But what metrics and markers should you track to ensure you attain peak health?
With the numerous tests and quantifiable metrics for biohackers to track, it can get pretty confusing.
In this post, leading health expert Dr. Russell Jaffe simplifies health monitoring and presents us with the 8 Predictive Biomarkers we should be tracking.
What are predictive biomarkers, you ask?
Biomarkers = lab values that have meaning and can provide a snapshot of our current health status.
Predictive biomarkers = values around which we can guide therapies, or create plans to move us closer to optimal health.
Here’s a preview of the 8 predictive biomarkers we’ll discuss in this podcast:
Focusing on these 8 areas and keeping your values at the predictive goal value can be life-changing. As Dr. Jaffe says this is “the best way to reduce all disease-related health risk and add years – even decades – to your life and equally important, add life to your years.”
Who is Dr. Russell Jaffe?
Dr. Russell Jaffe has more degrees and certifications than you want to read.
He’s a medical doctor who was trained at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and has spent his 40+ year career bringing integrative and functional medicine, nutrition, even acupuncture into the Western way of “sick-care” as we discuss on this episode.
He also plans to be dancing at 120 years old – so he practices what he preaches.
We caught up with Dr. Jaffe between keynote speeches at the Silicon Valley Health Institute and the Commonwealth Club in San Fransisco last week. He literally presented the same information you’re about to hear to other doctors and leading health experts from around the world.
What you’ll learn from Dr. Russell Jaffe on this episode of the Optimal Performance Podcast:
The message is: you can control and save your life – or you can put it in the hands of someone else…
Genetics = 8%; Epigenetics = 92% of the health that you experience; Epigentics = the lifestyle we live activates, turns on/off certain genes to
Predictive Biomarkers = those that have meaning and provides a value around which we can guide therapy
Test #1 = Insulin, blood sugar, carbohydrate metabolism = Hemoglobin A1C – measures extra sugar in our body
Test #2 = (High Sensitivity) C-Reactive Protein: all-cause morbidity indicator…
Test #3 = Homocysteine or HCy: Methylation, repair of blood vessels and cardiovascular health
Dr. Jaffe doesn’t care about your MTHFR gene – Clearing up the confusion on 23 & Me, Theranos, the industry buzzword “methylation” and the MTHFR gene
Test #4 = Lymphocyte & Immune Tolerance – what environmental compounds can you tolerate without stressing digestion, sleep, mood, cognition, and performance …Basically an ALCAT test on steroids
Test #5 = The pH of our first morning urination: Measuring mineral status and cellular metabolic acidosis – the batteries inside the cell for cellular energy
Test #6 = Vitamin D (25-HydroxyD): how this “neurohormone” functions in cellular cross-talk and plays a major role in mitigating cellular mutations (Cancer)
Rate limiting substrates – or the weak link in your chain
Test #7 = The Omega-3:Omega-6 Ratio
Test #8 = Oxidative Damage from environmental toxins: How 8-Oxo-Guanine measures exposure to the VOC’s, POPs (hormone disruptors), mold, radiation, chemicals, pesticides, and other landmines from the 21st century
The Goldilocks value…not too low, not too high – JUST RIGHT! Knowing the optimal value you want for each of these 8 biomarkers AND how to get there
“Eat like a peasant, feel like a King. Eat like a King, die young and suffer.” Old English aphorism
How consumers drive change and transition
Biodynamic farming and “super organic” plants that produce 2X the
Inflammation = repair deficit (physiological term that we are failing to return to baseline)
Health Food Superstars “GGOBSE”: Garlic, Ginger, Onions, Brassica, Sprouts, and Eggs
“Goal value is to be tolerant to everything. Healthy people are tolerant.”
Why Italians laugh at your yellow Olive Oil
Addressing oxidative stress with the Vitamin C (ascorbate) cleanse to determine oxidative damage and the link between Vitamin C and auto-immune diseases
Where you can find Dr. Russell Jaffe and get more of his work
Dr. Jaffe’s Top 3 Tips to #LiveOptimal
“Live in harmony with your nature.” (This requires that you know your nature. If you can discover your nature and live in harmony with, THAT is the secret to happiness. Otherwise it is going to fight with you.)
Still listening to Pandora or Spotify while working?
If you answered yes, it’s time for an upgrade.
Backed by neuroscience and 13 years of music creation, Brainfm’s co-founders have created music that noticeably – and measurably – improves focus, reduces stress, or promotes sleep within 10 minutes.
“The creator of binaural beats said they don’t work – but nobody actually reads the study!” – Adam Hewett, Co-Founder Brainfm
Brainfm is specially designed music that improves focus, relaxation and sleep within 10 minutes.
Co-founders Junaid Kalmadi and Adam Hewett join us on Episode 38 of the Optimal Performance Podcast to discuss the science behind music’s impact on the brain, neurofeedback training, wearable technology, and brain training.
This is a long podcast – because it’s PACKED with great information. Adam and Junaid were amazing guests. We considered making this 2 shorter episodes, but ultimately it didn’t make sense to split this into 2 weeks of episodes.
What You’ll Learn About Brain FM, binaural beats, and hacking performance with music in this episode:
Brain fm = music to help your brain focus, relax, or sleep
The rules music must follow to increase cognitive performance
“Binaural beats are not effective at improving mental performance”
Brain waves and flow states
New paper from MIT: there is a part of our brain with neurons dedicated to music and speech
How brainfm is advancing binaural beats technology to help increase performance, focus, relaxation, and sleep
How the brainfm team puts themselves into the flow state
Longecity forums, Abelard Lindsey, CILTEP and the possibility of EEG trials combining CILTEP and brainfm
Brain training, Neuro-feedback technology, brain games, and increasing your intelligence
When to use relaxed focus vs. intense focus
Using brainfm for physical performance, recovery, and sleep
How to boost slow wave sleep by 20-30% every night with brainfm’s sleep waves
Brainfm’s RELAX music passively improves HRV (faster physical recovery)
Special 20% OFF coupon for Optimal Performance Podcast listeners
EEG’s and what you need to know about popular wearable
Get more from Adam and Junaid at brainfm
Brain fm = “Audio Adderall” + 3 More Tips To #LiveOptimal
http://www.brain.fm/naturalstacks <– This is the link BrainFM set up for the special 20% off discount. They’ve had some issues with it due to high traffic volumes on their site and they’re trying to sort it out.
Get laser-like focus and enhanced memory potentiation with CILTEP
Smart Caffeine improves cognition and boosts energy naturally without the jitters
BioCreatine boosts brain capacity, higher reasoning, and improves strength capacity!
Natural BCAA’s made from 100% botanical sources – no bird feathers or human hair in here
Grass-Fed Protein combines whey, collagen and colostrum for ultimate recovery & health
CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION BELOW WITH YOUR QUESTION OR COMMENT
Boost Focus Immediately with Music (Backed by Neuroscience)
Ryan: You are listening to the Optimal Performance Podcast sponsored by Natural Stacks. If you’re into biohacking, performance or getting more out of life, this is the show for you! For more on building optimal performance into your life, check out optimalperformance.com.
Alright, happy Thursday all you optimal performers! Welcome to another episode of the Optimal Performance Podcast. I’m your host Ryan Munsey and I want to welcome in – we have 2 special guests today. We have the co-founders of Brain fm here to talk about music for the brain that helps you focus, relax and sleep, depending on your goal, within 10 minutes of use. So, guys, hello, welcome, thanks for hanging out with us.
Junaid:Thanks for having us.
Adam:Happy to be here!
Ryan: So, for you guys listening, we have – like I said – the co-founders, Junaid and Adam. These guys are collectively the secretary of snacks and the secretary of snack distribution. [laughs]
Adam:The official titles.
Ryan: These are – these are their less serious titles.
Junaid: Yeah, a little pre-recording joke there.
Adam:I’m completely serious about my title. I take snack distribution very seriously.
Junaid: Hey, hey, hey, create the snacks, I’ll distribute the snacks, it’s an analogy for music. Snacks, music, same thing. Let’s make it happen. Yeah, but Ryan, yeah, so what we’re really doing like you mentioned is we’re making music for the brain to help you focus, help you relax and help you sleep within, sort of, 10 minutes of use. So, kind of think about it like background music when you’re at work, right, you’re trying to, you’re trying to code, you’re trying to program, you’re trying to do creative work, you’re trying to study in college. You listen to our music, you just go to Brain fm, click focus and then you kind of begin and within 10 minutes you’ll get in the zone. That’s – that’s the premise, that’s the promise and it’s been sort of what we’re finding we’ve been having a lot of – recent, sort of, surge. We’ve gotten over, like, over 100,000 users in the past – in the past month so it’s been nice to kind of grow. And so basically, it’s – it’s – there’s a lot going on that we – we would love to dive into it and kind of understanding how this works. But there’s – there’s a component with AI so all the music is kind of generated by an AI engine that my co-founder Adam, really, here is the inventor. And he invented an engine for basically, like an AI engine that creates all the content. Because it used to take us, about – for each 30-minute session it’s an mp3 file and there’s thousands to sort of get personalized to you, when you come on the site it kind of learns from you. Um and, it gives you these sessions and what we realized, one issue when we were starting up, it took like – like – it took a week to make every 30-minute session. It was ridiculous.
Adam: Sometimes a month.
Junaid: Sometimes a month! And we verify this also we have [unclear 00:03:25] from our [unclear 00:03:28]. And we have an EEG control study on this stuff, too. So, when we kind of came about this, like, okay we – we can’t – we don’t have unlimited content. We need to, like, basically, like take so much time to make this content, it took months to make this content. So how about we – how about we just kind of make an AI engine that’s [unclear 00:03:48]. Adam kind of spent 4 months in a basement and came out with this and now we have this engine that’s creating a majority of the sessions – over 90% of it and it’s gonna be 100% of it very soon. And it’s this personalized engine that kind of learns from you, that’s what Brain fm is. And it’s really playing on the relationship with music and brain and pushing to the boundaries of understanding what is music’s relationship to humanity. So, that’s kind of like, a really short, you know, I gave you a lot –
Ryan: Yeah there’s so much in there that we can dive into and kind of explore. But I think the first thing I wanna find out from you guys is, you know, kind of talk to our listeners about how music can stimulate the brain and facilitate that productivity that we’re all looking for.
Adam: Sure! So, I mean, first of all there’s, you know, whenever you’re listening to – I mean, everybody listens to music while they work. And that’s – there’s no exception for me. I mean, I listen to Queen, a lot of Queen sometimes. You know, I’m not always listening to ideal music. But whenever I really, really want to focus I will listen to Brain fm. But there’s rules for music that won’t distract you, that will actually focus you. You know, certain bpm rates, you don’t wanna use certain frequency ranges, certainly not lyrics. And that’s kind of why a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of services out there that are like: ‘Okay, here, we’ll play some classical music for you,’ you know. Or they’ll talk about the Mozart effect or something like that. But those aren’t built with the brain in mind, you know. Like if – I think if, you know, Chopin came back or Beethoven came back from the dead and found out that people were listening to – listening to his music just ’cause they didn’t like it and [laughs] and they’re just like: ‘Didn’t distract me so I’m just gonna listen to it,’ yeah, they wouldn’t be too happy. So, there’s – yeah there’s’ a bunch of kind of rules around building music in general and the AI does that. But there’s a better way to directly stimulate the brain. If you – and we can get more into this later and get kind of really heavy into this – I can geek out to whatever extent you want but be prepared!
Ryan: You go – you go as geeky as you want and if it’s too far we’ll pull you back.
Adam: Oh yeah – yeah, pull me back from the brink. It’s probably wise.
Junaid: You’ve gone too far!
Adam: Well, just kind of an overview, I guess. So, there’s ways to structure music, sound, modulated in certain ways that will elicit a very direct and predictable effect on the brain. I mean, you see it on an EEG if you’re trying to say, raise, you know, um, beta which is kind of associated with focus and attention and learning, memory, that kind of thing. So, it’s – if you wanna do that then you can structure it a certain way and you’ll actually see on an EG it will spike up at – at what you’re stimulating. If you do it right. So, that – and so we’ve done that and we’ve been – I’ve been doing this for 13 years and it’s taken a while but we’ve learned over the years how to very, very consistently and for the majority of the population get a great result. And – and you can actually feel it now, too. In the past it’s – with this research, you know, like 20 years ago, you know, you would – you’d use something like this, you know, binaural beats or whatever and it was probably just mainly placebo if not fully placebo and then you would – or – or, you know, maybe it did something for some people. But it wasn’t as evolved. It wasn’t and companies weren’t testing it as rigorously, you know, we’re constantly testing on an EEG, we’re working with universities, we’re work- we have a neuroscientist always on staff at all times.
Junaid: Totally! And one thing I’d like to add real quick here for people who – since you brought up, Adam, binaural beats – I think there’s a lot of misconceptions around for it. And part of what we would like to do is unwind some of the things and just, like, telling you the facts. Just being transparent about stuff! So, binaural beats was kind of discovered in the early 70’s by Gerald Oster who was a very – he’s one of the most renowned auditory neuroscientists of the century. And he coined the term binaural beats and discovered it. And within his own research paper – that first one – no one read the study! It’s online, just Google ‘Gerald Oster binaural beats ‘. No one read the study! And they’ve been marketing it. He denied that there are uses of it. And binaural beats is a very, sort of, if you wanna think about in a techni- I’m sure you have a techie audience. You kinda wanna think about it as, like, dial-up Internet, or like the wheel, you know. It’s just older technology. It’s just that simple. And what we’re trying to do is create, like, the hovercraft. Or create – or, like, fiber optic Internet, right? There’s just – we’re advancing on the technology itself and there’s innovation to do here and that’s really what our story is about. And you can go and experience that by just going to Brain fm, try it and, like, that’s what we say: ‘Don’t trust us, don’t trust anything what we say. Ignore 100% of it, alright? And just go have your experi- any of you can.’ I don’t know, it’s kind of a [unclear 00:09:28]. But, like it’s just –
Ryan & Adam: [laughs]
Junaid: – just go try it out. And it’ll consistently, sort of, come about as a thing. And when – just make your own decision, that’s what we always say. Just trust your own personal experience.
Adam: Yeah, that’s the best part about the innovation that we’ve done, you know, in the last 5 years. It’s just – it’s an experiential process or thing now. You know, you just go on and you can feel it, as opposed to just trusting that it’s working, you know. Like you have these brain games, like Lumosity or whatever. Just like, you’re just trusting that it’s doing so- yeah, you’re getting better at the game it’s telling you, but you don’t know if you’re getting smarter. This is something that you’ll- you’ll get 10 minutes into it, 20 minutes, you’ll just realize that you haven’t been paying attention to anything around you.
Junaid: Totally! And [unclear 00:10:12] – even to that point, Adam, I’d like to say about brain games, there’s a very – there’s a very, sort of, there’s a lot of misconceptions with it, too, right. And there’s a lot of misleading things that have been going on. But, for example, BrainHQ with – I forget the doctor’s name – Dr. Max uh, [unclear 00:10:33], he’s done some very, very great work.
Ryan: Alright. While you pull that up, we’re gonna take a quick pause. I just wanna remind our listeners, you guys head to the blog version of this so you can hopefully see the video. This is the first time we’ve had multiple people on a video, so hopefully the video works out. Even if the video’s not there, we will definitely have links to the studies that these guys are mentioning. We’ll have links to the website.
Junaid: Sweet, awesome.
Ryan: We’ll have links to BrainHQ. Anything that we talk about! That’s the whole reason that we have the blog version of this. So, listeners, make sure you guys head over there and that’ll actually be at naturalstacks.com. For you guys that have been listening for a while, we are transitioning away from the Optimal Performance domain, putting it all on the naturalstacks.com site. So, you’ll be able to see the podcast directory there. And if you haven’t done so yet, please go to iTunes, leave us a 5* review, let us know how much you like the show. I’m gonna give these guys and Brain fm a 5* review right now. I’ve been experimenting with it for about 2 weeks and I can test – attest to what these guys are saying. That within 10 or 15 minutes, your environment, your mood, everything shifts. That’s really the only way I can explain it. You know, the first time I logged in, I filled out the profile and immediately after listening, the stress about getting it done, the work – getting the work done, went away. You get in this zone and –
Ryan: – it just – the information just comes out of your head and it pours out. And I think for anybody who’s out there and you have to produce quality work on a deadline, I think, I mean, to me to be able to think clearly, to be able to put it out there and –
Ryan:– have it accurate and right the first time. I love what you guys have created.
Adam: Oh thanks, man.
Junaid: Totally, yeah! And we’ll – or what you’re kind of describing is kind of teetering on a flow state, when you really get in the zone.
Junaid: And we’ve been actually talking to Steven Kotler who wrote the book ‘Rise of the New Superman’.
Junaid:Yeah, he’s – I mean, flow states are – we’re exploring in our partnership the Flow Genome project.
Ryan: Yeah. That would be amazing. ‘Cause I know – I’ve seen him speak, I’ve read that book.
Adam: I – I mean, I can go into that a little bit if you want me to.
Ryan: Yeah! Please do.
Adam:There’s a lot of misconceptions about that. First of all, saying that you’re in a theta state would kind of imply that theta is kind of like the dominant, you know, brain wave that you’re in at that time. And that’s – it very, very rarely happens in adults at all. In kids, it’s common, but it’s not in adults. And you don’t – you definitely don’t want that to be the goal. We – we actually never use theta because it’s – it’s – if you have too much theta in your brain, it’s just generally kind of associated with ADD, even closed head injuries. You don’t want too much theta. But whenever we were talking to Kotler, we had – we had a discussion and it seemed to me like it wasn’t so much, you know, that theta is, like, the dominant state or – he actually talked more about alpha. And that makes more sense to me because – and so here’s the thing. Whenever you become an expert at something, like driving, for example. Whenever you’re – whenever you first learn driving, you’re in a high beta state. You’re learning, you’re like: ‘Ah! Oh my god! I’m going 10 miles an hour, it’s insanity!’ And – and you can’t – you can’t concentrate on anything but the road. So that’s beta, and that’s whenever you’re learning, that’s whenever you’re concentrating very hard on something. But once you become an expert, you can easily, you know, just daydream while you’re doing that because the brain becomes very efficient whenever it’s – whenever you do something often and you become an expert at it. Brain doesn’t need as much power, it doesn’t need as many cycles, you could say, to do the same task. And that’s why whenever you drive to work you often just forget, you know, like, I don’t even remember anything about my journey, I was thinking about a movie I saw last night or something, you know? And that’s kind of – and that could be called, like, a flow state, you know, because you’re just doing something that you’re so good at that you can literally daydream while you’re doing it. You can be completely relaxed. You can just, like, you’re so good at it. And that – so, lower frequencies like that are associated with experts but that doesn’t at all mean that simply stimulating alpha or, certainly theta, is going to make you an expert or get you into the flow state. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. We – we tend to stimulate low beta um, sometimes near alpha, but we modulate it. We go around and we’ve experimented for a long time and we found a very, very good protocol that works for the majority of people and works for experts as well as people that are just learning. Just trying to get good at whatever they’re doing.
Junaid: And actually –
Ryan: Go ahead.
Junaid: And actually – I actually spoke to Steven Kotler about this. And he was talking – it was sort of a conversation and I was like, you know, like: ‘We’re obviously finding these results, Kotler’. Like – like, you know. And he would say – and Kotler said: ‘I’ve talked to some of the best neuroscientists.’ ‘Cause that’s what he’s – he’s a journalist for the New York Times, WIRED Magazine and he interviews scientists and he’s – he’s a research writer, right. And he’s – and they’re saying like, there’s a lot – so basically the story of this, kind of, if we take a step back. Let’s just kind of take a step back. Is really there are different parts of the brain and how they are kind of organized and how they kind of relate to each other. And one basic part of the brain is the auditory cortex, right. And we’ve known for the longest time that it’s used to process music, sounds, complex environmental sounds in general. And its, kind of, role is to – its functional property is to identify sound, right, auditory cortex. But if you kind of take a step back and for the research, basically a lot of – or, for the longest time people have had a lot of different arguments in the scientific community. Like, okay what’s going on here? Like, what are the specific things here? And MIT did a mic drop, science mic drop moment over the past few months. And they took a step back themselves and analyzed all this research. And they took a more broader view about the auditory cortex and they said, without necessarily being reliant on one previous hypothesis, they, for example, took – like, they measured 10 subjects in an MRI with 165 different sounds, including, like, random stuff like toilet flushes. And they – pretty much the end product of that was they created a matrix of the sound in the brain. And they – and they really narrowed it down to 4 components. And within those 4 components, there’s 2 components that they stumbled on. There were like: ‘Oh my god.’ It was a holy shit moment within science and MIT led it. And it really came down to 4 components and narrowed it down to 2, which was the brains relationship to speech and music. What is going on here with the auditory cortex? Why does it fire up? Why is there a dedicated, essential part of the brain that is firi- and it is – the brain is rhythmic. Like what is going on here? All these research is pointing to. And basically, it’s kind of opened a new dialogue within humanity and within science right now because there’s a dedicated neural population that is – that is, like, interacting with each- and what is going on?
Adam: Purely for music.
Junaid: Purely for music! And for speech, too. That’s what I MIT is. But, like, for me, like – what is – and they’re going as far as to say – the early, early suggestions – and there’s a New York Times article that I can forward you on this – that there’s a strong possibility of speech, language itself being evolved from music. Like – like and – and it’s funny but, like, if you think about more anecdotally, you know music’s relationship within your life. Right, you can – you can think of those times that you’ve had musical pieces that, like, draw you in a movie theater. And you just like, you know, like, if you think of ‘Interstellar’. That – that was a dope movie. It was so good! And it’s just like Hans Zimmer killed it, you know what I mean? Like, there’s – music gets – and in a concert, when you’re there you just, like, you just, like, get into this one hive mind and just like – like you’re with the musician. So, music we’ve kind of known has this long relationship and, like, it’s one of, like, the greatest people over time have also kind of attested to it. Einstein said he often thought – he kind of viewed the – viewed the world – he saw his life in the terms of music. He daydreamed in music. He – he – and his quote was, I think: ‘I often think in music. I live in my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.’ That was his quote. And, like, Henry Wadsworth is like: ‘Music is the universal language of mankind.’ And music is the universal language of mank- it’s like okay, you can say that with a really intell- like, a smart intellectual man thousands of years ago and like, MIT is finding that now. So it’s just – it’s just a very – it’s a very exciting time, I think, as – even if you’re not a scientist – to kind of pay attention to what’s going on with music’s relationship to humanity. And even if – if you’re a fan of, you know, Eastern perspectives, like Confucius. Like, he had a quote with: ‘Music produces a kind of human pleasure which human nature cannot do without.’ Like it’s – and that’s classic Confucius quote, that’s just like –
Junaid: Just dropping like that. But Lao Tzu – like there’s – the list goes on and on. Like – like – like Stevie Wonder. Like, you can think about the greats and you – just go and search ‘music great people quotes’. Like, you will find a list. Like it’s just – it’s all over the spot. So yeah. That’s – that’s a little bit what’s going on with music’s relationship with humanity. Which is really – really with the Brain fm story is, which Adam sort of, has been charging.
Junaid: For 13 years.
Ryan: So you mentioned earlier that binaural beats may not be as effective as people think they are. What are you guys doing differently to take that to the next step and make it as effective as you have?
Adam: Sure. Well, binaural beats, they kind of capture the popular imagination because they’re actually produced in the brain. So what happens whenever you have 2 very similar sounds, tones in particular, is whenever they combine they add and subtract from each other to create a beat. So that’s why they’re called binaural beats. And it’s the beats that produces brain wave entrainment, that actually creates a corresponding spike in activity in the brain. But you can create beats a whole bunch of different ways, you know. Monaural beats. Actually, Gerold Oster in that study in which he coined binaural beats said that monaural beats work a lot better. But again, nobody read the freaking study so that’s, you know, decades of misinformation later. We finally have the internet and people can look at the freaking study! So anyway, but – so we simply are creating rhythmic stimuli in a different way. We modulate the music, for one thing. We – so, for example, I can – in 2005 I created a way to say, you know, you could have an entire symphony and I could single out the strings section or, like, the violin or trumpet or something. And then I could modulate that so that it’s, kind of, it sounds like a vibration kind of. And if you listen closely to Brain fm you’ll hear like a flutter or a vibration. But if you’re not listening for it you might not even hear it. But – ’cause it’s pretty subtle. And the reason it’s subtle is because I disguise it as what you would normally hear in an instrument, you know, like vibrato, tremolo, the typical vibrations that instruments make. So, it sounds like that. It sounds very natural. And another thing that we do is that the AI, which not only creates music but it aligns all of the sounds. Every note, every drum beat. For nature sounds, for example, this is the example I like to use. I think it’s more relatable. But picture a rainstorm, you know, hundreds of thousands of drops. But every single drop is aligned exactly to the phase of the modulation that we’re trying to produce. So not only are we creating a beat, but – and modulating all the sounds to that beat – but the sounds themselves are actually aligned to everything we’re trying to do. And the result is that you get a very enjoyable piece of music that, you know, to the untrained ear is just like: ‘Okay, this is music. That just happens to be making me feel really great.’ But um, what’s really happening it that it’s creating – it’s a rhythmic stimulus. So, I should say that whenever we say beats it’s not – we’re not talking about, you know, beats in a club where it’s like [beat sounds].
Ryan: Yeah, its’ not house music.
Adam: It’s not like that! These are very, very rapid, you know, like [clicks]. Like, like that only faster. So um, yeah. And yeah it’s – it’s not – you don’t expe- if you don’t expect it then it’s not really detectable. It’s very, very enjoyable. But it’s produced in a very profound effect on the brain.
Adam: And yeah, so that’s –
Ryan: Okay. So, now –
Adam: I hope that made sense.
Ryan:Yeah, yeah! So, I wanna ask you guys then, with all the wisdom and expertise that you guys have and with what we just talked about with flow states – if you guys – if I pressed you guys and said, you know: ‘Hey look, you’ve gotta – you have to get yourself in the flow state today,’ how would each of you do that?
Junaid: So first – I – we can speak anecdotally, I do wanna be up front. Ultimately it depends on your own personal experience and trust that. And with a lot of the stuff that the Flow Genome Project is really doing. I, first of all, highly considered going and going to Flow Genome – flowgenomeproject.com and they have a flow fundamentals course that really educates. ‘Cause there’s a lot of stuff going on here and if we really wanna get into flow state, you know, and they take the time, they’re the best people in the world to, kind of, just go [unclear 00:25:21] – more than understand the fundamentals, and that’s what it is, the flow fundamentals course. So, I could speak anecdotally. Adam, I’ll let you – how do you, kind of, get in the zone?
Adam: Well, I – I just, I frankly just listen to Brain fm and start doing things. I mean, it takes me a while to get into the zone. But once I’m there – really the – the issue for me, at least, is not getting into the zone. Like, I know how to get into the zone. It’s just, I listen to Brain fm and then I start doing whatever it is I need to do. And then I get into the zone. The problem is staying in the zone. ‘Cause if somebody calls me, if, say, you know, if I messaged online. I sometimes had to be kind of terse, I’m like: ‘In the zone, bye!’ You know, it’s like, I can’t – ’cause if I – if I’m taken out of that then it takes me so long to get back into it. You know, it’s like a wait, it’s another half an hour and so, yeah. I mean, but I – I mean since, I mean, I’ve been doing this for 13 years so it’s – and that’s – that’s the – it’s just music. That’s how I do it. I listen to music and then I do – I start doing whatever it is I need to do. And then I get in there. It’s just a matter of staying in it that’s the problem.
Ryan: You guys. Yeah, go ahead.
Junaid: For me, I’d say I like to – I kind of do a lot of, like, I do big picture stuff. And then I have to get in the weeds and kind of, like, run executional, like daily start-up hustle stuff. And for me, jumping from big picture stuff to start-up hustle is – it’s just like a very um, it requires an intense amount of focus for business. Right now, we’re in the early stages, right. We’re just kind of getting up so. And, it’s going well, which is kind of the problem. Which is just like too much, too much inbound! We’ve gotta bring out a winner, be on top of. So we – focus has been, you know, like a very relevant topic. So I kind of, I constantly experiment with stuff. So right now, my current one I’m doing is I like to – I just sit down and – I’m really biased – but I depend on, if you go to Brain fm within focus there’s an intense focus option within there. And that is, like, my go-to. Like 90% of our customers, that’s like the number 1 thing right now that people are going. But it’s really resonating with them, ’cause it’s an experience that is consistently working. So that is the first thing. And I personally like to, kind of, supplement it with – with a lot of different – like, I mean, some sort of tea. Like, really, it really is that simple. And right now, I’ve been getting on a lot of the hibiscus, hibiscus tea. And mixing with the black mint and just, like, that combo is so good. It tastes delicious and it’s like, you just take, like, Yogi tea or any random one. You don’t have to go as, you know, you can be a great – I’m like, I love the tea world. Like, but for efficiency just take, like, a hibiscus and a black tea with mint and put it in. Wham bam, man. It is an experience. Or – or a little cold-brew coffee. Like, if you need to go on a podcast. Like, that helps, too.
Ryan: Yeah, okay.
Junaid: If you need it. I usually rely on tea.
Adam: Your podcasts used to – you mentioned stacks. And um, I – when I owned a house in Columbus, Ohio, I had an entire room, wall to wall with supplements. I was very active on the, it was called [unclear 00:28:53] at the time. Now it’s – what is it? Longevity.
Adam: LongeCity. Oh yeah, yeah. LongeCity.
Ryan: That’s – that’s exactly where Abelard created CILTEP, which was our first and that’s our flagship product.
Junaid: You know, you know and I’ve actually, in Chicago, I ran a biohacking meet-up and Abelard came and spoke about CILTEP before anything. It was – Tim Ferriss just like, someone Tweeted at him or something, I don’t know what happened, don’t take my word on that. But like, he – he, like, I think was experimenting with CILTEP and we got a bunch of supplies. And I tried it out. I’d love to even take the discussion there. I’m very curious into what you guys are doing as well. But yeah, Adam.
Adam: Well, I mean I get – again, I could talk all day about that. I experimented quite a bit and I got – now I’m down to, kind of, 1 or maybe 4 drawers of things that’s just kinda – but I don’t use it as often now. But I was able to find one’s that I actually – I actually think worked and I was able to find thousands that didn’t, I don’t think, worked at all. But I think that’s probably a different discussion because we would literally end up taking up the rest of the time.
Ryan:[laughs] You –
Adam: I know – I know about Brain fm, I like talking about new –
Ryan:Yeah. And that’s –
Adam:This is not the place, Adam, don’t do it.
Ryan: We’ll get into nootropics and all that stuff on another episode. You guys are strictly our hacking with music. But I think it would be interesting to get some –
Ryan: Yeah, if you guys are using the EEGs and other tracking devices it’d be really cool to, you know, see what’s going on in the brain with the music, with and without CILTEP.
Junaid: Totally! I would love to – I would love to have an order and – Adam, how about we experiment? We – we’re just – we’re constantly testing stuff. And I would love to see what happens.
Ryan: Let’s make it happen! I will send you guys some product, you guys put it to the test and report back to us. I’m sure our listeners would love to –
Adam: Yeah, that’d be great!
Junaid: We’ll put a post out as well on our [unclear 00:30:54].
Junaid: And kind of say, hey this is what’s going on. Like, will this – we’ll share with our audience. They’ll – they’ll resonate with anything related to focus. So, yeah!
Ryan: So after we record we’ll get your address. We won’t ask you to share that live. [laughs] So, you mentioned earlier, guys, about – you kind of brought up Lumosity, BrainHQ. What do you guys think about those methods to train the brain?
Adam: Um well, I think the, you know, I don’t know much about BrainHQ, though it does seem more scientifically validated. It has some really cool, really great people behind it and then maybe they’re not making as many claims. But I think that the – the real issue here for me – at least from what I understand and again I’m not completely, you know, I’m not an expert on this but the idea is how do we increase what’s called fluid intelligence. Which basically means, okay, you know, you’re good at this game that we’re giving you but does that transfer to, you know, can you comprehend a book easier? Can you read faster? Can you um, you know, talk with pretentious hipsters at pretentious neighborhoods? You know, it’s – is that actually gonna transfer and the answer is usually no. They – the only thing that I’ve seen that’s ever even had the scientific community at least a little bit excited was the n-back test but that’s since been kind of disproven as far as fluid. But it does increase other things, like working memory. You know, how many, you know, little bits of information can you store or can you keep in your brain at any one time? And these – these are – I believe that there are – there’s many things, in fact, that would increase your IQ score. You know, I mean, there’s actually a lot, if you look up studies on this [unclear 00:32:59] – neurofeedback studies, actually there’s brainwave entrainment studies that have literally increased IQ scores. That’s actually very malleable because it’s reliant on very kind of specific, you know, measures. Like attention, you know. If somebody has ADD and then you give them ADD therapy of some kind, they’re probably gonna score higher on an IQ test. Now whether that relates to what scientists are calling fluid intelligence, that’s a different issue.
Junaid: Yeah, I have a –
Adam: So I think that it’s, you know, depends on your perspective.
Junaid: It really does, yeah, it really does. There’s some obvious things going on, to add into Adam’s point. The ultimate goal is fluid intelligence. I mean, Adam is really educated and it’s great to be his co-founder. He’s like one of the most brilliant people that just drops, like, neuroscience knowledge here and there and I’m like: ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ Along the way. Like, over the past 2 years.
Adam: Thanks, buddy!
Junaid:[laughs] He’s an awesome co-founder, [unclear 00:34:00]. But I – one of the things that I’ve kind of understood is, first of all, let’s kind of acknowledge and put into the attention Lumosity just got sued by – got fined by the FTC for $50 million, right. And the announcement went live in January and everyone covered it. If you haven’t heard it already. Like, Bloomberg, Time Magazine to Times of India, it doesn’t matter.
Junaid: Like, everyone’s covered it. And it was because they’ve been making misleading marketing claims which is – which is a really important moment because it is – it was, like, undeniably kind of true. And you have to be kind of careful with this stuff. And often times from, like, and everyone that has to kind of learn from this experience. Now, that being said, Lumosity is brain games, right, and there’s basically, cognitive games, right. Like, just, like, the goal is to enhance cognition, enhance fluid intelligence. BrainHQ, however, is a little different. And it’s actually led by, one of the co-founders is Doctor Michael Merzenich, Merzenich. I know – I’ll send his link. But he’s – he is one of the most – he’s – or, he’s a pioneer of the century kind of person. He’s been leading brain plasticity research for about 5 decades. And he is the co-founder and chief, sort of [unclear 00:35:24] of the science team within BrainHQ. And, I mean, like, documents and his – he’s published over 150 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals, like science and nature. And received, like, the Russ prize, the [unclear 00:35:38] prize. Like, this guy is, like, the scientific real deal. And like, he’s – he’s earned – he’s – we kind of went – he’s got his PhD from John Hopkins, too, which is actually a very important research institution with a lot of people what they’re doing right now. So he’s – and there’s – so point being, there’s a lot of – you shouldn’t – if I were you, if I was a consumer right now of this stuff, I wouldn’t discount it just because of Lumosity, that’s what I would say. I would keep an open mind still. Because, like anything, there’s new variables popping up all the time, right. Within science. It’s – it’s changing. It’s not this, like [clap]. It’s dynamic. So I would just keep an open mind with it. And within that I would say Dr. Michael’s work is quite – quite – and we should really think [unclear 00:36:27] what he’s done in general for – within the science community. And um, BrainHQ is a little different from Lumosity. And we kind of respect – we as Brain fm respect BrainHQ more. So, that’s – that’s – and again, anecdotal. Trust your own experience at the end of the day. If it works – if you’re a Lumosity guy and – or gal and you love Lumosity and it’s working for you, like, ignore, like just, you know what I mean? It’s just ultimately it’s about, it’s America. And – and globally, okay. It’s about human freedom, alright?
Junaid: Whatever you want!
Ryan: Got you! Alright, so you guys mentioned earlier that your intense focus is one of the most popular areas. And for people who have not been to Brain fm – correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve only been there for a couple of weeks – but the user can select what use they want for or why they’re listening to the music and it’s –
Ryan: – it’s sleep, relaxation or focus or work. And within that focus you have relaxed focus and intense focus. Is there a different – like, what is the difference in the beats that you’re sending for relaxed versus intense?
Adam: Um, well the – the protocol itself is only slightly different from a brainwave perspective. It’s slightly lower and definitely kind of less intense in certain areas, you know, would be disproportionate towards lower, kind of, areas. So, to kind of foster more creativity. Because you’re not – you’re not so much like okay, I need to learn, I need to, you know, this is more relaxed focus. It’s more for okay, I’m reading a book, I’m reading a good book. Or, you know, I’m trying to maybe prep myself for creative writing or something like that. The – but there’s other – there’s a lot of other aspects to Brain fm. For example, there’s – one of the things we really innovated on is kind of a 3D sound. And I don’t know if you noticed it but with intense focus the sounds will start out kind of one the side but they’ll focus in. And soon they’ll be about a screen length away. So, it really draws your attention just because it sounds like the music’s coming from in front of you. So, it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time and just recently perfected. But I can place the sound, even thousands of sounds, anywhere in 3D space, you know, above you, below you, anywhere. And it sounds very, very realistic. So, whenever you’re doing a sleep session it’s kind of, you just have these things traveling around you very slow. It kind of feels like you’re rocking in a hammock or a cradle or something like that. ‘Cause the ears have a lot to do with balance, so it’s pretty cool.
Junaid: It’s kind of like VR if you think about it. If you walk into a coffee shop and you can’t recognize the difference between a coffee mug and a fake coffee mug – and a VR coffee mug. But the – it’s just like, it looks real. You want to pick it up. That’s the latest stuff going on with Oculus, with Facebook. It’s just, like, so that’s the same with what Adam was, like, kind of invented. And then it’s been perfecting and keeps improving upon is that – the audio version of that. It’s like you can’t recognize the difference between the sound coming from a glass here or if it was an actual – actual –
Adam: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I’ve been – I’ve been helping to make kind of a demo. Like there’s this famous, like, barber shop demo that was recorded with a microphone. They had a microphone that looked like a human head. They put 2 – 2 microphones in the – the ears. But I can create that, just, you know, if you just give me a bunch of barbershop sounds. Like, I can create a little sound. I think I could probably make it sound even better, but –
Adam: So, it’s all – it’s virtual. So, basically the – that has a lot to do with every single session. You know, what’s the purpose of the session? Is it relaxation, is it just kind of fun, is it sleep, is it -? If it’s focus we can do a number of things. We can put it in front of you. Or, for example, if you’re in a coffee shop we can – actually, we went around to every Chicago coffee shop and I would design the sessions right there to kind of, okay, I could place a sound that is just kind of static in different places around you so that it draws your attention there subtly, as opposed to the barista banging nonstop over there or some, you know, people over here talking, speakers up above you. So, it’s kinda like we would place it all around and it kind of has a noise-cancelling effect and at the – but at the same time it’s not – it’s actually adding noise that’s helping you get into the state that you want to be in. And with the relaxed focus we don’t tend to focus as much in the front, we also kind of have things going around over here. We’re trying to kinda draw your mind not so intently, you know, to what exactly you’re looking at. So, it’s a bit – it’s just a bit more fluid and the protocols are slightly different. But the overall – and the music is slightly different. Well, not slightly different. It’s dramatically different. So, you’re gonna, you know, the combination of all these kind of subtle things is a dramatically different effect. And you’ll definitely feel it. I mean, um, yeah. If you try to, you know, study or something with the relaxed focus you’ll be like: ‘Ah, I just feel like thinking about – I feel like daydreaming,’ right. I feel like – you know?
Junaid: If you need to get stuff done and zone in, go for intense focus. If you wanna do relaxed work like read a book, journal for fun. Like, if you wanna do things that don’t require you’re like – you know, you need to get in the zone use relaxed focus. But if you wanna get in the zone ASAP, like, pick intense focus. Those are the 2 options right now. That being said, I do wanna say, like, we’ve only scratched 2% of what we’re doing right now at most, Adam says, of the potential. This is innovation here. Cycle of innovation where we explore uncharted territory, navigate it and test the results on ourselves first and then our team and then our, like, little, like our – now we have so many users. We can just say hey, like, we have – we’re gonna put live like a kind of like a – like a lab section within it so we can get immediate instant feedback.
Adam:We’re actually doing –
Junaid: And – we’ll have qualitative feedback as well as, we want to pursue more with EEGs, too. Like we’ve got 2 pilot studies with – on EEG control. But, like, we wanna – so that’s kind of our process, how we go about every innovation cycle. It’s, like, how we think about it. Like, we go – Brain fm goes through innovation cycles that keeps getting better and better and better over time. So one of the things I wanna bring up is that we’re actually working with the Olympic wrestling team right now. With coach Matt Lindland. Matt Lindland, he won the silver medal for America in Sydney 2000. And he’s been a UFC fighter for 10 years. I think, like, Chuck Liddell [unclear 00:43:42]. And he is – he is a beast, he’s a machine. He’s like a very – he’s an awesome person to talk to but also, like, just the man – the man’s mind is just like, you know, I – what it takes to win the Olympic medal. I, like, I’m just – he’s just – he’s on another level. So um, he’s – but he’s – actually Steven Kotler introduced us to him.
Junaid: So, he was interested in a sleep app. So, we kind of just started talking about sleep for performance and kind of recovery. Sleep is key for an elite athlete of that performance. The rest of the team were basically now, like, we’re gonna be making, like, we’re – a Brain fm version for them. And with other Olympic teams, any kind of other peak performing, this can be used for physical performance, too. And we wanna be slowly navigating the territory of physical performance with running and exercise. ‘Cause we can – we can – like, think about, like, if you could normally run 3 miles, now you’re doing 5. And you’re recover, and you’re performing.
Adam: Yeah. The recovery is primarily what he was interested in. We convinced him to do more with focus but the sleep sessions that we have are pretty incredible. I can go into that a little bit if you want me to.
Ryan: I do want you to do that! I’m glad you guys brought up sleep ’cause I was gonna ask about that. But then, before we do that, I guess my question is if we were gonna use it for sleep and if we’re gonna use it for performance I’m not gonna do those things with my computer attached to headsets. Is there a mobile version? Or is there one in the works?
Adam: Well it’s – it’s mobile – the site’s mobile-friendly right now but yeah we are – we’re very, very close to releasing both an Android and iOS app.
Junaid: We’re internally beta testing it right now. I’ve got it on my phone.
Adam: I know, I know, right. Like I’ve been waiting for this to –
Junaid:[unclear 00:45:31] Coming soon. We’re gonna release a light version. We’ve got Marco on our team that we – we went on a hiring [unclear 00:45:37] because we didn’t expect to have this surge. Like, it all started in November and, like, November, December, we kept, like, just doubling, doubling, doubling.
Ryan: You guys – and, you just – last week you hit number 1 on Hacker News, right?
Junaid: Yeah, that was – and that was accidental. Jasmine from our team coordinated this meeting for us.
Adam: Yeah, we did not expect that.
Junaid: Jasmine accidentally posted it! She’s never – she barely uses Hacker News.
Adam: I was just having a relaxing Sunday evening.
Junaid: I know!
Adam: Just vegetating. And then I get: SOS! We need help!
Junaid: I know, me – me and Adam, we’re talking history, philosophy of life. Just shooting the shit on a Sunday night just relaxing, we like to, like, check in weekly with each other as co-founders. So, like, and then, like, oh my god, we’re on the front news of Hacker News and we’re getting like 500,000 people like right – like right now.
Ryan: Time to crank up that intense focus beat, right?
Junaid:Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, exactly. I did. I totally did, that’s so funny. I didn’t even – without even thinking [unclear 00:46:31]. That’s funny. But, yeah.
Ryan: So, that’s awesome. Congratulations to you guys. Adam, tell us about the sleep stuff now.
Adam: Um, yeah. Let’s see, where to start. So, I’m a life-long, very, very severe insomniac. And for the longest time, you know, my own technology couldn’t – it couldn’t help me at all. I spent, you know, 11 years just trying desperately to find some way to do it. And a bunch of kind of innovations came together, like the 3D sound creates this kind of interesting environment and makes you kinda feel like you’re rocking or it’s – it’s very relaxed, kinda. And it’s interesting and kinda dissociates you from your daily worries, which is really my problem. Like, I had this overly chatty mind that won’t just shut the hell up whenever I’m trying to sleep.
Junaid: As do everybody, man! It’s –
Adam: Yeah, yeah. I think a lot of people have that. But, so I – that was the first part of it, the sleep onset. You know, how do I get myself to sleep? But then Giovanni, our lead neuroscientist is actually a sleep expert and works in Northwestern circadian rhythm department. So, he does sleep studies all the time. And so we started talking to him, working with him. And he was a friend of mine at the time. And so, we were talking about slow-wave sleep which I’ll get into in a second. But we started talking about it and I said: ‘Okay, I’ll try to create a protocol that stimulates that.’ And it ended up just having ridiculous effects. It’s insane to even talk about because it sounds so ridiculous. But – and the reason that I’m gonna talk about it is because I’m so confident in it and it’s so obvious whenever a sleep study is done. Like I just hope that a bunch of people who own sleep labs are listening coincidentally to your show this time and are just like: ‘Well, I wanna test this.’ [laughs] So um, it’s – it’s just literally an mp3, you put it on and, you know, just keep listening to it for 8 hours. And your slow-wave sleep will increase by 20-30%. And to put that in perspective, if you simply – tonight you pull an all-nighter, you don’t sleep tonight. Tomorrow, whenever you go to sleep, your slow-waves will only increase by 10% to compensate. So, and we’re increasing it nightly by 20-30% and it’s – it’s incredible. And that has a lot – so this – slow-wave sleep is the deepest form of sleep, the deepest stage. And this is where your body’s repairing itself. It’s getting rid of toxins like beta-amyloids and Inosine. And it’s consolidating memory. A lot of people think that memory is consolidated in REM. Some of it is. Emotional memory is. But REM actually has a cooler purpose – I think it’s cooler – it checks memories validity. It’s kind of like a checksum of memory. Whenever you’re dreaming, whenever you’re in REM it’s going through – ’cause memories are very malleable. It’s easy to kind of change a memory just by kinda, yeah I think that’s – I think everybody kinda knows about that. Like witnesses will have their memories kind of changed or something.
Ryan: Right. So, then this mp3 that we listen to for 8 hours or the entire time we’re sleeping, is that what’s in the sleep section of Brain fm or is this a different -?
Adam: Oh no, it’s the same! Yeah, and it is – and it’s –
Ryan: So we should be listening –
Adam:– hours of mp3 I mean it’s
Ryan:– we should be listening to that the whole time we sleep.
Junaid:Totally, sleep –
Adam: Yeah, just the entire time.
Junaid: Yeah. Sleep – you just put it on. We recommend a sleep audio mask.
Adam: Oh yeah, yeah. You don’t wanna use regular headphones because especially as an insomniac, the main problem that I see when people are like: ‘Oh, sleep sessions. You know, gets me to sleep and I feel good but it’s not as – it’s not as great as I hope it would be.’ And it turns out they were wearing, like, you know, Apple earbuds or something. It’s like, I can’t help you, man! I can’t help you! [laughs] And like who – who sleep like this? You know, nobody.
Junaid: Can you tell which phone Adam has [unclear 00:51:11].
Adam: Vampires, you know.
Junaid: So, I –
Adam: There’s a great – great sleep masks out there that are very, very comfortable, wafer-thin speakers, have very great sound and they’re cheap! Like 22 bucks. Go out and buy some.
Ryan: If you – if you can send me the links to the one that you like, we’ll put it on the show notes and that way our listeners can just –
Adam: Oh, yeah! Yeah, that’d be fantastic, thanks!
Junaid: Actually, go to Brain fm, too, within you can click the sleep section there’s an Amazon link within there for any of you who use Amazon.
Junaid: You can just [unclear 00:51:39] straight to there. We’ve gotta do a better job of messaging that up front and making it – and we’re working on that. [unclear 00:51:45] A lot of people don’t know about the sleep session and how powerful it is. Like, I use it every- I’m not even an insomniac.
Junaid: But I use it. I can fall asleep anywhere. Like, I literally can fall asleep anywhere.
Adam: He can fall asleep standing.
Junaid: I went to high school in Bombay. Like, I used to go back on rickshaws. Like, you had to take a rickshaw to go to school, like, and I would fall asleep and it is loud. Like, you’re talki- like, Bombay crowd and it’s an hour journey. So, I – I – and I used to just sleep wherever. I was just like [unclear 00:52:11]. I used to work. I used to just like, play a lot and – cricket and stuff. But like, so pretty much, like, I can fall asleep anywhere and I have no issue with sleep but my experience with the sleep session has been quite surprising, frankly. Even when Adam invented it he started using it. He cured his own insomnia with it. He had 2 decades of insomnia but I was like: ‘ I don’t have insomnia; I don’t need this. I don’t need Brain fm sleep.’ And then when I started using it and um, then [unclear 00:52:40] blah blah blah, but, like, still my experience is and – and hundreds of other people who don’t have insomnia what they’re saying is quite, quite profound so far. Um, is that you wake up – first of all you will fall asleep, you will stay asleep, you will wake up with energy and ready to go. That is what [unclear 00:53:00].
Adam: And most people are waking up a bit earlier, too. And it makes sense ’cause slow-wave sleep it – whenever you get rid of certain toxins like adenosine, you end up – adenosine’s a key – as far as I understand it, and I’m not an expert on this but I was talking to Giovanni and he could probably tell you more but it keeps you asleep and whenever it’s all flushed out you wake up. And we haven’t shown this in a study yet. I’m really, really hoping to because it matches, you know, it’s kind of, again, this is an insane result. Like, I feel weird just even talking about these numbers, like 20-30% but it’s – it’s – it was there and every single subject it was remarkably consistent. And I was the only insomniac, you know, that used this. Whenever we did it with 3 subjects they – none of them were and they all got the same insane result. You know, went to sleep and got 20-30% better. And so, I guess what I was saying with memory consolidation earlier is that this will help you not only recover because this is the part of sleep where your body is repairing itself, but it will help you learn and learning is – not only just memories like okay, I ate this for lunch yesterday but skills, too.
Adam: So, that’s why we were getting involved with the Olympic wrestling team because he –
Ryan: Skill acquisition and recovery.
Adam: Yes, skill – as far as we understand it from him there’s a lot of relearning and you can be really good at American-style wrestling but European-style wrestling, which is the Olympic style wrestling is kind of Greco-Roman. Yeah, so there’s a lot of unlearning and relearning that goes into that so yeah, we’re super excited and they’re really excited. We’re gonna help them a lot.
Ryan: That’s awesome.
Junaid: Yeah, and the Olympic team, they’re elite athletes, these are elite athletes. These are people dedicating key parts of their lives will be within their 20s to perform. Right, like, these people are winning the gold. They wanna win the gold. And they’re being trained by the guy who won the last, like, more major medal. And it’s not – it’s [unclear 00:55:11] – to share it with. Like, it’s not the regular wrestling when you think about it in America, in North America. It’s more a – it’s, again, it’s an international form of wrestling and it’s actually very popular in Iran and in Turkey, traditionally, over the years. Including Europe. They were actually on a trip, they just got back from Hungary. So, it’s an international form of wrestling and it just requires – and America will hopefully win the medal. That’s the goal, right, that’s obviously – let – but let’s do our part and let’s, you know, see how it goes. But yeah, it’s – for physical performance with Brain fm, we’re gonna be stepping into that, too. And this is kind of our avenue to do it, to really use elite athletes. But what if we had elite athletes that we could just test stuff on and get the results, you know what I mean? In the really short amount – like that. We’d get the results like that. Through the app! Through the app!
Ryan: I’m raising my hand as a volunteer.
Adam: Oh, yeah.
Ryan: You can hook me up to whatever you want!
Adam: Well we – he did initially call us for sleep and we convinced him for – ’cause, you know, the preperformance anxiety, we can help a lot with that. But there’s also um, you know, focus without the, you know, negative effects of like a boat-load of caffeine or, like, you know, many of the supplements, like, will just increase my heart rate like crazy. And then it becomes, you know, like whenever I was really, really into supplements I would have to really scale back or not even take them at all right before a workout. I had to be very careful about that because if I raise my heart rate and everything I start, you know, sweating profusely before I even get to the freaking gym then it’s probably a bad sign. I won’t have a good workout. But what we can do is increase focus without any of those side effects. And so, we can get, you know, okay say you wake up and you don’t really feel like practicing today or working out. Well, people are – a lot of our customers are calling our focus sessions audio Adderall. What happens whenever you take Adderall, you wanna do things that you don’t normally wanna do. You really wanna get, you know, really wanna get to work. You know, I’m gonna read Moby Dick like 7 times. [laughs] You know, and it’s – so it’s – we convinced them to. And they’re really excited about it and they’re gonna be using it, you know, in warm-ups and putting it on the speakers and I expect it to be a very, very great help.
Junaid: Totally. And – and I do wanna say, like, you know, our users consistently keep coming. And you can just, like, Brain fm’s account I keep, like, Retweeting. And we all just keep Retweeting any of the testimonials. So, if you guys have anything in your story, it’s like, I will read – me and Adam read every single one. Like, Tweet, like, type it out and then Tweet at us. Just as BrainfmApp and we’ll respond. And we’d love to know what your experience is. Even if it’s bad, let us know. Even if it’s great, let us know! Whatever is your experience, kind of, let us know and we’ll –
Adam: If it’s bad, private message me. [laughs]
Ryan: That’s a good rule of thumb.
Adam: I don’t care. I like all feedback.
Ryan: Hey, real quick while we’re talking about that give us all of your social media handles. We’ll put this in the show notes as well.
Adam: I’m BrainFMAdam on Twitter. I just recently got on Twitter so [laughs] I have like 5 followers.
Ryan: Hopefully that increases after this show.
Adam: – take it seriously. I don’t even think Junaid follows me, like I don’t –
Junaid: I follow you! I [unclear 00:58:46] – following you! [unclear 00:58:49]
Adam: Liking things and Retweeting or responding to um, people’s accounts of Brain fm and it’s a lot of fun.
Junaid: Mine is J-K-A-L-M-A-D-I, jkalmadi, J-K-A-L-M-A-D-I, J-K-A-L-M-A-D-I. It’s a trip, every time I think about it. I should make that simpler. But it’s – for our account, if you actually just Tweet at BrainfmApp. We’re trying to get it to just Brain fm right now.
Junaid: Come on, Twitter, respond back to our e-mails. We just want that handle. It’s suspended. The account’s suspended for some – so if you go to – if you go to twitter/Brain fm it says account’s been suspended. It’s been there before and I’m like, please, who suspe- who – someone did some shady thing.
Ryan: Yeah. And it wasn’t you guys!
Adam: Yeah, it was not us.
Junaid: It wasn’t us! So, I’m just like, so we’re just BrainfmApp. And we’ll – I would love to hear what your thoughts are with using it while focusing at work or with anything, really, even for sleep. And we haven’t even gotten to the relax category yet.
Adam: Yeah. There’s a lot of cool stuff with the relax, too. A lot of cool stuff.
Junaid: There’s basically 2 use cases in the relax section, we can cover it for a second.
Ryan: Yeah, go for it!
Junaid: Um, basically there’s a quick relax option and a meditation option right now. If you kind of think about the quick relax option, it’s a way within 10-15 minutes to have, basically, a way to get, like, reduce your anxiety, reduce your stress. And it –
Adam: Increase your HRV which is an independent – an independent study was done. And they didn’t even inform us! We didn’t know about this until it was published. And so somebody, one of my customers e-mailed me and was like: ‘Have you seen this study?’ I’m like: ‘No, I’ve not!’
Ryan: Can you send that to me? We’ll put that out as well.
Adam: Oh yeah, it’s on our site, too. Front page.
Adam: That, yeah. It’s amazing. We’ve since contacted the guy that did it in Italy and he’s on our advisory board now. But yeah, completely independent study. Raised HRV. I mean we’re – as far as I know we’re in a very, very select category of therapies that can passively raise HRV. I mean, you don’t have to think about anything, you know. You don’t have to do positive thinking, you don’t have to do breath work. It just works. And it works really, really well.
Ryan: So that would be another way that you guys could facilitate physical performance as well.
Adam: Oh, of course! Yeah, yeah. And that’s, yeah, another reason – another way we kinda convinced the Olympic wrestling team to kinda go – go all out with Brain fm.
Adam: Integrate it into everything, guys! While you’re eating, sleeping. [laughs]
Ryan: That’s awesome!
Junaid: `Yeah, and it really goes back to music’s relationship to humanity here. Like the really, like, we’re – this is all just music, right? This is all just – this is already things that you know. This – don’t, like, it’s just – we’re already – we already know anecdotally, we already have an account to Spotify or Pandora and we listen to our favorite songs and we, like, love it. And we feel things. What if you made music for the brain and made it focused – focused for focus, relaxation and sleep? That’s our premise and how it kind of came about. And this is based on 13 years of Adam’s work. So, he’s actually got audio brainwave training software for neuroscientists and psychologists that’s kind of, like, the gold standard for auditory neuroscience software right now. And it’s called Neuro Programming [unclear 1:02:14]. And we’ve reached, you know, like Olympic athletes in the past. We’ve reached – we’ve had – Dave Asprey was a customer. And Dave’s been, you know –
Adam: Yeah. We went up to him one time it’s like at first he was like: ‘Alright, I don’t know who you are.’ And I was – oh, I was like – I was kind of shy, I was like: ‘I mean, I make a couple software programs, whatever.’ And he was like: ‘Oh, man! I’ve got you on my laptop right next to my bed right now!’ [laughs] Like: ‘Oh, cool!’
Ryan: That’s awesome!
Ryan: Alright, so guys we’re coming up on the end. We already covered your Twitter handles. If you guys are on Facebook let our listeners know where they can find you there and then of course, the website brainfm.com.
Adam: I think I’m mind.adam.hewett, H-E-W-E-T-T. But if – yeah, just look up Adam.
Ryan: We’ll – I’ll –
Adam: Yeah, we’ll – we’ll, yeah.
Ryan:I’ll find it, I’ll find it and I’ll put the link.
Junaid: It’s just – it’s just brain.fm, www.brain.fm, www.brain.fm or brainfm.com. Both go to the same spot. But, yeah. Ryan: And you guys offer a free 7-day trial, right?
Junaid:Um, 7 – we give 7 free sessions.
Ryan: 7 sessions.
Junaid: Right now, 7 free sessions. But for your audience we can make anything happen, really. So, we’d like to give them 20% off, first of all. And what would you like the code to be like? Brainfm/op?
Adam: Ryan Munsey.
Ryan: Or Natural Stacks. Let’s just do Natural Stacks.
Adam: I love Ryan Munsey. [laughs]
Junaid: Brainfm/naturalstacks will be it. And just go to brainfm/naturalstacks and you will get a 20% off coupon. And we can make it into a 7-day trial if you want, how about that?
Ryan: Whatever works for you guys!
Junaid: Okay, cool. How about we do – we’ll –
Adam: We’ll figure it out, we’ll figure –
Junaid: The 7 day sessions are, like, enough to really get a great experience. It sounds like oh, 7 free sessions! Great!
Adam: The vast majority of our customers buy after the very first session.
Junaid: Yeah, we’ll have – actually it’s the 4th session is the highest.
Adam: Oh, has it moved?
Junaid: The 2nd one is after the 1st session. The 4th session is where people get convinced personally. And then they’re okay, let me upgrade. Half our current purchases are annual sales right now.
Ryan: Okay. Yeah, you guys have a great deal on that one.
Junaid: Yeah, we have a great – exactly. And with the discount of 20% it’s just a steal. It’s just like-
Ryan: Right, right. And –
Junaid: And that’s the goal. We don’t want – we wanna charge – we wanna be up front with, like, we wanna, you know, be fair about our price. And like, the way we think about it is what we’re – what is something that we wanna go for it. And what – so what’s an app that we wanna build? What’s an app that we wanna use. Like, we just – how do we wanna treat our customers? Like, how would we wanna be treated, you know what I mean?
Junaid: It’s just like it’s – we do this – that’s kind of the culture within our team.
Ryan: Well, and I’ll share anecdotally also that the first time I used it I did the intense focus and I was amazed when I finished the work that I finished it that quickly. And it was just kind of like coming out of a tunnel. And I was just like holy crap, that really, really worked.
Ryan: But then, the interesting thing was the next morning I just – I – that was kinda, like, later in the evening. And then the next morning I woke up and was just in a great mood. I shared it with my fiancée and she experienced the same thing the next day. She used it that evening and then the next day. So, it’s not just the work and the focus or whatever session you use it for but I think, at least in our experience, it has effect beyond that listening session.
Adam:Yeah, yeah. There’s actually a lot of evidence that brain wave entrainment persists. In fact, some of the definitions of entrainment are that it persists. But um, and we’re seeing that a lot, like with the insomnia or yeah, with insomniacs using the sleep session it’s actually very common and it happened with me, miraculously, that I – I still use it every night but I don’t need to. If I – if I’m traveling or whatever and I forget my sleep phones I can sleep fine. And keep – I used to be on, like, some people are on Ambien. No, no. I was on – I was on things that I’m – things and on dosages I am hesitant to mention. [laughs] I was very, very severe and it’s –
Adam: So, that – that has persisted. And it definitely does have positive effects after the fact.
Adam: It’s something that we don’t mention yet because we have not studied it formally. You know, it’s still, kind of, you know, we need to get more information on that before we start a clinical study on that.
Junaid:Totally. And – and –
Adam: Yeah, it’s definitely being reported, yeah.
Junaid: Yeah, so and for us, like, we’re trying to be proactive about research here. And if there’s anyone in the audience that’s listening that is a research science and is interested in studying the relationship between music and the brain, audio stimulation and the brain or even AI and music. William Blake from MIT Media Lab reached out wanting [unclear 01:07:26] after Hacker News. And they’re – MIT is studying AI and music, so – and – I think, goes by Bill. Bill actually was kind of like a protégé. He was under Bob Woodward. Bob Woodward was one of the most legendary journalists [unclear 01:07:42]. Like Bob Woodward. Like it’s – I was like: ‘Oh my god, Bob Woodward!’ It’s – yeah, but he’s – yeah – but any who, so please reach out to us. Reach out by Twitter or even our first name at –
Adam: Even if you’re skeptical ’cause if you’re skeptical and you happen to own an EEG lab, you don’t like the cut of our jib and you’re just like: ‘I don’t like that red-haired, ah. No, I don’t like him. I’m gonna prove him wrong.’ Please contact us. [laughs] I hope that we are descended upon by thousands of skeptics because I love – ’cause the results are so obvious on an EEG. So, yeah. But a good EEG. That’s something that we should say. People using Muse, EMOTIV, that kind of stuff. You know, I – they have proprietary things going on in there that, you know, sometimes people are saying: ‘Oh, the Muse it raises it crazy levels!’ And other people are saying it only does it a little bit or, you know, it’s just not – those aren’t –
Ryan: So what – what is going – what’s going on with the, like, the Muse or any of those other ones?
Adam: Um, well they’re –
Junaid: Adam, I’ll let you take it.
Adam: They’re – yeah, they’re – I mean I’d say I like EMOTIV the best out of all of them because they use saline electrodes. Or at least they did. I think that their newest one is dry electrodes. Dry electrodes are kinda the problem here because you can only really measure from one, you know, unless you’re bald, you can only measure from one place, the forehead. And, you know, ’cause you need skin contact to get that, kind of, conductivity.
Adam: So –
Junaid: Taking a step back, Adam, on dry electrodes. What are dry electrodes? Right. Like, I think there’s – there’s 2 – with an EEG, there’s consumer grade EEGs and medical grade EEGs. You’ve heard about the medical grade EEGs with all those EEG caps you see, like, all over your brain like that. You know what I mean? And you can see those different things. Just Google EEG, you’ve seen it. You’ve definitely seen it. It’s in movies, it’s in a very rare pop culture thing, like, you know, going through the MRI, you know what I mean? Like, brain machines like when there’s a nervous moment. Like, and it’s part of the human experience, too. So, within – so consumer grade EEGs is like, kind of like 3D printing almost. Like, you know, let’s kind of take what’s already there and make it into consumer 3D printing which is really the revolution right now. Or the Renaissance, rather. And that’s what’s going on with – with EEGs. So, Muse – there’s a lot of different headbands that have been funded on Kickstarter like Kokoon and we’re definitely, like, on the pre-order list of all of them and own all of them, including the medical grade. Like, we – we have like – we all have so many EEGs.
Adam: Yeah, we have a bunch of EEGs.
Junaid:In general – yeah, we – we – ’cause we’re – this is what we do. This is, like, we just love doing this stuff. And, like, we need to be testing. So um, there’s consumer grade and there’s – as anyone in the audience, if you own a Muse, great. But it is – you have to understand there are certain limitations just as an EEG. Right now there’s consumer grade EEGs that have dry electrodes and sticky electrodes. The dry electrodes are basically, they’re, like, that’s it, they’re dry. And sticky actually has a way to actually be attached to the skin, which is –
Adam: And it uses a conductive – it’s very important to mention that it uses a conductive paste of some sort. That – and saline electrodes it’s – what I meant by that is you soak some cotton in saline and saline’s, like, salt water is very conductive. So you need to amplify that, you know, the – we’re talking micro-volts here. This is very, very small, you know, units of electricity. And you need to amplify that to get a good result. So, yeah it’s – I’ve been disappointed with the vast majority. Like I don’t mean to single out Muse, I’m sure that they have a lot of –
Junaid: But actually, I actually own a Muse and as a customer I actually do appreciate what they’re doing and it does work for me with meditation. It kind of tracks – and it is whenever you [unclear 01:11:43]. It’s actually – I do – and it’s like one anecdotal thing, I do endorse my personal experience of it being positive. But again, the Bluetooth issue is a little b- like, so in general this is just consumer – it’s just a movement. Right, this is – let’s – don’t – let’s not single out companies, let’s try to figure out collectively how you can get a consumer grade EEG, like, if that’s a thing. Like, even if – it’s a whole otherly territory, right. So just being knowledgeable and don’t kind of just say: ‘Oh, screw consumer EEGs.’ Or like: ‘Let me buy them all!’ Like, just take a more open mind right now. There’s this – that’s what these companies are doing, too. And let’s – let’s sort of, like, all kind of navigate it together. But I think with – with specifically, like, for example, there’s ones that, kind of, like literally the laws of physics are impossible, right.
Adam:Yeah, I was –
Junaid: There are certain EEGs that are out there –
Adam: I was just gonna say that there are a lot of Kickstarter campaigns that actually got fully funded for, like, half a million dollars that – for anybody who knows about, just, how electricity works. It’s like, really, you don’t have a ground? You don’t have a reference? Okay. [laughs] That’s interesting. Okay. But, yeah.
Junaid: And there was one of them that got 2 million dollars recently. I won’t, obviously, mention them by name ’cause it could [unclear 01:12:56]. But basically it’s, like, you know, a headphone that is, like, over your head. So basically, if you have hair. Think about it visually. Imagine this. How can an electrode with a headphone that you’ve – like think of a Beats headphone but with an EEG, that’s the concept. And then there’s – it’s gonna be touching. But if you’re a woman or if you’re a man, like, with all of us that have hair or, like, it won’t work unless you’re bald. And, like, and, like – what? And you’re supposed to be listening and it’s a beautiful design and it’s, like, comfortable and all this stuff. But, like, it’s – you’ve gotta be [cough] – in general, we’ve gotta be mindful ’cause the same thing that happened at Lumosity, right. They got fined 50 million dollars. Like, I’m very cautious with this territory and I think Muse is doing a better job, in general. And I really respect them for what they’ve done so far. [unclear 01:13:44] a lot more to do. And they’ve been proactive about it. But there’s, again, like for any company, right, there’s a lot to do. And there’s a lot of misinformation with EEGs going on with Kickstarter campaigns. And certain ones are good, certain ones are not so good. It’s about, like, just – just do your research, almost. If you’re a dork about this stuff do your research.
Ryan: Most of us are interested enough to consider ourselves dorks. I don’t wanna call our listeners dorks, but yeah. I – this is what we like to listen to and research.
Adam: I’m a dork, I don’t care. [laughs] Honey badger don’t care if he’s a dork.
Ryan: Before we let you go, we close every episode asking our guest to give us their 3 tips to live optimal. Since there’s 2 of you guys, let’s go 2 tips from each of you.
Adam: Use – use Brain fm. That’s – that’s [laughs] first of all. But, you know, actually I would actually say that – know your body chemistry, know yourself. Take your health into your own hands, you know. It’s – most – many times whenever I go to the doctor I’ll have a problem and it’ll be the same thing, like: ‘Oh, we don’t know! Let’s just experiment with things.’ And you end up having to kind of experiment with your own body many times and you can’t be afraid to do that. You need to be cautious about it and do your research but don’t be afraid to try things out. And take your health into your own hands. That’s – that’s really helped me a lot, at least.
Junaid: I would say 2 things that – I’m not gonna say Brain fm ’cause Adam already said it so I don’t wanna give it, too. The first one I’d say is, in general, what is your frame of mind? And being really mindful about the frameworks that you think about. It’s been really key. Kind of, having self-awareness. And understand that as a human, part of the human experience that we all share together and we all know individually is that what you kind of believe as your own limitations become your own limitations, right. That’s anecdotal but like, if you believe there are no prerequisites to, like, following what you really wanna do and improve what – what do you wanna be putting out in the world, right? What do you wanna be doing? Go do those things. And if you have limitations, be self-aware. And how do you mitigate them, right? How do you approach them? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Be self-aware. So, I think, really, like the first one is self-awareness and really the frameworks of how you think about the world, right. Like we’re all viewing this world through different lenses. How you – like what is consciousness, which is the other thing. Which is like really interesting research in neuroscience right now. But that’s sort of, like, the Olympic gold for neuroscientists. Like, what is consciousness? Like Obama had – I don’t know if you’ve heard like 300 million dollars to BRAIN Initiative. Go check it out, it is amazing. There’s YouTube videos on it. Like, he’s giving a speech to some of the most renowned scientists of the world. Like, we’re talking about the head of DARPA. Like, the head of the – and we’re talking about NIH. Like, these – these people are, like, really exploring. And we’re doing a lot as a people right now. America is kind of, like, Obama has really put, like, it’s like, alright, this is a priority. Like affordable care act, the same way. So, I – I’d say the first reference is really self-awareness and your frames of mind. The second thing I would say is with anything related to – related to, like, you know, either Brain fm or CILTEP or anything, right. Like, trust your own personal experience and try things, be open-minded. Be curious, right. You don’t have to, like, buy a supplement and be on it. You don’t have to, like, listen to b- like, cancel at any time. Like, send us an e-mail. You know what I mean, like, with anything, really – and there’s so many tools, right. There’s herbs, there’s teas, there’s a lot of, like, even, like classical Western medication is a tool. Think of everything as a tool in your tool belt, right. And then go out and try different things, right. Like you make your own decision. Like, take – like – really jumping on Adam’s point, like, take control of your, like, be more self-aware about your health and – and make decisions.
Adam: Yeah, to clarify that I – I didn’t mean that I’m against going to the doctor or taking Western medication. I’m not against pills at all. I think – I – and in fact I think many supplements like Huperzine A is actually much more powerful than its prescribed counterpart. But yeah, I just wanted to clarify that. [laughs] I think, you know, being a human is hard. It’s hard. And you should use whatever tools you can get a hold of. And there’s not – no one that is right, it’s all of them. You need to use everything you can to be at your best at all possible times.
Junaid: Yeah, but then again pills have been over-prescribed, in general. That’s why we – we [unclear 01:19:13]. It’s just there’s a lot of, like, fuckery going on with the, in general, a lot of things. And we shouldn’t be Ritalin prescribed. It doesn’t – it blows my mind that we’re prescribing amphetamines and there – like, 3 year olds! Like, it’s never, like, okay, do we know the long-term impacts? Are we studying this? Over, like, 3 decades before giving them this? Like, are – these are your children. Like, what did you want – and it’s just, there’s lack of information. So, I think the more we put the information out and the more we, kind of, get informed is key. But, then again, they’re a tool among many tools, just like Brain fm, just like CILTEP, a lot of these things. And with ours it’s just music, it’s just like – and what we’re discovering, I don’t know, like, what I’m sure you guys are really pushing forward is like what else can we do here? You know what I mean?
Junaid: Like, what to explore.
Ryan: Yeah, and I mean, to us that is the essence of, you know, this whole biohacking movement is how do we optimize the human experiment – experience? Like how do you – how do we get better physical performance, better mental performance, better sleep, better focus? All of it. And it’s what tools are at our disposal? How do we use these tools? What is each tool doing? So you guys nailed it. Those are awesome. Um, Junaid, Adam, thank you guys. This has been amazing. For everybody listening, hope you guys have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed it.
Adam: Oh yeah! Sure.
Ryan:Make sure you head over to naturalstacks.com, we’ll have the hopefully video version but definitely all the links to videos, studies, all kinds of cool stuff that we talked about, all the resources. Links to brain.fm/naturalstacks so that you can get the 20% off discount that these guys so graciously have hooked us up with. And if you haven’t done so, make sure you share the Optimal Performance Podcast with somebody that you know who will benefit from what we’re talking about. So, as Junaid mentioned earlier, you know, if you know somebody in a sleep lab, if you know somebody with commercial EEGs, share it. Let’s get some more studies done and let’s help more people live optimal. So, thank you guys for listening and we’ll talk to you guys next Thursday!
Dr. Bill Andrews wants to run a 7 minute mile at the age of 130.
The man known as one of “The Immortalists”, Dr. Andrews is named on more than 50 US patents for cancer medicines and telomerase discoveries, and has been called “The Man Who Would Stop Time” by Popular Science Magazine.
If anyone can help us cure aging, Dr. Andrews is on the short list of candidates.
At 64, he’s predicting that he’s around to run that 7-mile minute at age 130. And he’s working to make sure you can live that long too.
Sit back and enjoy this one, Optimal Performance Podcast #41 is all about protecting telomeres, slowing the aging process and living longer.
A quick overview of telomeres (in case you’re not familiar with them)
Telomeres are those tiny little caps you see at the ends of our chromosomes in the pictures above. Each time our cells replicate, these telomeres shorten. When they’ve shortened to nothing, cell division stops and we die of “natural causes”.
This is and extremely simple summary of the aging process at the cellular level, but It’s critical for us all to understand the important role that telomere length plays in aging, disease states, gene expression, and optimal health and performance.
Now, let’s hear Dr. Bill Andrews’s plan to help us protect – even lengthen – our telomeres so that we can all live linger, healthier lives.
What you’ll learn about aging, telomeres, and cancer from Dr. Bill Andrews:
“I love living and can’t imagine wanting it to stop” – how Dr. Andrews became obsessed with finding a cure for aging
We don’t age because of our environment – the real truth about aging
Discovering telomerase in 3 months and 17 days – revolutionizing aging and cancer treatments forever
The $2 million dollar anti-aging injection is here today ($700,000 just to make the treatment) & Bill is hoping this generates the revenue needed to fund a small molecule to induce telomerase and lengthen telomeres is 1 year away and available to the public
What YOU need to be doing to protect your telomere length and slow the aging process
Endurance exercise – and the longer you’ve been doing it – is the #1 way to decrease the rate at which telomeres shorten
Oxidative stress and inflammation are the top 2 causes of accelerated shortening of the telomeres
The longer you run (ultra-marathon runners vs 5K runners) the more benefit you see – but only if you do it with a frequency that doesn’t induce soreness/increase inflammation
Anti-aging supplements: antioxidants, omega-3’s, glycine, and curcumin…the longer you take them the more time they prevent telomere shortening (if you’re not already taking them, start now!)
Depression, smoking, obesity, pessimism and their link to accelerated telomere shortening
At 64, Dr. Bill Andrews aims for 10 miles a day and 1 ultra-marathon per month! Get a glimpse into his daily routine to attain and sustain peak performance at any age (avoid bread, keep sugar as low as possible, minimize gluten, avoid processed and low quality foods,
Why Dr. Bill Andrews doesn’t believe in caloric restriction and why growth hormone and Microderm abrasion accelerate aging – BUT, you should do them anyway!
Why Dr. Bill Andrews takes 1 gram of the diabetic medication MetFormin every single day even though he’s not a diabetic – upcoming study on metformin’s ability to extend the lifespan of humans
Dr. Andrew’s thoughts on curcumin for longevity and it’s impact on telomere length (HINT: He takes curcumin every day.)
Dr. Andrews’s hypothesis for using telomerase inhibitors to fight and kill cancer and poison “telomerase positive cells”
Why the FDA said they will “never allow clinical studies for anti-aging”
Where can you find more of Dr. Bill Andrews & his work
Dr. Bill Andrew’s Top 3 Tips to #LiveOptimal
“The best way to prevent and fight cancer is to prevent aging – specifically the weakened immune systems and increased mutation rates that come from aging.We can’t stop time, but we can protect our cellular machinery.”
MagTech increases synapse density and reduces brain age by 9 years.
Curcumin has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, increase BDNF production, and protect telomere length.
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3 Ways Anti Aging Scientists Are Increasing Lifespan with Dr. Bill Andrews
Ryan: You are listening to the Optimal Performance Podcast sponsored by Natural Stacks. If you’re into biohacking, performance or getting more out of life, this is the show for you! For more on building optimal performance into your life, check out naturalstacks.com. Pay attention there, we just switched from optimalperformance.com to everything being hosted at Natural Stacks. So if you guys are looking for the video version of this, make sure you head to naturalstacks.com
Alright, happy Thursday all you optimal performers! Welcome to another episode of the Optimal Performance Podcast. I’m your host Ryan Munsey and today we are honored to welcome in Dr. Bill Andrews as our esteemed guest. Bill, thanks for hanging out with us.
Bill: Thank you!
Ryan: So, for our audience, if they’re not aware of who you are, it was actually really cool to try to figure out how I wanted to introduce you. In 2011, Popular Science called you the man who had stopped time. Your goal, admittedly, is cure aging and to personally run a 7-minute mile at the age of 130. Your resume is amazing; it speaks for itself.
Bill: The patents now exceed 50. I’ve been working on trying to cure aging for over 20 years now. Um, I’ve been in biotech for over 30 years. My background mostly was at first cancer, heart disease and inflammation research but that’s because I didn’t like any of the theories that existed at the time on aging until I stumbled upon telomeres.
Bill: And that changed everything.
Ryan: If you guys listening haven’t been able to figure it out already, we’re gonna be – we’re gonna have some fun today. We’re gonna talk about telomeres, anti-aging and attempting to live forever with Dr. Andrews. Before we dive in, couple of housekeeping notes for everybody listening. As you head in the intro, make sure you go to naturalstacks.com to see the video version of this. I’m sure that Dr. Andrews is gonna give us a lot of resources that we will link to so that you can visit them and further your knowledge outside of what we discussed today. And make sure you share the Optimal Performance Podcast with people that you know who can benefit from this. If you have somebody in your life that is interested in anti-aging or just simply trying to live more optimally and would enjoy and benefit from the things that we talk about on the show, make sure you introduce them to the podcast and help us reach as many people as we can. So, Dr. Andrews, let’s do this.
Ryan: You have, just, this incredible passion and fascination with curing aging. Where does that come from? What drives you to be described as somebody who wants to cure aging or die trying?
Bill: Well actually, it’s actually been discussed a lot because there’s a pretty solid reason why I got into this. But – well, part of it – I just wanna say this – the reason I want to cure aging is ’cause I love living, you know. And I just can’t imagine ever wanting it to stop. But, as a kid – this is a true story, it’s been documented in lots of places. When I was a kid, like 10 years old, I was very interested in science and medicine. And my father, who was just shocked at all this because nobody else in my family had ever had such interest, he came up to me and just said: ‘Well, Bill, since you’re so interested in this stuff, when you grow up why don’t you become a doctor and find a cure for aging?’ He used those exact words. And he also said: ‘I don’t know why nobody’s done this yet.’ And he thought that was really frustrating that, you know, why is – why is nobody working on stuff like this? Well it turned out there are lots of people working on it, it’s just a lot harder than he thought it would be. But I – I’d latched on to that instantly. I thought wow, that’s a great idea. You know, it’s – and I’ve been obsessed with it all through school. I used to – in high school I used to let people know boy, the thing I wanna do is cure aging. But when I’d get together with my roommates, ’cause I was in a private boarding school at the time and – or talk to friends and theorize about what causes aging and stuff like that, it’s just – it was clear to me that nothing made any sense. And so, you know, all through high school, college, graduate school, just nothing made sense to me. I mean, it’s like, we don’t age because of the environment is the way I look at it. The foods we eat or the exposure to the sun or things like that. It’s – because why is it that people that live on the North and South poles age at the same rate that people live on the equator if environment played such a major role? And why is it that dogs and cats will age at different rates than humans when they’re in the same environment? And so, all the theories, I kept thinking, they don’t make sense. All the 2’s and 2’s have to add up. And they just didn’t. And so I just was convinced there had to be some kind of clock that’s ticking inside of all humans and in cats and dogs that clock is just set differently. But what was that clock? And so I, for many years I – even though I always told everybody I wanted to work on a cure for aging and even – when I got my PhD I had applied to every post doc lab in the country that I could find that was working on trying to cure aging. And I got offers at every one of them and when I went to interview with them I just decided boy, they’re on the wrong target, they’re on the wrong track. What they’re doing doesn’t make any sense. And so I chose to go into biotech instead when I got my PhD with the idea that someday I’ll figure out something to latch onto that makes a lot of sense. So, I went to work in biotech, started off at a company called [unclear 00:06:18] corporation in 1981, which was very associated with Genentech, which was – had just only started a few years before then. So, it was the very beginning days of biotech. And then I went to Codon Corporation and et cetera. There was a few more, I won’t go into that detail. But it was really frustrating. All I – I just worked on cancer research, heart disease research, inflammation research and a few other things. I did really well! I actually, you know, made a lot of major discoveries for a lot of the big fields that existed back then. I don’t know many people that can say that I’m part inventor of most of the original biotech products that exist. But I, you know, my passion was still aging. And I used to make it clear to the company that I was working for that I want to find some project to work on that has something to do with some kind of clock that controls the aging process. Then one day, I went to a conference in Lake Tahoe at a place called the Granlibakken in South Lake Ta- in actually, North – Tahoe City, I think it is. And I heard a guy named Calvin Harley, Dr. Calvin Harley talk about the fact that our telomeres shorten as we get older. And he said, you know: ‘I can take blood from anybody in the room, I can measure the length of your telomeres and I can tell you how old you are. And more importantly, I can tell you how long it’ll be before you die of old age, all from the length of your telomeres.’ And I thought: wow, okay. Here it is! Here’s a clock! And before he could even get off stage I was at the bottom of the podium. Okay, has anybody figured out how to stop that clock or control the clock? And he just told me that, well they’ve been working on it for years, they have collaborators all over the place working on it and nobody has been able to figure it out. And I just said: ‘Okay, I’m really passionate about this. Let me come and work with you and I’ll have it figured out in 3 months.’ That’s what I told him. And, you know, he knew about my background so it was the shortest job interview ever. He offered me the job right then. And 3 months and 17 days later I discovered – or my team, let’s say, I led the team that discovered human telomerase. And telomerase had already been discovered in tetrahymena by the Nobel Prize winners Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak. But they hadn’t connected the dots to show that this was possibly playing a role in aging and cancer until much later. And – but they were unable to discover the human telomerase version of that enzyme they discovered. And so, I ended up discovering that and then it’s been just uphill ever since. We very quickly showed that we could completely stop the aging process in human cells in a Petri dish by every method of measurement you can imagine. And, at least for cells in a Petri dish. And we exceeded the Hayflick limit, we obliterated it. It just was nonexistent when we put the enzyme telomerase into cells and stopped the telomeres from shortening. And, you know, at the same time, I was almost gonna say unfortunately but fortunately we also discovered that inhibiting telomerase would kill almost every cancer cell by essentially accelerating it to die of old age. And so, we had – what – cure for cancer and the cure for aging in our hands all at the same time. And Geron Investors decided there was quicker return on investment if they went after the cancer. So with Geron’s blessing I left and started Sierra Sciences to focus on the idea of inducing telomerase to fight aging. And I’m a named inventor on a lot of the cancer patents and several things that are in clinical studies right now. But, again, my passion is aging and if there weren’t so many millions of people already working on cancer, my passion would be cancer, too. But there’s just not enough people working on aging and more people working on cancer. And – and I now believe that everything we’re doing and the best way to prevent cancer and even to fight cancer is to prevent aging. I think aging is the – our weakened immune system, our increased rate of mutation rates that come from advanced age are the major causes of cancer. And also, aging can help our bodies – our cancers survive anything we hit ’em with! So, I think keeping us young increases cancer therapies to work and it decreases our chances of getting cancer. And just our – and increases our body’s ability to fight cancer. So, I think everything we’re doing now is both cancer and aging.
Ryan: So, the billion-dollar question and the, you know, the price of admission here is how do we – what are the actionable items? What are the things that we need to implement into our life to try to make that happen?
Bill: Well, nothing really exists yet to stop telomeres from shortening or to lengthen them. But I should ca- I should say – qualify that and say there are gene therapy protocols that exist right now that can do that. And that’s what Liz Parrish and I are working on. And we hope to have something coming soon that – that people can actually start signing up to get treated. But it’s gonna be enormously expensive.
Bill: We’re talking, like, 2 million dollars an injection. And the reason for that cost isn’t because we’re trying to make a bunch of money, which is not my passion at all. It’s because just preparing enough of the gene therapy is – to prepare it costs so much that it’s, like, in our hands it would cost us – we estimate 700,000 dollars just to make enough for one treatment. And then there’s still all the doctor costs and the clinic costs and things like that that rack it up. It’s probably gonna cost 2 million dollars a treatment. But I look at this as just a way for us to get some more revenue from royalties, let’s say, to fund the real research that we’re doing is to discover a very affordable, small molecule that will induce the expression of telomerase in all the cells of our body and lengthen our telomeres. And I think once we have the funding, we’re actually a year away from having something like that for testing in humans.
Ryan: Wow, that’s phenomenal! I’ve paid my 2 million dollars; I’m getting this gene therapy injection. What’s my experience?
Bill: You know, we are – we are reaching into the unknown here. I would never, ever make predictions. But I will say I wouldn’t be surprised if you got younger and healthier. Now you look pretty young to me already so you might not be a good candidate. Just like I thought Liz Parrish wasn’t a good candidate when she treated herself. But if – if we take this and treat, like, an 80-year-old person – and I’d love to do somebody like Betty White, for instance.
Ryan: That’d be awesome!
Bill: Yeah, she’s just incredible. And she, you know, she’s in her 90’s. And – and my mother turns 90 tomorrow and I’d love to treat her, too. But I would – I would expect to see – I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw actual physical appearances getting younger and health getting better. And that’s the goal. And I wanna say that I’ve never, ever been in this field saying that I absolutely know that’s gonna happen.
Bill: Because as a scientist I would never say anything like that about anything. But the big question is – we can’t’ answer the question until we actually have something that lengthens telomeres and see what happens. And so, this gene therapy would be our first opportunity to do that.
Ryan: So, if we saw those results, it would come from lengthening the telomeres?
Bill: Yes. Oh yeah, that’s the one thing that we’re doing is we’re lengthening telomeres. I mean, there have been publications, especially, like, Dr. Ron Depinho who’s the head of M.D. Anderson now. He’s published papers saying that he thought that telomeres might be the kingpin of all the other things that control aging. At least mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. But I believe that lengthening telomeres could – let’s say I wouldn’t be surprised if we found that even things like advanced glycation end products and – let’s say, they disappeared from maybe cell division causing them to be diluted out. Or maybe some other mechanisms like the receptor for advanced glycation end products might operate to start degrading, getting rid of the products themselves. We might see crt-1 go back to its higher levels. We might see human growth hormone go to higher levels. We might see all the changes that occur as you get older reverse. But we don’t know. We won’t know until we try. But I think the – it’s got a better theoretical background than anything else I’ve ever heard of because it’s – there’s great models to explain how it affects gene expression, how telomere lengths affect gene expression. There’s great models that show how short telomeres actually cause increased mutation rates. And so, I think lengthening telomeres has a promise of doing a lot of things but we won’t know until we try. I’m looking forward to the first really good study. I’ll say there’s been some attempts right now but I gotta say they’re – they – we don’t have enough data from the things to be able to say if they worked or not.
Ryan: Okay, okay. So then, if that has all been talking about increasing the length of the telomeres, are there things that we can do or should be trying to do to prevent the shortening of them?
Bill: Well, yeah. Decreasing the rate of shortening is – a lot of things that have been published. Now -and I’m a big believer in every single one of them, I practice all of them. But I would say the number 1 best stuff that I’ve seen is just endurance exercise. Bicycling, swimming, walking, running. You know, most of the studies were done with runners. But they’ve all shown that the more endurance exercise you do and the longer you’ve been doing it, the longer your telomeres. And it’s not because exercise is lengthening your telomeres, it’s because it’s decreasing the accelerated rate of shortening. And the things that cause – let me just say – the things that cause the accelerated rate of shortening are things like oxidative stress and inflammation. Those things will accelerate the rate that your telomeres shorten. So, exercise, if you do it all the time – I think there’s, you know, the data doesn’t have – the publications don’t have the whole story. But I’m beginning to see a model emerge where it suggests that if you exercise all the time you’ll be okay. But if you are an occasional exerciser, let’s say you run every month, one day a month and then enter a marathon you’ll probably do really well. But the next day you’ll be so inflamed. Inflammation will be all over you, you’ll be stiff as a board. And that’s gonna cause accelerated telomere shortening. But if you run every day and then run a marathon, you’re not gonna have that inflammation. You’ll probably, next day, be out running again. And so, it depends on the lifestyle. I also believe that if you’re the type of runner that feels like you’ve gotta go as fast as you can every time you go running and you’re one of those marathon runners that crossed the finished line on your hands and knees throwing up, yeah I think you’re gonna accelerate your telomere shortening there, too. I think – I think the exercise has to be kept fun. You know, you’ve gotta enjoy yourself, having a great time. If it becomes a real struggle, that’s a sign to quit, you know? And come back another day. or maybe the next day. You know, it’s – but there’s lots of data saying that there’s a very good correlation between, like, the sedentary people versus the 10-k runners versus the marathon runners versus the ultra-marathon runners. The ultra-marathon runners have longer telomeres than the marathon runners. The marathon runners have longer telomeres than the 10-k runners. And the 10-k runners have longer telomeres than the sedentary people. So, that’s one. That’s – you asked me for a list. That’s just endurance exercise. But there’s also supplements. Antioxidants, Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids. They’ve been published in scientifically peer-reviewed journal articles showing that the more you take and the longer you’ve been taking them – well let’s say not necessarily the more you take, but of course there’s an optimal dose. But the longer you’ve been taking ’em, the longer your telomeres. And again, not because they lengthen your telomeres, they just decrease the rate of accelerated telomere shortening. Then there’s the psychological stress that kinda, your boss gives you. That’s also been shown. And also, you know, there’s the other kinds of stresses not from your boss but, for instance, it’s been published that adults that have been abused as children have shorter telomeres than their friends their same age that weren’t abused as children, all because of the stress. Depression has also been connected to the length of your telomeres. Depression causes accelerated telomere shortening. Smoking and obesity are very strongly correlated with telomere length. The more you smoke and the more obese you are, the shorter your telomeres. And these are things you all want to – everybody wants to reverse. And then, the last one I wanna mention is just pessimism. There’s been 2 studies showing that pessimistic people have shorter telomeres than optimistic people. And I don’t know cause and effect. I think they’re kinda funny that they’ve been published. But correlations do exist. I think if you don’t believe you’re gonna be 100 you’re probably right because your telomeres are gonna be shorter. But, you know, people can do a lot of these – a lot of things. You know, meditation will help with the stress. Taking those supplements I mentioned will help. Exercise – keep it fun. You know, walking is better than nothing, you know.
Bill: [coughs] Excuse me.
Ryan: And you mentioned endurance exercise. I’m starting to see a lot more research about it and how it impacts brain health as well. We shared a study that was published last week that said the longer you go in that exercise session, so I guess specifically in this study they used mice and they went – they ran to exhaustion. In the study, they had the mice on the treadmill and when they could no longer get back on the treadmill they said: ‘Okay, you’re done.’ But the longer they went, the more neurogenesis they saw.
Bill: Yeah, I read that study. Very exciting!
Bill: It’s – but, you know, it still seems to contradict a lot of previous studies.
Ryan: Does it?
Bill: And with mice – mice aren’t like humans. Like, humans, when we are put – if we are put on a treadmill or something like that all the time, we will generate free radicals just like the mice do. But we’ll also boost our antioxidants. And to such a point that our oxidative stress would be less. Whereas mice don’t have that ability. And so, that’s why, you know, if you have a pet mouse I wouldn’t recommend putting it on a treadmill on the time but that doesn’t mean that you should treat yourself the same way. I get out there and exercise ’cause I believe it – there’s been studies, again in scientifically peer-reviewed journal articles, showing that if you do a lot of exercise, your oxidative stress is actually lower because your elevated antioxidants.
Ryan: My question is what is that – what’s the cause of that? Is it just because we get circulation, endorphins? Is it all of it? Or is just simply that antioxidants are increased?
Bill: I don’t know. I would affect – just guess it’s something to do with our whole epigenetic gene expression system.
Ryan: Okay. It’s – it’s a very complicated process and it has to do with the fact that we are designed to move so the more of that we do the better –
Ryan: – we express health.
Bill: Move is the best word. This is something – everybody wants to move. Keep moving.
Ryan: Yeah. Okay. So, one of the things that I find fascinating about your life or your sport is, you know, at the time when ‘The Immortalist’ came out, that was something that you and Aubrey de Gray were featured in that documentary. You know, the guys at singularity actually reported that at the time you were 61, you were averaging 10 miles a day and at least one 100-mile marathon every month. Are you still maintaining numbers like that?
Bill: I’m trying to. I mean, my travelling has gotten so extensive that it’s hard to go anywhere. I was just – I just returned from Bogotá, Colombia. And, you know, I like to run every day and my host there – I was at a medical clinic there – they were really terrified about the idea that I was thinking of going outside and run because, you know, I could be kidnapped or something like that.
Bill: And so I – they drove me to Central Park in Bogotá, Colombia and there was, like, every 100 yards a military personnel with a machine gun. And thousands of runners because all these – nobody would run anywhere else but they’d all go here because of the protection from the military they have. And so – so I don’t get, when I’m traveling, don’t get as much chance to run as I normally would. Plus, sometimes when I go to China the smog’s too bad to go outside. But yeah. My running – I try to – I do try to sign up for at least a 50- or 100-mile race once a month.
Bill: Otherwise I feel like I’m going through withdrawals. And, you know, I don’t consider these things torture or anything like that. I consider them fun and adventures. And I always – my slogan is: ‘To start is to win,’ you know. It’s being there. Sometimes I have so much fun out there I don’t ever want it to stop. It’s not a race for me, it’s just adventure, exploring, going places where nobody else can because of the fact that you won’t find water and food if you went on that adventure by yourself, you know. A lot of times the only way I get water and food out of there is ’cause the race director will drop it from helicopters on mountain tops and I just get to find the food and eat it and move on.
Ryan: That sounds like a great team-building activity. I think the Natural Stacks team is gonna do that.
Bill: It’s so addicting, I just, I – that’s why I can’t go a month without doing one.
Ryan: That is cool. So, tell us how old are you now and what’s your daily routine like? I mean, how can we be in our 60’s and be, you know, you don’t look that old.
Bill: Yeah, well I’m 64 now. Next year I’m supposed to retire because I’m incapable of doing anything anymore. But that’s the old ways. I, you know, I – I do exer- I – running is the main thing I do. But I try to lead a really healthy diet. I, you know, I try to stay away from the inflammatories. You know, I stay away from sugar. I like to keep my sugar as low as possible. I try not to eat bread and things like that. I’m – I’m guilty of breaking those rules a lot though, but I – at least the effort there makes me netter than those people that don’t make the effort.
Bill: So let’s say, I minimize sugar a lot. Sugar is one of the top ones. I minimize gluten a lot. I stay away from trans-fats and saturated fats. When I see – when I’m buying something, like a candy bar at the store or something like that I will, you know, I don’t mean candy bar but like a health bar but I call them candy bars – I will instantly go to the fats and the sugar and find out what’s going on. But the total amount of fat doesn’t usually bother me. Total amount of carbs usually doesn’t bother me. I’d like to get lots of protein. Those are just ways of life I have. I do that on a regular basis. But, you know, I – I try to, like, eat really well. I, you know, I try to keep – I don’t believe in caloric restriction. I believe that works great on mice, roundworms, fruit flies and yeast but it’s just not a good thing for humans. I – okay, I do have another saying and that’s: ‘What’s the point of living a long time if you’re not living?’ And I think a person on caloric restriction is not really living. And so, I would say don’t do that. And, while we’re on the subject, I also say human growth hormone, microdermabrasion, things like that, those might actually accelerate aging but do ’em anyway. You know, because of the fact, you know, those things are – they really do make people feel younger and look younger. So, but it’s actually just a temporary thing I’m afraid. But – but, okay so, getting back on what else I do. I don’t take human growth hormone but maybe someday I will start doing it. They’re – it’s just, like, thousands of dollars a month to take it and that’s why I don’t take it.
Ryan: Well you mentioned that it could accelerate aging. Why is that?
Bill: Well, because it induces bone cell and muscle cell proliferation, that’s how it works. And by definition anything – every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. So, it’s human growth hormone and microdermabrasion are gonna cause accelerated telomere shortening. And, you know, you’ll feel younger and look younger because of the increased number of cells. But the cells are physically older. The individual cells are physically older. The clump of them looks young. Cells are individually older and – and you’ll experience a big cliff later on where all of the sudden you – the telomeres get so short you start showing all kinds of signs of advanced aging. But again, I do it – I would say to do it anyway. I don’t do it but I would encourage people to continue doing it. And I would have a fix for you – for them, you know, before their telomeres get too short.
Ryan: Before they hit the cliff!
Bill: But we – were we done with all the things I do? I’m trying to think. I mean, I take tremendous numbers of supplements. I go to – okay, so I read the literature all the time. I go to medical conferences all the time. I speak to people – every time somebody’s telling me something that can make me healthier, make me younger, all this kind of stuff, I look into it. You know, I’m gonna say 90% of the time it’s quackery and charlatans and stuff like that. But after you do this for a while – and especially in my case ’cause I do this all the time – I can weed these out. And so, if I find something that sounds like it might be good but I can’t find any reason not to do it, like no negatives, I’ll add it to my regimen of supplements to take and stuff like that. It’s – like the most recent thing I’ve added is glycine. I now take 2 grams of glycine in the morning and 2 grams of glycine at night and that was because some study out of Japan came out, published in a scientifically peer-reviewed journal, saying that it extended life span and actually increased the metabolic rate – no – yeah, the metabolic rate in humans. All the reason to take it. So, I added that to my regimen. But I’ve got a whole bunch of things that I do.
Ryan: What else do you do like that? We’re curious to hear some of your – if you have any special tonics or supplement regimens.
Bill: Well, I believe in keeping your blood vessels flexible, okay. So, I do nitric oxide things. Like I take a product called Neo40, N-E-O 40. I also take L-Arginine which induces nitric oxide production, especially when you get older. Um, and what else? So, I, you know, I take, as I said before, my omega-3 fatty acids. And omega-3 fatty acids – I take about 2.5 grams a day, okay. I can’t remember the exact breakdown of the EPA and the DHA but I do take about 2.5 grams a day. I take – oh, let’s see, what else? Quickly in my head go through my medicine ca- oh, you know, so I – there’s a new product out, nicotinamide riboside that’s Leonard Guarente is the inventor of. It’s a – helps with your NAD pathways and stuff like that. And the data looks pretty good there for at least mice and stuff like that. But I don’t see any harm in trying it. And I’m taking it. I’ve been – I’ve – I’m now on autoship, you know. Because I believe it can only be a benefit to us. And Leonard Guarente, he’s a scientist whose very passionate about curing aging, too. And so, if he believes it, I believe it.
Bill: The – what else? Mentioned omega-3’s. Oh, metformin. Metformin’s a big one. I’ve been taking metformin now for 8 years.
Bill: Yes, because – and I take a gram a day.
Bill: Yeah. And it’s because all the studies were showing that these diabetics that were taking it were having lower incidences of cancer. And lower than diabetics that weren’t taking it and even lower than non-diabetics that weren’t taking it and so –
Ryan: That’s fascinating.
Ryan: So, for people that don’t know, metformin is diabetes medication to help with blood sugar.
Bill: Yes, it regulates your blood sugar. I’m not a diabetic but I’ve been taking it for 8 years just because of the cancer and s- and now it’s even suggested that it might be an analogue of rapamycin. And rapamycin has been shown to enhance life span in mice and roundworms and those other animals. Um, not in humans yet. But, you know, and rapamycin itself actually has toxic side effects and so I wouldn’t take it. But metformin if it’s an analogue, hermetic of rapamycin would offer, too. There is also a, like, a very first anti-aging clinical study ever has been approved and it’s looking at metformin to see if it extends the life span of humans. And I – I’ve heard there’s also another clinical study where they’re using a combination of rapamycin and metformin.
Ryan: Wow. That’ll be fascinating to see when those are published.
Bill: Yeah. No, it’ll be a while but it doesn’t mean people can’t start taking it now.
Ryan: Right, right. So, we’ve talked about a few things that are all benefits of curcumin, so I’m really curios to hear your thoughts. We just released our curcumin product. So, I’m not putting you on the spot with our product, by any means but – but I know from our release and doing all the research for it that curcumin has been shown to decrease the rate of telomere shortening. It is a huge anti-inflammatory. Always has been. It’s been used in ayurvedic medicine for years for that and for pain relief. And it actually was shown in a study at Auburn University to be 400 times more effective than metformin at – was it AMPK stimulation?
Bill: No, I –
Ryan: I don’t have that in front of me, so – but I know the number was 400 times more effective than metformin by name, in the study.
Bill: I take curcumin every day, okay.
Bill: And I’m a big believer in that it’s a healthy thing to do. The – I gotta confess, we have tested it here and have found that it has no abilities to stimulate telomerase –
Bill: To lengthen telomeres. Since it is a strong anti-inflammatory, I believe that that’s its main function is by decreasing inflammation you’re actually decreasing the rate of telomere shortening.
Bill: But for that matter, any anti-oxidant or any anti-inflammatory by that definition is going to actually help keep your telomeres long.
Bill: But curcumin has a host of a lot of other benefits. I mean, I – it’s – if I spent – gave you a list of all the things I take which a curcumin is on this would take an hour to get through.
Ryan: Well, since you do take it and you take it every day, we’ll send you a bottle of ours. You may be interested in making the switch. We’ve got a liquid micelle version that is significantly more bio-available than anything else that’s on the market.
Bill: Okay. You know, it just, for some reason I forget the connection between curcumin and turmeric. Turmeric.
Ryan: Curcumin is the bio-active compound in the spice turmeric.
Ryan: And turmeric is 3% by weight curcumin.
Bill: Okay. All I know is there was a study that came out that turmeric actually inhibited telomerase to –
Bill: And the people that had published it were actually people that were trying to promote it as an anti-cancer therapy. Because it, you know, maybe a few people still believe but it’s actually more the belief right now – some people used to believe that telomerase causes cancer. Now I think the data has clearly shown us the exact opposite, it decreases the rate of cancer. But the turmeric came out a few years ago saying that it inhibited telomerase, take this if you have cancer. And we tested that here and we could not get any reproduction of that at all. And the reason why I wanted to make certain we could show that it didn’t work is because I want people to take turmeric.
Bill: Okay. But I want them also to be taking – inducing their telomerase with some of the telomerase products out there and so –
Ryan: We certainly wouldn’t want to take something that decreases –
Ryan: Right. So, to be clear, it does not.
Bill: Turmeric does not inhibit telomerase. We can’t detect any inhibition whatsoever.
Ryan: Okay. That’s great news.
Ryan: So, you just brought up cancer again. Is there anything exciting on the horizon in terms of telomerase and cancer research?
Bill: Well, the telomerase inhibitors that are in clinical studies are showing problems of having the cancers come back, okay. And this is because their meta-function is to inhibit telomerase, causing the telomeres to get shorter in the cancer cells. And when the telomeres get really critically short, it increases the mutation rate a lot and as a result, a mutation occurs in one of the cancer cells that allows it to survive and grow back. So, this is – this is a problem. So – so, it’s better than not doing it but it still – it’s still got some problems. Keeping telomeres long is the best way to fight cancer and to prevent cancer. But if you have cancer and you can kill – if you can target cancer cells by – by killing any cell that produces telomerase, that would be a great way to fight cancer. But you wouldn’t wanna be taking a telomerase inducer at the time ’cause then you’d kill all your cells. But in the absence of a telomerase inducer, if you were to provide yourself with a drug that would kill telomerase positive cells without causing telomere shortening, that might be a great way – in fact, I even recommend that if there was such a drug – and there isn’t yet – if there was such a drug, you first wanna lengthen the telomeres, take a telomerase inducer to lengthen all the telomeres in your cancer cells then quit taking the telomerase inducer to turn telomerase off in all your non-cancer cells. Then taking the drug that poisons, let’s say, telomerase positive cancer cells and kill all the cancers. Then afterwards go back on the inducer to keep your immune system telomeres long and stuff like that. I think that’s gonna be the best way for us to fight cancer in the future if the immunological methods that are being tested right now don’t cure it all beforehand. ‘Cause I’m real excited about what’s going on there. I think that’s – I think we got some great cures for cancer coming there. But in the meantime, I think that present telomerase inducers – or inhibitors are not gonna be as great as we hoped they would be. Even though I’m a named inventor on several of them. We have to find ways to pois- and we’re actually – even though my company is focused on that, we have stumbled upon a few ways to actually poison telomerase positive cells. And we’re actually looking for, right now, marketing partners or people to go through ’cause we wanna – we wanna keep our attention on the aging but we don’t wanna stand in the way of a cancer therapy.
Ryan: Right, right. So, you mentioned earlier the financial aspect of, you know, a lack of funding is a major obstacle in the quest for anti-aging. Why do you think that is?
Bill: Well, it wasn’t before, okay. Um, back in 1999, when I first decided to start Sierra Sciences, I found investors almost immediately. And, you know, we operated for years. Every time we’d go out to get more funding it was never a problem. I never had problems raising funding. Between 1999 and 2008, I raised 33 million dollars from angel investors. But in the global financial crisis of 2008 destroyed their ability to invest any further. And ever since then it’s been really, really difficult to find investors.
Ryan: So, is there an element of, like, fighting against the medical industry or big pharma, you know, to where people – in certain interests may not want to see aging cured?
Bill: I haven’t seen it. I mean, the only experience that I have had is maybe 10 years ago when I was speaking at a conference. Somebody from the FDA was in the audience and took me aside afterwards and said: ‘You know, we’ll never allow you to do clinical studies to cure aging ’cause aging isn’t a disease.’ And that kinda floored me. I was a little shocked by that. But, you know, things have changed. Loot at – they’ve just approved a clinical study for metformin when the goal is to see how it affects aging. So, I think things have changed, people have come around. But I have never encountered any problems with large pharma being upset. We’ve had large pharma visit here. We’ve had some – I don’t wanna mention companies – but some of the bigger ones come here and meet with us pretty regularly. And they say that, you know, like when we have a drug that we can drop into a Petri dish and turn old human cells into young human cells again, then they’re interested in talking to us. But in the meantime, they don’t wanna get involved in research anymore.
Bill: So the research is still – and the big problem is that the world doesn’t realize that that’s happening. They think that the large pharma is doing research and they’re not. The small companies are doing research and they can’t’ get the funding. And so, people, you know, you’re always hearing about some big news story about somebody does some research that is – puts us closer to the cure for Alzheimer’s or cancer or aging or something like that. And then 5 years later people say well, that must have been some kind of joke ’cause we’ve never heard anything from them since. Well what they don’t realize is the reason they didn’t hear anything from them is because even with all the publicity they still didn’t get any funding. And – and they didn’t get any funding because everybody believes that they got all the funding in the world. We’re now this close to generating all the funding we need, which we estimate to be about a million dollars a month.
Bill: That’s to get our research really going. And that’s – we’re this close to doing that right now. And when we are at that point I will say that we’ll be 1 year away from having something to test in humans that’ll be an affordable, small drug.
Ryan: I can’t wait for that. I’ll be one of the first in line. I would be a first adapter for that.
Bill: Yeah, but you don’t look like you need it.
Ryan: I – but that’s the point, I don’t wanna ever have to need it!
Bill: Yeah, I agree. If you want – I think people should be doing every – whatever they can to keep their telomeres long from the day they’re born.
Ryan: Exactly! Exactly!
Bill: Maybe the day they’re conceived!
Ryan: Yeah! Well –
Bill: So then, mothers should be doing something, yeah.
Ryan: Alright. So, Dr. Andrews, if we haven’t given you the chance yet, what’s the one thing that you would want to impart to our listeners to protect themselves or, you know, slow the aging process?
Bill: Just, like, do whatever you can to keep your telomeres long. And, turns out all the other theories on aging – they all also – doing those things, too, will actually help keep your telomeres long, too. Just, you know, I would say that the best thing anybody can do is spread the word. Let – somehow, yeah, I always say if you’re sitting on an airplane next to a billionaire and that billionaire is saying boy, I wish somebody would cure my aging, tell him there are people out there. There’s us, there’s Aubrey de Gray, there’s Liz Parrish, there’s – there’s Genescient, there’s so many companies out there right now that are passionate about trying to find a cure for aging. They’re not all doing the same thing. I’m very glad they’re not because, you know, we won’t know what actually really cures aging until we do it. Plus, I believe that there isn’t only one cure of aging. I think we’ve got – I think of each theory on why we age is a stick of dynamite that’s burning inside of us. And it’s all dependent on the length of the fuses. So, which fuse has got the shortest – which stick of dynamite has the shortest fuse? And I think – I think it’s telomeres. Well, when we put that out, doesn’t mean the other sticks of dynamite are gonna quit burning. So, I’m glad other people are doing the other things. And it gives me – if I can put that one fuse out that prevents our telomeres from shortening it gives me possibly 40 years more research time to figure out how to put out the other ones.
Ryan: Yeah, I like –
Bill: But yeah, spread the word. We need funding, all of us do! People – just steer people in the right direction because they all believe that we don’t need funding when we do. It’s not gonna – aging is not gonna cure itself.
Ryan: I like it. So, tell our listeners where they can find more of you or get more of your research if they’re interested.
Bill: Well, I do have a book. It’s available on amazon.com. It’s pretty much designed to answer all the questions that people always ask me when I speak on stage. I get kinda embarrassed sometimes when I speak on stage and then I get done, I walk out to the hallway and everybody follows me and the next speaker has nobody left in the room. So, I wrote the book so that they’ll all stay in the room and they can just read the book later. The – there’s ‘The Immortalist’, the movie ‘The Immortalist’. That is a lot about who me and Aubrey are. But we – both of us get an opportunity to talk about our science so they can understand what we’re doing and what it’s all about. Our website is www.sierrasci.com, so it’s S-I-E-R-R-A-S-C-I – that’s short for Sierra Sciences -.com.
Ryan: You guys listening don’t have to try to remember that, we’ll have the link to it on the Natural Stacks blog version of this. So, you can just click straight through to that.
Bill: Alright. And, well I think I ran the gamut there. I can’t think of anything else to say.
Ryan: Okay. Alright, so before we let you go, the question that we ask all of our guests. We wanna know your top 3 tips to live optimal. We’ve – I know we’ve probably hit on some of them already. But you’re top 3 tips to help our listeners live optimal.
Bill: Enjoy life. Um, exercise. Um, and get check-ups all the time, you know. It’s – it’s better to know than not to know. Because even if there’s nothing you can do about it, you could get out there and you could start finding out what you can do about it. Maybe help – join some cancer campaign or something like that, anti-cancer campaign. You know, there’s always something you can do about it, it’s always better to know. But okay, so enjoy life, exercise, and get yourself checked up as often as you can on everything.
Ryan: Alright, there you have it. So, Dr. Andrews, thank you so much for hanging out with us. This has been great. For everybody listening, thank you guys for tuning in. And we will talk to you guys next Thursday!