Published October 2021 on YouTube

Nutrients For Brain Health & Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast #42

1. Food & Brain Function Introduction

Andrew discusses how certain foods can benefit brain health and improve cognition. He explains the three signals that drive food choices and how belief can influence food preferences. The episode also covers the subconscious signals from neurons in the gut that inform the brain about the nutrient contents of the foods being consumed.+

2. Time Restricted Feeding

Andrew discusses the key takeaways from a previous episode on time restricted feeding, emphasizing the importance of starting the feeding window at least one hour after waking and ending it at least two hours before sleep. He also highlights the benefits of keeping the feeding window at the same phase of each 24 hour day to maximize the impact on clock genes that regulate other processes in the body.+

3. Eyewear and Supplements

High-Quality Eyewear:Andrew discusses the features of ROKA eyewear, highlighting their high-quality performance and aesthetic design. ROKA sunglasses and eyeglasses are lightweight, won't slip off during exercise, and provide crystal-clear vision in all lighting conditions. Use code "Huberman" to save 20% on your first order at
Health Supplements:Andrew talks about the benefits of Athletic Greens, a supplement drink that covers basic vitamin and mineral needs, and the importance of probiotics for gut health. He also discusses the benefits of meditation and how Headspace offers a variety of meditations for consistent practice. Listeners can get a special offer for both Athletic Greens and Headspace.+

4. Neuroplasticity Super Protocol

Andrew shares a valuable resource where he describes the neuroplasticity literature and the neuroplasticity super protocol - a set of steps that teachers and students can use to enhance the speed and depth of learning.+

5. Brain-Boosting Foods

Andrew discusses the impact of nutrition on brain health and function. He emphasizes the importance of getting quality sleep and exercise for overall health, but also shares specific foods that have been shown to enhance brain function.+

6. Omega-3 Benefits

The Importance of Fat:Andrew explains how fat is the building block of neurons and the importance of essential fatty acids and phospholipids for brain health.+
Omega-3 Benefits:Andrew discusses the importance of omega-3s in supporting healthy brain function and offsetting depression. He highlights how ingesting EPA form of essential fatty acid can have positive effects on mood and wellbeing, and how it can allow a lower dose of antidepressant treatment to be used. Andrew also suggests various foods that are high in omega-3s that we should all be consuming on a daily basis.+
Omega-3 Sources:Andrew discusses the importance of consuming sufficient amounts of EPA, a type of omega-3, for cognitive function and cardiovascular health. He emphasizes that EPA can be obtained from plant-based sources such as chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans, and shares tips on how to change one's relationship with foods they may not naturally like.+

7. Brain-Boosting Foods

Andrew discusses the benefits of phosphatidylserine, a compound found in meats and fish that has been shown to improve cognition and reduce cognitive decline. He also mentions that it can be derived from cabbage and talks about the importance of fish in brain health.+

8. Brain-Boosting Foods

Brain-Boosting Foods:Andrew discusses the benefits of phosphatidylserine and choline as supplements that can support brain function. He explains how choline helps in the biosynthesis pathway for acetylcholine, a neuromodulator that enhances the activity of certain brain circuits, including those involved in focus and alertness.+
The Power of Eggs:Andrew explains the importance of choline in creating acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter vital for focus. Eggs are a great source of choline and contain all the nutrients required for an organism to grow, especially the nervous system. Other sources of choline include plant-based foods, but most people should strive to get 500 milligrams to a gram of choline per day to support nerve cells.+

9. Hydration & Electrolytes (Tool 4)

Andrew explains the importance of proper hydration and electrolytes for optimal brain function. He also discusses the benefits of omega-3s, EPAs, phosphatidylserine, and choline in improving brain function, although the extent of improvement may depend on the brain's previous state. These are quality healthy foods that we should all be ingesting anyways and can support brain function to some degree or another.+

10. Enhancing Brain Function

Andrew shares his personal experience with supplements that enhance brain function, including liquid fish oil, alpha-GPC, and choline-rich foods. He discusses the dosages he takes and how he adjusts his intake based on his diet and travel schedule.+

11. Creatine for Brain Function

Creatine for Brain Function:Andrew discusses how creatine, a compound found in meat sources and supplements, can improve brain function and enhance certain frontal cortical circuits that connect to areas of the brain involved in mood regulation and motivation. He also mentions that creatine supplementation can be especially useful for people who do not consume meat or other sources of foods that are rich in creatine.+
Creatine and cognition:Andrew discusses the benefits of creatine supplementation on cognition and the potential side effects, such as hair loss, that vary from person to person. He personally takes creatine as a baseline insurance policy for his brain health and doesn't actively consume additional meat to obtain it.+

12. Brain-Boosting Berries

Brain-Boosting Berries:Andrew explains the benefits of consuming blueberries and other dark berries for brain health, citing the presence of anthocyanins. He discusses peer-reviewed studies that suggest that anthocyanins can reduce DNA damage, cognitive decline, and improve blood glucose regulation.+
Blueberries and Brain Function:Andrew discusses the cognitive benefits of consuming blueberries and the role of anthocyanins in enhancing brain function. He explains the optimal dosages of blueberry extract and fresh blueberries needed to achieve these cognitive effects.+

13. Brain-Boosting Benefits

Enhancing Brain Function:Andrew discusses the benefits of glutamine for enhancing brain function and offsetting sugar cravings. He explains how glutamine-sensing neurons in our gut signal to our brain and how glutamine supplementation can offset cognitive decline caused by altitude and oxygen deprivation.+
Glutamine and Apnea:Andrew discusses the serious health issues related to apnea, including cognitive decline and dysfunction. He explains how glutamine supplementation can offset some of the cognitive deficits caused by reduced oxygenation of the brain. Glutamine appears to have a positive impact by reducing inflammation and has immune-enhancing effects.+
Brain-Boosting Compounds:Andrew discusses the benefits of brain-boosting compounds found in food and supplements. While they support the structure of neurons, they also have modulatory effects on sleep, inflammation, and cardiovascular function. These compounds can be extracted from food, but supplements can help achieve higher levels.+

14. Food Preference Mechanisms

Food Preference Mechanisms:Andrew Huberman explains the three channels that underlie food seeking and food preference, which are taste on the mouth, nutrient sensing, and gut-brain signaling. These channels help the nervous system decide what foods to pursue, how much to eat, and whether or not to find a particular food attractive.+
The Five Basic Tastes:Andrew explains the five basic tastes and how they are detected by chemical sensors on the tongue. These sensors transduce the chemicals into electrical signals that travel along the gustatory nerve to the insular cortex, which is responsible for our perception of what's going on inside our body.+
The Insular Cortex:Andrew explains how the insular cortex is responsible for processing our internal feelings, including taste. He discusses how neurons in the cortex respond to different tastes and how they provide an internal representation of an external sense.+

15. Taste is 100% In your Head

Andrew discusses how taste is an internal representation in the brain and how studies have shown that preference for taste can be manipulated by selectively activating or silencing neurons that respond to sweet or bitter tastes. He also explains how taste is related to particular things that are occurring in the brain and body, and that are likely to give the brain and body the things that it needs.+

16. Gut Neurons

Gut Neurons:Andrew explains how neurons in the digestive tract respond to the mechanics and chemistry of food and digestion. He introduces neuropod cells, a population of neurons in the gut that are exquisitely tuned to the chemistry of whatever it is in your gut.+
Subconscious Food Signals:Andrew discusses how neurons in our gut send signals to the brain about the quality of food we eat, triggering the release of dopamine and leading us to seek more of those foods. He also explains the impact of hidden sugars and the benefits of consuming fermented foods for a healthy gut microbiome, which allows these neurons to signal the right food choices.+

17. Capsule Probiotics, Brain Fog

Andrew Huberman discusses the benefits of getting probiotics from fermented foods rather than capsule form supplements. He explains that fermented foods are the simplest and most straightforward way to improve gut health, and that people have been ingesting fermented foods for thousands of years for both their taste and health benefits.+

18. Rewiring Food Preferences

Andrew discusses the learned association of taste with the nutritional value of food and how it impacts our food choices. He talks about experiments involving ingestion of sweet substances and how the taste and nutrient content of what we ingest are aligned. He also explains how we are motivated to eat sweet things not just because they taste good, but because they change our blood sugar level, and how we can change our relationship with food by understanding this.+

19. Hard-Wiring & Soft-Wiring

Andrew explains the concept of hard-wiring and soft-wiring in neuroscience, using the examples of language and taste preferences. While certain circuits are hard-wired for specific functions, others are soft-wired and can adapt to different outcomes.+

20. Artificial Sweeteners

Andrew explains how artificial sweeteners interact with our taste system and affect our dopamine levels and blood glucose. He discusses how we can rewire our taste system and the effects of consuming artificial sweeteners over time.+

21. Artificial Sweeteners and Insulin

Insulin and Artificial Sweeteners:Andrew discusses the effects of consuming artificial sweeteners with or without food on insulin release and blood glucose levels. He recommends consuming artificial sweeteners away from any food that raises blood glucose levels to avoid disrupting blood sugar management.+
Artificial Sweeteners:Andrew discusses a paper that shows short-term consumption of artificial sweeteners with carbohydrates impairs neural and metabolic sensitivity to sugar in humans. He emphasizes the importance of avoiding consuming artificial sweeteners with foods that increase blood glucose and highlights the plasticity of our food preferences and dopamine system.+

22. Brain and Food

Brain's Reward Pathway:Andrew explains how the insula, a structure in the brain, responds to changes in our internal state, including anxiety, heart rate, and respiration. He also discusses the activation of the mesolimbic reward pathway and the hypothalamus in response to dopamine increases associated with sweet taste and glucose-elevating foods.+
Brain and Food:Andrew explains how the hypothalamus, dopamine, and insula work together to regulate eating habits. He also discusses how subjective signals and perceptions about food can impact taste and utilization in the body.+
Food and Belief:Andrew explains how the belief about a food's nutritional value can affect the physiological response to it. He also talks about how pairing a disliked food with ketones can reinforce it through the dopamine pathway.+

23. Brain-Boosting Foods

Brain-Boosting Foods:Andrew discusses how to incorporate healthy foods into our diet for immediate and long-term brain health benefits. He suggests pairing foods that promote brain metabolism with those we enjoy eating, and explains how our food preferences can be conditioned for healthy purposes.+
Food and Brain:Andrew discusses the impact of food on the brain and how it affects our perception of taste and health. He explains how our dopamine system responds to food and how it can be learned and adjusted.+

24. Understanding Food Reward

Andrew discusses how our brain perceives and predicts the metabolic response of certain foods, and how this understanding can help reshape our food preferences. He also shares insights from studies exploring how food reward pathways are altered in people with metabolic disorders, and how simple alterations in dietary choices can help rewire what we consider attractive as foods.+

25. Brain-Boosting Foods

Andrew discusses the impact of certain foods and compounds on immediate and long-term brain health. He shares a short list of "superfoods" that enhance cognition and neuronal health. Andrew also talks about food preferences and how to leverage those pathways to pursue more healthy foods.+