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The Science of Resilience: How You Can Heal From Within | Dr Domenick Sportelli

Episode 87, duration 1 hr 52 mins
Episode 87

The Science of Resilience: How You Can Heal From Within | Dr Domenick Sportelli

Dr. Sportelli is a Medical Physician who received a Bachelors degree in Biology as well as a Masters of Science degree in Biology from Montclair State University. He attended NYIT School of Osteopathic Medicine, and upon graduating with Honors in clinical science, Dr. Sportelli pursued a Graduate Medical Internship year in General Family Medicine at NJ Medical School. He is the Associate Program Director of NY Medical College Psychiatry Residency at Prime Health, Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Touro School Medicine and a member of the Advisory Board of NYIT School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Sportelli is Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and he is Fellowship Trained in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He holds an unrestricted medical license in the State of New Jersey.

The Science of Resilience - How You Can Heal From Within - Dr Domenick Sportelli

In this episode we discuss:
– Are prescription drugs the only answer?
– Why being more successful won’t make you happier.
– The future of mental health treatments.
– How to better handle everyday stress.

00:00:00 – Introduction

00:07:28 – Overcoming Rejection

00:14:10 – Learning Strategies

00:21:05 – The Path to Psychiatry

00:28:03 – The Biopsychosocial Model in Psychiatry

00:34:40 – Stress and Survival Mechanisms

00:41:37 – Fight or Flight

00:48:48 – Increasing Your Perceived Threat Threshold

00:55:53 – Cognitive Distortion

01:02:30 – Interpersonal Relationships and Well-Being

01:09:40 – The Impact of Trauma on Relationships

01:16:41 – The Danger of Avoidant Behavior

01:23:57 – Strategies to Overcome Stress

01:30:58 – Slowing Down Your Sympathetic Nervous System

01:37:55 – Unbiased Decision-Making

01:44:48 – Apathetic and Amotivational Effects of THC

01:51:49 – Embracing the Ups and Downs of Life

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Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:00:02]

Welcome to the Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show where I believe a healthy world is based on transparent conversations.

In today’s episode of The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show, I sit down with a good friend of mine, Thomas DeLauer. Thomas is a really interesting cat. He has a history of biomedical sales. What does that mean? He would go to doctors’ offices and teach them and translate science for them. I think that’s a very important skill. Thomas is uniquely positioned to talk a lot about the papers, the science, and his own personal experience. In fact, I met Thomas working with a group of special operators, and he was actually working on their cognitive nutrition and performance, which is one of the many things that he does.

He’s an OG in the nutrition space, and to be an OG in the nutrition space, you’ve got to be pretty good. He has a YouTube account that reaches more than 15 million viewers monthly on average. In this episode, we talk all about what supplements are right for you. Taurine is a hot topic; should you take it? Should you not? We discussed a ketogenic diet. Is it good for you? We discussed creatine. We discussed so much more. As always, if you enjoy this podcast, the goal is to bring science and practical information together so it is understandable and actionable for the listener and viewer. Please pay it forward. Leave a review. Give us some feedback. We care so much about providing this material for you. Let’s jump into this episode.

Thank you to Air Doctor for sponsoring this episode of the show. When I had a large brick-and-mortar practice in New York City, I did everything right, but my environment was sick. This is one reason why I absolutely love the Air Doctor, because you do need a doctor for the air. A lot of the air that we breathe, depending on where we are, is polluted. It was definitely in New York City. I didn’t even realize it was one of the reasons I was feeling sick. Indoor air quality is huge, and it can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, depending on the circulatory systems of air within that building. Air Doctor has done a fantastic job. I have been using them long before they came, and as sponsors of the show, you can get an Air Doctor yourself. Air Doctor comes with a 30-day Breathe Easy money-back guarantee. So if you don’t love it, just send it back for a refund minus shipping. Head to airdoctorpro.com and use the code DRLYON. You’ll receive up to $300 off air purifiers. This is exclusive to my podcast. You will also receive a free three-year warranty on any unit, which is an additional $84 value. Go ahead over to Air Doctor, that’s A-I-R-D-O-C-T-O-Rpro.com, and use the promo code DRLYON.

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Thomas DeLauer, I’m so happy to be able to sit with you and have you on the show. You are an extraordinary human. You have a very interesting history because you have one of the largest, and what I would also say most effective, fitness channels on YouTube, and you are somewhat self-taught. I would love to hear a little bit about your background.

Thomas DeLauer[0:05:33]

I have zero credibility whatsoever. First off, I’ve always been an end of one type of person. A lot of my early content was really just my own self-experimentation, and I’ve always been pretty open about that. I just try different things and see what works for me, and then validate it with what I can see in some research and just try to gain my own understanding. But what happened is that when I was in the biotech biomedical sales world, I learned how to articulate subject matter quite well, and I learned how to read a paper. Reading scientific literature is not as easy as people think. I’m not a biostatistician. I don’t know how to read the statistics portion. That part can be difficult. But how to read a paper is something that I really wish more people would really learn. I learned how to articulate it because, when you’re in a sales role, you have to be able to. We were in the laboratory services world, so early salivary cortisol testing, stuff like that, and how to be able to explain that stuff predominantly to service physicians during that time.

With that, it was  a trial by fire. I learned that what I was good at was dumbing things down, and that’s a joke because I know you’re a doctor, dumbing things down for doctors.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:06:48]

Thank you; we struggle, so I appreciate that. I do appreciate that.

Thomas DeLauer[0:06:52]

There’s nuance to that. But what I mean is that we were in the business of giving doctors ancillary tools to help their fee-for-service practices. Doctors are usually not very good with business either. They’re like, my focus is on medicine. Being able to articulate to them how this is intriguing for a patient, or how this cool thing is, and how we can study it and how this could be advantageous for the patient, especially in a fee-for-service model where it really is about patient outcome because they’re not going to be coming back as patients paying concierge fees if they’re not getting the results that they want, so it’s a little more results-oriented medicine. I learned I am good at articulating this stuff. When I was in that world, or just prior to that world, I was a physician recruiter.

I have been in the healthcare world, both on the administrative side and the physician recruiting side and then the biomed side, for quite some time. I dropped out of college because I got accepted into Cal Poly. I went to Cal Poly and said, you know what? This is not for me. I wanted to get into business, honestly, so I did.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:07:57]

Froman entrepreneurial perspective.

Thomas DeLauer[0:07:58]

I ended up taking what I had to do, which was a commission-only healthcare job. Then I realized, and I saw a flash of what I really wanted to do. I really liked that, and I contemplated, do I go back to school? Maybe I should actually just become a doctor or something, because this is fascinating. I took a serious liking to it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:08:18]

The medicine or the science, which part?

Thomas DeLauer[0:08:20]

the science, absolutely the science because, at the time, I was working predominantly in long-term acute care, so the LTAC world. There was the administrative side that I really liked, but some of the people that I was recruiting—a lot of directors of nursing and things like that—I just took an interest there. Then, once I built a physician list and this client list, I got recruited. I worked basically in the private equity world with this firm. Then I realized that this is what I’m good at. I am not a scientist. I’m never going to be a scientist.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:08:57]

I don’t know; you’re pretty good at it. I don’t want you to sell yourself short because I love your content. You do a great job at translating the science so that people can understand it.

Thomas DeLauer[0:09:09]

Well, I think that’s what makes me unique—I lean into that. I’m a good communicator. I used to fight it. I used to be like, no, I’ve got to be an expert. Then I realized, no, what I’m an expert in is being that translator, being an effective communicator, because that’s what the scientific community doesn’t really have.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:09:26]

It’s what they need.

Thomas DeLauer[0:09:28]

I pay attention to the nuance. I have my own biases, my own opinions, and things that have worked for me, and I’ve grown to maybe not put those things at the forefront of my content anymore because my opinion is one thing, but I also like to have some discipline with how I go about my content. But I just realized that I was really good at articulating complex subject matter—more so in a way that was effective, but even more so in a way that got people excited. As time went on, researchers would come to me because they’d be like, hey, you can get people excited about our research. Can you talk about this?

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:10:02]

I love that.

Thomas DeLauer[0:10:03]

I just leaned into it. I don’t try to be something I’m not. I understand the biochemistry; I’m pretty confident in that, and I’ve got a repository of useless shit in my brain.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:10:15]

Do you have a photographic memory? Tell the truth. It’s got to be pretty close.

Thomas DeLauer[0:10:19]

Pretty good. I’m definitely a visual learner; let’s put it that way.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:10:22]

Your content is amazing. You talk a lot about fat loss. We’re going to talk about all kinds of things. We’re going to talk about taurine and blood flow restriction and things that you’re excited about because then the audience can be excited about it, and you’re very good at the literature. But what they also care about is fat loss. I am so curious because you’ve been in the space and you have a lot of longevity in this space. What are some of the trends that you see that have been the most effective over time?

Thomas DeLauer[0:10:55]

As far as fat loss is concerned, I’ve seen all kinds of different trends come and go. I would say from a nutritional standpoint, I think when people started—that’s a tough one to answer because I have lived in a little bit of an echo chamber for quite some time. A lot of my content stems from a lower-carb ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, all with thoughtful nods to caloric restriction being a fundamental piece of that. But in the echo chamber that I was living in, there was huge success happening there. I was seeing it almost myopically. Why are people not talking about this more? It worked for me. It worked so well for people. It worked so well for all these people that are watching my content. I don’t want to discount that because that is a lot of what I saw: intermittent fasting for a lot of people is exceptionally effective.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:11:54]

You’ve had your channel for nine years. When you first started the channel, what were some of the things that you were talking about in terms of fat loss?

Thomas DeLauer[0:12:01]

When I first started talking about things, I was just talking more about chronic inflammation and things like that because they were near and dear to me. My wife suffered from inflammatory issues. My wife had autoimmune conditions. All these things, I was learning about. I was very interested in that myself. Then, a lot of what I was talking about was my own personal 100-pound weight loss. I talked a lot about what worked for me as far as the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. That was the early stage, but a lot of it was very basic, fundamental fitness and fat loss in the beginning. As I started to do more content, I realized that what I was good at articulating was much more than what I had experienced, which was lower carb protocols, intermittent fasting, and time-restricted feeding.

In the spirit of fat loss, what I’ve seen be really effective now is people focusing a lot more on—we talked about it in another video—moving more and eating more—higher amounts of protein, even higher fiber, in conjunction with high protein being extremely effective. A lot of people have had success by limiting carbohydrate consumption, not because carbohydrates are bad, but because such a vast majority of people are metabolically deranged to begin with that they are in a category where reducing carbohydrates might be effective for them. That can easily get misconstrued, as Thomas thinks carbohydrates are bad. No, I think that there are a lot of people who have metabolic dysfunction who could probably stand to reduce carbohydrates.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:13:27]

There’s good evidence to suggest that. We saw in some of the research that when you just reduce carbohydrates—I mean, the average American is eating 300 grams of carbohydrates a day.

Thomas DeLauer[0:13:36] 

It’s ridiculous.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:13:38]

If you reduce it to 130, then we see improvements in triglycerides in two weeks. There is evidence to support a reduction in carbohydrates.

Thomas DeLauer[0:13:47]

Yes. Although I’ve made enemies by being in that camp, I’ve also helped a lot of people and seen a lot of success with it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:13:56]

In terms of fat loss, what would you say are your top three to five, or as many tips as you’ll give, for the listener? By the way, you look great, and you have maintained your physical fitness and your health for a long period of time. I never see you go and ebb and flow. You’re not gaining weight or losing weight. You’re very steady now.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:14:18]

I really aim for that. I would say maintaining leanness is a very high priority for me, along with maintaining muscle. As far as my personal life is concerned, outside of my family, those are the things I focus on, and I like and enjoy them. I would say for me that one thing that we share sentiments about is protein, and by all means, that is my fundamental rule for fat loss.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:14:42]

How much do you recommend?

Thomas DeLauer[0:14:44]

For me, I go a little bit more than one gram per pound of body weight.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:14:48]

Great.

Thomas DeLauer[0:14:49]

Now, that’s pretty hefty for a lot of people. If you’re 300 pounds and you’re 100 pounds overweight, then maybe that’s not ideal for you. Maybe it’s worth, in my opinion, getting a DEXA and maybe aiming for more of your lean body mass or something like that. But for me, if I strive for a minimum of one gram per pound of body weight, I’m feeling good. I feel like I’m in a good spot. I feel like my strength is being maintained. I feel like my body composition is where I want it. Most importantly, when I have those protein needs met, I don’t feel like I’m indulging in other things. I don’t feel like my cravings for carbohydrates are there. My cravings for higher-fat, hyperpalatable foods just aren’t there. The moment that protein is down, those cravings start to creep in. It never goes away. I was still a fat kid before; it’s going to come back. It’s like those cravings are just ingrained.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:15:38]

You lost 100 pounds. You were actually overweight.

Thomas DeLauer[0:15:40]

I was very overweight.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:15:43]

What does the evidence suggest? I’m going to put you on the spot because I know you read a ton of literature. When you’ve gone through the literature on dietary protein, where do you see it range in terms of optimizing body composition?

Thomas DeLauer[0:15:57]

Generally speaking, obviously, we know the recommended allowance is ridiculous—0.8 per kilogram. I’ve seen it range from 0.6 grams per pound of body weight all the way up to 1.2 in various studies. I do personally think that people could probably get by with 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound. I think that’s perfectly acceptable. But I do think that the intensity of your training and your training volume play a huge role in how much you need, not to mention how active you are throughout the course of the day. I’d even argue that your stress levels and other things like that can dictate how much you should be trying to get in.

Again, if you look at the literature, most people who are lean, if you reverse engineer their diets, are eating high amounts of protein. Then if you look at even most studies that are actually controlled and putting in somewhat of a metabolic ward where you’re controlling for these things, without fail, it almost always seems that the higher protein ends up with less lean body mass loss and more body fat loss. The same is true for fiber, but not to the same degree as protein. I’ve come to believe that we have one camp that really leans into fiber. Unfortunately, that camp that leans toward fiber a lot of times likes to point the finger negatively at protein. Unfortunately, the protein category also negatively points at the fiber. I’m like, hey, guys, they both work on potentially different axes here.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:17:21]

Let’s just be friends.

Thomas DeLauer[0:17:22]

They’re both acting like GLP-1 receptor agonists in some ways, too. We’re getting a serendipitous semaglutide-like effect by eating fiber, but also by eating protein, so maybe both of those are great. I eat a pretty high-fiber, high-protein diet.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:17:37]

How do you define high-fiber?

Thomas DeLauer[0:17:39]

Not ridiculously high. I eat probably 35 to 40 grams, just higher than what most people eat.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:17:44]

The current recommendation is around 25 grams a day.

Thomas DeLauer[0:17:48]

But most people aren’t getting anywhere near that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:17:51]

Number one, protein, for fat loss. Number two, fiber for fat loss: do you care where the fiber comes from? What kind of fiber?

Thomas DeLauer[0:17:58]

I tend to lean toward soluble fiber. Although I do eat a fair bit of vegetables, I really like to get my fiber from soluble forms, so a fair bit of flax, a fair bit of chia, and things like that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:18:11]

What are the other tips for fat loss?

Thomas DeLauer[0:18:13]

For the simple ones, like we talked about before, I aim to get at least 10,000 steps per day. Obviously, there’s going to be days where that doesn’t happen. But I feel like my non-exercise activity, thermogenesis, is the biggest lever that I can pull. I can try to squeeze more out of my workouts, but I view my workouts as just a catalyst. I don’t view my workouts as calories. How many calories did I burn in this workout? I know that it’s splitting hairs. I know that if I push 10% harder in my workout, if my workout is 300 calories, let’s just say hypothetically, and I push it 10% harder, which is a lot, that’s only consuming 30 more calories. That just seems like an inappropriate use of energy with that extra 10% or 20% that I put into my workout. I’m not saying half-ass your workouts, but I’m saying that’s not how I’m trying to achieve a deficit. My deficit is going to be achieved via my non-exercise activity, thermogenesis, nutrition, or whatever. My workouts are catalysts. My workouts are the stimulus.

I viewed it, and I’ve changed my mind to view it that way over the last seven or eight years, where it’s like, no, these are dues that need to be paid. It’s not about me putting myself in a deficit. It’s about me triggering the hormonal and signaling device cascade that’s going to happen throughout the rest of the day, activating and stimulating these myokines so that my nutrition can do the work.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:19:31]

I love that. How do you think about your non-exercise activity thermogenesis, for the listener who doesn’t know what that is?

Thomas DeLauer[0:19:38]

I’d put it in different categories, for sure. There’s the passive non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which is just the thing that you would never even be cognizant of. That’s even things like fidgeting—not that I consciously try to fidget more, but when you look at the literature on fidgeting, I think it’s a 54% increase in metabolic rate if someone is sitting and fidgeting compared to lying down. Obviously, that says, well, the person’s lying down. Okay? Well, they’re still.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:20:08]

Do you know that everybody listening has now just started to fidget?

Thomas DeLauer[0:20:11]

Right? It’s nuts.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:20:12]

Keep going, guys.Keep going. Get the reps in.

Thomas DeLauer[0:20:14]

Going from sitting to standing and fidgeting was another significant increase. The point is that those are the things that are sometimes ingrained in us that we don’t always realize. There’s always that kid in school who was bouncing his leg along. I was that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:20:30]

Me too. I’m still that kid.

Thomas DeLauer[0:20:33]

Maybe that’s just fundamentally who we are as people. We’re wired to be more like that. We’re a little bit more sympathetic in that way. Those things are passive, where you can consciously change them, but you’re probably not going to consciously change them unless you’re making a very concerted effort. It’s something that’s just like being a fidgeter. But the point is, that’s one category of non-exercise activity thermogenesis. then there’s the more conscious forms, where it’s just your daily life, but being proactive on it. If I’m sitting on the couch and there are dishes to be done, I think about it as if I’m going to kill two birds with one stone. I’m going to do those dishes. You may think it’s just dishes; you’re only going to burn 50 calories doing that. Those little things stack up. Not to mention, I make my wife happy.

I’m doing something. I’m being productive, but I’m also getting the cardio-metabolic effect. I’m putting myself at a potential deficit. I’m moving. I’m using my muscles. As you mentioned in one of our videos, simply using your muscles is a lot of times the stimulus to at least prevent catabolism to a certain degree. Putting some dishes away is at least utilizing my muscles enough to the point where I’m not just sitting on the couch and wasting away completely. Those are the things that are more conscious. It encourages me to do chores around the house. It encourages me to park further away from the entrance to a grocery store—you name it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:21:55]

We have non-activity thermogenesis, which includes fidgeting, not consciously, the movement of doing small tasks, and then walking or parking away. I really love what you said about the exercise component as the catalyst. What else do you think is effective for fat loss?

Thomas DeLauer[0:22:18]

If we went into the supplement category, this is a–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:22:20]

Yeah, let’s do it, because you love reviewing supplements. I cannot believe you were so knowledgeable about chlorogenic acid. We don’t have to talk about that, but it seems like a very big interest.

Thomas DeLauer[0:22:32]

I’m just a dork. I like this stuff. It doesn’t mean I take all of them, but I enjoy talking about them. I would much rather, and let it be known, I would much rather just get my supplements through my food. I don’t take a lot of supplements. I take magnesium. I take caffeine. I rotate some other ones: fish oil and quercetin. I cycle certain ones in and out of my life. But as far as fat loss is concerned, caffeine is probably one of the most effective things that you can take. The timing of it matters.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:23:04]

Tell me about the timing and the dosing.

Thomas DeLauer[0:23:06]

I think with dosing, I want to say—I just read this—is it 3 milligrams per kilogram is the upper range? I think that’s what it is.I think it’s 3 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.Caffeine is where the line of diminishing return starts.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:23:27]

Yes, we’ve all felt that line of diminishing return.

Thomas DeLauer[0:23:30]

It’s like mentally, but also from a fat loss perspective. It’s interesting because I read a paper and did a video on this as well. Caffeine mobilizes fat. In theory, you’re like, okay, great. It’s increasing fat loss. But if you’re not actually triggering oxidation, then that mobilization does you no good. You can’t just sit on the couch and drink coffee and hope that you’re going to lose weight. You need to execute on it. It’s just like being in a sauna, which is interesting.

A sauna can actually mobilize lipids. But if you go exercise after sauna utilization, then maybe you’ve already done part of the work. Maybe they’re mobilized, and you could oxidize them easier. But the same conversation is a little bit more clear with caffeine. If you’re mobilizing fatty acids, and then you go and oxidize them, that’s when caffeine has a true fat-burning effect and activates cyclic adenosine monophosphate as a secondary messenger. Cyclic adenosine monophosphate is a very fundamental part of just energy manufacturing, but if you are exercising and you’ve activated AMPK and you’re creating more ATP, as a secondary messenger independent of ATP, cyclic adenosine monophosphate becomes a signaling messenger to signal all these other things that happen. They say, hey, we’re in a deficit. We’re using energy; we need to go downstream and signal all this to happen. Caffeine activates that more. In essence, it makes your exercise have a stronger effect as far as signaling processes are concerned, which can have a huge effect in a lot of different categories, but particularly for fat loss.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:25:09]

Anything else that you’re super excited about for fat loss?

Thomas DeLauer[0:25:13]

Specifically for fat loss, carnitine, which I think is a really underrated thing.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:25:19]

Tell me.

Thomas DeLauer[0:25:21]

Here’s the deal with carnitine.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:25:22]

You also have to explain what it is.

Thomas DeLauer[0:25:24]

Carnitine is a very important amino acid that is used for building these transport vehicles, specifically carnitine palmitoyltransferase I, which shuttles fat into mitochondria.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:25:36]

By the way, leucine activates that.

Thomas DeLauer[0:25:37]

Interesting; I did not know that. So obviously, they’re dependent on each other. Carnitine is fascinating to me. The reason it’s fascinating is because, as someone who spent a lot of years just studying fatty acid metabolism and understanding that piece as someone who was heavily into a ketogenic diet and just really into that world, I always found it fascinating. A lot of people online tout the research that says carnitine, our body creates it, you don’t need it, it’s not a big deal, you’re getting enough from the diet. However, the literature suggests that you can deplete 75% to 80% of your carnitine stores in one workout that’s hard. 75% VO2 max—I think it’s sustained for 45 to 60 minutes—can deplete your carnitine stores by up to 80%. If you’re not eating a lot of red meat and you’re not eating good, high-value proteins, you’re going to be deficient in that. If you are training aggressively, you’re going to be even more deficient in that.

If you’re eating a perfect diet, it may not be important to supplement with it. But there’s a reason why it becomes such an important tool when it comes down to not necessarily fat loss but indirectly fat loss, at least fatty acid metabolism and transport. Without CPT1, fats aren’t getting into the mitochondria. That is problematic for fat-loss body composition. It’s also problematic for just the downstream, even the gene expression that occurs as a result of that. The more fats that are coming into the mitochondria, the more fats your cells end up developing, and the more gene transcription that’s occurring and gene expression, specifically PGC-1α, so more mitochondrial biogenesis. It’s like this entire downstream pathway that paves the way for longevity, paves the way for strength, paves the way for endurance, not to mention the fun side effect of fat loss.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:27:30]

Thank you to InsideTracker for sponsoring this episode of the show. We talk all about health and wellness. We cannot ignore the importance of blood regulation. What do I mean by blood regulation? Well, I mean biomarkers, whether it is your fasting insulin, whether it’s knowing what your iron is, knowing what your inflammatory markers are, you must track. I think that people talk a lot about how it’s not what your blood levels look like, but how you feel. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. It’s actually both. You have to feel great, but your blood markers also have to be within a certain parameter, for example, your inflammatory markers, your blood glucose, or your insulin.

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I love that. Where can you find carnitine in your diet, specifically in red meat?

Thomas DeLauer[0:30:38]

Yeah, specifically red meat.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:30:40]

Oh, I thought that was bad for longevity. So confusing.What is the dosing? What is the dose of carnitine?

Thomas DeLauer[0:30:48]

I don’t know what an effective dose would be. Like I’d say, I think it varies from person to person depending on how depleted you are. For me, a couple grams It’s like one of those things where I’ve known people who have taken copious amounts more, and I will say the acetyl carnitine. That one is a little bit of a hoax. It doesn’t seem to be super effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier. Even if it does, it doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on anything. Although some people are big fans of it, you’re much better off just going for the cheap version of it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:31:21]

What else? Are there any other supplements that you love for fat loss or anything else?

Thomas DeLauer[0:31:26]

For fat loss, I think green tea extract is in the same category as caffeine, except there’s different effects. The catechins themselves can have different effects. Catechins like epicatechin-3-gallate, which is just EGCG, have different effects in the body. There’s different; frequency is not the word, but basically, there’s different peaks and valleys of catechins. Catechins are a complicated mechanism or molecule. How they work on fat loss is a little bit different than, say, how caffeine does. With EGCG, or green tea extract, you’re getting a double whammy of caffeine and these catechins that have proven effects from both a thermogenic side and indirect mechanisms. I think that’s a really big one, too, but I usually just get that by drinking green tea. I don’t specifically take green tea extract.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:32:18]

Do you think that there’s different dosages of catechins and epicatechins in the green tea? Is there a specific one that you like?

Thomas DeLauer[0:32:26]

Yes, there are. There definitely are, specifically catechins in jasmine tea, which are supposed to be very high. Then you’ve got different catechins in oolong tea that are completely different. That is a world that’s, first of all, beyond my paygrade. But second of all, beyond a lot of people’s pay grade, If you were to just Google catechins peaks and valleys, how they react, and how a catechin is formed, basically, they classify by these peaks and valleys. It’s exceptionally complicated, but it just leads me to believe that there’s a lot that needs to be discovered there. how it impacts adrenaline and noradrenaline and all these things, plus the impact with green tea or green tea extract, or at least with green tea specifically, is that you have theanine in it as well, which is cool because that can help you with your tolerance to caffeine, so you’re going to get a repeat effect from caffeine without that diminishing effect that comes from tolerance.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:33:26]

What is theanine, and is it in all teas?

Thomas DeLauer[0:33:30]

That’s a good question if it’s in all teas. I don’t know if it’s in all teas. It’s a good question. I know it’s in green teas. As far as theanine, I look at it mainly because it can occupy a similar receptor as caffeine. In a sense, it can delay some of the absorption or some of the adenosine binding. There’s a supplement that’s out there by Dr. Sean Wells. He’s a doctor. He’s worked for compound solutions for years. He created theacrine, which is essentially caffeine and theanine in a combined form, because they really do, in a way, oppose each other, but they’re also very synergistic. Theanine is an extremely powerful vasodilator, too. Theanine is really good for sleep in a different category because you have this massive vasodilation that allows for the cooling of your core because you’re getting more blood out to the extremities, and that allows your core to cool, which is really good for sleep because as your temperature goes down, melatonin levels increase because that’s one of the axes in which that pays attention.

With caffeine, when you have a vasoconstrictor, which is caffeine, and you take a vasodilator that works on a different axis, you retain the benefits of caffeine with less vasoconstriction. Think about caffeine mobilizing fats, but the downside is that you have a little bit of restriction of blood flow, so the fats maybe aren’t mobilizing. You’re not getting some of the cell volume that you would. But with theanine, you open that up a little bit more, so you get a little more blood flow, a little bit more circulation of the caffeine, and potentially more circulation of the lipids.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:35:07]

Moving on from fat loss, unless you have other strategies like cold plunge, have you been into cold plunge as well?

Thomas DeLauer[0:35:14]

I did a video yesterday talking about how cold plunging is not for fat loss. I talked about how I like cold-plunging. I think it feels great.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:35:24]

Do you feel like there’s evidence to support it?

Thomas DeLauer[0:35:27]

If you want to get super granular, I’m sure you could find something, but the brown adipose tissue stuff just doesn’t get me excited because I know that the strong literature on cold exposure is with more sustained moderately cold temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees for brown adipose tissue activation, especially for the beiging of white fat to brown fat.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:35:47]

Say that again because I’m going to change my plunge temperature. It doesn’t have to be that cold; it’s great to know.

Thomas DeLauer[0:35:53]

Okay, I’ll back up. In a metabolically healthy person that has a good amount of brown fat already, if they go in a cold plunge, and then they get out, and they let their body warm up to ambient temperature naturally. You’re lean, and I’m lean, so when I get out of a cold plunge, it’s cold. It sucks.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:36:13]

How long are you cold for? I’m freezing for an hour.

Thomas DeLauer[0:36:17]

It can be an hour, sometimes two. A lot of times, I’ll let myself warm up in the sun for 20 minutes, then I’ll just go take a hot shower because I’m already lean. What am I trying to accomplish? I also don’t want to stress my body out so much. That’s where that hormetic curve is really important with a cold plunge. What I found is that I’ll just go in for three to five minutes, usually on the shorter side. nowadays, I realized that I could just go in for two minutes or so. I do it mainly for my sleep. I do it mainly for my brain. I do it to not be a big baby and just do something tough. But I certainly don’t do it for fat loss. But I do think that if you get out and you allow your body to warm up, that’s when you are getting more of the brown fat activation.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:36:56]

You think that the literature supports leveraging a cold plunge or something like that when the temperatures are not as freezing, but there are benefits.

Thomas DeLauer  [0:37:07]

Where the literature is strong is less on the cold plunge. It’s more about longer-term exposure to 55 to 60 degrees, talking about being in a 55 or 60 degree ambient temperature for a few hours. It’s like turning your thermostat down to 60 degrees or something like that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:37:24]

Yeah, hard stop. You mean like spending hours in the cold plunge?

Thomas DeLauer[0:37:27]

I wouldn’t do it in the cold. That’s just the thing. There’s not a lot of literature that suggests that’s doing anything for fat loss because no one’s putting people in cold plunges for two hours. If you’re already metabolically healthy, you probably have a fair amount of brown adipose tissue as a percentage of your total body fat anyway, which means that any amount of cold exposure when you get out of that is going to activate that. Let it be known that there are two very distinct differences between brown fat creation and brown fat activation. Things that stimulate brown fat, or the binding of white fat to brown fat, are entirely different from activating your brown fat. Activating your brown fat assumes you already have a lot of brown fat, which means you’re already a healthy person, which means that yeah, maybe some cold plunge can stimulate that brown fat more, but then it begs the question, do you need it? What’s more important is the conversion of white fat to brown fat, which comes from–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:38:23]

The beiging of white fat to brown fat, and how would somebody do that?

Thomas DeLauer[0:38:27]

Exercise.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:38:28]

Is there a dose-dependent nature?

Thomas DeLauer[0:38:31]

As far as being dose-dependent, I’m sure there is—not that I’m aware of right now, but I’m sure there is a certain amount that’s going to be effective for that. Typically, in the case of brown fat or gaining from white fat to brown fat, it is a little bit more cardio-oriented, as it seems to be. Resistance training, I’m sure, plays a role in the literature; it’s just weak there. There’s just not a lot. but as far as cardio is concerned, cardio does seem to impact that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:38:57]

You said that you use the cold plunge for sleep. How does it impact sleep? It seems like it plays a role in some of the neurotransmitters.

Thomas DeLauer[0:39:10]

What I’ve noticed is that for me, having a big adrenaline dump like that every few hours is important because I’ll typically cold plunge at night. I used to cold plunge in the morning because I used to be like, oh, I want to start the day with something hard.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:39:21]

It makes you exhausted, doesn’t it?

Thomas DeLauer[0:39:22]

It does make me exhausted, and I get a little surge of energy for a couple hours or maybe an hour, and then I  tank.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:39:29]

Then you have your caffeine.

Thomas DeLauer[0:39:30]

Yeah, exactly. You’re getting multiple cortisols. It just didn’t seem like it made sense. When I get up in the morning, I’m one of these guys who wakes up like a bear is trying to attack me anyway. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I don’t wake up groggy. I wake up like, let’s go, and I’m already probably having a significant cortisol spike. As a matter of fact, when I tested my cortisol in the morning, it was typically high.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:39:53]

By high, you mean 500?

Thomas DeLauer[0:39:55]

I don’t need to add more stress. What I typically do is get up, wait for a little while, and then I’ll go work out an hour after I wake up. I used to roll out of bed and go workout. Then I realized that, first of all, I don’t want to miss mornings with the kids, which is super important, so having a little bit of time.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:40:13]

That’s when they’re cutest.

Thomas DeLauer[0:40:14]

Yeah, for sure. I don’t want to miss that because eventually they’re going to be getting up at noon. They’re going to be getting up by the time I go to bed. I’ve noticed that I just feel better. I get a better sleep effect if I take a cold plunge at night. I typically only do it two or three times per week, maybe for two minutes nowadays. I’m a much bigger fan of the sauna, by a longshot.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:40:34]

Tell me. What kind of sauna? Could it be infrared?Does it have to be dry heat?There’s all different kinds.

Thomas DeLauer[0:40:42]

I think dry heat is the way to go. Infrared definitely has its perks. But remember that infrared isn’t getting as hot, so you’re not nearly getting the same heat shock protein effect. You’re getting much more of a–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:40:51]

What’s a heat shock protein?

Thomas DeLauer[0:40:52]

Heat shock proteins are chaperoning proteins that are essentially making it so that there’s less misfolding of proteins. Proteins are always going through a folding and unfolding process. When they are misfolded, basically, you have protein aggregation that can occur and all kinds of downstream DNA effects. Basically, what’s happening with a chaperoning protein is that, as the name implies, it’s chaperoning these proteins to materialize properly, so proper cell formation occurs. But heat shock proteins are also a protective mechanism, just as the name implies. They are a heat-shock protein that protects us from heat. It triggers all these different processes that make us more efficient in the heat.

In that same sense, you’re thinking, why do I want to be more efficient in the heat? Well, the same things that make you more efficient in heat are the same things that make you more efficient in exercise. Exercise induces heat shock proteins, as does hypoxia-inducible factor-1, HIF-1. These same kinds of things that exercise and hypoxia induce are these stress responses that make us more resilient but make us categorize proteins and proper gene expression to be stronger humans.

The sauna is an exercise mimetic, and that’s the most passive form of exercise that you could get. You’re getting all these effects of exercise—not the biomechanical stuff, but the systemic effects. It’s hugely beneficial for me, plus the glymphatic system, what it does to the brain, and impacting sleep by increasing that intracranial pressure by just creating more heat in the brain and pressure in the brain. It’s why, after a head injury, you don’t want to go to the sauna. You want to wait until some time has passed because it’s creating more intracranial pressure when you already have inflammation in the brain; it’s not necessary or immediate inflammation.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:42:42]

How hot does the sauna have to be?

Thomas DeLauer[0:42:44]

You want to know how hot I make mine, or how hot I’d legally tell you?

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:42:46]

What does the literature say?Then we want to know how hot you make yours.

Thomas DeLauer[0:42:49]

Legally, I’m not allowed to say more than 190, but I’ll tell you what I do.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:42:54]

But does the literature go past 190?

Thomas DeLauer[0:42:57]

There is some Finnish research that shows 200 degrees Fahrenheit. In the Thomas DeLauer journal, I rigged mine to get to about 230, and I usually do 15 to 20 minute bouts at 230 degrees.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:43:12]

How long did it take you to lead up to that?

Thomas DeLauer[0:43:15]

One time.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:43:17]

Okay, moving on.

Thomas DeLauer[0:43:21]

Honestly, just a couple of times because I set a timer, and I think the first couple of times, I did it for 10 minutes. It’s really not that bad. I meditate in there. I get my head in the right place.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:43:31]

How often should someone be in a hot sauna?

Thomas DeLauer[0:43:34]

I think three times a week is a tremendous thing. If you don’t have access to a hot sauna–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:43:38]

What if they can only do it at 198 degrees?

Thomas DeLauer[0:43:41]

It’s fine. Just go a little bit longer. I’d say 20 minutes is a good dose.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:43:44]

Three times a week. Do you shower right after with charcoal soap, or is there something else that you do?

Thomas DeLauer  [0:43:51]

I use charcoal soap anyway, so it doesn’t have anything to do with just the sauna. But I mean, I don’t always shower right away. A lot of times, if I’m saunaing in the morning, I’ll sauna before I go for a run because I feel like it loosens me up. I feel like I gained a little. It’s indirectly backed up by literature but not directly, like, Hey, sit in a sauna and then go exercise. If you add up the mechanistic nature of what’s happening in a sauna, It actually makes some sense to sit in a sauna and then go for a little run. It almost wakes me up. However, from a growth hormone standpoint and a recovery standpoint, it makes more sense to get in the sauna after your exercise.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:44:26]

What about from a hypertrophy standpoint? Does it augment hypertrophy? Does it diminish any kind of gain?

Thomas DeLauer[0:44:32]

There’s some literature that suggests that, yeah, in a positive way, it augments hypertrophy. It’s the same thing: heat shock proteins can have a positive impact on muscle protein synthesis as well. There’s some evidence to suggest that it helps with the fusion of satellite cells. The basic way to put it: I’m not a super expert in this, but I always describe a satellite cell in a very simple way, saying, think of a satellite cell as a satellite; it’s floating over the muscle. Then the satellite or UFO that’s floating over the muscle, and then all of a sudden, they beam down. It’s beamed to the muscle, and then it can grow from there. That’s how, in a very simple way, muscle growth is happening. You have the satellite cells, and then you fuse them to the satellite cells.

Again, I’m not an expert there, but I know enough to be dangerous. That’s what can happen. It maybe has to do with the heat and the pliability, and maybe satellite cells could fuse better. Maybe it has more to do with stem cell proliferation there. But there’s some newer evidence; it’s not super strong yet.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:45:33]

I know that we want to talk about taurine because I think you’ve been pretty excited about taurine lately. Tell us what taurine is. Why should we use it? Just lay it out.

Thomas DeLauer[0:45:44]

Sulfur amino acid, it’s something that we get from, you guessed it, meat. The rarer the better. When you cook meat, it does break down the taurine. You’ll say what you want about Paul Saladino. He did point me to that research, which I thought was interesting, that as you heat red meat, it does degrade the taurine by about 50%, so the rarer the better. it’s with red meat specifically.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:46:10]

I never eat rare red meat.

Thomas DeLauer[0:46:12]

You don’t?

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:46:12]

Never. I’m way too concerned about gastrointestinal health.

Thomas DeLauer[0:46:17]

Knowing what I know from you now, I’m–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:46:20]

You’re never eating rares. It’s just that you have to double your consumption of meat, that’s all, to get your taurine.

Thomas DeLauer[0:46:25]

That’s a good thing for me because it’s expensive. Taurine is fascinating to me because it has a dual effect. I’m just a performance nerd. I’ve realized in what I do that I shouldn’t necessarily be talking about public health and things like that because I’m not a clinician. I don’t have that background. But what I can talk about is performance. What I really like to lean into is performance because I’m obsessed with it. Taurine as a performance enhancer: I would probably go on record and say it’s probably the most underrated performance enhancer that’s out there. Red Bull had it right originally, minus the sugar with the caffeine and the taurine. They had a high amount of taurine in that crap.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:47:08]

Do you know how much taurine one could get from a steak versus a supplement?

Thomas DeLauer[0:47:13]

I think you can get about a gram from a good steak. I might be wrong on that, but I think that’s about average—a good 8 to 12 ounce steak looking at one gram of ballpark. I believe there are certain cuts that have more. Now, with taurine supplementation, the literature suggests that anywhere from 1 to 6 grams has a very similar effect. It doesn’t seem like more is necessarily better. Now what’s really interesting is in the strongest literature, like this particular study looked at 14 different studies’ meta-analyses; it was like, whether they gave it over a two-week period of time or they gave it in a single bout or single bolus, it had the same impact on performance, which we’ll talk about in a second, which goes to show that’s what’s extra cool about it. You don’t need to load it. You don’t need to be taking it for long periods of time; you can take it ad hoc. I took it before I worked out today because I wanted to make sure that you knew who was boss.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:48:15]

By the way, I’m a 5’1” female who weighs 110 pounds.

Thomas DeLauer[0:48:19]

You were keeping up. By the way, with the CrossFit workouts that we were doing, we’re supposed to scale the RX for females. You notice I didn’t do that for you. When I’m supposed to do typically 20 calories on the bike for men, 15, 12, and I didn’t scale it for you,

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:48:35]

No, you shouldn’t be scaling it for me.

Thomas DeLauer[0:48:37]

Just keeping up with the boys, for sure. Anyhow, what they saw in these various studies was that in all studies, there were improvements in VO2 max, improvements in time trial times of three and four kilometers, improvements in time to exhaustion, anaerobic performance, endurance, and insaneness, just across the board.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:48:57]

Was it statistically significant?

Thomas DeLauer[0:48:58]

Yes. Then there’s other literature that was suggesting that, breaking it down into these different categories, the same kind of thing, and this was 20 different studies. Again, you’re looking at the same kind of thing, ranging from 10 minutes prior to exercise to two hours before exercise. What’s interesting about taurine is that it acts in a dual sense. It’s an antioxidant.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:49:26]

Is it because it’s a precursor, or is it just because it’s a sulfur amino acid?

Thomas DeLauer  [0:49:30]

I think it’s because it’s a sulfur amino acid, and there might be some precursor effects too. What leads me to believe that is, there’s some studies where they did muscle biopsies, and they looked at the muscle biopsy, and they said that in a muscle that has been trained heavily and is exhausted like they just worked out, there’s extremely elevated levels of taurine, which indicates that there’s probably some kind of antioxidant effect there, or there’s going to be some precursor effects, like it’s doing something that we don’t know. Maybe there are other compounds we haven’t even figured out yet that taurine is a precursor to. But it’s definitely seeming to be potent as an antioxidant for scavenging free radicals, which is super interesting because of how robustly it went up in such a short amount of time with activity. Your taurine availability would obviously dictate some of that, too. If you have more available, it might even go up more. which is interesting because having that impact is hugely important.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:50:27]

It didn’t matter if it was two hours before or 10 minutes before.

Thomas DeLauer[0:50:31]

With the muscle biopsy studies, that was taken at one time. But independent of that and other studies, it didn’t matter whether it was two hours more. It does seem to peak one hour after ingestion and then come down over the course of about six or seven hours after that. Typically, the rule of thumb is that if you want the highest plasma levels, then you want to take it an hour before.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:50:52]

Okay, got it.

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Thank you to 1st Phorm for sponsoring this episode of the show. One of the most common questions I get asked is: what brand of creatine do you like? I’m going to answer that for you. I have been using 1st Phorm Micronized Creatine for many years. Here’s why. I have to say I cycle through whether I’m using creatine or not. When I am going through a really intense training or thinking period, I know that I’m not going to get enough creatine for my body from food. I will often, at this time, supplement creatine, and 1st Phorm makes an incredible product. You can head on over to 1stphorm.com/drlyon and grab some for yourself. That’s 1stphorm.com/drlyon. Creatine has been around for a very long time. We hear all about its effect on performance. But I do think that we will start to see more and more emerging evidence for brain function, not just for brain function in the older population but potentially for brain function in the younger population. So sign me up. That is one reason why I love 1st Phorm’s creatine. It mixes well. You don’t taste it. I think it is a great product. You can get yours at 1stphorm.com/drlyon, and you can grab yours today. That’s 1stphorm.com/drlyon.

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Is there anything else with taurine that you think is really relevant for performance and even aging?

Thomas DeLauer[0:52:37]

I would imagine that even with aging, I could speculate there’s an anti-catabolic effect with it as well, just because it’s so essential to the overall metabolic health of a muscle and the mitochondria. if it protects the mitochondria similar to how our mitochondria produces alpha lipoic acid, for example, another common supplement, which I think is very interesting, but I think ALA is very interesting, Alpha Lipoic Acid, but our mitochondria produces just enough alpha lipoic acid to handle the energy associated with that mitochondria. It’s interesting that our body has the ability to upregulate antioxidants just enough for one particular thing. Taurine is something that seems to demand increases for taurine when we have more activity or whatever, but we don’t always eat more meat according to that. We eat meat according to our protein demands. This is where, once again, the quality of protein matters, because if we’re missing out on this taurine or these other low-molecular-weight compounds we talked about, very important creatine as well. As much as I love protein shakes to meet my protein demands, that’s great, but there’s more to it than just that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:54:02]

I agree.What else do you love for performance?

Thomas DeLauer[0:54:05]

Beta-alanine.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:54:07]

Okay, tell me, what is it? How does it work?

Thomas DeLauer[0:54:09]

It’s been in pre-workouts for a long time.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:54:12]

Right, ever since I can remember. It’s the flushing. You take it, and you get all flushed.

Thomas DeLauer[0:54:16]

Yeah, you get tingly. That’s fun because it’s fun. I like to feel tingly, for sure.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:54:22]

If I take it, I’m usually like, god, that was the worst choice I ever had.

Thomas DeLauer[0:54:27]

Yeah, you just feel like buzzy,weird. You just get hot.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:54:31]

I did that before an interview one time, and I had to go on camera, and my face was all red and my ears were red. It was just a really bad decision.

Thomas DeLauer[0:54:44]

There’s newer research coming out, but it’s allechoing a lot of the same stuff. But I think we’re just reinforcing how cool it is.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:54:56]

What is beta-alanine?

Thomas DeLauer[0:54:57]

Beta-alanine is a precursor or a building block, along with histamine, for what is called carnosine. Carnosine is a very important compound in the body. But when you’re looking at performance, we’ve all been in a situation when you are—I mean, we haven’t all been there, but you’re exhausting a muscle, and you get the–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:55:14]

All the listeners have better been there. You guys have better been there.

Thomas DeLauer[0:55:17]

You get the burn. If you do a bunch of squats in a high-repetition range, you get that burn. What happens there is it’s not lactic acid or lactate that’s accumulating to cause that burn. Lactate does accumulate, but lactate accumulates as a means to give you a second wind of energy from essentially glucose metabolism because it converts back into pyruvate through there. That’s great. It acts as a signaling device; we’ll talk a little about lactate in a minute, but it’s not likely the cause of the burn. It’s an indirect effect of lactate that causes an influx of hydrogen ions to create a very acidic environment in your muscle. That’s what creates the burn. The only way that we know of that buffer is usually by increasing carnosine. But you’re going to run out of beta-alanine. You’re going to run out of carnosine. You’re going to run out of histidine and these things that make it up. When I say run out, in that moment, That burn is going to supersede your ability to neutralize that burn. Beta-alanine allows carnosine to build up much faster and allows you to buffer those hydrogen ions that burn a lot more.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:56:25]

By buffer, you mean you’re not limited by that burning nature. How long? How much time do you think it provides you?

Thomas DeLauer[0:56:37]

It’s a good question. I actually don’t know specifically, but I can speak from my own experience that I start to notice it degrades after about 90 minutes. I stopped getting the effect after about 90 minutes.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:56:45]

But you notice an impact.

Thomas DeLauer[0:56:47]

Oh, god, yeah, huge, monumental, so much so that I mentioned this to you off record, so much so that I abstained from taking it for a long time because I thought that the burn was actually something good that I needed because if I was pausing the burn, then I was pausing the signaling effects of lactate. Again, that’ll all make sense. I guess if we talk more about lactate, which we can in a second, Is that effective? whereas when I take beta-alanine, my time to exhaustion in a 12 to 20 repetition range is significantly better. That’s what’s interesting. If you look at the beta-alanine research, it really helped in the ballpark of 60 to 250 seconds. If you think about that second range, all I think about in the 60 to 250 second range is running the 800 meters in high school and how much I fucking hated it and how it was the worst possible race you could ever have someone do because you hurt the whole time. It’s in that range where you’re not quite sprinting, but you’re not in beta oxidation; you’re just in an aerobic–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:57:55]

You’re in a world of hurt.

Thomas DeLauer[0:57:56]

It just sucks. It’s all just that lactate threshold, and how much can you handle? I’m just like, man, I shouldn’t use that stuff in high school because that’s exactly the range that it’s talking about. For someone who does CrossFit, Metcon, or those styles of workouts like I do, it is such a secret sauce. You can take quite a bit of it. People usually take 3,000 to 5,000 milligrams, three to five grams; I’ve taken 10 and you get super tingly.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:58:24]

What would you say the literature would support in terms of how much?

Thomas DeLauer[0:58:29]

1 to 3 grams.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:58:31]

Is it dependent on size?

Thomas DeLauer[0:58:33]

That’s a good question. I don’t know, but I can again speak from experience and say that I’m much more sensitive to it now at 180 pounds than I was when I was 20. I feel like I can get by with a lot less now.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:58:47]

Is there anything else about beta-alanine?

Thomas DeLauer[0:58:49]

Just to put it into context, I think it’s going to make a big resurgence, probably as a result of this. I’ve been shouting it from the rooftops for the last couple of weeks. A great guy to have on your podcast would be Dr. Tim Ziegenfuss.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:59:03]

We’ll get him on.You hear that, Kylie?

Thomas DeLauer[0:59:05]

Yeah, he’s a good dude. I can make the connection. Time trial rowing: they looked at 2000-meter rowers. Now again, a 2,000-meter row is in the same category as an 800-meter run—just terrible, puke fest, just not fun. They improved their times with—I can’t remember—I think it was 2 grams. They dosed them in a phase of beta-alanine; they were giving them for a number of days before. but they ended up improving their times from 13% to 14%, so 6.4 seconds specifically on this study, which is huge. That is not a small amount. That’s like shaving six or seven seconds off in 300-meter time. That doesn’t just happen by chance. Everyone across the board had big improvements.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:59:51]

This is because it’s buffering the hydrogen ions. Let me ask you a question because I think there’s some myth around this bicarb. People will say, oh, I don’t know, my muscles are burning. I should take bicarb.

Thomas DeLauer[1:00:05]

Well, I don’t think it translates like that first of all once it gets to the gastrointestinal.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:00:08]

I just wanted to hear you say it.

Thomas DeLauer[1:00:10]

It doesn’t work like that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:00:12]

It doesn’t work that way, but for some reason, people are still recommending.

Thomas DeLauer[1:00:17]

The reason that hydrogen, in an acidic environment, disrupts your energy is not because of the burn. What happens is that when you have such an acidic environment, it freezes glucose uptake at a very small, microscopic level, so to speak. It’s not because you can’t endure the burn. There’s a lot of people out there that can endure the burn, but eventually, your muscles will cease because you can no longer take up glucose. It’s just standing in the way of that. It becomes so acidic that the cells can no longer take up glucose, and anaerobic glycolysis can no longer occur. Beta-alanine and all kinds come into this lactate discussion, which is quite interesting. I got obsessed with lactate for a little while. Even Peter Attia measures his blood lactate levels. He’s liking it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:01:06]

What is lactate?

Thomas DeLauer[1:01:07]

I think of it more as a signaling device. But what it is is a byproduct that forms as a result of anaerobic glycolysis. You have this compound, lactate, that forms. We are still investigating and trying to understand everything that it does, but lactate is something that sends all these signals to range from expressing genes to help recovery to helping increase performance. It’s essentially the byproduct of exercise that allows us to get stronger in a lot of ways at a cellular and molecular level. Now, what’s interesting about lactate is that it’s got a number of different properties. It doesn’t just act as a signaling device. It’s also our emergency fuel reserve. People think lactate and lactic acid are the same. That’s just a disassociated form and doesn’t really mean much other than the fact that they’re involved with each other, but they’re not the same thing. It’s not the lactate that’s giving you the burn. Lactate is a rite of passage; it’s a good thing. The more resilient you are to lactate, the more lactate that you can accumulate before you actually have a problem, and the better you can perform because that lactate is like a perpetual motion device. It creates more energy for your cells to use. You can use lactate as energy.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:02:36]

So we want lactate.

Thomas DeLauer[1:02:38]

Lactate is a good thing.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:02:39]

The idea of building up lactate as a negative is not true.

Thomas DeLauer[1:02:42]

Correct. It’s the hydrogen ions, the acidic environment, that is the bad thing. Lactate just seems to happen at the same time, and they’re linked, and they may be correlated with each other. They probably are. But it could also, for all I know, just rise at the same time. But there seems to be a pretty strong correlation. What’s interesting about lactate is that it increases BDNF. It communicates with the brain.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:03:08]

Lactate in the skeletal muscle increases BDNF in the brain. That’s interesting.

Thomas DeLauer[1:03:13]

A lot of it has to do with what’s called HIF-1, hypoxia-inducible factor 1, which is a really fascinating compound. Once this is activated, it’s very similar to a heat shock protein, so Hsp 70 versus HIF-1.A lot of them happen together.HIF-1 is going to trigger all these metabolic changes to make you more adapted to being in a hypoxic situation, hypoxia being the lack of oxygen. When you are training anaerobically, you’re going to lack oxygen.

Lactate is not going to accumulate in a low beta-oxidation state. If I went out for a really slow run or a walk, I’m not going to have a lactic acid burn, hydrogen ion burn, or lactate accumulation because I’m not training in a sense without oxygen. You’re only achieving this in a hypoxic state. Hypoxia, as we know from lots of literature, is very good for a lot of things. It’s also bad for a lot of things if it goes too far. You never want your brain to go hypoxic. You don’t want to hold your breath and just go hypoxic. But you want to be able to, in a controlled setting, trigger hypoxia so that your body can adapt to become more efficient at utilizing oxygen, but also become more efficient at utilizing lactate and these other alternative substrates because, just like any adaptation that’s going to occur, you’re going to get better at anaerobic glycolysis.

But what’s signaling you to get better? It’s not just mechanical overload. The whole sliding filament theory and stuff like that is cute, but I don’t think that’s it. I just don’t think that building muscle is a result of, oh, I tore my muscle, and now it’s rebuilding. That’s really great to teach teenagers about the benefits of working out, but it’s not necessarily how the world works. There’s a lot of metabolic things that are happening, as you well know. Lactate is at the forefront of much of that, at least in my eyes, because the downstream effects of lactate are so good for our metabolism and gene expression of so many different things that are related to other transcription factors like PPAR-alpha or other things that get expressed like PGC-1α, which triggers more mitochondrial biogenesis, again, making you better not only at your athletics but also long-term. It’s a rite of passage to be able to accumulate lactate and deal with it. Not only is that a rite of passage from a performance standpoint, but the benefits extend into your daily life and your longevity.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:05:43]

Do you think there’s any benefit from measuring the blood lactate threshold?

Thomas DeLauer  [1:05:47]

I think for someone who’s performance-minded, it can tell you a lot about really appropriate training ranges. What’s the name of that Scandinavian sprinter? What’s his name? I can’t remember his name.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:05:59]

All I watch is Frozen, so I have no idea.

Thomas DeLauer[1:06:02]

Well, it’s Scandinavia, so part of the way there I had Brad Kearns. He was talking about it, and it was really interesting. He’s basically the up-and-coming sprinter, really setting records all over the place. During his workouts, they’re stopping and measuring his lactate and being like, okay, time to end today’s session. It’s a really interesting thing. I think there’s benefit to testing your lactate if you’re either just a nerd or you’re trying to really find your sweet spot when you’re training because, to a certain degree, I do think that if lactate accumulates too much and then you’re trying to push through that from a training standpoint, from a performance standpoint, there’s a line of diminishing return after that.

Once lactate has accumulated so much, it’s a proxy for your hydrogen ions, too. You’d be like, Okay, this has accumulated so much. Is doing another 400-meter repeat actually just pissing up a rpissope at this point? Is it really going to get me anything more, or is it just going to tax my central nervous system and decrease my HRV to the point where I can’t train tomorrow as well? No, let’s get the minimum effective dose. Your lactate’s accumulated based on your metrics; where do you need to be? What’s your RPE? Okay, let’s make a note of that. Come back tomorrow; we’ll do the same thing: minimum effective dose, three repeats, boom. You can actually get your training program that way based on lactate.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:07:22]

Is there a way to test it for a normal person on the spot, like blood glucose?

Thomas DeLauer[1:07:27]

I can’t remember the name of the meter. There is one, because Peter Attia uses it. I think Peter Attia stopped measuring lactate. I think he just got on a kick for it for a while because he was doing a lot of BFR and stuff like that. He was really interested in it. I tried to talk to him about it a little bit on my channel, but he didn’t really want to go there too much. But it’s not his super-wheelhouse. I think he’s just interested in it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:07:47]

Tell me about blood flow restriction because, quite frankly, I’m surprised it’s not as popular as I think it should be, especially in the aging population and for people who don’t want to train super heavy.

Thomas DeLauer[1:08:01]

I think it scares people because it seems like a very dangerous thing when you look at it on the surface, or it just looks like a freak bodybuilder thing to do.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:08:09]

Okay, so tell us what it is.What’s involved?

Thomas DeLauer[1:08:10]

It probably also looks weird going into a gym. I wouldn’t go into a public gym to do it. BFR is blood flow restriction training, which is where you are blocking a certain level of venous return. You’re allowing arterial flow, but then you’re blocking venous return. You’re allowing blood to pool, so you put these cuffs that look like blood pressure cuffs on your arms or on your legs, not both at the same time; do one or the other. As a result of this, you’re allowing arterial flow, but you’re blocking a good percentage of the venous return. You typically want to do this, full disclaimer, by understanding what your rate of occlusion is. To do it properly, one would use either a Delfi unit or a unit that is actually measuring occlusion properly.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:08:56]

Meaning, would you see the occlusion with a blood pressure cuff?

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:09:00]

When I first did it, they used a Doppler ultrasound to find out what my exact rate of occlusion would be by putting a cuff on me using a Doppler ultrasound.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:09:09]

Does it need to be that precise?

Thomas DeLauer[1:09:11]

It does not need to be that precise because nowadays, the devices are much better at it. They don’t have ultrasounds built in; I think Delfi might have one.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:09:20]

Is that a company?

Thomas DeLauer[1:09:21]

Yeah, the Delfiis the cream of the crop. I use Smart Tools, which is  middle of the line, but it’s affordable. It’s $300, and they just had a new one come out that actually has the device on the actual cuff itself, and then it self-regulates while you’re training to actually adjust.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:09:38]

Yes, please. But first, you have to convince us why.

Thomas DeLauer[1:09:42]

Well, you just look cool. You look like a Terminator. But basically, what you’re doing is allowing metabolites to pool. There are a couple of different things. For one, you’re increasing intracellular volume, so you’re increasing fluid in the muscle. As a result of that, you’re actually increasing some internal leverage, and you’re actually allowing the potential for satellite cells, once again, to fuse into that stem cell effect there. That’s huge, but that’s a little bit weaker science than what we do know as metabolite pooling. Again, the metabolites pooling—I’m talking about lactate—so big increases in lactate because you’re basically blocking it and keeping it there.

Lactate acts as a signaling device. But it does act as a signaling device very specific to the muscles trained too. If you are blocking occlusion around your arm and you’re pooling lactate in your arm, then that signaling device is first of all going to be very powerful because it’s accumulating, and you’re going to be able to send a signal to pro-growth and adaptation, and again, HIF-1, hypoxia-inducible factor 1, to that area, specifically. Now, you’ll also notice when you use BFR that you get to that burn really fast.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:10:50]

How much faster?

Thomas DeLauer[1:10:52]

I couldn’t get a number.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:10:53]

I mean, but it’s so fast.

Thomas DeLauer[1:10:54]

Let’s put it this way. If I put a BFR cuff on and I picked up a 10-pound dumbbell and did 20 curls with it, I’d be like, wow, this is burning.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:11:01]

That would be a benefit of using blood flow restriction.

Thomas DeLauer[1:11:04]

Yes. I’ll give you the context in which I use it. If I’m in an intense running block, your husband could get a big benefit out of this, like intense running blocking work where I’m getting a lot of mileage in, and I just don’t have the energy to go and do heavy resistance training, but I know I need to for maintenance, then that is a great time for me to throw BFR cuffs on because I can train with significantly less intensity and significantly less central nervous system taxation and biomechanical load. But I can still get that same really powerful effect as far as lactate is concerned. As far as hypertrophy is concerned, there’s a lot of signaling that happens with lactate too. That’s why we say the hypertrophy range is that 8 to 15, 8 to 18 repetition range; really, 12 is the sweet spot. Isn’t it silly that it also ends up being the same range that you get the most burn in? There’s a lot of evidence suggesting that lactate could help with hypertrophy, too. When you put BFR cuffs on and you’re swimming in that lactate, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that can be really good for hypertrophy, both metabolically and even mechanically.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:12:07]

Would someone be able to use that a few times a week during every training session?

Thomas DeLauer[1:12:12]

I would do it every training session. One of the things that you have to be cautious about is that, yeah, it can put stress on the valves. If you’re putting it on too tight, you don’t want to collapse a valve or something like that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:12:25]

Do you really have to know what you’re doing and have someone?

Thomas DeLauer[1:12:28]

You should at least have someone show you and help you set your numbers the first time. The good news is that a lot of physical therapists are starting to use it for prehab and rehab. I think that’s where Attia learned about it at first. Layne Norton’s talked about it for a long time. I don’t know if he regularly uses it, but he was shouting about the benefits of it years before it was popular. Definitely, do not just go on Amazon and get the cuffs that you can cinch up with your hand. No, it needs to be a very methodical thing. Like I said, most of the newer devices, like the B Strong cuffs, the Smart Tools cuffs, and the Delfi units, can be set so that when you put the cuff on initially, it calibrates, almost pulses, and increases the pressure, and then slowly decreases the pressure to find the right rate of occlusion. It’s a lot harder to mess up these days, but you don’t need as much pressure as you think you need. If you put that sucker on and it’s mildly tight, you typically want to lessen the load. You want to go lighter. You want to go higher in repetition, and you want to have these things on for no longer than 20 minutes with each extremity. If you put them on your upper body for 20 minutes, and after 20 minutes, just kill them even if you’re not done with your workout. Turn them off. You just don’t want to be exposed for that long and then switch to your legs.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:13:44]

It’s substantially less weight. You would probably curl 50 pounds or more, and you would pick up a 10 or 20-pound weight.

Thomas DeLauer[1:13:54]

Yeah, I’ll play with 10 or 15 and then just go for high rep.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:13:57]

In terms of performance, do you think that’s the way to go, once a week?Does it matter? How often would you use it?

Thomas DeLauer[1:14:07]

Yeah, I would say so. It’s a part of my life at least once or twice a week.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:14:10]

That’s a lot actually. Is there no other workout that day?

Thomas DeLauer[1:14:15]

No, it depends. Sometimes, it will be a workout. A lot of times, I do it on my filming days because I feel like I don’t want to totally tax myself before filming a long day. But I also know that lactate has a big effect on BDNF, so I also want that little brain boost that I get. Again, it could be a placebo affecting myself, but I feel really sharp after I do it. Sometimes it’ll be the only thing I do that day. Some days, it’ll be in tandem with my longer running days.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:14:41]

How many miles are you putting in a week?

Thomas DeLauer[1:14:44]

Right now, it’s a lot less.Right now, it’s probably only 20. But even just a few weeks ago, I was up to 50.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:14:50]

That makes me cry.

Thomas DeLauer[1:14:52]

Years ago, I was close to 100. I go back and forth. I love running. It’s fun. I get enjoyment out of it. But I also have to be careful because I’m a bigger dude, and it’s a lot of biomechanical stress. I ran my first marathon when I was 11, and I learned to run as a heel striker, and it’s a very hard habit to break. But that was not a huge problem when I was 130 pounds as a runner. At 180, 185 pounds, and also getting stiff from lifting so much, heel striking is not a good way to go. I’m trying to retrain myself to land on the midfoot. But you can’t undo 35 years. You can’t just undo that, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to retrain myself to run in a different gait altogether without some serious intervention. I have to check myself, so I try to do more Peloton and things like that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:16:00]

Thomas DeLauer, thank you so much for coming on the show. I think that this was really interesting. We talked about you, and I love hearing your backstory. We talked about fat loss, and we talked about taurine. We talked about beta-alanine, which everyone is going to try, and blood flow restriction. I just think that you are the best, and I am so happy I get to share you with my audience.

Thomas DeLauer[1:16:18]

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure, and thanks for coming on my channel as well. Thanks for having me.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:16:22]

Speaking of which, where can people find you?

Thomas DeLauer[1:16:25]

I usually say it’s more like, where can people avoid me? I tend to pop up everywhere. The most important thing is that I’m not V Shred, even though we’re both very similar-looking. I’m not V Shred. You can find me on YouTube, but I’m not the guy that’s eating pizza in the ads on YouTube. That’s V Shred. Otherwise, just type in my name, Thomas DeLauer, on YouTube, and you’ll find all my content there; Instagram, @thomasdelauer; and thomasdelauer.com

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:16:46]

Amazing. Thank you so much.

Thomas DeLauer[1:16:47]

You bet. Thank you.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:16:49]

The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon podcast and YouTube are for general information purposes only and do not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice.No patient-doctor relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast, YouTube, or materials linked from the podcast or YouTube is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have and should seek the assistance of their health care professional for any such conditions. This is purely for entertainment and educational purposes only.