Published May 2021 on YouTube

Using Cortisol & Adrenaline to Boost Our Energy & Immune System Function | Huberman Lab Podcast #18

1. Introduction

Science-based Health:Andrew Huberman discusses the importance of blood and DNA testing for understanding and optimizing our health, and introduces two sponsors, Inside Tracker and Athletic Greens, that offer personalized nutrition and vitamin plans based on these tests.+
Health Supplements:Andrew discusses the benefits of Athletic Greens, a supplement that includes probiotics, and offers a special deal for listeners. He also talks about the importance of vitamin D3 and K2. Later, he shares his experience with Headspace, a meditation app that has helped him stay consistent with his practice.+

2. Hormones and Energy

Andrew discusses the biology of cortisol and epinephrine, how they influence energy levels and the immune system, and how to leverage them to increase energy and improve immunity. He also covers topics such as nootropics, caffeine, and comfort foods.+

3. Fasting and Growth Hormone

Andrew explains how fasting can increase growth hormone levels by binding ghrelin to the growth hormone releasing hormone receptor. The levels of growth hormone that fasting promotes through this ghrelin system are pretty substantial, and we will talk about different patterns of fasting and eating that can cortisol epinephrine.Show transcript +

4. Why Your Stomach Growls

Andrew explains that stomach growling is caused by the muscles in the stomach churning and turning over when there's no food in it. To avoid embarrassing moments, chew your food better.+

5. Hot Baths & Hormones

Andrew explains the benefits of safe hyperthermia through the use of sauna and hot baths. While saunas provide a safe environment for high temperatures, hot baths can also increase growth hormone release if tolerated. However, caution must be taken when experimenting with hyperthermia and consulting a doctor is advised.+

6. Hormones and Health

Andrew explains how cortisol and epinephrine are the two hormones that play a crucial role in maintaining energy levels and a healthy immune system, and shares insights on how to control them.+

7. Cholesterol and Cortisol

Andrew explains the relationship between cholesterol and cortisol, and how stress affects the production of cortisol. He emphasizes the importance of cortisol for immune system function, memory, and mental health, but warns against elevated levels at the wrong time of day.+

8. The Power of Epinephrine

Andrew explains why epinephrine, commonly known as adrenaline, is not just a stress hormone but also a key player in boosting immunity and enhancing learning and memory. He emphasizes the importance of regulating its release and offers tools to do so.+

9. Cortisol Basics In Two (Actually 1) Minute/s

Andrew explains how cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone, is actually a hormone of energy that makes you want to move and not rest or eat. He breaks down the process of cortisol release and its effects on the brain and body.+

10. Adrenaline Basics In Two Minutes

Andrew explains how adrenaline is released in response to stressors and how it affects the body. The hormone increases heart and breathing rates, constricts blood vessels, and redirects energy towards vital organs. He also mentions the role of cortisol in increasing energy levels.+

11. Cortisol Regulation

Cortisol Regulation:Andrew shares a tool to regulate cortisol levels and reduce unhealthy states of mind, including depression. Getting outside and viewing sunlight within 30 minutes of waking up can help time cortisol release to the early part of the day, improving focus, energy levels, and learning throughout the day.+
Sunlight and Energy:Andrew explains the importance of getting sunlight in the morning to regulate cortisol levels and increase energy throughout the day. He provides specific data on Lux brightness and how long to be outside depending on cloud cover.+

12. Leveraging Stress

Andrew explains how stress, cortisol, and epinephrine can be leveraged to serve you in a deliberate way. He also discusses the importance of understanding the energy that comes from seeing something difficult, and how it can stimulate neuroplasticity.+

13. Boosting Immunity

Immunity Boosting Practices:Andrew discusses the science behind practices like wim HOF breathing, ice baths, and high intensity interval training and how they can either enhance or deplete your immune system depending on how often and when you use them. He provides insights on building practices into your daily routine to help buffer you against unhealthy levels of cortisol and epinephrine.+
Stress and Energy:Andrew explains how stressors like cold exposure, high-intensity interval training, and deep breathing can increase epinephrine and cortisol levels, leading to more energy and alertness. He emphasizes the importance of deliberately incorporating stressors into your day and reframing them positively.+

14. Does Mindset During Stress Matter?

Andrew explains how dopamine can increase energy levels and shares a protocol to help listeners increase their energy. By reframing the way we think about tasks and activities, we can liberate dopamine and other molecules that help buffer the epinephrine response, resulting in more energy and a sense of control.+

15. Boosting Energy

Andrew discusses ways to increase energy and regulate the stress response through cyclic inhale exhale breathing protocol, cold therapy, and exercise. He emphasizes the importance of building a system to better buffer the stress response and increase overall energy. He also mentions the biological mechanism to increase the immune system on demand.+

16. Boosting Energy

Boosting Energy:Andrew explains how Cortisol can be used to increase energy and buffer stress in real-time, and how understanding the mechanism behind it is key to achieving this.+
Boosting Energy:Andrew suggests using exercises and tools to increase epinephrine in the body to boost energy and immune system function. Cold water and breathing protocols are simple ways to increase epinephrine. The practice builds resilience and the ability to stay calm in the mind while being stressed in the body.+
Calm Alertness:Andrew explains how to maintain calmness while having heightened levels of adrenaline and cortisol in the body. He shares the benefits of releasing epinephrine in the body and separating it from the brain stem. The practice is a self-directed stress inoculation that increases energy and focus.+

17. Boosting Immune System

Boosting Immune System:Andrew explains how short bouts of stress can actually enhance the function of the immune system. The increase in epinephrine in the body, caused by short bouts of intense exercise, exposure to cold water or cyclic breathing, can protect against infection for a period of about one to four days.+
Boosting Immune System:Andrew explains how short term adrenaline increasing behaviors like drinking coffee or tea, cold exposure, and exercise can boost the immune system. He also discusses the effects of chronic coffee drinking and the importance of figuring out which behavior works best for you.+
Control Your Immune System:Andrew discusses a study that shows how you can control your immune system by increasing adrenaline through breathing techniques like Wim Hof breathing. By learning to turn on and off adrenaline and cortisol, you can improve your immune system function and energy levels.+

18. Timing Thyroid Release For Energy

Andrew explains how getting light exposure early in the day can help time cortisol and thyroid hormone release, leading to increased energy and metabolism. He also discusses the relationship between cortisol and the circadian clock in triggering the release of thyroid hormones.+

19. Stress and Memory

Stress and Performance:Andrew explains how epinephrine, a stress hormone, can enhance performance if blood levels are not too high. However, too much stress can cause mental distractions that decrease performance. He also shares that epinephrine is a nootropic that can enhance memory and learning immediately after the learning experience.+
Enhancing Memory Retention:Andrew explains how increasing alertness levels after learning something can enhance memory retention. Epinephrine and cortisol play a crucial role in consolidating information during sleep, and increasing alertness levels immediately after learning can ensure that the proper circuits and mechanisms in the brain for neuroplasticity are engaged. The retroactive effect of epinephrine and cortisol can enhance memory retention, making it easier to remember things better.+

20. An Optimal Learning Protocol

Andrew discusses the optimal strategy for enhanced learning, which involves a 90-minute session of focus or learning followed by a cold shower or tumotype breathing, ice bath, or hard run. Afterward, a non-sleep deep rest is recommended, followed by a good night's sleep.+

21. Caffeine and Learning

Andrew discusses a recent study on habitual coffee drinkers and their brain connectivity, revealing that chronic coffee consumption can increase anxiety levels. He suggests delaying caffeine intake until later in learning and focus sessions to enhance plasticity around Thorn learning.+

22. Nootropics and Energy

Andrew discusses the two categories of nootropics and their effects on blood glucose and learning. He emphasizes the importance of neural energy created by neurotransmitters and hormone systems like cortisol and epinephrine.+

23. Stress and Comfort Foods

Cortisol and Comfort Foods:Andrew discusses the detrimental effects of chronically elevated cortisol and epinephrine levels, including weight gain and weakened immune system. He explains how stress can lead to cravings for high fat and high sugar foods, and shares the research of Mary Dahlman on the biology behind this phenomenon. Andrew also offers ways to adjust cortisol and epinephrine levels to reduce their negative impact.+
Chronic Stress Effects:Andrew explains how chronic stress can lead to a positive feedback loop that causes changes in gene regulation and transcription. Chronic stress can also lead to increased consumption of sugar and fat, which can result in type two diabetes and dysfunction in adrenal output. It's important to learn how to turn off the stress response to avoid these negative effects.+

24. Bombesin: Energy Without Eating

Andrew explains how short term stress can block hunger by activating the bombesin system, which reduces eating and stress. However, chronic stress causes negative feedback changes that amplify the stress response.+

25. Stress and Gray Hair

Andrew explains that chronic stress can make us go gray by depleting melanocyte stem cells. However, having a practice to regulate stress and getting ample sunlight can offset the stress-induced graying of hair.+

26. Stress and Ashwagandha

Chronic Stress:Andrew explains the negative effects of chronic stress on mental and physical health and suggests consistent light exposure, feeding, exercise, and sleep as the most powerful buffer against these effects. He also talks about how stress lasting more than a few days can become chronic and suggests some simple supplements to manage stress.+
Ashwagandha Benefits:Andrew discusses the benefits of Ashwagandha, a supplement that has been shown to have a powerful anti-anxiety effect and can significantly reduce cortisol levels in otherwise healthy but stressed individuals. It has also been shown to modestly increase testosterone and adjust low density lipoprotein cholesterol.+
Ashwagandha Benefits:Andrew Huberman discusses the benefits of Ashwagandha, including reducing chronic stress and Cortisol levels, which can lead to improved cardiovascular health, lowered heart rate, and improved memory. He also shares his personal experience with taking Ashwagandha and suggests taking it later in the day or in the evening to reduce Cortisol levels.+

27. Licorice and Stress

Andrew shares surprising information about licorice and its effects on stress hormones. Licorice can increase cortisol levels, leading to decreases in testosterone and estrogen. While it may be useful for jet lag, it should be avoided during periods of chronic stress.+

28. Apigenin: Anti-Cortisol

Andrew discusses the natural compound apigenin, found in chamomile, which has been shown to have anti-estrogen and anxiolytic effects. He recommends taking 50 milligrams before bedtime to reduce chronic stress by adjusting GABA and chloride channels and mildly reducing cortisol levels.+

29. Hormones and Fasting

Optimizing Cortisol and Epinephrine:Andrew explains the importance of Cortisol and Epinephrine in regulating energy levels and how fasting can increase their levels. He emphasizes the need for regular practices to optimize these hormones and regulate their timing.+
Circadian Eating:Andrew explains the benefits of following a circadian eating schedule, where one eats only when the sun is up and stops eating a couple of hours before sleep. He also discusses how being even a few minutes late on a strict eating schedule can induce stress and release of ghrelin, making one feel hungry.+
Fasting and Stress:Andrew explains how fasting can increase epinephrine and cortisol release, which can lead to stress. However, fasting can also be a tool to bias your system towards more epinephrine and adrenaline release, without causing negative health effects. He also discusses the effects of food on cortisol and epinephrine levels and how staying hydrated and fasting can increase energy levels and promote learning.+

30. Hormone Regulation

Andrew discusses the importance of regulating hormones through behavior, nutrition, and supplementation. He emphasizes the negative effects of chronic stress on reproductive health, hair, sleep, and the immune system. Listeners are encouraged to gauge their own stress levels and adjust their practices accordingly.+

31. Prescription Compounds

Andrew discusses the effects of cortisol on stress and mentions prescription drugs that can increase or decrease cortisol levels. He also suggests the benefits of having a regular practice to reduce stress.+

32. Regulating Adrenaline

Andrew explains the importance of deliberately increasing adrenaline in the body while staying calm in the mind. He emphasizes the need to regulate the mind when there are high levels of adrenaline in the body, which can lead to negative effects on one's life and the lives of others. Andrew suggests developing practices that are straightforward and zero cost to regulate adrenaline and cortisol levels.+

33. Hormones and Stress

Andrew discusses the relationship between hormones and stress, emphasizing that stress isn't inherently good or bad. Short term stress can be healthy, but chronic stress can be detrimental. He encourages listeners to take control of their hormone levels and offers suggestions for reducing chronic stress.+

34. Boosting Energy

Andrew discusses how cortisol and epinephrine can be used to increase energy and the immune system. He also mentions the partnership with Thorn for high-quality supplements.+