Published July 2021 on YouTube

How to Optimize Your Brain-Body Function & Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #30

1. Your Sense of Self: Interoception

Andrew discusses the importance of interoception, our sense of our internal landscape, and how it influences our bodily and brain health. He shares actionable protocols to improve our sense of self and perform better in life.

2. Gut Microbiome Insights

Andrew Huberman discusses recent research findings on the gut microbiome and highlights the benefits of consuming fermented foods for gut health. The study shows that a high fiber diet may not be the best way to improve the gut microbiome diversity and that ingesting one or two servings of fermented food each day can be very beneficial for many aspects of health.

3. Attributions

High-performance Eyewear:Andrew discusses the benefits of Roka eyewear for athletes and anyone looking for high-performance eyewear. Roka's glasses are designed to allow the visual system to adjust to changes in brightness and are lightweight and durable for activities like running and cycling. Use code Huberman at checkout to save 20% off your first order at Roka.com.
Personalized Health Insights:Andrew discusses the benefits of regular blood and DNA tests for assessing immediate and long-term health, and recommends Inside Tracker's personalized nutrition platform. He also shares his experience with maintaining a consistent meditation practice using Headspace's app, and encourages listeners to try it out with a one-month free trial.

4. Sense of Self

Andrew explains the importance of interoception or our ability to sense our inner real estate and how it affects our health, performance, and overall well-being. He dives into the system of brain-body communication and provides protocols and tools to optimize it.

5. Vagus Nerve Importance

The Vagus Nerve:Andrew explains the importance of the vagus nerve, a set of nerves that control bodily organs and communicate with the brain stem. The neurons in the brain stem receive information about the body's mechanical and chemical phenomena, which are essential for the body and brain to work together correctly.
Brain and Organ Connection:Andrew explains how the brain governs changes in the organs of the body and how the mechanical and chemical environment of the organs affects brain function. He also shares insights on how to adjust the chemical environment of the organs to improve brain function and heal faster from injuries.

6. Breathing Mechanics

Andrew explains the mechanical and chemical information from the lungs and diaphragm that communicates with the brain and how it changes the way our brain works. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the mechanics of breathing and how it can be leveraged to shift our brain in the direction we want to go.

7. Breathing and Heart

Heart and Breathing:Andrew explains how the mechanical changes in our lungs and diaphragm affect our heart rate. By inhaling more vigorously, we can increase our heart rate.
Breathing and Heart Rate:Andrew explains the relationship between breathing and heart rate, and how the brain regulates the heart rate through changes in mechanical pressure. He also provides a simple experiment to demonstrate how exhaling can slow down the heart rate.
Breathing Techniques:Andrew explains how breathing techniques can be used to control the mind and body. By emphasizing exhales, inhaling deeply, or practicing box breathing, we can change our level of alertness and calmness. These purely mechanical aspects of our interoception can have a significant impact on our overall well-being.

8. Piezo Receptors

Andrew explains the role of piezo receptors in the body and how they inform the brain about pressure in different tissues. He also talks about the particular category of piezo receptors called piezo two receptors that are present in the lungs and how they send information to the brain about how full the lungs are.

9. Carbon Dioxide, From Air to Blood

Andrew explains the importance of maintaining a balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen in our bloodstream. The impulse to breathe is triggered by elevated carbon dioxide levels, not the need for oxygen. He also discusses the relationship between the heart, vascular system, blood, and air system in breathing.

10. Protocol 5: Alert While Calm

Breathing Chemistry:Andrew shares a breathing exercise that can benefit your health by changing the chemistry of your internal landscape. By inhaling deeply and exhaling passively, you can increase levels of adrenaline in your brain and body, making you more alert.
Breath-holding Technique:Andrew explains how modulating your breathing can shift the chemistry of your bloodstream and achieve a state of alert calmness. He shares a breath-holding technique that can help improve focus without the use of stimulants.
Breathing Techniques:Andrew discusses the science behind breathing practices and how they can affect heart rate, the immune system, and inflammation. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the fundamental mechanisms of breathing to create personalized breathwork practices.

11. Reflex and Breathing

Andrew explains the Hering Breuer Reflex which is about pressure receptors that sense pressure and reduce the desire to breathe when the lungs are inflated. The Baroreceptors are responsible for firing and signaling the need to breathe. This reflex can be applied in various situations related to exercise and modulating stress.

12. Gut-Brain Connection

Gut Sensing:Andrew explains how the digestive system communicates with the brain through mechanical and chemical sensing. Pressure receptors in the gut communicate to the brain when it's full and it's time to stop eating.
Gut-Brain Connection:Andrew explains how the neurons in our gut send signals to our brain to control our feeding behavior. He discusses how the expansion of the gut can shut down the neurons that drive the desire to eat, while an empty gut stimulates neurons that drive the desire to eat. He also warns against dangerous practices like ingesting large volumes of water to expand the gut.

13. Gut Sensing

Andrew explains how being aware of the fullness or emptiness of your gut can help you override signals of compulsive eating and aid in intermittent fasting. He also discusses the positive health effects of intermittent fasting on liver and brain health, and how it stimulates autophagy.

14. Gut-Brain Communication

Gut-Brain Communication:Andrew explains how neurons in our neck sense the stretch of our intestines and send signals to our brain to either trigger the desire to eat more or stop eating. He also discusses how other neurons detect nutrients in our digestive tract and how we can modulate our hunger for healthy foods by leveraging their activity.
Gut Neurons:Andrew explains how certain neurons in the gut respond to fatty acids, amino acids, and sugars in the food we eat. These neurons signal to the brain to crave more of the nutrients they detect, regardless of taste. He also discusses the process of digestion and its importance for those with autoimmune or digestive issues.

15. Gut Nutrients

Andrew explains how the nutrients in our gut control us and how replacing sugar with high levels of omega-3 or amino acids can help with sugar cravings. He suggests ingesting a small amount of glutamine mixed with full-fat cream to make it taste good. This helps to give fat and amino acids to neurons in the gut and intestine, signaling to the brain that you want more.

16. Gut Acidity (Is Good)

Andrew discusses the importance of maintaining proper gut chemistry for a healthy brain and body, particularly for those with auto-immune conditions. He explains how the gut needs to be more acidic than other tissues in the body and how increasing acidity can actually help reduce acid reflux.

17. Improving Nasal Microbiome

Andrew discusses the relationship between the gut microbiome and acidity, and how good microbiota can enhance auto-immune function. He also shares insights on the benefits of nasal breathing and how it can improve the nasal microbiome, which in turn helps fight off infections.

18. Gut Microbiome Insights

Gut Microbiome:Andrew explains how the gut microbiome can greatly impact mood, immune function, and brain health. By adjusting the microbiome through ingesting certain types of foods, you can decrease inflammatory cytokines and promote anti-inflammatory ones.
Fermented Foods vs High Fiber:Andrew discusses a study that compared the effects of a high fiber diet to a diet including fermented foods on the gut microbiome, inflammatory markers, and immune function. The study found that fermented foods outperformed the high fiber diet and that ingesting a high carbohydrate high fiber diet may make people better at digesting carbohydrates.

19. Gut-Brain Connection

Andrew discusses the benefits of consuming fermented foods for reducing inflammatory markers and improving gut microbiota. He also explains how adjusting the gut microbiome can positively impact symptoms of various auto-immune conditions.

20. Leaky Gut

Andrew explains what leaky gut is and how it can lead to auto-immune conditions. He also discusses how to prevent leaky gut by ingesting proper foods and supplementing with glutamine.

21. Gut Acidity Controversy

Andrew discusses the controversial practice of ingesting hydrochloric acid tablets to treat food allergies, mood, and auto-immune issues. While cautioning against the dangers of acids, he explains how adjusting the acidity of the gut can impact well-being and gut-brain communication.

22. Probiotics & Brain Fog

Andrew discusses the importance of microbiota diversity and how a diet that includes regular ingestion of fermented foods can increase it. Lack of microbiota diversity, also known as dysbiosis, can have negative effects on the body. He emphasizes the importance of creating a positive environment in the gut and suggests exploring the use of betaine HCL pepsin.

23. Brain Barrier and Vomit Reflex

The Blood-Brain Barrier:Andrew explains the importance of the blood-brain barrier and how it prevents substances from getting to the brain. He also talks about the relationship between our chemistry and brain and how certain molecules can sneak across the barrier.
Vomit Reflex:Andrew explains how the neurons in the brainstem trigger the vomit reflex in response to the chemistry of the blood, consciousness, and memories. He also discusses how the neurons in the area postrema work to keep our system safe by triggering behaviors that are very hardwired.

24. Reducing Nausea

Andrew shares insights on how to reduce nausea, including the benefits of ginger and cannabis. He discusses how these substances can adjust the activity of neurons and change the chemistry of blood to alleviate nausea.

25. The Fever Mechanism

The Fever Mechanism:Andrew explains how fever is an adaptive mechanism triggered by neurons in the brain in response to the presence of toxins, bacteria, or viruses in the bloodstream. This mechanism is related to interoception and helps the body cook the bad thing that's inside or has left the correct compartment inside the body.
Chemical and Mechanical Information:Andrew explains how the cerebral spinal fluid carries chemical signals about the body's chemicals and how it affects the brain. He talks about the release of mass cells and histamines in response to bad stuff in the bloodstream, and how inflammation is a good thing. He also discusses fever and the danger of overheating the brain.

26. Cooling the Body

Andrew explains why putting a cold compress on the neck is not an effective way to cool the body during a fever. Instead, he suggests cooling the palms, feet, and upper face. He also discusses the adaptive nature of fever and how non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs can sometimes hinder the body's natural response.

27. Vagus Nerve Functions

Andrew explains the vagus nerve's role in interoception and how it is a communication and motor system rather than a calming system. He also highlights how stress disrupts the communication between gut and brain by shutting down the vagus nerve and offers tools to deal with stress.

28. The Science of Emotions

Andrew explains how the vagus nerve is responsible for emotions and how it pools information from the gut, heart, and breathing to control our moods. He also discusses how interoception, the sense of self, plays a fundamental role in creating emotions.

29. Mirroring Others

Andrew discusses how humans are able to register the internal state of other beings, even at a distance. Studies have shown that our heart rate and breathing start to mimic those we know well who are going through an experience, linking our internal landscape to others.

30. Enhancing Interoceptive Awareness

Andrew explains how to enhance interoceptive awareness, which is the ability to sense one's internal state. By focusing on the heartbeat and breathing cadence, one can quickly strengthen the vagal connections between the body and brain, leading to better mood, focus, and engagement with others. Meditation is a powerful tool for improving interoception, and even just taking a minute or two to count heartbeats can have a significant impact.

31. Conclusions & Resources

Andrew encourages listeners to subscribe to the podcast on multiple platforms, shares his thoughts on supplements, and invites listeners to support the podcast through Patreon and sign up for the free Neural Network Newsletter on hubermanlab.com.