Optimal Performance

OPP 029: Abelard Lindsay on Dopamine Brain Food

Dopamine Brain Food creator Abelard Lindsay discusses dopamine metabolism, optimizing our habits, motivation, productivity and how to use Dopamine Brain Food.

Abelard Lindsay, product formulator at Natural Stacks and creator of CILTEP, is on Episode 29 of the Optimal Performance Podcast to help us understand dopamine metabolism, what drives our motivation, impulses, everything you need to know about Dopamine Brain Food. Sit back and enjoy this one!




What You’ll Hear From Abelard Lindsay and learn about Dopamine in this episode:

  • What is Dopamine?
  • Too much – or too little dopamine…the issues and what you should be looking for
  • Channeling dopamine’s novelty seeking characteristics to be more productive
  • What influences dopamine levels and dopamine metabolism
  • The cast of 5 dopamine receptors and their respective roles
  • How Dopamine Brain Food sets the stage for optimal dopamine metabolism
  • SAM-e, homocysteine and what you need to know
  • Synergistic effects with catuaba, cocoa, green tea and deprenyl
  • Stacking Axon Labs products with Natural Stacks products
  • Using Krill Oil to get more from your nootropics
  • Get more from Abelard
  • Abelard’s Top 3 tips to Live Optimal

Links & Resources

Abelard’s Research

Abelard on Twitter (@ciltep)

Abelard on Serotonin, Mood, Anxiety & Fear on Episode 22 of the OPP

Habit Bull – Habit Tracking App


Dopamine Studies, Links & Articles Mentioned By Abelard

Dopamine on habits & personality

Apathy and Impulse Control Disorders: Yin & Yang of Dopamine Dependent Behaviors

Neurobiology of the structure of personality: dopamine, facilitation of incentive motivation, and extraversion

Natural Stacks Performance Optimizers

Conquer stress and feel like you’re on vacation with Serotonin Brain Food

Increase motivation and drive with Dopamine Brain Food

Crush inflammation and support optimal breath heal with Krill Oil

Get unmatched focus, concentration and memory with CILTEP



Optimizing Dopamine Metabolism with Abelard Lindsay

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, check out optimalperformance.com.

Alright, happy Thursday all you optimal performers! I’m your host Ryan Munsey and I’m coming to you this week live from Natural Stack Headquarters in Austin, Texas. You can see on the video I’m kind of playing Where’s Waldo here. We’ve got, you know, shields on shields here. So, we’re having a little bit of fun. This week our guest is Abelard Lindsay, creator of CILTEP and our Brain Food line. All around brilliant guy and we’re gonna have some fun talking about dopamine and dopamine metabolism today. Abelard, thanks for hanging out with us!

Abelard: Great to be here, thanks!

Ryan: So before we get started, couple of housekeeping notes. As always, make sure you guys, listeners, go to optimalperformance.com so you can see the video version of this, as well as any links and show notes that we talk about today. And of course, let’s share the Optimal Performance Podcast. I want you listeners to think about who you know who would enjoy and benefit from this show. So as soon as that name comes into your mind send them the link, share this with them so that we can help reach as many people as possible. Abelard actually just gave us an incredible testimonial on his own product, CILTEP, before we hit record. So Abelard, I want you to tell everybody what you said. You just had a major milestone birthday.

Abelard: Yeah, I just turned 40. And, yeah, finishing my Master’s in Computer Science. And yeah, I really wouldn’t have been – it wasn’t until I started taking CILTEP that I was really motivated to go back to school and just, you know, continue learning and diving into it. It just made – just made me want to pursue education and learning, it just makes it so pleasurable that I couldn’t help myself. It’s something that I always wanted to do and, you know, go get my master’s. So I – it really made me enthusiastic about that and, you know, it helped me get through school with great grades and so forth.

Ryan: That’s something you said on the podcast last time, that it really – it increases your appetite to learn and that’s something that I’ve noticed and a lot of our other users have noticed, too. So that’s a really cool feature! Alright, we’re gonna put CILTEP on the shelf for now and we’re gonna talk about this guy: Dopamine and Dopamine Brand Food. So Abelard, the question of the day: what is dopamine?

Abelard: Well, dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain and it’s very – it’s responsible for motivation, mood, novelty seeking, couple different things. One good way to talk about it and understand it is to look at some of the studies that have been done in monkeys, for example, where they train them with different stimuli like, you know, giving them something to drink and then showing them a picture. And what happens is that the – when they, you know, when they get some sweet fruit juice to drink, the dopamine centers of their brain fired up. And then they get – then they show them a picture at the same time and then slowly the – well they show a picture before they get a reward. And then slowly they begin to associate the reward, I mean the picture with the reward and they just get the same stimulation from seeing the picture and so forth. So the brain is always trying to figure out how to get to these goals, whether it be, you know, food, pleasure, you know, achieving one’s goals, that kind of thing.

Ryan: It’s a very primal thing, right? I mean this is one of the things that helped us through evolution, you know, as we were, you know, we had to seek shelter, we had to do things that gave us a better chance to survive so it’s – it’s connected to a lot of those more basic desires.

Abelard: Yeah, yeah. And it’s – it’s a way of kind of building up ideas about how to achieve and get these things. And then we, you know, these ideas become habits and sort of shape our personality and behaviors.

Ryan: Highlight how it’s – you know, it really is that kind of kick in the pants and it can really increase mental alertness.

Abelard: Right. Well, yeah. Dopamine is really a chemical that sort of tells me to keep doing what I’m doing. Like whatever I just did, it was great, do it again. Or do more, or find out ways to do it again or yeah, expand on the – how, whatever happened, just happened. Basically, you know, it’s a – it goes all the way down to, like, the simplest mammal. This is a very evolutionarily conserved mechanism.

Ryan: Right, it’s the lizard brain.

Abelard: Right, it says: ‘You did something really good. Do more of that!’ So, you know, I have a lot of dopamine. Whatever I set my mind to, I wanna go do more of. And that is great for getting work done. It’s just important to have a plan to use all that dopamine. Instead of just getting into something that they – it makes you look busy and it’s probably a lot of fun because you’re, you know, but is it getting a lot of useful work done?

Ryan: Right, and I mean there’s a big difference there between being busy and being productive, right?

Abelard: Right! Right.

Ryan: So how do we – how can we channel that?

Abelard: Well, it’s important to have a plan of action, you know. A list of things that you need to do to get what you want to get done done. And not – because if you just go into it without a plan then you’re gonna enjoy, you know, if you’ve got a lot of dopamine you’re gonna enjoy whatever you’re doing but you might just be going around in circles or spending too much time on something that’s – that’s not very productive. That’s, I mean, that’s the challen- that’s a lot of the challenge in controlling an active brain is putting a structure in place to make sure that what you’re doing is gonna be productive and work. I mean it sometimes helps if there’s other people around, you know, so they can kind of, you know, they can be back and forth and feedback and you can course correct

Ryan: Yeah, yeah. So I – I think that’s a very valuable statement that you just made. I mean, what strategies could you share with our listeners to – to, you know, make sure that you are staying on task? ‘Cause I mean, there’s a lot of times where we feel good, we’ve got a lot of energy or we’re motivated and we want to do something. But maybe just not necessarily that thing that we’re supposed to be doing.

Abelard: Yeah, it helps to have other people around. Unless you’re very good at planning out your own time and you make your plans ahead of time and you, you know, and you think through these things very thoughtfully. If you have other people around who are – they can provide a – someone you bounce ideas off of or to, you know, help refocus on whatever the goal that you’re trying to achieve with, you know, as part of some mutual aim. That’s my best recommendation for that.

So, dopamine is also kind of controversial. You know, there are a lot of illegal drugs that stimulate dopamine and so forth. And it’s definitely something that – where you can have too much of it.

Ryan: Right.

Abelard: I mean, too little of it will lead to apathy, lack of pleasure in anything, you know, depression. And, you know, this kind of thing happens in Parkinson’s patients, for example, whose dopamine-producing neurons slowly die as they, you know, have less ability to move around and to do things and less motivation and, you know, slowly they start to lose mobility and, you know. So it’s – there’s – in between too much and too little there’s a happy medium, obviously.

Ryan: So, let’s dig in a little bit there. What are some of the things that we may feel on a daily basis if we have too little or too much dopamine?

Abelard: Well, you know, with too little dopamine it’s hard to get moving, to get motivated to do anything. It’s – it’s difficult to – to just get the day started. That’s really what it amounts to. And just attend to and continue with life on a regular basis of just getting up and going to work and doing things and taking care of errands. And doing all the things that are needed to achieve one’s long-term goals in life. Now that’s, you know, that’s too little dopamine. Now too much dopamine you get these things like, you know, people who take dopamine agonists ’cause, for Parkinson’s or amphetamine users. You get these things where people will collect pebbles and line them up in a row or disassemble and re-assemble wristwatches. The fascination level for really simple things becomes excessive. So, and so the structuring of the mind of procedures and routines to achieve goals, you know, primal urges and goals becomes too easily focused on things that don’t really deliver a lot of reward. Because if there’s too much dopamine, you know, the brain kind of magnifies the reward so it’s – it believes it’s receiving from some minor entertainment. So [laughs] there’s a balance needed there.

Ryan: Like, maybe for example in today’s world, always checking e-mail, always checking Facebook on our smart phone, things like that?

Abelard: Yeah, well that’s – I mean that can also be trying to encourage dopamine release. It’s – if somebody has too little. But that’s – too much is, you know, doing things like removing all the contents from your drawers and re-organizing them, things like that. Like doing stuff that would seem to a normal person to be really boring and pointless. So, but you know, too little – like for instance if – that could be, too little could be checking Facebook, checking e-mail. Just trying to get a little dopamine hit from one of those things like: ‘Oh, I’m connecting with people.’ Or, you know, the social aspect, you know, the novelty aspect. Dopamine is also connected to novelty seeking. For instance, when they increase the level of interest synaptic dopamine with certain drugs in monkeys they become more interested in novelty. So just new things, cute cat pictures or: ‘wow, have you seen this video of this guy doing this thing that nobody’s ever seen before?’ [laughs]

Ryan: So how do we take that and channel it to become more productive? Because I can see how, like if we’re novelty seeking and we’re curious, it could be of great benefit to us if we have a desire to use that for learning or for being productive, but I can also see how as you said, you know, for if we’re on our computer we could get distracted and go check e-mail, go look at YouTube, watch videos, watch the next video. And, you know, before you know it 30 minutes have gone by and you’ve done nothing.

Abelard: Well, one way that I channel that is, you know, I have a habit tracker app on my phone. It’s called the HabitBull. It’s great, I paid for it. And basically what it does is it says these are all the things that you have to do every day. Or you want to – or once a week. Or, you know, or however much you want to do like a certain thing. For instance, you know, how many pounds you’re trying to lose, that kind of thing. And so every day, I get up, I look at that, I’m like: ‘Okay, I have to do all these things,’ and then I’ve done everything I need, you know, all my habits I need to do each day.  And those are small goals, they don’t take a lot of time. You know, if I put on the habit tracker, you know, write a pro- write a software program that would normally take me like a week to write and then I get discouraged because I wouldn’t be able to do that. Or something that would, you know, I wouldn’t have time to do. So it’s if you make these small, incremental goals that are easy to accomplish and when you accomplish them, you know, you write them down, you reward yourself psychologically, that sort of builds these loops, these thought loops that, you know, that become habits. And that’s really important. You have small things that you can do, that you can complete, that you can pat yourself on the back, okay. And then these become these things like – like checking e-mail or checking Facebook except it’s like a habit that you want to do like, you know, go on a run or you know, take out the trash or whatever. So that’s – that’s how I channel that instinct to kind of build these patterns to do things. I mean, to do things that really stoke me. So that’s – that’s how I channel that kind of thing.

Ryan: Okay. So tell us some of the things that may affect dopamine. What would cause somebody to have too little or too much?

Abelard: Well, you know, there’s – you can go into like the nutrition of it. Which is, you know, too – the precursors of dopamine that come from food are phenylalanine and tyrosine. And phenylalanine it’s in a lot of different foods and its’ in Dopamine Brain Food. And it converts into 2 different things, right? Phenylethylalanine. And what that is it’s the body’s natural TEAR-1 receptor agonist, which means it’s basically the body’s natural amphetamine. And it’s broken down quite quickly by the MAOB so it doesn’t build that much, but that causes a release of dopamine into the intra-synaptic space. And also slows down the dopamine reuptake via the DAT protein. And that, you know, so that’s one source of, you know, that’s natural feel-good chemical. It’s in chocolate, too. And it’s why everybody loves chocolate [laughs]. So –

Ryan: When you say it, you’re referring to phenylalanine?

Abelard: Ye- well, phenylethylalanine.

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: Which is the product after phenylalanine –

Ryan: The next step, right?

Abelard: Yeah, right. So that’s the, like, little intermediate pleasure chemical that’s, you know, it’s also in amphetamine and amphetamine works in a similar way to being a TEAR-1 receptor agonist. So anyway that’s one path it goes. And then the other path it goes is phenylalanine hydroxylase which goes to tyrosine and then, you know, tyrosine is also in foods and it gets converted, you know, with the help of tyrosine hydroxylase to L-DOPA and to dopamine. But tyrosine hydroxylase is really interesting ’cause tyrosine hydroxylase is this knob that your body can turn up and down to basically speed up how much dopamine is coming into your brain. Or is being metabolized into, you know, dopamine from tyrosine. And that’s, you know, there’s certain things that affect that. For example, nicotine increases that, up-regulates that, which means it increases the speed at which that reaction is happening. Also, you know PDE4 inhibitors, CILTEP, theoretically, increase that, too. So that’s – that’s kind of a way to bypass or increase the speed at which dopamine enters the brain. So it’s – but it’s also a way that where if the – way that the body can say: ‘well, we have too much here,’ and can kind of regulate it up and down. It’s important to not kind of skip around it.

Ryan: Right.

Abelard: Now, you know, direct dopamine agonist or L-DOPA is skipping around tyrosine hydroxylase and so the body doesn’t have control over the amount of dopamine that’s getting into the system. And, you know, that’s just something I don’t think is good to do on a daily basis. You know, if somebody has really serious dopamine deficiency, you know, Parkinson’s disease or something like that. Yeah, but I, you know, there’s – I wouldn’t do that in this particular instance of taking a daily supplement. So, instead, you know, we just focus on the precursors that are controlled and slowly metabolized by the body into dopamine. Now, okay so once we get to dopamine, there are a bunch of different dopamine receptors and they all have their own sort of personality. You ever see that movie ‘Inside Out’?

Ryan: Yes, great movie!

Abelard: If that movie was more accurate on a molecular biological level, they could have all the dopamine receptors there with their distinct personalities and they’d all be a bunch of characters. So, you know, D1 and D5 are, they’re sort of the ones that are associated with memory enhancement.

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: They’re kind of the good dopamine receptors. They’re sort of the – they’re professors, I guess. And then there’s the – then there’s D2, and D2 is kind of the sleazy dopamine receptor [laughs]. Because D2 is – D2 is responsible – a direct diagnose for D2 that is popular in the steroid community is cabergoline and that one it reduces the male sexual refractory time. Time between men – the time a man needs to take between sex. And [laughs] so, it’s –

Ryan: We got it!

Abelard: Yeah, yeah. So you got it. So it’s the sleazy one. It’s the one that’s, you know, makes – when people take legal drugs that are very stimulatory dopamine it’s the one that gets them in –

Ryan: In trouble.

Abelard: Yeah, in trouble that way.

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: The same with – the same with D3 [laughs]. That one is, you know, associated with various, with compulsions and –

Ryan: And now, that’s dopamine-3 receptor, not to be confused with Vitamin D3.

Abelard: No, no. Dopamine-3 receptor, yes.

Ryan: And D4.

Abelard: And D4 is – D4 is the novelty-detecting dopamine receptor. There’s been some research on that which shows that people with overactive D4 receptors are very into novelty – are into novelty seeking. So it’s – people who like strange stuff have overactive D4 receptors. So they all have their little personalities and [laughs].

Ryan: So let me ask you this then: how do we optimize all our dopamine so that we can get more of the good ones – D1, 4, and 5 – and maybe less of the ones that get us in trouble – D2, D3?

Abelard: Well, it’s – it’s important not too directly stimulate these obviously. I mean, you know, people think well you could really – there’s a lot of dopamine receptors that are – ways to stimulate dopamine in the body that are really strong. And that work great but they kind of – they’re not the kind of thing you want to take on a daily basis is what I’m saying.

Ryan: Yeah. And I mean that’s the whole idea behind the entire Brain Food line, right?

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: That it’s, you know, hey, we’re not using a, you know, what’s the expression? You don’t use a sledgehammer to kill a fly, right?

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: Brain Foods are natural nutrients and they act as fuel for the specific neurotransmitters. The idea is that we want to be able to take them daily, or so that we can take them daily to boost ourselves for optimal performance. You know, then we’re gonna give raw materials, vitamins, precursors, amino acids, right?

Abelard: Right, right. So –

Ryan: So how did you do that with Dopamine Brain Food?

Abelard: Well, I provided a – the precursors, phenylalanine and tyrosine [unclear 00:23:10]. And then, you know, vitamin B6 to, you know, be a co-factor in converting this to dopamine. Then vitamin C to be a co-factor in converting those to epinephrine and then to norepinephrine. Well, dopamine converts to norepinephrine and then to adrenaline, otherwise known as epinephrine. And so with the precursors, co-factors and so forth, we could make sure that none of this – there’s no excessive build-up in any one of the particular stages and that these, you know, the dopamine metabolism occurs smoothly and all the reactions and so forth have the necessary co-factors to proceed. One of the things I find is that if I over-activate one part of dopamine metabolism, like when I take a whole bunch of tyrosine and phenylalanine and then neglect the, you know, the methylation and the vitamin C and so forth is that I get a little edgy and anxious. And that’s because the, you know, I believe the norepinephrine is building up and not getting, you know, methylated to adrenaline and the dopamine’s building up. And not, you know, getting transformed into norepinephrine by – by vitamin C. Vitamin C is the co-factor for that reaction. So, you know, there’s got – there’s a balance here.

Ryan: Yeah, yeah. So for our listeners, you know, who may not have a bottle in front of them. When you say the methylation, tell them what you’re referring to.

Abelard: Well, by the methylation I’m referring to the vitamin B12 and the – vitamin B12, TMG and methylfolate. And basically what those 3 nutrients do is they turn homocysteine into methionine and then that, you know, converts to SAMe and SAMe methylates, and norepinephrine into epinephrine. And that reduces norepinephrine levels which – if you get too much of that it can cause, you know, agitation and anxiety.

Ryan: And so with SAMe, I mean, I know that’s another popular supplement. Is that a few steps further down the line, similar to supplementing with, say like, L-DOPA? That we wouldn’t want to do that because it’s a little more aggressive?

Abelard: Well the thing about SAMe is, well homocysteine has a lot of negative health effects. It’s associated with poor heart health and HUS telomere length and a couple of other things. And it’s generally considered very negative for health if one has high homocysteine levels. So by supplementing the co-factors that turn homocysteine back into methionine which converts into SAMe there’s an added health benefit of keeping homocysteine levels under control.

Ryan: Okay, cool.

Abelard: Yeah.

Ryan: So, I mean, expand on that a little bit. I know we touched on it in the serotonin podcast that we did where you talked about astragalus being something that can maintain even length in telomeres over time. How is – how is that homocysteine negatively impacting – what’s that mechanism of action on telomeres?

Abelard: Well, there was just a study done that was associated homocysteine with lower telomere length. I mean, it just causes more wear and tear on the cells and, you know, as they divide they –

Ryan: So it’s an inflammatory thing, right?

Abelard: Right, right, yeah. And as they divide the telomeres like, shorten and eventually they fail completely and that usually causes cell death or cell malfunction.

Ryan: So again, it all circles back to, you know, if we zoom – we’ve been so zoomed in on dopamine metabolism for the first part of this podcast. If we just zoom back out for just a minute, you know, that core response to our overall message of, you know, reducing inflammation, right? For optimal health and longevity.

Abelard: Sure, sure. Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of positive health benefits to reducing homocysteine.

Ryan: Go over any best practices then, with Dopamine Brain Food.

Abelard: Yeah! I take Dopamine Brain Food with CILTEP. I really feel like if I was going to make a fixed pill CILTEP stack it would include Dopamine Brain Food. So, I think that’s because of the increased level of tyrosine hydroxylase that I believe CILTEP generates through PDE4 inhibition. So yeah, I take them both together in the morning. And that really super-charges my day. Tons of motivation and so forth. And also, you know, some people are more sensitive to Dopamine Brain Food. They, you know, they might feel a little edgy or move around a little bit too much if they take 3, so you know, take 2 or 1.

Ryan: Yeah, I think that’s something that a lot of our users have asked about. You know, some people are the kind who will experiment on their own, you know, take 1, take 2, take 3, see what happens. And I think that lot of other people are reluctant to stray from label recommendations. So, I guess if you will speak a little bit to experimenting with the time of day at which you take it. Maybe taking it pre-workout, taking it – taking 1, 2 or 3. I know Roy, one of our co-founders, sometimes will take only 2 CILTEP and maybe 2 or 3 dopamine, instead of that 3rd CILTEP.

Abelard: Right. Certainly – there’s a lot of individual variation in how people respond to supplements. It’s kind of like, you know, the bass and treble knobs on your stereo. Depends on what kind of music you’re playing, right?

Ryan: I like that! I like that. So which one’s bass and which one’s treble?

Abelard: Well, yeah –

Ryan: It doesn’t really work like that, does it?

Abelard: It doesn’t really work like that. It’s kind of – it’s maybe dopamine’s bass and serotonin’s more treble. Choline is definitely treble. So yeah, well one thing is if I wake up in the morning and I’m kind of having trouble getting my day started I’ll, you know, I always make it to my vitamins and take some Dopamine Brain Food and then all of the sudden I feel like: oh! Yeah, my day is gonna – my day’s started now. Everything’s moving along. So I think that’s, you know, that’s what I really get out of Dopamine Brain Food is my day gets started and I know what I need to do and I go do it instead of just sleeping in or being, you know, feeling lazy. It’s like, you know, especially if it’s the weekend. If it’s the weekday and I have to get up and go to – go do my stuff, then that provides its own motivation. But, you know, give it the extra mile.

Ryan: Yeah, so maybe that’s a really good topic to hit on is that, you know, we all know that like, hey if we have to get up and we have to be somewhere at 7 or 8 A.M. that, you know, you’re gonna be moving. But, like on a weekend if you’ve got this thing that’s been hanging over your to-do list and you keep procrastinating and putting it off, is that a really great time to use Dopamine Brain Food?

Abelard: Yeah, and CILTEP too, of course. Now, I mean the reason that you wanna – one of the reasons that you wanna get up and do something if you have like a stressful situation is adrenocorticotropic hormone increases the amount of tyrosine hydroxylase and that’s in your system. So that stimulates a lot of dopamine to be converted from tyrosine and so forth. So, you know that’s – those things, just getting stressed out about things, leads to motivation. It’s all kind of – it’s all tied together in this system. It’s interesting because, you know, what is willpower, right? [laughs]

Ryan: Right.

Abelard: It’s an interesting philosophical question.

Ryan: So, speaking of questions. We talked to some of our optimizers and asked them if they had questions for you. Are you up for a little rapid fire Q&A?

Abelard: Yeah, sure!

Ryan: Okay. What synergistic – or is there anything that has a synergistic effect? Exercise, certain foods, fats, carbohydrates. Might there be gut repair?

Abelard: With Dopamine Brain Food?

Ryan: Yeah, or specifically dopamine metabolism.

Abelard: Oh, well there are a couple of different supplements you can take if you want an extra dopamine boost that are synergistic with Dopamine Brain Food. They’re a little on the strong side. They’re not the kind of things someone would take every day, but they work pretty well. I’m a big fan of Catuaba, which is a Brazilian rainforest tree that’s very, very popular in Brazil if you ever go on Twitter and type in Catuaba you’ll see lots and lots and lots of happy Brazilians.

Ryan: How do we spell that? C-A-T-A-W-?

Abelard: C-A-T-U-A-B-A. And it’s, you know, it’s definitely a dopaminergic system activator. Also anything with epicatechins in it. That, you know, one thing that has that is cocoa.

Ryan: Or green tea?

Abelard: Yeah, or green tea.

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: And so that’s an MAO-B inhibitor. And MAO-B – MAOs breakdown catecholamines which are, you know, things like dopamine. And so by inhibiting that it increases the amount of catecholamines that are around. One kind of interesting thing about MAO inhibitors is one of the MAO-B inhibitors, deprenyl which has been knocking – people have been talking about it in the nootropics community for a long time since it’s been around forever. And it actually has – in animals it has a life-extending effect. And that’s because people theorize that it protects certain dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Because when dopamine breaks down it turns into an intermediate product which has to be detoxified by another enzyme and people think that as we age, I mean some researchers think that as we age it – that that level of that detoxification enzyme decreases and so this intermediate product that’s – causes oxidative stress of the dopamine-producing neurons. It, you know, hastens the degreda- you know, nerdy generation. So you want, you know, so chocolate is a mild, very mild MAO-B inhibitor, it’s not like one of these prescription ones. But you know, that mechanism of action it’s – MAO-B inhibition has a – it has a pretty good reputation in the nootropics community.

Ryan: Okay, very cool. Very cool. For people who work out in the morning, maybe first thing, maybe an hour or two after waking up, how would you set up taking dopamine but also things like CILTEP and serotonin? I know when we talked before you had said CILTEP and dopamine first thing in the morning and then maybe an hour later or as needed serotonin. Would you still do that if somebody were working out early?

Abelard: Yeah, yeah. I would take dopamine and CILTEP first thing in the morning and then, yeah, maybe wait like a half an hour and take serotonin. And, you know, then go for a workout. I mean that would be, you know, that would be really – that’s a really strong combination to take. I mean don’t forget your BCAA’s.

Ryan: So let’s say that, you know, somebody were – they wanted to start taking nootropics or they were taking nootropics, how would you have that conversation with your doctor? To maybe try to find a solution for using both or, you know, going down that road.

Abelard: Well, you know, it’s important to have a doctor who’s open to that sort of thing and understands the mechanisms of action and how they relate to the person’s illness and so forth. I mean, there’s a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of research that shows that many different supplements are – have medical benefit. And, you know, that’s just something that you’ll have to, you know, you have to discuss with a medical professional if you’re intending to treat or cure disease. I mean, we’re talking about doing better than well here.

Ryan: Right.

Abelard: And that’s, and you know, that’s not really what drugs are for. They’re for curing diseases and so forth, so it’s – it’s a different area that – that the medical community doesn’t really address very well. Or at all.

Ryan: Alright so, Abelard what have you lined up that you want to talk about that we haven’t hit yet?

Abelard: Well, I’m working on the GABA Brain Food Stack.

Ryan: Well, we will do a podcast on that when it comes out, but tell us a little bit about how close we are to seeing it.

Abelard: Oh, I’ve been, you know, putting together all the supplements and [unclear 00:38:07] you know, trialing over the last month and, you know, doing various things to understand how I’m reacting to it and so forth. And one thing that I find with GABA is it’s sort of a shock absorber for social interactions. It makes – it makes it easier for me to have awkward conversations [laughs]. For instance, if, you know, if it’s like a sales or a managerial kind of context where you’re dealing with people and it’s a little awkward and – it makes it easier. It just – it gives everything soft, round edges [laughs] if you will.

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: Yeah. It’s the inhibitory neurotransmitter that way. Also, yeah I’ve been having a really, really good time with NEXUS and Mitogen and the Axon Lab Stacks. Those are, those are incredible actually.

Ryan: And of course those go well with the Natural Stacks line, right? We can use those together.

Abelard: Absolutely! CILTEP and, you know Krill Oil and the Brain Food’s go great together with those.

Ryan: Let’s talk about – you mentioned Krill Oil. Let’s talk about stacking Krill Oil with racetams or anything else that may be fat-soluble to increase the effectiveness.

Abelard: Right. Well, Krill Oil is, you know, is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids and with phosphatidylcholine and also with uridine, you know, which is in CDP-choline which is in NEXUS provides a really good way to strengthen, you know, membranes in the brain and so forth. It’s kind of building blocks of a lot of, you know, the brains development when it’s creating new brain cells and repairing things and so forth. You know, if – with racetams mainly people start just stacking those with choline. And it’s – the research I was able to find was that the racetams used more choline when – and the brain used more choline when people were taking racetams.

Ryan: Yeah. Okay. So Abelard, tell our listeners where they can find more of you. I know we talked about this in the previous podcast, but hopefully we’ve got some new listeners and this is their first time hearing you.

Abelard: Yeah. Well I’m on Twitter @ciltep. And I also have my personal site, abelardresearch.com where I post – where I have an archive of all the podcast interviews and so forth that I’ve done, and the very occasional blog article.

Ryan: You’re gonna have one of those coming up for us on optimalperformance.com with the GABA write-up, right?

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: Okay. So everybody can be watching for that. And then of course GABA Brain Food and then the podcast where we talk all about GABA, right?

Abelard: Right, exactly.

Ryan: Alright. Alright, you’ve gotta give us 3 new tips to live optimal. And they can’t be the same 3 that you gave us last time.

Abelard: Oh, okay. Well, I guess making habits. That’s, you know, if you have one of those habit tracker apps on your phone, I use HabitBull, it’s great. That will help you achieve all the things that you wanna do every day, every week. Working out, eating right, that kind of thing.

Ryan: Yeah, and let me build on that one a little. We’ll give you a minute to think on the other 2. As a nutritionist and as a, you know, strength coach, gym owner for, you know, the last 5, 10 years, that’s a huge thing. I mean, the little, the daily habits, the routines become habits. And you know, if you think about when you wake up in the morning you have a routine that you go through whether you’ve actually planned it or not, you have one. So, everything that we do is patterned and I think if we put a lot of conscious thought into what those are we can figure out ways to optimize them for whatever goal we’re trying to achieve. And when you’re building a new habit don’t focus on how far you have to go, focus on just taking baby steps and moving forward.

Abelard: Right, right. And, you know, rewarding yourself for each one of those steps. You know, in a small way, don’t go – if you stick to your diet today, don’t go eat a chocolate cake to reward yourself.

Ryan: Right. Yeah, you’re not a dog, you don’t reward yourself with food or ice cream and, you know. It’s like hey, if we went to AA and we said: ‘Oh great, you went one week without alcohol, here’s a beer.’ It’s not gonna work, right?

Abelard: Right, right. The next one is before you start, especially if you’ve taken a lot of, you know, nootropics and you’re really motivated, make a plan of what you’re gonna do. So, you know, if I’m working on a big software project, you know, I write out all the little steps I’m gonna – I think I’m gonna need to get to the end of it. I mean, you know, software is a little unpredictable sometimes, you know, it doesn’t always, you know, the plan changes. But it – every day when I start out I always make, try to make a list of everything I’m gonna get done just so in the middle of it, in the heat of it I can keep moving forward instead of getting derailed or having to, you know, get my motivation or momentum going again.

Ryan: Yeah, I’m laughing because that one is very true for me this week being in Austin at Natural Stacks headquarters. I mean, I’ve been working from the headquarters and I’ve got – I come in with a to-do list and if I didn’t have it, there are so many things going on that pull you in so many different directions. You know, and I’m used to working at home. So I think for people who may work in an office setting I think that’s a very important thing to help them stay productive.

Abelard: Yeah. And then it’s also important to have – to work with, you know, a partner who can keep you on track and to bounce ideas off of. Because, you know, if you have a lot of motivation you’ve gotta channel it properly. And, you know, sometimes it’s better if there’s somebody else around to – to kinda act as a review board for ideas and direction so you can channel things efficiently. Channel motivation efficiently. For both – for both people. Yeah, I mean, you know, you could work at home alone on stuff and – but you can’t do that forever.

Ryan: Right.

Abelard: I mean [laughs] you actually have to interface with people and kind of get some feedback. And yeah, integrate feedback. That’s, I mean, it doesn’t have to – you don’t have to work with somebody but you at least have to occasionally integrate feedback and not just –

Ryan: Alright, we’re sliding that in as tip number 3: integrate feedback.

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: I mean that’s basically the entire premise behind Quantified Self, right? I mean, feedback on everything. Is this working? Is it doing what I want? Yes, let’s keep doing it. If it’s not, you know, let’s tweak something and keep moving forward.

Abelard: Yeah, check in with reality regularly. Now, my [unclear 00:46:01] in product development and software development, they always say: ‘Get your product in front of an actual customer and talk to an actual customer,’ you know, before you get some idea of like you’re gonna have the greatest app in the world and it’s gonna be totally awesome but then when you release it nobody wants it. It’s – you know, it’s – that’s what I’m trying to get across is you’ve gotta get feedback and incorporate it regularly in order to produce an optimal product. Or an optimal outcome for whatever you’re trying to do. I mean, you’ve gotta get on the scale every once in a while to [laughs] you know, see if you’re losing weight, if your diet’s working, right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Abelard: There’s all kind of different levels to it.

Ryan: Beautiful. Abelard, as always, this has been a blast. Thank you so much for hanging out with us.

Abelard: Alright!

Ryan: For our listeners, make sure you guys head over to optimalperformance.com. You can see the video version, grab links and show notes. And of course head over to iTunes, leave us a 5* review. And if you know somebody who would enjoy and benefit from this podcast please share it with them. And that’s it, we’ll talk to you guys next Thursday. Thanks for listening!

Ben Hebert

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