’s present in there, the polyphenols
and all those things? Steve: Yeah. It probably would be best to
spread it out throughout the day because their acid momentum is already going.
Dave: Let’s actually separate it out. Okay, there’s the coffee, there’s butter and then
there’s MCTs. We can talk about those different components. So let’s say that you’re one of
these people and that youÕve pee’d on a stick for a while and that you tend to be acidic
when you first wake up in the morning. You wake up at 6 a.m. and you’re ready to seize
the day. You go to bed at 8 p.m. Because you turn into a zombie at night. Okay so you’re
like the opposite of me. If you’re one of those people, what’s the best time for butter,
best time for MCT, best time for coffee? Steve: I would say later in the day. It would
either be lunch or dinner. Dave: Okay, so these guys might actually … this
is interesting. So if you were going to do … I think you know about the bulletproof
intermittent fasting, when you start your fasting zero protein, zero sugar, just bulletproof
coffee in the morning and then you just don’t care about food. So these guys might actually
benefit by having a full breakfast and then …
Steve: Or an alkalizing breakfast because, let’s say if you’re rhythm is shortened, instead
of having a 25-hour biological clock like you or me, they have a 23-1/2-hour biological
clock so they tend to fall asleep in front of the television at night or a little bit
earlier every night and so for them going to sleep is not the problem. The problem is
they wake up at 4 a.m. or 3 a.m. They’re just too much so they want to lengthen their day
so when they are swinging acid in the morning, if they have fruit for breakfast or veggies
for breakfast, they eat let’s say some spinach for breakfast, that’s going to bring down
their pH and extend their day. Dave: But wait, how is fruit going to do that
to their pH? I thought fruit was supposed to be …
Steve: It’s an alkalizing influence [inaudible 00:36:18]
Dave: Aren’t they already … I guess they’re already super acidic so you want to …
Steve: No, they have acid momentum so their staking an alkaline food on it so, for example,
somebody who wanted to do something that wasn’t with sugar could do milk for breakfast because
milk protein is a … tends to be an alkalizing protein or they could do beans for breakfast
where the bean is an alkalizing source of protein, ignoring the leptin and other …
Dave: All the reasons you shouldn’t eat beans and milk protein.
Steve: I’m just talking about it … Dave: I get it.
Steve: At a superficial level and the body of course is three-dimensional instead of
one-dimensional but … Dave: This is just an acid/alkaline discussion,
right. I get it. I still stand and say that milk protein, at least most milk protein outside
of certain whey and beans are generally not the best foods for human performance, but
your point there about eating something different in the morning can make a lot of sense. You’re
one of these people and you wake up in the morning and you want alkalinity but you want
to stay in ketosis because we know that ketosis increases brain function, it’s anti-aging
and it’s basically a cool state to be in at least five days a week. So, if you want to
do that and you want to have an alkalizing breakfast what do you do?
Steve: I’d eat some raw greens. Dave: Raw greens, okay. But you’re getting
all the oxalic acid. Raw spinach leaves a film on the back of your teeth which is your
body trying to dump those extra acids like a kidney burden, kidney stones, all that stuff.
Steve: You can do a green juice. Dave: Okay, green juice. Why wouldn’t you
just take a little big of baking soda and then drink your bulletproof coffee and be
done with it? Steve: Well, because bullet … because baking
soda is a shallow alkalizing agent … Dave: Oh, it’s not …
Steve: You want to affect your rhythm down at the cellular level, you know, deep in your
body where your biological rhythms are less superficial.
Dave: Okay. So this is something that I don’t know about, the depth of alkalizing from a
cellular biology perspective. This is one of those reasons that people [inaudible 00:38:25]
or whatever, you look at that stuff and you’re like okay, you want to be alkaline, you can
be alkaline like that. So, what’s an example of a deep alkalizing chemical or supplement.
Steve: Potassium would alkalize at the cellular level. Sodium would alkalize at the blood
level. Dave: Okay, so …
Steve: [inaudible 00:38:44] would be a deep alkalizing agent at the mitochondrial and
nuclear levels. Dave: So now I’m going to just pull out the
biohacking big guns. I used to take [inaudible 00:38:54] by the way. Okay, I’m a world class
athlete, I wake up at 6 in the morning and I want to tread mountains or whatever, so
I’m going to wake up and I’m just going to pop a thesium capsule or take [inaudible 00:39:07]
liquid which is the stuff I had, so I’m going to make myself super alkaline even though
I’m in the middle of this acid phase and I’m going to chug my coffee or eat my bacon because
I want to stay in ketosis and I’m going to go win. Is that going to work?
Steve: Well, if you don’t overdo it. I mean, you need to have an acid momentum in the morning
and you need to have acid momentum when you’re initiating exercise …
Dave: Got it. If you don’t want to … Steve: You don’t want to sledgehammer it when
a ball peen hammer will work just fine. Dave: Got it. Now you’ve got me wondering
and so far the most effective thing I’ve seen for I would say 95% of the people that I’ve
worked with [inaudible 00:39:54] I’ve had is bulletproof coffee in the morning. It is
… it rocks people’s entire day and it’s kind of mind-blowing, and I’ve had a few people
who they don’t handle the MCT very well in the morning, it gives them GI dysfunction,
and a couple of people who’ve said I get a racing heartbeat from it, for those people
that are always on thyroid meds and they always end up needing to reduce their thyroid meds
because their mitochondria is working better. If someone is listening to this and they do
this regular practice and they feel good on it, how should they know how to tweak it other
than if they don’t want to walk about peeing on sticks for five days? Is there an obvious
way to know this? Steve: Well, no. I mean, I certainly don’t
know that kind of simplistic formula for it because on some level you don’t know whether
or not your racing heart is reminiscent of thyroid or not unless youÕve experience that
and you say oh, that … I know what that is because I’ve been there and it’s not some
life-threatening thing where you panic and go to the emergency room, so …
Dave: The two people it’s happened to they knew they were on thyroid meds, they said
this is a thyroid problem, they backed off on the thyroid and like wow I suddenly cut
my medication. Steve: They’re probably way more astute than
the average person on thyroid meds because a typical person who goes to a doctor and
gets a thyroid prescription, they get a dose and then 30 days later they come in and the
doctor goes, you know, how are you doing and they go, no, and so okay you know … they
measure the thyroid and they’re okay and they never know what hyperthyroidism feels like.
They’re as much in the dark as people not taking thyroid.
Dave: I have a confession to make and I’m going to tell you this because you’re going
to laugh at me. Steve: (Laughs) I’ll laugh at you in advance.
Dave: There we go. So about a year ago or so I tweaked my anti-aging testosterone dosage
and I keep my levels in the normal levels where they should be. I’m not super-juicing
or any of that weird weight-lifting stuff, you know anti-aging kind of thing and I’ve
been doing it for 10 years and everyone knows, I’m public about it. I tweaked it with the
help of a doctor and it activated my thyroid more. At the same time, I was doing a photo
shoot for Creative Live, this big course I taught, and I had to hold a plank pose on
the whole body vibration plate, you know, the bulletproof vibe, for five minutes so
they could get the right picture. If you’ve never tried doing a plank pose on a whole
body vibration plate for five minutes it is an enormous metabolic load and I ended up
getting basically soreness on my sternum from the vibration of the ribs in my sternum so
I had chest pain … a lot of chest pain. At the same time, my thyroid dose cranked
up so I had chest pain centered on the left side and I had thyroid arrhythmia and my wife’s
an ER doctor and she’s like, I think you should go to the ER for that. I’m like, oh man, so
I’m standing there and they stuck the electrodes all over me and I’m like it was my thyroid
medication. I feel like such a doofus, so thus are the dangers of biohacking.
Steve: Well, that’s true and everything that you learn … well let me put it this way,
most of the lessons that are most precious that you learn are the result of a mistake.
Dave: Yeah, that’s very true. Another common mistake is disaster pants. You take way too
much of the MCT oil particularly, less so for the brain octane, you will really be friends
with the bathroom for a little while but you also learn your tolerance for it. You learn
how much to put in your coffee to feel good. Alright, let’s talk intermittent fasting.
Do you use intermittent fasting, do you recommend it, what does it do for acid/alkaline and
stuff like that? Steve: I do but I don’t recommend it because
of the acid/alkaline thing but because natural humans, we’re constantly being … we’re fasting
constantly because of a lack of food availability and since we don’t have that imposed upon
us we have to impose it upon ourselves. They whole idea that the human animal is given
to adapt to some steady state of life I think is a fiction of modern society and that when
people were alive in the old days, let’s pick 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 years ago, food was
an iffy thing and so we were constantly going in and out of ketosis, we’re constantly being
aerobic and anaerobic, we’ll have episodes where we’re running away from a bear and climbing
a tree and then other times when we’ll be kicked back and partying.
Dave: Right. And so making your life more like that is beneficial because you get a
hermetic change for different things … Steve: That’s right.
Dave: I get it. Steve: That that doesn’t kill you makes you
stronger, well that’s not necessarily true, but that that challenges you does tend to
make you stronger and therefore the more kinds of challenges you have in terms of high protein,
low protein, no protein, high carb, low carb, no carb kind of things and going through autophagy
when you have no protein available and all you’re eating are greens that you can harvest
as you’re hiking through a mountain pass, those are the kind of stresses that humans
would have and that every time you do that you’re pinning your metabolism up against
a wall and inducing an adaptive response. Dave: Yes.
Steve: The same thing happens with pH. We have buffering systems in our blood. Our blood
pH is highly constrained and so we have these two buffering systems, alkaline buffering
and acid buffering, that are oriented like this which keep our blood very, very tight.
Now if you are in an environment where you are eating an acid-loading diet, your alkaline
buffering system is on all the time and your acid-buffering system is weak and if youÕve
been switched to a highly alkalizing diet it switches the opposite way so the buffering
systems adapt to the kind of stresses that they have to manage.
Dave: Kind of like if you only get to eat something for a while your body will adapt
to digesting and eating that food and that’s how it is. One of the reasons that the new
bulletproof diet infographic includes the idea of a day of protein fasting is exactly
that. You want autophagy, you want to shake things up. The same reason that years ago
I used to try to be in ketosis all the time and not only does that suck because you don’t
get to eat some very delicious foods but it’s actually not that good for you compared to
cyclical ketosis which is where the diet evolves and that’s what I’m recommending to people
today and the differences they have are pretty significant.
Steve: Um-hum and I agree and I would say that even though it’s more convenient for
us to pick a once a week breaking of ketosis or a twice a week breaking of ketosis, that
would never be that ordered in real life and that it might even be better to say okay this
week I’m going to break ketosis twice and then I’m going to go two weeks without breaking
it at all. On my birthday I’m going to drink single malt and therefore I’m going to break
it on that day just because I haven’t had single malt in a year and so you’re playing
to that part of your mind that would otherwise be yammering at you, you know, go for this,
and you’re just giving it a day when it gets to play so that it shuts off the rest of the
time. Dave: There is a lot to be said for that,
especially in mid winter when it’s cold and dark. You probably ought to be in ketosis
most of the time, in summer less so and besides the peaches are ripe, like okay fine, [inaudible
00:47:16] fructose those days and get a little advanced [inaudible 00:47:18] and raise your
triglycerides, yeah probably, but it was worth it, right?
Steve: See, it’s never dark in winter in my life because I have red light therapy that
I do to encourage the early morning and late evening, the dusk and dawn effect, so I’m
adding to that kind of effect so that I don’t have the darkness issue.
Dave: You just said red, not blue and it’s kind of funny. I was reaching for my remote
control. I have bright red LEDs on right now. You see the side of my face is kind of reddish,
so I typically have red lights on all day, but I use this … 1000 watts of halogen lights
… Steve: It’s blue.
Dave: It’s like daytime so I’ve got blue here and the red’s on until I go to bed, but it’s
on all day too. Steve: Yeah. The light spectrum does shift
from red dominance in the morning to blue dominance mid day to red dominance in the
evening and so I just encourage that so that the issue of the photo period adjusting around
me doesn’t end up giving me seasonal affective effects.
Dave: You know what, we’re going to talk some more about what color light when because I
still haven’t even announced this yet. We’re doing a double podcast with Steve today because
he is just so knowledgeable. What we’re going to do now, Steve, is we’re going to end this
episode and everyone listening go ahead and subscribe on iTunes and next one in a few
days is going to be part two with Steve and he and I are going to continue talking. We’re
going to cover what color lights you should have when and I’m going to tell you now for
30 bucks you can get exactly this in one fixture that even looks kind of cool. It’s dirt cheap,
easy to do and it actually affects all kinds of systems in the body. We’re going to talk
about some light hacking which is why Steve is awesome. We just talked about peeing on
strips, what time of day to eat your coffee or to eat breakfast, and now we’re talking
about lights and I’m telling you, Steven cannot only keep up with me on all of this biohacking
stuff, he can run circles around me. So, you’re going to hear all that, just stay tuned and
come back in about 3 days when we post the next episode.
Thanks, Steve. We’ll ask you the top three in the next episode.
If you’ve been listening to this podcast and you’re wondering where to start, why don’t
you just jump in with both feet. Check out the bulletproof total upgrade kit which is
available on upgradedself.com. The bulletproof total upgrade kit includes just about one
of everything that you would want to have to get started on making bulletproof coffee,
on reducing your aging using our upgraded aging formula, on helping your body detox
better and think better using glutathione force as well as our very high quality upgraded
collagen protein. Try it altogether, save a ton of money and feel what it’s like to
be bulletproof. Bulletproof Toolbox
Podcast #94, Steve Fowkes 27 © The Bulletproof Executive 2013

16 thoughts on “Podcast #94 – Hacking pH w/ Steven Fowkes, Part 1 – Bulletproof Radio

  1. I'd like to hear what a PhD in organic chemistry would have to say about this interview. Seemed like a lot of pseudoscience to me and I could tell that Dave looked extremely uncomfortable with what he was saying as well.

  2. I've enjoyed the interview. Thanks! I guess, the best way to know it for sure is to try it out for yourself – monitor measurements and compare data. I'm looking forward to part 2. 

  3. I have one useful tip for you Bulletproof Exec: you are doing a good job in video description but if you wanna do an excellent job… Write down times of individual topics discussed. For example: PH – 0:35 to 10:46 (not correct, just examle) ect…

  4. I think maybe John Kefier may have it right when he says fat in the morning,and carbs at night?Maybe? How could you lose, it's the best of both worlds. Been listening to the wars on different diets since 1989 and frankly it's become a joke. The body is just to dam complex to get any guarantee.When I want a hunk of meat or a mango I eat it. Summer time I eat more fruit,winter more heavy foods.It works!

  5. any way you could summarize the info in this vid as a part 3 or something?  I was really listening and I am still confused about a lot of ´material..  a lot.   Thanks.  Michelle

  6. The primary cause of your body being "acidic" is simply due to eating too much food and in particular too much carbohydrates (primarily simple carbs). The reason i put acidic in inverted commas is because our blood will never get acidic because our body will regulate the pH level to make sure this doesn't happen; however, the harder the body has to work to regulate its pH the more likely things like organ damage and conditions such as CKD will occur. Anyway back to eating too much, A high intake of food will result in glycolytic overload in your cells i.e. when your cells take up nutrients, the nutrients enter the Krebs cycle and produce CO2, ATP and H+ protons (H+ is acidic to the body) the cells produce reducing molecules (NAD+) to mop the H+ up, however this is where there is a rate limiting factor, if you have too much nutrients going through the cells krebs cycle then your body can not mop up all the H+ molecules which in turn will make the body acidic. Insulin is the cells regulator, it determines how much nutrients the cell should take up. If you eat a lot carbs (primarily sugars) your insulin will spike and shuttle all the nutrients you just consumed into you cells….. do this 4,5 times a day and your cells are taking in some serious amounts of nutrients (too much). On top of this, because you insulin levels spike they will ultimately drop lower than basal levels, this results in the body thinking it is defecient in nutrients and thus you get hungry (when realistically your cells are stuffed). On the other had if you remove carbs from your diet and just eat fats and proteins your insulin levels will not spike after a meal and a steady flow of nutrients will be delivered into your cells at a rate that your body can handle, thus reducing the amount of free H+. Also because your insulin levels stay exceptionally steady you stay feeling fuller for longer with no crashes. 

  7. Just to follow up on the below comment…..As i said below, once the Krebs cycle is overloaded with glucose there is an overload of by products (NAD+ to NADH). As i said below, the more the Krebs cycle is working, the more NADH is produced. As a result NADH goes to the electron transport chain where it is broken back down into NAD+, as a result releases electrons, these electrons are mopped up by oxygen which can result in the production of oxygen molecules holding too many electrons (these are extremely reactive – free radicals).
    I know I know….way too much science, but basically it is a knock on effect, so to break it down……too much sugar/food – nutrient overload in your cells – high levels of H+ (ACID), high C02(ACID), High NAD+ to NADH conversion (results in free radicals). High levels of free radicals damages DNA (Leads to cancer).
    Interestingly, guess what? our body requires saturated fat (our brain is primarily made up of fat a lot of which is saturated fat). The build up of plaque in our arteries will only occur if you have a lot of free radicals in your body (eating too much sugar). It is LDL (this is a protein) that carries saturated fat and delivers the fat to cells when required. LDL is essential in your body in order to carry the saturated fat, it is only when LDL becomes oxidized from free radicals is when LDL becomes dangerous (oxLDL). When LDL is oxidized it becomes very reactive and shuttles the saturated fat it carrying in behind the cells of the arteries. Thus is you have a high fat diet you will have have high LDL levels, this is ok, but you need to make sure you are not consuming a lot of carbs on top of this diet. Doctors are now beginning to realise this and are now testing for both LDL and oxLDL.

  8. You have some really great info Dave, but seriously, TRT, Provigil, and T3? All 3 are major game changers in the body and not normal to 99.999% of the world. You need a prescription for each of them and for good reasons. Every diet recommendation you make should have an asterisk. I suppose destroying your body at a young age and then repairing it with band aids to get your markers into healthy range really is an accomplishment, but it's a bit scary how you speak as an authority on health. Unless you are hypopit, the reason you are hypothyroid is due to your lack of critical glucose support and you're irresponsibly sending other people down the same hypothyroid path. That's how I fixed all mine after years of Paleo and Keto diet damage. 

  9. Surely the great man should have said 'only a tiny bit' instead of 'no' in response to the alkaline water question.  I'm pretty convinced I got over a one way trip starting with Edema on the basis of sodium bicarb and alkaline water.  I was exhausted, fat and really really ugly. Or shall we say 'even more ugly.'  I now consider that there are problems drinking too much, since urine is to some extent blood plasma.  But one ought not trash the water alkaliser,  since every little bit of alkalisation, no matter how humble, ought to be employed. 

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