The Supplement Industry’s Top 10 Hidden Secrets

The US supplement industry contributes more than $60 billion to our economy, yet it remains an almost unregulated frontier – creating what Time Magazine reports to be dicey or shady.

This dichotomy makes the US supplement industry an intriguing juxtaposition of trust and deceit.

It also creates a veritable minefield for consumers trying to determine which supplement brands to trust and what health products to purchase.

Contrary to popular belief, the FDA DOES regulate the supplement industry.

We’ve shared some of their regulatory findings and punishments in recent posts: protein powder contains 1814% more sugar than label claims, and CBD Oil Industry under FDA scrutiny, but this guide is designed to help you see past all the deceitful strategies used by those other guys.

We’re Just As Frustrated As You

We’ve been supplement consumers since before starting Natural Stacks. It was our frustration with these loopholes and the lack of trustworthy, premium products that propelled us to launch our own supplement company – one that does things the right way and creates the type of supplements we want to put in our own bodies.

Here’s another look at why we felt it was so important to start a supplement company with 100% transparency. (This may be WHY we started Natural Stacks – but’s certainly not HOW we do things! You can see a video of our manufacturing facility HERE.)

**This clip is from the award winning documentary “Bigger. Stronger. Faster”**

**$24 Billion stat was from 2008** (The number has more than doubled to $60 Billion since then)

While the FDA does regulate the industry, this Fox News report summarizes it well:

“in a general sense, dietary supplements fall under the purview of the FDA – where there are regulations that pertain to labeling and “claims.”  However, when it comes to the measurement of safety and effectiveness – as prescription drugs must do – it is not the same.  The FDA does not ensure potency, purity or biologic activity of the ingredients in dietary supplements. There is no registration or clearance by the FDA before a dietary supplement goes on the market.”

The FDA and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) are starting to pay closer attention in an effort to protect consumers and shut down unethical, opportunistic companies.

The Supplement Industry’s 10 Hidden Secrets:

Products Do Not Meet Label Claims

Many companies take advantage of the fact that the FDA does not oversee purity or potency and will “claim” their product contains a certain amount of, say protein, for example – when in reality, it may only contain 1/2 that amount.

The FDA will test these products, but usually only AFTER given a reason to do so (someone does independent testing and files a claim). This gives unethical companies a window of time to cash in on sales to unknowing consumers.

Some recent examples:

Here’s how to protect yourself: Look for companies (like Natural Stacks) with a third-party seal of approval from independent testers like Informed Choice or Open-Source Certified that assure you the contents match the label claims.

They Photoshop Their Spokesmodel Pictures

Those “Before & Afters” have always been lies. Today’s social media boom and fitness craze on Instagram is making it worse!

In the days of print ads, the models were usually contest-ready bodybuilders who took their “after” photos first. Then they hit the buffet, sodium-loaded and bloated themselves to temporarily look worse – THIS became the “before” picture.

In other cases, the “Before & After” simply followed an out-of-season bodybuilder through their normal 12 or 16 week contest prep.

Now, with Instagram, it’s not just the filters or photo swaps. Many “Insta-celebs” are simply photoshopping their pictures before posting them to Instagram. Most recently Shredz was busted for doing this with the famous model “Devin Physique”. Now that the FTC is investigating them, Shredz employees are spilling their secrets, including “Devin Physique’s” assistant.

How to Protect Yourself: A lot marketing preys on the consumer’s emotional desire to look or feel a certain way. Make decisions regarding health supplements based on science – not what a half-naked person in spandex says on Instagram.

They Hide Behind Proprietary Blends

As mentioned in the video at the top of this post, proprietary blends are ways for supplement companies to hide the exact amounts of the ingredients in their products.

The video provides an extreme – yet sadly accurate – example of how this can been done. The example shown was a little bit of creatine plus a lot of rice flour, then sold as a “trademarked” or “proprietary blend” of creatine.

This was one of our biggest frustrations and it’s precisely why Natural Stacks is 100% open-source. With open-source companies, you’ll always know the exact amount of every ingredient in your products.

What to look for so you can protect yourself: Look for the Open-Source Certified seal or simply avoid any product that hides the amounts of their ingredients with “proprietary blends”.

They Use Cheap and Inferior Ingredients To Save Money

Just like the food industry, supplement companies that care more about their profit margins than the quality of their product will use mass-produced, low-quality ingredients to cut costs at every possible opportunity.

Let’s be honest, undenatured grass-fed colostrum from New Zealand is more expensive for us to acquire than food-grade whey protein from the American industrial machine. But we want the best quality in our body and in our supplements.

This one is a personal choice. You need to think for yourself about what matters most to YOU. For US, quality is most important and that’s why we choose to use the most premium version of every ingredient we source. We only want the absolute best going into our bodies.

What to look for so you can protect yourself: Read the ingredient list first. Forget the front of the package and go straight to ingredients – this will tell you exactly what’s in the product and lets you see what the company truly values. Look for the highest quality version of every ingredient: grass-fed dairy products, wild-caught fish, non-GMO produce, etc.

They Stuff Their Packages

“Stuffing” in the supplement industry refers to using cheap fillers to add bulk to products so they take up more space in a pill or package.

A prime example of this is in “Mass Gainer” products. Many companies will use corn powder (maltodextrin) or other cheap flours and bulking agents (no pun intended) to help their formulas occupy more space. The less “good stuff” they have to use, the higher their profit margins.

What to look for to protect yourself: Most instances of “stuffing” are hidden by proprietary blends. Avoiding these proprietary blends and sticking with companies that list exact ingredients and their specific amounts allow you to see exactly what you’re getting – with no surprises. Some companies will still try to use fillers, but since you’re reading the ingredients, you catch them before they get your money.

They Spike Their Products So You “Feel” Them

Another supplement industry secret, “spiking” or “pixie dusting” are terms given to the practice of adding ingredients that are not listed on the label to a product in order to “boost” it’s effectiveness.

In a high profile example of this, Boston Red Sox pitcher Michael Kopech was suspended for 50 games last year after testing positive for methylsynephrine, although he insists he didn’t knowingly take it.

It turns out, the compound – also known as oxilofrine – is a stimulant that was included in his dietary supplement, but not declared on the label by the supplement manufacturer.

It’s not just ONE company sneaking this compound into it’s weight loss pills…

Last week, the FDA announced that it sent warning letters to seven manufacturers of dietary supplements that contain that stimulant: Nutraclipse, Inc., Swagger Supps, Total Body Nutrition LLC, Xcel Sports Nutrition LLC, M4 Nutrition Companies LLC, Line One Nutrition Inc., and Chaotic Labz.

According to their press release, “The letters stopped short of calling methylsynephrine a drug, although it is generally defined as a stimulant that mimics the effects on the heart of an amphetamine. The companies have 15 days to tell the FDA how they will bring their products into compliance with the law.”

Here’s how to protect yourself: Look for companies (like Natural Stacks) with a third-party seal of approval from independent testers like Informed Choice or Open-Source Certified that assure you the contents match the label claims.

They Use Artificial and Hidden Sweeteners

Evaporated cane syrup? Really?

If I told you I had some evaporated ocean syrup, what does that leave us…SALT!

Sugar is sugar and no amount of fancy wording can change the way it impacts our bodies. Beware of cane syrup, brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice and any other fructose, dextrose, ribose or hidden sugars.

As for artificial sweeteners, this is another area where you need to do some introspective soul-searching and determine where you want to draw the line. This is a spectrum, and YOU get to choose where on that spectrum you want to reside. There is no judgement, we’re simply trying to inform.

Personally, I don’t want to consume ANY added sugar or artificial sweetener.

At Natural Stacks, we don’t add sweeteners. We believe you should be able to get a protein powder without sweetener if you want it. True to our “stacking” concept where you can combine products for synergistic effects, you can simply add your sweetener of choice should you desire.

By the way, high doses of sweeteners are usually needed to mask nasty flavors of inferior ingredients (see Hidden Secret #5)…just saying.

They Use Toxic Ingredients

In this CBS News report, a Congressional Investigation discovered that numerous dietary supplements contained arsenic (rat poison), lead, and mercury.

Glyphosate – or RoundUp – is found in GMO corn and other industrial crops and has been found in supplements that contain these crops. Glyphosate has been linked to autism, cancer, and more. It’s banned in many countries, but not here in the US.

What to look for to protect yourself: Avoid corn or soy unless they are labeled as Non-GMO.

Inconsistent Potencies Among Bottles and Batches

As Forbes reported HERE, several companies have been busted by the FDA recently for bottles or batches of formulas that did not meet standard dosages.

In other words, the formulas were not evenly distributed at the time of manufacturing and some pills and bottles contained stronger or weaker potencies than listed.

This is a manufacturing issue and a testing issue. Again, companies that fail in this area are cutting corners in order to lower costs.

GMP facilities – plants that have achieved “Good Manufacturing Practices” approval cost more to fill products that non-GMP facilities.

Testing products after they’ve been produced is also costly step. Obviously, some companies are skipping that quality control step altogether.

At Natural Stacks, we strive to deliver consistent results with every dosage and every bottle. In fact, we’ve submitted products from 3 separate manufacturing runs to third party testers in order to verify this exact scenario.

How you can protect yourself: Companies who attain these third party certifications proudly display them on their packaging or website, so look for “manufactured in a GMP facility” along with Informed Choice, Open-Source Certified, or NSF logos to verify this.

They Claim Ingredients Are Natural, When They Are Actually Synthetic

While similar to using inferior ingredients, this industry secret is slightly more deceitful, since it involves an outright lie. Unfortunately many companies “claim” to use natural ingredients but they actually use synthetic reproductions in an effort to save money.

For example, one brand name company claims “100% NATURAL” on the label of its moisturizers but uses synthetic surfactants, preservatives and fragrance.

How can you protect yourself? As Always, read the ingredients. in the case of this synthetic surfactant, it was listed on the ingredients. You can also consult the Natural Products Association for a list of companies that have claimed to be natural and verified by this third party watchdog.

Why We’re different

Natural Stacks is a small team of passionate health and fitness enthusiasts. We started this company with the intent to disrupt the supplement industry, raise the standard, and help change the status quo. Exposing these deceitful tactics used by unethical companies is one way we can drive that change.

Making high quality products with open-source formulas rooted in scientific research and being 100% natural and transparent is another way we’re pushing the standard higher and providing you safer, healthier, more natural options.

Just like the organic and grass-fed movements, the consumer demand can – and will – drive this change to critical mass. We’re confident the educated and informed consumer will demand better and push the supplement industry to become more transparent and quality-oriented.


Did we forget anything? Let us know in the comments below.

The Top 8 Predictive Biomarkers For Lifetime Health from Dr. Russell Jaffe

You’re proactive about your health.

You want to be in control of your destiny.

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.)

Links & Resources

Dr. Russell Jaffe’s Website

More videos from Dr. Jaffe

Better Lab Tests Now Website

PERQUE Integrative Health:

ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies:

Toll Free Numbers to find certified Physicians in your area:

  • 1-800-553-5472 (PERQUE Integrative Health)
  • 1-800-525-7372 (ELISAACT)

pH test Kit ($11)

Sugar intake in 1822 = 6.3 pounds per year per person.

Sugar intake in 2005 = 107.7 lbs per year per person.

Source: Stephen Guyenet

#LiveOptimal with Natural Stacks 

Vitamin D: With organic coconut oil for enhanced absorption

Non-GMO Vitamin C to support your body’s antioxidant activity and neural protection

MagTech: Features the only magnesium compound proven to cross the blood-brain barrier – ensuring that you get magnesium delivered where you need it most

Krill Oil: Delivers your omega-3’s as a phospholipid, the most bioavailable form of EPA and DHA

How Hemoglobin A1c Predicts 10-Year Survival


The Future Of Natural Foods, Supplements, and Nootropics

We just got back from Natural Products Expo West 2016.

EXPO WEST, as it is known, is the largest showcase of natural foods and products in the world. (See the exhibit hall below? There were 7+ rooms like this!)

Imagine walking down the aisle of your favorite health food store…

NOW, imagine every single company behind every product on those shelves building a massive booth to showcase their goods…


The booths start in the 100’s and go all the way to the 9000’s.

With over 600 new products this year, more than 3,000 vendors and 77,000 attendees, it’s massive, exhilarating, crazy, and sensory overload.

The Future Of Natural Foods and Supplements:

In this post – and podcast – we’re going to distill EXPO WEST 2016 down to the important things for you – the consumer.

This year, we noticed a huge move from supplements in previous years to almost all food and drinks. With record highs for new products, vendors, and attendees, the demand for natural, healthy food choices is at all time high and this is GREAT NEWS!

The shift from processed foods to natural that has driven the growth of natural food “meccas” like Whole Foods, is slowly trickling down to larger grocery chains. This year’s EXPO WEST represented that as more companies try to meet consumer demands and distributors and retailers try to get a piece of the action.

A Special Optimal Performance Podcast

In this week’s OPP, we’re breaking from our routine to chat with Natural Stacks co-founder Roy Krebs so we can share with you the trends we noticed and the products, people, and brands doing big things in the natural foods, supplement and nootropics industries.

We’re also answering listener questions – so go ahead and post your questions in the comments below and we’ll answer them on a future episode of the OPP.

What you’ll hear on this episode of the OPP:

  • New segment on the podcast. We’ll answer your questions on future episodes of the show – leave your questions in the comments below or email
  • What the ever-growing demand for healthy and natural foods means for you the consumer in regards to ingredients and labeling.
  • EPIC Bars, nose-to-tail use of animals, new cooking fats, and bone broth
  • Prebiotics, probiotics, the difference between the two and why you need both
  • The end of bathing, covering yourself in bacteria, and using animal fat for deodorant and moisturizer
  • The cival war in the mushroom supplement world: Full spectrum dried shrooms vs. distilled extracts of specific compounds within those mushrooms
  • Caveman Coffee’s new Nitro Teas and chowing down at the Bulletproof Coffee Shop in Santa Monica
  • Mark Sisson, Primal Mayo, and the new Primal Collagen Protein Bar
  • Listener question #1: The best tips to cook your food to avoid carcinogens and advanced glycation end products (AGEs)
  • Listener question #2: Optimizing your GABA levels, why phenibut is not the best GABA supplement for long-term health
  • Stacking our Brain Foods for synergistic effects and using them daily for natural optimization of your neurotransmitters
  • Roy’s daily routine – scheduling work flow for optimal productivity, supplements, and exercise
  • Honey before bed and combining the Bulletproof Diet with Carb Back-Loading and the Tim Ferriss carb approach
  • Roy’s Top 3 Tips to #LiveOptimal

Links To Our Expo West 2016 Favorites

Mother In Law’s White Kimchi (My apologies, I said Mothers In The Raw on the podcast)

Farmhouse Culture

Mother Dirt “Anti-Soap Soap”

EPIC Bone Broth

EPIC’s “Nexty” Award-Winning Duck Fat & Animal Cooking Oils

Caveman Coffee Co’s Nitro Teas (Coming Soon)

Bulletproof Cafe in Santa Monica

FatCo (formerly Fat Face Skin Care) & Stank Stop Natural Deodorant

Primal Kitchen Collagen Bars

Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo

Tiger Nuts

Seth Roberts Blog

Serotonin Brain Food

You can take the Braverman Test and learn more about your own neurotransmitter levels by clicking here.

Post your questions below and we’ll answer them on a future podcast episode.


The Future Of Natural Foods, Supplements, and Nootropics

Ryan: Hello, 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, check out our blog that has recently moved from to

Alright, happy Thursday all you optimal performers!

Roy: St. Patty’s Day.

Ryan: Yeah, happy St. Patrick’s Day! And, you guys, that is co-founder of Natural Stacks, Roy Krebs. Roy, say hello.

Roy: Hello.

Ryan: So, for you guys listening, we’re gonna try something a little bit different today: less of me interviewing a guest and more of Roy and I talking about some things that are going on in the supplement, nootropics, biohacking world as well as answering some questions and being a little bit more interactive and engaging with you guys, the audience. So make sure you shoot me an e-mail, or leave us a comment on the blog, on the YouTube video, anywhere that you consume this information. Let us know how you like this format. Like I said, we’re gonna try this, make it a little bit different. And if you like it we’ll do more of this, maybe once a month a Q&A, maybe I answer your questions once an episode, whatever that might be. So you guys let us know, your feedback’s gonna really help us shape this going forward. So, the reason that we wanted to start this this week is that last weekend the Natural Stacks team was at Natural Products Expo West. It is the largest natural foods expo in the world. There were over 3000 vendors, 77,000 people in attendance. It was a zoo, it was amazing, it was really, really cool. And if you ever get a chance to go we highly recommend it. So we wanna talk a little bit today about what we saw and kinda let you live vicariously through us and see what it was like to be there. So, Roy, what do you – what would you like to say about it?

Roy: Yeah. First, it’s just massive, it’s hectic and very stimulating, lots of things going on. What’s interesting is there’s 600 new companies represented this year. Companies that haven’t been there before. So, these are up-and-coming companies that are looking at the trends and trying to develop something new and creating their own niche in the space. So, with so many new companies, it’s great to see how they’re branding, what their ideas are for a new product. Most of them are in the food space, the natural food space but also a bunch of supplements represented as well. And it’s great to see that mix and just what’s new and what’s – what people are feeling responsive to.

Ryan: Yeah. Ben made a really good point – our other co-founder – saying that, you know, what we actually see there is the shift from processed foods to natural foods that has driven the growth of, for example, Whole Foods or Erewhon markets in LA. It is trickling down to the larger, the more chain grocery stores and that’s something that kinda early adapters like our audience has to – we – you can’t help but be pleased to see more of that becoming mainstream.

Roy: Yeah, it’s great. I think probably every single new vendor out there was – was vegan, organic, Paleo, every certification you can get – non-GMO. Of course, there was some great beef jerky and stuff out there that’s not vegan. But everything has a strong focus on sourcing [coughs] – sourcing, traceability, is all very important.

Ryan: So when you say traceability, what do you mean? Or what comes to your mind when you say that?

Roy: It seems that – that the products have a strong focus on okay, what are the ingredients? And usually there’s only a few. Where do they come from? And that’s the messaging that a lot of these companies are starting to put across, which is great! That’s what we care about. What’s in the product? And how do we know that this is legit and it’s not ultra-processed and made in a way that isn’t the most optimal for us?

Ryan: Right. And, you know, when you say that one of the companies that comes to my mind is, you know, you already mentioned jerky. So, EPIC Bar, EPIC Provisions. I mean, that’s one that we know when we eat that we’re getting grass-fed meat. We know that they control for the most part. All of the animals, you know, except for maybe the salmon that goes into their products, they’re controlling that from start to finish. And they’re actually – one of the cool things that we saw out there at the conference was that they are – they’re going on this nose to tail movement where they’re starting to use the entire animal. So not only are they putting the meat in protein bars or jerky but they’re now gonna have bone broths in jars that’ll be available for the public, they’re gonna have duck fat and other lard or tallow that are trying to get the entire animal out to the market.

Roy: It’s great. It’s great to see them thinking that way. And – and they were actually recently purchased by General Mills. Um, but they’re staying true to their roots and expanding their product line in a way that makes sense. So, it’s great to see that. And they do – they do an awesome job with telling their story and the story of their products. And again, sourcing. Where did this stuff come from? Is it sustainable? Things like that. What I thought was interesting is that I really didn’t see many products or dietary supplements focused on brain health or performance.

Ryan: That did seem to be a – a lacking area. I mean, I don’t think – I don’t think most people would walk in there saying – and realize, the way we would, that it was a void. But that certainly stood out to all of us, that that really wasn’t an area being targeted.

Roy: Right, and there’s – there’s always the basic stuff for energy or for relaxation. And those little energy shots or something that’s supposed to make you feel some vitality or also rest and sleep and relax. But there’s nothing that takes it a step further that’s: how do I actually improve cognition or function or focus? Mental performance. So, it’s cool to see that we’re in that space and we’re doing that. And I think it’s gonna to continue to be that trend. And we’ll see next year when we show up to see if there’s – there’s more people focusing on that.

Ryan: Yeah. And we’ll be one of them, right?

Roy: Exactly, yeah.

Ryan: So, come see us at Expo West next year.

Roy: Exactly.

Ryan: So, what else stood out to you? Any other brands or companies that we came across that were innovating?

Roy: Well there were a lot. And I think just major trends. Of course, there’s – there’s so many different types of beef jerky out there now. It’s – it was almost becoming a joke. So we, you know, tried a bunch and see what it is but it’s so much competition in that space, they’re really almost all the same. So, that was, kind of, it seemed like a flooded market there. Things like – like trail mixes and Paleo bars and – those kind of seem overplayed. And certain drinks, variations on water. There’s a lot of stuff like that out there. So there were a few things that really stood out. I think one was there seemed to be more focus on gut health, which is great. Lots of probiotics, of course. But then also, on the food side, fermented foods, sauerkraut, kimchi. There was quite a lot of those companies out there that seemed like they had just gotten off the ground and were doing pretty well.

Ryan: That was really cool. When I travel I’m always worried about being able to get enough vegetables and to keep that, you know, the routine that I have at home in place or as close to in place as possible. So, I’ll just – you know this ’cause you were there but for everybody listening I just walked up and down the aisles all day both days we were there and ate as much kimchi and sauerkraut as I could so I could stay on track. But it was – it is really cool to see that. So, all of our favorite sauerkraut and kimchi brands were there and they were unveiling new flavors. I think it’s – is it mothers in the raw or one of those brands had a flavor that I’ve never tried. It was a white kimchi. I’m not a fan of the spice in kimchi, so this one was without the red pepper. It’s basically kimchi without the spice. So that was really good. Farmhouse Culture was another good one. I think we got Ben hooked on that.

Roy: Yes, we did. Yeah.

Ryan: So –

Roy: It was great to see.

Ryan: While we’re on that topic, can you elaborate? I think there’s a little confusion for some people between the difference of prebiotics and probiotics.

Roy: Sure, so – so to make it really simple, prebiotics are food for probiotics. And if you’re ingesting the right prebiotics, which are resistant starch, certain starchy tubers and things like that, they act as food for your probiotics. And if you’re ingesting these prebiotics on a regular basis you’re gonna build this culture of good bacteria in your gut that are feeding off those prebiotics. So, you’re basically super-charging your probiotics. And it helps get rid of the bad probiotics and also increase the number of good probiotics in your system such as bifidobacterium and – what is the other one? Lactobacteria.

Ryan: Yeah, that’s how most sauerkraut’s made, through that lacto-fermentation, right?

Roy: Yeah. So, it’s a super simple breakdown. But you need both. And – and probiotics them self are really delicate and really the best way to get them in your system is through fermented foods. In a supplemental form it’s really tricky. Heat, processing of any kind can damage and kill a lot of those active, live probiotics. So, it’s best to have some fermented food or things like that and then supplement that with prebiotics.

Ryan: Yeah. I think that’s a really good point about the delicacy of probiotics and I think a lot of people think: hey, even if I’m getting it out of the refrigerator at the vitamin store then, you know, I’m safe. But what we don’t know, what we can’t control is the process from manufacturer to that refrigeration unit in the store. So, how long was it in the warehouse? How long was it in the truck? What was the temperature? You know, if you’re transporting across the country in August, odds are by the time it reaches the refrigerator it’s not the product that you think you’re getting.

Roy: Exactly. Constantly heated and then cold and then heat and cold again. And those are active live bacteria in there that are very delicate. That’s why, with things like kimchi and sauerkraut, that’s continuing to ferment and continuing to build those bacteria even when it’s sitting in your fridge. So – so that’s really the best place to get that.

Ryan: Yeah. And I think both of us follow that protocol, eating fermented vegetables daily, taking prebiotic, the resistant starch complex at night for optimal gut health.

Roy: Yeah. I’ve been doing that for maybe 6 or 9 months now. And I’ve been eating kimchi every day for lunch and then also sometimes at dinner. And resistant starch in the afternoon and the evening. And – and really I do feel better. I’m more regular and – and I feel like I – my body composition is more on this, kind of, even keel.

Ryan: Yeah, I would have to say I’ve noticed the same thing. And you just mentioned bacteria. So, I’ve gotta jump to another booth and some people that we found very interesting is the Mother Dirt folks.

Roy: Yeah, totally interesting concept. Totally interesting concept. So these guys are spraying live bacteria onto your skin as a form of soap. So, it’s – it’s kind of the anti-soap soap. Spraying dirt on yourself and – but it’s – you start talking with this lady and there’s an amazing amount of research behind this thing. It’s been in RND for 10 years. Heavily funded. And – and I think they’re on the verge of something really cool here.

Ryan: Yeah, we actually – if you guys listening go back to, I believe it was podcast 18 we had Paul Jaminet on who wrote ‘The Perfect Health Diet’. He is affiliated somehow with these guys and he actually was the first to tell us about it. And the spray, the bacteria spray is AOB is ammonia oxidizing bacteria and it helps convert the bacteria or the sweat into nitric oxide. So, it was really interesting to hear him talk about it. But, like you said Roy, we got to run in – we got the rundown from Robin at the conference and we learned something interesting about the company’s founder. He hasn’t showered in 18 – or 13 years?

Roy: 13 years, I think it was. Yeah. Just been spraying bacteria on himself. And apparently, he’s still alive and well.

Ryan: Right. So – and he and the chief scientist are Harvard, MIT people. I mean, they’re really, really intelligent people. And, you know, I guess drop a hint for you guys listening. We actually are talking with them next week to line up a podcast with them so we’ll have them on, we’ll be able to dive a little bit deeper into that and bring you all of the information there on bathing, showering and covering yourself in bacteria.

Roy: Yeah, I’m interested in a little bit more about that science as well. You know, I know it’s supposed to be killing the ammonia so that you don’t get the smell. Um, but, you know, what else is it doing? How does it really keep your skin clean? And I think they have a shampoo, too, right?

Ryan: They have a shampoo and a cleanser. I think your description was perfect, it’s the anti-soap soap.

Roy: Right. Well that’s – yeah, it’s super cool. And it’s good to see things like that come up because rather than just a standard cold-brew coffee or beef jerky or nut butter, there was all kinds of nut butters there. It’s like wow, these guys are doing something super innovative and they’re getting some press and traction and this is what’s cool to see at events like this.

Ryan: Yeah, you’re right. Those – the booths that were different, that were doing things that nobody else was doing, those were really cool. There’s another one along that line, FATCO, formally FATFACE, they’ve just recently changed their name. But that’s another nose to tail use of the animal where they’re taking the tallow, creating skin care, beauty or hygiene products that are chemical free, made from animals. You know, nobody else there was doing that.

Roy: Right. Simple product and it works, right? You’ve been using that.

Ryan: Yeah. That’s what I use for deodorant. It’s called Stank Stop. [laughs] It’s awesome! And they’ve got a whole line. They’ve got lip balms and, you know, face moisturizers. That’s another podcast that we may actually try to set up and bring people because we talked about that with Andy on our podcast. Where – if our listeners go – if you just go into your bathroom and you look at the ingredients on the products that you put on your skin every single day. I mean, your skin’s your largest organ and you’re smearing chemicals onto it that are getting absorbed into your body every single day. So, I think in the world of biohacking, most areas are kind of exhausted or covered. And I think skin care and products like that is an area that is overlooked by a lot of people.

Roy: I think you’re right. I think there’s a lot of room for our industry to grow there. And I like Andy Hnilo’s concept is he wouldn’t put it on his skin if he wouldn’t eat it, right?

Ryan: Right.

Roy: And that’s a cool way to think about it. And I think we’ll see more products coming in that direction. And from a dietary supplement company like us, it’s interesting that minerals in particular are best absorbed transdermally. That’s why float tanks are so effective with the epsom salt. And so, I’ve been experimenting a little bit with magnesium oil and creams and seeing if we could fit them into the product line. And some interesting things we could do there. So, that’s – it’s an area of research that I wanna keep looking into.

Ryan: Yeah, especially with the magtein that’s in our MagTech is as bio-available as it is, as powerful as it is. I mean, that’s one that if we can increase the absorption you can – you’d see even more benefit.

Roy: Right, right. So, we’re gonna keep looking into that.

Ryan: Alright. What other ideas spark you or did you come away with saying: ‘Hey, we should look into this, we should do this’?

Roy: Well, I was talking to a lot of suppliers. You know, we have great suppliers in place for, for example, our krill oil and a lot of our minerals and some of our herbs. But always talking to new suppliers and kind of getting their angle and why they think their product is different or unique. And a lot of times, you know, we don’t learn anything new but it’s – it’s just good to get that perspective and it’s – it’s interesting um, how some manufacturers will position their product different than another manufacturer but it’s actually a very similar thing. Or there’s this whole debate, and particularly with medicinal mushrooms, functional mushrooms, which I’ve been doing some research into recently: chaga and reishi, lion’s mane, cordyceps. There’s this debate going on between the extracts and the whole concentrate supplements. So, you have this supplement that’s made from the entire mushroom that’s milled down into a dietary supplement. It’s kind of a whole spectrum complete supplement. And then on the other side they have these supplements that are very exact extracts that are going after a certain active component in that mushroom. And those folks are saying, you know, that’s how you get a really – a lot of effect out of this product. Whereas the other folks are saying it’s not a full-spectrum, mushrooms have all these synergistic ingredients and you need all of them working in conjunction and you’re gonna have more of a full body effect. So, it’s interesting to look at the research, which there really isn’t that much research in the mushroom world, and then trying to make those thoughts for yourself. Okay, which one is more effective? Or perhaps it needs to be a mix of both to really get what you’re really going after.

Ryan: Yeah. So, for you guys listening, if you’re not aware of how Natural Stacks operates, Abelard is a product creator and so is Roy. And you’re kind of hearing Roy’s thought process of how our products are created and you see the thought and the research that goes into them. And I think that’s one of the reasons that we’re able to bring to market products that we’re so proud of. You know, so Roy, I know that weighing that mushroom decision was a big part of your weekend. And I mean, it just – it almost sounds like there’s a civil war in the mushroom world, you know. You’ve got these 2 sides and both are adamant about, you know, their stance being the correct one. I mean, how do you – how do you decide this one’s right and, you know, this is, you know, if we wanted to make a mushroom product this is the side that we would choose?

Roy: Sure, and I haven’t decided yet. And I – we are looking into creating some mushroom products.  And – and it’s something that I’ll be looking at really closely. I think – I think the most important thing that was a takeaway is that we want an organic product, especially for mushrooms. A lot of the stuff coming from China has shown high levels of metal toxicity and absolutely that’s something that we don’t even wanna question. We want to make sure this stuff is from the source and from the get-go, you know, it’s a fungus so it has to be grown in a very controlled setting to get exactly the properties of that particular fungus without any interference. So, that was the biggest takeaway is that we’re looking for a U.S.A grown, organic product. And then, in terms of the extract versus the whole spectrum supplement, that’s something that I’m still looking at and it might differ between product. ‘Cause they’re extracting down to a certain active component and perhaps, in certain products, if we’re going for a certain effect we may want more of that whereas in another product, if it’s like an immunity product, it might be more important to have the full spectrum. Or in certain cases, maybe a combination of both. So that’s something that we’re playing with.

Ryan: Alright, right. It’s exciting. I know I can’t wait. I’m sure our listeners are looking forward to it. We’ve already had quite a few comments, people are anxiously awaiting. So, –

Roy: Yeah, there’s some interesting – interesting things in the mushroom world that aren’t available with typical herbs, vitamins or minerals.

Ryan: Yeah.

Roy: And – and it’s gonna be fun to explore in that space, for sure.

Ryan: Definitely. Now, you mentioned cold-brew earlier. There was a lot of coffee at the expo. We got to try a couple of new ones and a couple of old favorites. I was really pumped that we got to run into Caveman Coffee crew. I’ve had some interaction with them before but we’ve never met in person. That was cool. Those guys are amazing, they’re awesome. We had a blast hanging out with them.

Roy: Yeah, definitely very authentic guys. And they’re very passionate about their coffee. And their coffee tastes great. But what was – what was cool to me was their yerba matte. They’re coming out with this new yerba matte and they had it on a tap and I think they’re putting it into cans. But, completely pure product, no sugar or any additives or anything like that. Just – but the taste they’re able to get out of that was – was outstanding.

Ryan: Yeah, and I think we may be able to get them on the show at a future time as well to have them talk about it when it launches. But I believe that it was a nitro, their nitro coffee has been a big hit and the nitro that they add in the tap gives the coffee and now the tea just a thicker mouth feel without having to add anything else. They had a hibiscus tea that was awesome as well.

Roy: Yeah, exactly. It was almost foamy and it seemed a little thicker than just normal tea. And it – but yeah, it tastes great. And I think Keith was saying that he got the main idea from Tim Ferriss who we know is very adamant about yerba matte being his favorite drink and favorite cognitive booster. And it’s, you know, it is a very defined effect, completely different from coffee or green tea, even. And that’s something that I want to start experimenting more with.

Ryan: Yeah, he actually – he had me inspired to do the same. I’m drinking coffee today but I – Keith is – he said that he’s been drinking yerba matte in the mornings instead of coffee. And he said for about a week it was kind of a cumulative effect through that first week. And, you know, after that he said: ‘Man, this is it. This is what I want to do.’ So, it –

Roy: Yeah, it’s interesting.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s just really cool to hear different people’s different morning routines and what works and, you know, how they kinda get into the zone. Before we get off of the coffee topic, we made a stop to the Bulletproof cafe.

Roy: We did, yes.

Ryan: So Bulletproof is a brand that has always been, you know, good to us, we’ve been good to them and really enjoy their coffee as well so we had to see the mecca, see the shop. It was really cool to see what Dave has been able to create there. Tons of, you know, like-minded people hanging out. And I know I can say that if I lived close to one I’d be there every day.

Roy: Yeah, it was really cool to see. And you’re right, it was busy and you could tell it was very healthy people there. But the space he created is very nice. And I think the process of ordering, it’s all very comfortable. They bring the food out to you, you know, it’s not – there’s not much clutter going on. And – and the way that – you can tell there’s a lot of focus on the food and how they cook it and where it’s sourced. And the menu isn’t very complicated, there’s maybe 10 things on there but, yeah. You and I tried as many as we could. I think we ordered 7 or 8 things to try it all out and it was all great.

Ryan: It was. The food was excellent.

Roy: In particular the ice cream, the Get Some Ice Cream that they’ve put together was quite a bit better than I had expected, actually.

Ryan: Yeah, it was – it was really cool. I guess I was shocked to see it in – it was almost like when you walk into a 7-11 and the Slurpee machine is spinning around. Instead of being horizontal, theirs was vertical. But that ice cream was just churning the whole time and it was, you know, smooth, creamy. I mean, it tasted like real ice cream. I never would have known that it was, like, a healthy recipe.

Roy: Yeah, it was hard not to order, I think it was only 11am when we were there but we got to start off with a little ice cream.

Ryan: Yeah we had to. And, let’s see what – they had all kinds of breakfasts and protein bowls, you know, it was –

Roy: Steak, salmon.

Ryan: Yeah, it was almost like if you’ve read the Bulletproof Diet book or the Bulletproof recipe book, it was just, you know, imagine being able to order anything out of there and have it prepared and handed to you.

Roy: Right. And – and even just a cup of bone broth, you know, you can order that.

Ryan: Yeah.

Roy: Yeah, very cool to see. And I think he’s working on opening a couple other stores which should be great. It’s impressive what he’s done with this brand and it’s something that we look up to.

Ryan: For sure. Another guy that we got to run into again who has done a lot with his brand in the Paleo world is Mark Sisson.

Roy: Right. Great guy. I love Mark. He’s very authentic and he’ll shoot it to you straight. Certain products or other products that he does or does not like. And he’s been doing really well with his – his mayo, his avocado oil based mayo product. And now he has 3 or 4 different flavors. And that’s a cool product. I have some in my fridge that I use with artichokes. And it really tastes just like mayo, or if not better. And I know he’s doing really well off that. And I saw that he’s expanding into some new products, just released a protein bar base with collagen. And what I thought was interesting that rather than just using, like, cashews or almonds like other companies he added, actually, peanuts or pumpkin seeds. Which was cool. And it actually tastes pretty good.

Ryan: Yeah, that was a good bar. And, you know, my hope for that is that it can do for the bar world what his mayo did, you know, in that kind of, market.

Roy: It’s a tougher world, you know, there’s a lot of bars out there.

Ryan: It’s definitely more saturated than the healthy mayo.

Roy: Yeah. But – but like we said, you know, hopefully these trends continue and that those things get out there more.

Ryan: Yeah, I will second that. So, let’s –

Roy: And then the tiger nuts, too.

Ryan: Yeah!

Roy: We saw the tiger nuts were there.

Ryan: Yeah.

Roy: Which were super cool. And if you guys aren’t familiar, it’s those – it’s a weed plant that’s grown in Africa and the Middle East. And it’s a tuber so it’s grown underneath the ground and there’s these tiny little – I wouldn’t call it a nut.

Ryan: They look like nuts but they’re actually tubers. They’re shriveled, like a dried raisin but hard. They have that shriveled raisin look but they’re hard.

Roy: They don’t look very attractive but they actually taste pretty good, I’d say. I wouldn’t say great. And they now have a new version that has a lot of the peel taken off which is a little bit less chewy and more approachable, I’d say.

Ryan: The –

Roy: But that’s a cool product and very high in resistant starch.

Ryan: Yeah. It’s a – it’s about 50% resistant starch.

Roy: Yeah, that’s super high. I think even um, you know, our banana flour we use is about 30-40% max. So to have something that potent in a resistant starch in a small little punch like that is awesome.

Ryan: I’ve been taking those, they’re very portable and I’ve actually been taking them, like, the weather’s starting to break and we’ve been hiking a lot lately. So I just throw those into a Ziploc bag and put it in my pocket and I just eat those and some nuts while I’m hiking.

Roy: Yeah, good source of energy, too, fat and some sugars in there.

Ryan: Yeah.

Roy: I – I’ve kind of always dreamt of putting together an ultimate trail mix. And I’d like to put a few tiger nuts in there.

Ryan: What other ingredients would go in Roy’s Ultimate Trail Mix?

Roy: I’m still working on it daily, basically. But I like macadamias.

Ryan: Yeah.

Roy: And I’d probably throw a couple of Bulletproof’s truffle espresso beans in there.

Ryan: Yes, those are amazing.

Roy: Those are great. And, I think, 3 or 4, maybe 5 just high-quality ingredients like that. But a mix, right, so you have this resistant starch content, you have this great fat from macadamias and some chocolate and things like that. Maybe someday.

Ryan: Could be Natural Snacks.

Roy: Natural Snacks, coming up next. [laughs]

Ryan: So, before we shift gears into Q&A, I wanna just pause, kinda do a public service announcement, tell you guys listening. Make sure you head over to to see the video version of this, get the show notes. We’ll have links to all of the brands that we’re talking about, any of the studies or anything else that we mention going forward in the Q&A. That’s a great place to drop your questions if you wanna get your question answered by me on a show or by Roy and I on a future Q&A if that’s the way we decide to go forward with this. And if you haven’t already done so, please go to iTunes, leave us a 5* review, let us know how much you like the show. We’ve got a couple of new ones that we wanna read. Um, so here’s one from [unclear 00:31:29]: ‘Yep, hands down best podcast out there. Super easy to follow, soothing in the ears. Everything is broken down so you can understand. The topics are freakin’ awesome, keep up the good work.’ He says: ‘Yep, subscribe, it’s that good. Great podcast, very informative. The guests are awesome. Here’s another one from cousin [unclear 00:31:48], that’s a cool name: ‘Love the diversity of guests. Information you can use and the latest in biohacking and nootropics. Love Natural Stacks and love this podcast.’ So thank you guys. Make sure you head over and let us know, leave us a review. That’s how we know what you like, what to do more of. And we can make this, you know, the podcast that is your go-to resource.

Roy: That’s the goal. And recently we’ve seen a lot of questions come in so I wanted to get with Ryan on the podcast and help answer some of those and hopefully if that’s a format you guys like we’ll continue that.

Ryan: So, for you guys listening, in our small, tight-knit team we know Roy is an incredible cook and this is a perfect question for Roy to answer. So, we’ve been asked about cooking methods, reducing carcinogens and advanced glycation end products that can occur with overcooking meat or cooking at high temperatures. So, we’re gonna let chef, master chef Roy take that one and give us some advice.

Roy: Yeah, you’re not so bad a chef yourself. Some broiling techniques and everything else I saw last weekend. Um, well I love to barbecue and I like just being outside and getting some of that smell, some of the smoke. But as you know that the high heat, when you’re putting that meat on the grill, can cause some carcinogens. And it’s something that – that we’re conscious of and always trying to reduce that in any way we can. So, the first thing is just not to overcook the meat and, you know, you get a little bit of that barbecue char but not too much. And try to, you know, keep the meat as intact as possible without flaming it. But there are some interesting things you can do and seasonings and spices you can use to really mitigate the negative effects of a high heat cooking like barbecuing and my favorite is rosemary. And if you – if you look around and do the research there’s actually some very substantial research showing that rosemary, which contains rosmarinic acid, can greatly reduce the amount of carcinogens created from cooking at a high temperature. And it’s been shown that the higher concentration of rosemary, the rosmarinic acid, the greater reduction of that. And in some cases, up to 90%. So, almost completely eliminates the harm of cooking at a high heat if you’re using a lot of rosemary or getting a lot of that rosmarinic acid in there. And there’s also been some marinades combining garlic and onion. That’s been shown to be a similar effect, I don’t think quite as strong as rosemary. But some things that I like to do, personally, is either make a marinade and use a lot of rosemary and garlic and onions and turmeric, which is – other antioxidants help as well. And let it marinade for a long time. Or, the other way I like to do it is to make a dry rub with Himalayan salt and what I’ll do is I’ll take the rosemary leaves off the sprig and dice it up super fine and mix it in with some salt and some other spices. I like to use a little cayenne and really rub [unclear 00:35:19] – deep into the meat. And you almost get this layer of, you know, rosemary and salt on the outside that protects it even further and creates a great little crust and flavor for the meat, obviously.

Ryan: Alright, you guys listening have no idea what kind of secret you just heard. Because we’ve been bugging Roy for 2 years to explain to us his secret dry rub. And I’m not sure that was 100% of the ingredients but –

Roy: That was like 80%. I don’t –

Ryan: You guys got more than anybody has ever heard!

Roy: Yeah, no it’s – it’s great and I highly recommend it. And even if you’re doing something delicate, like a filet mignon, a small little fillet of steak, you can just put the whole rosemary sprig on the bottom underneath the steak where it would be on the grill and it helps infuse that rosemary into the steak and it also helps with the lower – significantly lowers the carcinogens that we’ve been talking about. Something else interesting about rosemary is – is that rosmarinic acid helps slow the breakdown of GABA. So, it keeps a higher, elevated amount of GABA in your brain which has calming properties and maybe that’s why it just naturally smells so good. And it just seems like a great nutrient to use and to – to use especially in something like this when you’re helping reduce some damage.

Ryan: Alright, you said the magic word: GABA. So, on behalf of all of the questions that have been sent in, do we have an ETA for GABA Brain Food?

Roy: Yeah, I looked through the questions. I think that was half of the questions. When’s GABA coming out? GABA Brain Food will be out really soon. I’ll say about 6 [unclear 00:37:12], if not less. So, it’s – it’s in the works, it’s already in production. We already have the final formula. We won’t share all of that yet. But it’s – it’s coming out soon and we’re really excited about it. People that have been playing with the other brain food products, dopamine and serotonin are anxious to get their hands on this one and really get a more full spectrum on what they can do with tinkering with their neurotransmitters.

Ryan: So you just – you already mentioned one of the ingredients, the rosmarinic acid.

Roy: Okay, well there you go. That is one of the ingredients, yes.

Ryan: And that helps GABA stay in our system longer, right?

Roy: Right, it’s – it slows the breakdown of GABA. So this formula, which is simple yet also very all-inclusive, has ingredients to promote the production of GABA, to slow the breakdown of GABA and then also help the absorption of GABA to get into the blood-brain barrier. Which, in general, if you look into our whole line of dietary supplements, we’re always looking at what’s out there and what are the most effective nutrients and what are the effects that we’re trying to get? But then how do we make this product better? And how do we improve upon what’s already on the market? Because there are products out there but – but we’re always looking to make something more effective. How do you make it better? And normally the one thing that is the problem with anything out there already is absorption. So, that’s really a focus of ours is how do make this nutrient better absorbed? How do you get it into your system, into your brain more effectively so that you can experience the full benefits of a product? So, you know, our magnesium – we’re using magnesium threonate which has been shown to get to the brain in other highly bio-available types of magnesium. For our creatine we’re using nutrients to help get the creatine into the system. With our E3 we add coconut oil because that’s synergistic and it’s fat-soluble to help get it into your system. Really all of our products are built that way.

Ryan: Yeah. And speaking of products that are on the market that may be able to be improved upon, here’s another question from somebody looking – they took the Braverman test and found that they were deficient in serotonin and GABA. They’re using our Serotonin Brain Food and because our GABA’s not out they’re using phenibut right now. So, they wanted to get our thoughts on phenibut and I know that you can speak clearly and well on that.

Roy: Yeah, well phenibut – it’s very powerful. It’s a chemical form of GABA that’s been modified to allow it to cross the blood-brain barrier. So it’s very effective and it’s very powerful. And it works, definitely. But because it’s – it’s almost forcing it into your blood-brain barrier into a non-natural – in a non-natural way, it does have some side effects. And it really shouldn’t be taken more than a couple times a week. There are some, kind of, horror stories out there. If people take it really frequently they have withdrawal symptoms and, you know, can’t sleep and can’t focus and they just need this thing. And it’s – it’s really – it’s almost addictive. You know, alcohol increases GABA and phenibut, I’d say, is – is almost like having 4 drinks [laughs]. And it’s not something to be played with. And it’s not something that you should be taking every day. You know, it’s designed to get across the blood-brain barrier, which is something we talked about, but there are other interesting ways to help GABA get across the blood-brain barrier. One of those ways is by increasing nitric oxide and there are several studies to support this. So, there are natural nutrients out there that can help increase nitric o- could help the absorption of the GABA. That’s something that you’ll see in our stack as well.

Ryan: Yeah, and we’ll probably have Abelard on the show in a couple of weeks when GABA is released to talk all about that metabolic pathway for GABA as well as the formula and all the ingredients.

Roy: Exactly. And all of our brain food products and all of our products in general are designed to be able to take every day. So, we’re sticking with the natural vitamin and mineral precursors, backing that up with functional herbs that can promote the natural production of GABA or slow the breakdown of GABA or whatever the thing is that we’re trying to increase. So, these are the natural building blocks. We’re not skipping any metabolic steps. We’re not forcing your brain into a state. We’re providing all the nutrients it needs to naturally get there. So, it’s – it’s not gonna be as powerful or as potent as phenibut but it definitely has a defined effect which you can feel and you can take it every day safely.

Ryan: That was gonna be – that is one of our next questions is, you know, can we take the brain foods every day? Are they designed to be taken every day?

Roy: Yes, exactly.

Ryan: Perfect. So, when GABA does come out, how would it fit in with the rest of the brain food line? When would we use it?

Roy: Well, each product is, kind of, a tool on the tool belt. And – that you can use in a different situation. So, GABA itself is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. So, it actually reduces the amount of stimulation that a neurotransmitter can be. It reduces the excitement and it slows the transmission between the neurotransmitters so it’s relaxing. It has a very calming effect. And, for me, I would take it in the afternoon or evening when I’m trying to unwind. Reduce anxiety, so you can kind of have more clear thoughts. And for me it almost makes you more empathetic and able to focus on some deeper thoughts rather than some more, I’d say, top-level, you know, everyday things. It allows you to kind of get deeper and focus more on your feelings. It sounds a little ‘woo-woo’ but it’s true. And it also helps with, like, awkward social situations. It kind of –

Ryan: Like 4 drinks of alcohol [laughs].

Roy: Exactly! Exactly. And if you’re going to meet someone for the first time or in a situation at work, maybe when you’re having a meeting with a bunch of colleagues that may not be your best friends, taking some GABA can really help ease that situation and help you act more naturally and almost ease the communication between people because you’re in this calm, relaxed state. So, those are the situations I would take it is if you’re doing some public speaking or going to an awkward situation or trying to just, in general, reduce some anxiety at work. Or at the same time if you’re just trying to unwind it can really help. Later in the evening, too, with sleep. I’ve been experimenting a bit with that, taking it later in the night to really get some deeper – fall asleep faster and then be able to stay asleep in a deep state.

Ryan: GABA has always helped me pass out and sleep like a baby.

Roy: Yeah. Yeah, I think –

Ryan: And that’s – that’s with a formula that doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier. I mean, that was just, you know, GABA from the vitamin store off the shelf years ago.

Roy: Right, no it really does help with sleep and getting asleep. But at the same time it doesn’t knock you out. You know, it’s not like taking a bunch of melatonin or something. You can take it during the day just fine and you’re not gonna all of the sudden feel like you’re gonna wanna take a nap. But, again, it relaxes you into that state where you can easily fall asleep if you wanted to.

Ryan: Alright. So, I know I’m excited, I know a lot of people are excited to see this one come out. So, we already talked a little bit about some mushrooms. I’ve got 2 questions left here at the end. Do you see anything – any other questions that we haven’t covered?

Roy: Um, no. Go for it! Shoot!

Ryan: Alright. Well, people wanna know your daily routine. Your stacks, your regimen, what you do and why. So from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Take us through the –

Roy: A long time.

Ryan: Take us through a day in Roy’s life.

Roy: There’s a lot of stuff going on, man. I don’t know if we have time. Recently I’ve been mixing it up a bit and trying to – trying to get away from the same consistency every day. So, I used to first thing hang upside-down every day. And now I’m kind of switching that up. Sometimes I’ll do that in the afternoon or sometimes in the morning I’ll try to get more outside time. And, I think just keeping it random, keeping it fresh is good for idea flow and – and just being more in the present. So, I think with any routine it’s great to re-evaluate every couple months and maybe mix it up but always – you always know you can do that and go back to this state where you know this creates an optimal situation for you. But then keep pushing, keep experimenting and, you know, seeing if you can improve upon that. So that’s – that’s really important. I’ve also been – at the same time I’ve been kind of working on more structure. So I’ve been blocking out times in my calendar a week or 2 in advance and it will just be like a random time, like Wednesday afternoon is Roy’s study time. And I have several hours where it’s just okay, that’s my personal time. I’m not going to work during that time, I’m gonna read or I’m gonna learn something new or I’m gonna go on a walk. And then it’s almost – it forces yourself to do that, you know. I get so busy and caught up that – and you forget about taking some time back to really relax and maybe read or learn something new. But it’s on your calendar and you see it there. And maybe it won’t happen at that time because you are busy, but then you can push it to a later time or push it to the next day and it’s still on your calendar and you’re still going to get something done in that space. So, I’ve been playing with that, having more structure and planning things ahead a little bit. Another thing that I’ve been doing more recently, now that the weather’s turning a bit, is I’ve been doing really long walks in the woods. And I’m talking, like, 2 hours. So, just going with my wife or my dog or both or – or by myself. Usually early afternoon. So, after I’ve done a lot of the main work for the day. I got the day-to-day stuff taken care of. I’ll try to step back and go on a long walk. And I’ve found that I’m – by the time I get back I have all kinds of ideas that I’m ready to implement and it’s – it just feels great. So that’s something that I’ve really been enjoying recently. In the evening, to unwind, I’ve been playing with GABA, which has been great. But also raw honey. And shout-out to Seth Roberts whose no longer with us, one of the pinnacle biohackers out there, has done a lot of research with raw honey and I’ve been looking at his blog recently. What I’ve been doing is taking some goat yogurt and mixing in prebiotic, our product Prebiotic+. And the taste is great just right there. But then I’ll add a full tablespoon of raw honey to that and mix it up. And that’s – that’s been my recent night time cocktail. And it – it really puts me to sleep pretty well. So honey raises your blood glucose, your brain needs this glucose to function. Sleep is a very complex thing in your brain and if you don’t have enough glucose at night you can disrupt your sleep. And there’s a bunch of studies that prove this. And especially if you’re a pretty low-carb person in general and you’re not consuming many carbs during the day, if you get that little hit of carbs at night, especially in a natural form like raw honey, it really does activate this effect. Have you played around with that at all?

Ryan: Yeah, actually when Dave Asprey started talking about it a couple of years ago as his night time thing I played around with it. I’ve gotten away from it when I started doing the prebiotic. I have not mixed the 2 together, which would be an interesting experiment. I think the biggest anecdotal evidence I have with it is there was a diabetic patient who was a member of the gym and I was helping him pretty intensely with his nutrition and we actually – he was at the point where his doctor was about to put him on insulin injections. And I said, you know, look beg him for 3 months and we’ll turn this thing around. And we got him to the point where eventually he was, you know, no diabetes medication at all, blood sugar was, you know, always in the normal range, A1C was down, you know, in the sixes which was great. But in that transition period when he was experiencing lower blood sugar – lower blood sugar levels through the changes he was making um, the medicine was almost like, you know, a sledgehammer when you needed, you know, a tap. And he was bottoming out at night. He’d wake up in the middle of the night with his blood sugar in the forties. You know, I’m not in the position to say: ‘Hey stop taking your medicine.’ But, you know, look you need to talk to your doctor and tell him that this is what’s going on. But in that intermediate time, we had him take honey at night right before he went to bed. And he could sleep through the night without waking up. So, he’d wake up, you know, more rested and he never had those blood sugar crashes. So, you know, he wasn’t hooked up to any machines, we don’t have the science but we know that, you know, he didn’t crash, he didn’t, you know, have any adverse effects and it actually helped him kinda bridge that gap from, you know, really, really high blood sugar, really high levels of insulin medication, you know, to nothing and controlling diabetes on his own through diet and exercise.

Roy: That’s awesome.

Ryan: Yeah. So, honey at night’s a good thing.

Roy: Yeah! Try it out. Try it out.

Ryan: Yeah.

Roy: And a lot of people are, especially in our space where people are ketogenic and people are Paleo and really reducing carbs. Honey could be kind of a scary thing, you know. What, I’m just gonna consume all this sugar at night? Um, but it’s actually – it’s pretty powerful and it’s not like you’re just gonna start packing on pounds ’cause you have a little bit of honey at night.

Ryan: Yeah, I think that’s – that’s one of the things that has been an interesting lesson over the last couple of years. The more I’ve gotten into biohacking, the more my thoughts have shifted in the world of nutrition and fitness is that, you know, there was a time where, you know, when I was all about body-building or macros or – I would have had that same response: ‘Oh, you want me to eat a teaspoon of honey? Like, no way!’ And especially at night, right before I go to bed. But I think now I think we realize – and especially in this space we realize that real health and, you know, real fitness is, you know, you can have a little bit of honey and if it’s gonna help you sleep, we know the benefits of sleeping better. And if your body’s gonna go haywire from a teaspoon of honey, there’s probably a larger underlying problem with your metabolism.

Roy: Right, right. And I feel like we are kinda in this Renaissance era – era of health where there’s a lot more studies coming out and there’s a lot more people doing the research and – and expressing their research online and what they’ve found with that research. So, is it John Kief- ?

Ryan: Yeah, Kiefer.

Roy: Kiefer that has the carb backloading concept that he really has been talking about and there’s a lot of studies to back that up. It’s a really interesting time to try to cipher through all the research, really.

Ryan: Yeah.

Roy: And everyone’s kinda saying a slightly different thing and figuring out what’s best for you. It’s fun stuff.

Ryan: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned Kiefer, he’s one of my favorites. And I think that the science that he presents in carb backloading is some of the most compelling and interesting science in how to structure your days and set up your, I guess, your nutrition plan and template. I think, personally, I follow a – if you lay that and Bulletproof diet as a Venn diagram kinda where they intersect is where I live.

Roy: Sure, sure. I feel like I kinda – I do that as well. And I maybe also throw in a little Tim Ferriss low-carb and a trifecta diagram there. ‘Cause I’ll eat some beans and legumes and some more slow carbohydrates. But again, in the evening where I’m using that carb backloading concept.

Ryan: Absolutely. So, before we let you go, Roy, you have to answer the question that all of our guests answer. Not that you’re a guest, but – and I know we said we wouldn’t do this as if I were interviewing you. But you’re here. We need your top 3 tips to live optimal.

Roy: I feel like I’ve already given 10! [laughs] I’d say number 1: get outside and go for a long walk. Really that’s been pretty amazing for me. And the – this body that we live in is designed to walk. And, you know, that’s why we’re on 2 legs and it just feels natural and – and I’ll go on a walk just in the neighborhood on the road and I get burned out pretty quick and, like, my knees will start to hurt or I’ll just – I’m ready to go home. But when I get on – into the woods, I can really go for much farther. I don’t really have any aches and pains. It’s just my mind is in a better state. But that’s something that just – even if you aren’t on a road go ahead and walk for a while, for an hour, you know, and see how you feel afterwards. It’s pretty cool. I think a lot of people have done that, but – nothing ground-breaking there. But go out for a walk.

Ryan: I like it, I like it. It’s simple but it’s profound. I’ve definitely been doing that a lot more and I will agree and second everything that you just said.

Roy: Do you have a time of day that you prefer to do that?

Ryan: I think it varies. I think what you said earlier about not being in a routine is a very big thing. I think – I know we’ve talked about your lifting and exercise protocol before. I know you lift less frequently than I do. If I’m going to lift, like on a day like today I will lift shortly after we record this but I probably won’t walk. I may walk later in the day for a shorter one. But on a day where I don’t lift I typically will work most of the day and I find that I start to go stir-crazy without that break to move. ‘Cause like you said, I mean, we’re designed to move. So, I would either set it up to where I – I get up and walk first thing that morning or very much like you said, you get up, bang out the stuff that needs immediate attention, kinda get through that first wave and then take a break, walk, recharge, clear your mind, let those new ideas come in and then you come in ready to implement for kinda that second phase. ‘Cause that’s another thing that I don’t think we’re – we’re not naturally designed, if you will, to work, you know, that 8-5.

Roy: Yeah.

Ryan: That’s not how our – our biology doesn’t suit or fit that. So, to kinda break that up and work in bursts you can be more productive and, you know, in a better mood when you are working.

Roy: And also, I’ve found that segmenting my work so – so in the morning and early afternoon I’ll focus on kind of the more day-to-day stuff, what needs to get done. What are my main goals for the day? And I’ll try to tackle those. And in the afternoon I tend to work on more long-term projects. So that’s writing or researching or – or bigger projects in general that require almost more of a creative brain. Almost more a relaxed state. You can’t really get there if you’re kinda worked up trying to get things done for the day.

Ryan: Yeah.

Roy: So that helps quite a bit, too, is – so you have these things you wanna do today but how can I structure them in your day to be the most effective at doing that?

Ryan: Yeah, that’s a good point about, like, the creative work and you have to have the clutter gone in order to make these – come up with new ideas and make connections or to do new stuff. So, whatever works for you as an individual, you need to find that process and be able to be clutter-free in your mind. And I’m sure you can vouch for, you know, those bursts of ideas or ‘a-ha’ moments. They come all the time and at random times and usually when you’re least expecting or wanting them to come through.

Roy: Yeah. Okay, so here’s my next tip is: I always have a yellow pad. Yellow pad here. Pretty old school. But I’ll write stuff down throughout the day. So, I’ll have my to-do list that – I don’t put a ordered to-do list first. So I can – able to use my day in a flexible manner, it’s not like I have to do this one first and this one second. Here’s things I wanna do and I do ’em when it feels right. But having this paper allows you just to off-load your ideas when they come quickly and easily. And then you can always refer back. And if you’re – if you don’t carry around a yellow pad like I do just use your phone. You know, drop it in the notes or whatever you use to take notes. But being able to quickly off-load the information allows you to get to the next step and focus on the bigger picture of things. So that’s really important.

Ryan: That’s funny. I use a yellow legal pad as well for my to-do list. It’s out of reach or I’d hold it up. And I do the note on my phone for more of, like, this thing just popped into my head I can usually voice speak it into the phone and then it syncs to my computer and, you know, I’ve got – I’ve got so many notes that, you know, and then when you’re ready to do that if it’s an e-mail or if it’s a blog or an article, whatever it is, it’s there. You can copy and paste it wherever you need it and just build out on that idea.

Roy: Yeah, I use that, too, my phone, when I don’t have my pad. And I prefer to write down things. I feel like I’m learning it again and I’m memorizing it. And also having a notebook by my bed because sometimes when I’m trying to relax I’ll all of the sudden have these ideas and I can’t relax until I get them out of my head and I’ve – okay, I’ll worry about that tomorrow but at least I don’t have to remember to worry about it tomorrow.

Ryan: Right, right. Absolutely.

Roy: So, that’s a good time to have a notepad.

Ryan: Yeah. Alright, so notes or notepad, walk outside. One more.

Roy: One more. Alright, you’re really pushing today. Um, one more. I’d say just try something new. Switch up your routine. And if that’s don’t drink coffee for a day or – or, you know, spend more time outside or try raw honey at night, whatever it is, a different workout routine, hanging upside down. Try doing some stretching. I think most people just don’t stretch. And for me it’s – it’s kind of something that I do every day to just loosen up my body and feel like I don’t have these blocks and energy spots where my knee’s tight and my back’s tight. And just being loose helps everything else. I don’t – is that a point?

Ryan: I like –

Roy: Try something new.

Ryan: Yeah, try something new. I like it, I like it. And you make a good point about being tight, you know. If we can’t move the way we’re designed to, you know, that’s kind of the foundation on which everything else is built, especially physical performance. You know, if you wanna run fast or jump high that’s the performance expression of, you know, those foundations and, you know, we can’t do that if we don’t have, you know, if you can’t do a body-weight spot you’re certainly not gonna squat 500 lbs., so –

Roy: Yeah. Well, it depends on how much you weigh, Ryan. [laughs]

Ryan: Well, that’s true. True. Alright, Roy, this has been great. We’re gonna let you go ’cause you probably have other things to do, our listeners have – you guys have certainly gotten a lot of information today. So, please, if you guys have thoughts or feedback on this format for the podcast let us know. Leave us a comment. However you consume the podcast, whether it’s iTunes, the blog, YouTube videos, whatever it is, let us know your thoughts and we will – like I said earlier – we’ll tailor this to make this a – the ultimate resource for you, to the best of our ability.

The 4 Best Apps To Increase Productivity at Work

Today’s technology has created more connection and more business opportunities than ever before.

In our hands we hold powerful devices that put all of the world’s discoveries and the collective sum of all the information in the history of the entire world at our fingertips…

Paradoxically, the same technology that connects us, puts information at our fingertips, and empowers us to change the world, can also be our biggest distraction if left unchecked.

Here’s how to tune out the selfies and cat videos to be a contributing force in the advancement of your mission.

Hacking Focus, Performance and Productivity

We’re obsessed with maximizing productivity and squeezing every ounce of progress we can coax out of each day, week, and month.

That’s one reason we love CILTEP and the concept of nootropics in general.

But optimizing your brain is only part of the equation.

Optimizing your workspace is another crucial – and often overlooked – aspect of increasing productivity.

Whether you work in an office, at home or on-the-go, here are 4 of our favorite apps to reduce distractions, improve focus and increase your productivity.

iA Writer

The perfect app for the minimalist writer looking for a distraction-free way to transfer thoughts from your head into your computer.

Available on both Mac & PC, the iA writer app is a blast from the past – it’s a word processor that eliminates distractions and actually “highlights” the sentence or paragraph on which you’re working for increased focus.

Here’s a preview…



Increase Productivity With Brainwaves

“Melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain.” – Dr. Amit Sood at the Mayo Clinic

Natural Stacks fans will recognize dopamine as the neurotransmitter responsible for motivation, drive, and productivity.

Scientists at Stanford University have confirmed this, reporting that music – in what’s known as “The Mozart Effect” – can:

  • improve test scores
  • reduce learning time
  • improve clarity and focus
  • reduce errors
  • and integrates both sides of the brain

If you’re ready to take advantage of the connection between music and productivity (or simply block out the distractions of your environment) here are two ways you can use music to unlock your potential:

  1. Brainfm: “Better than binaural beats” this scientifically-based, custom brainwave music is designed to increase focus, relaxation or sleep better than binaural beats. Click HERE for a 25% discount, or CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast we recorded with the co-founders of brainfm. While the mobile app is in production, the desktop online player is a game-changer. We highly recommend brainfm.
  2. Muji to relax: This android-based app for white noise is designed to help you relax, recharge, and a rejuvenate your mind. If you prefer white noise to brainwaves or require an app for for on-the-go use, this is a great option.

Pomodoro Timers

Work. Walk away. Work. Walk away.

Repeat two more times, then take a longer break and let it all go.

That’s the 1,000-mile-view of pomodoros.

Pomodoros are a technique developed by Italian Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s. The word itself translates to “tomato”, but the technique utilizes short periods of focused work separated by short breaks.

Usually the work periods are 25 or 50 minutes and the breaks are 5 or 10 minutes respectively best apps. After 4 intervals, you take a longer break (15-30 minutes).

Pomodoros are a favorite method of time-management gurus and productivity hackers alike as there is evidence that frequent breaks improve mental agility.

In addition, these short burst of work keep you fresh, prevent burnout, reduce eye fatigue and can prevent poor posture from prolonged periods of sitting.

Plus, knowing you only 25 or 50 minutes has a sneaky way of pushing you to focus and work to beat the clock. 

There are numerous timer and methods of implementing pomodoros. We like the Marinara Pomodoro Timer


Is Grass-Fed Gorilla Milk A Superfood?

You’ve heard of grass-fed milk.

But have you heard of grass-fed gorilla milk?

And, is gorilla milk a superfood?

Introducing Grass-Fed Gorilla Milk

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – milk from gorillas.

Launched last week at EXPO WEST, Barnana’s grass-fed gorilla milk is the first commercially produced gorilla milk product to hit the US market.

You may recognize Barnana as the eco-conscious and eco-friendly company who produces flavored banana snacks that can be found in every health, natural, and Whole Foods store around the US.

Either Barnana is hoping to capitalize on the growing trend of alternative milks, or they’re the first to discover a new superfood that has been right in front of us for thousands of years. (Or maybe a little of both.)

Should You Drink Gorilla Milk?

The thought of drinking gorilla milk just seems odd, doesn’t it?

Although I’m sure the first human to suggest drinking cow’s milk probably got a few awkward looks as well.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons for gorilla milk:


In short, it addresses everything that is flawed in the cow’s milk industry.

Barnana’s gorilla milk is advertised as fair trade, raw, unpasteurized, and comes from animals never fed silage, pellets, or GMOs.

Unpasteurized is a crucial quality as that allows the milk to retain important growth factors, enzymes, and probiotic bacteria that are killed during the pasteurization process. Since raw and unpasteurized cow’s milk is illegal to sell in most US state’s, this could be an advantage that helps gorilla milk gain some traction with market share.

Another advantage gorilla milk boasts over most store-bought milk is that it comes from animals never fed silage, pellets, or GMOs. (We’ll see how long this lasts – as agricultural institutions have a way of turning a good thing into an efficient, profitable commodity at the expense of the environment and end-product quality.)

Finally, Barnana touts Gorilla milk as superior due to the fact that it is genetically closer to human milk than cow, goat or other milks. [1]


It’s gorilla milk.

Barnana is going to face a few stigmas related to drinking the milk of gorillas and they’ll have convince eco-conscious humans that milking gorillas is both ethical and sustainable on a large enough scale to meet potential demands.

Despite some research, we have yet to see an ingredient label or nutrition facts for this product.

So the biggest “cons” for gorilla milk are that it is an unknown, with the only press coming from the company selling it, and it seems weird to milk gorillas.

The Verdict on Grass-Fed Gorilla Milk

We’re usually early adapters, we like to try new things, and we like to push the limits of human possibility.

That said, we’d like to sample this Gorilla Milk and to see more information about the product itself as well as the sustainability of milking enough gorillas (ethically) to produce a commercially available product before we offer an opinion.

Gorilla milk is an intriguing possibility, but there are too many unknowns at this time for us to give a favorable recommendation.

What do YOU think about gorilla milk?

We want to hear your thoughts. Would you drink grass-fed gorilla milk? Let us know in the comments below.