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Episode 235 – Don’t Judge A Supplement By It’s Cover

In today’s episode of the ATP Project – ‘Don’t judge a supplement by its cover’ Matt and Jeff delve into how labeling works on a global level, how the extract ratios are interpreted and why more is not always better, variations that occur during seasons and compatibility of ingredients. It’s very in-depth so put your thinking caps on, may need one or two listens to soak it all up! We hope you enjoy this one.

Transcript:

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the ATP Project, delivering the irreverent truth about health, aging, performance and looking good. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, ready to perform at your best, or somewhere in between, then sit back, relax and open your mind as Jeff and Matt battle the status quo and discuss everything health-related that can make you better.

Jeff:

As always, this information is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any condition and is for information purposes only. Please discuss anyone information in this podcast with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle. Stay tuned. The ATP Project is about to start.

Jeff:

Welcome to the ATP Project here with your host, Matt, and Jeff. Good day, mate.

Matt:

Good day.

Jeff:

Today we are talking about do not judge a supplement by its cover. And it’s funny, it’s an intriguing sort of a title. We’re trying to work out how we can talk about the intricacies of supplementation, what goes into them, ratios, the tricks of the trade, the good, the bad, the ugly, and talking about making sure that people are measuring apples with apples, if that makes sense.

Matt:

Yeah.

Jeff:

Matt, what’s your premise for this podcast. What are we talking about?

Matt:

People need to understand to be able to get the results that they expect and deserve from their supplementation, we need to be able to get an understanding of dosing and you need to have accurate, quality information in regards to what dose are we wanting to use, but also what is actually in the product. I see a lot of memes going around lately where they’re comparing labels from food in the UK or Australia to labels of food in America, and I’m seeing a lot of other people comparing supplements with this global marketplace now. We’ve got all these different labeling laws all over the world, and you can have exactly the same product in multiple territories with a totally different ingredient list and a totally different label. But there are ways of having a look at the data and working out kind of what you’ve got so we, like you’re saying, compare apples with apples.

Jeff:

It’s funny, because when I’m ever in the States and CVS and walking around, you’re looking for ingredients and you always go, ah, how is it that there’s nine milligrams of melatonins are here, why do the three milligrams sell, you know what I mean? People are always looking for vitamin C and there’s 2000 milligrams here, why would people even buy the lesser ones?

Matt:

Yeah, yeah.

Jeff:

And I guess that’s a very basic premise in saying that more is not always better, especially when it’s coming to blends of ingredients as well, too. You made a really good analogy the other day because we were talking about it, and unfortunately, especially in the specialty market, people consider more to be better. If a little bit is good, then more has got to be great. And you said, “Yeah, Jeff, okay, well let’s put that out to alcohol. So a little bit of alcohol’s good, a lot of alcohol can be fun, if you keep going you’re getting alcohol poisoning and then even death.” And you say nothing ever travels on a linear curve, would you explain that?

Matt:

When we’re looking at effective doses, we’ve got these words like lethal effective doses, when obviously it’s starting to kill it. In fact, lethal; effective doses where about 50% of the study population dies… Where 50% of the population in the study dies off at this particular dose, that’s the lethal dose. Still only half of them died, the others might have survived and come good.

Matt:

There’s a minimum effective dose where we’re looking at about 50% of the population started to see some change, but then what everything is in the studies, it’s always on a bell curve, so what that means is that we’ve got a level here with no activity, and then it comes up and there’s a peak of activity right in the middle of the bell curve, and then it starts to drop off again before you start getting lethal. Nothing goes up, up, up, up and then we die. It doesn’t get better, better, better, better, oops, one too many, dead. There’s often up and it’s starting to come down, like with your alcohol, you know when you’re starting to get on the downside of the curve, you’re starting to feel sick and everything like that, and a good time to stop.

Matt:

So when we’re looking at the herbs, in particular, we’re looking at this bell curve and they talk about things like standard deviation, have you ever heard of that? In the studies you’ll see it in the little brackets, they’ll say a P value, with a 0001 and the smaller the number the more effective the product is, or the more predictable the product is. So what we’re looking at is on the bell curve. So what I’m talking about is when you see the graphs that’s actually look like a bell or other things that go up and down with a sweet spot straight in the middle? So what we’re looking at is, there’s a little window of opportunity where we are at the ideal dose. And that’s where we want to go, and trying to work out where that is, is sometimes a challenge.

Matt:

And the point is, is that more is not better because we can push ourselves way past that sweet spot into the area where it’s starting to become toxic, it’s starting to overwhelm the system, it’s starting to add burden on to your detoxification processes and that sort of stuff, and create other sorts of interactions or allergens.

Matt:

Now, what adds a lot of complexity to that is actual, in particular herbal medicine. So you mentioned earlier, you gave a couple of examples, melatonin, vitamin C, we’re looking at specific, single nutrients, and in those things it’s a good idea… It’s capable of working out an effective dose for most people. And vitamin C, from one place or vitamin C from another, it’s pretty much the same thing, it’s vitamin C. As long as it passed the testing, that’s what it is. Same with melatonin. So it’s not a whole heap of complexity there, just trying to work out what the dose is, that’s right for you, and working out on that, but more is not necessarily better in those instances at all.

Jeff:

No, [crosstalk 00:05:47] saying for me, I can’t take the ten milligram of the melatonin, it actually has a reverse effect me. And again, this is where… And this is what I like, and I was just going to mention really quickly, we talk about the bell curve, that’s the majority of the population, that’s the sweet spot. You’re going to have some people that respond either side, which is why, this is the outlies, which is why… We always say, proof’s in the pudding for you, and you can take a supplement and you may be taking a supplement and get brilliant results. You go follow exactly the same protocol, but because of you’re microbiome, missing ingredients in your diet, micronutrients, genetic polymorphisms, whatever, environmental factors you’re not ware of, it won’t work the same.

Matt:

Yeah, exactly.

Jeff:

And that’s the thing, though, you have to work in the majority, you have to work in the sweet spots as much as you possibly can to get as much of the population. Sorry, just wanted to add.

Matt:

No, no, that’s really important to understand that, that’s why someone, your coaches or something might go, this is what I do, and this works for me. Could be totally different for the other person. And it’s not always what you think, either. Like in the naturopath clinic, sometimes the elderly, man they need… They were tiny, they weighed the same as one of my legs, yet they needed three, four, five times the dose I needed just to touch the sides, you know? They were really resistant to a lot of treatments, and really hard to get the results in. And sometimes that’s just different people that way.

Matt:

And I used to do a lot of work with racehorses, and racehorses are so super sensitive to herbal medicine and sensory to everything. You could get away with a significantly lower does in a horse than what you could actually use per kilo body weight in a human, just because of the different levels of sensitivity.

Matt:

But if we have a look at a herbal ingredient, this is where it becomes even more complex, because this area under the curve, this bell curve stuff, this is all part of a medical model, and medical models are designed to work with an active ingredient that hits a receptor, often inhibits a receptor, so the drugs are looking for an active ingredient, something that they can patent, something that they can own, that hits a particular target, hits a receptor, works a particular way. Usually one mechanism of action is their main target of action, and everything else is looked at as a side effect or an adverse event, you know.

Matt:

But with herbs, they have multiple mechanisms of action, they have multiple targets, and it’s so different when you compare a whole herb to an active ingredient, because when they do a study on a whole herb, you’re looking at so many different ingredients that might be included within that complex. The herb itself is like a herbal formulation, except it was created by nature with a whole heap of synergy, and evolved alongside us as a tool that we could actually use as part of our diet to live healthy, better lives. So a whole herb you’ve got to look at as a unique formulation or almost a proprietary blend in itself. Where that herb is grown can totally change what’s in it, what time of year it’s harvested. You can have one herb that can be so different, there’s so many different mechanisms. So you’ve really got to have a good understanding of combination of active ingredients that might be found in a whole herb, rather than isolating it.

Matt:

A really good example is artemisia. So Chinese wormwood? So artemisia was famous, artemisinin has become famous because it’s one of the only natural compounds, isolated from a herb, unchanged, not modified, they didn’t add chlorine, a molecule or anything to it to stabilize it, unchanged, turned it into a drug for malaria.

Jeff:

How is that possible?

Matt:

Yeah. I don’t know.

Jeff:

That’s really cool.

Matt:

One ingredient, and they studied. And it’s all based on the fact that artemisia annua had a great success rate for being used traditionally for treatment of malaria. Then they go, what is it in it that we can extract and isolate-

Jeff:

What I like to call the artifact. Just one chemical.

Matt:

Yeah, yeah. One active ingredient and that sort of stuff, but are pharmaceutical compound. So what they did is they went through and it became famous because it got registered as a drug for malaria really well. New studies, which I have a copy of somewhere in here, new studies actually show that the artemisia… Here we go. It’s this paper here, 2011, so it’s not that new. But anyway. Whole plant extract versus single compounds for the treatment of malaria, synergy and positive interactions, what they found was that the actual artemisinin, when extracted by itself and used in isolation, wasn’t as good as the whole herb, which really unscrews the pharmaceutical model, because you can’t own the whole herb, but you could own a process of extracting that active or delivering that active.

Matt:

So what you’ll find is that they actually got evidence now that when you use that one active ingredient, it is effective as they always believed, but they actually found that malaria’s now becoming resistant to it. Yet when you use the whole herb, it’s got all these other compounds in it that work with it that actually preventing the resistance.

Jeff:

Can’t outsmart mother nature.

Matt:

Yeah. A classic example, probably more relevant to our sports industry and that sort of stuff over the years, and you would know about this because you were in a retail store right at the height of tribulus, and the rise of Bulgarian tribulus. [crosstalk 00:11:02] arguments about that, that we’re looking for-

Jeff:

Steroidal saponins and [crosstalk 00:11:09].

Matt:

Or it is protodioscin? Which are all the same things, those three things, by the way.

Jeff:

But wasn’t protodioscin just a steroidal saponin?

Matt:

Yeah, it’s one of the steroidal saponins. There’s protodioscin, and there’s… But there’s three or four different furostanol saponins that are also known as steroidal saponins. At one stage, they said how tribulus is better because it’s got the steroidal saponins and there’s people going, no, you don’t want steroidal saponins, you want furostanol saponins, same thing. And protodioscin is just one of those. But outside of that, kaempferol, rutin, crocetin, and trust me, if you don’t know that whole thing, you ain’t getting any rutin.

Jeff:

But there was no mention. Back in the day, when I was in the supplement store, yeah, it was Bulgarian tribulus, that was the one there had been a lot of studies on, you’re right, and looking back on it, I can see what was happening is that companies were looking for a marketing edge. So therefore they said, ah, this one seems to be the most. Why? Oh, because it’s got very high levels of protodioscin. And I remember, ah, it contains steroidal saponins, and then they used to actually isolate the protodioscin like it was the hero compound, and if you didn’t have… And it had more and more, and more and more of the protodioscin and they were highlighting that. This is the strongest… They were using, this is the 200 extract with 80% protodioscin. And I was just like, okay, great.

Matt:

And relating it back to the data on the whole herb that showed how amazing it was on hormones and libidos and that sort of stuff-

Jeff:

And this was 20 years ago, man.

Matt:

But it’s got to be protodioscin. And so then all of a sudden, now, this is where things can get really weird. Around that same time that you were in the shops reading these labels and talking to people, I was actually going through the Outback of Australia trying to harvest caltrop. Caltrop is the Australian tribulus, okay? It’s all tribulus terrestris, caltrop in Australia, and if there are any farmers out there right now be like, it’s a weed, right? It’s a horrible, noxious weed with the stupid burr that gets stuck into everything, and it’s a pain in the arse because the burr can get spread quite easily and then it just spreads everywhere. It’s like this ground cover that goes really bad.

Matt:

And then when it rains it just takes off, it goes this lush, green ground cover and just really thrives. And then when it dries out, because it grows in really sandy soil, and so when it dries out, it turns into this light, pathetic, dry old stick. Now when it’s all lush and green you can pick that stuff up and eat it, and it’s not so bad. The dry stick, you would never do that because it’s so horrible bitter and strong and astringent. The reason why is because after the rain, it’s full of water. Once the water’s gone and it’s all dry, you’re loaded up with active ingredients.

Matt:

Now this is where it gets confusing because the other thing that people do for marketing, they just try to say that… Per capsule, the herbs that I have in my capsule is equivalent to 100 burrs of herbs, just for round numbers, you know? So if you see a company that’s advertising that you got one capsule that is equivalent to 100 grams of this herb, and another company advertising their one capsule is equivalent to ten grams of herb, now which one do you reckon would be stronger?

Jeff:

It depends on the starting material.

Matt:

Yeah. Well, this one that took 100 grams to make this capsule, this one took only ten grams to make this capsule, so which material’s stronger? I know which one was more, but which one was stronger depends on what the level of actives are in the finished product.

Jeff:

Well if you’re using a watery mush to start with, you’ve got to do more refining to get the same level of actives in there.

Matt:

Exactly.

Jeff:

So the problem is, on the label-

Matt:

Weak stuff. When I see a capsule takes ten grams of herbs and this other one took 100 grams of herbs, I’m looking at geez, your material was weak. If it took a giant truckload of material to make the same-

Jeff:

I used to do that. When I used to sell supplements I used to do exactly the same thing, because I didn’t understand-

Matt:

It’s not saying that this capsule is equivalent to taking ten of those capsules. It’s actually that it took ten times the amount of starting material to make this same one product. So you’ve got to look at the markers of standardization, but this is where marketing and sales can take over from science, because what happens is it’s not always naturopaths doing these formulations, it’s not always scientists formulating. Often these formulations are done by marketing. They’re business people, they want to do a business, and they do great marketing, big keywords and they understand what people are looking for.

Matt:

But so too are the raw material suppliers. So if I’m a raw material supplier and I know that you want to label a big dose of protodioscin, for example, on your product, then I can standardize my material to protodioscin. I can then say it took a heap of material to make that little bit of protodioscin, so I’ll give you a massive extraction ratio, something like a 200 to one. So I can say that you’ve put in a little bit of… Each one of my capsules is equivalent to a massive amount of herb, and standardized to a massive amount of this one ingredient, and it doesn’t actually exist in nature that way. You can’t go and concentrate one active ingredient and somehow not have all the others as well. Unless you’ve just spiked it up with an ingredient, does that make sense?

Matt:

So what happens is, people cheat. They put in an active ingredient, and they put in some herb, and maybe that’s it. But you don’t know it, unless you get the proper testing done. And this is where it gets quite complicated because we want to see all of the actives. We want to know that it’s resembling nature so we get that holistic effect.

Jeff:

Yeah. And this comes back as well to… And this is what we’re always saying, this sort of information isn’t always readily available on the label, and in fact in some countries now you can’t even talk about this sort of stuff. We’ve obviously faced some of that recently as well, too. But what it comes down to is that the proof is in the pudding, and for you. And this is what we were saying before, if you’re falling outside of that outlier, you might need more or less depending on what have you, but for the average punter, the proof should be in the product, not in the selling. If you’ve been sold something and it’s not living up to how it’s being sold, change.

Matt:

So this is a big thing. Normally in nature, what’s a sneaky way of doing it? There’s different forms of testing as well. So, when you get a herbal compound, you can do different forms of testing, and one form of testing, for example, is TLC. Now TLC testing will give you a positive or negative for a species identification-

Jeff:

Pretty broad.

Matt:

Well basically, if the herb is in the 0.0001% or if it’s at 100%, it’s positive, it’s there. We’ve got this herb. So what they do is, they do TLC for species identification, and then they’ll pick one marker of standardization and say it’s equivalent to this much herb, this much protodioscin, or this much artemisinin.

Jeff:

Well if protodioscin makes up X percentage of the plant typically, then if you’ve got ten times that amount in there, then you’re assuming you’ve got ten times the strength.

Matt:

Exactly. Now this is where it gets complicated because we have the assumption, and I said it right from the start that when we see a ten to one extract, what we’re taught and what that really means is ten kilos of herb, starting material, made one kilo of finished product. If it was a shitty season and it was really weak or a great wet season, you may get a twenty to one. It’s the same line at this end, and how much starting materials are relevant when you’ve got a marker of standardization at the end.

Matt:

But this is where they get tricky, because then some people then go from the other side. The put the active ingredient in of one, and then go wow, this is so much of this active ingredient, that’s equivalent to 200 kilos of herb. But then, the sneaky bit is they then identify the herb using TLC, that way they can say, aha, it’s positive for the herb with species identification, there’s tribulus here. And look how much protodioscin is here, therefore that must be equivalent to 200 kilos of tribulus to get that much protodioscin.

Matt:

But if they don’t measure the other actives and get a proper fingerprint, then you could possibly have an active pharmaceutical synthetic material with a smidgen of a herb, just to make it look like herbal material. But without any of the other actives then you’re going to come across the same problems as what we’ve seen with the artemisinin versus Chinese wormwood. And if you look at the side effects of protodioscin, for example, if we do just use protodioscin, protodioscin is the part of tribulus that drives dihydrotestosterone, which is the acne, the baldness, the potbelly, all the prostrate problems, all the bad aspects associated with testosterone boosting, and it also drives up aromatase and estrogen and those sort of things.

Matt:

So if you look at protodioscin use in isolation, it’s actually got a lot more negative effects and you don’t get any of the other benefits, as opposed to a whole one, where you get the other furostanol saponins with it that also have an effect on the other estrogens, as well as kaempferol, rutin, crocetin, that control 5-alpha reductase, control aromatase, and prevent all the other side effects and keep it working synergistically as a whole herb with the body.

Jeff:

The way that we structured, when we spoke previously about the vitamin paradox as well, too, where people would be using artifacts of things that were standardized, so for example vitamin C, and in those podcasts we also spoke about, okay, that’s great, but where is the importance of the bioflavinoids that are naturally found in nature, right? And this is the problem. So the average attention span of the average consumer now is down to less than two seconds.

Matt:

Yeah, I get [crosstalk 00:20:59] way too much.

Jeff:

And this is different, the people that are coming to this podcast are actually interested to learn, so they’re not the average pundit that give me a two-second blip and I’ve got it, they actually want to understand it better. But that’s the problem now, is that you’re in a world where you have less and less time, and we’re conditioned that way through social media, we’re conditioned that way through… Even your girlfriends now are swiping left and right, I don’t know which way you’re swiping. Are you swiping left or right?

Matt:

I don’t actually know.

Jeff:

That was a trick question. Good one. So I think in terms of all of these things, though, is that this is the problems that people want or delivered on a plate with one highlight and then that’s the takeaway, as opposed to really diving in to the science, because the science is not always straightforward or easily understood. It is black and white, but people don’t actually have the time to go into it.

Matt:

To be fair, too, again while we’re talking about protodioscin, dihydrotestosterone is a much more powerful androgen. So you feel it first. But it’s usually the aggression. Dihydrotestosterone doesn’t necessarily turn you into a sexual tyrannosaurus and that sort of stuff, but it does give you that frustration, it does give you that aggression, it does give you some of that dry hardness into the muscle tissue, there’s a lot of anabolic steroids that work on that dihydrotestosterone that are most famous for creating that dry hardness. So to be fair, you have these things you feel it. So if you’re going just by feel-

Jeff:

Sure, that’s a good point.

Matt:

… then you’ll be like, man, I’m having this and I’m feeling it and it’s doing stuff for me. But if you don’t understand exactly what’s happening in your body, and you were driving a dihydrotestosterone pathway and not managing the testosterone and the estrogen ratios along with that, then you’re setting yourself up for some pretty bad side effects. Or resistance. Your body just gets to a point and it goes bugger it, it’s not doing anything anymore.

Matt:

So it’s very important to get a whole combination of herbs and then that’s where it totally changes as well, that bell curve, because when you have a combination of herbs, some of them aid absorption, some of them… And that’s one of the things they found with the artemisinin, that some of them actually help the enterocytes absorb the active ingredient better, some of them help the actual block… These G protein pumps, that’s how viruses or bad cells and that sort of stuff can actually become resistant to the drugs and that sort of stuff. So you’ll find in the natural models, when they were using the whole herb, it had combinations of synergistic effects that actually worked better than spiking it up with the actives.

Matt:

We do HPLC testing, and I’ve got some examples of HPLC testing where each one of those spikes is a different active. So that one just might be protodioscin, that one’s usually the solvent, it just shows up first. And then one of these will be protodioscin, and so when you get TLC testing and that sort of stuff they say, ah yeah, we’ve got the herb there. But that won’t actually break it down and tell you how much of the herb, ae re we looking at 80% herb, 20% filler? Are we looking at 1% herb, 80% active ingredient and then the rest of it’s maltodextrin? And through HPLC you can actually tell that, and then you’re going to get a better understanding of what’s going to happen and how it’s going to work.

Matt:

Like even, the data for tribulus and that sort of stuff ranging from Hungary, India, China, Australia, and then of course Bulgaria and that sort of stuff, totally different compounds. For example, I think it was the Hungarian tribulus, really high in crocetin and rutin, really low on furostanol saponins. Then the others are really high in the protodioscin but really low in the crocetin and rutin. It’s funny, you’ve just got to get an understanding of how herbal medicine works and understand that nature is freaky and you can’t recreate it.

Jeff:

You touched on something for me as well, Matt, and I guess this is why-

Matt:

Is that under the table? I try to keep my legs over here.

Jeff:

No, I’m just really passionate about the factors, and we mentioned it a lot as well, is that we understand that Google Keywords is a powerful driver and you’ve said before when you were formulating for other companies that are marketing, and I understand. Look, because you’ve got such a short amount of time to catch someone’s attention, if it’s out there in the Google search universe, and people are looking for things, to be able to create a product all that you need to do is add those products altogether, one plus one plus one plus one, gives me a great product because people are looking for X product, Y product, whether it be for joints, whether it be for testosterone, whether it be for whatever. And they combines these products without a real true understanding of the nature of the herbs, and the things that are probably not searched upon on Google, which actually make the products effective.

Jeff:

When we first started, Matt, we started our company with virtually no marketing at all. But what we relied on was positive word of mouth, because our supplements worked, and when I was in the industry for nearly a decade, I was frustrated because I was giving people products like the protodioscin out the wazoo, and I was not seeing the results or the customers returning the way that I expected them to, because I didn’t have the understanding. It’s not until I met you, and you actually started breaking things down in a way that I could understand, which was above my pay grade, I’ve got to admit. That we started to recognize it was actually the synergy in the formula, and we got a crap ton of stick for creating proprietary blends when we first started.

Jeff:

And no disrespect. I think Jim Stoppani over in the States was one of the first people to call it out, and he was right, because there was a lot of companies-

Matt:

As a naturopath he used to drive me crazy.

Jeff:

Sure. But there was a lot of companies, and Jim’s got a great brand as well, too, but there was a lot of companies out there that were putting a pixie dust of stuff and hiding behind proprietary blends. What we were trying to do, we were trying to shift the argument away from people who were uneducated, even like me who owned a supplement store for over ten years, saying, ah, this has got X level of active, that’s the most powerful one, you’ll say you couldn’t even have the argument because the premise that we were starting from was wrong.

Jeff:

So we thought bugger it, we’re not going to disclose it, and it was also part of your IP, we’re going to create formulas that work and will be judged upon whether people get results or not. And they did. Going forward as well, too, one of the other arguments, and I know that we’ve mentioned it before as well, too, is in herb selection. The interactions of the compounds that you put together, and their identification. And as we’ve said before and we’ve said it many, many times, certificate of analysis when you get ingredients, seven out of ten of those failed when we sent them down for testing. Seven out of ten.

Jeff:

So products can look good on paper, but again this is what it always comes back to for me, what do the products do for you? Are the products working as intended? Are you getting the results you expect to get? Because if you’re not, you shouldn’t take them. Now, really quickly, 70% of people take multi-vitamins because they think that they should. They take it as a protective measure, they take it because they’re missing these things, and we’ve heard it before. Do you remember, we were talking to some purchasing officers before and they were like, “Yeah, well, I know if I’ve got a good multi-vitamin.” And I said, “Well, how do you know if you’ve got a good multi-vitamin? Is it energy levels?” And again, that’s subjective as well too, right? Ah, no, no, they’ve got yellow pee and that’s what you want to see.

Matt:

As long as your wee glows in the dark, we’ve got a good one.

Jeff:

Well we can create sawdust with a little bit of B vitamin, which we can get a synthetic one, and none of which would be absorbed because that’s was passing out, probably cost us a couple of cents, whack that into a tablet and turn your pee orange, and if that’s the way that people judge if the product’s good or not, we could make a fortune. I’m sure plenty of companies do that.

Matt:

And if people want to see things and that’s how they judge it. Same as the rise of the ketones for fat loss. There’s no evidence of ketones for fat loss. There is evidence of ketogenesis for fat loss and keto diets, there’s people go, I’ll give you a tablet with ketones in it, your wee on a stick and it glows, obviously you’re burying fat. No, what? No, you just weed out your ketones you drank and it’s showing up on the stick.

Jeff:

Yeah, yeah.

Matt:

And that’s very, very different. But people want to feel things, they want to see-

Jeff:

Ah, so with regards to ketones, Matt, the cool thing about ketones though is great for the pain, but as far as actually putting you into ketosis and helping with fat loss, no.

Matt:

So they curry out a story that when you peeing on these sticks and it glows in the dark it means that you’re burning fat. And then they give you a supplement that makes those sticks glow. And they’re like, well there you go, you’re burning fat. That’s way too easy.

Jeff:

I get it. I get it, but see, that’s what I’m saying, two-second mentality of people being told in a sophisticated way how it’s going to work and they’ve reached the gap and make the link.

Matt:

Another trick that people fall for is trademark material. For example, there was a famous form of ashwagandha, globally famous, and I don’t know if I can say that?

Jeff:

No, you can’t.

Matt:

But anyway, it was standardization to one active ingredient, one withanolide, there’s a heap with withanolides and there’s also [withanocides 00:29:33] and there’s a whole heap of other compounds that are part of the ashwagandha matrix that make it work. There’s one company that then had marker of standardization was one active ingredient, they refused to allow anyone to test their material using HPLC, that was their proprietary information. So when someone bags someone for saying, you’re using a proprietary blend, and especially if it’s someone choosing a trademark material, that trademark material itself is a proprietary blend and you’re not allowed to test it if you want to use it, you’ve got to sign all this paperwork to say, “I won’t ask any questions.”

Matt:

So that particular ashwagandha product, that’s standardized to these particular withanolides, withanolide A, actually only has TLC testing for the species identification, they refused to let anyone test it to see how much, and when you contact them and ask them why, they say because we guarantee to give you a certain amount of active, and the rest of it is their proprietary information. And then they studied that product with the active, but the problem is, is if they studied that product initially standardized to that product and it had all the other actives with it, it would have a totally different effect as if they had a bad season of they got lazy or if they got sneaky or if they got greedy, and then all of a sudden company’s throwing in just the active with just this in because ashwagandha’s really hard to get sometimes and it has bad batches.

Jeff:

And exactly the same story with regards to the shilajit as well, too. And the funny thing is, is that honestly Matt, from what you’ve told me, there’s one source that we really trust and that we would use, and the rest of them go from moderate to terrible. And one of them which was the most expensive has actually removed… And again-

Matt:

It had all-

Jeff:

I know.

Matt:

It had all the published data talking about these particular actives that were in it and what it does, and what we tested was not in it. Then we contacted them and it was, ah no, that material, you shouldn’t use that advertising or those signs to sell that material because you’ve extracted that out of it, it was like zero. And then that same company is using that active over here to study and you’re like, ah man, [crosstalk 00:31:44]-

Jeff:

It was a dangerous switch.

Matt:

Fulvic acid is often used as the marker for shilajit. Fulvic acid doesn’t have any… It doesn’t do the stuff. Fulvic acid is just a marker because it’s relatively unique to things like shilajit and other things like peat or whatever, like humus kind of soily sort of compounds. So they use fulvic as a marker. But it was the other stuff, it was the actual urolithins and all the other stuff, and the interesting thing about shilajit along with a lot of other herbs is they actually have to interact with a microbiome to make different compounds that actually get absorbed. So you’re looking for precursors that then get converted into something else before getting absorbed. But only if you’ve got those bugs, you know?

Matt:

It gets so complicated with herbal material, you really need to understand what the hell you’re talking about, and if you’re formulating not just Google keywords, but if you’re formulating by going to trade shows and picking up the flyers of what’s the next best thing, and believing everything you’re reading and you can be creating weird-arse formulas that do weird-arse things, you know? So you really have to understand what’s going on.

Jeff:

There’s times we’ve met where we’ve spoken about producing a product as relation to solve an issue, we’re always looking at creating products to solve problems, whether it’s need or whether it’s a disease or whether it’s performance state or whatever it may be, sometimes we’ve had to shelve products because you just simply have not been able to find the… I mean you’ve been able to find ingredient X, Y, Z, but then when you’ve tested it or when you’ve looked into it and gotten the information that doesn’t have the compounds but then products that we’ve had to shelve products, which is why-

Matt:

And we work really heavy with the farmers as well to actually get good data on the way to the batch to find out what is likely to happen, what sort of yield we’re going to get, is there anything we can do to harvest differently to make sure we’re guaranteed the yield.

Jeff:

And that’s the thing, I think this Paddock to Plate they’re talking about, the transparency coming through, again, you look at it and you think where it comes to appearing to be good, and it actually being good. And I think there are some companies out there that are actually doing good because they’re genuinely want to create that, and then there are some people that are companies that are selling more materials that are just trying to appear like they’re doing the right thing.

Matt:

And it bugs me, too. Because you see some of these heroes and they make these wicked formulations and then you see someone else who will try to copy that formulation and then make it slightly stronger, or just add one extra ingredient and then steal all the sales. Initially, as a naturopath, where it started for me was traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, because you used to look at these formulas and you’d read these blends and you’d be like, man, they’re tiny doses. These are pathetic doses and just normal, weak water extractions, there was not flash extraction technology, it was just basically a cup of tea that was then turned into a powder.

Matt:

Then what you’d see is these hi-tech companies with new technology and these new bits and pieces with stronger extractions that could then recreate that formula stronger and better using modern technology. And the old stuff just worked better. It was in the synergy, it was in the formulas, it was more predictable, it was more reliable, and then when you go and ask them about their manufacturing techniques they’re talking about curing this ingredient first or buying it this particular way, burying it for a period of time. So you can’t see a lot of that stuff on the label sometimes, so that’s where it does get a little bit tricky and you have to build up a bit of brand loyalty or understanding of what you’re looking at and getting a bit of understanding of who can make products that work and who doesn’t.

Matt:

And it used to happen naturopath clinic, even Vitex, you’ll see one company that will be selling what looked to be really a weak form of Vitex Agnus-Castus compared to another company that could do it all in one capsule or something like that. The weaker stuff would often work better. When you talk to a lot of naturopaths-

Jeff:

Apparently weaker.

Matt:

Yeah, exactly. Well, it could be weaker Jeff, if we actually look at the bell curve. Because it might have been sitting right at that point in the bell curve and not trying to get the sale by pushing it into the level where it’s too strong. It’s not just more is better, sometimes you really only want a little touch. You just want just a smidgen of it, you-

Jeff:

I want a little touch.

Matt:

Yeah, you’ve been doing a little under the desk, you made it weird. So another trick, another thing that people need to be aware of, so we’ve talked about things like vitamins and that and just trying to get the right dose based on science, those things aren’t so much extractions or they’re not so much… You just want to make sure it’s a quality brand that’s not lying, for starters, make sure the stuff’s there, and then just try to work out what dose works for you.

Matt:

Then we’re looking at things like herbs are complicated, and herbal formulations are really hard to judge by input amounts and what’s written on the label, you’ve got to go more by how they feel. Then the next one we’re looking at would probably be things like minerals. So if we have a look at minerals, like magnesium for example is famous. We all know magnesium is great, all right, does amazing things. So then people would have different forms of magnesium, so magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium chelate, which is diglycinate or magnesium gluconate. So all these different forms of magnesium.

Matt:

Now magnesium oxide, for example, might be 50% magnesium, 50% oxide. Magnesium citrate however, could be 10% magnesium to 20% magnesium and the rest is citric acid. So when someone labels something like… Now the daily dose, the daily limit pretty much for magnesium is 300 milligrams, that’s what’s always recommended. Some people can tolerate that in one dose and they can do that up to three times a day, we only really need about 300 milligrams a day, and that’s what they always talk about in RDIs and stuff. So when you see someone label 300 milligrams of magnesium citrate or 300 milligrams of magnesium chelate, that doesn’t mean you’ve got 300 milligrams of magnesium. So they’ll label that.

Matt:

So then there’s different forms of labeling. So for example, if someone uses a magnesium citrate and labels 300 milligrams of magnesium citrate, if it’s a 10% magnesium, and you don’t know unless you ask the company, but if they’re 10% magnesium then that’s equivalent to about 30 milligrams of magnesium per serve, and you’re under the belief that it’s 300 milligrams but it could be 30. If it’s 20% you’ve only got like 16 milligrams of magnesium, for example, it takes about 500 to 600 milligrams of magnesium citrate to give you 100 milligrams of magnesium. And that’s about all you can fit into a capsule, if you want to add all the other bits and pieces with it. So it takes about 500 or 600 milligrams of magnesium citrate to yield about 100 milligrams of magnesium.

Matt:

So when someone then goes and adds 300 milligrams of my citrate, they’re only giving you between 30 to 60 milligrams. But then they might try to compare it and say this one’s expensive and this one’s cheap and you can take one of these as equivalent to one of those, but the reality is, is if they’re not labeling the same way, how the hell do you compare it?

Matt:

There’s on product I looked at recently to try to work out some of the international laws and labeling laws, there’s one product, and I won’t mention the product of course, but it’s registered within Australia on the ARTG as a therapeutic good, it’s also allowed to be labeled, the exact same product is labeled for America, the exact same product that you would never buy the American one, actually. Because the Australia one looks so much stronger. The labeling laws, they’re allowing you to label just the equivalents. So in Australia, the Australian version product says it contains 2.25 grams of this herb. The American one says it contains this herb. And then on the back it says 150 milligrams.

Jeff:

Because that’s the maximum you can say?

Matt:

No, only 150 milligrams was added. It’s exactly the same formula, just the labeling laws in Australia that allow you to label the equivalent meant the Australians could say contains 2.25 grams. 2250 milligrams of this herb. The American one didn’t think that was worth talking about and just says hey, contains a herb just quietly, and then on the back, flip it around, 150 milligrams.

Matt:

So that’s the same product. Exactly the same product. In Australia we say 2.25 grams and in America we say 150 milligrams. Exactly the same ingredient. Exactly the same product. So looking at it, as a consumer, you’d be thinking one tablet, 2.25 grams, so it’s like I’ve got to take 15 of these tablets to get the same as that? But it’s not, it’s just labeling with a fifteen to one extraction, it’s labeling the big number on this one, it’s labeling the little number on this one. Exactly the same.

Matt:

But you know how hard that is for the consumer to go through, and then also everyone’s a bit tight for cash at the moment. You’re trying to spend some money and trying to work out how to best spend your resources, that’s when, again, we get easily convinced by someone going, oh, this one’s much better value for money, because it’s so much. You get more for your buck. But if you look at that analogy, that exact same product in two different regions with different labeling laws, it’s exactly the same. That’s that.

Jeff:

Exactly. Well, that’s that, then. All right, what else Matt, do you want to talk about.

Matt:

There is so much, but I think we’ve covered the minerals and how people label it, so when you look at the magnesium for example, chelated magnesium’s 80% glycine, 20% magnesium, the citrates are mostly citric acid, the oxides and that sort of stuff, they give you the green apples splatters and that sort of stuff, and they’re really cheap and really stable and everything. So just got to understand what the mineral is that you want, and then if there’s any confusion about the labeling don’t feel bad to ask the company. Just go in and say, “What is it? Have you labeled the input amount of magnesium citrate, or the elemental amount of magnesium?”

Matt:

And then also, you can do some maths. It’s easier in a capsule, you can work out how much can fit. You know how much can actually fit in a capsule, most capsules can fit between 500 up to about 700 milligrams of actives per double-O capsule. So you can do your maths a bit backwards, but it’s a little bit tricky. So it’s important to not just judge things just by these numbers that are on the front, and actually understanding a little bit of the synergy, and understand also, with herbal formulations, they’re complicated. You’ve got to get the right combinations of actives or otherwise you just… Herbs don’t work under that medical model.

Jeff:

And as I said, I think the optimum proof is… Proof is in the pudding. So, all right Matt.

Matt:

I love pudding.

Jeff:

Yeah, so do I. So Matt, you’ve got any pro-tips for the consumer out there?

Matt:

Yes.

Jeff:

Sorry, let me put my hand on your leg first. No, have you got anything that they can practically take away from this?

Matt:

What I want people to understand is, nature is smarter than all of us. And if you try to go through it and recreate everything, you think you’re too smart and there’s no one active, there’s no one region, there’s no one time of year, you’ve just got to understand exactly what it is, and get as much information as you can. It’s so hard. Really work with your naturopath. If you want to deal with herbs, work with your naturopaths, work with people that understand herbal formulations, combinations, and that sort of stuff.

Jeff:

Yeah, I think that’s good. I mean, it’s funny, we were in the States again recently, Matt and I, I just still kill myself, and I love that when you jump on and you’re listening to this new drug and it causes… There’s certainly a smile and walking down the beach, but it causes-

Matt:

[crosstalk 00:43:16].

Jeff:

It causes psychosis and if you start bleeding out of your anus please contact your doctor immediately. Real happy. But I may spontaneously die. I love the fact that they have the warnings, though. But again, you talked about it before, nature knows best. I think typically, and again, a lot of people listen to our podcast and I love modern medicine where it’s crises situation if you’ve been in an accident and what have you, but the over-reliance on these synthetic chemicals that have been isolated from nature, and most of the time a lot of them are taken from nature and they’re trying to achieve stuff that’s already found in nature.

Jeff:

These artifacts have got the piper to pay, as opposed to working naturally with the body’s system, similar to the vitamin paradox that we did way back when, we spoke about the natural compounds that the body requires to not only use these, but also detoxify and remove them from the body when you’ve got too much. And again, that’s what a good formula should do, just because one formula’s got more numbers than the other or it’s got things that you recognize, the subtly and the art, if you like, in the science of formulation, actually looks at the body holistically, it looks at the energy pathways, it looks at the hormones, and looks at creating a formula that actually, not only gets you there, but also then helps to remove and detoxify and support the actions within the body.

Jeff:

And that’s what’s missing in many formulas, Matt, you just have to look at the formula. Who’s formulating the product, what sort of background did they have? What understanding do they have of the human body, Matt? Are they a naturopath? Are they a hormone expert? Do they understand-

Matt:

Or a collagen expert or something. Collagen’s one of the biggest ones that’s now been totally bastardized because what’s happened-

Jeff:

[crosstalk 00:44:58] I’ll come back to you.

Matt:

No, the problem is with this, we’ve got companies that are driving specific research on specific collagen peptides. These specific collagen peptides are manufactured under a trade secret process with a particular molecular way, they’ve got a particular way of making them. But only some people know how to do it. And when they study, each one of these products, yeah, each one of these products has a totally different effect in the body. And that is totally exclusive to the amino acid profile of collagen. Now we’re not talking about hydrolyzed collagen in the form of just breaking it down to amino acids, we’re talking about specific effects of peptides.

Matt:

Now, the weird thing about that is, companies now are then using that research to sell something totally different. So they’re using the research from specific collagen peptides just to sell anything. And then, to steal the sale from the people that are being very honest and open and transparent about their collagen, and say our products has exactly the same effect as those, oh, and by the way, I’m going to lie to you now and say ours is also grass-fed.

Jeff:

And that’s my pet peeve. And the funny thing is, we have an expert on staff who’s worked in collagen, and the global industry, traveled all over the world working with collagen companies-

Matt:

And supply chain. Not just collagen end-products, but the collagen supply chain.

Jeff:

And again, I would like to see absolute categoric proof to the contrary of this statement, but I would challenge any company out there to prove that they have 100% grass-fed collagen. And again, the premise is completely thrown off. When I go and I’m buying steak, Matt, when Tony and I are eating, we make sure that we eat grass-fed meat over grain-fed.

Matt:

Unless I’m going out to a nice steak restaurant [crosstalk 00:46:55], get the marbled, beautifully marbled-

Jeff:

High in omega six, right? And that’s the reason why I don’t eat it every day. But when you’re taking the collagen which is in the skin, if there was fat in the collagen your product is going to be rancid. So whether the beef has eaten grain or grass is completely irrelevant for collagen, but you see the… What happens is, one company started it to try and get a marketing edge over the companies and this is the sort of BS that permeates our industry and unfortunately what happens is as soon as one person’s done it, oh well, we’ve got to be as good or better, so therefore ah yeah, we’re using grass-fed collagen, too. It does not exist. And, it is irrelevant. See, I’m going to develop a tic now.

Matt:

The point that Jeff’s trying to make for everyone that might have missed the omega bit was, the whole grass fed, grain fed discussion originated on the premise that omega six oil is bad and omega three oil is good, that grain gives you omega six and grass gives you omega three. Grain, with omega six, makes marbled, fatty meat-

Jeff:

Delicious.

Matt:

… when you eat that you become a marble, fatty meat person, and get heart disease, diabetes, et cetera. When you eat the high omega three, which is lean, then you become a lean, mean fighting machine as well, okay? So then they had this theory that we’ve got to eat grass-fed and avoid grain-fed so we get good levels of omega three in our fat, and lower levels of omega six in our fat. The point with collagen is, there is no fat in collagen.

Jeff:

Because it comes from the skin.

Matt:

Yes. And also, it’s highly processed. So if you’ve got fat in your collagen-

Jeff:

It’s rancid.

Matt:

… then it means that you actually haven’t processed the hide properly, you’ve got rancid meat globules in amongst your collagen, which is gross, it’s just gross. And I wouldn’t care if those rancid fat globules were from a grass-fed cow or a grain-fed cow. It’s just gross. You wouldn’t do that, and it’s wrong. So no one cares if it’s grass or grain. Yeah.

Jeff:

Nice. Hey, last thing, we watched a cool documentary when we were on the plane.

Matt:

Which one?

Jeff:

The fat one.

Matt:

Oh, yeah yeah. The same as the Game Changer one except for a different reason.

Jeff:

Yeah, but it was pretty good. I love it.

Matt:

I love it.

Jeff:

What’s the name of the documentary?

Matt:

Fat.

Jeff:

Fat?

Matt:

Wasn’t it?

Jeff:

I think so.

Matt:

I think it was Fat.

Jeff:

Just called Fat.

Matt:

Yeah. And it was basically talking about how if you eat predominantly fats, you’ll get rid of all the heart diseases, almost alongside a lot of the same studies as the one in Game Changer where is said if you avoid all meat, you’re going to live forever.

Jeff:

And are we going to do a discussion on the Game Changer as well? I think we should, because a lot of people have been coming to us talking to us about it, and there are some really good things-

Matt:

You mean a spoiler?

Jeff:

Yeah. There’s some really bad things in there.

Matt:

Fruit, veg, nuts and seeds and all that stuff is good for you. Well, processed food is bad for you.

Jeff:

No matter if it’s vegan-

Matt:

Meat or plant, don’t eat the processed crap.

Jeff:

And the funny thing is, Matt, the messages never change. Eat fresh, eat local, eat in season wherever possible. That’s the way to live life.

Matt:

Yep.

Jeff:

All right. That’s all that we’ve got time for.

Matt:

Can I say one more thing?

Jeff:

Yes.

Matt:

No, I was just trying to fuck with these guys. But, let’s say one more thing.

Jeff:

Okay.

Matt:

Did you know that plants, while we’re asleep at night, compete for our oxygen and pump our carbon dioxide?

Jeff:

You’ll be killed.

Matt:

I’ve been getting hate everywhere I go for reminding people that plants switch at night.

Jeff:

That plants breathe?

Matt:

Photosynthesis during the day with sunlight and respiration at night.

Jeff:

That’s freaky, hey?

Matt:

Everyone’s been getting mad at me, thinking that I hate plants. But I’m just telling you…

Jeff:

You’re responsible for the Amazon [crosstalk 00:50:40]-

Matt:

It’s not an unpopular opinion, it’s the science.

Jeff:

No, I’m sorry. Science, do not let the science get in the way of social media fact, which is far more powerful, far more relevant. That reminds me of my convenient truth podcasts, or inconvenient lies? I don’t know. Just again, people we are living in 1984, take anything that any institution says and flip it. So if they’re saying-

Matt:

[crosstalk 00:51:07] what we say. [inaudible 00:51:11].

Jeff:

That is so tongue-in-cheek, though. That is such a… That’s a joke, and if people don’t get it they can…

Matt:

Can we get a new theme song this year?

Jeff:

No.

Matt:

Ah.

Jeff:

Anyway, that’s enough from us. Thanks guys for listening, and we’ll be back next week with some more.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening. And remember, question everything. Well, it’s not what we say.