[00:00:53] Podcast Sponsors
[00:03:18] Guest Introduction
[00:07:25] How The Godfather Of Ozone Research And Medicine Got John Keen On Melatonin
[00:12:14] Melatonin: The “Hormone Of Darkness”
[00:18:31] How Melatonin Supplementation Affects Endogenous Melatonin Production
[00:25:21] Effectivity of Melatonin on Sleep When Taken in Large Doses
[00:28:36] Podcast Sponsors
[00:31:14] cont. Effectivity of Melatonin on Sleep When Taken in Large Doses
[00:33:47] Effects Of Melatonin On The Mitochondria
[00:37:00] The Effects Of Melatonin On Cardiovascular And/or Heart Disease
[00:42:00] The Impact Of Melatonin On The Immune System, Particularly Killer Cells
[00:48:10] How To Hack The Circadian Rhythm With High-Dose Melatonin Supplementation
[00:50:21] Anti-Aging Uses Of Melatonin
[00:52:32] Other Compounds That Stack Well With Melatonin
[00:59:51] Ben's Plant Medicine Cleanse Protocol
[01:02:27] How To Do A Suppository
[01:05:59] Closing the Podcast
[01:07:35] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
John: There's a negative feedback loop. You take testosterone, it's going to shut down your own production. Melatonin doesn't have that negative feedback loop. I had a bunch of cars that were old, and I were to go out into that city and change the cars so that they were more efficient. The pollution would be better. And, that's ultimately what I think a lot of the listeners want to produce less pollution. Melatonin could be used with just about anybody looking to maximize their performance, and that's really what melatonin can offer you.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Alright, folks, here we go. Buckle up. It's my crazy doctor friend, John Lieurance, I got in the show today. He blew your mind on the last episode, and this one promises to be just as good. So, I hope you enjoy. This podcast is brought to you by Kion, my playground for all things health and wellness. It's a company that I essentially created to scratch my own itch, to blend ancient wisdom with modern science, to create these pure, efficacious shotgun formulations of supplements and functional foods. Every single one of our products is research-backed, real-world-tested, designed to empower you to live this long, adventurous, joyful, fulfilling life. We are committed to hunting down the best stuff on the face of the planet, and then putting that together in environmentally friendly packaging. And, if we're talking about the coffee or our clean energy bar, superior taste, and then shipping to your front door. So, I'm going to give you 20% discount on everything. Amazing products, articles, e-books, you name it, everything over Kion. 20% off, go to GetKion.com/BenGreenfield. That's Get-K-I-O-N.com/BenGreenfield.
This podcast is also brought to you by my friends at Organifi. And, at Organifi, they have this Red Juice. And, I've actually gotten on a little bit of a different smoothie kick for a while. I was doing more savory smoothies in the morning. Well, not savory, but I guess, chocolatey-nutty, like bone broth and cacao powder and, sometimes, a little bit of macadamia nut butter, pumpkin seed butter, and a little bit of avocado and some sea salt and some stevia. Lately, I've actually been trying out a handful of just good old wild blueberries in a scoop of this Organifi Red. And, again, I'll use some of the superfoods, like kefir, bone broth to mix it up in, and sea salt, and I always top it with cacao nibs and bee pollen and all sorts of fun stuff.
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And, let's go talk to John.
Alright, folks, as promised, the brilliant, slightly crazy, super fringe, Dr. John Lieurance, is back on my show today. John is, unfortunately, not out with me in my guesthouse post-sauna and cold pool amped up on fringe butt suppositories and nasal sprays, like he was the last time that we recorded. We're instead connecting via Skype, but I had to get John back on because he's just putting the finishing touches on his book. The book is about melatonin, and that may sound a yawner for you, pun intended, because you might just consider melatonin to be like this thing that you may or may not take before sleep. But, holy cow, he knows melatonin backwards and forwards. You guys may have heard me talk about how I have completely reset my circadian rhythm using this high-dose melatonin suppository and this liposomal melatonin that John developed. And, it's doing a lot more than just regulating sleep, and we're going to delve into that in today's podcast.
If you missed my first podcast with John, it was called “The Crazy Future Of Medical Biohacking: Skull Resets, Suppositories, Nasal Sprays, Nebulizers, Sound Therapy and More,” and you should go back and listen to that, too, because we get a ton into John's backstory and delve into Amazonian herbal rape nasal spray, which I still used, by the way, to nebulizing glutathione for viral issues to NAD suppositories, instead of getting NAD IVs, which also works really well, and a lot more. So, that original episode, and then all the shownotes for today's episode, I will link to at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/MelatoninMiracle. BenGreenfieldFitness.com/MelatoninMiracle.
Then, just real quick, if you don't know who John is, he operates down in Florida. He's basically got a private practice down there in — It's Sarasota, right, John?
John: Yeah, Sarasota.
Ben: So, he's a naturopathic physician. He's a chiropractic neurologist. He spent most of his career, focusing on things like balance disorders and tinnitus and hearing loss and degenerative neurological disorders, like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as a lot of these stealth co-infections like chronic Lyme and chronic inflammatory response syndrome and mold illness because he's had Lyme himself. And, we got into all that on the first episode, which you got to go listen to. But, he also just develops these crazy, crazy products. And, I'm constantly sending people to your website to check out your new stuff, John, because it's fringe. It's out there. Honestly, I don't know how you get away with selling this stuff online, but you somehow do it so.
John: Well, it's been a selfish endeavor, because a lot of the products are things I wanted to use myself. And, it's allowed me to reach out and work with patients all over the world, really, because we're able to create products that are almost as effective as if you were to do an IV or an injection where you're able to circumvent the oral route with suppositories and the liposomals.
Ben: I was on the phone with somebody yesterday. They're like, “I got to go in and get my super uncomfortable NAD IV and sit there and cringe as the IV gets in there.” So, I'm like, “Why don't you just put NAD up your butt and let it slow-bleed into your system for eight hours like I do now while I'm asleep, and it's a lot easier.” Anyways, though, we're not here to talk about NAD in your asshole. We're here to talk about melatonin. So, anyways. But, for those of you who want to go visit John at his clinic or if you lived near Florida or you want to make a medical biohacking trip, medical tourism, so to speak, in the US, I'll link to John's site, as well as all John's products, in the shownotes.
So, John, this whole deal with melatonin, I'm aware of Dr. Frank Shallenberger because I really, really got super interested in ozone when COVID hit, and I bought a fancy ozone generator and started doing ozone water, and I've had my wife do, because she's had UTIs in the past, and she's going to love me saying this on the show, but I've had her do vaginal ozone insufflation. And, I've done ozone through olive oil for things like upper respiratory tract infections. And, really dig ozone and found Dr. Frank Shallenberger, who, arguably, was the guy who pioneered the use of ozone in functional medicine. But, I didn't realize that, A, you did an internship with him, and B, that he utilized melatonin in a way that influenced you. So, can you tell that story?
John: Yeah. Well, before I did my internship with Frank Shallenberger, I was at a brain rejuvenation conference, and I was sitting next to a doctor that was watching the presentation with me. And, a presenter came on and started talking about these super physiological doses of melatonin and how neuroprotective it was, and he was seeing a lot of benefit in the clinic. And, the guy sitting next to me reached over and he said, “I've been doing this in my clinic and it's been one of the best clinical pearls I've learned in a long time.”
So, that got my attention, so when I went to see Shallenberger to do my internship with him, I actually slipped into his schedule to have him take a look at me. I was post-Lyme. I was having a lot of neurological symptoms, like word-finding and my memory. And, I just felt like I wasn't performing at what I should be. And so, he suggested I start taking 200 milligrams of melatonin, not just at night, but if I could tolerate it, which he said 20% of the population can, which I've come to find is about accurate, that when you take it during the day, you don't get sleepy if you have light exposure to the eyes.
Ben: And, just to interrupt real quick, just when we're throwing around dosages, super quick for the people who may not be familiar with melatonin dosages, typically, most supplements, most recommendations, if there are recommendations for people to take melatonin, say at night before sleep, it's usually anywhere from 0.3 to 3 milligrams, a high dose in many cases, up until Dr. John is hitting the scene, it was 10. So, what Frank was talking to you about was 200. So, we're talking about, literally, hundreds of times more than a lot of times what you'll see recommended.
John: Right, it's a shockingly high dose of melatonin. And, for whatever reason, there's been some false information put out into the medical community about some dangers about melatonin. So, we should probably nip that in the butt right away.
Ben: Why don't you finish telling the story about Shallenberger, and then let's get into some of the rumors about melatonin after that.
John: I tried the protocol. It worked for me. And, I had been doing and formulating some different products through MitoZen.com, and we added that to the Sandman, which is our 250-milligram suppository, to our product line. And then, we started to use those with our patients here clinically. And, a lot of the doctors that I work with started using it with their patients, and we've just seen some very promising results with using these really high doses of melatonin. So, you call that super physiological dosing of melatonin. That's the official medical terminology for it.
Ben: Super physiological. So, when you're talking about a super physiological dose, and you mentioned that Frank had been using that for cancer, and then you used it for TBI, why is that term used, “super-physiological?” What does that mean, exactly?
John: Well, because the amount of melatonin that the pineal secretes is really a tiny amount. And so, when you start to take melatonin at these really high doses, it's higher than what the body produces naturally, so way higher than the endogenous production that's made in the body. So, we use it for sleep, but there's so many more benefits, which we're going to dive into in this podcast, with melatonin that we're using it for our patients for.
Ben: So, I think what I want to do, before we dive into what's going on with these higher doses, is back up just a little bit and explain melatonin, because we have time. When it comes to melatonin, and you have a really good section in your new book, which I don't even know if I mentioned yet. It's called the “Melatonin Miracle.” It's fantastic. I got my hands on a beta copy and have all sorts of pages folded over in it. But, you referenced melatonin as the way it's commonly referenced, the so-called “hormone of darkness,” and then you describe why it is that it's so important. So, what exactly is melatonin, from a hormonal standpoint? What are the important things that people should know about? Where it's secreted, and what it's doing?
John: If you look at melatonin, it's a primary protector from stress. And so, if we were to compare it to something, I would like to compare it to the electromagnetic field around the Earth. And so, that's an internal produced field that extends outside of the earth and it's protecting us from the ultraviolet rays that would normally kill life on the planet. So, in the same way, every cell in your body actually produces melatonin. And, not just in the cell, but in the part of the cell that actually makes your energy, which is called the mitochondria. And, these mitochondria produce melatonin in response to stress.
So, one of the things I thought was really interesting is, if you go back in the earliest days of research with melatonin, the researchers initially didn't see any benefit to giving melatonin. They were giving it to animal models.
Ben: Any benefit for sleep, you mean?
John: For anything. Yeah, they were just looking, in general, to see if there was any difference in lifespan and disease production. And, I'm not sure if they even really looked at sleep, in particular. I think it was just general health. So, they were like, “Well, melatonin doesn't seem to be a really important substance.” But then, they changed the study around a little bit, where they took the group of mice and they put them in these round tubes, and they poked little holes in the tube so the mice would have to be in this dark little tube. This is one of the ways that they mimic stress. So, for a certain amount of time each day, they'll put them in these tubes. And, you can imagine how stressful that would be if they shoved you in a tube with little pinholes, right?
John: They took the mice, and then they had the two groups both being subjected to the stress. And, the one that was given the melatonin lived longer and didn't develop a lot of the diseases associated with that chronic stress that the mice that didn't get the melatonin. So, that's when the research really started to open up, and they started to notice that there was a lot of benefits to melatonin.
Ben: Now, the interesting thing that I think about melatonin, and this is possibly a little bit of rabbit hole, is I used to do bodybuilding, and in the bodybuilding industry what they realized after deciding they want an alternative to spray-on tans and fake tanning lotion or a copious amount of time spent in tanning beds with something that could allow for melanin production and the darkening of the skin. And so, a lot of bodybuilders started using this peptide called melanotan, which you inject. And, t works as advertised. I tried it for a few days. This was a couple of years back. And, my skin started to darken and get this nice tan almost right away.
But, one of the side effects, and this is actually quite common side effect in many men who take it, is, essentially, the equivalent of almost a priapism, an erection that won't go away. And so, I was laying in bed at night with a massive hard-on, that you'd think most guys wouldn't complain about. But, we're talking about distracting for five or six hours, so I couldn't sleep. And so, for me, that sleep disruption due to a lot of stuff going on in my crotch wasn't worth the trade-off for a tan. But, I tell that story because, from what I understand, melatonin regulates melanin aggregation, and a little bit of that pigmentation response, because I think it was in frogs, they found that when you extract this hormone that they had found in the pineal gland, it modified melanin pigmentation in frogs by reducing melanin aggregation.
And, I also think that's interesting because I think it was Dr. Jack Kruse, who I heard this first from, that you see some melanin production downregulation if you're out in the sun and you wear sunglasses because one of the triggers for melanin to be produced to actually protect you from the sun is a trigger that's produced when photons of light hit your retina. And so, if you're wearing sunglasses outside on a bright sunny day, you're actually more likely to burn and less likely to tan, and also less likely to harness appreciable amounts of vitamin D from sunlight if you're wearing sunglasses. So, that's one of the reasons, folks, you rarely see me sporting sunglasses outdoors unless I'm snowboarding or trying to protect myself from sun blindness, like desert or something like that.
John: Yeah, I do the same thing. We get into quite a bit of depth on that in one of the chapters in the book where we talk about skin. So, I don't like to wear sunglasses, either, unless I have to. But, it's definitely interesting how you'll tan instead of burn when you avoid sunglasses. And, a lot of people don't know that.
Ben: Yeah, and that's the whole idea behind the pineal gland. It secretes melatonin in the presence of darkness, which is why, as many of my listeners already know and are well-aware, bright light exposure at night reduces that melatonin production. Adequate amounts of natural light during the daytime can enhance the activity of the pineal gland later on at night. But, this whole idea of the pineal gland producing melatonin, especially, yoked to light and also yoked to serotonin, which is why I think a higher carbohydrate meal or adequate carbohydrates in the evening can assist with sleep, dictates what I would ask you for my next question, and that is this. If the pineal gland is producing melatonin and we begin to supplement with that same hormone, essentially, either liposomally, using something like your Sandman product or via suppository like the Sandman suppository, what's that going to do to endogenous production? That's the million-dollar question I get over and over again, is, “I'm going to shut down my own melatonin production if I it.” So, give me the lowdown on that.
John: Yeah. So, that's how most hormones work. There's a negative feedback loop. For instance, if you take testosterone, it's going to shut down your own production. So, what's really interesting is that melatonin doesn't have that negative feedback loop. So, I'll give you an example. I did an experiment on myself. I don't think I've shared this with you yet, but I discontinued the experiment about a month ago, but for three months, I was doing 800 milligrams of melatonin per night.
Ben: Well, were you doing that via suppository or via liposomal?
John: So, I was doing both, both at the same time.
Ben: In both ends.
John: I think you've experimented with as well.
Ben: I don't think I've ever used your liposomal at the same time as I've used the suppository. I've always just used one or the other. Anyways, back to your story. Using 800?
John: Yeah. So, the first time I did that, it was quite a strong effect, as far as becoming groggy and going to sleep. And, I slept really, really hard. But, when I started that, I thought I got COVID, so I started to get sick. And then, a close friend of mine that I had close contact with tested positive. So, I started to get a little bit of runny nose, and I was like, “I got COVID.” So, that night, I took that massive dose. And then, the next night, I took it. And, I just kept that going, and I adapted to that high dose, and then I completely stopped taking any melatonin at all for a couple of weeks. And, I really felt like it didn't really interfere with my sleep rhythms, and my Oura ring scores were still fairly good. Obviously, I think they were a little bit better with the higher dose. So, I personally experimented with feeling the effects.
So, your melatonin is going to build based on sunlight hitting the retina. And so, when you when you take exogenous melatonin, you're still going to release the same amount that you're storing, amount that's related to the sunlight that you get that day. And, it just doesn't change. There's just not that negative feedback.
Ben: I get it. Well, not only do I get a decent amount of sunlight now that spring is approaching at the time that we're recording this, but even in the winter, which is when I first began experimenting with the high-dose melatonin you were sending me. In the morning, I blast myself with a ton of technology that simulates the sunlight I'm not able to get in the winter, especially living on a north-facing slope out here in Washington state. So, I've got one of those daytime blue-light boxes on my office desk. And then, I've also got these glasses called the Re-Timers that produce blue light, and then those in-ear human charges.
That sounds like a lot, but I'm basically bombarding myself with at least three different sources of bright technology-based light during the daytime. And so, that may also have been why I saw such a good response to this protocol, but I call it the melatonin sledgehammer because I was having some pretty serious sleep issues after some travel, it would have been winter of 2020. And so I started into that higher-dose melatonin protocol and was bouncing back and forth. Some days, I'd use the liposomal. Some days, I'd use your suppository. And, I was, generally, for about 30 days in a row, I did about 300 to 400 milligrams of melatonin every single night. And, I went from multiple nighttime awakenings, early morning awakenings, not being able to go back to bed, daytime sleepiness due to poor sleep cycles. And, it's almost like it reset everything.
And then, actually, I quit cold turkey, because what happened was, after my sleep was all normalized, I went on a trip with my wife for about a week and I thought, “Well, this is perfect chance for me to just not take any melatonin with me and just force myself to reset and see what happens.” And, it was like my body had learned to sleep based on that higher-dose melatonin protocol. And, when I cut out the melatonin, my sleep cycle remained really stable. And so, even now, it's probably one or two times a week when I have a late-night event where I'm under bright lights, or I've been traveling and have arrived back home that I'll use that melatonin sledgehammer type of approach, similar to how one would use a vitamin D sledgehammer if they're first getting the onset of cold or flu, doing a 20,000 to 50,000, like an intramuscular injection of vitamin D, that type of thing, a similar approach with melatonin. But, I experienced none of the actual indicators that would indicate to me that melatonin production had been downregulated. If anything, it seemed to stabilize my sleep score after going 30 days without skipping a beat going high-dose.
John: Have you looked at your heart rate variability when you're taking the high doses?
Ben: It doesn't seem to really change much, aside from the fact that, whenever I get better sleep, my heart rate variability improves. And so, if it's a good night of sleep, whether or not I'm using melatonin for sleep, I see an increase in heart rate variability. But, I'm not convinced that's due to the melatonin. Although, you might have a different thought versus just better sleep in general.
John: Well, the way I look at heart rate variability is it's really how well we're dealing with stress. And, oftentimes, it's too strong of a sympathetic nervous system, the sympathetic fight-or-flight nervous system is more predominant, and there's not that yin and yang between the two sides of the autonomics. And so, melatonin has actually been shown to really strengthen the autonomic nervous system, and particularly, the parasympathetic nervous system. And so, I've actually seen some dramatic improvements with heart rate variability with both myself and also some of my patients.
Ben: Interesting, cool. Alright, so basically, in terms of endogenous production, would you say, then, that that is not a concern for people if they're supplementing with melatonin?
John: Not a concern, yeah. According to the literature, that's not a concern.
Ben: So, a couple of questions regarding dosing. You actually say in your book that melatonin may not even be effective unless taken at high doses. What's the reason behind saying that a small dose doesn't work?
John: Well, if somebody is taking it for sleep and they're under the age of 40, a couple of things I would point out is, the research says that you should possibly take it even three or four hours before your bedtime to be more effective, but we're not talking about taking melatonin just for sleep. And, I think back to your story about traveling and resetting the circadian rhythm, there's so many melatonin receptors. There's the G protein compound melatonin receptors, which there's an MT1, an MT2, and an MT3. And, the MT1 and 2 are mostly with the nervous system in the brain.
So, basically, we've got all these melatonin receptors throughout our bodies and ourselves, so when we start to provide these signaling with melatonin, we're retraining, not just the sleep-wake cycle, but there's so many different other systems in our body that also have — they're connected to this circadian rhythm. One example is that your microbiome also takes the signaling from melatonin release. And, in fact, the melatonin is 400 times higher in the gut than it is in the brain, so it's a lot more higher. And so, sometimes when you get into these higher doses, you might be looking at some of the benefits through the gut, and the microbiome actually takes — There's something called microbiome swarming. And, the primary activator of microbiome swarming is, actually, deep sleep and melatonin release. So, this is where your good bacteria literally go into a phase of growth and proliferation. And, one of the interesting things I found in the literature with melatonin supplementations for a lot of gut diseases is that they actually found that there's a suppression of the bad bacteria and a support to the good bacteria.
Ben: That's interesting. So, melatonin is actually having an impact on the microbiome as well.
John: Big time, yeah. And, that's why we created the Mito phase fasting protocol. We wrote an article. We published it. It's a month ago.
Ben: There's a big article on my website about this whole idea of enhancing autophagy and using this fasting high-dose NAD protocol that you developed. And., melatonin is a part of that as well, right?
John: Right. So, yeah, the Mito Fast, after the fast — So, when you're fasting, it's a hormetic stress to the microbiome. Your body is basically robbing the microbiome of nutrients, so it's survival of the fittest. You get rid of the weak. And then, when you start to refeed, you're going to re-populate. And so, what we're having people do is do high-dose melatonin in that refeeding phase to support the microbiome swarming, and also to prevent some of the bad guys from repopulating.
Ben: Hey, I want to interrupt today's show to tell you about Butcher Box. Butcher Box I actually prepared my wife because we play Scrabble every Monday night. While the boys are at youth group, my wife and I have Scrabble night. And, usually, I make her a fish or meat. So, last night, I took a bunch of the Butcher Box wild-caught salmon and very, very simple recipe. I put it skin side up. I basically brushed the skin with ghee and then olive oil, on top of that, salt and pepper, lined the roasting pan with thin-sliced beets, and then broiled for 8 minutes. Voila, crispy skin salmon and beets. We had that with little fennel salad. It was wonderful.
But, that was from Butcher Box, that salmon. And, Butcher Box, they ship 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, wild-caught seafood. We got a freezer full of stuff that's amazing. And then, they make it easy and they cut out the middleman, and you save money, and they shop around to make sure that they're taking care of the farmers and using really, really good sources. So, everything is shipped frozen for freshness, packed in these eco-friendly, 100% recyclable boxes. And, they're going to give you 3 pounds of chicken breasts, 2 pounds of porkchops, and 2 pounds of ground beef all for free in your first box. That's a ton of meat. Your first box, go to ButcherBox.com/Ben. They call it the Essentials Bundle. ButcherBox.com/Ben.
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So, basically, this idea of it not shutting down endogenous production and also higher-dose administration being more beneficial than lower-dose administration, I think there's a couple of things that I learned from your book that I wanted to make sure I mentioned to folks. You do mention some research that shows those smaller doses taken farther away from bedtime than most people, I think, take melatonin two to four hours before bedtime, that does seem to be effective at reducing sleep latency or the amount of time that it takes to fall asleep. So, there are some benefits to the smaller dose. You will fall asleep faster.
But, when you're talking about the actual anti-inflammatory effects, cellular autophagy, the effects on the biome, and some of the other anti-inflammatory and other benefits that, I think, we'll also be touching on even more as we move forward here, the peak blood time or the peak plasma levels, I think, is what you call them in the book, declined pretty rapidly in response to that low-dose administration. But, then, the peak plasma levels stay elevated for an extended period of time during the entire night when you've got something like a melatonin suppository. It's the same thing with your NAD suppository. A lot of times, I'll do the NAD and the melatonin suppository at the same time. So, I'm basically getting this slow bleed, so to speak, of melatonin and NAD into my system the entire night.
And, again, at first, I was a little bit concerned about the dosage levels, but you've got several studies in the book where you talk about daily oral doses of 30 to 60 milligrams of melatonin being well-tolerated and having virtually no side effects. There's one clinical trial you talk about where people are getting daily 300-milligram melatonin suppositories with no clinical complications. Another one where there was 60 milligrams of intravenous melatonin and no issues. And so, it seems to actually be, if anything, not only safe but also beneficial. And so, I think that the lower dose does have some benefit, but again, it's farther away from bedtime that most people are taking it, and the benefit is primarily that reduction in sleep latency.
John: Yeah, exactly. So, when I start talking to people about these higher doses of melatonin, I try to get them to think about other benefits that melatonin has besides sleep.
Ben: And, that's what I want to get into, man. And so, the first thing that intrigued me that you've briefly touched on, but I'd love to hear you unpack just a little bit more, is the effects of melatonin on the mitochondria. So, what's going on from mitochondria level with melatonin?
John: Great question and this is really at the core of how melatonin works. And so, what happens is there's a number of different stressors. There's, chemical, mental, emotional, physical, electromagnetic. There's infections. These are the primary stressors that we have to deal with. And then, we have hormesis, which is our ability to respond to stresses. And, if the dosage is just right, we have a response of the body where we could even come back stronger. So, we have the mitochondria really being at the core of our ability to handle stress.
So, for instance, if we overtrain, it's because we exceeded our mitochondria's ability to handle that stress. Or, very often, cancers, they're looking at cancer as a core mitochondrial problem. Even COVID. So, if we look at COVID, when that gets to the point where it's a critical situation, the immune system shuts down and there's something called a cytokine storm that results in acute respiratory distress syndrome. And, that is a mitochondrial problem. And so, what results from these stresses is something called cytokines. And, these cytokines are, basically, inflammation at the cellular level.
And, when a cytokine approaches the cell, what happens is the cell is absorbing glucose into the cell, and then it converts it into pyruvate. And so, then the pyruvate is shuffled into the mitochondria, and it's converted into something called Acetyl-CoA. But, if there's cytokines, what happens is that pyruvate is taken out of the mitochondria and put into the cytosol, and there's an enzyme that blocks where we can use pyruvate efficiently. And, the cytokine causes this shift where we can only make 10% of the energy that we would otherwise make. And so, this is the reason that we have this cytokines storm with, say, COVID, is because we shift to this inefficient energy production that's called aerobic glycolysis, or they called the Warburg Effect. And, if people want to dive into this, they can look at Otto Warburg's work with cancer and the mitochondria. But, for our sake, I think it's important to understand that inflammation, which is the result of all of the stresses, shuts down our ability to make energy. And, it literally cuts it by 9 out of 10. So, you got 10% of the energy that you could otherwise make. And so, for somebody with COVID, all of a sudden, their immune cells have no energy, and then it just gets out of control. So, at the core level, melatonin is actually produced by the mitochondria to buffer this entire system to quench that enzyme so that you can, then, start continuing to make energy.
Ben: I think that's also important for people who are concerned about heart health as well because we know that sympathetic nervous system stress, and I have a big podcast coming out on heart health soon, it is one of the contributors, too, potential for heart disease. But, that stress, whether brought on by environmental or by emotional variables, does result in some amount of the inflammation that shifts even the heart into some element of glycolysis and lactic acid production. And, that can actually lead to both calcification as well as influencing the electrical activity of the pacemaker cells in the heart. And so, that's actually one of the reasons that the body has some pretty cool mechanisms to keep the heart to shuttle fats to cardiac tissue so that cardiac tissue gets first dibs on fats because the heart runs so well on ketones and on fatty acids, along with the diaphragm and the liver being a couple other organs where that occurs.
But, essentially, I would love to see, just based on this little thought that I'm having, and I don't know if any studies exist on this, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, John, what the effect of melatonin supplementation on cardiovascular disease risk, or cardiovascular, say, heart attack recovery would be in response to higher-dose melatonin.
John: Well, I have a whole chapter on that. There's actually a lot of research that's been done on that. So, the brain and the heart are the two metabolically demanding organs in your body. So, those tissues are working very hard. They need a lot of continuous energy. And so, when you start to have a breakdown in mitochondrial function– You have to look at the mitochondria in a couple of ways. One is, is it efficiently making energy? In other words, we talked about efficiency, meaning that it's like if you were to have, say, a log and you throw that log on the fire, and one log might burn for 10 hours, the other log might burn for an hour. So, we're talking about having logs that can only burn an hour, and that's what's happening at the cellular level when there's too much stressors.
So, circling back to that, we have the situation where the heart is so metabolically demanding and you start to shut down the ability to produce lots of energy. But, then, you have the inefficient production of energy, meaning that it's going to make energy and it's going to spew a lot of oxidation. It would be like an old car that's producing a lot of pollution. If I had a city and I had a bunch of cars that were old and I were to go out into that city and change the cars so that they were more efficient, maybe, instead of gas, they were burning electric. And so, the city, the pollution would be better. It would use less energy. It would be more efficient. And, that's ultimately what I think we want, and a lot of the listeners want their bodies to be more efficient, produce less pollution. And, that's really what melatonin can offer you because it supports the mitochondria, which is at the core of making energy.
Ben: And, I think that, when we look at the heart, particularly, there are some other variables that influence the propensity for beta-oxidation or burning of ketones to be limited, particularly, things like the nature of the water within the cytoplasm of cardiac cells, particularly, whether or not that water is structured in the cytoplasm. Another one would be how much exposure to photonic light has occurred, which allows for the mitochondria in cardiac tissue and beyond to actually work properly. And so, there's a variety of factors here, but low inflammation, low stress, adequate exposure to, particularly, infrared light spectrum, and adequate hydration, particularly, mineral intake, are all things that play into that variable in terms of, not only cardiac cell efficiency, but overall mitochondrial efficiency of the entire body. And, it seems as though melatonin is pushing that along quite beautifully.
John: Yeah, well, the other thing is the autonomics, having strong autonomic nervous system. And, if they have an over-dominant parasympathetic, you start going out there and you start exercising, everybody's felt that over-adrenalized feeling and the athletic performance declines with that. So, think about this. You get a really deep restful sleep, the body is basically repairing itself, and you're supporting your parasympathetic nervous system. These are all just little glimpses of all of the things that melatonin can do for someone who's an athlete or someone that's, maybe, got a disease issue that they're dealing with and they want to decrease their inflammation and improve their immune system, improve their body's response to stress. Overall, I just think that melatonin could be used with just about anybody looking to maximize their performance.
Ben: And, you mentioned immune system there. I love this section of the book where you talk about how it's possible that people may not need to be wasting their money, flying to Mexico for these fancy NK killer cell injections. A lot of people don't realize it's illegal in the US to actually grow stem cells. You can harvest stem cell, you can store some cells, but you're not allowed to actually grow them or to modify human cells in culture in the US. And, if you go to Mexico, you can expand cells and produce these higher amounts of NK cells. And so, a lot of people will engage in so-called medical tourism and go to Mexico to amp up their immune system with some fancy $40,000 to $50,000 NK cell injection. You talked in the book, though, about the impact of melatonin on the immune system, particularly, on killer cells. What's going on there?
John: Yeah, it's super interesting when you look at the information on the research on how melatonin affects natural killer cells. Actually, there was an interesting article in 2005 in immunity and aging, and it was called “Melatonin, Immune Function, and Aging.” And, what they talk about in that article is how there's something called immunosenescence. So, I know a lot of the listeners are familiar with senescent cells. It's that permanent state of sleepiness that cells go into, and it's linked to aging and chronic inflammation, and all those types of things. Well, that happens with your immune system as well. And, what melatonin does, it actually increases the secretion of something called progenitor cells, which are basically stem cells that will turn into natural killer cells.
Melatonin has also been shown to improve interleukins and T-helper cells. Yeah, lots of information on melatonin as it relates to the immune system. And, as you mentioned before, there's people paying $40,000, $50,000 to go to Mexico and get their natural killer cells expanded. And, to know that melatonin can do a fairly decent job at that without spending tens of thousands of dollars, and also something that you can do on a regular basis over the course of several years.
Ben: I think this study was in immunity and aging on melatonin, immune function and aging. I don't remember the percentage increase in there as well. But, it was a marked shift in the cytokine profile and, particularly, the competence of individual natural killer cells that were especially in aging individuals where you see a decline in that NK cell activity that melatonin administration had some pretty enormous therapeutic value to enhance immune function, particularly, in, A, aging people, and, B, in people in an immuno-compromised state, which in era of COVID, we're no saying that melatonin is like a COVID cure or something like that. But, in terms of the impact on the immune system, not only is it important, but I do know in functional medicine, there are many practitioners who have been using melatonin, and even higher-dose melatonin for things like long-haul COVID or even amping up the immune system's ability to be able to fight off any virus, for that matter. And so, there's definitely something going on.
And then, the other thing is that, based on the anti-inflammatory activity you talked about earlier, the inhibition of the cytokine storm, particularly, that induced by COVID-19, was studied. In 2020, it was studied, and it was shown exogenously administered melatonin could inhibit the cytokine storm.
John: There was a study that came out just in December from the Cleveland Clinic, and they looked at people that they gave melatonin to. And, they didn't state the dosage, but there was a 52% decrease in the likelihood of contracting COVID. So, for those people that want to decrease their chances of catching COVID, they might consider melatonin. And then, there was another group of doctors that came out and they released this article, and they're really trying to promote people for taking melatonin two weeks prior and one month following a vaccine. Now, I know everybody's got all their own opinions on vaccines. We probably shouldn't get into that on this podcast, but for those people that feel they're going to get that vaccine, it really should consider taking melatonin prior and after because one of the things that they talk about in this paper is that you'll have a stronger antibody response. So, when you get the vaccine, you rely on — especially healthier, they were saying healthier people, it's probably even more important because they don't have as stronger antibody response to the vaccine.
Ben: You know what I think? I think that that's part of it, but I also think part of this might also come down to the adjuvants in vaccines, because melatonin is actually, it's a chelating agent. I learned this from your book, that it actually prevents toxicity induced by metals, like mercury and lead and cadmium. And, I don't know if aluminum, a common adjuvant in vaccines, I don't know if they studied the protective effects of melatonin against aluminum toxicity, but they've looked at a host of other similar metals. And, it's really interesting. I was unaware of this until I read your book, how powerful of a chelating agent it is. And so, for people who have a robust, say, asana practice or people who are doing, I would say, coffee enemas, or people who are doing metal chelation protocols, it appears that melatonin seems to support a lot of those pathways.
John: I was shocked when I read that too. And, it not only chelates heavy metals out of the brain, which actually might account for a subset of patients when they first start taking really high doses of melatonin, they may actually feel a little off. It does happen occasionally. And, it might be just from the detoxification from the melatonin, but it also protects you when you get exposure. So, I think that's another good reason that anybody doing the vaccine should consider taking melatonin.
Ben: Yeah, and like you mentioned, if you start using high dose, really, the main side effect I noted was morning grogginess. But, the interesting thing, and, of course, this makes perfect sense based on what we explained earlier, was I'll wake up and I'll have a little bit of morning grogginess from — basically, I can almost guarantee it's the melatonin because it doesn't happen when I don't take the melatonin. But, as soon as I blast myself with sunlight or morning light exposure, it disappears within 5 minutes. It's remarkably fast, how soon the grogginess disappears. So, it's like the exposure to light, if you're groggy from melatonin administration, especially, high-dose melatonin administration for sleep, if you get blasted with light as soon as you wake up or at some point in the hour after you wake up, for me, personally, the grogginess just completely vanishes.
John: Well, I think it makes a lot of sense what you're doing, because what you're doing is you're really hacking this circadian rhythm in the sleep-wake. Now, a lot of people might be sitting there, thinking, “Well, it sounds really extreme. Why is Ben and John Lieurance such extremists,” but we live in a different world now. You can't expect to just muddle along and continue to be healthy because there's so many stressors. I'll tell you another thing that shocked me, was when I really looked at EMFs. So, you look at EMFs and there's just compelling evidence showing that it's carcinogenic. If we're exposed to too much cellphone radiation or our Wi-Fi, these electromagnetic frequencies can be very destructive to us at a cellular level.
And, one of the things that I found in the research is that the pineal gland actually perceives these EMFs as light, and it decreases melatonin. And, that's in the literature as well. So, it makes an argument to, you look at the graph and you say, “Well–” There's actually an interesting body of evidence showing that melatonin suppresses cancer. So, is it the carcinogenic effects of EMF because it's lowering melatonin or a lot of the negative effects of EMF related to the fact that it's squashing our melatonin? I don't know.
Ben: It's interesting. But, related to the melatonin issue, I talked earlier about the effects of melanin in terms of being able to, say, protect the skin from damage in response to UVA and UVB exposure and how limiting exposure of the retina to photons of light may actually exacerbate that issue. But, then, there's also some interesting data on melatonin and its protective effects on skin, like the actual stimulation or production of collagen and elastin. Can you get into that a little bit, the anti-aging type of use for melatonin?
John: You look at the skin. I look at the skin a lot like I look at the lining of the gut. You have two areas that are in touch with our external world and there's a lot of activity there. And, when you have activity, you're making energy, and you're producing oxidation. And so, melatonin is the primary buffer against this oxidation. And so, when we go out into the sun and we get blasted by these UV rays, when we have a strong oxidative capacity, then, we're going to be protecting that skin. So, they have done a number of studies where they've shown that people that take exogeneous melatonin have much-improved skin with collagen and elastin, like you just mentioned. We're actually playing around with some melatonin creams and we're beta-testing. I think I gave you guys a bottle of that at some point.
Ben: Yeah, you sent me a bottle of some kind of a skin cream that I used for a little while. That had melatonin in it?
Ben: I didn't know that. It smelled very sulfurous. What was the sulfur smell?
John: I might have put glutathione in there. I've done a few different versions of it.
John: Yeah, it had a glutathioney type of smell to it.
John: You can apply melatonin to the skin. And, I think a face cream with melatonin makes a lot of sense. And, I put it on in the morning and I really don't feel any negative effects, as far as feeling groggy or anything like that.
Ben: Got it. I want to turn to this idea of stacking. We touched on the Mito Fast protocol, and there's a whole article about this on my website that you wrote that I'll link to, if folks go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/MelatoninMiracle, where you talk about how you'll stack melatonin into a specific fasting protocol that also includes NAD administration to enhance, particularly, the mitochondrial benefits of a fast. And, that's a pretty cool protocol, but I'm curious about a couple of other things when it relates to things that combine well with melatonin, because when I look at the ingredient label of the Sandman, your liposomal, for people who don't like to just shove up things off their butt, or the suppository, that are stuffed in there besides melatonin. What else are you combining with the melatonin?
John: Well, we have magnolia bark extract in the Sandman, and it works through GABA. So, it enhances sleep a bit as well. And, we have some full-spectrum hemp in there. And then, there's the terpene from lavender called linalool that we put in there. Those are the primary active ingredients.
Ben: I thought you had a probiotic in there, too.
John: Yeah, we do have a probiotic.
Ben: Which bacterial strain are you using for the probiotic in the suppository?
John: Ben, so, we basically have two probiotic combinations. One of them is called AP0-808. The other one is AP019. And, they're both proprietary blends of mostly strains of bacillus. And, the idea was to add very specific strains that would support the absorption of, in the situation with the AP0-808, the melatonin and the glutathione. And, with the AP 019, it was more with the CBD in the cannabinoids.
Ben: You mean the actual strain you're keeping proprietary?
Ben: Look at you holding your cards close to your chest. Well, either way, for colonic flora, this idea of having bacteria up your butt, along with the melatonin during a night of sleep, seems to be something that, for me, at least, seems to have a little bit of a gut-stabilizing effect. And so, these other compounds are particularly in there for relaxation or are they in there for — Because one of those you mentioned has more of an autophagy-producing effect, doesn't it, one of those plant-based polyphenols?
John: Yeah, so the Mito Fast phase 1, phase 2, and phase three. So, the phase one is we're loading the cells with NAD, so we're charging the cells up. The phase two, we're adding these plant polyphenols, like fisetin, pterostilbene, resveratrol, some curcumin.
Ben: And, that's all in the Lucitol product? And, that's another one of your products?
John: So, one of the main reasons that we want to fast, and this is probably something a lot of your listeners already know, but we want to clean up senescent cells. We want to trigger autophagy. We want to trigger mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy. So, all of these things can be even further accentuated where you can do a shorter fast and get the benefits of what would otherwise be a longer fast. And, that was really the goal of this, is to allow people to fast for 24 hours or three days and get the effect of a longer fast, like a five or six-day fast.
Ben: I do a quarterly fasting protocol. And, at the time you sent me that article, I had just finished up this five-day juice fast, because a lot of times, for my fasting protocols, I'll experiment with Ayurvedic cleanse or Panchakarma or Kitchari cleanse or a fasting protocol or a fasting-mimicking diet, like Valter Longo has done research on. And so, I love to find new ways to clean up the body for those quarterly fast, and then test them on myself. So, you wrote that article right after I'd finish this other fast. So, I didn't try this yet, but it seems pretty simple. It's like the first two days before I start my fast, I load up with a whole bunch of NAD. So, I could either go get NAD IV or use your NAD suppositories or the NAD liposomal or whatever, but it's a high dose of NAD for the first couple of days. Let's say a Monday and a Tuesday.
And then, the next couple of days, you'll do a water-only 48-hour fast. But, during that time, you're upregulating the effects of the fast by doing melatonin and that Lucitol suppository that you talked about, or the Lucitol liposomal. You have an oral version of everything for people who don't want to do the suppositories. And, that's got all the plant-based, like the fisetin, the quercetin, all the things that would upregulate cellular autophagy during the fast. And then, after I start eating again, then I take some of your almost like mTOR-stimulating compounds.
John: It's called StemTor. It's something that's going to raise mTOR.
Ben: Similar to taking essential amino acids or something like that, you would stack those at the very end to shove your body back into an anabolic phase.
John: Yeah, well, that's what we have people do, is the Kion Aminos afterwards. We have them increase their protein intake, and then we have a product called StemTor that has high leucine. It has HMB, and it has a deer antler velvet. So, we're trying to further accentuate that growth and repair where you get more stem cells to be released. Then, once they're released, we have something called StemZen, which is high in CoQ10. And, people can do this on their own, but there's something called fucoidan. So, we've combined fucoidan and this high CoQ10 with the StemZen product which improves the survivability of the stem cells once they're released into circulation.
Ben: Yeah, fucoidan, isn't that from sea moss or something like that?
John: Exactly, from brown seaweed.
Ben: Yeah, brown seaweed. That's right. That's an interesting molecule in of itself. And, by the way, for people [00:58:32], that might sound like a dizzying and complex type of fast, I know you have a kit. I think you have a liposomal version of that fast, and then the suppository-based version of that fast. It's in a box that just arrives at your house with the instructions. So, at the time we're recording this, it is basically the end-ish of winter 2021 for my spring 2021 fast. This is the one I'm going to do. I'm going to do the Mito Fast protocol, so I'll keep people posted when I personally do that protocol. But, it's pretty simple. Those are really only two days where you're doing a full-on fast. And, it's sandwiched in between NAD, and then these mTOR stimulants. So, it's a cool idea.
John: So, there's two versions that we promote. One is where you do a 24-hour to 36 or 48-hour fast. And then, we have a full three-day fast. And, really, what I try to get a lot of my patients to do is to do a 24-hour fast every single week as just part of their ritual. And then, one week out of the month, I'd like them to do a full three-day fast. So, we'll actually have them do this Mito Fast protocol for a full three months in that fashion.
Ben: So, it's three months where you're doing, for each of those months, a three-day fast. That's a cool idea. We mentioned that Lucitol plays a role in this, that being the one that's rich in a lot of these autophagy-enhancing compounds, like fisetin, resveratrol. I know you have EGCG from green tea extract in there, and quercetin and curcumin and all these things that shut down inflammation in the brain, and also, enhance cellular senescence and enhance cellular autophagy.
What's really interesting, and you and I were chatting about, wanting to mention this before we started recording, and I think I actually do want to mention this because it's interesting, is that I do, on about a quarterly basis, a plant medicine protocol what I actually do journey with a variety of different plant medicines. And, I treat that similar to a TBI or a concussion, really, in terms of paying attention to, not only the neurotransmitter deficits that a protocol like that can produce, but then also some of the brain inflammation that can occur when you're using a lot of these compounds in high doses that are amplifying neuronal activity 20 times-plus, whether we're talking about Ayahuasca retreat or some other compound or stack of compounds you might be using for, say, a journey.
And, I began, I think this was a year and a half ago. What I started doing after that was, when I'd go to bed, that night, I would use the Lucitol, and then — and this sounds like a lot of stuff to shove up your butt, but one Lucitol, one Sandman, and then one of your CBDs. What's the CBD one called?
Ben: Yeah, NeuroDiol.
John: [01:01:30] _____ NeuroDiol.
Ben: It's a high-dose CBD. And, I would do those three and wake up the next morning after a plant medicine ceremony.
John: You're totally fresh.
Ben: Yeah, totally fresh, totally clean.
John: So, I also have been fortunate enough to have some really profound positive experiences with plant medicine. And, I feel like it's a very valuable tool if you can find the right people to work with. And, the first time I did it, I was worthless for two weeks. I was wiped out. And so, the next time I went, I used my products, and it was the next day I woke up, I feel amazing. I slept great that night. And, I actually wrote an article on this. What we'll do is we'll link to this article at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/MelatoninMiracle, and we'll put that article in there for people who want to understand the protocol.
Ben: Yeah, it's pretty simple. And, one thing I should mention, because this is actually a question I get, people will ask me, how do you do a coffee enema? Because a lot of people just don't really know how to do a suppository. Typically, a lot of people will use coconut oil or K-Y Jelly or some type of lubricant to moisten the rectal area. Honestly, I don't even fuss around that, because the suppositories are slippery as it is. But, you literally just lie on your side. And, typically, you straighten the legs underneath you out and bend the upper leg for just a little bit. And then, you just insert the suppository. Typically, it's easier if you're just lying in bed. And, as long as you're not getting up and walking around and taking a pee, which relaxes some of the rectal sphincters, etc., and you do this the last thing you do before you go to bed, it works really well. And, if I'm going to do, sometimes, I find that the high-dose melatonin, if I take that an hour before I plan on going to bed, it starts to hit me right when I'm going to sleep, versus doing it when I'm in bed and waiting for it to hit my system. So, in a case like that, I'll literally just put in the suppository, and then I'll go and, just for two minutes, do a handstand against the front door of the house and just go upside down for a little while. And, at that point, it feels like it just stays in there, even as I'm walking around, brushing my teeth, getting ready for bed, etc. So, that's the way that I do it, I'll just slip it in, do a handstand, or hang from an inversion table for a couple of minutes, and then do all my pre-bed stuff, and then just hit the sack. And, about the time I hit the sack, I'm lights out.
John: Yeah. Well, I think the biggest thing is, when people insert, if they need to have a bowel movement, there's something already in there, it can trigger some peristalsis in the movement. So, sometimes, you can put a suppository in and then, “I got to use the restroom,” and you might lose it. You just have to insert another one. So, once in a while, you might lose a suppository. But, most people, it dissolves within just a few minutes. You don't want to try to be too active and walking around.
Ben: I don't know, this might be gross for some people to be hearing us describe this, but these are the practical things that people won't talk about. So, I just want to fill you guys in, if you're listening. Another couple of tips for you is, first of all, it's normal when you first put it in to feel like you want to go to the bathroom. But, then, if you don't and you wait just five or 10 minutes, that urge goes away once your body overcomes that sensation of something being in the butt that it wants to get back out of the butt. It always go away after a few minutes. So, know that.
And then, the other thing is, in case something does slip out while you're asleep at night, I actually, any night I'm using a suppository, even though if I'm not using one, I like to sleep naked because I just like to stay super cool when I'm asleep and just like the feeling of sleeping combat style. But, I do wear my boxers if I'm doing a suppository, just in case, just so I don't have to wash the sheets in the morning if a suppository comes out and keep my wife happy that I'm not getting suppository dye on the sheets or whatever. A couple of practical tips for you guys.
John: Yeah, especially, the Lucitol with all those plant polyphenols, they will definitely stain.
Ben: Yeah, I know. My wife, she's like, “Are you eating turmeric in bed?” I'm like, “That's what that was.” “You should put on underwear.” Anyway, tips from the trenches, folks. Sorry for the inside baseball.
Well, this has been super-duper helpful, John. I know the book is jam-packed with so much more, both practical and research-based information on melatonin, on high-dose melatonin, on melatonin for mitochondria, for anti-aging, for the immune system, other benefits. We just scratched the surface on during this podcast, but it's a really good read.
And, what I'm going to do is I'll link to the book, which just came out, in the shownotes, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/MelatoninMiracle. I'll also link to the Mito Fast protocol article that John wrote, in case any of you want to try that fast out. And then, I'll just link to John's website as well, if you guys want to get any of his stuff, and I'll also link to the first episode that I did with John, if you're like, “Who is this cat? I want to hear his background story,” because he flew up to my house and we spend a few days together before I decided he actually wasn't bad shit crazy and was actually really smart about this stuff and I want to interview him. So, I'll link to all that. If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/MelatoninMiracle. It's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/MelatoninMiracle. John, thanks for coming on the show, man. This has been fascinating.
John: Yeah, Ben, it's a pleasure.
Ben: Awesome. Alright, folks. Well, I'm Ben Greenfield and I am grateful and honored to have shared with you how to put things up your butt for an hour, signing out with my friend, Dr. John Lieurance from Sarasota, Florida, from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. That's a really long outro. Have an amazing week.
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 hormones, 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, help to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. So, 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.
The brilliant, slightly crazy, fringe Dr. John Lieurance is back! You may have originally heard him in the highly popular episode “The Crazy Future Of Medical Biohacking: Skull Resets, Suppositories, Nasal Sprays, Nebulizers, Sound Therapy & More With Dr. John Lieurance.“, in which we delved into everything from Amazonian herbal rapé nasal spray to nebulizing glutathione to NAD suppositories and a whole lot more.
Today's episode promises to be just as riveting, but is focused around one molecule in particular that John has been intensively studying and is now releasing a groundbreaking book about: melatonin. We'll answer questions about and also take a deep dive into the science behind melatonin topics such as:
Should you consider melatonin supplementation?
How much is too much?
Does melatonin lower your own endogenous production?
What delivery mechanism of melatonin is best?
Is melatonin good for anything besides sleep?
Should anyone not take melatonin?
Can you “reset” your circadian rhythm with high-dose melatonin supplementation?
So who is John (just in case you didn't hear my first podcast with him)?
Dr. John Lieurance is a naturopathic physician, chiropractic neurologist, and all-around expert in medical biohacking who has been in private practice in Florida for 25 years.
He is the chief scientific advisor of Glutagenic™ and Advanced Biome Corp™ and heads up Advanced Rejuvenation, a multi-disciplinary clinic with a focus on treating chronic diseases, regenerative medicine, functional neurology, functional medicine, and stem cell research.
Dr. Lieurance has spent most of his career focused on finding solutions for hearing loss, balance disorders, tinnitus, degenerative neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's, autoimmune disease, chronic Lyme, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), and mold illness and has suffered from chronic Lyme and mold illness himself for many years. From his treatments, he has seen the same success and ability to recover and regain a normal life—free from the chronic inflammation and pain associated with those disorders—for himself as well as his patients.
During this discussion, you'll discover:
-How the godfather of ozone research and medicine got John keen on melatonin…7:30
- Frank Shallenberger
- John met Dr. Shallenberger at a brain rejuvenation conference
- Recommended John take melatonin during the day (won't get sleepy if you have sunlight exposure)
- Typical dose for melatonin supplementation is 0.3-3 mg
- Frank recommended a 200 mg dose
- Sandman melatonin suppositoryby MitoZen (John Lieurance's product)
- Super physiological dosing: doses that are far higher than what the body produces naturally
-Melatonin: the “hormone of darkness”…12:45
- John's upcoming book Melatonin: The Miracle Molecule, coming out mid-to-late 2021 (ebook available now)
- Melatonin is a primary protector from stress
- Compared to the electromagnetic field around the Earth
- Original melatonin researchers reported no benefits for its use (on general health)
- Mice exposed to stress and took melatonin showed greater longevity and health than mice who did not take melatonin
- Melatonin regulates melanin pigmentation
- Melanotan peptide was used by bodybuilders to get tans; side effect was priapism
- Jack Kruse
- Podcasts with Dr. Jack Kruse:
- Ben and John avoid the use of sunglasses because of how they affect melatonin production (tan instead of burn if you don't wear them)
-How melatonin supplementation affects endogenous melatonin production…18:40
- Supplemental melatonin doesn't have negative feedback on endogenous production as do other hormone supplements
- John's 3-month self-experiment:
- 800 mg melatonin supplementation per night
- Suppository and liposomal
- Thought he got COVID after doing this the first few nights
- Ceased taking melatonin after a few weeks; didn't affect circadian rhythm or sleep patterns
- Oura ringscores were a little bit better with the higher dose
- Daytime blue light desk lamp
- Re-Timer glasses
- HumanCharger(use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- Ben did a high-dose melatonin supplementation protocol for 30 days (300-400 mg per night)
- Reset the circadian rhythm, sleep patterns, etc.
- Quit cold turkey; body learned to sleep based on the protocol
- Heart rate variability (HRV)didn't change much based on melatonin intake (improved with better sleep in general)
- HRV is a response to stress
-Why melatonin supplementation may not be effective for regulating sleep unless taken in large doses…25:30
- Efficacy of high-dose therapy in John's Melatonin: The Miracle Moleculebook
- Take melatonin 3-4 hours before bed for maximum efficacy
- Melatonin receptors throughout the body and cells
- Retraining sleep/wake cycle, as well as systems in the body that are connected to the circadian rhythm
- Microbiome takes its signal from melatonin release and deep sleep (microbiome swarming)
- Melatonin is 400x higher in the gut than the brain
- Mito Fast: A Brand New Advanced Anti-Aging Protocol To Nurture Your Mitochondria, Boost Autophagy, & Rejuvenate Your Stem Cells.
- Fasting is hormetic stress to the microbiome; your body is robbing the microbiome of nutrients
- Melatonin supplementation supports the repopulation of the microbiome after a fast
-Effects of melatonin on the mitochondria…34:00
- Stressors: chemical, physical, electromagnetic, infections, etc.
- Hormesis: Ability to respond to stressors
- Mitochondria is at the core of our ability to handle stress; overtraining a result of exceeding the mitochondria's ability to handle the stress; cancer is a core mitochondrial problem
- COVID, immune system shuts down; cytokine storm results in acute respiratory syndrome, is a mitochondrial problem
- Cytokines are inflammation at the cellular level
- Cells take in glucose, convert it into pyruvate
- Pyruvate is shuffled into the mitochondria, converted into Acetyl-CoA
- Cytokine shift causes us to produce 10% of the energy we normally make
- Warburg Effect
- Inflammation, the result of all the stresses, shuts down our ability to make energy by 9 out of 10; immune cells have no energy in someone with COVID
- Melatonin is produced by the mitochondria to quench enzymes, to make energy normally through the Krebs cycle
-The effects of melatonin on cardiovascular and/or heart disease…38:15
- Brain and heart are the two most metabolically demanding organs in the body
- Mitochondria efficiently making energy (stressors affect mitochondrial function)
- Melatonin supports the mitochondria, which is at the core of making the body's energy
- The autonomic nervous system, athletic performance declines with poor sleep
- Body repairs itself with deep, restful sleep; supporting the parasympathetic nervous system
-The impact of melatonin on the immune system, particularly killer cells…42:55
- Impact on killer cells discussed in detail in John's book
- Article: Melatonin, Immune Function and Aging
- Immunosenescence: Melatonin increases the secretion of progenitor cells, which turn into natural killer cells
- Enhances immune function in aging people, and people in an immunocompromised state
- Many functional medicine doctors use melatonin supplementation to amp up the immune system to fight off viruses
- Inhibition of cytokine storm was studied in depth in 2020 in light of Covid-19
- Recent study by the Cleveland Clinic on melatonin: 52% decrease in the likelihood of contracting COVID
- Article: take melatonin one month prior, and two weeks after vaccine(stronger antibody response)
- Melatonin is a chelating agent; prevents toxicity by heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium
-How to hack the circadian rhythm with high-dose melatonin supplementation…48:15
- Morning grogginess after a high-dose melatonin supplementation is offset almost immediately with sunlight exposure after waking up
- We live in a different world today than decades ago
- Negative effects of EMF may be related to the squashing of melatonin
- Pineal gland actually perceives EMF as light and decreases melatonin production
- There is evidence that melatonin suppresses cancer; what is not clear is that is it the carcinogenic effects of EMF because it's lowering melatonin that is causing cancer
-Anti-aging uses of melatonin…50:10
- Melatonin is the primary buffer against oxidation in the skin; skin is like the lining of the gut
- Studies have shown people with exogenous melatonin have improved skin, collagen, etc.
- Apply melatonin to skin via face cream (John is beta testing skin creams)
-Other compounds that stack well with melatonin…52:45
- Deep Sleep Decoded: Everything You Need To Know To Increase Your Deep Sleep Percentages.
- Why Your Brain Probably Doesn’t Make Enough Chemicals To Help You Sleep (And What You Can Do About It).
- Sandmanmain ingredients:
- Mito Fastfasting protocol has 3 phases:
- Phase 1 loads NAD+
- Phase 2 autophagy activation; adds plant polyphenols like fisetin, pterostilbene, resveratrol, curcumin
- Stem cell rejuvenation
- Allow people to fast for shorter periods and get the same effects of a longer fast
- The Official 5-Day Juice Fast Results From Ben & Jessa Greenfield: What Happens When You Consume Low-Carb, Keto Vegetable Juice For 5 Days.
- Kitchari cleanse
- Valter Longo's fasting mimicking diet
- StemTor(raises MTor)
- Kion Aminos
- StemZen– high in CoQ10
- Fasting protocol John recommends for his patients:
- 24 hours once a week
- 3 days once per month
-Ben's plant medicine cleanse protocol…1:00:30
- Microdosing With Psychedelics & Beyond: The Psychedelic Renaissance (Why Psychedelic Research Is Picking Up Where It Left Off Decades Ago & The Surprising Results).
- NeurodiolCBD suppository
- Melatonin: The Miracle Moleculebook packed with comprehensive practical and research-based information on melatonin
And much more!
Resources from this episode:
– Dr. John Lieurance:
- Melatonin: The Miracle Molecule
- Advanced Biome Corp™
- Advanced Rejuvenation
- The Crazy Future Of Medical Biohacking: Skull Resets, Suppositories, Nasal Sprays, Nebulizers, Sound Therapy & More With Dr. John Lieurance.
- Mito Fast: A Brand New Advanced Anti-Aging Protocol To Nurture Your Mitochondria, Boost Autophagy, & Rejuvenate Your Stem Cells By John Lieurance.
– Podcasts And Articles:
- Jack Kruse Tells You How To Live Like A Polar Bear And Eat Like A Great White Shark With Kack Kruse
- How You Can Use Cold Thermogenesis To Perform Like Lance Armstrong And Michael Phelps With Jack Kruse
- A Deep Dive Into HRV: How To Use Heart Rate Variability To Optimize Your Sleep, Stress, Recovery, Performance, Nervous System Balance & Much More!, With Dr. Jay T. Wiles
- Deep Sleep Decoded: Everything You Need To Know To Increase Your Deep Sleep Percentages.
- Why Your Brain Probably Doesn’t Make Enough Chemicals To Help You Sleep (And What You Can Do About It).
- The Official 5-Day Juice Fast Results From Ben & Jessa Greenfield: What Happens When You Consume Low-Carb, Keto Vegetable Juice For 5 Days.
- Microdosing With Psychedelics & Beyond: The Psychedelic Renaissance (Why Psychedelic Research Is Picking Up Where It Left Off Decades Ago & The Surprising Results).
– Gear And Supplements:
- Oura Ring
- Daytime Blue Light Desk Lamp
- Re-Timer Glasses
- HumanCharger(use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- Kion Aminos
- Magnolia Bark Extract
– Other Resources:
- Frank Shallenberger
- Jack Kruse
- Valter Longo's Fasting Mimicking Diet
- Kitchari Cleanse
- Warburg Effect
- Can Melatonin Help Treat COVID-19? – A Cleveland Clinic Study
- Melatonin, Immune Function And Aging
- An Urgent Proposal For The Immediate Use Of Melatonin As An Adjuvant To Anti- SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination
–Kion: My personal playground for new supplement formulations, Kion blends ancestral wisdom with modern science. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners, save 20% off your first order with code BGF20.
–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.
–Butcher Box: Delivers healthy 100% grass-fed and finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door on a monthly basis. All their products are humanely raised and NEVER given antibiotics or hormones.
–Thrive Market: Organic brands you love, for less. Your favorite organic food and products. Fast and free shipping to your doorstep. Receive a gift card worth up to $20 when you begin a new membership.