Ben: I have a master’s degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I’ve spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world’s toughest mudder, the 13 Ironman triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world’s top experts in performance, fat loss, recovery, hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
Hey, what’s up? I was recently in Austin, Texas. I went to the fabulous Onnit facilities down there and sat down with my pal, Kyle Kingsbury, to talk all things; sleep, psychedelics, rites of passage. We had fun. I’d talk a lot about nootropics and psychedelics starting this thing off. I was actually not on any psychedelics, just a ketone peanut butter and jelly bowl and a cup of coffee. But my brain was taken pretty solid and I talked fast and filled with this episode with a lot of information. You may also find this episode on Kyle’s fantastic podcast, Human Optimization Radio, Radio, Radio. Check that out.
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By the way, I should mention to you that, and I will put a link to this in the shownotes, it’s the Spartan World Championship VIP. So, if you’re a CEO or an executive, this takes place. I’ll be down there racing and leading sessions, and teaching, and doing panels and masterminds with you, but it’s September 26th to the 29th down in Tahoe. Beautiful, beautiful place. Even if you’ve never done a Spartan or an obstacle course race before, they do a special CEO Challenge event that is absolutely stellar. As a matter of fact, you know what? Here, I’ll throw down this gauntlet for you. I hold the title of the world’s fittest CEO, at least the world’s fittest Spartan CEO. I think I’m the world’s fittest CEO. I’ll take anybody on.
Anyways though, you can come race for that title, too. Tow the starting line with me or just tow the starting line, go out and have a hell of a good time. They’ve got different private lounges, VIP lounge. They have obstacle course racing instruction also taught by yours truly. Anyways, I’ll put a link in the shownotes, which you can get over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/humanoptimization. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/humanoptimization. That’s a long one, but that’s where the shownotes are for today’s podcast. Check it out.
Kyle: We’re clapped in, the return, once you get that up next to you. Act like you’ve done this before.
Ben: [00:05:37] ______ get this all up in my face. I got to clean the granola out of my teeth. My keto PB&J granola.
Kyle: You can keep that away from your mouth while you clean your teeth. That’s great. Everybody listen, for those in the car right now.
Ben: Eat the rest of that stuff out of the cracks of my teeth during this podcast. That was good. I don’t know what I just ate but it was good.
Kyle: It is good, yeah.
Ben: It was ketogenic.
Kyle: The café has got all the goodies. Well, [censored], I mean I have a couple of places I want to take this, but you’re always into the latest greatest, and I’m constantly learning from you. You even told me about this–obviously, we do the pissing contest on sleep scores, and you’re always better.
Ben: I won.
Kyle: What do you do for sleep? Because this is such a massive thing people don’t even realize how important it is for fat loss, recovery, cognitive function, you [censored] name it. It all boils down to sleep. So, let’s talk about your sleep habits.
Ben: I eat some chicken breast and masturbate and lay back, and of course that deep sleep score just climbs through the roof. It’s amazing. It works every time. It depends. When I’m at home, the normal sleep hygiene stuff obviously dominates. I get cold. So, I sleep on ChiliPad, and I put it on boost function, so it goes down to 55 degrees. I don’t have it when I travel. So, when I travel, I take a cold shower I before go to bed.
Kyle: So, ChiliPad is, for people that don’t know, it’s a mattress topper. Tim Ferriss blew these guys up and I’ve–
Ben: It circulates cold water.
Kyle: Yeah. Underneath and it just goes like right on top. So, if you have a wife that you sleep with who likes it a little warmer, you can still drop it down.
Ben: So, it’s his and hers, just like the his and hers towel. You can have the his and hers pad. She has a pad that’s never been turned. Never.
Ben: I’m just not interested. Buzz there, if she were ever so inclined, but it literally has never been turned on. So, underneath the ChiliPad at home, I like this concept of healing the body while you sleep. I just like to heal my body no matter what I’m doing. So, when I’m working out, I’ve got the Joovv lights behind me kind of shining the red light in my body.
Kyle: So, do you work with like a suit top but no pants on? That way, you can get the direct light from the Joovv to your balls?
Ben: I’ll just screw this suit top. Nothing on.
Kyle: You have nothing on.
Ben: But the Joovv light, you don’t leave on for 20 minutes. If you do photobiomodulation like that for too long, you actually create excess free radicals.
Ben: So, you don’t want to overdo that. A lot of these things that make the body better, even nootropics like methylene blue is very popular right now. You do too much of that, you create excess free radicals. You do too much of–there’s another device called the Vielight, which is great for–
Kyle: Is that the intranasal one?
Ben: Yeah. I mean, intranasal light, little laser light cap. It’s really good for amplifying mitochondrial activity and nitric oxide production in the neural tissue, but you leave that on for too long and you create excess free radicals. Any of these things act on the same principle as hormesis almost. You stay in a cold shower for two hours and I’d be kind of [censored] up from that. So, you want to be careful.
So, photobiomodulation will do that for 20 minutes and that’s it. Or when I’m writing my book, I’ll go sit on one of those pulsed electromagnetic filled chairs and flip on–there’s another device. I know that this sounded kind of nerdy. It’s called NanoVi, and it’s like a DNA repair device, and it circulates this water. They’re actually down here with the Paleo f(x) and they had a booth at the expo. I’ll stick that kind of wand or has a nasal cannula that you can put into your nose and where a nasal cannula should go based on this.
Kyle: Not an anal cannula.
Ben: Based on the title, nasal cannula. A lot of times when I’m working, I just do things to make my body better. So, same thing when I sleep. So, I have the ChiliPad, which can also help out with your nervous system repair and recovery when your body is cooler while you sleep, but it also amplifies your deep sleep cycles. Anything you can do to decrease core temperature will do that. So, the room is at 64 degrees, the ChiliPad is at 55 degrees. I don’t load up with a lot of blankets, but I am getting this idea of weighted blankets. It kind of activates your parasympathetic nervous system when you have something just slightly heavy on top of you.
Kyle: Holding you.
Ben: So, they make like these. Yeah. They make like these 20/25-pound weighted blankets. And now, I forget the brand I have on my bed, but they actually breathe really well. They’re not stuffy and warm as you would expect them to be. And when I travel, what I do is I’ll just have like a top sheet, but then I put pillows on top of the top sheet and you almost feel like you’re weighted down and you got this really kind of cool feeling.
Underneath the ChiliPad, I have this device called the Body Balance Mat, and that’s a PEMF device. So, it’s the same thing as if I were camping. So, you’re grounded and you’re earthed even if you’re in a high-rise condo or whatever. And I spoke with the people who make that mat. I spoke with ChiliPad and they’ve actually talked to each other. And apparently, the water in the ChiliPad kind of amplifies the effect of the pulsed electromagnetic fields that come off this body balance mat. So, I basically just got two mats underneath me. And you can’t feel them. I’m like the princess and the pea when I sleep. So, I’m pretty particular, but you can’t feel any of this stuff. It’s just kind of like laying on your bed.
So, I sleep on this bed at home called an IntelliBed. It’s a very good breathable mattress. It doesn’t get really warm, so the bed doesn’t heat up either, and it’s extremely comfortable. It’s designed to be like memory foam, but it’s a little bit more firm. So, it supports your body. You don’t sink into it. You don’t wake up with hip pain or anything like that. So, cold is the first thing. And when I travel, I just take a cold shower. I make sure I don’t go to bed warm. Sleep with the top sheet and throw some pillows on there for a little bit of weight.
Keep the room dark. So, when I travel, I use one of those Mindfold masks. I think that’s the best sleep mask. I was using that wraparound sleep mask for a while, the Sleep Master Sleep Mask, which is another really good one. But the mind fold is even better. It blocks out even more. Sound is another in addition to light. I always have some kind of an app that’s playing sound by my bedside. And if I’m sleeping in a house with a bunch of other people or there’s a lot of commotion going on, I’ve got a noise blocking headphone that I put in. And they have headphones that work for side sleepers called SleepPhones. So, if you want to sleep on your side, they’re like soft headphones that don’t kind of dig into your face, whatever, like a Bose noise blocking headphone would. The two apps that I typically use are–one is called SleepStream. It’s like a DJ for sleep. It’ll play binaural beats. It’ll play pink noise, white noise, brown noise, whatever.
Kyle: I’ve heard of white noise, but nothing was [00:12:39] ______. What the hell is pink and brown noise?
Ben: So, it’s different frequencies. Then they just give them different colors. And based on the latest research, pink noise, if you’re going to choose a color, is the best noise for deep sleep. So, I set that in pink noise mode. And what that does is it just covers up ambient noise. But then you can also, if you want to, you can put little piano tunes in the background or spa noise or even kind of like these almost psychedelic-ish sounds that are–like a–that’ll kind of low you off to sleep as well.
And they also have binaural beats in there. It’s like I’m saying, you can just put your own mix together and binaural beats will play a frequency in one side of the headphone and a different frequency in the other side of the headphone. And the delta between those two frequencies is the brainwave that it elicits. So, if it’s playing 295 Hertz in the left ear and 305 Hertz in the right ear, you’d get a 10 Hertz frequency if you’re going for like an alpha brainwaves on or you can choose delta or theta.
Kyle: Okay. Go a little deeper.
Ben: Yeah. The other app I like, especially if I’m using any kind of psychedelic or anything like that for sleep or something like we were talking about ketamine the other day, is there’s an app called Pzizz, P-Z-I-Z-Z, and that thing is really cool. It’s got like 30 different tracks that I find are just amazing. If you have like a mind fold sleep mask on with some noise blocking headphones, you just go to this whole different landscape while you’re asleep. And that one is really cool if you’re toying around with–whatever. You’re hitting a vape pen or you’re taking some ketamine or something like that before sleep, you just have this amazing dream sequence while you’re asleep.
So, you got your temperature. You’ve got your light. You have your sound. And then, last thing is just my laptop doesn’t come near the bed, which is always a temptation when I travel and want to work in bed. Now, the laptop is always somewhere else in the hotel room or somewhere else in the house. Never comes near the bed. And then the phone. You can Google Red Phone or Red Light iPhone. And there’s a little button you can push in your iPhone if you program a right to remove all the blue light from the screen, even beyond what the sleep mode built into the phone has.
Kyle: Yeah. You showed me that on our hunting trip in Hawaii.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Kyle: It’s a pretty cool function.
Ben: It just gets rid of all blue light on the phone, period, so you don’t get anything. It’s like firelight, which is really nice if you do want, whatever, look at Instagram before you go to bed or check a few things before you fall asleep. So, those are a few of the things. And then I like this concept that a good night of sleep begins when you wake up, like that’s when sleep architecture begins. So, what I mean by that is I’ll travel back up to Washington State from here. And when I am traveling from east to west and I’m at home, and I wake up at let’s say 4:00 a.m. at home because for me, having come from back east, that’s 7:00 a.m., that can be annoying. I would rather not wake up at 4:00 a.m. because then I’ll just be dragging later on in the day, falling asleep at the dinner table with my family.
So, what you do in a situation like that is you wait to queue your body until the time that you actually do want to begin to wake up. So, your main queues for your circadian rhythm are light movement and food, right? So, you’d wait to eat breakfast until it’s actually breakfast time in whatever area of the world you happen to be in. If you do wake up at 4:00 a.m., you don’t get up, you don’t have coffee, you don’t have food, you don’t have anything. So, you don’t prime your body from a digestive standpoint.
You also don’t prime your body from a light standpoint. Meaning, a lot of people will wear blue light blocking glasses at night. They think the blue light blocking glasses make sense they do to wear them at night to limit your blue light exposure at night. But you can also wear them in the morning. So, you put on something like a blue light block or glass. You don’t turn on a lot of lights in the home. You keep your phone in that night mode. If you have one of these light filtering pieces of software on your computer, you make sure that’s in night mode too, and you just treat the morning like it’s the night until the time of day that you actually want to wake up arrives. Then you blast yourself with light. You have a meal. You get an exercise or mobility session in. And that works very quickly to reset your circadian rhythm. I mean, you can do it in one day with that type of strategy.
So, that’s what I’ll do when I’m traveling is use light movement in foods strategically to reset my circadian rhythm because I travel a lot, like I’m constantly on the road two or three weeks out every month. So, I’m always having to reset my circadian rhythm wherever I’m at in the world. And then from a supplementation standpoint, I’m very careful with caffeine or anything like that after about 4:00 p.m. All right, so I’ve had my genetics tested. I’m a fast caffeine oxidizer. If I were slow, it would be closer to noon based on the half-life of caffeine.
But anything after about 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., I avoid caffeine. If I need a stimulant, I use nicotine because it’s in and out of the system very quickly. Like you can use nicotine up to an hour before bedtime and still be just fine. So, if you had a dinner party or whatever you want to stay awake, use nicotine gum or nicotine droplets instead of a shot of espresso or something else that has caffeine in it.
Kyle: Or the Swedish Snus. I’m a big fan of the Snus.
Ben: Or the Swedish Snus, yeah. Those are closer. Those are pretty high. Those are like 10/20 milligrams.
Kyle: They started, I think 8, but yeah, I got the 20 volts.
Ben: I don’t actually know what it tastes. I don’t like the taste of tobacco. I like more like kind of a minty gum, or there’s a company called Blue Brain Boost. They make just straight-up pure nicotine droplets.
Kyle: Same great company too for the methylene blue [00:18:36] ______.
Ben: They do methylene blue as well. And actually, a wonder, wonderful stack for earlier in the day is you take methylene blue and you microdose that with CBD and nicotine. That’s a very clean burn. And you can get it like a sublingual trokey. Now, there are some companies that sell this. That’s a mix of methylene blue, nicotine, and CBD. So, it’s like 5 mg. of CBD.
Kyle: I want a link to that in the shownotes, so if you can send that to me. I definitely want to try that out.
Ben: Yeah. Fine. I got a few in my bag too right now.
Ben: Or my–
Kyle: The first of five podcasts today. So, I’m going to need to run that.
Ben: Yeah. I’ll drop you, and I have a blue mouth all morning. And in the evening though, what I’ll do is CBD oil. And then typically, what I like is something that’s got just a little bit of like a 5 HTP or a microdose of melatonin in it. Right now, I’m using Dr. Kirk Parsley Sleep Remedy.
Kyle: Okay. Yeah, it’s good.
Ben: It’s called the Sleep Remedy and a pretty high dose of CBD. I’ll take about 100 milligrams of CBD, which seems like a lot, but most of the research on CBD and enhanced deep sleep cycles pushes closer to 300 milligrams, which is a lot when you consider that. When you get a dropper bottle of CBD or a CBD supplement or whatever, like a serving is 10. And there are some companies pushing close to 30, but that’s one-tenth to one-third of the actual dosage that helps you to sleep.
Kyle: Yeah. For me, I mean, we get a lot of free stuff as I’m sure you do. I know you do. But yeah, the highest CBD products that I use are still 30 mg. per full dropper. I’m taking tenfold droppers to hit that dose. I haven’t done the 300 yet. I’ve done the 150, and that’s something I totally feel, whereas, with one or two droppers, it’s still 30 to 60 mg, a lot higher than most recommendations. I don’t necessarily feel that the way I do the 150, but I’m interested in trying the 300 now.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And then if you wake up during the night, anything that enhances the release of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, that works well if you wake up, let’s say 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. and you want to get back to sleep. CBD doesn’t do that so much. Passion flower extract is very good. Valerian is very good. I think you guys have a couple of GABA precursors in a new mood.
Kyle: Yup. Valerian is in there, 5 HTP. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. The only issue with that is it’s a capsular delivery. And so, it might take a little while to hit your system. Typically, I’ll just have like a little passion flower dropper. So, you just put it sublingually. Chamomile works pretty well, too. Like you can keep a little bit of chamomile powder or chamomile tea next to your bed and sip on that if you wake up during the night.
Kyle: That’s really good.
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Kyle: Let’s talk about psychedelics. We’ve touched on this ketamine nasal spray, which now, I mean you can get from any cool doctor, functional medicine doctors.
Ben: Cool doctors.
Kyle: Any cool doctors. They’ll hook you up with this. And obviously, it’s available on the street. But I want to touch on some of the ways that you optimize psychedelics for performance, and what are that sleep performance or just hacking creativity and energy systems? What are the different ways that you found to be effective for that?
Ben: Yeah. I mean, we need to of course couch this in terms of legality for any water–
Kyle: Only when you’re in Costa Rica.
Ben: [00:24:51] _______ sanction athletes or offseason athletes. Just know the boundaries. Use globaldro.com and make sure any of the stuff is legal for whatever sport you’re competing in. So, a few of the things that I find particularly handy of late, and one we’ve already touched on, is ketamine. And I’d done ketamine infusions before overseen by an anesthesiologist for–typically, that would be used to release childhood traumas or to simply be able to relive elements of your childhood, pull those back up. And it’s very good for pulling things up from a historical context, reliving those and releasing them. Right.
So, like, I’ll use my wife as an example, has also done it, and she had a very difficult childhood when it came to schooling. She grew up dyslexic and was forced to learn spelling and reading and writing in a manner that was very, very difficult for her. She sees words as shapes, like she sees the word “the.” It’s not T-H-E; it’s just the shape of the T, the shape of the H, the shape of the E forms the shape of the word “the,” and that’s how she reads. And so, she had a very difficult childhood, trying to be forced outside the box or forced into the box of how you’re supposed to learn to read.
She didn’t realize that was traumatic for her but it actually suppressed her creativity. So, when she did ketamine, one of the first areas she went back to was that of her teacher or her mom, I forget, like trying to force her how to learn to read the right way over and over again, and she was crying, and she was frustrated. Her brain just didn’t work that way. She came out of the academy and experienced crying and having never really realized how traumatic that was for her. And after releasing that trauma, the very next day, she started painting again. It had been a long time since she’d broken out her art supplies and really tapped into that creativity, but she was able to release that and begin to work on her art again. And now, she’s painting and she’s making these amazing murals and pieces of art. And that’s what triggered that for her.
Now, what I’ve found with ketamine is with this new intranasal ketamine, you can put a few doses of that in each nostril and you snort it in. I like to do this at night as I’m laying asleep to go to bed. And you’ll put it in one of these apps, like that Pzizz app I was telling you about is very, very good for this. So, there’s a track on there, a light called [00:27:25] ______. And you put this in, and you do the ketamine, and you lay back, and you just think of anything from your childhood that you can vaguely remember.
You don’t have to direct your thoughts that specifically. You don’t have to try and think of something traumatic or think of something painful from childhood, but you just think of something, like whatever, playing ball in the driveway when you’re a little boy or maybe taking your dog for a walk or whatever. And you start to play in vivid recall all these experiences from–for me specifically, from my boyhood, not traumatic experiences because I didn’t have a very traumatic childhood. I was just like pretty Plain Jane, homeschooled in Idaho. I had a pretty easy boyhood.
Kyle: Pretty standard K through 12 homeschooling?
Ben: Pretty standard K through 12 out of North Idaho. Not a lot can go wrong. There aren’t a lot of gangs and drugs. So, what I found though is that by doing that, and I’ll just do that one or two times a week, it’s brought me closer to my boys because I’ve been able to recall my boyhood in vivid detail, relive these memories from boyhood that I’d almost forgotten what I enjoyed to do, having my friends over and playing basketball in the driveway with our old school boombox going ’til midnight, or fashioning myself a little spear and making a bow and arrow and going out with my little boxer Bruno, and going through the forest and hiding and shooting at stuff, or digging giant holes and building these amazing underground forts. And I’ll wake up and I’ll be like, “Oh, I got to go out and do this with my boys, or we got to go out and start working on that tree fort, or we’re going to play family basketball tonight after dinner in the dark with the floodlights on in front of the house.
And so, it’s really cool because by being able to tap back in my boyhood and remember what it was like to be, my boys are 11 right now, what it was like to be 10, 11, 12 years old. I’ve been able to actually foster a deeper connection with my boys. So, the ketamine, that’s been cool. You ask more about cognitive optimization. And for that, I think it’s tough. A lot of people are probably already aware of, I like to occasionally microdose a little bit of psilocybin.
I went through a period of my life where I did of lot of ayahuasca and DMT and psilocybin and LSD, and did trip doses, and journeyed, and found myself, and dissolved my ego, and I’m over all of that. I’m pretty disillusioned with that, and I actually don’t like to lose control over my cognitive function, and would rather use these things now just to be sharper. So, one or two times a week, I’ll take a very small amount of psilocybin, like a 0.5-gram dose, and blend that with lion’s mane, and take something like a beetroot or some other sort of blood flow precursor. Then use that as a cognitive pick-me-up or as a nature pick-me-up. I’ve used that during hunting, used it for hiking, used it for any type of nature experiences because it enhances your sensory perception, your sense of smell, your sense of sight, et cetera.
Kyle: [00:30:42] ______.
Ben: Yeah. It’s a very cool plant in that respect. Same thing for LSD. There are companies like the website, Lysergi, for example, that will something like P-LSD. So, just go online and get. And I’ll get like a blotter tab of that and dissolve a little bit of that with alcohol in a dropper bottle so I can dose very precisely, and just 10 to 20 micrograms of LSD for a day on which I’m doing a lot of writing because writing is typically for me a process of–when I’m banging out a blog post on, let’s say sleep, for example. For me, that’s a mix of creative and analytical work. It’s a merging of the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
So, for something like that, LSD works very well. I like that for writing, and that’s something I’ll use about once a week. I’m careful with any of these just because you do amplify dopamine and serotonin levels. And so, you could potentially exhaust your neurotransmitters or create like a neurotransmitter depletion or imbalance if you overdo this kind of stuff. But microdoses of LSD, microdoses of psilocybin.
Kyle: What do you find the main differences between the P-LSD? Because John Beers (ph), a buddy of ours, he was telling me about that website and some of the different things that they offer. It’s almost like the menu at the Cheesecake Factory, but there are too many [censored] things–
Ben: Yeah. [00:32:14] _____ and they have all these different DMT derivatives. They have all these different–they’re called lysergamides, any derivative of LSDs or lysergamide. I think for maybe a seasoned user of psychedelics, there would be a perceptible difference. I wouldn’t even consider myself a highly seasoned user of psychedelics. For me, I get a similar effect for like an ACO versus an MeO DMT or a P-LSD versus regular LSD or whatever.
So, I don’t notice that much of a difference. If you go to the Wiki NOT page for a lot of these psychedelics, they’ll list the differences between them. And a lot of times when you’re reading through these Wikis for each of them, it’s essentially the same thing. The only difference would be the symptom or the effect onset can sometimes differ in terms of the amount of time, 15 versus 30 versus 40 minutes, where the peak occurs, whether it’s two or three hours down the road, how fast it’s out of your system or what the half-life is.
Ben: But the effects aside from the time they take to kick in and how long they stay in the system are pretty similar from lysergamide to lysergamide. So, I don’t think there’s that big of a difference. And then a lot of the things that are easier to get your hands on or more within the bounds of legality I think are still really effective. For example, what’s one that I found recently that worked really well? Racetam. Like any of these racetam or piracetam or aniracetam type of compounds combined with methylene blue. That’s another very, very good pick-me-up, gives you good clean high for about five to six hours. Caffeine, nicotine stack, the old school writer stack. I mean, that works very well for a long day of writing. It’s easy to get your hands on a nicotine toothpick and stick that thing in your mouth and sip a cup of black coffee.
Kyle: Have you found much difference between the racetams? Because one thing I noticed was aniracetam can be better for anxiety and has a calming clean high oxiracetam, is very energetic and it can make people a little racy if they’re already prone to anxiety. You got to stack these with some form of alpha-GPC or some type of choline bitartrate, just anything that can help upregulate that. I loved–and it’s funny I didn’t even realize that I was stacking this before, but I used to stack methylene blue with oxiracetam and alpha-GPC. And that’s a hell of a stack.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And that’s a good point. You make a lot of these things. If you stack them with any acetylcholine precursor or have good scrambled eggs and walnuts beforehand for a more natural form of choline, you get less of a crash afterwards and you get less long-term choline depletion, if you’re using these types of things regularly. Another thing speaking of choline that’s a really good one-two combo, if you tend to be more sympathetically driven or have like a low HRV or vagus nerve issues, is huperzine mixed with acetylcholine because a lot of times, your acetylcholine levels tend to be depleted if you’re highly sympathetically driven, always in fight-and-flight mode. You have poor vagus nerve function or low HRV. And you can take, I believe–doesn’t alpha brain have huperzine?
Kyle: Alpha brain has alpha-GPC, huperzine, [00:35:37] ______.
Ben: Okay. Yes. You got both in there. Yeah. Using a blend of huperzine/acetylcholine is very, very good for vagal nerve function. And there are people, there’s, I recently discovered this, a link between acetylcholine depletion and gut function. Meaning that a lot of people who have constipation or IBS or lower GI issues, what happens is the ileocecal valve can get stuck in a closed position. And one of the things from a chemical standpoint that can open that back up and relax it is huperzine and acetylcholine.
So, you can actually use this as a strategy like in the morning when you first get up, like you have a bunch of huperzine and acetylcholine, have a cup of coffee, and that can a lot of times initiate a bowel movement in people who are constipated, especially if you blend that with the use of the Pso-Rite device that works on your psoas, or you use any type of vibrating massage tool over the ileocecal valve, you can have an amazing bowel movement in the morning. And I’ve used that with a couple of people who are constipated and works really well.
Kyle: We’ve had a lot of podcasts in the last few days. We had our buddy, Dr. Michael Ruscio on. We had Sharon from Bonafide Provisions on. They spoke a lot on gut health. I wanted to see what your thoughts were on–I didn’t really get into products, but obviously, you’re a supplement guy. What do you think of the product Restore and different things like that for really healing leaky gut syndrome, which seems to be an issue for quite a few people?
Ben: Yeah. So, Restore, Dr. Zach Bush’s product–
Kyle: You know, I have zero affiliation with these guys, so let me just [00:37:09] ______.
Ben: Soil-based extract of lignite that specifically seals the leaky gut based on its interaction with the zonulin protein in the gut, and it was specifically designed to mitigate the issues with leaky gut brought on by glyphosate exposure, because that’s one of the issues with glyphosate, that’s one of the reasons people will go to Europe and say that they’re able to eat more bread and pasta in Europe. And a big part of that is not because–there’s kind of this myth going around that the grains in the U.S. are bred for high-yield crop, and therefore, higher in gluten and it’s higher amounts of the wheat agglutinin or the gliadin proteins that are in the crops in the U.S. that caused people to be able to do just fine with grains and pasta and bread in Europe, but not be able to handle that in America.
That’s not true. The levels of gluten are pretty similar. The difference is that there’s more glyphosate in the crops in America. And so, what happens is the gluten is able to cross that gut-blood barrier more readily, and also contribute to the leaky gut issue more readily because the glyphosate is essentially poking little holes in the gut lining. And lignite or this active ingredient in the product Restore is supposed to mitigate those issues. I think it does. I’ve seen some of Dr. Bush’s data. I use it. I give it to my kids. My kids take a few different supplements, and that’s one of the ones that they take regularly, particularly if they’re eating grain-based or bread-based products.
And the other reason that I use it is because even though we grow all our own food, or the majority of our food, I hunt a lot of our meat, and we get our eggs from our chickens. I do have well water and we live below a bunch of farmer’s fields. And so, I’m concerned about glyphosate runoff in the well water. So, before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, my kids have a shot of Restore, and I do too. So, I am a fan of that stuff. I think that you could probably also do things like–or approximate the same type of activity with colostrum, which also acts on the zonulin protein, so you could use a colostrum powder or a colostrum capsule.
Kyle: Yeah. Dr. Thomas Cowan you’ve had on the show really is a big proponent of colostrum. When I lived in California, I used to be able to get like fresh colostrum from–it was raw colostrum from grass-fed, grass-finished cattle from a company called Organic Pastures. But most people in the country, and now that I’m here in Texas, you have very difficult time buying any type of raw dairy.
Ben: Yeah. And the breastfeeding mothers are going out of supply. They’re just getting exhausted from the demand for colostrum.
Kyle: There’s high demand.
Kyle: I mean, what are some of the ways that you’ve found like really good colostrum that’s actually beneficial? And maybe do take capsules, but going from having this really fresh raw organic source of colostrum to now have the bite in capsules just seemed a little off to me.
Ben: Yeah. We have goats, so we’re fine.
Ben: So, we have nine Nigerian Dwarf goats. I mean, there’s plenty of colostrum to go around. But before that, and this is the company I typically recommend to people, is there’s a little organic goat farm in Western Washington called Mt. Capra. There’s a really good bioavailable colostrum. It’s a smaller protein than what you get from a cow. So, it’s even better absorbed, and the same way that goat’s milk is better than cow’s milk just based on the protein thermodynamics. But they’re very small. They go in and out of stock, so it’s tough.
There’s another guy I interviewed who has a pretty good colostrum that I didn’t realize that the growth factors and some of like the lactoferrins or the protective compounds and colostrum become activated when they contact salivary amylase in the mouth. So, he does like a powder that you dissolve in your mouth and then swallow. His name is Niraj. I think it’s Niraj Naik. You could find my interview with him because we talked about colostrum for like an hour on my podcast, but he has his own–
Kyle: Send us the link. We’ll link to it for sure.
Ben: Yeah. He has his own brand as well. He calls himself the Renegade Pharmacist. And I don’t know where he’s getting his colostrum. That’s a bovine colostrum.
Ben: But yeah. Mt. Capra is the goat place, and then Renegade Pharmacist has colostrum or–if you want to go and buy a Nigerian Dwarf goat and milk its little teats. That’s an option as well. Yeah. But you’ve also got glutamine bone broth. There are some other ways to skin that cat. So, yeah. That is one of the few supplements my kids take though. I had them genetically tested. We tested a lot of their snips. We went through a company up in Canada that can test more snips than 23andMe.
Initially, the twins, I just wanted to find out whether they were identical, aside from one snip, which is the snip for aromatizing testosterone into estrogen. So, Terrans has got the man-boob gene. Aside from that, they’re completely identical. So, he can’t drink out of plastic bottles. But they have the gene that is responsible for slightly lower amounts of brain-derived neurotrophic factor production or BDNF production. So, I’ve educated them about the importance of things like, especially as they age, aerobic exercise, sun exposure. They drink a couple of lion’s mane tea before they go to school now because that’s really good for amplifying BDNF production.
Ben: They, like me, lack the gene that allows for efficient production of endogenous vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. So, they both take like a liquid vitamin D, vitamin K blend. And they also have the gene that is responsible for lower levels of superoxide dismutase or SOD production. They also take like a sublingual glutathione. So, they take glutathione, they take lion’s mane, they take vitamin D, and they take that Restore supplement. That’s their stack.
Kyle: That’s a good stack. And your boys are 11 now, 12?
Ben: Yeah, 11. Yup.
Kyle: Super good, brother. Well, one of the last things that I wanted to chat with you about now that I’ve got you here, we’re in a small men’s group that you organized for dads raising boys, and the importance of which it can’t be overstated. Look around in our modern society and everything going on. And really just it’s not something that happened overnight, but we’re in a spot now where I think we’re at a critical point in our history for how we raise our boys. And I wanted to ask you and kind of pick your brain on what are some of the different ways you’re looking at rites of passage and the things to make our boys turn into men and to allow them to foster into the best possible human beings they can be.
Ben: Right. An actual marking or recognition of the passage into manhood, the passage into responsibility, the fact that a woman, when she goes through her period, has a distinct passage into womanhood, and that’s her mark. And when we look at a lot of indigenous societies or hunter-gatherer societies, we see everything from getting hooks pierced through the skin and hung from the ceiling and twirl around and beaten with sticks and dropped and then sent out to–as this was one of the Native American ones, you only need to attach Buffalo skulls to the chains that are hooked through the skin and they got to drag those through the fields for three days and finally get them ripped out or wait until the flesh rots out. And they come back and they get their–if they want to become a warrior, they get their pinkie cut off. Or if they want to prove themselves truly brave, they get their index finger cut off, and then boom, they’re men. So, far, my boys aren’t that interested in that rite of passage.
Kyle: They’re not doing the bullet.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Another one is–I forget the–I think it’s an Amazonian culture where you just stick your hand in like this glove that’s full of fire ants and they just eat away your hand and you got to leave that thing on for–I don’t know how long.
Kyle: And you can’t wince. If you wince, then you’re [00:45:19] ______.
Ben: Yeah. You got to keep the straight face. You can’t be warrior, otherwise.
Kyle: Poker face.
Ben: Yeah. And then we also see just this idea of silence, solitude, meditation, something very similar to just like Jesus Christ going off and fasting for 40 days in the desert and the wilderness. Maybe that was in a certain way like a rite of passage for him. And now, there are many people, especially in our health and fitness circle, kind of tapping into this idea of when your boy is 12 or 13 or 14 or 15 years old, taking them and training them, leading up to this time to actually have the wilderness survival skills to be able to go alone by yourself into a forest or into a desert or into a jungle, anywhere from seven to ten days being left just with yourself, a wool blanket, a backpack, maybe a knife or a bow and drill for making fire, and you survive on your own, in complete isolation, just learning how to find your own independence, how to survive for yourself, how to go through hardship, how to go through difficulty.
And then when you come out the other end of that, typically, there’s some form of a ceremony. Sometimes it’s a plant-based ceremony with ayahuasca or psilocybin or marijuana or that young man’s first exposure to the responsible use of plant medicine, which of course is important because that’s also accompanied by ego dissolution. And so, that passage into manhood is marked by that, and there’s kind of a cutting of the cord, this idea that after that point, the young man is expected to find a way to help chip in to support the household, to pay for their own food, or to get their first job that allows them to begin to save up for college, or in some way, actually translate that responsibility that they’ve attained through their rite of passage into brick-and-mortar, boots-on-the-ground, actually providing for themselves or helping to provide for the family.
And I think that something like that is feasible versus fire ants and getting hooks pierced through the skin for a lot of young men, if their parents are able to organize something like that for them. And so, in our case, our kids have been doing Tim Corcoran’s, who’s been on your podcast before, his wilderness survival camp each summer. And typically, they’ll do some of his overnights during the winter to begin to give them the skills necessary for the rite of passage that they’ll do when they’re 13 or 14 years old. And I’m personally helping them out with a lot of these things, too.
Like we have the Spokane survival school dropping our whole family off in the wilderness next month for seven days; mom, me, the boys, backpacks, wool blankets. That’s it. We just survived as a family for a week. They’re taking their first animal tracking and butchering course in September. They’re doing their first bow hunt for wild pigs in two weeks. So, I’m trying to get them to the point where–probably, that initial rite of passage where they’re just seven to ten days off by themselves in the wilderness is going to be something that they’re able to handle. So, you got to go into these things responsibly. [00:48:38] _____ school and drop them off in the forest.
But yeah, having the idea as you’re raising a young man that at some point in their life they’re going to embark upon that rite of passage and you’re going to recognize their transition into manhood is important. And if you’re already a man and you never had a rite of passage, like I didn’t, there are organizations that–there’s like Kokoro SEALFit, or maybe for you, it’s going to be like training for and completing your first Ironman triathlon or going out to the Boulder Survival School and doing their two-week hunter-gatherer course where they leave you out in the middle of desert and you got to eventually hike back into Boulder after surviving out there in the desert.
There’s a lot of ways to approximate that rite of passage even if you’re an adult. And I know that again, the Twin Eagles wilderness school up by me, they do these rites of passage for adults, too. Even if you’re an adult already, I think it’s important, if you never went through a rite of passage, to put yourself through something like that to where you can say, “Okay. I’ve gone through and I’ve learned what it really means to be a man and to be able to just survive with my own two hands and not be dependent on anybody.”
Kyle: Yeah. Absolutely massive. Dude, you crushed it again. It’s been excellent having you on. I’ll have you on every time I see you, just like Paul Chek.
Kyle: I love you, brother. Thanks for being here.
Ben: Love you, too. Thanks for the peanut butter and jelly.
Kyle: Yeah, you got it.
Ben: Well, thanks for listening to today’s show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I’ve ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
Recently, I had the chance to sit down at Onnit with my friend and the host of the Human Optimization Hour podcast, Kyle Kingsbury. During our discussion, we delve into a host of topics including the latest and greatest on smart drugs, nootropics, and psychedelic micro-dosing, deep sleep enhancement, rites of passage and much more!
In my conversation with Kyle, you’ll discover:
-What Ben does to optimize his sleep…6:42
-Optimizing psychedelics for performance…24:37
- Ketamine (recalling previous traumatic experiences)
- Intranasal ketamine
- Ben’s wife had difficulty with learning
- Ben can recall his childhood in vivid detail; connects with his boys
- Microdose psilocybin
- Ben doesn’t like to lose control of his cognitive function
- Use during nature experiences: hiking, hunting, etc.
- Amplifies dopamine levels (beware of overdosing)
- If legality is an issue:
-Ben’s thoughts on the efficacy of Restore for healing leaky gut…37:00
- Seals leaky gut based on its interaction with the zonulin protein
- Mitigates issues brought on by glyphosate exposure
- Ben and his family use it regularly
-Ben’s preferred sources for colostrum…40:20
-Rites of passage and thoughts on how we’re raising our boys in modern American culture…44:00
-And much more…
Resources mentioned in the episode:
–Spartan World Championships VIP Sep. 26-29 in North Lake Tahoe, CA
–Chili Pad (use code: BEN25 for a discount)
–JOOVV light (use code: BEN for a free gift at checkout)
–VieLight (use code: GREENFIELD for 10% off)
–Body balance mat
–Mind Fold Mask
–Pzizz Sleep app
–Side sleeping earbuds
–Mt. Capra Colostrum
-Podcast: BGF interview with Niraj Naik, The Renegade Pharmacist
-Podcast: BGF interview with Tim Corcoran of Vision Quest
–Northwest Survival School located in Spokane, WA
–Kion: My personal playground for new supplement formulations. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners receive a 10% discount off their entire order by using discount code: BGF10.
–Organifi Red Juice: Enjoy all the benefits of the 11 superfoods and their micronutrients that help increase resting metabolism, support cardiovascular health, and remove toxins to turn back the hands of time! Receive a 20% discount on your entire order when you use discount code: BENG20.
–FitVine Wine: Don’t let the word “less” fool you. FitVine wines offer rich flavor profiles and the alcohol content (13.4 – 13.9% alcohol) you’d expect from a fine wine. Use discount code: GREENFIELD10 for 10% off your order.