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.
Today is an Ask Me Anything, or AMA episode,
which is part of our premium subscriber content.
Our premium channel was launched
in order to raise support
for the standard Huberman Lab Podcast channel,
which still comes out once a week, every Monday,
and of course is zero cost to consumer.
The premium channel is also designed
to support exciting research being done
at major universities like Stanford and elsewhere,
research that’s done on humans
that should lead to protocols for mental health,
physical health, and performance in the near future.
If you’d like to check out
the premium channel subscription model,
you can go to hubermanlab.com slash premium,
and there you can subscribe for $10 a month
or $100 a year.
We also have a lifetime subscriber option.
For those of you that are already
Huberman Lab Podcast premium subscribers
and you’re watching and or hearing this,
please go to hubermanlab.com slash premium
and download the premium podcast feed.
And for those of you that are not already
Huberman Lab premium podcast subscribers,
you will be able to hear the first 15 minutes or so
of this episode,
and hopefully that will allow you to discern
whether or not you would like to become
a premium subscriber.
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
of this Ask Me Anything episode.
To hear the full episode and to hear future episodes
of these Ask Me Anything sessions,
plus to receive transcripts of them
and transcripts of the Huberman Lab Podcast
standard channel and premium tools
not released anywhere else,
please go to hubermanlab.com slash premium.
Just to remind you why we launched
the Huberman Lab Podcast premium channel.
It’s really twofold.
First of all, it’s to raise support
for the standard Huberman Lab Podcast channel,
which of course will still be continued
to be released every Monday in full length.
We are not going to change the format
or anything about the standard Huberman Lab Podcast.
And to fund research,
in particular research done on human beings.
So not animal models, but on human beings,
which I think we all agree is a species
that we are most interested in.
And we are going to specifically fund research
that is aimed toward developing further protocols
for mental health, physical health, and performance.
And those protocols will be distributed
through all channels, not just the premium channel,
but through all channels, Huberman Lab Podcast
and other media channels.
So the idea here is to give you information
to your burning questions in depth
and allow you the opportunity to support
the kind of research that provides those kinds of answers
in the first place.
Now, an especially exciting feature of the premium channel
is that the tiny foundation has generously offered
to do a dollar for dollar match on all funds raised
for research through the premium channel.
So this is a terrific way that they’re going to amplify
whatever funds come in through the premium channel
to further support research for science
and science-related tools for mental health,
physical health, and performance.
If you’d like to sign up
for the Huberman Lab premium channel,
again, there’s a cost of $10 per month,
or you can pay $100 upfront for the entire year.
That will give you access to all the AMAs.
You can ask questions and get answers to your questions.
And you’ll of course get answers to all the questions
that other people ask as well.
There will also be some premium content
such as transcripts of the AMAs
and various transcripts and protocols
of Huberman Lab podcast episodes not found elsewhere.
And again, you’ll be supporting research
for mental health, physical health, and performance.
You can sign up for the premium channel
by going to hubermanlab.com slash premium.
Again, that’s hubermanlab.com slash premium.
And as always, thank you for your interest in science.