- The Benefits of Reproductive Foods
- Why it’s called “Nature Multivitamin”, and how it may be a better option than most supplemental multivitamins and minerals out there.
- How Estrogens are Destroying Your Health
- The Phyto-Androgens in Pine Pollen and What they can do for you.
- Why you can’t only trust Double Blind Studies
- The Morning Wood Effect
- What to do when Pine Pollen doesn’t produce its desired effect?
Click on the link below to access the complete transcript.
Logan: Welcome to the Vital Way. Logan Christopher here along with Cloud Christopher and today we’d figure we’d talk about what kind of started this whole company, Superman Herbs. Today, we’re talking about pine pollen. Just a disclaimer before we begin, this is not a medical advice. It’s not intended to be. Only doctors can help you with anything. With that being said, let’s talk about pine pollen. Where do you want to start, Cloud?
Cloud: First, I love your statement there. We’re not doctors so we can’t tell you anything. That’s awesome. Where do we want to start with pine pollen? Well pine pollen so what is pine pollen? What is it for, with let’s say?
Logan: Well, pine pollen as the name suggests is the pollen from the pine tree. This has been used historically in China for a long time but as far as Western herbs or most people on the planet they haven’t heard of using pollen medicinally. Something that is popular over here is bee pollen, which is pollen from a variety of different flowers. There are definitely some other pollens but pine pollen is something definitely unique and interesting about it, which is like—
Cloud: Before we get into it if I wasn’t clear, what is pollen? It is basically the seed of life for a plant. Some of the herbs, other herbs we have like shilajit which in some forms you could view it as concentrated life but basically showing some of our nutrition theories or maybe this is just my personal stuff, but things that are in the beginning of life tend to be very nutritious.
Logan: Right. Well yeah, there needs to be a lot there in order for it to support life so a lot of our more common food groups, I mean eggs are highly regarded as quite nutritious. Some people even call them like the perfect nutrition because they host the different vitamins and minerals, especially if it comes from a quality source like pastured chickens, that sort of thing as well, as being pretty high in protein. It’s got cholesterol, a decent amount of fat, all kinds of good things. Then you have nuts and seeds which are sort of another aspect of the beginning of life of many plants. So pollen is one part of that sort of operation but that is a very good point. Anytime you are going for these sort of reproductive foods and let’s say like milk, dairy, they can be highly nutritious depending on the person as well. Any of these foods tend to be good foods and have a lot of nutrition in them.
Cloud: Yeah and my whole point in that leads to the nutritional component of pine pollen powder. It’s said that pine pollen powder contains over 200 different nutrients in it. It has nearly all the vitamins. It doesn’t have vitamin C but it has a lot of vitamins, a whole host of minerals, not all of them. It’s not like shilajit. It doesn’t have all of them. And it has a full spectrum amino acids and then it’s got a whole host of all these other things like nucleic acids, flavonoids and isoflavonoids I always forget now because—
Logan: Tons of antioxidants. It has SOD, superoxide dismutase as well as a bunch of others. I believe that it helps to support the body in making glutathione which is sort of a master antioxidant in the body, the human body.
Cloud: Yeah, and I mean there’s just tons of stuff like oleic acid, alpha linolenic acid, lignans. Like you said, well there’s MSN, superoxide dismutase, polysaccharides, monosaccharides. There are enzymes, fiber, polyphenols, and quercitin. I mean there’s all kinds of stuff. A lot of these stuff, like I used to buy resveratrol, MSN, a few other things all by themselves and when I discovered pine pollen, I realized maybe I don’t need to buy these synthetic versions and I can just take the pine pollen and be okay.
Logan: Yeah, you’re the one who started calling it nature’s multivitamin right? Just because it may not be as complete as some of these well-formulated things out there but it’s definitely a good base from which to start. And if you’re watching your diet on top of that, it should be in with the other.
Cloud: I had a friend that asked, “If I take pine pollen, do I need a multivitamin?” and that got me curious. With herbs, do you need a multivitamin? I ended up writing a blog piece that’s still on the website for that same thing. If you take this stuff, do you need a multivitamin every day? To my horror, doing the research through the article, I came across all the bad things that are put into multivitamins which led to my current belief that man basically doesn’t know what they’re doing and nature does. When man creates nutrients in the lab in synthetic form, let’s say they tend to be missing pro-factors that either make it work, or make it not be toxic with it, whatever it is. I’ve seen more than a few studies that were halted due to the fact that synthetic vitamins were harming the study participants and in some cases even causing child mortality in unborn babies. That was kind of scary, how vitamin E can do that or vitamin A.
Logan: Yeah, there are definitely lots of synthetic forms which if you look at the chemical structure, it’s similar to what’s natural but just because something is similar, it can have a dramatically different effect like one extra thing that they add on can completely change what the body is able to do with it. This isn’t to say there aren’t any good multivitamins, mineral supplements out there. That’s just the synthetic ones.
If you’re listening to this, if you have a multivitamin you’re supposed to take one a day, it’s going to be crap. It’s not going to be good enough. For one, vitamins don’t take up that much stuff but as far as like a multi-mineral supplement, it’s going to take more than a single capsule full of something in order to adequately supply you with optimal nutrition.
With this all being said if you are going with the multivitamin, multi-mineral supplement, you’ll want to get something that is derived from food. So all those other sort of often times isolating the single nutrients but sometimes they’re just compounding them so that those co-factors are in there as well as having whatever level of say vitamin K they’re trying to get with that supplement.
Cloud: Yeah and along that road, too, if you’re going to look at your supplements or your multivitamin on the back of it, when it says vitamin C in parenthesis, whatever ascorbic acid, that is synthetic vitamin C. That is made by man. All the vitamins I’ve seen on some labels, they will all be synthetic. They will have their scientific name beside them and that’s one way I think you can tell whether it’s manmade or not. You can tell on the labels whether they used food or not by looking at the ingredients. If it just says vitamin C and then you see a food in the ingredient that you know could contain vitamin C then it’s probably from a more natural source because they have to put where they derived it from.
Logan: In some cases.
Cloud: Well, not everyone follows the rules.
Logan: Right, and the rules are hard to follow anyways. They sure don’t make it easy. A lot of the synthetic vitamins are made through often times actually genetically modified bacteria and yeast that they used to grow these. It may not be the best thing ever. I mean in some cases, it might not be harmful like ascorbic acid. There is quite a bit of research, different people saying different things. There does seem to be some use with that and it does play the role of vitamin C. But when in doubt, natural is better. That’s kind of the rule of thumb that we try to live by and espouse for other people because I think there is so much stuff that we don’t know.
I was just recently hearing about folic acid, not fulvic acid as we talked about in shilajit but actual folic acid B9 I believe it is but some people don’t even work well with that, especially if it’s coming from a more synthetically-derived source. While you need actually folate and then there’s debate about are these actually different things or just different word forms. It’s kind of confusing and all that. For that reason just because they used to say folic acid is great for everyone but new research is coming out saying it may not be the best for everyone. That’s what really seems to be happening typically with our science. We say something great and then we discover, oh it may not be so great. So when you’re loading up in all these, even if it’s naturally-derived, isolated nutrients it may not be the best thing. That’s why we like herbs because nature is life. Sure there are definitely poisonous things in nature and certain things can definitely overdone but I’d say, overall, it’s a little bit of a safer route.
Cloud: Yeah and I have even seen some pictures of what natural vitamin C is meant to look like. I think it was just a diagram but basically natural vitamin C looked like the slice of an orange with all it’s co-factors and everything and then ascorbic acid next to it looked like an orange with nothing in the inner part of it. It had a center and an outer and there was nothing in the middle. So just by that diagram, it would show you don’t have all those co-factors in it to actually maybe help the vitamin activate or make things not be bad for you, whatever it is.
Then the synthetic one if it doesn’t have any co-factors, what’s your body going to do with the vitamin? It’s going to need deplete its own pool of co-factors just to utilize it. Some people say that makes your body pull things out of other areas just to use it so you’re not actually supplementing your diet; you’re taking stuff from out of yourself. If you take a multivitamin year after year every single day, can that lead to problems down the line because you’ve been slowly pulling stuff out of yourself?
Logan: Yeah, I think there was a study a while ago where they said multivitamins don’t actually help you with any sort of health effect they were looking at. That’s probably because they were looking at the cheap, crappy, synthetic vitamins versus something that that’s actually food-derived and more natural. Yeah, some of that stuff may have some benefit but like you’re saying, you also may be sort of fighting yourself with some of the other stuff from there.
Cloud: So in some cases, I know myself I consider pine pollen powder to be more of a food than herb. It’s a complete source of vitamins, some minerals and everything else with all the co-factors needed so your body can make use of them. I really think the pine pollen powder, a lot of it has to do with nutrition. A lot of the benefits people derive are the nutrition components of it because all of a sudden, someone adds all these nutrition into their diet where maybe they’ve been eating processed foods for a long time and they’ve been lacking and all of a sudden, their body is eating this micro nutrition that they didn’t have before and their body just loves it.
A lot of customers just taking pine pollen powder at the start and their body just loves it. All of a sudden, they can sleep better, they have better energy and they don’t crave sugars as much. The list is just really long of the benefits it can give you. I just think a lot of that is due to the nutritional components of this pine pollen powder.
Logan: Oh yeah, absolutely. But that’s not all. The sort of unique thing, mostly sort of unique along the herb world, is that pine pollen in addition to all these vitamins, minerals, co-factors, antioxidants, everything it has in it, it also is a source of phytoandrogens. Most people haven’t hear that word, phytoandrogen but if you’ve been in sort of the health world, you’ve likely heard of phytoestrogens which are estrogenic like compounds found in different plant foods. For whatever reason and it may just be because we haven’t’ looked at it as much but phytoandrogens seem to be a lot more rare in the plant world. There’s just not as many of them but once again, it may just be because we haven’t been looking for them so we haven’t identified them. But pine pollen is one source of that is a pretty good source of them that is common enough so it’s not that hard to find.
So with these phytoandrogens, there are unique individual plant steroidal compounds like gibberellins and brassinosteroids but they have the same steroidal compounds, the same androgens as humans have. There’s DHEA, there’s testosterone, I believe there’s androstenedione and a couple of the other testosterone metabolites related androgens as well.
Cloud: Yeah and some people may be really familiar or maybe from back in the day, I remember when Mark McGwire was chasing the homerun record and all I heard about on the TV all the time was androgens, androgens, you know androstenedione, this and that. That’s what he was taking. That’s how he hit all the homeruns with andro androgens.
Logan: They called it andro for short even though there a couple with very similar names that all start with that.
Cloud: Yeah. We do get asked a lot, too. Why does this come from China? Why don’t you get it here?
Logan: That is a very good question. If we could find a good source of someone that’s actually collecting this stuff like they do in China because it’s not an easy thing to collect. I remember one of our customers like, “Oh I got pine trees nearby, and I’m going to go try to get this.” I thought the same thing myself. Then you go and try like shake the little pine needles and stuff and it is not easy to get this powder out of the pine tree.
Cloud: It is not. It is a fun game and then you end up covered in pine pollen, too. It is fun. What I tell people a lot is the phytoandrogens are a huge component of the benefit in what the pine pollen powder can do. Well, the species of tree that has the most phytoandrogens—what is it called?—Pinus massoniana, where does that tree go?
Logan: It’s from China.
Cloud: It grows in China. It doesn’t grow other places that I know of, right? So if the one with the most phytoandrogen grows there, that’s where we’re going to get the pine pollen from.
Logan: And it’s not to say that other pine pollen doesn’t also have it, it’s just once again it’s been used historically for a long time and that’s where the sources are. It’s probably true that all different pine pollens, I would wager, all have different amounts as well as probably some other trees as well but again that’s all we know right now.
Cloud: Yeah, I mean it’s kind of hard to find a study on a ponderosa pine pollen.
Logan: Well yeah. There are barely even studies regarding the pine pollen that we do have unfortunately. We’d like to seek more but science takes a while to catch up to things because it takes money, it takes time in order to do these things and someone needs to be willing to front the large amounts of money it does take to do a clinically valid, double-blind study.
Cloud: Right. In that case, if there’s no science to back it up, what we turn to is what the ancients have done. Like you’re saying, there are records in Chinese medicine of them using pine pollen for various reasons. In my opinion, they wouldn’t have used it if it didn’t work. If it was bad for people, this stuff would have fallen out of favor, it wouldn’t have been written about and people wouldn’t be using it.
Logan: And if we’re talking about why it’s being used now, we really have to give shout-out to Stephen Harrod Buhner who has wrote a whole bunch of different books. He’s a pretty well-known herbalist who really helped to popularize this idea of using pine pollen because without him I don’t know if we’d even still now know about it in the west.
Cloud: Probably not. I don’t think so. He was one of the reasons that helped us to find it, whether it was inspiring someone else to start a company so we could discover it and later study his stuff to have way more knowledge about it because he does to be the pioneering expert on it.
Logan: Going back to what you were saying, there are no studies backing this stuff up. There are a couple limited rat studies. There was one I remember showing that pine pollen could help with arthritis. It worked in rats. Have we heard anything from any of our customers saying it’s helped in that?
Cloud: Arthritis? Not that I can recall.
Logan: But we have heard lots of other things and that’s the thing. Are you really going to wait for double-blind clinical studies in order to experience it yourself, especially if it does have a thousand year-old reputation in the real herbal system? But you can try it out. You hear all this anecdotal evidence. That’s what really led us to some of our discoveries like the morning wood effect. It was just our own experiences with it that kind of led, golden thread into different things that we’ve done and more research and where we’re going next with different herbs and that sort of thing.
Cloud: Yeah, and also just the tremendous amount of people that, like I said, I always start a customer, start with the pine pollen and see what that can do. The amount of people that ended up loving it, I could count in one hand how many people didn’t like it. Everyone loved it so much right in the beginning and it just helped them so much, whatever way that was.
For me, I remember in the beginning at some point because I said before I was hardly eating. I was just having pine pollen and shilajit all the time. Sometimes, micro nutrition, one of my experiments was just getting all the micro nutrition I could from herbs and seeing how little food, macro nutrition, I actually needed to maintain myself. It was surprising to me how little I needed to eat when I would have adequate amounts of micro nutrition.
Logan: Well, that’s really what our body is looking for. Obviously you need sufficient calories from the main sources. You need fat, protein and carbohydrates. Actually, carbohydrates aren’t actually a necessary nutrient but they do seem to help with certain things including testosterone production. But when you’re hungry, usually your body is seeking out micro nutrients and the reason obesity is such a problem is because people are eating all these food, tons of macro nutrients, tons of calories, but with none of the micro nutrients in them.
So if you’re not getting what you really need from food, which I’d say as far as your health is concerned that the micro nutrients are just as important if not more so than macro nutrients, if you’re not getting that then you could just be shoveling in the food and you’re never really satisfying the sort of hunger that is there for micro nutrients. They say that when you get cravings for food, you may crave ice cream or something but there’s something in that ice cream that actually signals the micro nutrients. So if you ate something else that fulfilled that then that craving would go away.
Cloud: Yeah. I definitely have talked to plenty of customers where pine pollen lowered their cravings for sugar. Like I said before, they just don’t have the same amount of cravings for food or sweets that they used to have once they start a good regimen of pine pollen.
Logan: What’s interesting is we talked about taste, whatnot and the other ones, but the pine pollen is slightly bitter. I was just reading up recently that definitely in our western culture, people don’t eat bitter but that bitter taste sort of counteracts the sweet taste so the more you have that then the less you’ll actually crave sweets generally. I found that really interesting. But it’s funny when I hear people say that pine pollen taste bad. Oh you haven’t had nothing yet because compared with some of the other herbs, pine pollen’s nothing.
Cloud: Right. Definitely. We’ve experienced in our own family, people that will not take the pine pollen because they don’t like the taste. They don’t care what it does. It’s too bitter, too whatever and they just won’t take it. Well whatever. If you don’t want it, I’m not going to force you.
Logan: Yes, force-feeding pine pollen, that’s not something we’re working on. All right, so you wanted to talk a little bit about the morning wood. I think that’s a cool thing. Basically when we started with pine pollen, everyone was saying you just need a small amount like a quarter teaspoon or half teaspoon. But as we were researching—How much?
Cloud: I was going to say I started with two teaspoons a day.
Logan: Okay. Some people advocate even less than that but as we were doing more research, basically one of the books we were going through said that in China, people used up to ten tablespoons of pine pollen a day. Okay, that’s a lot more than anyone’s been taking; let’s try this out. It was really when we started experimenting with that that the morning wood effect came into more of an effect, that it really became significantly noticeable. Once I noticed that, I was like hey, is anyone else noticing this? I got some feedback on it and this seemed to be a pretty frequent occurrence among people. It didn’t seem to work for every single one and obviously this is only a male effect but it did seem to work, I don’t know from what I heard, for the majority. Even most men noticed this effect when taking at least a good dose of the pine pollen.
Cloud: Yeah. I know when I first started taking herbs, I was a young man, 32. I didn’t need any help but just taking pine pollen and shilajit, boy, did I get help in whatever, I’m not going to say. I’m not going to stop taking this stuff because I think it’s fun.
Logan: That’s the thing. Even if things are working well there, I’d say most people noticed an improvement so it was this that kind of led me into researching more about morning wood which I still think is a really funny thing to be poring through studies and researching about. I came to the realization that with morning wood, it’s not just whether you have it or you don’t have it but you can look at some other factors like how hard is it, how long it lasts, do you have it multiple times at night or in the morning? These are different factors which of course have correlation to other times when you might want to have that same sort of effect.
Cloud: So why does it not always work?
Cloud: I mean why doesn’t work 100% of the time for 100% of the people?
Logan: Unfortunately, nothing works a 100% of the time for a 100% of people. That’s why we like to give some different options. But if we’re talking about the morning wood thing, why does that not work? If we’re talking about that or like impotence, there can be a number of different factors. Your hormonal profile is definitely one thing. In order for that to be working, you do need a fair amount of testosterone. That’s one aspect.
But there are some other things as well. A big part of it can be circulation and some different aspects on that. That’s actually something we’re doing a little but more research on now because one, the blood may not flow in there properly or once it’s in there, it may leave too quickly. If either of those are an issue with the veins allowing the blood to go or it’s not getting in properly then that can stop the effect from happening even if your testosterone happens to be good enough.
Cloud: Right. I have talked to some customers where they started taking pine pollen and they’re like well, it’s getting a little better. I’m not satisfied with the results but it’s doing something.
Logan: So I’d say that’s probably common as well so if you do jump up your testosterone and the other androgens then it may help. But it may not solve everything because other things can also be issues as well.
Cloud: Yeah, you could have real other physiological or hormonal things going on like you were saying. It starts to work a little but then it still doesn’t fix it completely because there are other aspects that need to be addressed and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on.
Logan: And that’s the thing with hormones, if we’re looking at that and just trying to increase our testosterone. For women, it’s way more complex than men because they have their monthly cycle and everything so things go up at certain times and go down at others. So it’s way more complicated for women but that doesn’t mean that men’s hormones are simple either. There’s so many different moving parts.
So if pine pollen doesn’t seem to be helping with those or other benefits that may come with testosterone, it may be because of a couple other issues. One that comes to mind is even when you’re getting all these pine pollen and it’s providing these different androgens, if you don’t have sufficient zinc, if you are deficient in that then your body isn’t really able to create testosterone and dramatically transform it from some of the precursors into that and other things. I think it’s used in creation of sperms. I’ve heard it said there’s 5 mg of zinc per load that is used and of course that’s going to depend on the person. But if you’re deficient in this critical nutrient, which I would wager that pine pollen has some but it’s not really a big supply of it, then that could stop your hormones from really being optimal. Even though the pine pollen may help a little bit, it may not be enough.
Cloud: And in that case, what do you do?
Logan: Try some of the other herbs. This is really something to play with. Of course, it’s not just about the herbs. You may need certain lifestyle interventions. If you’re really trying to optimize your testosterone, don’t forget the basics. Make sure you’re getting sufficient quantity and quality of sleep. It’s the same thing with water because if you’re dehydrated, nothing works right. You should be doing the right sort of workouts to help increase testosterone. Working out too much can definitely lower it so you want to be careful with that. Then eating the right sort of foods, going towards organic food because conventional food, all the pesticides, those are all xenoestrogens, which are going to slow down the process of optimizing your testosterone or make it go in reverse. All these different factors, you need to work on those basics and these herbs, they’re really kind of that supplemental support. Yes, we know that they can be really powerful, but they really shouldn’t take the place of doing things like those basics.
We’ll be concluding this discussion in next week’s podcast. Stay tuned for the next episode.