Huberman Lab - AMA #3: Adaptogens, Fasting & Fertility, Bluetooth/EMF Risks, Cognitive Load Limits & More

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Welcome to the Huberman Lab Podcast,

where we discuss science

and science-based tools for everyday life.

I’m Andrew Huberman,

and I’m a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology

at Stanford School of Medicine.

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Without further ado,

let’s get to answering your questions.

And as always,

I will strive to be as accurate as possible,

as thorough as possible,

and yet as concise as possible.

The first question today is about adaptogens.

Some of you may have heard of adaptogens.

I’m guessing many of you have not heard of adaptogens.

The strict definition of adaptogens is still evolving,

meaning no one really knows what adaptogens mean

and what’s included in adaptogens

and what’s excluded from adaptogens.

But the most common definition of an adaptogen

is a compound that is typically a supplement or a drug,

although it could be a behavior,

if you really think about it,

that helps you adapt to and buffer stress.

So when you hear about adaptogens,

there are three main categories of adaptogens

that come to mind.

The first are things that are contained in food.

So these would be vitamins or micronutrients

that one could easily find in food,

but one would have to consume a fairly restricted number

or type of foods in order to obtain those things,

or consume a lot of those foods

in order to get sufficient dosages

of those adaptogen compounds in order to buffer stress.

Some good examples of these would be any kind of vitamin,

either water-soluble or fat-soluble,

that can adjust or reduce

what are so-called reactive oxygen species.

And then that’s what gives rise to this idea

that antioxidants are good for us.

Now, over the last 10 years or so, there’s been a shift.

What shift has occurred?

Well, about 10 years ago,

you often heard about antioxidants,

antioxidants, antioxidants and vitamins,

antioxidants in this food, this superfood, et cetera.

And why were people talking about antioxidants?

Well, just to remind you,

reactive oxygen species are types of reactions

and molecules that occur in cells

when cells get stressed and or age,

and antioxidants are the compounds

that reduce those reactive oxygen species.

Reactive oxygen species are bad for cells

because they tend to hinder the function of mitochondria,

which are associated with energy production

in those cells.

So what do we know for sure?

We know that as cells get older

or as any cell or biological system,

organ, tissue, et cetera,

get stressed a lot over time,

the number of reactive oxygen species

increases in those cells and tissues and organs,

and antioxidants, which can include certain vitamins,

but also some micronutrients,

are effective in reducing those reactive oxygen species.

Now, what’s occurred over the last 10 years

is that we know that reactive oxygen species

are a major source of depleting cellular function

by way of depleting mitochondrial function,

but they are just one of many mechanisms

that can deplete cellular function, mitochondrial function.

So nowadays you’ll hear about reactive oxygen species

and antioxidants, but not as much as you used to.

Now you hear a lot more about inflammatory responses

and inflammatory cytokines also being an issue.

And the truth is all of these things are an issue.

So going back to this question about adaptogens,

adaptogens include these three categories.

I’ve told you the first,

which are the vitamins and micronutrients

that are contained in food

that can reduce reactive oxygen species

and other aspects of cellular stress,

such as inflammatory cytokines.

What are some of those things that occur in foods?

Well, in order to answer that,

let’s just think about what sorts of foods themselves

can act as adaptogens.

It’s commonly held that the dark leafy greens type foods,

for those of you that eat plants,

and I think the majority of people out there do eat plants.

I know that the carnivore diet and lion diet

and some other diets tend to exclude plants.

We’ll address that briefly at some point

in today’s discussion, but dark leafy greens

are known to contain a number of compounds

in the form of vitamins and micronutrients

that are very effective in reducing reactive oxygen species

and inflammatory cytokines.

So if you’re somebody who’s interested in adaptogens

and adaptogenic processes,

reducing stress and buffering stress,

which of course has its role in buffering daily stress

in order to help you sleep better,

to improve cellular function for longevity,

sports performance, cognitive performance,

that is all good and it makes sense

why people would be interested in adaptogens.

But remember that the two main adaptogens

that you should think to first

are going to be behaviors and nutrition.

I’ve started with nutrition on purpose.

As I mentioned, we’ll get to behaviors in a moment.

So if you’re interested in adaptogens at all,

I highly recommend that you include

at least two to four servings of dark leafy greens

and or cruciferous vegetables per day.

I think that’d be highly advantageous.

And just be aware that excessively heating

dark leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables

can actually destroy the very nutrients and micronutrients

that act in an adaptogenic way.

That does not mean that you need to eat raw broccoli

or cauliflower.

Just the thought of that makes me nauseous.

It’s very hard to digest.

Some people might like that

or can digest it more easily than others.

So it’s perfectly fine to cook your cruciferous vegetables

and dark leafy greens, but you don’t want to overcook them.

What’s overcooking and what’s undercooking,

there’s no strict cutoff in terms of temperature.

But basically what the literature says

is that if you heat vegetables to the point

where the colored fluid is leaching out of them

into a broth type, into water

or whatever fluid surrounds them,

well, then you would be well off to ingest that fluid

as well because it contained in the water

or the fluid that’s leaching out

from the cruciferous vegetables

or from the dark leafy greens

are going to be a lot of those very adaptogenic molecules

that you’re interested in in the first place.

Okay, so I probably surprised some people

by starting off my answer to the question

of what are adaptogens?

Are they worth thinking about and pursuing?

And if so, how can I get them?

By talking about food.

But I think it is important to understand

that you can get a lot of adaptogens from food.

And indeed, some of the best adaptogens

do come from dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.

So I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that.

The other two categories of adaptogens

are going to be supplement-based adaptogens

and then behavioral adaptogens.

Again, here adaptogen defined as anything

that can buffer stress in a substantial or meaningful way

in order to support cellular health, organ health

and overall daily living and functioning,

including sleep and performance and mental health.

So the second category of adaptogens

are going to be supplements.

And here again, I just want to take a step back

and make sure that we are clear

about our operational definition

about what a supplement is.

We had an episode all about

how to design a rational guide to supplementation,

which included, for example, the idea that for some people,

the optimal dosage of many supplements is going to be zero.

And for other people, the dosage will be something else.

But to really pinpoint the key message from that episode

that I’d like to reiterate now,

but a key message from that episode

that I’d like to reiterate now

is that many people think of supplements

as just vitamin supplements.

And for that reason, you’ll often hear the argument,

oh, well, aren’t supplements just expensive urine?

Couldn’t you get all of that from food?

Aren’t you just urinating out

all the water-soluble vitamins

and maybe even storing excess amounts

of the fat-soluble vitamins in a way that’s unhealthy

or not cost-effective and so on?

When we talk about supplements,

yes, it can include vitamin supplements.

However, there are many compounds

that we would describe as supplements

that are not vitamin supplements

and that you could not obtain from food

or that you could never obtain from food

in sufficient enough qualities

to have a robust positive biological effect

without consuming an enormous number of calories

or overriding your gut mechanically.

For instance, if there were, say, a herb,

and we’ll talk about such herbs in a moment,

that contained an effective adaptogen,

but you would never want to eat the plant itself

or include that herb in any kind of recipe,

well, then chances are this herb,

which we’ll define in a moment,

is not a vitamin supplement.

It is probably not even best thought of as a supplement.

It’s best thought of as a compound

that’s sold over the counter,

much like a prescription drug,

although it’s not prescription.

It doesn’t require a prescription to get it.

So there are a lot of things like that

that we include under the umbrella of this word supplements.

And unfortunately, because of that,

a lot of people think, oh, you don’t need supplements.

And of course, you don’t need supplements per se,

but many people do derive tremendous benefit from them.

In the context of adaptogens,

there are two or three in particular

that can be very beneficial

for buffering the stress response,

especially over short periods of time

of about two to three weeks.

So when would you use these?

Well, for instance,

if you are in a particularly stressful mode of life,

either because of family or relational or school

or work demands or new kid in the house

or any number of different things,

or you’ve been ill or you’re recovering from injury,

taking an adaptogen in the form of supplement

can actually be very useful for buffering this hormone

and the general systems it’s associated with

called cortisol.

It’s very healthy to have high levels of cortisol

early in the day, shortly after you wake up,

and then that ought to taper off

toward the afternoon and evening.

However, if cortisol is chronically elevated

throughout the day,

or if that peak in cortisol is arriving too late in the day,

that is known to be associated with mental health

and physical health issues

as has been shown by labs at Stanford and elsewhere.

It’s been shown in animal models

and in humans.

Talked many times before,

and I’ll just remind you again,

that one of the best ways to restrict that cortisol peak

to the early part of the day

is to get morning sunlight in your eyes as soon as you can.

Once the sun is up,

get outside facing the direction of the sun,

even on overcast days, don’t wear sunglasses,

look at it for five to 30 minutes,

definitely blink so you don’t damage your eyes,

so on and so forth.

Why five minutes or 30 minutes?

Well, five minutes on a clear day should be sufficient,

longer would be fine.

Again, blink so that you protect your eyes,

blink as needed,

face in the general direction of the sun.

On days when you have a lot of overcast

or it’s really dark, dense cloud cover,

well, then you’d want to be outside longer.

And if you don’t have access to sunlight

for whatever reason,

then you want to do the same thing

with bright artificial lights indoors,

either so-called sad lamp or otherwise.

That’s a great way to restrict that cortisol peak

to early in the day.

But even if you’re doing that,

if you have a stressful life for whatever reason,

even if you’re getting that morning sunlight,

which I hope you are,

you’re getting your exercise,

you’re trying to sleep better

and more as we all should most of the time,

well, then you may be somebody

who wants to take a adaptogen in the form of a supplement.

And the three supplements that can be very effective

in buffering cortisol are ashwagandha,

which I’ll talk about first,

lion’s mane and chaga.

Lion’s mane and chaga are in the fungi group,

so they count as mushrooms,

they are not psychedelic mushrooms.

Let’s talk about ashwagandha first.

Ashwagandha is at the top of the list

because it is indeed a very potent adaptogen.

How can I say that?

Well, there are a number of studies now,

including several excellent ones in humans

that report that taking two doses

of 300 milligrams of ashwagandha per day

can very dramatically buffer cortisol.

So this is something that you would have

a near impossible time accessing from food.

I can’t imagine that unless you’re cooking

with the very sources of ashwagandha

and extracting exact amounts

that you’d be able to get this in any other form

except supplement form.

So here, I’m going to just briefly reference a paper

and we can provide a reference link to this.

That is, this is a paper from 2012

that’s had a lot of excellent follow-up papers

that support it.

The title of the paper is

A Prospective Randomized Double-Blind

Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy

of High Concentration of Full-Spectrum Extract

of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety

in Adults.

And it’s a really nice study,

not a huge subject pool, but both men and women,

and it’s carried out for long enough

that they got to see some really interesting results.

And I think that the most interesting result

is that taking 300 milligrams of ashwagandha twice a day

led to enormous, I mean,

just enormous changes in serum cortisol.

The statistical significance that they observed

in the study was really fantastic,

fantastically high statistical significance.

They saw the effects of ashwagandha on day 15,

having initiated the ashwagandha consumption on day one,

of course, day 30 and day 45.

And again, this was dramatic reductions in stress

as perceived by people,

so subjective stress and cortisol level.

So ashwagandha is very potent at reducing cortisol.

How would you recapitulate this

if you wanted to use ashwagandha to buffer stress?

Well, a couple of key points.

Mentioned earlier that you want your cortisol peak

to come earlier in the day.

Therefore, you would not want to buffer cortisol

early in the day.

In fact, cortisol peaking early in the day

provides an anti-inflammatory, immune-supporting,

focus and mood-supporting effect all day long.

So I would recommend that people take their first dose

of ashwagandha of anywhere from 250 to 300 milligrams

sometime in the early afternoon,

and then again in the evening,

as opposed to taking a morning dose and an afternoon dose.

Also, if you’re somebody who’s exercising

for sake of trying to induce adaptations like hypertrophy,

the growth of muscles, or strength,

or improve your endurance in any way, muscular endurance,

or more traditional cardiovascular endurance,

then I recommend that you not take your ashwagandha

prior to exercise,

because part of the adaptation response

is triggered by increases in cortisol during exercise,

in the same way that some of the best adaptations

to exercise are reductions in blood pressure

and resting heart rate,

and those are stimulated by increases in blood pressure

and increases in heart rate during exercise.

That’s just how these biological systems work.

So the takeaway is pretty simple.

If you’re interested in using ashwagandha as an adaptogen,

I would restrict it to later in the day if you can,

and not before exercise.

Divide it into two doses of 250 to 300 milligrams.

And that’s what this paper and other papers like it

seem to indicate.

And then a very important final point about ashwagandha,

which is that if you’re going to take ashwagandha,

I recommend not taking it for longer than a month and a half

as they did in this study.

In fact, I would suggest that you only take ashwagandha

around periods of kind of moderate to extreme stress.

What’s moderate, what’s extreme

is going to depend on what you’re going through.

Only you know how much stress

and life events you can tolerate.

So if you’ve had trouble sleeping,

and that’s unusual for you,

or you’re dealing with a very difficult life circumstances,

or excessive work demand, or a new kid,

as I mentioned before,

well, then buffering stress with ashwagandha,

buffering cortisol in the afternoon and evening

can be very beneficial for you.

But then I would say after about 30 days maximum,

I would take at least two to four weeks off.

Two weeks is probably enough, but four weeks off,

because you don’t want to chronically buffer cortisol.

It’s just not a good idea.

But that said,

I think ashwagandha is a very powerful adaptogen.

I would place at the top of the list

of supplement-based adaptogens.

But keep in mind that

even if you’re taking a supplement-based adaptogen,

that’s no reason to abandon the nutrition

and behavioral type adaptogenic effects

that you can create through eating dark leafy greens,

cruciferous vegetables,

then we’ll talk about the behaviors in a moment.

The other two supplement-based adaptogens, as I mentioned,

are lion’s mane mushroom and chaga.

And I get asked a lot about lion’s mane and chaga

for sake of their purported roles

in acting as nootropics, as quote-unquote smart drugs.

There are fewer data on the beneficial roles

of lion’s mane and chaga for sake of nootropic effects.

We’ll do an entire episode on nootropics at some point.

But there have been a few studies

showing that lion’s mane and supplementation

and chaga supplementation can improve memory

and maybe even divergent thinking

associated with creativity and things of that sort.

Again, these are not psychedelic mushrooms.

That said, there are good data showing

that 1,000 milligrams,

that is one gram of lion’s mane per day,

and or, okay, these,

we’ll talk about the and or portion in a moment,

and or chaga mushroom at 500 to 1,500 milligrams per day

can act as adaptogens in, again, reducing cortisol,

but also, and mainly,

reducing some of the anti-inflammatory cytokines

that are known to circulate in high abundance

when you’re under a lot of psychological

and or physical stress,

things like interleukin-6 and some related molecules.

So here’s what I would recommend.

If you are interested in exploring adaptogens,

I’m a big fan, as some of you probably know

if you heard that episode

on rational guide to supplementation,

I’m a big fan of mainly focusing on taking supplements

in single ingredient formulations

so that you can figure out what dosages are best for you

and so that you can toggle in and out

those adaptogens as needed.

So I, of course, am a fan of taking certain blends

and mixes.

The one that we talk about a lot on this podcast,

and I’ve been a sponsor from the beginning,

I’ve taken for a decade now,

long before I ever had a podcast,

is athletic greens,

which some of you might note does contain some ashwagandha,

although the levels of ashwagandha

that are contained in athletic greens are low enough

that I don’t see any issue

with taking athletic greens consistently

day to day, every day,

because you’re not getting anywhere near

that 600 milligram dosage.

But the idea is that if you were going to take

any adaptogen for sake of buffering stress

over the short term,

say for a week or two weeks or a month,

and then taking that recommended time off,

I would start with ashwagandha.

And then if you feel you need something else

to buffer stress,

keeping in mind, of course,

that you’re doing the behavioral

and the nutritional things to buffer stress as well,

you can never abandon those, right?

Well, then I would suggest adding 1,000 milligrams

or 1,000 milligrams of chaga per day

and seeing how that further benefits your system

in terms of buffering stress.

How would you measure if your stress is being reduced?

Well, you’re going to be sleeping better at night,

you’re going to feel subjectively better,

lower levels of anxiety,

all the things that are measured

in the types of studies I described before.

Now, of course, there’s nothing preventing you

from taking 600 milligrams of ashwagandha,

a gram of lion’s mane and a gram of chaga,

I know some people like to just kind of go

full tilt into everything,

but I am a big believer in really trying to isolate

which supplements and molecules work best for you

and which ones don’t.

Do you need to cycle on and off lion’s mane and chaga?

I’m not aware of any data showing that you do.

If however, you’re taking them every day,

I recommend that you cycle off them

after a period of 30 days or so.

And I want to be very clear about this,

just because I said cycle off

after a period of 30 days or so

does not mean that you can’t take them

for a shorter period of time.

So for instance, if you know that you’re coming up

on a big week of stress,

well, then you could take ashwagandha

and or lion’s mane and or chaga for that week

or just that week or heading into that week

or in the following week and then stop.

There’s no reason why you couldn’t take them

even just for one day,

although the effects tend to be a bit cumulative,

at least when we’re talking about buffering anxiety.

In terms of buffering cortisol,

that’s a very potent effect that as far as we know

is going to take place on day one.

Again, keep that cortisol buffering effect

away from exercise,

at least don’t take it before exercise

and try and buffer your cortisol

in the afternoon and evening.

And this is assuming that you’re working

a conventional shift and you’re not up all night

and sleeping all day for sake of shift work.

Okay, so hopefully that clarifies things

about what adaptogens are.

In fact, I never actually read the specific question,

but I think I’ve touched on a number of issues

that were laid to this specific question.

And then I’ll answer the last portion

of the answer to this question in a moment

as it relates to behavioral tools

that can act as adaptogens.

The question itself was there’s a lot of mixed information

out there about adaptogens like ashwagandha.

And I think that relates to what I said earlier,

which is that the definition of an adaptogen

has not really been cemented in various communities.

It’s different in different communities

and it’s generally used as a matter of convenience

rather than really strictly defining what it is.

And hopefully we’ve defined it accurately

and broadly enough today as something that buffers stress.

The second part of the question was,

what does the scientific evidence say about adaptogens

and their ability to mediate body stress response?

They say quite a lot and they say that

the stress response can be buffered substantially

by certain adaptogens, mainly dark leafy greens,

cruciferous vegetables, ashwagandha, lion’s mane, and chaga.

And of course, all the behavioral things

that are critical that we’ll list off in a moment.

And then the third portion of the question is,

is there any solid evidence that has an effect

on neurotransmitters or the HPA,

which is part of the stress modulation axis?

The best evidence is that adaptogens

can reduce cortisol itself.

There is very little evidence that adaptogens

can directly modulate neurotransmitters or neuromodulators

like dopamine, serotonin, et cetera.

But by adjusting the timing and levels of cortisol,

especially in the afternoon and evening,

that is going to have indirect effects

on levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, et cetera,

and serotonin, but not direct effects.

So the general contour that makes

for an ideal diurnal schedule,

you heard of nocturnal, well, the opposite is diurnal,

being awake during the daytime and asleep at night.

The ideal kind of landscape of neurotransmitters

is higher levels of dopamine, norepinephrine,

and epinephrine in the early part of the day,

and cortisol, so-called catecholamines,

dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine,

and high levels of cortisol early in the day

as directed by sunlight, exercise, caffeine,

hydration, movement, all that stuff,

being awake and busy and outside

or indoors with bright lights and moving about

in the early part of the day and into the early afternoon.

That’s the best possible way that we are aware of

to try and get those catecholamines released

at the highest levels in the early part of the day.

And then the ideal contour of a 24-hour cycle

will be in the later half of the day,

the evening and nighttime.

You have higher levels of things like serotonin,

the GABAergic system, all the things

that are somewhat sedative in preparing you for sleep,

and lower levels of the catecholamines and cortisol

as I described before.

So to directly answer the question,

is there any evidence that adaptogens

can alter your neurotransmitters?

Yes, but only indirectly.

And yet that indirect control over neurotransmitters

is substantial and is important.

And if you do what I described,

such as getting morning sunlight,

and ideally you’d get a little bit

of deliberate cold water exposure, by the way,

to boost adrenaline and norepinephrine and dopamine,

those catecholamines, early in the day.

So quick one-minute cold shower even,

or three-minute cold shower,

or if you have access to an ice bath early in the day,

plus some sunlight, doesn’t matter which one you do first.

Doing that early in the day is really going to create

that peak of cortisol, dopamine, epinephrine

early in the day.

I can’t emphasize how beneficial all of that can be.

And exercise, if you can, early in the day.

Some people can’t exercise till later in the day.

I’d rather see people exercise later in the day

than not at all, provided it does not disrupt

their nighttime sleep, which of course,

sleep is the foundation of mental health,

physical health, and performance.

So yes, there’s modulation of neurotransmitters,

but most of those are downstream of the effects

on cortisol that we’ve been talking about.

So we’ve defined nutritional adaptogens,

supplement-based adaptogens, although I don’t really

like the word supplements anymore,

unless we’re talking about vitamin supplements,

for reasons we talked about earlier.

And then there’s the third category of adaptogens,

which are the behavioral tools that you can use

to buffer stress, which qualifies those as an adaptogen.

And I think it’s really important

that we always keep in mind

that yes, there are supplements.

Yes, there are prescription drugs out there.

In fact, there are prescription drugs

that you can get from a doctor

that will potently zero out your cortisol.

But most doctors are very reluctant

to prescribe those drugs because cortisol provides

a very important and functional role early in the day.

Behaviors are very effective at reducing cortisol.

What are the most effective behaviors to reduce cortisol?

Well, we talked about, one, to restrict cortisol

the early part of the day,

which is viewing morning sunlight.

But how would you buffer cortisol in the late afternoon?

It’s going to be all the things associated

with reducing stress.

For instance, 10 minutes, or even my laboratory

and other laboratories have shown,

it’s even five minutes a day of just

what would be called mindfulness meditation.

Very simple.

You don’t need to overcomplicate this.

You could use a great app like the Waking Up app

or another app of that sort, or you can simply sit down,

eyes closed, breathe through your nose,

and just concentrate on your breathing.

Every time your mind drifts to something else,

bring it back to your breathing.

That’s shown to reduce stress.

You could do a five-minute deliberate breath work practice.

My laboratory has published some work related to that.

The breath work practice could be any number of things.

The two that I recommend the most would be double inhale,

followed by a full exhale,

and then repeat for a period of five minutes.

Known to substantially reduce anxiety, stress,

and the various physiological systems

associated with arousal.

You could also use box breathing.

Inhale, hold, exhale, hold for equal durations

for a period of five minutes.

Will substantially reduce stress.

I’m a big fan, as many of you know, of yoga nidra,

which involves no movement.

It involves just lying there, listening to a script.

Lots of yoga nidra scripts available online.

If you’re not interested in the intentions

and other things, including yoga nidra,

you can buffer stress using an adaptogen like NSDR,

non-sleep deep rest.

If you’re interested in trying these sorts of things,

there’s a NSDR protocol that’s 10 minutes long.

I just put my name, Huberman,

and NSDR into the search browser on YouTube,

and Virtusan has provided an NSDR

that’s completely zero cost

and works very well for reducing stress.

It will also help teach your system

and teach you how to learn to fall asleep better at night.

So any of those practices,

five to 10 minute breathing practice or meditation

or a NSDR or yoga nidra.

If you can do longer, 20 or 30 minutes in the afternoon,

that’s known to buffer cortisol substantially as well.

Anytime you’re encountering stress in real time,

I highly recommend a tool over and over

because it’s so effective.

The fastest way we know to buffer stress and calm down

is the so-called physiological sigh.

Big inhale through the nose till your lungs are empty,

but then sneak in a little bit more air

by a second inhale,

maximally inflate the lungs,

then a long exhale until your lungs are empty.

One to three of those

will reduce your stress substantially.

Over time that should reduce,

that is buffer your cortisol acting as an adaptogen.

There are a lot of things.

You can take a hot bath.

You can take a hot shower.

You can listen to some pleasant music.

Anything that reduces your stress

technically is an adaptogen.

So I hope I’ve thoroughly answered your question.

By yours, I mean,

of course this answer is going out to all of you.

This was a question that was asked by Justine Bevilacqua.

I hope I pronounced that correctly, Justine.

And thank you for that question.

I think there are a lot of people interested in adaptogens.

So now you know you can use nutrition

such as cruciferous vegetables, dark leafy greens.

And I should also mention

if you’re not ingesting enough calories each day,

well then you are going to be in a mild mode of stress.

That’s not to say that some people

shouldn’t take in fewer calories than they burn

in order to lose weight.

Some people really need to do that for their health

or for whatever other reason.

But if you restrict calories too much,

you are going to increase cortisol output.

So keep that in mind.

So ingest sufficient calories for you and for your goals.

Aim to get dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.

Don’t overcook them.

If you want to explore supplements,

the best supplements to act as adaptogens

are going to be ashwagandha, lion’s mane, and chaga.

One or two or three of those.

Although if you’re going to pick one,

I’d recommend ashwagandha, 600 milligrams per day,

taken in the later half of the day.

And then there are the behavioral tools

that we just talked about now,

which are anything that reduces stress can reduce cortisol.

And in doing so are technically adaptogens.

If you want to know more behavioral tools

and other tools for adjusting stress

and learn more about adaptogens,

we did a whole episode called Mastering Stress.

So you can look to that.

That episode also pretty clearly defines,

I like to think, what short-term, medium-term,

and long-term stress really are.

Keep in mind, stress is part of life.

Learning how to work with it, how to dance with it,

how to buffer it is terrific.

But zeroing out cortisol is not the goal.

The goal is to learn to modulate and control your cortisol.

And that’s really what adaptogens are all about.

Thank you for joining for the beginning

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