[00:00:52] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:13] Guest Introduction
[00:06:58] What Shawn Had for Breakfast the Day of the Interview
[00:21:08] Optimizing Glutathione Levels for Optimal Mitochondria
[00:25:10] The Criteria by Which Shawn Evaluates a Supplement Brand
[00:30:47] Podcast Sponsors
[00:35:06] How Shawn Discovered Two Substances and Made Them into Supplement Form
[00:44:05] The Exercise Augmenter That Has Been Called “Exercise in A Bottle”
[00:49:55] Grains of Paradise
[00:52:04] Ben's Super Easy Goals For His Upcoming 40th Birthday
[00:56:27] A Different Form Of Berberine That Is Used To Control Blood Glucose Levels
[01:02:51] Shawn's New Formula For BHB And Thoughts On Exogenous Ketones
[01:06:51] The Best Way To Raise NAD Levels
[01:09:18] The Best Way To Raise NAD Levels
[01:18:06] Closing the Podcast
[01:20:26] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Shawn: But what's interesting is because as we age, we make less NAD, but then we also catabolize NAD faster. In that sweet spot in the middle is the goldilocks zone where we're getting plenty of stress and we're growing the size of our stress bucket, and we can become harder to kill.
Ben: A lot of positive character traits that are derived from taking the hard road versus the easy road.
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
On today's episode, I interview my friend, former podcast guest, Shawn Wells, calls himself the world's greatest formulator. I don't know about that. He's pretty smart though. He probably could be one of the world's greatest formulators. I'm talking about nutritional supplements formulators. He's also a great author. He has a new book. It's good, and we'd talk about it on today's show, which is brought to you, speaking of formulations, by the absolutely epic Kion Coffee. You know I'm a big fan of coffee. In fact, I had a piping hot mug of either regular or decaf nearly every morning. I have a new coffee enema to keep my colon and bowels squeaky clean, my liver and gallbladder functioning. I don't do that every morning, but I have been known to occasionally stick coffee up my bum. Not any ordinary coffee, however, whether I drink it or shoot it up my backside.
And the reason for that is a lot of coffee, especially the coffee you grab from your local grocery store coffee shop, is usually far from healthy. It grows a commodity crop, sprayed with pesticides. The farmers are not treated well. It's stored in a way that encourages mold growth. It's pre-ground so it gets oxidized. It sits on shelves so long. It's stale and flavorless by the time it reaches your kitchen. That's the kind of coffee that makes you jittery and anxious, and can cause things like sinus issues and headaches, and it's definitely the coffee that you have to doctor up with cream, and sugar, and pumpkin pie spice latte syrup to make taste good. So, I don't drink the cheap brown sludge anymore because I use Kion Coffee, K-I-O-N. Kion Coffee is literally the cream of the crop of coffees, no cream required. It's organic, specialty-grade, free of toxins, and damn delicious. It's the smoothest, richest coffee you'll ever taste. It's the only coffee I drink now. It's the only coffee that goes anywhere near my backside. And you can get yourself some right now for 20% off, regular or decaf. No code required. Go to getkion.com/bengreenfield. That's getK-I-O-N.com/bengreenfield.
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Alright, let's go talk to Shawn.
Folks, it has been quite some time since I have had a chat on my podcast with biochemist, dietitian, sports nutritionist, formulation scientist, arguably, one of the world's best formulators in all supplements industry, my friend Shawn Wells. Shawn was actually on my podcast–gosh, Shawn, what was it like, three years ago, something like that?
Shawn: I think more than that. I think like five years ago.
Ben: Yeah. So, he's gotten like super-duper internet-famous since then. Just famous, famous since then. But we did a podcast episode that was called “The Nitty-Gritty Underground World of Supplement Ingredients, Sports Nutrition Frankenfuels, Illegally Laced Compounds & More,” where we just geeked out about all the nasty stuff that goes on behind the scenes in the supplement industry, which Shawn obviously has an intimate connection to just because he's constantly helping companies formulate supplements and hunting down all these crazy fringe raw ingredients from Siberian caves and everything else that he does.
And so, we had a great discussion then. And I'll link to that discussion in the shownotes for today's podcasts, which you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/energyformula. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/energyformula. The reason that is the URL for today's shownotes is because Shawn just put the finishing touches on a book that I read this week in time for this podcast called “The Energy Formula,” where he gets into everything from like keto versus Paleo versus vegan and carnivore, and stoicism, and plant medicine, and nootropics, and infrared saunas, and cold plunges, and sleep, and circadian architecture, and just a ton of stuff.
So, really fun book, and so many kind of like nitty-gritty corners in it. Literally, there are like sections in each chapter called “The Formulator's Corner,” which honestly, Shawn, that was one of my favorite parts of the book, seeing what somebody who knows as much about raw ingredients and supplements as you do uses as so-called stacks to optimize different areas of life. The geek in me love that part, but he's also got just like tons of resource hacks in there like products, devices, apps, all the things that correlate to each chapter. And it's a great book. So, I'll link to it in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/energyformula. But of course, inevitably, when I read a book, I always have a bunch of questions for the author about it, and that's one of my favorite things about reading a book is to be able to get a smart guy like Shawn on the call and talk to him about it.
So, Shawn, first of all, welcome to the show, man. Welcome back to the show.
Shawn: Thank you, Ben. It's an honor to be here. I'm a huge fan of you, and to just have you read the book is awesome. I'm excited for this discussion.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. It'll be fun. And then, of course, second, and this is way more important than the book, you being such a–I guess like a fellow self-professed optimizer, fill me in on what you had for breakfast this morning, if anything, and any special stacks you took, particularly like in the realm of smart drugs, or nootropics, or anything like that. And if you say a cup of coffee and a cigarette, we're going to have to end the conversation.
Shawn: So, I'm about 40 hours into a 72-hour extended fast that I'm doing with my community online right now. It's a fasting challenge and I'm actually feeling–this is right when I start to turn the corner. I don't know. Between like 36 and 48 hours is when I start feeling amazing. I stop feeling as hungry and start having the breakthrough. So, I'm glad that I'm feeling that way right now. So, I haven't had anything for breakfast besides some Redmond Real Salt and Pique Tea fasting tea. That's what I had. It was like a ginger green tea combination, and it was good.
Ben: Yeah. That's so funny because I had my team call this morning with my Ben Greenfield Fitness team, and one of the guys on the team, he's doing a similar fasting protocol right now. He's complaining he got a headache, and I asked him if he's using electrolytes, and he wasn't. And that's, for the type of fast that you're doing, key to stave off some of those headache, and blood flow, and aldosterone/cortisol-related blood pressure issues. So, that's a good tip for folks who are doing any type of fast like Shawn is doing. And what did you say you were also using in addition to the electrolytes?
Ben: Re-Lytes. Is that like an electrolyte powder?
Shawn: Yeah, exactly.
Shawn: And you're dead on–like, honestly, I think hyponatremia is so much more prevalent than we give it credit for. And a lot of times, speaking of me being a formulator and looking at new ingredients and all this data, sometimes when I look at things like sodium citrate, or sodium bicarbonate, or sodium phosphate, or all these different ingredients that are ergogenic ingredients, sometimes I'd wonder, how much of that's actually the sodium playing a role? Because athletes typically are hyponatremic, and we see salt have a huge impact on performance.
Ben: You think athletes are, in particular, more hyponatremic than dehydrated?
Shawn: Are more hyponatremic than dehydrated? I think both. I think both without a doubt, yeah.
Ben: Can you explain that to people who might not fully understand the implications of hyponatremia? The reason I ask you, by the way, that question about athletes versus, say, like non-athletes is classic marathon scenarios, is kind of like the non-athletes back of the pack people who are walking, who are drinking way too much water or Gatorade, who seemed to be, in my experience in the endurance sports industry, the folks who wind up with hyponatremia, or kind of like diluted blood. Whereas the people who win the race, the athletes tend to be like 2% to 4% dehydrated at the finish line.
Shawn: Yeah, exactly. I mean, there's a decline, pretty market decline in performance. I think it's around like 15% if you're hyponatremic, and that's not even like severe hyponatremic. And they do go hand in hand with dehydration. When you sweat, the majority of that is salt. That's why electrolyte formulas are cool. It's great to get the chloride, the potassium, the calcium, the magnesium, but the majority of it is salt. It's what you're losing in your sweat. If you were to taste your urine, which don't do that, but if you were to taste your sweat or tears, this is all salt that you're [00:10:54] _____.
Ben: Do you mean like sodium chloride salt?
Shawn: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, sorry, sodium chloride. So, exactly what you're talking about. And athletes tend to be hyponatremic. And also, keto dieters tend to be hyponatremic, which means low in sodium levels. So, that's why–
Ben: And what you're saying is in a case like that, like the hyponatremia is brought on, not necessarily by excess consumption of water, or say, like lack of sweating, you're saying that in that population, it's specifically due to inadequate electrolyte intake?
Shawn: Exactly. And then, we see how critical that is with the sodium-potassium pump, and muscular contraction, and brain function. You have muscular weakness, and twitching, and dizziness, and lightheadedness, and headaches, and all that kind of stuff. A lot of times when we're feeling hungry or we're feeling headaches, people say to drink water, and that's true. We tend to be dehydrated. I think about 75% to 80% of the population is dehydrated. But a lot of times, that's being hyponatremic as well when we're getting cravings, we think we want sugar, we think we want food. That's because we're not elevated enough in sodium. So, that's where that can be a problem. So, hypernatremia for sure.
Ben: Now, why are you such a big fan of the Redmond brand salt?
Shawn: Because, one, I've been to that mine, and I've seen it personally, and it's family-owned. It's American. They really care about the composition. They don't add anything to it like a lot of the finer-grained salts. They actually add things that are anti-humectant to dry it out like calcium, spade, and all these different conditioners, and things like that. If it's more of a coarse salt, it's not going to get as sticky as quick. But if it's a fine salt, they tend to add a bunch of stuff to it. So, that's more reason to either use at least a more coarse salt if you have to just use like a regular salt, a white salt. But I'd prefer to use something like from a really good company, from a great mind that I know has all the trace minerals in it, from really an incredible family, too, that has a great culture around it, like they're very religious, they're family-oriented, they give back. It's just a great company.
Ben: That's amazing news for anyone who wants their kids to go work in a salt mine. You know that Real Salt would be the way to go. You don't have to set them all the way over to Siberia. That's actually cool because I know that Real Salt was one of the companies that win the whole–I think it was the Guardian that did the big article recently shining a light on the research showing plastic and sea salt. Real Salt wound up being tested very low in plastic contamination, and I know that they were one company that wound up being really good. Another one that I found out about through another research I've had in the show, who does a lot of water and electrolyte research, Robert Slovak, he said the Celtic salt is also a pretty good brand. So, I use that quite a bit. And then, I actually want to get your take on this versus salt. There's a lot of these liquid mineral solutions out there with probably the most popular right now that a lot of folks in the biohacking or the so-called health optimization, as you talk about, are these raw marine fluids harvested from plankton. Usually, it goes by the name Quinton, like Q-U-I-N-T-O-N. Have you messed around with that at all or compared it to salt at all?
Shawn: You know, it's funny that you're bringing this up. I have not really, but I was literally working on a project around this right now and looking into that guy specifically, Robert Slovak. And his work on that product was literally just talking about this on a discovery call the other day for a company. We were diving into this because I've been working on molecular hydrogen, deuterium-depleted water, and that guy has done research on both, as well as this type of water that you're talking about that has all these compounds in it where it's taking in inorganic material and turning it into organic, and it's pretty incredible. Yes, I'm very into all this. I'm literally just exploring that right now.
Ben: Yeah. It's actually pretty cool. They actually have like these plankton blooms, because you can't just drink seawater. It has to be passed through something. Just like the minerals, and arguably, even the structured water that you absorb from, say, like eating a tomato or a cucumber is more hydrating than if you were to put a pinch of salt into water. And the idea behind this is the plankton allow for better absorption capacity of the minerals, and then they microfiltrate it and put it in these little glass tip vials or foil pull tab vials. And dude, I put a couple of packets of those in my big morning glass of water. I start off the day with the water. Actually, I'd love to hear your take on my morning hydration solution. I start off the day with the water. I had the Quinton to it. I put a little bit of vitamin C in there at a 2 to 1 ratio to baking soda to knock off some of the acidity and alkalize my body a little bit. And then, I drop about three hydrogen tablets in there. So, I got hydrogen, vitamin C, baking soda, and minerals, and it's just a big glass of well water that's pretty decently filtered from here on my property. And that's every morning.
Shawn: That's awesome. And you're seeing a difference specifically with that Quinton?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Especially because I find sometimes that if I decide I want to go hit the kettlebells in the morning, or hit the Airdyne in the morning, which I do some mornings now, I feel like I can get into the workout faster and have a little bit less of what I perceive as a little bit of blood pressure dysregulation, or almost like my body kind of shifting from a really parasympathetic state in the morning to be able to handle hard work out. It seems like the minerals really help with that quite a bit, especially, and seem to move the bowel along pretty well, too.
Shawn: Wow. I'm super interested to try that. Yeah. Like, I said, it's just funny. I was literally talking about this yesterday and heard about it for the first time, because I've been doing a lot of work over the last three years on deuterium-depleted water and we're actually optimizing all this equipment to get that price down pretty markedly, want to make it more mainstream. The other side of that is like molecular hydrogen and ways to actually have that in a ready-to-drink format instead of a tablet. And so, I've been looking at both of those, the molecular hydrogen increasing the hydrogen ions. And then, also, the deuterium-depleted is getting rid of the fat guy trying to go through the turnstile of the mitochondria, so to speak, like the excess deuterium. It would be like a double whammy, and that's what I've been looking at is maybe putting those two together.
Ben: Yeah. I've actually–because that's always the issue, right? You got to put the hydrogen tablets in the water and then drink it like four minutes later before the hydrogen actually dissolves off the top of the water. And I know that one company I was talking to was H2Bev, and I tried some of the cans that they sent to me. And they basically have a canning process that allows for the hydrogen not to almost leach from the cans. You just pop open the can. You still have to slam the whole can right after you open it because of the same issues, right? As soon as it's open, you'll get the hydrogen dissolving off the top of it just because it's essentially a molecular gas. But from what I understand, there are already some companies who are canning hydrogen water.
Shawn: Yup, yup, exactly. That's actually one of the companies I was talking to. So, you're on it, Ben, you're on it. Not a surprise.
Ben: Yeah. And the deuterium, of course, just a process to–because natural glacial water is very, very low in that deuterium, which gums up your metabolic machinery. But to create that same scenario like in a water production facility is prohibitively expensive, which is why I think so many people aren't able to afford or can't get their hands on deuterium-depleted water unless you want to pay like 16 bucks a bottle from Romania or something like that.
Shawn: Exactly. And you really need to keep up with it consistently. So, yeah, it could get pricey, but if money is no object, then you should be drinking lots of deuterium-depleted water.
Ben: And avoiding glyphosate like the plague because that'll actually introduce you to more deuterium exposure and limit some of the beta-oxidation because you make your own deuterium-depleted water for just burning fat. So, limiting starches, sugars, herbicides, pesticides, like you can decently deplete your body of deuterium just with some healthy lifestyle practices. But I mean, I went through like a six-month stint after I interviewed Robert Slovak of drinking deuterium-depleted water, and my levels were at like 150 PPM. And at that point, I was already relatively keto, eating organic, not getting a lot of glyphosate exposure, like doing a lot of the things that arguably would naturally deplete my deuterium levels. And all I did was add in the deuterium-depleted water, and I went down to like 138. And I guess that you should be below 139 for ideal metabolic function when it comes to the levels of deuterium in your body. So, it definitely did something that just natural lifestyle practices weren't doing.
Shawn: Wow, that's impressive.
Ben: Yeah. It was super interesting, but we could geek out on water and salt all day. There's so many things to geek out on all day, but there are things in your book that I think would be novel for people that they might not be familiar with that I really want to prioritize talking about. For example, you get in the book into how you think like mito is the next keto. Meaning, like, mitochondrial enhancement being really where a lot of the interest in health is shifting, which is related to what we talked about when it comes to minerals and water. A lot of that is important just in order to provide adequate electrons for the electron transport chain where the mitochondria are producing ATP.
But there are some other things that you talk about. For example, you mentioned glutathione as one of your top–you call it like a mitochondrial dysregulation supplements. And so, I'm curious just because a lot of people say glutathione is an orally bioavailable. And if not, what could you take to replete glutathione levels? And shouldn't everyone be taking glutathione? So, I'm curious if you could share with people if you were to say that glutathione is one of the best things you can be doing for your mitochondria, how would you recommend people optimize their glutathione levels?
Shawn: Yeah. That's a great question. And mitochondrial glutathione is really like the mainline of defense to protect the mitochondria against the redox environment so that you don't have dysfunction or cell death, and it also prevents impairment of the electron transport chain. The problem is, and I believe this, there are some studies of some companies selling just plain oral glutathione that say if you take enough, it works. It raises serum glutathione levels. But to me, you have to take pretty high doses, and the data is borderline sketchy to me. So, liposomal glutathione seems to be a better alternative. It is a tripeptide, which means it can get broken down into those free amino acids. And liposomal glutathione can taste funky and get very expensive.
I think one of the best ways to boost glutathione is just N-acetylcysteine. It's much cheaper. It actually is an acetyl group donor, which can help with acetylcholine and a number of functions in the body. Acetylation also helps with delivery to more tissues like across the blood-brain barrier. And it's an antioxidant itself, N-acetylcysteine is. So, I'm really a big fan of that versus like the questionable data around oral glutathione. Now, obviously, taking IV glutathione would be a very good way to raise it, and I'll probably bring that up with a number of compounds we'll discuss.
Ben: Or intramuscular.
Shawn: Exactly, exactly. But I would say NAC is probably the best way to do that.
Ben: And to clarify for people, when Shawn says liposomal, it means that you put the glutathione in a liposome and that stabilizes, it protects the amino acid basically by encapsulating it in this microscopic lipids fear, and then it can survive passage through the digestive system, and arguably have better bioavailability. And typically, these are like–usually, it's almost like a tincture or kind of like a gel-like texture that you would put into your mouth. And that's how I, when I do supplement with glutathione, tend to take it. I use one that's compounded with CoQ10 and PQQ. And it's actually called mitotherapy. The one I get is made by a company called AlmsBio, and it tastes like an orange creamsicle. My kids take it. They put a little bit of lactoferrin in there, which seems to stabilize the gut a little bit. And no one seems to work okay, but I have heard what you just pointed out that something like N-acetylcysteine can in many people be a better way to boost glutathione. And in terms of N-acetylcysteine from everything I've looked into, the one made by BioAdvantex, their PharmaNAC, that one's supposed to be a pretty good form of NAC. Have you looked into that one at all? It's like an effervescent tablet.
Shawn: No, I haven't heard of that brand, but I'm sure it's great.
Ben: Okay. Yeah. It's supposed to be like a super bioavailable form of NAC. And I don't take it just because I have a whole refrigerator full of the PQQ, CoQ10 glutathione blend, and I'm fine with that for now. But that PharmaNAC is supposed to be pretty good stuff. What do you like for N-acetylcysteine that you've tried for brands?
Ben: And there's a little bit of a rabbit hole and slightly related to what we talked about in our last podcast. When you talk about a brand like, say, Thorne or standard process, is it the fact that they're doing their own in-house manufacturing that sets those companies apart? Is it the fact that they've got what a lot of other supplement companies don't have, like, a whole bunch of $40,000 mass spec machines where they're testing everything? I mean, what is it that would make you comfortable with a larger company like that in terms of supplement brand recommendations?
Shawn: Yeah. It's not necessarily in-house manufacturing. There's a lot of companies that use contract manufacturers that are elite level. And in some ways, I think that's even better these days. At one point in time, that was true, like if you had in-house manufacturing, you might be doing things better. But the way these contract manufacturers are inspected and the way they're doing business at such a massive level now, and they're basically pharmaceutical or over the counter level at a lot of these places, they're going to do it better than you could do it in-house, like let someone specialize and do that.
But I think the biggest difference with Thorne or, like you said, Standard Process in some of these companies, is they're investing so much money in quality control, and they do a lot of testing. Like, for example, when I was working on a supplement, in particular, I was thinking of one with BioTrust, I did a multivitamin, I spent two years like actually working on this formula because there's all these nutrients and nutrient interactions that take place. I mean, first off, I had to qualify each nutrient, testing each one as a raw material. Then I was doing like blending at smaller levels to see what would happen with these nutrients. And I kept sending that out for testing, sending that out for testing, because there's all these nutrient interactions, all these things that were happening in blending where you'd have lower levels of some things.
And so, we had to do overages. And then, we did more advanced testing with things like stability work, accelerated in real-time stability to see what's happening over time. And so, all that work, it's a ton. And to make sure that it doesn't have the things in it that you don't want in it, adulteration, toxins, heavy metals, all these things, I mean, it just takes so much testing. Going back to that old podcast, I'm sure I talked about fairy dusting and proprietary blends, and all that stuff, which is super frustrating to me because not only is that sneaky in terms of not including high levels of the key ingredients that you want, but two, they don't have to test against it. When you don't actually list a dose of that ingredient, or like the standardization of that ingredient, you don't have to test against it. So, when someone's being straightforward and they're listing each ingredient out, listing the dose, the form, the standardization, the genus and species, the plant part, that's when you can start trusting a company. When a company has been around 10, 20 years, when they work with practitioners, I mean, these companies, they're certainly more expensive, but you're paying for that quality to get what's on the label, and then also not get what's not on the label.
Ben: Yeah. Kind of like you should look at your trail mix and make sure it doesn't say canola oil, or sunflower oil, or safflower oil on it. You should look at your supplement and make sure it doesn't say proprietary blend on it in most cases, for the reasons that you just talked about, this practice known as fairy dusting. One of the really interesting anecdote from your book–I remember folding over this page because I hadn't heard of this, and it made sense when you talked about it. But when you look at certain plants like ginseng, or Rhodiola, or say like an adaptogenic herb, when they actually study the efficacy of that, they're looking at the root of the plant, which is like more expensive than, say, like the stem, or the leaf, or the flower. But what companies can do is they could use the stem, or the leaf, or the flower, and say that that herb is present, but it's not the right part, it's not the root, it's not what's actually been studied. I wasn't even aware of that.
Shawn: Super frustrating. They do that all the time, especially for like the top 10 or 20 herbs where people are just looking for ginseng, or Rhodiola, or ginkgo, or whatever. And ginkgo has to be the leaf, ginseng has to be the root. There's different plant parts that have those key actives. That's why not only do you want to see the plant part, but you want to see what it's standardized for. Like ginseng might be ginsenoside A, or ginkgo might be the flavones, or whatever it is, like you want it to be standardized to something, and then you can go look it up on examine.com or wherever. And hopefully, that plant is legitimate. And that's where again, the quality control comes in, that they care like at Thorne, or Standard Process, or Pure Encapsulations, or whoever. They're not only going to have that herb at that level, they're going to have it standardized for the correct thing and have the correct plant part in there and everything is going to be clear and straightforward.
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There are other things that aren't necessarily plant-derived, but that are–I don't know if I'm using the right word, but almost like synthetic ingredients or ingredients that have been created by humans. And you were actually pretty well-known for patenting such molecules. Like two that come to mind that I guess are related to mitochondria, and more specifically energy, I think there are two of the most popular branded energy ingredients in the world right now besides caffeine or like 500 products, and I know you got a ton of studies behind them. Theacrine and methylliberine, also known as Dynamine, is the name for that one?
Ben: Yeah. And then, theacrine is also what theacrine's known as. I'm curious if you could explain to people how something like that is actually made. Like, how you actually discover that compound and its activity, and then figure out how to create it and put it into a supplement. And I'd love to also just hear a little bit more about those two in particular and what they do for people.
Shawn: Yeah. Amazing question, and super proud of that to be associated with theacrine and Dynamine. Like you said, they're just in tons and tons of fat burners, pre-workouts, energy drinks, et cetera, and it's been so exciting. I've been working with Dr. Hector Lopez and Dr. Tim Ziegenfuss for years on that. We patented these together, did a bunch of studies on these products, and they're in that methylxanthine family. So, think of caffeine, theobromine, theophylline. But we explored some of these other compounds that just weren't out on the market, and we wondered like, hey, did these compounds really have an effect on energy and focus like these other ones do?
And so, we started exploring lliberine, methylliberine, and threacrine, and seeing incredible results. We came out with Teacrine and theacrine first. And not only were we seeing enhanced energy and focus, we were also seeing things like pain reduction, reduce inflammation, both cerebrally and systemically. Interestingly, we're seeing stimulated NAD production, which gets into that mitochondria health that you were talking about. But what's really cool is it doesn't seem to have the habituation effect. So, like there's a physiological need that becomes established with caffeine, a dependence. Like literally, you'll see this with animal studies that like by the third day, the animal needed the caffeine just to get to baseline. It doesn't have that fast, slow, metabolizer difference with genetics, like caffeine does. So, it works more consistently. Some people say that they can have caffeine and go straight to bed, and some people have a little bit of caffeine in the morning and then can't sleep at night. There's high genetic variants there, but that doesn't seem to happen with Teacrine and Dynamine. And then, there's less adaptation effect. So, with caffeine, with continued use over time, we see decreased efficacy. But with Teacrine and Dynamine, that doesn't seem to happen.
Ben: Now, theacrine and Dynamine, do they have two separate mechanisms of action? Like, could you stack these two, or would you just choose one or the other if you wanted kind of a pick-me-up alternative to caffeine?
Shawn: They're somewhat similar in how they work. They're a little bit different, but the biggest difference is the half-life. And what we see is Teacrine tends to be more nootropic and a much longer half-life, and Dynamine is shorter half-life and more energetic. So, yeah. We're seeing a lot of people actually stack the two in different ratios. So, if you were going into a pre-workout, you might have much higher Dynamine, lower Teacrine ratio. And then, if you were in like a nootropic product, you would have higher Teacrine, lower Dynamine ratio. And then, we do see that they stack, well, similarly, with some of the ingredients that have been shown to have synergistic effect with caffeine like Alpha-GPC and L-theanine. In particular, Alpha-GPC really has like a true synergistic effect. I love that combination of Teacrine-Dynamine and Alpha-GPC.
Ben: Creatine, Dynamine, and Alpha-GPC. You know what's kind of interesting? And this is another total rabbit hole, but I've started to do it now. I have this device that–it's called an Infopathy generator and it's based on the concept of Infoceuticals. So, what it does is it'll take the oscillating molecular frequency of any molecule, like caffeine, or MDMA, or Swedish bitters, or anything like that. You put a glass of water on top of the frequency generator, and typically, it'll infuse the water for about two to four minutes. And then, you drink the water to see what effect that that molecule has on the body.
So, what I've started doing, like right now, I just wrote down this note about stacking Dynamine with theacrine and doing like Alpha-GPC. I can go into this little device and select those three, and then put the glass of water on top, and drink the water, and see if I notice any type of appreciable effect before actually going online and buying the actual supplement. I've noted the effects on the water are less than what I might get. Like if I use the caffeine molecule and I infuse a glass of water, it doesn't give me quite as much a pick-me-up as like a cup of coffee, but it's super interesting in that the water actually does give me like this caffeinated edge that it didn't before it was infused with that frequency. So, it's this whole different, almost like a Masaru Emoto, water carries information, kind of a little bit slightly more woo-woo when it comes to the world of supplementation, but I've been geeking out on it for the past three weeks and recently recorded a podcast on it that might have come out by the time this podcast you and I are having gets released. But I'll take information like that and then just go try it before I buy it, so to speak, and a glass of water.
Shawn: That's insane. I have never heard of that.
Ben: It's super cool. It's called Infopathy. They also sell a wearable where you can just do it straight to your wrist as well, if you want to do the wearable instead of the glass of water.
Shawn: Is that similar to the idea of Hapbee?
Ben: Well, the Hapbee, what they do with that, yeah, it is similar. So, the Hapbee is a wearable. It's like a large coil to magnetic coil, and they have about six different molecules they've studied for that, like caffeine, nicotine. I think MDMA is another. And you wear it, and what it does is it subjects your body to the same magnetic frequency, which is slightly different than the molecular oscillation frequency, but it's similar concept, right? You're using a device to deliver the same type of pharmaceutical, or pharmacological, or supplement effect as the actual substance ingestion itself. And again, the main thing I've noticed is you get a similar effect, but it's downregulated just slightly. I think that you do lose a little bit by not consuming orally, or injection, or via IV, or whatever, the actual compound. But it's just fascinating how much you can get with just pure energy and frequency versus consumption. I guess it's going to put guys like you and me in the supplements industry out of business. I don't know.
Ben: But yeah, it's super interesting. So, by the way, theacrine and Dynamine, I didn't quite understand your response to this, but are those being synthesized in a lab, or do you have like a certain plant derivative that those are extracted from?
Shawn: Right now, it's full synthetic and it's GMP, and informed choice tested for sport, and all that, and we have like 20 studies, full safety studies on it. It's super clean, works well. And again, tested athletes can use it, but it is synthetic in the way it's produced. It's just too expensive to fully extract, but it does occur naturally in different tea leaves, and cacao, and things like that.
Ben: Okay. Alright, got it. So, that energy stack, one more time just so people can write it down, it was three compounds. You said theacrine, Dynamine–
Shawn: And Alpha-GPC.
Ben: And Alpha-GPC. Okay, cool. Alpha-GPC is cool because I find that if you combine that with just about any nootropic, it's almost like giving the nootropic extra gasoline because you're going to turn over your choline stores more quickly whenever your brain is working more quickly.
Shawn: A hundred percent.
Ben: So, yeah. And you can of course just consume like egg yolk or walnut instead of using acetylcholine substance. But if, let's say you're doing stuff like you are right now and you're fasting and you want the energy uptake, then you could just take an Alpha-GPC supplement with something like that, and it's a cool way to go.
Okay. So, that was one question I had for you about two fringe-ish supplements. There was another one that I wanted to ask you about because your name came up in a recent podcast interview that I did with Lucas Aoun of Ergogenic Health. And we were talking about an exercise mimetic that seems to be almost like the elusive exercise in a bottle. And there are SARMs that people experiment with, probably like Cardarine would be one popular one, the GW-5015 that people will take to almost like get the effects of exercise, particularly the mitochondrial response and the fat loss response with less exercise. [00:44:48] _____ carnitine would be a little bit more of an old-school approach, but it seems like a lot of people now are starting to talk about this, L-Baiba as an exercise mimetic. Can you explain to people what that is and how it works?
Shawn: Yeah. It's an amino acid. It's a beta-aminoisobutyric acid, L-Baiba. So, B-A-I-B-A. MitoBurn is the branded name for it. But exactly, it is an exercise mimetic. Meaning, it's the signal for intense exercise. And so, when your body is intensely exercising, you break down some of the BCAA muscle pool for those amino acids to use as a substrate, as a fuel for your workout. And L-Valine, in particular, is one of the ones that ends up converting into this L-Baiba. And then, when L-Baiba is seen, it's literally kind of like the Holy Grail, the signal for exercise that your body is intensely exercising.
So, almost all the things associated with intense exercise, like increased BDNF, neuroplasticity, increased bone mineral density, increased glucose tolerance and glycogen storage, improved muscle mass, hypertrophy, decreased fat mass, and improved fatty acid utilization, improved brown adipose tissue activation, all these things that you see are enhanced when Baiba levels are higher in the plasma. And so, I've been working on a lot of research to show that oral Baiba, when consumed, does increase plasma Baiba. And we have now shown that in both animal and human studies. So, it's really cool. This literally is like one of the Holy Grails, so to speak. If you can think about–we can't say because the FDA can't just say exercise in a bottle and you don't need to work out or eat right because the FDA says with good exercise and diet. I mean, a way to think about this is like an exercise augmentor. So, basically, you're enhancing the–like getting more out of every rep out of every step when you're using this compound to elevate your already endogenous Baiba levels.
Ben: Okay, got it. Now, with Baiba, one of the first times I came across that was when I was looking into things that could upregulate white adipose tissue to the more metabolically active brown adipose tissue because I was researching a podcast. I was recording on things you could take before cold thermogenesis to enhance the effects, particularly the fat conversion effects. And Baiba popped up for that as well, like being something that could drive brown fat-like development of white fat as almost like a thermogenic agent.
Shawn: Yeah, exactly. And that increases oxidation of, yeah, the white adipose tissue. It's really the dream, like everyone–I'm sure you talked about it plenty of times on your show, is either increasing number of brown adipose tissue cells, increasing the activity of those bat cells, or trying to somehow beige, meaning, take white adipose tissue to more of a brown adipose tissue direction. The reason brown adipose tissue is brown is because it's mitochondrial dense. And there's a fair amount of iron in the mitochondria. So, that's like the hemoglobin high in iron. So, like the browning is meaning it's more mitochondrial dense.
Shawn: And so, this is literally–like brown adipose tissue, you only have about six to seven ounces on your body. So, about 98% of your body fat is white adipose tissue. But brown adipose tissue burns fat like nothing else. It's super thermogenic. And actually, we have it on our bodies so that–like, for example, with babies, they can't shiver until about six to nine months to create heat thermogenesis. So, you have brown adipose tissue on you for that reason. And then in particular, it's around your collarbone. That's because that's your core, and it's so important to keep heat near your core in case like your arms or legs are cut off or chewed off by an animal, or whatever, throughout history.
So, this is like a really interesting thing. Like, we thought that after you're not a baby, you don't need brown adipose tissue anymore. But now, we're looking at it as like, wait, this might be one of the big deals of why some people can eat whatever they want and not put on weight. Maybe it's because of brown adipose tissue. And not only they have more, but it's more active. And yes, you're right, like cold thermogenesis jumping in, doing cold plunges and cryo, and also this Baiba. And then, there's another ingredient I've worked on called Grains of Paradise that does that as well.
Ben: Oh, yeah. I actually wanted to ask you about Grains of Paradise, so I'm glad you brought that up because you talked about that in the exercise section of the book. Can you explain that one to people? It's got a great name, by the way.
Shawn: That's the real name of it. But, it's actually a type of pepper. And, that's no surprise. It works on that vanillin receptors similar to capsaicin and ginger and some of those compounds. And, it tastes kind of gingery. It's in a Sam Adams beer. You can get it as a spice that you can add to food.
But, the amazing thing is that it literally enhances metabolism without a stimulant effect. 40 milligrams of grains of paradise extract that's correctly made to the study that has the 6-paradol and the other compounds in it. Just 40 milligrams increase thermogenesis and caloric expenditure of around 100 calories a day, and just one dose of 40 milligrams.
So, we don't even know if you take 80 milligrams, what happens; 80 milligrams twice a day, what happens. So, that's something that we're exploring right now, that it really increases caloric expenditure and upregulates brown adipose tissue activity with really no downside. It's not a stimulant. You might get a little bit of a gingery or peppery burn if you take a higher dose. Some people that have a tendency to have reflux might not like it. But, if you take it with a meal, you could ameliorate that. But, yeah, a fascinating compound.
Ben: And, this would be the same grains of paradise that you could just buy on Amazon as a spice, that you could put in pepper grinder?
Ben: Called Guinea pepper, right?
Shawn: Yeah, exactly. But, ideally, it has these four compounds, the 6-paradol in particular standardized to a certain level in this grains of paradise extract that was used in the study and that I've been working with. But, I still think using the spice is pretty awesome because it tastes good and you are getting some biological benefit.
Ben: Got it. It's kind of interesting because I think that one thing we should always make people aware of so that we don't get labeled as, I guess, the lazy biohackers who pill pop their way into getting fit, is that I would never argue that any of this stuff replaces blood, sweat, tears, and shivering in a really cold ice bath. It's like the icing on the cake. But, let's say that, even if it was just as good and you didn't have to exercise at all and you didn't have to get in a cold bath at all, there is a great deal of–I would imagine you agree with me, Shawn–character development, fortitude, mental endurance, perseverance, a lot of positive character traits that are derived from taking the hard road versus the easy road.
Shawn: That's my through line in the book, is being more resilient and being harder to kill. We are as easy to kill as we've ever been in history. Man, if think about how thermically controlled we are from 68 to 72 degrees that we can't deal with outside stress. We have a very poor allostatic load, that stress bucket.
And, if you were to look at a bell curve of stress, where we could have eustress, which “E-U-stress,” a positive stress, and then, on the other side of that bell curve, we have distress where it's too much stress and it's counterproductive, it's no longer or hormetic effect. But, in that sweet spot in the middle is the Goldilocks zone, where we're getting plenty of stress, where we're able to adapt from it, it's a hormetic stressor, and we're growing the size of our stress bucket, the allostatic load. That bucket can actually grow. And, we can become harder to kill.
And, that is something that we've gotten away from, from doing the extended fasting, from doing the hot and cold and doing ketogenic diets or all these things that definitely are biohacks in our hormetic stressors that make us stronger. And, a great example of that is actually polyphenols with them being xenohormetics. The higher the stress to those certain plants, the higher the polyphenol count. It's fascinating.
Ben: It is pretty cool, and it reminds me of a poster that I have in my office I'm looking at right now, because I turned 40 in December.
Shawn: Oh, [00:54:35] _____.
Ben: So, I had to have some kind of a goal for my 40th birthday. And so, it's just a one 8.5 by 11 sheet. At the bottom of it is a quote from Mark Rippetoe that says, “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.” And then, it has what I want to be able to wake up and do on my 40th birthday.
And, it is basically I want to wake up because I had to go with the number “4.” I want to wake up on the morning of my 40th birthday and successfully complete in a 40-hour fasted state, meaning I start 40 hours before my birthday party fasting. And, I want to do two to three rounds of Wim Hof, leading up to a four-minute breath-hold. So, I want a four-minute ecstatic breath-hold. I want one 40kg kettlebell Turkish get-up per side. And, I'll be fasted on the morning in my 40th. Recover after that, be able to do a four-minute dead hang, just hanging from a bar for four minutes. Recover after that, be able to do a 400-meter farmer's walk with that same 40kg kettlebell, but one in each hand. And then, finish up with a four-minute ice bath at 32 degrees.
And, that's my goal that's going to keep me working on my grip, my strength, my endurance, my breath, and my cold tolerance during this year. Because I always had to have some on the schedule outside, just kind of digress and, whatever, go sit in the sauna and read magazines. And so, that “harder to kill” is definitely sitting in front of me and I stare at it every morning when I walk into my office to remind me to get out there and do the hard thing, so to speak.
Shawn: That's badass.
Ben: So, anybody who's turning 40 this year, you can only do it when turn 40, because obviously, everything is built around number “4.” If you're 50, you got your work cut out for you.
Shawn: Oh, God.
Ben: Because I guess everything would–I don't know, five-minute breath-hold, five-minute dead hang. I'll choose something else for the 50th. Alright, cool. But, we digress. There are some other cool supplements and compounds that you talk about in the book.
Let's shift to blood sugar control, because I recently did a podcast that people are really digging on continuous blood glucose monitoring. I interviewed the guy, Josh Clemente from Levels Health. We geeked out on all these different ways to stabilize blood glucose and lower daily glycemic variability. And, we talked about a few things, like berberine, for example, and metformin. We talked about bitter melon. We talked about a lot of compounds people might be familiar with for controlling blood glucose.
But, there's one that you talk about in the book. I think this one briefly came over my podcast with Lucas, too. But, it's a different form of berberine. Can you explain this one to people?
Shawn: Yeah, it's dihydroberberine. And, it's like actually when you consume berberine at the gut level, you convert it into dihydroberberine. So, this is a more active form. And then, actually, at the plasma level, you convert it back to berberine.
But, berberine has been shown head-to-head as a glucose disposal agent to be better than metformin. In a number of ways, it's equivalent on lowering blood glucose, improving insulin sensitivity. But, it was better on inflammation and lipids and a number of factors than metformin was. And, metformin is one of the ultimate anti-aging drugs, anti-glycation end product drugs that has been shown to extend life, improve [00:57:54] _____activity, protect telomere length, etc., etc.
So, dihydroberberine is the optimized form. And, what we're seeing is it's about five times more bioavailable than berberine, and it lasts about twice as long, about eight hours versus four hours. So, it's really cool. And then, you also don't get the GI distress that you typically get with both metformin and berberine, because again, it's not having to convert at the gut level.
So, it's really cool and it works on that AMPK, AMP kinase level. But, we're seeing that, not only is it anti-aging working on glycation end products and inflammation and, ultimately, oxidation, etc., but also, it seems to be a mitochondrial hormetic that has a little bit of that hormetic stress that we were talking about before to the mitochondria in kind of that Goldilocks zone way, where it's a positive stressor and improving mitochondrial function. So, this is actually my number one ingredient that I recommend for anti-aging.
Ben: And, do you see any type of almost like a hypoglycemic episode if it's that powerful? Do you note that? Because I've run into this before with even bitter melon, full disclosure. I think you know this. At Kion, our main blood sugar control compound is bitter melon with a chromium extract in it.
And, I've found that if I take that on an empty stomach pre-exercise, I'll go hypoglycemic during an exercise session. It's great if I'm going to punish some adjusted sourdough bread or have a glass of wine. But, I have to be careful when I take something like that. I'm curious if dihydroberberine is this powerful, do you note that, sometimes, blood glucose can almost drop too low?
Shawn: So, it's really interesting, and I don't have a blanket answer to that. We've performed several studies now. We have people at are hyper-responders to it in terms of it seems to really improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose greater than the rest of the population. And then, some people that are kind of more normally responding to it. And, there's actually a pretty big bio-individual difference.
So, it's interesting. I would say, maybe, a quarter of people might respond that way, and you just have to kind of test around with it with the dose. But, most people don't go hypoglycemic. I don't.
But, what's amazing with it–Here's an example of just berberine when I was working on a product called IC-5 of BioTrust. Before I worked on dihydroberberine, this was just regular berberine, I think, sulfate or hydrochloride. I can't remember. But, it was 500 milligrams, the typical dose. And, I did a study with myself using a glucometer, and I did this one week apart. I was ketogenic. And, I decided to make my carbohydrate challenge, similar to doing a dextrose load in a hospital with 75 grams of dextrose.
But, I was going to have more fun. I did, I think, three double-stuffed Oreos and two frosted Pop-Tarts. So, that was my carbohydrate challenge. Not very healthy, but I thought it would be fun.
Ben: Tasty. Actually, literally, it just remind me you could do the, what they're calling the tasty pastries instead of the Pop-Tarts, those are like a newfangled healthy version of a Pop-Tart healthy-ish version.
Shawn: Healthy-ish, yeah. But, anyway, one week I took the berberine with it as an intervention, and one week I did not. And, I tested everything. And, my baseline was between 60 and 70 both times from my blood glucose. And, when I did not take the berberine, two hours I was at 199. I guess I was a little bit insulin-resistant from being pretty strict keto. Yeah, I was at two hours in 199. And, I don't even know when I was coming back down.
And then, the next week, when I did the berberine with it, the same challenge, if you will, I never got above 100. And, at one hour, I was already coming back down.
Shawn: And, I've had friends staying ketosis that have had a burger and fries. It's crazy. And, if you're not using it to deflect the cheat, let's say, if you want to use that word, it also can increase your level of ketosis just in and of itself. So, you'll get deeper into ketosis by using the dihydroberberine.
Ben: Got it. Now, of course, one thing that can happen if you do have a hypoglycemic episode that I've found. It's interesting because I can maintain normal energy levels, yet this particular compound seems to even drive me deeper into a state of hypoglycemia based on my blood glucose testing. And, that would be exogenous ketones, like a shot of the HVMN or the Ketone Aid, ketone esters, or any of these so-called beta-hydroxybutyrate liquid supplements that, even if I'm hypoglycemic, it seems that if I have high levels of ketones, I can still function pretty dang well. And, they honestly seem to even lower blood glucose, like I mentioned even more.
But, I know you have this patent pending on a different form of BHB, and I wanted to ask you about that. What's going on in terms of your keto research as far as exogenous ketones?
Shawn: We have a patent around the active isomer, the DBHB, the RBHB for performance. And, it's fascinating. It's about two to three times–You would expect an active isomer to be twice as good as a mixed isomer. So, think DLBHB or RSBHB, it depends how you want to use nomenclature. But, those are mixed isomers. So, the active isomer, the biologically active form, is the RBHB, also called DBHB.
So, what happens there is it's about two to three times more active. And, we see that with how it works on a glucometer that can look at ketone levels when you consume it. And, even more interesting is the salts really matter, too. And, this was unexpected to us that the calcium form is actually the least effective. It seems to almost have some buffering effect.
Going back to what we were talking about at the top of the show, the sodium form actually has, by far and away, the best impact on increasing plasma BHB levels, which is fascinating. It's about 30% better. So, really, really interesting.
And then, we've actually worked on a free acid form as well, a BHB that we have. And then, we're working on poly-BHB as well, where BHB is just bound to itself. So, we have a variety of compounds that we've worked on, including amino acid-bound ones, to the ketogenic amino acids, like lysine and leucine. So, working on a lot of things, but the active isomer is one thing that we have and are proud to have in our arsenal because one of the downsides to taking exogenous ketones is that you have such a heavy mineral load, and it causes some GI distress, and you can get too much of these minerals.
So, when you're taking the mixed isomer, you have to take two to three times as much. And then, when you're taking more of the calcium or some of these less optimal forms, you have to take more. And then, of course, we've actually solved that all the way around by doing the free acid form where you're not getting any of those, but it's a little less stable. And, that's something we've been working on.
Ben: Is that consumed also as a liquid? Or, would that be a powder or capsule?
Shawn: They're all powders.
Ben: Interesting. How's the taste?
Shawn: Salty. When you have all the different BHB minerals, they're pretty salty. I think calcium gets used a lot because it's kind of the most benign, not surprisingly. And, obviously, the magnesium and, especially, the sodium have a little bit more of a salty or metallic taste. And then, the free acid is acidic-ish tasting. So, that's something that you have to control for, along with its stability.
So, there's more work to be done there. It's not all easy, but that's where something like the amino acid combination could be good, like the BHB lysine or leucine.
Ben: Now, medium-chain triglyceride coadministration with ketones or even in the absence of ketones but the presence of, say, carbohydrate mitigation seems to also drive ketone production utilization pretty well. And, I'm curious because you have a section in the book where you talk about MCTs, how all MCTs are created equal and there are certain forms of medium-chain triglycerides you prefer. For the purposes, specifically, of stabilizing energy in a low carbohydrate scenario or something that one would take along with ketones, what type of MCT do you take or do you prefer?
Shawn: Definitely, without a doubt, the best one that we've seen with MCTs, they're C8, C10, C12, these different carbon length chains for these fatty acids, we see that the caprylic acid, the C8, the shortest one, is actually the best one at being the most ketogenic. The C10 is less effective, and C12, not really driving that at all. Lauric acid is actually really great as a virucidal and anti-bacterial, and really boosting the immune system. So, I actually love something called monolaurin when it comes to the immune system. But, C8 is the potent one, is the one that you want to get when it comes to increasing ketones. So, yeah, mixing the two of those, which there's actually patent around with Dr. Dom D'Agostino and others, mixing the two of those is ideal if you were to mix C8 MCTs, and then the ketone salts, in general, like the active isomer, that sodium one that I was talking about.
Ben: And so, if you were to supplement with a C8 liquid, would you get a systemic ketosis effect? Or, is that primarily just going to provide bioavailable ketones for the brain, which is really, I think, one of the top reasons people kind of put it in their coffee right now?
Shawn: Yeah, it's both. It's definitely both. And, I love that systemic and cerebral effect that you get. It is a fuel. It is a fuel source, but also you're correct, definitely for the brain. That's probably where you're seeing the most benefit.
Ben: Got it. I was really hoping you just say to cook up some bacon and coconut oil, but I'll go shove over the money for C8, I guess. Not quite as tasty, but I'll take one for the team.
So, there's one other compound that I think has caught a lot of attention of late that I'd be remiss not to ask you about, because it kind of falls into the anti-aging category. And, that would be NAD. And, I know that you've worked a little bit on NMN, the nicotinamide–was it nicotinamide mononucleotide?
Ben: Version of like a precursor to NAD to increase NAD levels. And, of course, there are folks like ChromaDex who heavily promote the nicotinamide riboside, the NR version. And, many people just can't afford, they don't have the time to go do what I think is the best way to get NAD, which would be just intravenous administration, or arguably, even subcutaneous injection. But, you got to be working with a doctor to get that kind of stuff. So, I'm curious, if you were to pick your poison when it comes to getting the NAD levels elevated, what method you would choose, based off the research that you've done, and what this form of NMN is that you're working on.
Shawn: I would say NMN is definitely better than NR nicotinamide riboside. It's more direct in the pathway. And, when we look at the data, NR is really kind of underperformed than fairly equivocal at best. And, NMN is definitely more exciting on that front of raising NAD.
Most of the data is animal data, unfortunately, at this point, because there isn't the patents around it like there is the nicotinamide riboside. You do hear a lot about NMN with David Sinclair, for sure, which is brilliant, dude. But, I agree that, obviously, IV NAD is best, but it sucks to feel crappy for three hours. And, intranasal NAD is actually really interesting. That's something I've wanted to look into, but it's hard to judge because you don't know how much NAD is in each spray. So, there's going to be wide variance.
Ben: And, just based on the nasal passages, and whether you actually kind of sniff properly when you do it, it's kind of like Rapé, the Amazonian nicotine-based alkaloid. If you snort Rapé, you can get a really good almost clarity-inducing high from that for a few hours afterwards. If you resist continual sniffing afterwards, which is very difficult to do when you have that post-nasal drip going on. But, if you just breathe your mouth for a little while afterwards, it kind of settles in there, so to speak.
And so, proper intranasal administration would involve timing, the plunging of the intranasal delivery device, at the same time as with one nostril plug, you breathe in. And then, you do it quickly to the other nostril. And then, you just avoid sniffing and sniffing and sniffing after that. I think many people just administer intranasal supplements incorrectly.
Shawn: Agreed. It's funny that you brought that up, because right before this show, I'm working with Dr. Daniel Stickler to appear on, and I've been doing the oxytocin and intranasal ketamine. And, I did for that for that show.
Yeah, NMN needs to be stabilized. There are some issues with its stability, so you definitely want a quality version of NMN. And then, it's looking like a lot of people are underdosing it. If you extrapolate the animal data, it looks like you need somewhere in the area of, maybe, 1 to 1 1/2 grams a day. And, a lot of people are getting 100 or 200 milligrams or something like that because it's expensive.
So, getting a quality one, getting the right dose, that's important. And then, on the other side of this, you want CD38 inhibition, NADase inhibition. I was talking about the polyphenols before, which I'd love, and you see polyphenols represented across all the Blue Zones, trans-resveratrol with red wine and pterostilbene and blueberries. And, you've talked about this stuff before. I've heard you talk about fisetin from strawberries. I think you use that strawberry powder.
Ben: Yeah, in my smoothie.
Shawn: It kind of comes out at the top of the heap in a study, where they looked at 10 different polyphenols. But, what's really interesting is, in those raised NAD levels. But, what's interesting is, specifically, because as we age, we make less NAD. But then, we also catabolize NAD faster. And so, one thing that you want to do is inhibit that CD38 that NADase, so that more NAD hangs around longer. So, you want to make more and you want to inhibit the NADase. So, it's a two-sided approach.
And, it looks like apigenin, or at least an optimized quercetin would both do that of the polyphenol. So, that would be kind of a double whammy. Or, maybe, the triple whammy is to take fisetin, to take NMN, and then to take apigenin. That would kind of be my ultimate stack. And then, like you were talking about before, adding in CoQ10 and PQQ as well would be kind of the ultimate mitochondrial health stack.
Ben: That's funny. I just, literally, this week published an article by Dr. John Lieurance on a protocol that he's developed, called Mito Fast. And, the way that you do the Mito Fast is you basically load with NAD for two days using these high-dose NAD suppositories that he has. Although, he also has an option for a liposomal administration. And then, as soon as you load up, you fast for two days. You do a 48-hour water-only fast. And, he has a couple of compounds. It's called Lucitol. It's just basically like a brain support compound that you take. And, it's got some senolytics in it to clean up senescent cells. And then, on the final two days, it's actually a bunch of flavonoids, like fisetin, that you take to upregulate that NAD absorption, almost like post-fast.
And so, it's really interesting. He has kind of a similar protocol. So, it's a little bit more involved than what I just described in 30 seconds. But, I'll link to that article in the shownotes because it's actually super interesting. It's basically combining fasting with almost an NAD pulse followed by flavonoids with kind of an in-between cycle of brain supporting compounds and senescent cell clearance. So, it's kind of cool. So, it's right along those same lines.
Shawn: Very cool. I've actually been doing the–what is it? Iontophoresis NAD patches, the electrical. It kind of gives you a little electrified feeling on your skin for an hour or two.
Ben: I like those, but I use them on a limited basis because of the skin irritation issues. Because NAD, it's a really great anti-inflammatory and cellular protectant for something like long-haul airline travel. So, I'll slap–If I'm going to international travel, which I haven't been doing lately, but back when I was doing a lot more of this, I would just slap one of those 8 to 12-hour high-dose NAD delivery patches to my inner thigh, and just get NAD slow-blood into my system during the entire flight, and usually take a shot of ketones before and after a whole bunch of magnesium. And, those are my three top things to limit a lot of the radiation inflammatory damage from flying. But, the problem with using the patches every day is the skin irritation. I just can't get past it.
Shawn: No, agreed, it's a weird feeling. Actually, one thing I did just last week in Dr. Stickler's office was the transcranial electrostimulation, looking at the biofeedback with my breath and trying to be less hypocapnic and all that kind of stuff. And, we went up pretty high, and it was so intense on my scalp that I was actually tasting metallic coming out of my tongue. I was like, “Wow, this is really intense.” It literally feels like you're sticking your finger in a socket, and then you're trying to breathe slow inhalation-exhalation and follow this ball on the screen. It's an intense protocol. I don't know if you've ever done that.
Ben: No, I have not done that one, yet, but that sounds pretty interesting. I have to add that to my list of fringe things to try after I shock my water with Theacrine and Dynamine and try some of these tasty, tasty salts you're talking about. There's so much explosive diarrhea on the horizon. It's not even funny, all this explosive diarrhea potential.
Well, this book, it's kind of one of those books that, again, we could talk for hours and hours about. But, I would encourage people just pick it up because it is jam-packed, and again, one of my favorite parts like I was telling you before we started recording, Shawn, was your Formulator's Corner, where you really showcase a lot of your knowledge on many of the type of things that we got a chance to geek out on for the past hour or so, but all within the book and kind of spread throughout, with really good handy practical. I don't want to make people think they got to have a degree in biochemistry to get through this thing. It's written for the layperson but has a lot of this kind of cool little-known fringe stuff in it, too.
So, I think you did great job on the book. And, I mentioned the book's title briefly at the beginning of the show, but it's called, “The ENERGY Formula: Six Life Changing Ingredients to Unleash Your Limitless Potential.” I'll link to it, along with everything else that Shawn and I discussed, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/energyformula. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/energyformula. And, in the meantime, Shawn, I think that this, paired with the first podcast we did about five years ago, is like a master's degree in Nutritional Supplementation. So, maybe, not quite a master's degree, but certainly an education, a good education. So, you're always a wealth of knowledge when I talk with you, and I appreciate what you do, man.
Shawn: Thank you so much, Ben. I really appreciate it. And, the original podcast, it's funny. I get people writing me or emailing me that are still listening to it. It's kind of, like you said, a masterclass to get started on how to create a supplement company and do it the right way, by looking at all the ways that people are doing it wrong and all the red flags we discussed. So, yeah, that was a fun episode.
Ben: We established a few things. Don't fairy-dust, no proprietary formulas, and talk to Shawn, if you want the insider's knowledge. He's the man. So, anyways, though, like I mentioned everybody, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/energyformula for all the shownotes. And, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield, along with the great, Shawn Wells, signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, 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.
If there's anything people say they want more of these days…it's energy.
The world around us continually requires more from us while we give less and less thought to our long-term health. This distracted and overwhelmed mindset has landed us squarely in survival mode, depriving us of the necessary steps to create lasting, sustained energy. The truth is most of us are so exhausted and don't know how to find the energy to live our best lives.
My friend Shawn Wells just put the finishing touches on his new book The ENERGY Formula: Six Life Changing Ingredients to Unleash Your Limitless Potential…
…which covers keto, Paleo, biohacking, stoicism, supplements, CBD, nootropics, MCTs, infrared saunas, cold plunges, how to create a sleep fortress, circadian rhythm, and much more. With about 60 full-color diagrams and over 100 scientific citations, Shawn gives you the knowledge you will not find anywhere else, including “Formulator's Corners” in every chapter that cover doses, brands, and forms of supplements you need to be taking as well as “Resource Hacks” that tell you the products, devices, apps, and more to use.
Developed by biochemist, dietitian, sports nutritionist, and formulation scientist Shawn Wells after surviving a series of torturous health battles, this pivotal and groundbreaking book is the product of meticulous and persistent research to find solutions to his personal and painful experiences—paired with two decades of legitimate clinical and scientific expertise.
Shawn previously joined me on the podcast episode “The Nitty-Gritty Underground World of Supplement Ingredients, Sports Nutrition Frankenfuels, Illegally Laced Compounds & More.,” and he's been studying up on plenty more since that show, so prepare for a wild ride on today's podcast.
Shawn, who is an MPH, LDN, RD, CISSN, FISSN, is a leading nutritional biochemist and expert on health optimization. He has formulated over 500 supplements, foods, beverages, and cosmeceuticals, has patented 10 novel ingredients, and is now known as the Ingredientologist—the scientist of ingredients.
Formerly a chief clinical dietitian with over a decade of clinical experience, he has counseled thousands of people on natural health solutions such as keto, paleo, fasting, and supplements. He has also personally overcome various health issues including Epstein-Barr virus, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, insomnia, obesity, and a pituitary tumor. As a world-renowned thought leader on mitochondrial health, he has been paid to speak on five different continents. His insights have been prominently featured in documentaries, nationally syndicated radio programs, and regularly on morning television.
Shawn's expertise can help any health-conscious individual to better manage stress and experience higher performance and more energy through utilizing his practical research-backed solutions.
During this discussion, you'll discover:
-What Shawn had for breakfast the day of the interview…7:11
- He was 40 hours into a 72-hour fast
- 36 to 48 hours into the fast is when he starts to feel amazing
- Piquefasting tea
- Redmond Real Sea Salt
- Redmond Re-Lyte Electrolyte Drink Mix
- Hyponatremia, and why slight dehydration isn't a bad thing for performance…9:40
- Hyponatremia: not enough sodium in the blood
- Athletes are not only more hyponatremic than dehydrated, but usually both
- Electrolyte formulas are fine, but more salt is lost while sweating
- Keto dieters tend to be hyponatremic
- Hunger and headaches may be a sign of hyponatremia rather than a lack of water
- Redmond Real Salt (contains trace minerals, family-oriented company)
- Real salt tested low in contamination (no anti-humectant added to dry out the salt)
- Celtic Sea Salt(recommended by Robert Slovak)
- Ben's morning hydration regimen:
- BGF podcasts on deuterium depleted water
- Deuterium Demystified: Everything You Need To Know About Deuterium Depleted Water (DDW), How To Lower Deuterium & Much More, With Dr. Ann Cooper And Dr. Que Collins.
- Water & Water Filtration: Everything You Need To Know About Water Filters, Alkaline Water, Structured Water, Hydrogen-Rich Water, Deuterium-Depleted Water & Much More, With Robert Slovak.
- Why The War On Cancer Has Failed & What You Can Do About It: Mistletoe, NAD, Deuterium Depleted Water, Melatonin, Gerson Therapy & Beyond, With Dr. Thomas Cowan
- Vape Pens, Hair Growth Serums, Fixing The Pineal Gland & C60 (The Next Great Longevity Molecule), With Ian Mitchell.
- H2Bevhydrogen water in a can (use code BEN to save 10%)
- Avoid glyphosate like the plague (Roundup)
-Optimizing glutathione levels for optimal mitochondria…21:35
- Mitochondrial glutathione is the main line of defense against cell death; prevents impairment of the electron transport chain
- N-Acetylcysteine(NAC) is one of the best ways to boost glutathione
- AlmsBio Mitotherapy, with PQQ and COQ10 (use code BENGREENFIELD10 to save 10%)
- Bioadvantex's PharmaNAC
- Thorne NAC(what Shawn uses)
-The criteria by which Shawn evaluates a supplement brand…25:30
- Contract manufacturing is in some ways better than in-house
- Thorne, Standard Process, Pure Encapsulationsinvest heavily in quality control
- BioTrustspent 2 years working on a formula with Shawn
- The Nitty-Gritty Underground World of Supplement Ingredients, Sports Nutrition Frankenfuels, Illegally Laced Compounds & More, With Shawn Wells.
- You get what's on the label, and you don't get what's not on the label
- A little bit more pricey, but you're paying for that quality
- Beware of vegetable oils or “proprietary blends”
- Companies use the leaf or stem in their product when they should be using the root
- Gingko has to be the leaf; ginseng has to be the root
-How Shawn discovered two substances and made them into supplement form…35:45
- Theacrineand Dynamine™
- Worked with Dr. Hector Lopez and Dr. Tim Ziegenfuss
- Methylliberine (Dynamine™)
- In the methylxanthine family(of which caffeine is a part)
- Enhanced energy and focus
- Pain reduction
- Stimulated NAD production
- No habituation effect as you find in caffeine
- Less adaptation effect
- Biggest difference is the half-life
- Infopathygenerator (use code BENG10 for 10% off) (Ben's podcast with Anton Federenko will be published on February 27)
- Theacrineand Dynamine™ are full synthetic (GMP and informed-choice tested for sports – tested athletes can use it); natural extraction is cost-prohibitive, but it does occur naturally in tea leaves and cacao
- Shawn's energy stack:
-The exercise augmenter that has been called “exercise in a bottle”…44:15
- Advanced Smart Drugs & Nootropics You’ve Never Heard Of, Rare Japanese Seaweed For Sleep Enhancement, The Most Powerful Form Of Vitamin B1 That Exists & Much More! With Lucas Aoun.
- β-aminoisobutyric Acid – L-Baibais an exercise mimetic (exercise augmenter)
- Positive things associated with exercise are enhanced when L-Baiba levels are increased in plasma
- Brown adipose tissue is brown because of the amount of iron; it's more mitochondrially dense (only 2% or so in your body); burns fat like nothing else
- Babies can't shiver until about 6-9 months to create heat thermogenesis; we have brown adipose tissue for that reason
- It is around your collarbone because that's your core; it's important to keep heat near your core
- More brown adipose tissue may be a factor in one's metabolism
-Grains of paradise…49:55
- Grains of paradiseis a type of pepper, gingery taste; similar to capsaicin and ginger
- Enhances metabolism without a stimulant effect
- 40mg increased thermogenesis and caloric expenditure of around 100 calories a day
-Ben's super easy goals for his upcoming 40th birthday…52:15
- Humans are the easiest to kill in all of history
- Goldilocks zone – just the right amount of hormetic stressors
- Polyphenols are xenohormetics to plants
- “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people—and more useful in general.”
- Ben's 40th birthday activity: complete in a 40 hour fasted state:
-A different form of berberine that is used to control blood glucose levels…56:30
- A Rocket Scientist Homeschooler’s Insider Blood Glucose Monitoring Secrets, The Best Way To Use A Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), Blood Sugar Biohacking Tips & Much More, with Josh Clemente of Levels Health
- Consuming berberine at the gut level converts it to dihydroberberine; at the plasma level it is converted back to berberine
- Berberineis a glucose disposal agent
- Dihydroberberineis Shawn's number 1 recommended anti-aging ingredient
- 5x more bioavailable than berberine, and lasts around twice as long
- Doesn't give you GI distress that you get berberine
- Mitochondrial hormetic
-Shawn's new formula for BHB and thoughts on exogenous ketones…1:03:30
- HVMNketone ester
- Ketone Aid
- Patent on active isomer RBHB (aka DBHB)
- Exogenous ketones can carry excess minerals; causes some GI distress
- All in powder form, very salty in taste
-Preferred medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) to go with ketones…1:07:00
- Caprylic acid(C8) is best for increasing ketones
- Lauric acid is great as a virucidal and anti-bacterial; monolaurinfor the immune system
- Dom D'Agostino has a patent pending (ketone + C8)
-The best way to raise NAD levels…1:09:20
- NMN(use code GREENFIELD10 to save 10%) is better than NR
- Ben Greenfield Interviews Dr. David Sinclair About Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don’t Have To.
- Intranasal supplements(use code BEN to save 5%) are often administered incorrectly
- Getting a quality NMNand the correct amount
- Fisetin, NMN, apigeninthe ultimate stack
- Add in COQ10and PQQ for the ultimate mitochondrial stack
- Article by John Lieurance: Mito Fast: A Brand New Advanced Anti-Aging Protocol To Nurture Your Mitochondria, Boost Autophagy, & Rejuvenate Your Stem Cells.
- Iontophoresis NAD patches
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
– Shawn Wells:
- The ENERGY Formula: Six Life Changing Ingredients to Unleash Your Limitless Potential
- The Nitty-Gritty Underground World of Supplement Ingredients, Sports Nutrition Frankenfuels, Illegally Laced Compounds & More.
– Podcasts and article:
- Advanced Smart Drugs & Nootropics You’ve Never Heard Of, Rare Japanese Seaweed For Sleep Enhancement, The Most Powerful Form Of Vitamin B1 That Exists & Much More! With Lucas Aoun.
- A Rocket Scientist Homeschooler’s Insider Blood Glucose Monitoring Secrets, The Best Way To Use A Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), Blood Sugar Biohacking Tips & Much More, with Josh Clemente
- Which Ketone Supplement Works Best: Ketone Salts vs. Ketone Esters With Dr. Dominic D’Agostino.
- Ben Greenfield Interviews Dr. David Sinclair About Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don’t Have To.
- Why Strong People Are Harder To Kill (And How To Get Strong), With Keith Norris.Mito Fast: A Brand New Advanced Anti-Aging Protocol To Nurture Your Mitochondria, Boost Autophagy, & Rejuvenate Your Stem Cells.
– Food and supplements:
- Pique Tea
- Redmond Real Sea Salt
- Redmond Re-Lyte
- Celtic Sea Salt
- Quinton Hypertonic
- Vitamin C
- Baking Soda
- Water and Wellness Hydrogen Tablets
- H2Bev(use code BEN to save 10%)
- AlmsBio Mitotherapy(use code BENGREENFIELD10 to save 10%)
- Bioadvantex's PharmaNAC
- Infopathy(use code BENG10 for 10% off)
- Alpha GPC
- Mitoburn (L-Baiba)
- Grains of Paradise
- Ketone Aid
- Caprylic Acid (C8)
- NMN(use code GREENFIELD10 to save 10%)
- Nicotinamide Riboside
- NeuroNAD Intranasal Spray(use code BEN to save 5%)
- NAD Patches
– Other resources:
- Hapbee Wearable
- Morozko Forge(use code BENFORGE to save $150)
- Wim Hof Breathing
- Turkish Get-up Video
- Dead Hang Video
- Farmer's Walk with a Kettlebell Video
–Kion Coffee: Carefully selected and roasted for taste, purity, high antioxidants, and health. BGF listeners save 20% off your first order with code BGF20.
–Chili Technologies: ChiliSleep makes both the chiliPAD and OOLER, innovative options that fit over the top of your mattress and use water to control the temperature of your bed and help lower your core body temperature to trigger deep, relaxing sleep.
–Paleovalley Beef Sticks: 100% grass-fed AND grass-finished. Keto friendly and higher levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Receive a 15% discount on your order when you use my link.
–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.
–Spiritual Disciplines Journal: The new Spiritual Disciplines Journal by Ben Greenfield is coming soon! Sign up to download a free preview and get notified once it's ready.