How to Get Into Ketosis Fast
The low-carb, high-fat keto diet has been shown to improve body composition and increase endurance performance. But getting into ketosis is difficu...
In 2008, Ben Azadi went through a personal health transformation of shredding 80 pounds of pure fat. Ever since, Ben Azadi, FDN-P, has been on a mission to help 1 billion people live a healthier lifestyle.
Ben is the author of four best-selling books, Keto Flex, The Perfect Health Booklet, The Intermittent Fasting Cheat Sheet, and The Power of Sleep. Ben has been the go-to source for intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet.
Ben is the host of a top 15 podcast, The Keto Kamp Podcast which won Keto Podcast of The Year (2022) by The Metabolic Health Summit. Ben has the fast growing Keto Kamp YouTube channel with over 150,000 subscribers, and TikTok channel with over 285,000 subscribers and over 46 million video downloads.
Ben is a keynote speaker who most recently delivered a keynote lecture for Ketocon 2022, and he's been featured in Forbes, LA Weekly, Disrupt Magazine, NY Times Mag, LA Entertainment Weekly and other publications.
Follow Ben @thebenazadi on all social media platforms and www.benazadi.com
Key point topics and studies mentioned:
Different pillars of keto and Ben's book, Keto Flex
Ketosis, mitochondria biogenesis and mitohormesis
Gratitude (Ben calls it Vitamin G) being the most powerful supplement
Feast and famine cycle to optimize microbiome and health
Tips to have the right mindset for your journey to health and fitness
Dr. Latt Mansor:Hi, this is Dr. Latt Mansor, Research Leader of Health Via Modern Nutrition here on HVMN Podcast. This episode we had the honor to interview the Ben Azadi. In 2008, Ben himself made a major transmission where he lost 80 pounds of fat. Ever since then, he is on a mission to help one billion people to live a healthier lifestyle. He's also the host of a podcast called Keto kamp, which won the Keto Podcast of the Year by the Metabolism Health Summit this year. And he's also an Author of multiple books, including his latest book, Keto Flex. In this episode we talked about his book, Keto Flex. We talked about mitohormesis, how ketones help with mitochondrial biogenesis, and we also talked about gratitude or what he calls as vitamin G in transformation and healthier lifestyle. We also covered feast and famine cycles and how does that help with healthier lifestyle. Now, if you are interested, please stay tuned and enjoy this episode. Hi, today we have the Ben Azadi on the HVMN Podcast. Hey Ben, thank you so much for coming on.
Ben Azadi:Latt, I'm excited man. I love what you're doing. I'm so glad the podcast is back and kicking butt and I had you on my podcast, now It's great to be on yours.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah, it's different to be on the other side, isn't it?
Ben Azadi:The roles have changed my friend.
Dr. Latt Mansor:The roles or tables have turned, but I'm sure you'll be completely fine. I've seen a lot of your content, a lot of your speeches and presentations. Great speaker, so I'm very, very excited to kick this episode out by asking you to tell a little bit about yourself, to our listeners, in terms of what your background is and what your passion is and let them know you a little bit more.
Ben Azadi:Absolutely. Like many people out there, I grew up in America following a standard American diet. And you and I both know it's a very toxic, heavily processed diet, but that was my life growing up. My mom actually worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken, fast food restaurants, two of them when I was a kid. She brought me home, Kentucky Fried Chicken pretty much every night. The only nights that my mom did not bring me home, Kentucky Fried Chicken was when the oil was being used so much, because they only replaced the oil by the way, in these fast food restaurants every 14 days. Meaning they're frying it over and over and over, and then 14th day, "Let's replace it with new canola oil." On that 12, 13, 14 days, she wouldn't bring home the chicken because she said the oil needs to be recycled. But other than that, I ate a whole bunch of bad food and I was very unhealthy growing up. I was obese, physically obese, mentally. I had really bad behaviors such as my environment and the food I ate. I had addictions to video games and sugar and alcohol and drugs. It was just really, really bad growing up. And it showed with my physical and mental appearance. When I became an adult, now I went to college, I ended up dropping out of college because all I wanted to do was play video games and drink soda and eat pizza, that was my life. And I was 23 years old, this was back in 2008, going through a very difficult time in my life where my girlfriend at that time, we were together for over three years, she left me because all I wanted to do was play video games. And she left a big hole in my heart. I was devastated and I was depressed and I wanted to honestly give up on life. I was looking for ways to actually give up on life. And every time I explored that, I kept thinking about my mom and the devastation she would have to deal with if I took my life. And it stopped me, thank God, because I think I would've went through it if I didn't have my mom in my thoughts. And it was a vicious cycle because I was tired of hurting every day. I was 250 pounds at this time, 34% body fat, really, really unhealthy, 23 year old young man, but I felt old. And everything changed for me the second that I started to read books, I picked up a book, a friend handed me a book which led to five books and 10 books and 20 books, and I read authors like Tony Robbins and Bob Proctor and Dr. Wayne Dyer and all these incredible authors and the books opened up a whole new world for me, Latt. But the most important thing that the books did for me was, they helped me take ownership and responsibility for the first time ever. Up until that point, my ability to respond to life, which is what responsibility means, my ability to respond to life was poor. I was blaming my genetics, I was blaming my enabling mom, bringing me home Kentucky Fried Chicken, I was blaming my slow metabolism. But when you take ownership or responsibility, all that goes away. In that second I said, "I am responsible." And I immediately stopped being the victim of my history. And in that second I became the victor of my destiny. And everything changed, nine months later I lost 80 pounds. I went from 34% body fat to 6% body fat. I went from size 38 waist to size 30, completely transformed my physical health, but also achieved what I call a physical, excuse me, a mental six pack. And that was about 14 years ago. Now I've been in the health and nutrition space ever since.
Dr. Latt Mansor:And the process only took nine months?
Ben Azadi:It took nine months to get through that weight loss. But-
Dr. Latt Mansor:The weight loss?
Ben Azadi:Yeah. The weight loss. But I wasn't necessarily healthy at that point. I was one of those fit sick people. It took some years to really explore what true health felt like.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Of course.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Metabolism like chronic diseases and metabolism, it takes a long time, it's a very gradual process where you slowly become sicker and sicker. And you don't even know it, as you said, because you're doing stuff that are, quote unquote, "Enjoyable," that gives you that dopamine. Like last episode with Drew Manning, we talked about these hyper palatable food and these short-term dopamine rushes that you get with relationship to food, with relationship to video games or anything that is very decant and very distracting from the actual work that you have to put in for living a healthy life. I definitely get you because I have been there. I was overweight before I lost all those weight. And it's really interesting here, a point that you pointed out, as soon as you take responsibility of your current situation, everything else, all the blaming games go away and you can actually start taking action. I think that is the hardest, but also the most important step is to write the first word on a blank piece of paper for an essay. It's taking that first step and really pushing forward. So kudos to you, congratulations. Now, you're one of the biggest names in metabolism health and nutrition. You have your own podcast and also author of multiple books. Let's talk a little bit about your new book, Keto Flex.
Ben Azadi:Thank you, Latt. And I love Drew Manning. Great, great person to interview, such a good guy. Keto Flex, so the principle behind Keto Flex, which is my latest book and I'm really proud of it, it's got some great endorsements. Actually Drew Manning endorsed the book as well. The book is really about ancient healing. And when I say ancient healing, these are principles that have stood the test of time, they've been around for as long as humans have existed. And of course ketosis, as you're a big fan of, is one of those ancient healing strategies. There's really nothing new about keto. It just might be new to some people or nuance. But in reality it's a metabolic process that has been around for as long as humans have existed. And if there was no such thing as ketosis, we actually would not exist today because thank God for ketones. Otherwise, our ancestors would not have the ability to have any energy in their brain. They would've died, they wouldn't have been able to focus and hunt and we would've been extinct if it wasn't for ketosis. The book talks about that. It talks about the history of ketosis and how it's not a fad, it's a fact. And then, we get into other ancient healing strategies like fasting and fasting strategies and carnivore. But the principle of Keto Flex, and the reason I call it that and the way that I speak and teach keto, very different than most people in the keto space. A lot of people, and no disrespect at all, I love everybody in the space, but a lot of people in the keto space will teach to be in ketosis for the rest of your life. And I think ketosis is a very valuable tool, but I don't think it's the only tool. Our ancestors, they always flexed at ketosis when they have the opportunity. They all did keto, but they flexed out. That's the principle. The principle is keto flexing, which means metabolic flexibility, metabolic freedom. That's what we want to get to. The ability to burn fat and sugar and go back and forth without a hiccup. And that's what the book's primarily about.
Dr. Latt Mansor:That's really amazing point that you pointed out metabolic flexibility, because that was the entire PhD that I did in, looking at cardiovascular disease and diabetes and how our heart, especially heart and the brain, where you need to work 24/7 from the day you're born to the day, even before you're born, to the day you die, these organs need to work really hard and constantly. And therefore, it is programmed to be able to use all the fields, all the different substrates at any given time. And that is metabolic flexibility, giving different stimulus, what substrates could provide these organs with ATP, which is the currency for energy in the cells. This is a great conversation starter. And let's talk a little bit about, what you talk about, ancient healing. Why is ketosis ancient? Because I know you and I, we know this, we've been in this area for a while. For our listeners who are new to ketones, who are new ketosis, what are the differences between ketosis and ketones and ketoacidosis? Would you like to talk a little bit more on that?
Ben Azadi:Absolutely. As I mentioned, they're ancient healing because they've been around forever. And as a matter of fact, accidentally ancient Romans discovered the power of fasting and ketosis a long time ago, because back then when individuals were having seizures, they didn't know what... There was no term for epileptic seizures. They thought these individuals were actually being possessed by demons. And they thought, "Whoa, these people, they're convulsing, their saliva is coming out of their mouth, they're dripping saliva and shaking, they're possessed by the devil." They would lock them up in a room, no food, no water, come back several hours later and they'd be fine. They thought they were starving the demons out, but they forced them to fast, which produced ketones. And we now know through research, in the 1920s that a ketogenic diet works really well for epileptic seizures. It's simply this, the process of lowering insulin, aka lowering your carbohydrate intake to lower insulin and glucose as you study and teach, Latt, so your body could now tap into its body fat, its reserves, its energy reserves, if you will. And when you do that, you start mobilizing those fatty acids that are in your body fat, those fatty acids are sent to your liver, that soccer mom organ, liver, that does everything for us. And the liver starts using that for energy and then it produces ketones. This is ketogenesis, the birth of ketones. And there's three types of ketones as you know, Latt, there is Beta-Hydroxybutyrate, which is tested in the blood. The unique thing about BHB is that it has the ability to cross the blood brain barrier. There's acetone, which is expelled in the breath, breath ketones meters are testing for acetone. And then there's acetyl acetate, which is expelled in the urine, which is the urine strips. Those are the three types of ketones bodies. And then that's how ketones are produced. You got to take your carbohydrates low enough or there's other ways, it's not necessarily about high fat, that could be one way, high fat, low carb, but also exercise and intermittent fasting are other ways to do that as well. There's different avenues to get into ketosis.
Dr. Latt Mansor:That's the biochemistry 101 here guys. When you have high sugar intake, you spike your insulin high, because your insulin is essentially a signaling molecule or hormone that tells the rest of your body to take in this high amount of sugar that is circulating in your blood, so that you can use them for energy. Now, what happens when you actually don't use them for energy? You are sitting in your sedentary lifestyle, but you're still consuming that high sugar. What happens is that, it's either going to store it as fat and you are really accumulating fat, body fat percentage or it's going to increase the circulating sugar in your blood, in which case it will damage neurons, it will damage nerve endings, it will damage a lot of systems there, because of the constant high sugar circulating in your body. In terms of, you talked a little bit about how our bodies can correct ourselves, we can heal ourselves as long as you remove the interference. Let's talk a bit on, what are the different interference and how do you just remove them? Because I know there's multifaceted, multi-modal, it's not just one size fits all solution. How do you overcome that mental challenge and that relationship with food for example, and the relationship with activities that make you feel good? Tell us a little bit on, what are the tips that you tell your students?
Ben Azadi:Great important question, because a lot of people are dealing with that challenge of dopamine hits and food addiction and that short-term gain with results in long-term pain and frustration. I'll share from my experience, and this is what I coach my Keto Kamp Academy students. I've taken thousands of students through these protocols. And for me, when I had food addiction, when I was looking for the answers in my refrigerator, in my pantry and I wanted those dopamine hits and that happened for years. For me, it was a result of not being clear on my highest values. I didn't have any priorities in life. There was no goals. And when you don't have goals, you have holes and you fill the holes with food and dopamine and bad behavior. When I got clear on my highest values, then I looked at those addictions and I look at addiction as a superpower, which is a very different approach. But I was putting a lot of discipline, I was putting a lot of energy and bandwidth into my addictions. I became one of the biggest, the best video game players in the world back then. I actually made it to the final four in Madden Football, the Madden Challenge, final four, I almost was won the whole thing. I was ranked 142 out of millions of Call of Duty players. I knew that I had a superpower, but I was using it for the wrong thing. When I got clear on my highest values and it came from being depressed and suicidal, health became very important to me and nutrition. I transferred the energy man. I went from transferring all the energy into video games, into addiction and to all the discipline I was putting there. And I transferred it to what was actually more important to me and now it's being used as a superpower. That's the first tip I would say. Find out what's important to you, the Greeks call it your telos, it's your highest value. And then use that energy that you're using on your addiction and transfer it to that highest value, the new goals that you're setting. Once your, why is strong, then, the, how becomes a lot easier. That would be the step number one for me.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Great. That's amazing tip, because it is so true, how you pick something that you are already doing so well and then you transfer the energy from something unhealthy to something healthy. I had something similar of an experience, but it's a bit of a reverse. When I was in my second year in my undergrad, I was 22 year old, I was overweight, I wasn't obese, I was overweight, I was a smoker. I was very unhealthy and I started exercising and not because I wanted to lose weight, because my housemate asked me to go running with her. And I realized how hard it was for me to run. I hated physical activity and because of the pride that I had, because I was 22, I was like, "This cannot be happening." I kept doing it and I finally lost about 20 kilos, 45 pounds in four months. But then, that was in the cusp of going to my third year. And in my third year, it's my final year, in the UK, it's only three year degree. And I needed to get a first class honors in order to get a scholarship for my master's program. At that point I told myself, "If I can actually lose weight from physical activity, which I hated all my life, I can actually push myself to get my first class. Because, I'm 1.5% away, but that means I have to get 1.5% extra for all my modules across the board." But I told myself, "I have been studying all my life, that was what I was good at and I stayed away from physical activity, so if I can achieve something in physical activity, there stands no reason for me not to be able to achieve something academically." I pushed myself and I pushed myself and I finally got my first class and that was how I got into Columbia for my masters program with a scholarship. Because I couldn't afford it, I come from a developing country, Malaysia, my family, they are middle class, they certainly can't... They can afford probably a local university, but they certainly can't afford paying USD or British Pound to support my education. I'm really grateful and really happy with the opportunities that were presented to me.
Ben Azadi:That's amazing, [inaudible 00:17:37]. That's an amazing... I didn't know that about you. I didn't even know you smoked by the way. That's new information to me.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah, I smoked for seven years.
Dr. Latt Mansor:I smoked very young, 15 till 22. I was not supposed to be smoking, but I did. It was a lot of peer pressure. It was a lot of me being this geeky, nerdy guy that do not have friends and I want to be accepted and I want to blend in and be part of the group, the cool group and the cool group all smoke. I feel that, that is the right of passage, that's the right of entry to get into that group. And then, later I found out that through studying metabolism and all that, that I'm doing the opposite. Now, it's cool to be healthy, now it's cool to be a low body fat, it's cool to have a really metabolically flexible body. That's the shift that we are facing. And years ago, we look at smoking and say, "Oh, that guy is so cool." Right now, you look at people who are smoking, you pity them and you feel bad for them, because for example, my late dad, he passed away from stroke and then before that he had a heart attack and he was a smoker. I know that genetically as well, I'm not that well positioned to lead an unhealthy lifestyle and not face these risks of cardiovascular disease and chronic diseases. I particularly have to be very careful on how I take care of myself. Going back to what you said about responsibility, your bodies are your responsibility, your health is your responsibility. No matter what genetics you're given with, no matter what education you're given, no matter what environment you're in, ultimately you have full control of your body and full control of your lifestyle choices, that you can eventually make it better.
Ben Azadi:Well said. You're so right and your environment is a big reason for your thoughts and your actions. You got to clean up your environment. Highly recommend you do an, [inaudible 00:19:37], environment and see who's supporting you and who's not supporting you. But like you said, I believe that being unhealthy is one of the most selfish things you can do. Because not only do you suffer if you get unhealthy, if you are overweight and have low energy levels, that person suffers. But also, everybody in that person's life, the relationships, the husband, the wives, how could they get your best version if you're not healthy? How could they get your true authentic self, if you're complaining all the time, you're hurting all the time? It's one of the most selfish things you can do, is to be unhealthy. My dad also, Latt, suffered a massive stroke and he was paralyzed for nine months and he ended up passing away. He suffered, but everybody around him suffered too. When somebody gets sick, it's not just the person who's sick who's suffering, it's everybody around them. I always want to keep that in mind. If you treat your health casually, you will end up a casualty, always remember that.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Absolutely. I think it's a lot to do with self-worthiness, but it's also how much do you love yourself so that you can love somebody else? And how much do you love the people around you to not put them in such situation? Because all of us have gone through a lot of, I'm sure at some point, gone through grief. We've lost people, we've seen people close to us, people we love getting sick. And that is not a good feeling and it's sometimes not their fault, but most of the time if it's lifestyle driven, you can do something about it. And even right now, we are talking about diabetes, 10 years ago when I started looking into diabetes, as a PhD and study diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it used to be a disease that once you get diagnosed, that's it. You have to live with medication for the rest of your lives or you just have to deal with amputation. Eventually, it's just going to get you sooner or later. But that is absolutely untrue, as a lot of organizations and healthcare providers proven these days that you can actually reverse diabetes. They call it diabetes remission. It may not be completely cured because once you go back to the unhealthy lifestyle, it may come back. But for as long as you live a healthy lifestyle and choose the healthy foods, you are able to really drive the disease away and drive those complications away. Because what happens is, it's the elevated blood glucose, circulating blood glucose that is causing all the damage to your nerves, causing all the infestations or causing any infections. Ultimately, it's you against you, it's you against your own choices.
Ben Azadi:So true. And type two diabetes, you're right, even to this day, most conventional doctors and the American Diabetes Association will tell you that it's a progressive chronic disease that we could manage. But I've seen time-after-time people get off their insulin, their metformin, get their A1C from 8.8 to 5.1. It can be done. The human body is so adaptable. But if you leave your health in the hands of conventional wisdom, they might lead you toward the direction of more symptom management versus actually getting to the cause. And there's a time and place, I know you agree with this, Latt, there was a time and place for conventional medicine, thank God we have a conventional medicine. But when it comes to the nutrition part, the truth of the matter is that a cured patient is a lost customer and there's a lot of money to be made from people who are on medications, going through surgeries. And it doesn't have to be that way. We have hope. And this podcast, this conversation, the work that you do at HVMN, those are the tools to actually help people harness that innate intelligence within their body, so their body could actually get to healing itself.
Dr. Latt Mansor:That's a powerful but yet controversial statement, what you just said, "A cured patient is a lost customer for these pharmaceutical companies." And it is true and it's sad that our lives are driven by greed, by money, by capitalism, and all of us, yes, we all have to earn our keep. We have to pay for our roof and pay for our foods, but it doesn't have to be that way. We can stand for healthier lifestyle, have healthier choices, but still get money out of it. Yes, it may not have hundred percent margin like some pharmaceuticals do, but at the end of the day, you're helping people and impacting people in that positive way. And that's why I have a lot of respect for people like yourself, to really impact people who need it. Because a lot of people, it's not that they don't want to as well, it comes to the lack of knowledge, the lack of access to these information. Because obviously big corporations, sugar corporations, big pharmaceuticals, they have the money to really blast it out in all forms of media, not just social media. This is why it's important for us to do our work, no matter how big or small it is, podcasts and blogs and articles and books and Keto Kamp, for example, we're doing our parts and I'm glad we are.
Ben Azadi:And we live in an interesting time, because in this day and age, Latt, we have people and when I mean people, I mean your audience, my audience, those, [inaudible 00:24:58], who are getting educated on metabolic health. They walk into their appointment with their conventional doctor and they actually know more about the metabolism and nutrition than their doctor. That's the point that we've gotten to. And it's super cool to see people are taking responsibility, they're taking their health into their own hands. But just a ridiculous example of how I think it's... I don't know if it will ever be fixed, I pray that it will, I pray that the government guidelines get their stuff in order. But, that Tufts University Food Compass that just came out a few weeks ago, a few months ago, it was a chart and it showed items with green bars are foods that should be encouraged to eat in abundance for you and your family. And then items in yellow should be in moderation and then items in red, minimize. And we look at the items that were in green from Tufts University that they recommend., You see shredded frosted Mini-Wheats, you see Cheerios, you see these actual general meals and big food companies actually listed as foods to eat. Then you go down to the red bars and what do you see? Red meat, eggs cooked in butter. As a matter of fact, eggs cooked and canola oil was higher on the list than eggs cooked in butter. How ridiculous is this? I always tell people, man, I'm like, "Good place to start. Go follow what the government is promoting in terms of nutrition and then pay real close attention and do the opposite and you're going to be in the right direction."
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah. As ironic as that sounds, is true. All these seed oil, it's amazing how, in our field we know, people we follow on social media, we know the studies are out how bad seed oils are, but it's amazing how majority of America, they don't know it. And they're still following that guideline. They're like, "Well, it is fortified with vitamin E. It's fortified with this and that. And I'm cooking with this. I'm not cooking with a lot of oil." But it's really driving inflammation up. From a scientific point of view, seed oils is by far driving inflammation further compared to any other food categories.
Ben Azadi:And I'll take that a step further, because when I interviewed Dr. Cate Shanahan, and I've interviewed her a few times, she of course, wrote the book Deep Nutrition, which I have here. She used to be the nutritionist for the Lakers, when Kobe Bryant was there. Just a couple weeks ago, I brought her on a keto challenge and I said, "Hey, Dr. Cate Shanahan," she's an MD, look her up drkate.com, brilliant, and I said, "Three scenarios. Scenario number one, somebody smoked cigarettes every day. Scenario number two, somebody ate processed sugar every single day. Scenario number three, somebody had seed oils, aka, vegetable oils every day. Which scenario will lead to disease faster?" And she said, "Ben, that's easy. Easy question. It's the seed oils." She said, "You smoke cigarettes, it's not good for you, but once you finish the last puff, damage is done. You eat a lot of sugar, it's not good for you, but you could exercise and burn it off." She said, "Seed oils are little like acid, that omega-6 PUFA, stays in your body fat for two to five years, and damages your mitochondria, creates massive amounts of disease and inflammation and toxicity within yourselves for years." And I agree with her. Out of those three options I think the seed oils are the worst option there.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Well, since you mentioned mitochondria, we all know ketones are very beneficial to mitochondria, from that conversation, I'm just curious from a scientific mind here, is there a way at all, to clean that to a certain way or mitigate that effect or that negative impact that seed oil has on the mitochondria by being on a ketogenic diet or by having ketones in the body? Do you know?
Ben Azadi:It's a good question. There are. There's nothing really concrete, but I'm just going to theorize here, what I think would help. We know that when you're in ketosis, ketones are also signaling molecules. They communicate with the mitochondria to make more mitochondria. It's like a survival mechanism to create mitogenesis. That's why there's about 400% more ATP from somebody in ketosis versus somebody who's just burning straight up glucose and sugar. You do get the benefit of new mitochondria, which help with the energy production. At the same time you have the mitochondrial uncoupling to help lower free radicals. More energy, less free radicals, win-win. Now, what happens when you have all these seed oils? And there's a great study, I have it in one of my PowerPoint slides, that I could send to you if you want to put in the show notes, that looked at the mitochondria and they fed the mitochondria different fats, so polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats and saturated fats, and then trans fats. And they wanted to see what kind of energy production in free radicals were produced after each fat. And of course the saturated fat, monounsaturated fat performed really well and then the PUFAs and the trans fats performed really poorly. But it was cool to see how different fats affected the mitochondria. I think, and I want to find some concrete research on this. This is just me hypothesizing what we can do to get the seed oils out faster or potentially protect the mitochondrial membrane from the seed oils. Astaxanthin has been shown to be a very powerful mitochondrial membrane barrier, there's some studies, at least seven of them that I have in my notes here that show, what astaxanthin does to act like a bodyguard, to protect that mitochondrial membrane, to not allow too many bad things in and allow good things in and make it very fluid in the right way. And then vitamin E as well, I've seen some research on what vitamin D, vitamin E, excuse me, can do for the mitochondrial membrane. And of course, and I want to hear your thoughts on this, to my knowledge, there's only two antioxidants that could get into the mitochondrial membrane. One of them is glutathione and the other one is melatonin. I would throw those into the mix, unless there's something else that I'm missing. That would be my thought process on it. But what are your thoughts Latt?
Dr. Latt Mansor:Where the question came about is that, I'm just thinking, okay, we metabolize all these substrates and seed oil is considered a substrate, it's a fat. That's why I was more curious as to why she says, "It will stay in the body between two to five years," and what form would that molecule be in while staying in the body? If you know what I mean. Because, [inaudible 00:31:17], it in a form of fatty acid, then we should be able to metabolize it. But then, if it's converted into a form that is constantly increasing inflammation but not being recognized as a metabolite, then it'll be a different story.
Ben Azadi:That's a good question and you should bring her on to ask that question directly. But here's what I think she would say. I think she would say that the linoleic acid is being embedded into, not just the mitochondria membrane but also the cell membrane. And it's, for lack of a better word, it's gunking up the receptor sites, the membranes, and that's staying there. Half life, she predicts is two years, meaning if you remove vegetable oils today in two years, the linoleic acid, the omega-6 will still be around the membranes of your cells after two years, half of it will be around after two years, [inaudible 00:32:06].
Dr. Latt Mansor:She's theorizing that these seed oils, these fatty acids are being incorporated into the phospholipid bilayer, which makes up the membrane of the cell. And that makes sense because our cells, if there's something bad and then our body will recognize it as invader and increase inflammation and increase response to battle that. And if they can't get rid of that, they would just upregulate, our body is made to just constantly upregulate inflammation if they can't get rid of it. Because, our body is not that fine tuned where it will find other mechanism. It is very smart in a lot of ways, but there are sometimes where our body would just like, "Okay, there's a lot of glucose, let's crank up insulin. Oh there's more glucose, let's crank more until the pancreatic beta cells fail and can't compensate that demand of insulin."
Ben Azadi:And one more thing to that, because I love this conversation, it's so interesting, I know this, that the number one priority for the body is survival. The body just wants to survive. It'll do anything, everything short-term to survive, even if that means long term disease is developing. Toxins for example, like heavy metals, environmental toxins, when toxins enter the body via eating it through our food, glyphosate, whatever it is, or silver fillings in your mouth or touching your skin, the innate intelligence doesn't want those toxins to go right into your brain or your organs. It wants to preserve that. It activates PPARy pathway which actually shuttles those toxins to your body fat because the solution to pollution is dilution. With that, I would think it's the same thing with seed oils. It's a toxin, it's a unstable fat. I think I would hypothesize, we got to find out for sure, I would think the same process or a similar process is happening, it's increasing the fat cells to dilute the toxicity of what's entering the body.
Dr. Latt Mansor:That's a logical explanation for sure. Hey, listeners out there who are scientists, please make sure you go into that research and find the answer out for us. We'd love to have you guys on the podcast and talk about this.
Dr. Latt Mansor:And you talked a bit, I want to dial back a little bit on the antioxidants as well, glutathione and melatonin. And what I have found is that ketones, so Dr. Gundry talks about this, that ketones increase uncoupling. In a way, uncoupling is not recommended because uncoupling in the mitochondria means wastage of energy, because the electrons are not being coupled and not perfectly synergized with the ATP generation. However, and we know that ketones does increase uncoupling. However, what some research actually points out is that, that uncoupling caused by ketones is not high level enough to really cause a significant wastage of energy. But instead a little bit of uncoupling causes mitohormesis and mitohormesis means the mitochondria is adapting to that, quote unquote, "Bad event," which is the uncoupling. But then as a result it generates more antioxidant, in order to battle the oxidative damage right from the uncoupling. As we all know, inflammation is not necessarily bad because it is a mechanism at which our body uses to combat infection and combat toxins. But at the same time, constant elevation of inflammation like in chronic diseases, it shows that it is bad, because it starts damaging all cells and organs around you. It's the same thing here, constant uncoupling and high level of uncoupling is definitely not good, because you are not using the energy efficiently. But the uncoupling caused by ketones which are temporary and not that high level, gives the chance for the mitochondria to really adapt to the response or cultivate adaptive response to the uncoupling, hence creating more antioxidant. And that could also be why people say, "Ketones are anti-inflammatory and antioxidative."
Ben Azadi:Well explained. Completely agree. That's why you see studies that show when somebody gets into ketosis, there's an upregulation of a glutathione to deal with the extra inflammation. But that's a good thing, it's hormesis, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. But you just made the case my friend. I don't know if you knew it or not, you just made the case, Latt, that long term ketosis meaning uncoupling for too long could be problematic. And that's one of many reasons why I don't believe in long term ketosis because like you said, it's good to have a little bit of some stress and a little bit of uncoupling, but chronic uncoupling and chronic low levels of insulin, that could also be a problem. My shirt says, "Mighty mitochondria," and it has a mitochondria lifting weights. Mitochondria are the name of the game and you could get a really cool benefit with cyclical ketosis and I know Gundry believes in that as well.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah. And this is amazing because you mentioned what I wanted to talk next, which is what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Cyclical keto was one of them. We talked about that with Drew Manning last episode. I also want to touch a little bit upon fast and, sorry feast and fasting cycle that you talk about and Keto Kamp talks about. Can you explain to our listeners what does that mean, fasting and famine cycles and how does that play into cyclical ketosis and battling all these therapeutic diseases?
Ben Azadi:I love fasting. I know that you're a big fan of fasting too. And we're genetically hardwired to practice periods of famine, aka fasting and then periods of feasting. That's the way that it's been done for a very long time. When our ancestors didn't have food, they were forced to fast and then they found food and they feasted and then they ate as much as possible to store as much body fat, because they never knew when the next meal was coming. Insulin in that case is a blessing, thank God for insulin, because they were able to put on as much fat as possible. Now the famine never comes in 2022 and in 2023 and we're just constantly in a fed state and that's the problem. But we forget about the fasted state. Here's something interesting, I have a colleague of mine, his name is Dr. Don Clum, he's a Chiropractor. He did a patient population survey. It's not the most efficient study, but it was a patient population survey. He has hundreds of his patients to write down and notate every time they ate something and we classified eating something as any time they started the digestive process and raised glucose and insulin, meaning it could be a meal, or it could be a snack, it could be kombucha, it could be carrots or it could be an actual burger, whatever it is. And the average American in his study was eating 17 to 23 times per day. They're in a constant fed state, eating for almost every waking hour. I think Satchin Panda has some research on that too. And that's a problem. We never allow our digestive system to take a break and reset. We're constantly raising glucose and insulin. This leads to insulin resistance, which leads to type two diabetes, which leads to heart disease and it's just growth, growth. And that can mean cancer growth. Fasting is very important because we're overly fed and we're eating too frequently. I believe that fasting is like nature's reset button. If you're struggling with acid reflux and bloating, gas, indigestion, a 24-hour fast once a week could really repair a lot of those issues. As a matter of fact, MIT showed 24-hour water fast, created new intestinal stem cells in mice. And then, you could do a little bit different variations. I love fasting, not just because it helps you lose weight and lower insulin, but what it does for the brain to help you produce BDNF, which is this Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor, because your body, the innate intelligence, again, survival, you're going through a fast, your body thinks you're going through a famine, it doesn't know about Uber Eat or DoorDash, automatically goes into this process, so it raises, [inaudible 00:40:10], regulatory hormones, which is the sympathetic tone goes up, it pumps your brain full of BDNF. Why? Because it thinks you need to go out there and hunt and kill. But you're going to use that to crush your podcast, to crush an interview, to crush your day. It gives you all this energy. I love it for many, many reasons. Those are just a few.
Dr. Latt Mansor:And this is also another example of what actually works is the change. Whenever we have a change, same thing with, from a cellular level when you're talking about mitochondria, there's an uncoupling, there is a change, so mitochondria respond to it by creating more antioxidant. Same thing here with our lives, if we change what our, quote unquote, "Status quo," is, if we are used to eating a lot, half a fast and that change causes our body, it definitely increases the stress that our body is facing. But that stress is actually what you need in order for your body to create all these other pathways or upregulate all these downward, cascade of pathways to then make it more useful for you or make it healthier for you. For example, you change from going from paleo to keto or from keto to cyclical keto. And when you introduce different substrates to your microbiome, that change in and of itself, creates that stress signaling and then that stress signaling is upregulating all these other enzymes to make sure that you are either losing weight or you are increasing energy. And it's not for everyone, obviously. There are some diets which do not work for some people. And are people who cannot be on ketogenic diet, because of their dysfunction in fatty acids oxidation. There not a lot of them, but there are some non-responders. But ultimately, I think always know your body well and make those changes every now and again, because same thing with working out, once you work out on a same routine for three months, six months, you ought to change it because your body is well adapted to it and therefore you're very efficient. Like you said, our body is always gunning for survivability, but it's also very smart at learning. We are the ultimate AI machine, essentially. We are adapting, we are the best adaptive machine, that's what Drew Manning call it. And once your body adapt to the all workout, you need to change it, either increase intensity, lower the weight, and increase the reps or increase the weights and have a progressive load, something in order to stimulate your muscles to grow. That is exactly what Ben explained.
Ben Azadi:That's it, Latt, you said it. All the great personal trainers know that. That's why they're so successful. They always change up the workout routine. That's why P90X was so successful. That's why CrossFit is so successful. It's the muscle confusion, it's the hormesis. When you force yourselves to adapt and you force the mitochondria to adapt, good cells and good mitochondrial get stronger and the bad cells and the bad mitochondria, they don't survive. The body gets rid of them. It's like survival of the fittest. With that being said, fasting is a stress, like exercise is a stress to the body, so you got to use it the right way. Too much of that stress, then you have that hormetic curve that drops. You don't want that, you want to stay in that hormetic zone. You don't want to be in the familiar zone where your body has learned everything you're doing and you stop adapting. You want to be in that hormetic zone and you want to continue to get results. And it's so unique and it's hard for me to tell you, "Well, just do a 16/8 every day or just do keto for two weeks." It's so unique to the person. But we have cool tools like Oura Ring, WHHOP band, CGMs, and things we can do to fine tune our approach, which is exciting.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Thank you very much for that. I always think about it in my own life as well. If I want to grow as a person, I want to grow as a scientist, if I want to grow as a professional, I always almost have to put myself in an uncomfortable position where I'm being challenged, where I'm being asked questions that I can't answer and therefore I'm going out there and search for the answers. And even when I was doing research, what are the research questions that people don't know and want to know? And that's where you push yourself into that uncomfortable situation, out of your comfort zone. And only then you grow, because you're learning new things, you are experiencing new things and that's how we grow as people, as a population even. I know that biochemistry is super important. Obviously, we have covered a lot on the biochemistry, on the disease progression, on the different mechanisms that are causing all the chronic diseases that are plaguing our society today. But what I am also propagating, what I'm also advocating on HVMN Podcast is that, you need to know your biomarkers and everything, but that is not end-all be-all, because most importantly mindset, your relationship with food, your emotional state is also as important. I know Ben calls it vitamin G, which is gratitude. Why don't you share with our listeners why do you think the vitamin G is important and how it plays a role in transformation towards healthy lives?
Ben Azadi:Great topic. I love to talk about this. And for you science nerds, I'll give you the science behind it. Don't just think we're getting woo-woo here, it's maybe a little woo-woo, then we'll get into the science. It's a universal law, Latt, what you feed energy to expands. There's no arguing universal laws, gravity is the universal law. You might say, "I don't believe in gravity. I think gravity is a whole bunch of BS." Well, somebody jumps off the building, even if they don't believe in gravity, they're going to see that gravity exists, [inaudible 00:46:02], universal law. Same thing with gratitude, what you feed energy to expands. Meaning what you appreciate appreciates. And there is science to back this up. If you think about Dr. Joe Dispenza, he has a lot of research on vitamin G, gratitude, the strongest, most important vitamin in the world. He's looked at brain scans on people taking vitamin G, meaning they practiced gratitude and he saw 1200 chemical reactions take place in a matter of seconds. When they were practicing gratitude, he saw serotonin, dopamine, GABA, he saw oxytocin and a whole bunch of other feel good hormones and chemicals being flooded in the body when they are practicing gratitude. It's this anti-inflammatory state. But the science behind it is this, there's a part of the brain called the reticular activation system, is the size of my pinky. You know all about this, Latt. And the reason it's there is, because it's going to help your brain filter out all the stimulation. If you think about all the stimulation that happens on a day-to-day basis, we have lights, TV, screens, cars, vehicles, [inaudible 00:47:06], millions of different things. If we didn't have a process to filter that out, we would burn out the brain. Thank God for the RAs because it filters out the things that we need to see, that are important to us. Again for what? Survival. It's going to show you what you've been feeding. For example, let's say somebody listening to the show wants to buy a red Tesla and they start to put their energy and bandwidth on researching a red Tesla. They go on the internet, they look for a used, new, lease, what are the best options. They spend a few weeks researching this red Tesla and they finally make the decision to drive to the dealership and they purchase a beautiful red Tesla and they're driving home in their Tesla and all of a sudden they see a red Tesla, [inaudible 00:47:48], past them on the highway and they thought, "Whoa, what a coincidence. I just bought a red Tesla, that person has one." And for weeks they see red Teslas pretty much every single day at stop signs, red lights, parking lots. And they start to think, "Damn, did everybody buy a red Tesla because I bought a red Tesla?" No, the red Teslas were always there, but they activated RAs to see it now. When you practice gratitude and you start focusing on what you appreciate, all of a sudden, things that you used to perceive as obstacles become opportunities. When you appreciate things and you're grateful, you get more things to be grateful for. But the opposite is true. When you start to think about all the things that are not working for you, all the things you hate about yourself, about your health, you're resentful, you get more of that, because that's all your RAs is going to see. I encourage you to develop some gratitude practice. The way that I do it is, I write down 10 things I'm grateful for before bed when the subconscious mind is more impressionable and then I do it in the morning. And then sometimes I'll just grab my pad and just write down a hundred things that I'm grateful for. There's always something to be grateful for. And I highly encourage your audience to get their daily dose of vitamin G. You can't overdose on it.
Dr. Latt Mansor:There you go. Actual pharmaceutical you can't overdose on it. There's no side effects either.
Ben Azadi:No side effects.
Dr. Latt Mansor:All that disclaimer at the end it's like adverse effects.
Dr. Latt Mansor:This goes back to what we talked about, responsibility. Taking responsibility of your health doesn't mean that you have to hate yourself. It doesn't mean that you have to hate your current self because you're not healthy, because you're overweight, because you're living this lifestyle. But taking responsibility in a way that is more gratifying, that it's more gratitude based, where you are loving yourself because you're still able to make the change. Gratitude that you can still have a body, [inaudible 00:49:40], if it's unhealthy, but you can still move, you can make that change, you can still go for a brisk walk and you can still eat healthy food, because you can still make that choice. And I think that mindset is super important for people to not hate themselves to skinny.
Ben Azadi:So true. And some people have trouble with this, they have trouble finding things to be grateful for. My tip to them would be, to think of what would happen if something is taken away from you. The food you eat, you just gave an example, you might think, "Yeah, I'm grateful for this food." But think about what would happen if you didn't have any food. You'd be starving. Think about the opposite and then that'll help you become grateful for that food, personal relationship, whatever it is. Think about that being taken away and that should get you in a mindset of gravity, oh, gratitude, not gravity.
Dr. Latt Mansor:I know you've had your personal experience on transformation in terms of physical and mindset. This is a little bit about you. I want our audience to know about your experience. Did you go through that transformation simultaneously, i.e you going through the physical and the mindset change at the same time? Or did you figure out the mindset later on? Because I find that in our society, we are so bogged down on physicality. We are so bogged down on superficial aspect of things, that we sometimes only develop the mindset later on in life. And that is true for me, I, for the longest time, even after I've lost all those weight, the mindset of gratitude and worthiness didn't come until in the past year. And I've lived 37 of my life. And that came quite late. But I'm grateful that it came eventually. But I think a lot of people got that uncoupled because like you said, it's like one is science and the other is woo-woo, it's meditation or it's ancient practice, but it's an ancient practice for a reason. Because people know that it works and that's why for the longest time it's stayed throughout civilization. Tell us a little bit more about your experience and how can people out there, when they're going through such physical transformation, how can they incorporate that?
Ben Azadi:I didn't know that about you. I didn't know that it came in the last year or so, so that's interesting.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah.
Ben Azadi:For me it came at the same time. I started to read books and then I started to move my body and eat better, so it was simultaneous. But it wasn't until I really became obsessed with mindset maybe three years after my weight loss transformation. Although I was doing some pieces of it, it wasn't until years after that, that I really started to become obsessed with it. I think this, I believe this to be true, 95% of success is mindset, 5% strategy. And if that's the case, I would start with the mindset. I would start with the thoughts, I would start with the gratitude. And as you change that and rewire the brain, then you'll start to make better decisions. You'll start to cut people out of your life who are toxic and attract people in your life who are more beneficial to you. And it makes things a lot easier. That would be the ideal way. I would start with the mindset and then I would add everything else in piece-by-piece, because the mindset is foundational, just like sleep.
Dr. Latt Mansor:That's a great advice. Because what I have gone through, so when I first went through that physical transformation, the mindset was, "I want more, I want to be better, I want to be faster, I want to be fitter, I want six pack." It's less so the gratitude, and deep down, I didn't address that self-unworthiness at that time. I put it aside. I'm like, "If I chase for more, I will be worthy, so I don't have to think about this unworthiness." But only in the past year that I realized, deep down is still exists and it has been festering and I needed to address it. I need to tell myself that I'm worthy as a person, as Mansor and not as the scientists and not as a fit person or a not fit person. Stop associating your being, just you being you with anything else external. You can do that after you already appreciate and value yourself and then you say, "Oh, on top of that I'm this and this and this and this. And I can do this, this, this, this, and this." That was my big lesson in the past year.
Ben Azadi:It's a beautiful lesson. And you are worthy of my friend. Amen. You are. Everybody is.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Thank you.
Ben Azadi:Honestly. And I love that awareness and I love that you shared that. Thank you.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah. Just, [inaudible 00:54:19], couple one last thing because you mentioned sleep.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Tell us more how sleep plays a role in all of this?
Ben Azadi:It's foundation. You know that. If your sleep is not optimal, you could be doing all the mitochondrial, uncoupling and hormesis you want and you're not going to get the results that you want. Your body goes into this amazing process, a lot of processes happen during sleep. You have this glymphatic system that becomes activated. It's like dishwasher fluid for your brain. You have the cerebral spinal fluid flushing over the brain. The brain is literally shrinking, so the fluids could collect these plaques and toxins and flush it out. Very important for preventing brain diseases like Alzheimer's, dementia, et cetera. And then you also have your body activating fat burning hormones and burning fat. You have the liver dumping bile, it's called liver time in Chinese medicine, 2:00 to 4:00 AM, dumping bile and recycling and cleaning the bile, detoxifying. It's so important. And studies show that just seven days, there's a study that I have in PubMed here, seven days of lack of quality sleep, meaning less than seven hours of sleep, the blood sugars of healthy adult men were those of somebody who were pre-diabetic, just from lack of sleep after seven days. You're going to have higher levels of cortisol when you are sleep deprived. And we know glucose follows cortisol, but also you're going to have higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, so you're hungrier. Lower levels of the satiety hormone and fat burning hormone, leptin, so you eat pretty much unhealthy because you're craving sugar. You're less satisfied when you eat, so you eat more sugar. And then it's a vicious cycle. It needs to be one of the staples for you. Instead of counting calories, I know it's a big controversial topic, calories matter, they're not important. Sleep is way more important than cutting calories, okay. Work on sleep, work on mindset, work on whole food, forget about the calorie counting, and get those fundamentals straight. Build that foundation strong and then everything else you add to it will be that much more efficient.
Dr. Latt Mansor:There you go. That was very nicely put. And guys, even though you're very motivated and inspired at this point of the podcast, of all these stories and you want to really make a change in your life, make sure that you also stop and relax and make sure you sleep. Because ultimately, you can be as hungry, as ambitious as possible, but your body needs that rest as well. Consistency is key, it's going through that cycle, like, "Okay, I'm going to wake up, I'm going to be practice gratitude and I'm going to eat healthy and I'm going to go work. And then at night, I'm going to have a good night's sleep. I'm going to make sure that all the interference that will disrupt my sleep cycle, disrupt my quality of sleep to be out of the way, so that I can have a good night's sleep." That's definitely a very, very good advice. And speaking of leptin, by the way, which is one of the hunger, leptin and ghrelin, there is a paper that showed in animals R-1,3 Butanediol, which is what Ketone-IQ is made of, actually increased leptin sensitivity in the brain.
Ben Azadi:That's interesting.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah. On top of exogenous ketones having effect on ghrelin, which suppresses appetite, it also has increased sensitivity to leptin as well. A lot more research in this area, I'm so excited.
Ben Azadi:That's exciting because as you know, leptin resistance, it's a big epidemic like insulin resistance. And if you could do things like that to give them a gateway to nutritional changes, that's huge. It's exciting.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah. One last question before we wrap up this episode of HVMN Podcast is, what is health and modern nutrition to you personally?
Ben Azadi:To me it's perfect health. Meaning the body was built to heal itself. It was built to thrive, not to survive. Health via modern nutrition means, you're doing the work to identify the interference. You're constantly aware of the interference and you're constantly working on removing the interference and you're allowing your body to heal and self-cleanse itself every single day. You're using biohacks such as exogenous ketones from HVMN, my favorite. You're using biohacking devices, you're focusing on fundamentals. But healthier modern nutrition simply means to me, you're removing the interference and allowing your incredible human body to heal itself.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Amazing. If as anything I can take away from this episode is that, we are not taking external sources to fix our bodies, but instead we're removing interference to let our bodies fix themselves. And I think that is a very powerful piece of information that most people need to know that, you are not broken, you are just having all these interference that stops your body from fixing itself. Instead of looking for sources, looking for pharmaceuticals, looking for drugs that can actually fix your problem, there is no one pill, this magic pill that sorts all of us out. But your body is the magic pill, so to say. But you just have to allow it to make magic happen.
Ben Azadi:Beautiful. I love that. Great takeaway. And I couldn't have said it better myself, because if you're dealing with the symptom or you have been diagnosed with this disease, I got a different perspective. I think that's a gift to you. It's your innate intelligence telling you, your body telling you that you're out of homeostasis, there's interference, "I'm showing you this check engine light to open up the hood and figure out what's going on. Not to just take medication and mask it, but I'm showing you these symptoms, you're diagnosed with a disease for a reason. This is my gift to you." This is the body's gift to you to find out what that reason is and that's where we'll leave it.
Dr. Latt Mansor:And with that, I would like to offer our platform to you, Ben, to let our listeners know where can they find you, where can they find Keto Flex, the book, what can they expect out of Keto Kamp and all of that information. So, please go ahead.
Ben Azadi:Thank you, Latt. It's been a big honor. Love HVMN, love what you do, Latt and Michael and Jeffrey, your whole team. Thank you for bringing me on your podcast. It's been a huge honor. I just love it. Well, my Keto Kamp Podcast is a great transition since you're listening to the HVMN Podcast, campus spelled with the K. Just type in Keto Kamp Podcast that's available on all podcast platforms. The video formats are available on our YouTube channel. We had Latt earlier this year. We had Michael, Jeffrey a few years ago, so you could start with those episodes. And then my website has everything, it's benazadi.com. You'll see the social media, the books and all that. But thank you so much for the awesome interview. Love what you guys are doing. Love the Ketone-IQ shots that I take all the time. Just appreciate your work, dude.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Same here. Appreciate it. Let's change the world for a healthier world. If you have enjoyed the episode, please like, share and subscribe. And if you have any comments or feedback, please leave it in the comment section. You can find us at HVMN on all social media platform and myself at Latt Mansor on all social media platform as well. The HVMN Podcast and myself are powered by Ketone-IQ, the most effective way for you to elevate your blood keto levels for optimal cognitive and physical performance, as well as metabolic health. Thanks again for listening. Until next time.
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