ATP Science Episode 58 – Tongkat Ali
Welcome to the ATP Project, Episode 58 – Tongkat Ali.
The amazing herb Tongkat Ali – also known as Eurycoma Longjack.
• Benefits for both men and women are simply astounding. Truly, one of my all-time favourite herbs.
• Berylliosis Disease
• Chronic Constipation
• Adrenal Maladaptation.
Matt smashes them out of the park with clear guidelines on how to tackle each problem.
This podcast is not designed to diagnose, treat or cure any condition. Always discuss any information on this podcast with your health care professional.
Stay tuned, the ATP Project is about to start.
Welcome to the ATP Project, you’re with your hosts Matt and Jeff.
Jeff: Matt, today we’re talking about Tongkat Ali, also known as Long Jack.
Jeff: So, tell us about it, Matt. We’ve got it in some of our formulas; I know a little bit about it, but tell me, Matt, why would anybody consider taking Tongkat Ali?
Matt: It’s a really powerful herb, and it’s a very cool herb because of the way it works. With the body it’s all about priorities, so our brain is constantly gathering data from our environment and trying to work out, “What is our most important priority right now?” Your brain can’t afford to wait to see what the stress triggers may be, so it can’t afford to wait to see if we’ve got a little bit of inflammation from allergies or intolerances, or immune activation, or hurry worry money, sort of thing, before it triggers a response or adjusts our nervous system.
So, typically what’s happening is, our brain is constantly gathering data and deciding whether to send a signal through to our short term survival mechanisms, which are catabolic, or our long term maintenance and repair, reproduction, which are anabolic processes. So much stuff in our environment now is not like a life threatening stress but the body can’t afford to wait to see if it is just something like an artificial colour or a flavour or a mild intolerance or processed food, or whatever. And, everything in our society at the moment is keeping us in stress mode, which is catabolic, so the best thing about Tongkat Ali it actually helps the body change its priorities from being short term survival into long term maintenance and repair, so it’s a pretty long way of explaining why I like it, but it’s important to understand that in society and in modern life everything is keeping us in stress mode, we’re constantly under stress; that’s why it’s so hard to get into that Zen, it’s so hard to get into our meditation, reproduction, that’s why there’s so much infertility, that’s why there’s so much inflammation, that’s why there’s so much osteoporosis and diabetes, and all these sorts of things, because we’re constantly in stress mode and we’re not getting enough time to recover, regenerate and repair, and Tongkat Ali helps you to do all those sorts of things.
So, rest, recovery, regeneration, reproduction; all the fun stuff.
Jeff: And, there are some specific reasons why people take it. But Matt, a little bit about the history of the herb, do you know much about it? I know that it’s Indonesian, Malaysian sort of area.
Matt: Yeah, it’s the Malaysian Viagra.
Matt: And, the Malaysian Ginseng. You know how they talk about all the different Ginsengs around the world, you’ve got Korean Ginseng, which is typically Panax Ginseng, Indian Ginseng is Withania, Ahswagandha, the American Ginseng is Panax Notoginseng, then the Malaysian Ginseng is Tongkat Ali.
Jeff: Wow! So, they have quite different effects then, even though they’re part of the same species?
Matt: I think Ginseng is just used as an interchangeable term for Tonic, it helps improve vitality, strengthens you up and that sort of thing, improves your resilience.
Jeff: So, they might not, actually, be the same species, not even really related, maybe?
Matt: No, they’re usually a root. So, it’s usually a root that has a tonic effect on the body and they’ll call it a Ginseng; they’re not related at all, most of them.
Jeff: Okay. So, men take it, and I think this is where most people have heard of Tongkat Ali before, because a lot of men have used it for years. I know there was a study that was done back in 2012 that showed—I think there was 66 men took part in the study, 30% had normal Testosterone range, the rest were below normal Testosterone range. Within 30 days of supplementing in this controlled double blind placebo study 90% of the men taking the Tongkat Ali had increased into the normal range of Testosterone, which is pretty outstanding. And, I know a lot of older men look for Tongkat Ali because of its health benefits, and again it’s been used in traditional Malaysian herbal medicine for centuries.
Matt: The word Tongkat Ali is translated into Ali’s walking stick.
Jeff: Ali’s walking stick? Ali means king, doesn’t it? What does it mean again? Prime or best or highest, or something like that?
Matt: Yeah, yeah, lofty and noble and sublime, and all those sort of those things, so the best of the best of the men.
Jeff: Right, like Muhammad Ali?
Matt: It even props them up.
Jeff: Yeah, right.
Matt: So, it props them up, it improves vitality—that’s what I’m saying, it’s good for osteoporosis, it’s good for sexual prowess, it really improves vitality…
Jeff: Erectile function, I know it improves seminal flow.
Matt: Yeah, fertility rates, all the manly sort of things. The funny thing is, we’re talking about a lot of the stuff for men, but it’s also very good for women if they want to boost Testosterone. I just want to mention it quickly because there’s not too much that we talk about—we will go into more stuff with the women in a sec.
When we were researching we were asked to create products for women that want to increase Testosterone. When I went and researched all of the herbs that could, potentially, increase Testosterone in women this was the only one that I found that was effective in increasing Testosterone effects in women. When you looked at a lot of the other herbs that women use to improve Testosterone they did the opposite, they increased Estrogen.
Jeff: Like, Tribulus…
Matt: Tribulus, Epimedium, which is the Horny Goat Weed—so, Tribulus, Epimedium, Cissus…
Jeff: Even Shilajit, as well too, Matt.
Matt: Shilajit, all of those sort of things, all the ones that are typically used for men to boost Testosterone…
Jeff: Which are great for them.
Matt: And, work for men to boost Testosterone, will, actually, increase Estrogen in women because of the way they stimulate follicle stimulating hormone. So, Follicle Stimulating Hormone makes Sperm and Testosterone in blokes. In chicks it increases the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen, which then improves the ability to make a follicle, which is an egg, in the women, so fish in the men and egg in the women, but the end result is that in the women it makes Estrogen as well.
Jeff: Which is amazing, Matt, because I remember back when I was at the supplement store the amount of women that would come in from time to time, girls that were serious about getting into bikini competitions or figure, or fitness, or whatever it was, thinking, “Well, my husband, or my partner, is taking this product, he’s getting good results from it so therefore I’m going to take it as well too.”
Matt: And, typically, even when they get told, “Look, it’s not for women, it’s for men…
Jeff: They go, “Oh well, it’s got to be good.”
Matt: Well, they think, “Oh, now I want it more, because…
Jeff: They can’t have it.
Matt: “Because, I can’t have it, because it boosts Testosterone,” but it doesn’t, it boosts Estrogen and that’s why you shouldn’t have it.
Remember when we first started ATP we had a lot of athletes coming to us asking for advice, just because I did something different. Most of the Prep coaches were out there talking about Macros and prescribing supplements but I was a Naturopath, so people were coming in and talking about sleep and poo and periods, and saying, “How do I get my glutes and hemis, and get the fluid off those things?” the first thing we did was take them off the Tribulus supplements and everything, and the fluid and everything off the glutes and the hemis disappeared, the lower back started changing really quickly, even before we added in the Estrogen detoxification stuff; just taking off the things that increase Estrogen made a big change.
Understanding how Tongkat Ali increases Testosterone was the key to the discovery. Like I said, most other herbs work by telling the brain to tell the Gonads to do more, and it does that by releasing Luteinising Hormone and Follicle stimulating Hormone, so the brain releases LH and FSH. The LH and FSH will increase hormonal production by the Gonads. LH increases the Androgens, and Follicle stimulating Hormone in men, boosts Testosterone, but in women it boosts Estrogen, and that’s how most of the other herbs work.
Tongkat Ali is different. Tongkat Ali works by telling the body—by splitting the Nervous System and saying, “Stop doing catabolic things,” because catabolic things result in the release of Cortisol and they also result in the release of sex hormone binding globulin. So, stress tells your body, “Hey, reproduction, recovery and repair, not important. Today, all we’re going do is try to survive the stress, all we want to do is live through this shark attack, or live through this infection, or live through whatever it is that’s putting our body under stress.
Matt: “As far as reproduction, digestion, detox, recovery, libido, sexual performance, all that sort of stuff, that’s not important if we don’t make it through the day, and whatever it is, if it’s chronic stress, whatever you do you don’t want to become pregnant, you don’t want to become any of those things.” So, Tongkat Ali goes and tells the brain, “Forget about the stress and start focusing on shagging, reproducing, rebuilding muscle, regenerating bone,” and all that sort of thing.
When it does that it reduces Cortisol and reduces sex hormone binding globulin. By reducing sex hormone binding globulin whatever Testosterone has been made it frees it up and makes it more active. The Tongkat Ali also activates Androgen receptors, so it goes and makes the body more sensitive to the Testosterone that’s already been released.
Jeff: Wow! I didn’t know that. That’s pretty cool.
Matt: Yeah. You know how they talk about Phytoestrogens?
Matt: So soy and all that sort of stuff can mimic Estrogen in the body?
Jeff: Yeah, because it binds into those receptors, right?
Matt: Tongkat Ali can mimic Testosterone, so it works as a Phytoandrogen, so it binds into Testosterone receptors and makes your body more sensitive to the Testosterone that’s already been released. It also frees up that Testosterone that’s already been released, so you get a lot more effect out of it.
Matt: And, with the Adrenals, if you have a look at the Adrenal Cortex, and the Adrenal Cortex is the outside part of the Adrenal Gland, what it does it grabs Cholesterol, and out of Cholesterol it makes hormones. It either makes Cortisol—this is a simplified version, by the way, of course…
Matt: So, from Cholesterol it will either make Cortisol or it will use exactly the same resources to make DHEA. So, what it does is it tells the…
Jeff: And, DHEA being, what they call it? The Master Hormone, effectively, because it [slows] down Progesterone…
Matt: But, it is an Androgen as well.
Jeff: Yeah, right.
Matt: So, DHEA has an Androgen effect. So, what you’ll find happening is, the Tongkat Ali will tell the Adrenal Cortex, “Stop using your resources to make Cortisol and start using those exact same resources to make DHEA.
Jeff: Yeah, right.
Matt: The end result being that Cortisol will drop, and the studies show usually 15 to 20% inhibition of Cortisol release, and a subsequent increase of 15 to 20% of DHEA production and release.
Jeff: This is crazy. Yeah, that’s awesome.
Matt: But, then DHEA has a Androgen effect on its own, plus, it’s a precursor to making other Androgens like Progesterone and Testosterone. So, it goes, DHEA, Progesterone, Testosterone, and then that Testosterone can be converted to Estrogen. But, Tongkat Ali also blocks the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen.
Jeff: Far out.
Matt: So, it goes in and blocks the Aromatase Enzymes. So, the end result is, you make more Testosterone via the Adrenals, and via the Gonads. The Testosterone that is released, it also frees it up, so it unbinds that Testosterone…
Jeff: Makes it more active. And, again, we’ve spoken about this in the past, the more Free Testosterone you’ve got the more building blocks—or, the body’s ability to use protein to build muscle.
Matt: Yeah. And, one of the other ways that the body can reduce your results from high Testosterone is by down regulating the receptors. So, the body’s got all these mechanisms that it uses to try to keep you where you are.
Jeff: Status quo, homeostasis, right?
Matt: Yeah. So, one of those mechanisms is releasing sex hormone binding globulin, another one is reducing the way the receptors are sensitive to it. So, Tongkat Ali will drop the sex hormone binding globulin to make sure that the Testosterone that’s been made is free and active and capable of being used, plus, it increases the sensitivity of the receptors to the Testosterone and other Androgens like DHEA, so you are more sensitive to the Testosterone.
So, when you take all those things into consideration, you have a look at the full picture, it reduces the stress hormones and signals that tell your body not to reproduce and not to build muscle and not to build bone. So, it blocks all of those catabolic effects of stress. Because, this is the thing we always talk about, it’s not just a matter of pushing one side, because if you were to use something that just built Testosterone, or if you were to just add Testosterone in, exogenously, the body can compensate for that high level of Testosterone by increasing its conversion to Estrogen by binding it up through sex hormone binding globulin, by switching off the receptors, it has all these ways of blocking it’s ability for that Testosterone to work to get you back to normal, because it can’t stop that Testosterone that’s already been released or already been injected, or ingested. So, the only way it can do it is say, “Well, I’m not going to let that Testosterone work,” and it will also activate the stress nervous system to override this other thing, if it thinks that’s more important.
Another way the body helps to clear away the Testosterone is by detoxifying it faster. Well, guess what?
Tongkat Ali also slows down the detoxification of Testosterone as well, so it increases…
Jeff: It prolongs the life of it in the body?
Matt: Exactly. So, it preserves the Testosterone. All those things combined means that both men and women it can increase the Testosterone levels and activity within the body.
Jeff: There’s a thousand questions I’ve got, and I wonder if I can actually think that far back because, obviously, there’s a lot there, Matt, a lot. So, for women it increases Testosterone though the Adrenals, is that correct?
Jeff: And, for me through the Gonads. For people who are using steroids, which a lot of our listeners do, let’s be real. Utilising Tongkat Ali could improve the body’s sensitivity to that Testosterone and also stop down-regulation of the receptors.
Jeff: So, it could actually be a good thing to stack, for those people, Tongkat with the product?
Matt: Yeah, and we’ve had those athletes come back and say they can get away with using 75% less gear when they’re combining it with our supplements with Tongkat Ali in it.
Jeff: Yeah, and the Prototype as well, too, yeah.
Matt: Yeah. And, we’ve had all those case studies coming back with people saying, “The nuts stay full, they don’t get that full suppression, the sperm production maintains even on the gear, their libido is maintained.”
Jeff: Which, goes to show a very powerful anecdotal effect of how powerful Tongkat Ali is, so whether you were looking to get pregnant, improve muscle, increase energy—because, Testosterone is fantastic for all those things, and the stopping of the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen–there’s so many reasons why, obviously—you forget how good these things are. It’s just incredible.
Matt: Yeah, I know. That’s why I wanted to do a podcast specifically on Tongkat Ali because it’s such a cool story, and understanding how it works is really cool, because it’s so different to all the others. And, it’s very rare to find a tool that is very powerful—like I was saying before, the brain can’t afford to wait to see if the stress trigger is going to kill you or not just in case it’s a poison or a venom. So, what this does, is it reduces the hyperactivity of the stress nervous system, so it stops the stress nervous system from being so primed and ready to go, as a catabolic effect, and tells the body, “No, no, no. Unless it’s a really big stress, unless it’s something really full on don’t overreact.”
Jeff: Is there a better time of day to take Tongkat, then Matt?
Matt: Well, because it suppresses Cortisol…
Jeff: And, I was going to ask you, that’s another question, what about people who do have a problem with Cortisol? Is this something that, potentially, they should avoid if they’ve got too little Cortisol?
Matt: Yeah, exactly. Well, it depends. Adrenal exhaustion is quite rare, okay?
Matt: So, where people have got really low Cortisol throughout a 24-hour period in a day is very rare.
Jeff: Right, there are just stages of Adrenal Maladaptation?
Jeff: Right. Did I say that right; I still struggle with that word?
Matt: Yeah, that’s good enough.
Jeff: People know what I’m talking about, they listen to me blunder through their podcasts saying the wrong thing.
Matt: And, it doesn’t matter because they’re all right.
Jeff: Okay, cool.
Matt: I was giving you shit, really.
Jeff: Yeah. What else is new?
Matt: Yeah. So, typically what happens, with a health functioning Adrenal Gland you get a big surge of Cortisol in the morning and then a drop—so, you’ve got relatively high Cortisol all day, because Cortisol keeps you awake and all that sort of stuff, and then your Cortisol is supposed to drop off and you go into a very deep trough at night with no Cortisol.
What happens in most cases is, if people are anxious, if people are panicked, if people are stressed, if they’re highly strung, tense and nervous, then they will have extra high Cortisol all day. You know the people that struggle to put on muscle, that have a very fast Metabolism, they’re constantly in a Catabolic state, they eat, eat, eat and just can’t build and grow and they’re nervous and they’re highly strung, or the ones that live on stimulants all day and that sort of stuff, they’ve typically got high Cortisol all day. And, for a period of time they get high Cortisol all day and they still have high Cortisol at night.
Jeff: It drops down a little bit?
Matt: Yeah, it drops but it doesn’t drop down low enough.
Jeff: Not enough, yeah.
Matt: In those sort of people they can use something like Tongkat Ali throughout the day to lower their Cortisol release and it has an Anti-Anxiety effect in that situation. Then, what happens, you can only maintain high Cortisol all day and all night for a period of time before you get exhausted. So, the body is then saying, “Well, this stress it’s not switching off, it’s here all day and all night, and I can’t keep releasing so much Cortisol so I have to preserve some Cortisol for the evening. So, then the next stage is when the body will stop releasing high Cortisol all day, it will give you relatively low Cortisol throughout the day but it will maintain a higher level of Cortisol at night. For example; people that have inflammation from allergies, intolerances, pain, and that sort of stuff; that sort of stuff doesn’t disappear when you’re asleep, so it’s a constant stress, an inescapable stress on your body.
So, what happens is, your body needs Cortisol at night when you’re asleep as well to deal with these inflammatory triggers, because Cortisol is our main anti-inflammatory. So, what happens is, you go through a phase of high Cortisol all day, relatively high Cortisol at night through to a flat line. You get not enough Cortisol throughout the day to help deal with fatigue and wake you up, pain and inflammation, but you get this piss weak trickle all night that stops you from getting a deep recovering sleep.
Jeff: So, you just feel like a zombie through the day, and then insomnia at night?
Matt: Exactly. And, typically they’re the people that say, “The tireder I get the harder it is to get a good night’s sleep.” In those situations, then you want to use Tongkat Ali at night, and what that will do, it will force that Cortisol down at night, give you a chance for the Cortisol to go low, regenerate, repair, recover, and then it gives you enough Cortisol—it gives you a break from that release of Cortisol at night to have a sparing effect on your Adrenal Gland, so in the morning you’re capable of waking up with a big surge of Cortisol.
Jeff: And, you could also then use the CORT as well, too, at the same time in the morning, couldn’t you?
Matt: Yeah, exactly. So, the CORT RX it will help to—no, use the CORT RX at night…
Jeff: No, at night as well, too. Sorry, yeah that’s right.
Matt: So, you want to flatten your Cortisol.
Jeff: That’s right.
Matt: So, if you’re one of those people that are fatigued all day—so, you’re either going to be up and anxious and panicky all day or you’re going to be flat and fatigued all day. So, if you’re flat and fatigued all day use your Tongkat Ali and your CORT RX and that sort of stuff at night. If you are anxious all day, then use them through the day.
Jeff: And see, this is the thing, Matt, one size does not fit all.
Jeff: And, this is where people come back and say, “Oh look, my mate uses this product and my friend uses this product, they got unbelievable results, however I’ve used it and I haven’t.” But, your chemical profiles—what’s happening with your hormones in your body is completely different so…
Matt: And, in the same person it will change.
Jeff: Yeah, good point.
Matt: Because, what happens is, most times you’ll get that Adrenal Maladaptation because you’ve gone through a period of high Cortisol. Once we reload your Adrenals often you’ll go back to the high Cortisol again.
Jeff: So, you’ve got to change…
Matt: The Chinese describe it as an overflowing cup, where you’re either overflowing with anxieties and panic and nervousness, or you’re empty and you’ve got nothing left.
Jeff: Which, is where you’ve got to keep an eye on what’s happening with you. Go on, sorry.
Matt: The other thing that’s really cool to understand; you know how I was saying that often we have high Cortisol throughout the evening in response to inflammatory triggers, and it’s usually a case of immune activation from gut problems or overgrowth of bacteria and that sort of stuff, allergies and that sort of thing. Interestingly, Tongkat Ali and other things that help with Cortisol secretion like Turmeric and everything, they’re all very powerful anti-inflammatories. So, by suppressing your Cortisol at night, they’re not leaving you predisposed to inflammation because they’re also anti-inflammatory.
Tongkat Ali is very powerful at killing off bad bugs, it’s a very powerful anti-malarial treatment as well. So, what it does, it goes through and kills off a lot of the infections at night, it’s a very powerful anti-inflammatory, so it takes the burden off the stress nervous system. So, your brain, like I was saying, it can’t afford to wait to see what the stress trigger is before it reacts, so one of the ways Tongkat Ali takes the burden off your Adrenal Gland is by actually taking control of some of the stress triggers, which is inflammation, immune activation.
So, it doesn’t necessarily boost your immune system, it kills bugs, so it takes the burden off your immune system. It also switches off inflammation which takes the burden off you’re stressed nervous system.
Jeff: So, for anybody with an autoimmune disease, in consultation with the doctor, they should be fine to use these products. In fact, they would probably be beneficial if they’re got Lupus or anything else that’s happening like that Matt: Interestingly, Adrenal Maladaptation usually preceded autoimmunity, which means—for example; Cortisol is secreted to protect the host from its own defence mechanisms, meaning that you get an inflammation trigger, you get an immune trigger, the body releases Cortisol to switch off the inflammation and the immune system.
Jeff: Yeah, it’s cool.
Matt: If your Adrenal Gland is cactus then there’s no Cortisol coming out, so guess what they prescribe? Prednisone, which is a drug version of Cortisol, instead of fixing the Adrenal issues.
Jeff: Yeah, got it. It’s funny, Matt, just going back to that episode that we did on the Adrenal Maladaptation—I can’t say it—but, you were talking then that while Adrenal Fatigue is rare and can lead to things like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and all the rest of it, most people are in an elevated state because of our society. So, therefore, most people generally…
Matt: Most people are one or two steps off it.
Jeff: That’s right. And, I think we’ve said that, I think if six was Adrenal Fatigue most people are sitting somewhere between four and five.
Matt: They’re hovering between four and five.
Jeff: So, utilising Tongkat and other things like Turmeric definitely are worthwhile for these sorts of people?
Matt: Yeah, because the alternative is—if you have a look at the alternative from the drug world, you’ve got things like Prednisone which mimic Cortisol and have all the side effects of high Cortisol, or you’ve got a chemical straight jacket. You’ve got actually antipsychotics, and antidepressants and things like that that reduce the amount of signals that go to the brain by turning you, kind of, into a zombie.
Jeff: What worries me with that as well, is that, typically, when you start down that road—I mean everywhere, it’s not just a problem in The States, but you see it, where people will take a drug for Problem A, and that fixes Problem A or puts a Band-Aid on Problem A, but then Problem B, and or Problem C then come up, so then more drugs come and then all of a sudden you’ve got D and E and F, and then before you know it a drug that you’re taking to fix one symptom, or to address one problem, all of a sudden you’re now taking five or six medications because of the side effects of the other one.
Matt: Yeah, exactly.
Jeff: So again, if you can look at this and address it naturally…
Matt: Or, take control. The other thing too, a lot of the drugs will take a good couple of weeks to start working, and then what happens is they can take about three months to get off the bloody things. So, you don’t have that ability to bring it in and take it out without having withdrawals and all that sort of thing, so it’s very hard to deal with. Once you go down that path they are so powerful that you are kind of stuck there, you’re body adapts to them and then it’s really hard to reverse that adaptation.
With the herbal stuff they come in, they have a milder effect, but they work faster and it’s not as hard to stop and start. Plus, you get these wash out periods, they don’t have a two-week half-life, they’ve got like an eight-hour half-life. So, you can use them during the week, you can have the weekends off, you can use the during periods of stress, or periods of increased physical demand, and then when things are good and things are working you can stop them.
Jeff: So, in terms of Tongkat Ali, we’ve spoken about how great it is for men, and I certainly recommend it to any men that are using it, get on it, stack that in with your Shilajit, or with whatever else you’re using. If you’re using the ‘dark arts’ as they say, the steroids and things like that, definitely consider that to add alongside of what you’re using.
We’ve shown that it’s great for stress and for men and for women as well. Matt, can we talk a little bit more about the benefits for women, specifically with regards to some of what you were mentioning before, off air, PCOS and also Insulin Sensitivity, some of the theories that you’re starting to gain around the contra indications where you wouldn’t recommend it, but now you’re starting to say, “Maybe there needs to be some more research into this area.”
Matt: Well, not just me but the scientists are saying they need to do further research. So, like I said, in women it increases Testosterone, that’s been proven, to increase Testosterone activity. In PCOS, which is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, they typically have too much Testosterone. That Testosterone contributes to the cysts on the ovaries, the acne and the hirsutism, which is the whiskers and that sort of stuff, and also the production of fat.
Jeff: DHT, the gut fat and all that sort of stuff?
Jeff: And, Matt, I’ll just add this in, that is the reason why we created the ALPHA VENUS without the Tongkat Ali in it because so many women have been using our products with PCOS and the evidence that’s been coming back from them has been fantastic. We decided to leave the PRIME. ALPHA VENUS and ALPHA PRIME are very similar products, one has Tongkat Ali in it, the other has Vitex. We’ve always recommended, since bringing out the new ALPHA VENUS that women with PCOS steer clear of the Tongkat Ali and go for the product with the Vitex in it.
Matt: Yeah. First, do no harm, better to be safe than sorry. The science isn’t proven yet.
Jeff: So, steer clear of something that could cause a problem.
Matt: Yeah. The funny thing is, Tongkat Ali has been shown to increase Testosterone, which in theory should make PCOS worse.
Matt: And, the whole syndrome worse, which is associated with acnes and hirsutism. The weird thing is, there’s a lot of new research coming out on Tongkat Ali showing that it improves Insulin Sensitivity. Now, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is also called Insulin Resistance Syndrome and Metabolic Syndrome, they’re all linked, but it’s caused by Insulin Resistance.
So, what happened, they were looking for herbs that improve Insulin Sensitivity and one of the most powerful ones came up as Tongkat Ali, so then they started thinking, “Well, maybe Tongkat Ali is actually good for PCOS because the cause of PCOS is Insulin Resistance. But, paradoxically, because it increases Testosterone it should make it worse.
Matt: So, there’s further research that needs to be done, but when they’ve studied Tongkat Ali in women with irregular menstrual cycles it’s actually shown to normalise their menstrual cycle, it’s starting to work on a lot of their symptoms and fix it by improving the cause of the PCOS which is the Insulin Resistance.
Jeff: Matt, I don’t know, and you might be able to tell me, I’m just vaguely remembering somewhere in the back of my mind that Tongkat Ali contains 4-Hydroxyisoleucine which helps with…
Matt: No, it’s Fenugreek.
Jeff: Oh, that’s Fenugreek? It is too.
Matt: So, Fenugreek’s got the 4-Hydroxyisoleucine, and what that does it works on the GLUT4 Transporters that helps to drive sugar in through the cells as an alternative to using insulin.
Matt: But, now the Quassinoids that are in the Tongkat Ali…
Jeff: I was going to ask, “How does it do it?” So, right, the Quassinoids?
Matt: Yeah, that’s right.
Jeff: What’s a Quassinoid?
Matt: It’s just one of the active ingredients, a major active ingredient. I think it makes up about 80% of the active ingredients of Tongkat Ali, these compounds referred to as Quassinoids. But, they actually work on this plasma protein released by the liver that goes into the bloodstream that causes Insulin Resistance associated with Fatty Liver, inflammation, and stress.
So, interestingly, what happens is, the Quassinoids inhibit—it’s Alpha-2-HS-glycoprotein, Fetuin-A or something, I don’t even know how to pronounce these things. But, there’s a plasma released by the liver that causes Insulin Resistance and also causes low Testosterone. And, Quassinoids work on that particular plasma protein and inhibit it and improve Insulin Sensitivity through that particular pathway.
Interestingly, that has been significantly linked to the cause of Insulin Resistance in PCOS.
Matt: So, it specifically targets the aspect within the liver that is associated with Fatty Liver and all that sort of stuff that leads to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, so it goes right back upstream and works on the causes of PCOS. So, in theory, they’re looking at a lot more research into Tongkat Ali’s ability to control PCOS, even though, in situations without PCOS and situations in females with normal hormonal function it has all these Testosterone effects. They’re starting to think it has a different effect in people with Insulin Resistant Syndromes by correcting this.
Now, this is another interesting aspect; what causes the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is, in follicular phase, which is the first half of the menstrual cycle, Testosterone is converted to Estrogen and that matures and egg, that egg then makes its way to the edge of the follicle and pops off around ovulation, and that’s what happens. But, Insulin blocks the Aromatase Enzyme, so it blocks the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen, so it’s Insulin that causes the build-up of Testosterone in Polycystic Ovaries. And then that Testosterone converts through to Dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone, being more active within the cells…
Jeff: That’s what gives you the pimples and all that sort of stuff.
Matt: Exactly. So, Tongkat Ali has been shown to block Dihydrotestosterone, so it actually blocks the enzyme 5-alpha reductase that converts Testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone. So, not only does Tongkat Ali fix the Insulin issue but it also blocks the conversion of Testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone. So, interestingly, all these things combined—when they forget about the other studies showing that it makes Testosterone high…
Jeff: And, Testosterone makes PCOS worse.
Matt: Yeah, well high Testosterone is associated with PCOS.
Jeff: Well, that’s the real language, right?
Matt: Yeah. So, what you’ll find is people with PCOS have high Testosterone because of Insulin problems. And, that’s what I’m saying, this thing comes in and fixes the Insulin problems, and it also fixes the conversion of Testosterone to DHT.
Jeff: Look, this sounds really good, Matt, but we’re not recommending, by the way, if you do have PCOS to run out and get Tongkat Ali.
Matt: No, just watch this space.
Matt: It’s interesting. And, this is the thing with herbs, they’re very powerful ingredients. How do I explain it? They keep things normal. They’re really clever in the way they work on these different biochemical pathways on the big picture, so they help to keep a nice balance of Homeostasis.
Jeff: No, it’s super cool, Matt.
Matt: And, that’s why I love Tongkat Ali so much, because in today’s society there is are so many causes of stress, there are so many causes of Insulin Resistance, there are so m any causes of Estrogen Dominance, to have a herb that can come in, in both men and women and help to offset the Estrogen, and it has very powerful anti-Estrogen effects by inhibiting the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen and fat tissue, it’s very powerful at reducing the stress response, as it’s very powerful in proving Insulin sensitivity. It’s kind of a really cool herb for the modern age, and moving into the future it’s very interesting to see the effect that it has on the liver with its ability to stop these compounds coming out of the liver that contribute to Insulin issues associated with fatty liver. But, it’s also very powerful at controlling liver Cytochrome P450 pathways by slowing down the pathways that are sped up by toxic exposure. So, plastics, petrochemicals, what they call EDCs, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, all those sort of things that are contributing to Estrogen Dominance, it even works on those. So, a big variety of effects.
And, like I said earlier, a lot of the other tools will push Testosterone, they’ll drive one side to go faster but they don’t deal with the handbrakes, which is the Stress Nervous System and everything else. So, not only does Tongkat Ali drive the Anabolic side to go faster, it actually inhibits the Catabolic side, and that’s what makes it more effective because the ratio–you imagine, there’s just two, it’s like Yin and Yang, you know. It inhibits one side and it stimulates the other side, you get a more significant effect than if you were to stimulate one side and then leave the other side to still be running fast.
Jeff: That makes sense.
Matt: No, I think it’s pretty cool.
Jeff: I do.
Matt: One of the other things I love about it is, our Autonomic Nervous System because it’s involuntary, it’s automatic. It’s split between two sides, so you’ve got the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic. And, a lot of people out there can relate to these symptom pictures, so if you have a look at it this way, the Sympathetic Nervous System helps is your nervous response to stress, and that is your survival side. The Parasympathetic is the other one. Right? So, basically, you’re in survival mode and respond to survival triggers, or you’re in the other side, regenerating and repair and that sort of thing.
So, when we get stress triggers the Sympathetic Nervous System is constantly working, and it takes priority. So, Tongkat Ali helps to reduce the stress on the Sympathetic Nervous System. To know if you’re in the Sympathetic Nervous System what happens is, it sends your blood out to your muscles and your brain, and it shuts down the blood supply to your gut and gonads and everything. So, your Sympathetic Nervous System will shut down your digestion, it’ll stimulate the blood flow out to your muscles and brain; sometimes that comes with a faster heart rate and that sort of thing. So, the Sympathetic Nervous System does long term memory, it does far vision, it does anxiety, keeps you awake, it shuts down digestion.
The other nervous system, the Parasympathetic, which only gets a chance to work when you’re not in survival mode; we nickname it the rest and digest. It does short term memory, concentration span, close vision, it does libido, it does fertility, it does digestion, it does detox, it does sexual performance, all these sorts of things.
Jeff: Even I could do with more of that.
Matt: Yeah, exactly.
Jeff: I mean, not the last one particularly, but you know what I mean, like all of that.
Matt: Yeah. So, if you’re one of those people that are stuck in survival mode all the time the Tongkat Ali can reduce that survival effect and build up all of the other ones, which is the rest, digest and all of Anabolic processes. So, when you look at the studies on Tongkat Ali they show that it’s good for building muscle, it’s good for building bone, it’s good for detox, it’s good for digestion, it’s good for libido, reproduction, all those sort of things. It definitely builds up the Parasympathetic Nervous System by slowing down the Sympathetic Nervous System.
Jeff: And, that reminds me of something else that we were mentioning, the Over Training Syndrome as well, Matt.
Jeff: You said people who have been diagnosed or believe that they’re in an Over Training state, it’s very, very good to whack down some of the Tongkat Ali, Matt, to get them into the Parasympathetic Nervous State.
Matt: Exactly. So, Over Training Syndrome is characterised by high Cortisol. Cortisol suppresses your Immune System, increases Allergies, so it suppresses your Antimicrobial Defence and increases your Allergic Defence. So, what happens, your immune seesaw, one side kills bugs, the other side flushes away the big things. Over Training Syndrome typically people get a lot of colds and flus and a lot of allergies and intolerances. The other thing is, they’re not effectively controlling their inflammation, and you get a lot of Mineral Deficiencies because of the constant stress mode that you’re running in, it shuts down digestion so you don’t absorb as much nutrients and you just churn through ridiculous amounts of vitamins and minerals.
So, what Tongkat Ali does in that situation is it controls the Adrenals, helps to restore balance to the Adrenals, takes the burden off the Adrenals by controlling the inflammation, and also improving Antimicrobial Defence, [Anti-allergies] [0:40:31], and will also help with the other ratios between Testosterone and Cortisol, and DHEA and Cortisol. The other thing that’s characterised by Over Training Syndrome is high Cortisol and high Sex Hormone Binding Globulin.
Jeff: So, the things you don’t want.
Matt: It takes all those sort of things out of the way.
Jeff: Gees, so it’s almost counterproductive as far as anything you’re doing in the gym is just going to be virtually useless?
Matt: Yeah. And, typically what happens in that sort of situation you’re not getting the results you deserve, so what do you do? You work harder and you stress over it.
Jeff: Yeah, a vicious cycle.
Matt: It makes the Over Training Syndrome worse. There’s all that debate, you know, is there such a thing as Over Training or is it just Under Recovery?
Matt: So, you can look at Tongkat Ali as something that improves recovery and repair.
Jeff: Mm. Another study was, actually [0:41:18] it just goes to a point in terms of quality sources of Tongkat Ali as well. It was the Malaysian—an official Malaysian, and I think I’ve got it here, the Drug Control Authority tested 100 products containing Tongkat Ali and 26% of them contained high levels of Mercury. And, this is the other thing, as well, you’ve got to trust the source of Tongkat Ali that you get. Obviously we’ve got some at ATP through the ALPHA PRIME and also in the…
Matt: ALPHA MARS.
Jeff: So, the ALPHA MARS is really designed for men but it can also be used for women with Menopause. But, also for women, if the women, instead of using the ALPHA VENUS and you are looking to increase Testosterone levels and think that the Tongkat Ali sounds like a good product, instead of using the ALPHA VENUS, or in conjunction with you could use it, Matt, jump on the ALPHA PRIME instead, or in concert with it.
Matt: Yeah. You’ve got to look for an extract—we don’t label all this sort of stuff, so it’s hard to really know, but we source and extract that’s really high in Quassinoids. So, you’ve got to find out…
Jeff: Most people won’t list it either, Matt. And, that’s the problem, right? We’re discovering that as far as manufacturing there’s five major areas of fault with manufacturing, from the manufacturers themselves, dishonest companies just blowing crap and labelling it as good stuff, purchasing raw materials but not testing them to make sure that the quality is there; there’s all sorts of problems which is why a large percentage of supplements that you’re taking are under strength. Now, whether it’s a mistake, an accident, you know, it could be poor manufacturing or just a mistake that’s happened, or bad formulation, there are so many things. But, just buy [0:43:03], you’ll be fine.
Matt: As a numbers man, Jeff, you would actually probably poop a little if you realised how much I spend on Tongkat Ali
Jeff: Don’t tell me.
Matt: It’s bloody expensive. Because, what we do is, we’ve searched the world to get an extract that’s standardised for the Quassinoids; not many people do it. They’ll say, “Yeah, it’s the right herb but they don’t actually make sure it’s got a certain amount of Quassinoids yielded.
Jeff: Which, really pisses me off.
Matt: Man, it is really expensive.
Jeff: I’m going to tell you something that really pisses me off. There’s some Pelicans out there, some absolute peanuts who need an uppercut. There’s a lot of companies out there, and we’ve spoken about manufacturing before, who go out there and manufacture crap and label it as good. In fact, the majority. But, you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. What we’ve done with our formulations, because they’ve taken a lot of time to put together the only way that we could protect our IP, because we couldn’t patent the product, was to create a proprietary blend.
Now Matt, we appreciate that some of the Naturopaths who do understand their product really like to know how much is in it. Sorry, but tough, we’re not going to disclose that information because the ratios that we’ve got work, which is why our products work, which is why we get really great feedback. For the other Pelicans out there that would say that we have a proprietary blend therefore we suck because we’re putting not enough of the amounts in there, go shove it up your butt.
Matt: And, use it and you feel it working. Because, people copy our products and that’s the problem; they copy it exactly.
Jeff: Well, we’re already starting to get it.
Matt: And, unfortunately they’re not copying the quality, they’re just copying the label.
Matt: So, people are reading the labels and going, “Oh, they’re the same.”
Jeff: Look Matt, there might be an opportunity for us, eventually, to do away with the proprietary blend because we know our sourcing of raw materials, we know our manufacturer because we’ve just taken that in house. We control everything, as you’ve said, not completely all the time, but from the farm many times right through to the end product that we’re obviously shipping and selling ourselves or working with our partners here in Australia. So, we work on quality and control.
But yeah, it really annoys me when people accuse you of doing something evil, when you’re trying to do something that’s incredibly good, just simply because we’re trying to protect the IP that we’ve created.
Matt: Yeah, that’s right.
Jeff: Anyway, there’s my little rant for today.
Matt: That was a nice little rant.
Jeff: Yeah, thanks Matt. It just pisses me off, mate.
Matt: I can tell.
Jeff: Seriously, these Pelicans.
Matt: Wait till you find out how much I spend on our Tongkat Ali, then you’ll really spit the dummy.
Jeff: Yeah, but you know what—but, it’s good though because, at the end of the day, we’re getting people results.
Matt: That and our Ecdysterones, oh man, they’re expensive stuff.
Jeff: Well, we’ve got to maybe start manufacturing…
Matt: And, they’re megadoses, because what we try to do is we try to hit the doses that work in the studies, so we’re not just putting it in as a proprietary blend just to have it written on the label, we’re actually putting it in in the right amount to hit the levels that are in the studies, the levels that are in the studies of the actual Quassinoids used.
Jeff: And, part of the reason why we brought manufacturing internally as well, is that I was looking at the numbers, Matt, and seeing how much of our product was wasted, ended up on the floor of the manufacturing place simple because of the lack of care. And, when you are spending a high amount of money on raw materials because they are good and they are expensive, the worst thing you can see is see them hosed down the drain in the manufacturing facility because they haven’t taken due care.
Matt: Yeah, exactly.
Jeff: So, anyway. Matt, there’s something else I wanted to talk to before we get in—just do a couple of FAQs, we’re just getting overwhelmed with the FAQs, and there’s some people out there with some needs. So, I want to add some back into the end of our podcast just to help some people out.
Matt: Yeah, that’s a good idea.
Jeff: But, misrepresentation or misdiagnosis, or a lack of understanding or diagnosis, there can be simply things the way things are phrased that have double meanings; there’s a lot of this going out there as well.
Matt: What do you mean?
Jeff: Well, scientific research. And, this is a case in point: scientific research in a university in Victoria has discovered the female wombat does not like the male wombat.
Matt: Why are we talking—what?
Jeff: Because, the male wombat eats roots and leaves.
Matt: Is that why they used to call me the wombat?
Matt: “He just eats, roots, and leaves.”
Jeff: See, that’s got that double meaning.
Jeff: So, this is the thing about perspective and about what you’re actually opening and listening to. If you’ve got a closed mind or if you’ve got a particular viewpoint all products that are made with proprietary blends are crap, because you’re listening to it or you’re seeing it from that point of view. I’m trying to make my point here; I don’t know if I’ve made it clear enough.
Matt: Yeah, okay.
Jeff: Anyway, I love wombats, they are the coolest.
Matt: Yeah, that’s because you’re a slut.
Matt: You don’t want to cuddle.
Jeff: Not from you.
Matt: Well, I’m the wombat, you won’t have to because I’m going to eat, root and leave.
Jeff: Let’s get into some FAQs and get it back on track. By the way, was there anything else you want to add off on Tongkat Ali before we leave?
Matt: Do you want me to summarise?
Jeff: Yeah, summarise, come on.
Matt: I’ll quickly summarise: so, Tongkat Ali boosts Testosterone, boosts DHEA, lowers Cortisol, lowers Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, blocks the conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen, blocks the conversion of Testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone…
Jeff: That was very quick.
Jeff: You read it.
Matt: Yeah. Alright.
Jeff: Okay, Matty.
This one is from Courtney: “Hi guys, firstly, thank you for your weekly podcast, I hang out for it every Thursday and Friday. I find it super interesting and really informative, it also helps me to pass my time on my commute to Brisbane. I’ve had a couple of questions that I’d love to pick your brains about as I am going crazy, literally.
I’m really into health and wellness and have been for many years, however I’ve had a few bad patches throughout my university years, however over the past two years I feel like my health has deteriorated a lot, which I found very frustrating as the more I try to lose weight and be healthy the worse it gets.
I’ve recently been diagnosed with PCOS and Pyrroles. What are your thoughts on this? I’ve got a lot of digestive issues, IBS, Reflux, food allergies, SIBO, and also had Adrenal Fatigue.
My biggest concern is PCOS. I’m sick of being super fat and want to heal naturally but I’m stumped as to what I can do apart from diet and exercise. I’ve listened to your podcasts numerous occasions, however, I’m unsure where I fit in as I am not hairy, I don’t have balding spots or pimples, I’ve gained a lot of weight over the past 12 months mainly on my stomach, thighs, and my arse, and I can’t seem to shift it no matter what I do. I haven’t had regular periods in the past 15 months, the last one came in December 2015 and previously August 2015.
I’m 31 years of age and have never been on the pill and don’t want to start, however, the doctor won’t prescribe me Metformin and says the pill is my only option. What are your thoughts on the pill?
I’m currently taking T432, two tablets twice a day, and the ALPHA VENUS two tablets twice a day. Should I take more? I also rub SUBCUT over my hips and thighs and stomach. Should I continue with SUBCUT or should I try BLOCK E3? I was taking the CORT RX to help me sleep however I’ve just taking the Melatonin and this makes me sleep like a baby. Will this screw up my hormones? I also take Fish Oil, Vital Greens, B12, Vitamin D, Lipo, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and a bunch of other supplements and essential oils. I remember you mentioning Rosemary Essential Oil being really good for women, but I can’t remember what for and how much to take.
Please help, I’m so overwhelmed and confused on what action I need to take next, and feel disillusioned about my ability to heal and to fit in and have a normal body composition again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon – Courtney.”
Well Matt, what do you think?
Before you say anything I was thinking about sleeping like a baby; you wake up with poo in your pants and a boob in your mouth.
Matt: So, with this one from Courtney, I’ll tell you something really cool about it; with the combination of PCOS and Pyrroles–what Pyrroles is, they used to call it Mauve Factor, there’s this urine test that they can do to see if you’ve got Crypto Pyrroles coming through in the urine, and what it is, the body struggles to make Haemoglobin effectively. Then, what it does, there’s a lot of waste products produced, as the waste products are produced you’ve got to wee them out, and as you go to the toilet and wee them out they take Zinc and B6 with it. So, the problem with Pyrroles, it causes big deficiencies of Zinc and B6. It’s really, really hard to keep the Zinc levels and B6 levels high enough because this waste product is constantly being urinated out and stripping it from your body. So, it’s one of those cases where really high doses of Zinc and B6 are required.
It’s linked in with all sorts of problems: PCOS is one of them, other ones are Anxiety issues and Neurological sort of stuff, because Zinc and B6 together make up about 500 different enzymes in the body.
Matt: They work on Insulin Sensitivity, which links in with PCOS, they also work in the detoxification and regulation of Neurotransmitters in the brain that control our stress and worry and panic and self-esteem and self-worth, pride, all those sort of things, reward centres, which control addictions, cravings and everything. Zinc and B6 are also very important for Sulphation pathways, which is a form of detoxification that controls Estrogen, in particular.
So, when you’re having a look through this Protocol what is missing from it is high doses of Folate, because that’s just not listed here with the B12. There’s B12 but if you don’t have Folate the B12 can’t work. So, the Folate is essential for Methylation pathways which strips out the Testosterones and the Estrogens that contribute to these hormonal problems.
Jeff: So, you think it’s a Methylation Sulphation problem?
Matt: Exactly, yeah. And, extra Zinc and B6 is needed. So, with that Protocol there it’s fine to use things like Fish Oil, it’s fine to use Vital Greens, fine to use B12, Vitamin D, all that sort of stuff; all that sort of stuff is cool, but you need a bucket load of Folic Acid in the form of MTHF, which is a Methylenetetrahydrofolate, like a good 1000 micrograms of that per day. And, you need B6 that gets absorbed really well, so you need a P5P which is a Piridoxil-5 Phosphate, it’s an activated form of B6; that one you can absorb at a higher dose without it backlogging the pathways, it’s more of a natural form. So, you get about 50 milligrams of that, and then you need a Zinc [Picolinate] [0:53:43] at about 50 milligrams as well.
So, you need high doses of Zinc, B6 and Folate otherwise you can’t correct the hormonal problems, and you can’t correct the Insulin Sensitivity.
Jeff: So, it’s just the crux of the matter, right here?
Matt: Yeah. So, there’ll be a Pyrolysis condition, which is a genetic condition. It mentioned something about the MTHFR gene somewhere here, didn’t it? No, that might e another one. But yeah, that’s all linked in with it. So, you can measure the MTHFR gene, that would be quite interesting. Also measure levels of Homocysteine, that’s a good marker to see if the Folate’s working, but throw in the Zinc. You can get serum levels of Zinc and that sort of stuff measured, or B6 or Folate, but that stuff fills up first, we don’t know what’s actually happening on an enzyme level, so just take it, take Zinc, B6 and Folate, add that into your Protocol and you should get some changes.
Jeff: Courtney’s from Brisbane so Chromium Picolinate might be difficult to find but you can always source it from overseas and bring it in.
Matt: Yeah. Also too, the BLOCK E3 would be a really good addition because the BLOCK E3 rub that on to the subcutaneous fat stubborn bits, that would probably have a good effect at reducing the hormonal imbalance that’s causing the fat there.
Jeff: Perfect. Alright, well we’ll flick one out to Courtney.
Matt: It’s interesting though, because you need Zinc and B6 to make Melatonin and that sort of stuff as well, you can’t get Melatonin secretion if you’ve got a Zinc and B6 deficiency. It’s funny, a lot of these things are linking in, but you’ll probably just find that Zinc and B6 and Folate…
Jeff: I love Melatonin, by the way, it certainly doesn’t worry us, Matt and I both like Melatonin from time to time.
Matt: Yeah, it’s just interesting. Go back to treating the cause though and you’ll find that you’ll be much better off.
Jeff: Yeah, that’s right, exactly. Alright, so Courtney we’ll flick you out a BLOCK E3, it looks like the Zinc and the B6 are the major issues there.
Matt: Yeah, once we get our Multi that will be a good one because that’s going to have all that stuff in it.
Jeff: Cool. Done. Excellent. That’s the fact story.
Okay, this one’s from Coco: “Hi Matt and Jeff. You guys absolutely rock—I think she’s talking more about me, by the way—and, love the show. I’ve given Elsa a whole bunch of feedback on why, but I know Matt really dislikes it when us listeners become too fan girly, so I’ll leave it at that.”
I become a little bit fan girly at times, Matt.
Matt: Yeah, but you don’t send me the weird pictures.
Jeff: Oh, you haven’t got them?
Matt: Oh God, don’t look at me like that.
“I’m a 32-year-old female who exercises regularly, a mix of cardio and strength training about four to five times a week. I follow a Low Carb diet and it’s clean as I can possibly get it. I’ve been doing this for about eight months. I started with it for the weight loss benefits but also because I feel really good doing it, no bloating, no random stomach cramps, no weird cravings. I also take a multivitamin with extra iron for my anaemia and supplement with L-Carnitine and various oils as suggested in the past podcast.
I have a question about chronic constipation, if I can call it that. I get a lot of fibre from Chia, Coconut, Veggies, Psyllium and other low carb fibres and drink plenty of filtered water, about two and a half to three and a half litres a day to drag it all out. If I’m lucky I go about twice a week, otherwise just once, and that’s not to say though that I don’t always feel like I don’t want to go. I get the wanting to go feeling constantly but end up just sitting there for ages and nothing happens. This has been going on for about 12 years.
I saw my first Naturopath at 19 for what I thought was IBS but discovered I had a Gluten Intolerance. I used to get really bad cramps coupled with Constipation after just any meal for a really long time, but after coming off the Gluten the cramps have calmed down especially with the Low Carb diet. The constipation has remained. Prune juice and other natural laxatives have had zero effect.
A colonoscopy later at the age of 22 and the Gastroenterologist just told me that I have a lazy bowel as the scope turned up no other issues. He said there was nothing more I could do, said that I could even eat Gluten. I wasn’t okay with that as surely a lazy bowel would not have me in the loo for at least an hour every day.
Even though I no longer get the cramps I tend to be a bit gassy at night, probably because I have a few more Carbs with dinner. According to my hubby they’re not smelly but they’re very uncomfortable to pass and it makes me feel like I need to go sit on the loo again.
I’ve listened to the podcast FAQ related to gut health but even before hearing any of them I tried many of the Elimination Diets, Probiotics, Detox Cleanses, to help me be regular.
Guys, I’m stumped on what to do. This has become very, very frustrating and it’s really effecting my quality of life. I’ve completely changed my diet and lifestyle and can’t believe that I’m still struggling with this after so many years. One more thing I thought I would say, even with drinking all the water mentioned above I still get very thirsty, a dry mouth, and I pee often. Sometimes my skin can be quite dry in places. I don’t think the constipation could be attributed to the body not being able to absorb water properly, if so, how can this be tested?
Keep up the great work, guys. As always look forward to what’s next. Thanks – Coco.”
Matt, that’s not sounding like Diabetes, at all, is it? Anyway, you’re the expert.
Matt: No, it doesn’t sound anything like Diabetes. What, are you crazy?
Jeff: No, the thirstiness and the constant drinking?
Matt: No, that can come from a lot of things.
Matt: Including the dry stools, that will send a message through to the body to say, “Add more water in.”
Matt: The first thing, sometimes you can get too much fibre. So, one of the main things with Constipation—see, what fibre does is it helps to get your shit together…
Jeff: Boom, boom.
Matt: You know, it absorbs the moisture, it makes a large stool, and if you have too much fibre it can cause Constipation.
Jeff: Yeah, I think we’ve touched on this before.
Matt: Things like Psyllium, in particular; Psyllium can make a very large stool, very hard and dry, and absorbs all the water you’re drinking into it.
Jeff: So, it sucks it up into this…
Matt: The same as Chia does, you know, you put a bit of Chia into a glass with some water and all that water disappears and puffs it out. So, you can get too much of these things coming through, so too much fibre is a common cause of Constipation.
Jeff: Which is counterintuitive to what most of us have, obviously, learnt.
Matt: Well, you’ve got bulking fibres, which a lot of these natural ones are, and then you’ve got laxative or lubricating fibres. So, things like Flax Seed Meal is what we call a lubricating fibre, Chia is supposed to be a lubricating fibre, but Psyllium is one of the drying bulking fibres that will actually absorb the moisture, and it’s used for alternating Constipation and Diarrhoea, sort of thing. So, get rid of the Psyllium for starters, throw in some Flax Seed Meal if you want, but I’d probably reduce the amount of fibre that you’re eating, totally, to try to help things move through a little bit easier. If you had a wetter softer stool it would be easier to pass.
Also, the more complex Carbs that are made up into the stools the more fermentation you get and the more gas you produce.
Jeff: That makes sense.
Matt: So, going for the Simple Carbohydrates as opposed to the Complex Carbohydrates will mean less gas.
Jeff: Because, it’s got a faster gastric emptying time.
Matt: Yeah, and a lower fibre content will help to pass things through.
Matt: It sounds weird, hey, but it’s true.
Jeff: This sounds 100% in the opposite direction.
Matt: Yeah, well you know. Trying something different.
Jeff: I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’m just saying, obviously, this is why this might come as a bit of a shock.
Matt: Other things that can cause sluggish Transit Time and a lazy bowel is a slow Thyroid, so get your Thyroid levels checked. Also look for things that stimulate—you know how, in the podcast earlier we talked about the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic, the gut wall has a 400 square metre surface area, that’s all muscle and it requires a lot of blood and nerve innovation to function.
Matt: If you’re stressed, if you’re eating on the run, if you’re on the go all the time then your guts don’t get the attention they need. There are ways of cheating though, because there’s a nerve that goes from the bitter taste buds of your tongue through to your bum.
Matt: Yeah, the Vegas Nerve. So, activating that Vegas Nerve with Bitter Principles, they call them, so bitter things or acid and that, so with your meals have hot water, Apple Cider Vinegar, lemon juice, lime, that sort of thing to stimulate the Digestive Gastric Flow.
Jeff: Yeah, what about Miso or anything like that would help, Matt?
Matt: Oh yeah, it’s alright.
Jeff: Or, vinaigrettes, that sort of thing?
Matt: Yeah, all those sort of things help. Hot warm Miso soups before meals, that sort of thing is a really good idea, vinaigrettes when you’re having salad, otherwise just hot and warm drinks with your meals, always sit down to eat—or, go into your local herbalist shop, I don’t know where you are, but go into your local shop and ask them to mix up, or look for something like—there’s an old German thing made by a company called Flordis, it’s called Iberogast, but all it is it’s a combination of Gentian with Peppermint and—but, what I do, I go into the local Flannery’s or whatever and ask the guys to mix up a combination of Gentian, Peppermint, Cramp Bark—there’s a herb called Cramp Bark which is really good at relaxing the muscles of the bowel—so, Gentian, Cramp Bark—and, I mean you can get the ones that flush through the liver if you want a proper laxative, so you can get Yellow Dock added to that, or you can actually add Cascara, which is a laxative, if you wanted to, and then cut back on those sort of things. But, I like Gentian, Peppermint, Cramp Bark is a nice muscle relaxant, aniseed, add all those sort of things in as a muscle relaxant for the bowel to help Peristalsis to work.
Jeff: How do you take that?
Matt: You just take a swig of that with some hot water before your meals and it brings the blood into your guts, gets your Digestion going, relaxes your bowels. Cut out the fibre, because the problem is, if you’re getting too much complex carbs in a Slow Transit time it allows the bugs to thrive and then they ferment it. The more Probiotics you add in the more gas you’re going to make.
Jeff: Yeah, makes sense.
Matt: The difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria is that good bacteria make a hydrogen gas that doesn’t stink, the bad ones are making the methane that stinks.
Jeff: That’s what Coco is saying, so it sounds like it’s hydrogen not methane.
Matt: So, you’ve got plenty of good bacteria, but you’ve just got too much food for them and they’re fermenting it. Then, stimulate that Parasympathetic Nervous System by activating the Vegas Nerve and sitting down to eat and focusing on the colour, the fragrance and the smell, or say Grace, or do some sort of meditation to let your stomach know food is coming and get that blood flow into your stomach.
Matt: Also, the last thing is to get your legs up. See, your Sigmoid Colon is designed to kink itself off when we’re standing and sitting, so you don’t poo yourself. When you actually squat the pelvis tilts and it opens up the Sigmoid Colon and allows the Peristalsis to push the poo through without any pushing required; that’s your Unicorn seat.
Jeff: I was about to say, is that the Unicorn…
Matt: The Unicorn Stool.
Jeff: Search the Unicorn—what’s it called, Matt?
Matt: I don’t know.
Jeff: This little seat that you can buy; it’s the best advertising I’ve seen, I love it.
Matt: Yeah, I know. We’ve got a little stool next to our toilet, and you just put your feet up. So, just get some stools up there, put your feet up rather than squatting onto your toilet seat because you might break it.
Matt: Yeah, so basically, get your legs up as high as possible and lean forward and it tilts your pelvis, opens up your Sigmoid Colon—I’m doing a nice demonstration right now. Did you see that?
Jeff: I know, I’m watching, it’s like Yoga.
Matt: Yeah, I’m like a Unicorn. So yeah, lean forward, knees up, get your legs up nice and high and it will change the angle. Most of the world squats, you know, it’s only Western society that sit on a chair, the same as you would in the dining room table or in front of TV or whatever, or a work desk, and you’re expected to push your poo through a Sigmoid Colon that’s kinked off. The rest of the world squat, children want to squat and then we pop them up onto a toilet seat.
Jeff: Yeah, it’s a good point.
Matt: Yeah, so you’ve got to stay squatting or in the squatted position.
Jeff: So, have a look at that Unicorn stool thing, or get something that puts your feet up a little bit. If you Google it you’ll see it everywhere, and oh my gosh, the thousands of, “For years I’ve been doing the wrong toilet.” So, anyway, there you go.
Hopefully that helps Coco. A bit of information there that works, some of it probably sounds a bit wrong, but look, give it a crack and see how you go.
Matt: Do it anyway.
Alright. This one’s from Debbie: “Hello guys. Absolutely love your show. I have some questions and a long history and I hope you can offer some advice.
I’m 49 years old and still have regular periods. About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease and had a subsequent RAI Treatment which I now regret. I also had two miscarriages around that time. Fast forward to the age of 43 and I’ve had three rounds of unsuccessful IVF.
Since then I’ve been diagnosed with Leaky Gut, SIBO, and believe I have issues with Histamines and Blood Sugar although my A1C stands at about 5.4. My MCV and MCH on blood both work have been irregular in the past. I am Compound Hetero MTHFR, along with numerous other SMP abnormalities.”
She’s obviously speaking your language because this means nothing to me.
“I currently seem to carry weight on my love handles and belly area. I’ve always had slender hips and thighs. I don’t suffer from any of the Menstrual Issues that seem to plague other women, no moodiness, no breakthrough spotting, no migraines or headaches, no acne, no random hair growth, etcetera.
What I do seem to suffer from is that I am a super slow starter in the mornings. I crave salt, I eat Celtic Salt to my liking. I crave coffee like crazy. My upper eyelids are puffy and pink. I hold water easily though it seems to be fairly evenly distributed everywhere. I seem to binge on Carbs if I get started at eating them, and I have very low Libido, much to my husband’s dismay.
I have put on an extra 15 to 20 pounds, which is frustrating, and seem to have been doing everything right.
I have antibodies for Hashimoto’s, I also have a history of EBV on blood work. I walk about four miles every day fasted upon awakening. I’ve always liked the lift and have done so about three days per week. I have done all the diets, Paleo, AIP, low FODMAP, High Protein, Bro Diet, Vegan, etcetera, etcetera.
I am currently following a mostly Paleo with some milk in the morning espresso. I get adequate sleeps most nights, my husband says it doesn’t look as if I am resting. He says I toss and turn and talk all during the night although I don’t remember any of it. I am a supplement junky, it looks like I could open a small pharmacy but really none of it seems to be making a difference. I am taking—there are a couple of products there, Matt, I don’t even know what they are—a Thyroid product, two doses during the day. I also have an Infrared Sauna and sauna about three to four times per week at night before bed. I just placed an order for the CORT RX and T432, does this sound right to you?
Some other background info I thought might be pertinent, I haven’t thought of it previously. Family history: my father and two brothers and paternal grandfather have all had bad Alcohol Addiction problems. I feel this might be linked to Insulin Resistance or sugar issues. Also, loads of Cancer in the family, Father had Hodgkin’s and he had Lung Cancer, and grown up with Leukaemia.
My testing” – Okay Matt, so you’ve read the testing. “My body temp runs consistently low, about 97.3. This has come up just slightly as I used to run closer to 96.9-ish. Normal in Fahrenheit is 98.6.
Sorry for the long list here, I just tried to give things as they were, that I thought were important or were out of whack. I know my issues stream from my Adrenals but I’m not sure how best to address them. I’ve got the CORT RX on the way, and I try to meditate daily, walk daily and eat well. Any suggestions about anything would be greatly appreciated. Your advice is so much better received due to the Aussie accents. Love it.
Well, you’re welcome. I can’t think of any Aussie Jingoisms but I’m sure we’re saying it all the time.
Matt: Yeah, we’ll be right.
Jeff: Alright, go Matt.
Matt: Alright. So—now, where do I start? You’re right though, it does scream Adrenals to me as well. Because, if you have a look at Cortisol the jobs of Cortisol is to protect the host from its own Defence Mechanisms, so it protects us from Autoimmunity, regardless of whether it’s a Graves or a Hashimoto’s. It protects us from other sources of Inflammation, it protects us from Allergic Inflammation which contributes to Leaky Gut Syndrome, it helps to regulate our Salt in our body. So, when you’ve got no Cortisol you can’t hold Salt. So, what happens is, you crave Salt and you’re always thirsty, and you’re drinking all the time to try to rehydrate but it just goes straight through, so you’re weeing and it strips more Salt out.
Jeff: Yeah, makes sense.
Matt: So, it’s all about not having adequate levels of Cortisol. You’re really struggling with your Cortisol levels, which is why you can’t switch off any of these Inflammatory and Autoimmune stressors and triggers. And, the Adrenal Cortisol Deficiency would have preceded any of these other Autoimmune issues.
Not only that, but Infertility, if you can’t suppress the Immune System around the time of implantation then you cannot protect the fertilised embryo, you cannot stop the Immune System from attacking the sperm. So, we need to control the Cortisol first and foremost. Cortisol also regulates blood sugar control, which links in with all of this sort of stuff. So, if we simplify it, the other thing that happens if your Cortisol is out of whack and you’ve got a lot of Inflammation it’s really hard to control the way the Thyroid Hormone is working. Okay? So, you get a lot of the symptoms of sluggish Thyroid and everything as well.
So, what we need to do is focus predominantly on the Cortisol and then take into consideration that there’s also some issues there with the Mother Fu—with the MTHFR gene, which leads to the MCV stuff that was mentioned, Mean Cell Volume and Mean Cell Hydration. So, they’re basically saying in the past she’s had very large old red blood cells because the body hasn’t been regenerating new ones because of possible Deficiencies of Folate in the form of MTHF. So, if you’re supplementing with Folic Acid switch that to a 5MTHF because your body cannot convert the Folic Acid and it can actually backlog the process and cause more of a Methylation Defect.
Jeff: So, what type of Folate is that, Matt?
Matt: 5MTHF you want to take, Methylenetetrahydrofolate, go look for that, and take 1000 micrograms of that for starters to address the MTHFR bit and maintain the MCVs and MCHs.
But, let’s focus on your Adrenals, let’s get these Adrenals working, and I’ll show you how to do it. It sounds like you’re in America…
Jeff: Yeah, she is.
Matt: And, on the blood tests I saw that.
Jeff: We’re talking miles instead of kilometres, we’re talking pounds instead of kilos.
Matt: Yeah, and I’ve got the blood tests here with an address, so that also is a nice little hint. I didn’t show you that, just trying to be clever.
Jeff: And, the Aussie accent thing. By the way, I’m Kiwi, but that’s alright.
Matt: Yeah, that’s cool.
Jeff: We’re just a small state of Australia anyway.
Matt: We still like you.
Jeff: Oh gees, I’m going to get some hate mail now.
Matt: Yep, you’re on the Eastern Island.
Jeff: Yeah, well at least we can play Rugby and win.
Matt: Hey look, just get back on topic, mate.
Jeff: Alright. Come on.
Matt: So anyway, let’s talk about Cortisol, not Kiwis. So, what happens with Adrenal Adaptation is we need to drop your Cortisol through the evening to give you a chance to have a deep refreshing sleep because if you don’t then we’re not going to recover your Adrenals well enough. So, luckily you’re in The States; this is where I was getting to. In The States you can purchase Adrenal Gland extract, you can actually buy bits of Adrenal Cortex in a capsule.
Matt: So, what you want to do is look for Bovine Adrenal Cortex. You take, typically, from memory—I used to use about 150 mg dose, I used to use two of those in the morning. So, do about 300mgs of Bovine Adrenal—hopefully you’re not a Veggie, otherwise you’re stuffed.
Jeff: A Vegan?
Matt: Yeah, Vegan or that sort of stuff. Bovine Adrenal Cortex, do 300mgs with breakfast, take 150mgs at lunch. So, what we want to do is we want to recreate a high Cortisol surge in the morning, and we want to drop that off throughout the day. So, we do a high dose in the morning, a little dose at lunch time and then none in the evening. Then, with your evening meal take two CORT RX, and then before bed take another two CORT RX. So, our whole plan is to get Cortisol high during the day and Cortisol low at night, and see if we recreate the Cortisol surge.
You could also take, if you wanted to, take 3mgs of Melatonin before bed as well. That together will help with the CORT RX to flatten that Cortisol at night and have an Anti-inflammatory effect at the same time. So, that will help to restructure the way the Cortisol works in your body.
Liquorice Root also has a sparing effect on Cortisol and it basically takes over the Mineralocorticoid effects of Cortisol, meaning that it will help to regulate the Salt and Water balance in your body. So, taking Liquorice Root tea, so buy Liquorice Root and make a tea out of it and drink that all morning through till about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. That will have a sparing effect and it will work with the Adrenal Cortex extract to help to take the burden and have a sparing effect on your Adrenal Gland. So, if you do that for a period of time we’re going to recreate the Cortisol high during the day, flatten the Cortisol at night. That will get your Blood Sugar, your Immune System, your Fluid Distribution and everything all in check.
A good way of measuring, as well, to control your Adrenal function is measuring Blood Pressure, and go to the doctor and get a thing they call an Orthostatic Hypertension test, I think it’s something like that, but basically what they’re doing is they’re measuring your Blood Pressure when you’re standing up, sitting down, lying down and half way up. Because, your Adrenal Gland will regulate your Blood Pressure in response to gravity, so if your Adrenal Gland is not responding well to that then you typically get dizziness when you stand, or you’ll get a drop in blood pressure in response to gravity changes instead of an increase. So, when you’re sitting or lying your Blood Pressure is a certain way, and when you stand up or sit up it should go up a little bit to push up against gravity, but if your Adrenal Glands aren’t responding it drops down instead. So, they can use that as a bit of a test to know when we’re having a win.
Matt: With all these other things, like you’ve had the Thyroid treatment, so that explains why the T4 is—see it’s interesting on the blood tests, your TSH is really low, which is the brain telling your Thyroid to work faster, and T4 is also low. So, if you look at those two things alone, you’re thinking, “Oh, my Thyroid’s cactus.” But, interestingly, your T3 is really, really high, so your body is really good at converting T4 to T3, so you’re a tough strong person, your body is working hard to compensate for these other things. But, I think if you just focus on those Adrenals, which is one of the most important aspects of this, a lot of this other stuff will jus sort itself out.
Jeff: So, we’ll send Debbie out some stuff, Matt. So, certainly the CORT—Debbie was going to by the T432 but we’ll send it out to her if you think it’s good for her to go on it now, or do you think start with the CORT RX first and look at the T432 later?
Matt: Start with the CORT RX now because I don’t know if you really need it. I mean the T432 will help the conversion of T3 to T2, but at this stage, as far as we know, it could be fine because they can’t really measure T2. Your reverse T3 is great, so you’re healthy in that aspect. Your Thyroid’s got less of it, but…
Jeff: But if you fix out the Adrenals…
Matt: The conversion through to T3 is good. So, it’s all going back to these Adrenals and that potential issue with Folate. So, you can buy your own 5MTHF in America, we can’t even get it here in Australia, so get your own 5MTHF with the Methylated Folate, the Thorn products in America I’ve used before, but find whatever you want, really.
Jeff: Well, it’s up to you to trust whichever brands that you’re using.
Matt: That’s right.
Jeff: Again, I don’t like mentioning any brands just simply because we don’t know what goes in there.
Matt: Yeah, exactly.
Jeff: But, research it, have a look, find what people are saying, if they’re taking the product and they’re getting good results, that’s normally a good place to start.
Matt: The interesting thing is, your Homocysteine levels, which is a good marker for how good your Folate activity is, so to monitor your Folate Activity look at your Platelet levels, which are fine, your Mean Cell Volume, which at the moment is a little bit high, so it means your red Blood Cells are getting a bit big and old, and not giving you much energy, but that’s usually when your Red Blood Cells get too big and old that’s a sign of Folate Deficiency, and if your Homocysteine goes high—your Homocysteine looks really nice. As long as it’s below 10 and yours is eight and a half, so you’re doing alright there with your Folate, whatever B Vitamins. But, the thing is, the Methylcobalamin you’re taking, which is a Methylated form of B12 it can mask a bit of the Folate deficiency signs. So, I’d still throw in a 5MTHF just at a low dose, 1000 micrograms a day, and that will keep your levels of Folate up. But, focus on the Adrenals and the Cortisol. Easy, huh?
Jeff: That’s easy. Alright, so we’ll send out a CORT RX to Debbie, save her having to buy one. Anything else, Matt, from our range or do we reckon that’s it? And, plus the other stuff that you’ve recommended.
Matt: No, that’ll do.
Jeff: Alright, groovy.
Thanks Debbie, please let us know how you get on.
Matt, that’s it, we’re done.
Jeff: This has been a long podcast. Sorry people for putting you through that.
Matt: Yeah, we got told to do a short one, too.
Jeff: Oh, it is what it is. Matt, last word for the day?
Matt: Hooroo. Wombat.
Jeff: Alright, thanks people for listening. We’ll be back next week.
Matt: See ya.
END OF TRANSCRIPT
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