Reduce & Manage Stress

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1. Have Fun

This is the most basic and easiest way to reduce your stress level.  It sounds simple, but many people don’t practice it enough.  To me, this means spending time with my kids, cooking, climbing mountains, talking with my wife, or even biohacking.  I’ll cover this more later in the series, but for new realize that it’s common for adults to forget to spend time having fun. Family and career considerations – and the ever-present email waiting for replies – can suck the fun out of life. It’s your job to schedule fun time the same way you schedule meetings.

2. Synchronize Your Heart & Brain with Heart Math

This is my “Honda daily driver” of brain upgrades. There are more expensive, sexier ways to hack your stress, but nothing comes close the the  Heart Math technology when it comes to reliably training your heart and brain to work together.  A healthy, relaxed person has high heart rate variability (HRV)  which means that amount of time between each heart beat is different with each beat.  Low heart rate variability is a sign of intense stress.  When your sympathetic nervous system is under stress, your body will release stress hormones, and your heart develops an inflexible unchanging beat. This state is correlated with a host of diseases and even overall mortality from all causes.

The emWave2 is a device smaller than an iPhone which uses infrared sensors to calculate your HRV.  When you have low HRV, a red light appears.  Your job is to do everything possible to make the light turn green while following the device’s guidance, which steers you to breathe in and out every five seconds.  You can also listen to music to help, meditate (See #3), or do anything else you can think of that doesn’t make you move around a lot.  Spending at least ten minutes every day working with your heart rate variability is transformative. Doing it before bed can fix sleep problems, and it can help with emotional eating, daily stress, and even physical performance. This technology changed my life and career. It is simple to do and everyone I’ve ever known who did it for a month had huge positive changes in the way they felt and the way they treated others simply because they learned to consciously control their fight or flight responses. This stuff belongs in every school.

3. Meditation

The goal of meditation is to become more mindful, be more directive and choiceful with your attention and responsive (not reactive) to your thoughts.  Meditation allows you to identify, observe, and master your emotions.  Instead of blindly reacting to outside stimuli, you can optimize your thought process and react as you see fit.

Several ways to practice mediation are counting, reciting mantras, breathing, practicing mindfulness and positive self talk.

You can reduce the amount of stress you experience through mindfulness of your thoughts and feelings.  At the same time, you become better able to cope with the stress you still face. When you learn to meditate right (hint: Heart Math is a head start), the stressful voices in your head start to silence themselves.

In fact, mine are gone. There is silence when I want it, available on demand, at any time. No songs stuck in my head, no critical voices from my past, no worrying. Just me.

4. Pranayama Yoga

“When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind still.”

– Hatha Yoga Pradipika

You need to learn how to breathe.  Most people suck in air using the intercostal muscles of their chest.  The right way to breathe is with your diaphragm, also known as belly breathing.  This kind of breathing helps you relax and control your heart rate.

The best way to describe this type of breathing is to describe Pranayama Yoga.

Pranayama is the art of Yoga breathing.  One of the five aspects of yoga is breath control.  According to pranayama yoga, there are three kinds of breathing:

High Breathing.

This is also known as clavicular, or collarbone breathing.  This means you are breathing primarily with the upper chest and lungs.  High breathing is shallow and inefficient, since a large amount of oxygen fails to reach the lower lung. This is the worst form of breathing, and it is the one you revert to when stressed or angry.

Low Breathing

This is the best possible form of breathing.  It utilizes your lower abdomen and diaphragm to pull air in and out of your lungs.  To practice low breathing, breathe into your stomach as you suck air through your nose, and your stomach will compress first on your exhale, following the breath up.  Your chest and shoulder blades will not move much – only your stomach.

Middle Breathing

As you might expect, this is somewhere in between high and low breathing.  It’s “better” than the former, but not as good as the latter.

There are four phases of proper breathing.

1. Inhale (Puraka in yoga-speak)

This should be a continuous, long breath.

2. Pause & hold (Abhyantara Kumbhaka)

This is a pause before exhaling.  You should not move any muscle during this process.

3. Exhale (Rechaka)

This should be a controlled, relaxed, continuous exhale.

4. Pause After Exhaling (Bahya Kumbhaka)

This is just like the first pause and starts the cycle over again.

Controlled breathing is a great first step to mastering stress. Even a few minutes a day, done for 2 weeks, can have amazing effects. Add it to your morning routine and see what happens.

You can use this technique any time you experience discomfort or tension.  Instead of kicking a trash can or thinking dark thoughts about that screaming baby in the airport when your flight gets delayed, take a few slow deep breaths and put your focus only on what it is like to breathe.  You’ll feel better – I guarantee it.

You can learn more about Pranayama Yoga by clicking here.

My favorite two breathing techniques are:

The One Minute Breath

  • Breathe in to the diaphragm for 20 seconds.
  • Hold for 20 seconds
  • Exhale for 20 seconds

4-4-6-2 Breath

  • Breathe in to the diaphragm through the back of the throat for 4 seconds
  • Hold for 4 seconds
  • Breathe out slowly through the back of the throat for 6 seconds
  • Hold empty breath for 2 or more seconds

At first, it is common to feel like you’re going to die when you hold your lungs without air in them for even a second or two. Your brain rewires itself to be calmer when you practice slow breathing.

5. Art of Living

The Art of Living Foundation is a global resource for people trying to reduce stress.  Their key principle is that “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace.”  It was founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a spiritual leader who in 2010, was named the fifth most influential person in India by Forbes Magazine.

Their introductory course is focused on simple breathing exercises to give you “more energy to handle the stress of daily life.”  There are workshops all around in the world where Art of Living practitioners work with you to perfect your breathing.  If you are interested in trying the course, click here.

It’s a simple, repeatable method used by 25 million people worldwide to reduce stress, including severe stress like that found in war survivors. It works, and it is not a cult or a religion in any way, or I wouldn’t recommend it.

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/hack-stress/

Hack Your Hangover

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BulletproofAlcoholInfographic_R00141223_draft15 Steps To Hack Your Hangover

Step 1 (optional): Choose the alcohol that will cause the least hangover problems.

There are tons of types of alcohol but the most common ones are represented here. What you choose can make a huge difference in how you feel the next morning. Some alcohols have a lot more toxic byproducts from fermentation than others. They are, in order from best to worstVodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, other distilled spirits, dry cider, dry champagne, dry white wine, white wines, red wines, dessert wines, beer.

Tragically, beer has the most toxins of any common alcoholic beverage…

Step 2: Hydrate heavily by drinking a glass of water for every serving of alcohol you consume – ideally at the same time or right after.

Before you can eliminate toxins, your body dilutes them with water so they don’t harm you on the way out.  The water either comes from your tissues or water you drink – so drink water.

Step 3: (critical) Block the conversion of alcohol into aldehyde, the most hangover-causing metabolite that also causes very fast aging, wrinkles, etc.

Before each drink, take one Vitamin C capsule, along with a capsule of Unfair Advantage.

Step 4: Do more if you want.

Best:  The most powerful detoxer for the liver I know of is lipoceutical glutathione. That’s what I use if I drink.

Good: Add Vitamin B-1 and/or Alpha Lipoic Acid and/or  N-Acetyl Cysteine before each drink, or at least before your first and after your last drink.  Those links have the correct dosages and are low cost per drink (I recommend those ones for fastest absorption.)

Step 5: Mop Up What’s Left.

Take 4 capsules of Activated Charcoal after you’re done drinking (or if you chose beer or wine, take 1 capsule with each drink).

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/alcohol-without-the-hangover-bulletproof-partying-business-networking/

Optimize Your Supplements

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  1. Get the majority of your nutrients from food.
  2. Consume supplements in their highest performance form.
  3. When in doubt – go without.
  4. Recognize that some supplements can help your performance – and health – more than food.

Get the majority of your nutrients from food.

You don’t eat nutrients – you eat food.  Whole foods behave differently from their individual parts.  The nutrients from a piece of meat are more bioavailable than consuming the equivalent nutrients from a pill.  Studies have shown that grass-fed meat boosts plasma omega-3 levels far more than what could be explained by the actual omega-3 content of the meat.  Antioxidants from food are usually beneficial, but taking mega-doses of some synthetic antioxidants increases your risk of death.  The nutrients in food work together in a process known as food synergy.  In short, this means food is more powerful than the sum of its parts.  The good news is the Bulletproof Diet is the most nutrient packed diet in the world.  If you haven’t yet, take the time to read the first article in this series to learn more about the Bulletproof Diet.

Consume supplements in their highest performance form.

Artificial forms of nutrients are not as effective as the real thing.  When you do supplement, you should still try to get them from whole food sources.  Isolated nutrients often compete for the same absorption pathways.  For example, iron and calcium inhibit the absorption of one another, but  synthetic nutrients are often damaging.  For these reasons, nutrients should be consumed in their most natural form possible.

When in doubt – go without.

There is always a risk with supplements.  Even the most natural forms can contain high levels of heavy metals, contaminants, and byproducts from processing.  Food is not guaranteed to be free from these substances, but it’s far less likely to contain them.  In many cases, the biggest downside to taking supplements you don’t need is simply expensive urine, but in other cases it’s better to go without than to take something you shouldn’t have.


What Supplements You Should Take

These are the basic supplements that most everyone should be taking.

For each nutrient, you will get a:

  • Dosage recommendation.
  • The correct form it should be taken in.
  • The time it should be taken.
  • A recommended brand.

Here are the ten nutrients (almost) everyone should supplement with.

  1. Vitamin D
  2. Magnesium
  3. Vitamin K2
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Iodine
  6. Krill Oil
  7. Vitamin A
  8. Selenium
  9. Copper
  10. Folinic Acid with B12

Vitamin D

Vitamin D isn’t just the most important supplement – it is possibly the most important biohack.  Vitamin D acts on over 1000 different genes and serves as a substrate for sex hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen.  It moderates immune function and inflammation.  It assists in calcium metabolism and bone formation.  It’s no coincidence this is one of the few vitamins humans can make on their own.  Without it – we’d be dead.  It’s true that you can get adequate vitamin D from sun exposure, but for non-nudist non-equatorial dwellers it’s not enough.  If you’re getting adequate vitamin A, it’s almost impossible to overdose on D.

Dose: 1000 IU / 25 pounds of body weight.*

Form: D3

Time Taken: Morning

Recommended Brand: Purity Products vitamin D3

*People with brown/black skin don’t convert sunlight into vitamin D as quickly as lighter skinned people.  If you’re brown skinned, a safe bet is 1500 IU / 25 pounds of body weight, but you should always test your blood levels because individual response to dosage varies.

Magnesium

This is almost as important as vitamin D, and almost as under appreciated.  Magnesium is used in over 300 enzymatic processes, including all of those involved in ATP production.  It’s also vital for proper transcription of DNA and RNA.

Magnesium deficiency is a serious problem.  Symptoms include heart arrhythmias, tachycardia, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, metabolic syndrome, migraines, and pretty much everything else you don’t want.  It’s also associated with cardiovascular disease diabetes, asthma, anxiety disorders, and PMS.

Almost all Americans are deficient in magnesium.  The majority of people don’t meet the RDA, which is already too low.  Due to soil depletion and poor farming practices, it’s almost impossible to get enough magnesium from your diet.  Without a doubt – everyone should supplement with magnesium.

Dose: 600-800mg / day

Forms: Citrate, malate, glycinate, threonate, or orotate

Time Taken: before bedtime.

Recommended Brand: Natural Calm or VRP

Vitamin K2

Unless you grew up eating only grass-fed meat and raw milk – you’re deficient in vitamin K2.  Vitamin K2 is a fat soluble vitamin involved in calcium metabolism.  Excess calcium is deposited in arteries, leading to calcification and decreased vascular function.  This is why vitamin K2 prevents atherosclerosis and heart attacks, and strengthens bones.

Vitamin K1 is the kind of vitamin K found in leafy vegetables, and vitamin K2 is the kind found in grass-fed animal products.  Humans don’t convert vitamin K1 into K2 efficiently.  Ruminant animals like cows and sheep convert K1 into K2 in their stomachs.  This is another reason you should eat grass-fed animals, because they can only get K1 from grass – not grains.

There are two subsets of vitamin K2: MK-4, and MK-7.  MK-4 is the kind shown to produce the most benefit, but MK-7 is still important.  You should consume a total of at least 2,000mcg per day of K2, at least 100mcg of which should be the MK-7 form.

Dose: 2,000mcg / day (100mcg MK-7 form)

Forms: MK-4, and MK-7

Time Taken: Doesn’t really matter, but it’s best to take this with vitamin D, so morning is best.

Recommended Brand: Life Extension

Vitamin C

This is one of the safest, most effect supplements you can take.  Vitamin C is needed for collagen and connective tissue formation.  It’s used to manufacture glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body.  Vitamin C can enhance immune function and help quench free radical damage.  Studies have shown you can take up to 120 grams of vitamin C a day with no side effects(besides loose stool).

It’s hard to get enough vitamin C from food, which is why 30 percent of the population is deficient.

Some fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C, but cooking and storage methods can deplete vitamin C content.  Supplementation with at least 500mg per day is optimal.  You should take a lot more if you are suffering from chronic infections or healing from injury.

Dose: 1-2 grams / day

Forms: Ascorbic acid crystals or time release capsules.

Time Taken: Morning and evening, but it’s best not to take it after a workout as isolated antioxidants can negate the insulin sensitivity gained from exercise.

Recommended Brand: Solaray

Iodine

Iodine is crucial for proper thyroid function and metabolism.  It also enhances immune function and prevents brain damage.  Iodine deficiency is widespread, so supplementation is wise.  You can get some iodine from seafood, but risk of deficiency is still high. Iodized salt won’t get you optimal levels. The toxic limit for iodine is also extremely high, meaning you can take a lot.  A good starting point is 1mg / day from kelp powder or as potassium iodide.

Dose: 1mg / day

Forms: Kelp powder or potassium iodide capsules

Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.

Recommended Brand: Pure Encapsulations potassium iodide

EPA/DHA (Krill oil)

This is a tricky one.  Small doses of high quality fish oil reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and even enhance muscle growth, but poor quality or high doses can cause more problems than they help to solve. Not all fish oil is created equal.  Most of the brands you are likely to buy at your local grocery are contaminated, oxidized, and low potency.  If you can’t find a good fish oil  – you’re much better off avoiding it all together.

That’s why I recommend krill oil over fish oil altogether. Krill is more stable and it is phosphorylated, meaning it’s easier for your brain to use. It also comes with astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant.

There are real benefits to taking EPA and DHA, but most of these are strongest if your diet is deficient in omega-’3s, or too high in omega-6’s.  If you’re eating a Bulletproof Diet, this won’t be a problem.  Humans only need 350mg of DHA and EPA a day to have optimal brain function.  If you’re eating grass-fed meat and wild caught fish, this is easily obtainable.  If you can’t find grass-fed meat or wild caught seafood, you should supplement with at least 1000mg of krill oil per day.

Dose: 1000mg / day

Forms: Krill Oil

Time Taken: With meals.

Recommended Brand: Jarrow Krill oil

In addition to these basic supplements, there are a few you should also consider taking.

Vitamin A

This is essential if you aren’t eating organ meats like beef liver, kidney, and heart (you should).  Vitamin A is an important cofactor for numerous metabolic reactions and bodily functions.  A quarter of Americans consume less than half the RDA, which is already too low.  An important thing to remember is that you can’t get vitamin A from plants.  Plants don’t have vitamin A, they have beta-carotene.  Beta carotene is poorly converted into vitamin a which is why some populations develop vitamin A deficiency despite consuming far more than they should have required.  Sorry vegetarians and vegans, carrots don’t count.

Dose: 10,000-15,000 IU / day.

Forms: Retinol (A good source of vitamin A is cod liver oil, which also has vitamin D)

Time Taken: With meals.

Recommended Brand: Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil (Arctic Mint flavor)

Selenium

Selenium is a heavy metal with numerous beneficial effects on the body.  It boosts immune function, prevents cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and protects against thyroid dysfunction.  It is possible to get enough selenium from wild caught fish and animal products, but most people don’t.  If you can’t find real meat, you should supplement with 200mcg per day.  Be careful, too much selenium can cause negative health consequences.  Take 200 micrograms, not milligrams.

Dose: 200mcg / day

Forms: Se Methyl Selenocysteine or selenomethionine

Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.

Recommended Brand: Life Extension

Copper

Copper is needed for proper vascular and heart function.  Most of the U.S. Is woefully deficient in copper, consuming only .8mg per day.  This is worrying since less than 1mg per day is enough to cause heart attacks.  Copper intake has fallen over the last century due to modern farming and dietary practices.  Modern fruits, vegetables, and conventional meats are low in copper, containing 75 percent less than they used to.

Luckily, beef and lamb liver have a massive amount of copper.  If you’re eating at least four ounces of beef liver per week, you can meet your copper needs.  Other good sources of copper include cocoa (dark chocolate – look for low toxin Bulletproof Chocolate Powder soon!), cashews, and lobster.  If you aren’t eating beef or lamb liver weekly, you should supplement with at least 1mg per day.

Dose: 1mg / day

Forms: Capsule

Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.

Recommended Brand: Life Extension

B-12 and folinic acid

Most people are deficient in B12.  B12 can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves, and regenerate cells. B12 lowers homocysteine and protects against atherosclerosis. It’s necessary for maintaining methylation reactions that repair DNA and prevent cancer. One of the most crucial areas for B12 is the brain.

Folate deficiency can also cause mental symptoms, although B12 is more likely to be a problem. Folate and B12 are both required for mental function, and a deficiency in one produces a deficiency in the other, but folate will not correct a B12 deficiency in the brain. If you make the mistake of treating B12 deficiency with folate, you can get permanent brain damage. (hear that, vegans?)  Likewise, high amounts of folate without adequate B12 can cause neurological conditions. That’s why I take them together.

Dose: >5mg of methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin and >800mcg of folate (5-MTHF or folinic acid, NOT folic acid)

Forms: Capsule

Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.

Recommended Brand: varies

Supplementation is something everyone should do, but how much depends on your diet and other lifestyle factors.  Athletes need more of some supplements than other people.  In general, you should try to get as much nutrition from food as possible.  You should consume nutrients in their most natural form.  When you do supplement – you get what you pay for.  If you aren’t wiling to spend money on quality supplements – you’re compromising your health and it will cost more in the long term.

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/optimize-your-supplements/

Activated Charcoal

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What is It, How It Works, and What It is Used For

You make activated charcoal by burning a source of carbon such as wood, debris, or better yet, coconut shells. The high temperature removes all the oxygen and activates it with gases like steam. What is produced is a highly adsorbent material with millions of tiny pores that capture, bind, and remove poisons, heavy metals, chemicals, and intestinal gases which have thousands of times more weight than the charcoal itself. The porous surface has a negative electric charge that attracts positively charged unwanted toxins and gas. Toxicology studies show activated charcoal to be harmless to human health.

  • General detoxification – Toxins from low quality, processed food, and environmental pollution are real problems. It is important to help your body eliminate them to promote a healthy digestive system and brain. Chronic exposure to toxins produces cellular damage, allergic reactions, compromised immunity, and more rapid aging. Regular use of activated charcoal can remove unwanted toxins from your body, leaving you feeling renewed and more vibrant, often in minutes! Gut toxins quickly become brain toxins if you don’t eliminate them. Whether or not you are feeling under the weather, activated charcoal helps unwanted bacteria move through your system faster before they spread and multiply, helping you feel better faster.
  • Relieve digestive issues, gas, and bloating – After digesting foods like beans, the decomposition process from bacteria in your body creates byproducts like gas or diarrhea. Activated charcoal enters the digestive tract and counteracts this process by binding to byproducts and alleviating these digestive issues.
  • Antidote for drugs, chemicals, and poisons – Charcoal is an age-old remedy for counteracting poison in the body. If you ingest poisons such as bleach, fertilizer, or even alcohol, taking a single large dose of activated charcoal helps your body flush out the poison faster. Activated charcoal adsorbs most organic chemicals, many inorganic chemicals, drugs, pesticides, mercury, and even lead, before they harm your body. If you’re poisoned, go to the emergency room! But, there’s no reason you shouldn’t start binding a poison right away.
  • Rid bad breath, body odor, and skin ailments – Activated charcoal is often used in body detox products and skin products that help relieve insect stings, mushroom poisoning, poison ivy, cholera, bites, and inflammation. Body odor and bad breath is usually a result of toxins leaving the body, which is why taking activated charcoal greatly helps rid bad breath and body odor.
  • Anti-Aging properties – Studies show activated charcoal prevents many cellular changes associated with aging, adrenal gland, and kidney function. Famous Gerontologists discovered its powerful anti-aging properties in a study showing activated charcoal to increase the average lifespan of older test animals by approximately 34 percent. Activated charcoal slows the rate at which the brain becomes increasingly sensitive to toxins as you age, which makes for better cognitive functioning. It also builds a better defense mechanism by improving the adaptive functioning of essential organs like the liver, kidneys, and adrenals.
  • Better heart health – Activated charcoal helps lower the amount of total lipids, cholesterol, and triglycerides in your blood, liver, heart, and brain. In a study where patients with high cholesterol took grams of activated charcoal, three times a day, patients showed a 25% reduction in total cholesterol and doubled their HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio Studies examining microscopic tissues show a daily dose of activated charcoal helps prevent abnormal hardening (sclerosis) in heart and coronary blood vessels.

How to Use It to Detox Your Body and Feel Noticeably Better

Because activated coconut charcoal is mainly used to remove toxins from the body, it is great to use for the following purposes:

  • Take it when you eat out at restaurants or eat low quality foods like processed junk foods
  • Take it with bad coffee – it won’t fix the problem, but it helps
  • It is particularly helpful to take when drinking alcohol
  • Take it if you suddenly feel moody or tired
  • Opening a capsule on your toothbrush does amazing things for stained teeth
  • Use during pregnancy to bind toxins
  • Helpful for jet lag

Taking activated coconut charcoal on a daily basis is a great way to help you thrive in an overly toxin-filled environment. It is best to take it between meals and a few hours after using any vitamin or mineral supplements, as it may interfere with the absorption of these into your body. Be sure to take it away from prescription, which won’t enter your body when they bind to charcoal.

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/the-strangest-way-to-detox/

Brain fog & how to upgrade your brain

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Here’s a quick rundown of possibilities:

  • You can temporarily suffer with a foggy head from lack of sleep, low blood sugar, seasonal allergies, food allergies, dehydration, or electrolyte imbalance following heavy exercise.
  • If you are a woman of  “a certain age,” brain fog is a common symptom of menopause.
  • Chemotherapy has a well-known side effect referred to as “chemo fog” or “chemo brain.”
  • Substance abuse of any kind can lead to feeling mentally frazzled.
  • Sometimes brain fog symptoms are due to a more serious condition such as mercury poisoning, hormonal imbalance, depression, fibromyalgia, thyroid conditions (both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism) or Lyme disease.
  • Losing mental clarity is often considered a “normal” side effect of aging, but that doesn’t mean it is an inevitable consequence of growing older.

Brain Fog Cause #1 — When Food Is the Problem

One major cause of brain fog could be the food you eat.

EAT REAL FOOD.

Those 3 words will take you a long way towards eating the best diet for your brain (and overall health).

If it comes in a  box or package it’s not “real” — it’s processed. Even if it’s from the “health food” store.

That includes products made from flour (even if it’s whole wheat) or that contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Your brain needs all three macronutrient groups:  proteins for neurotransmitter production, complex carbohydrates for steady brain glucose levels, and healthy fats. 

You might not realize that your brain is largely made up of fat — about 60% by volume. That’s why low-fat diets have been such a disaster for our brains.

Skipping meals can leave you with a fuzzy brain. So can eating too large a meal. If you’ve ever felt like you need a nap after a big meal you know what I mean.

You may be eating foods you’re allergic to. The most common allergens that can contribute to your lack of focus include soy, dairy, and any food that contains gluten, especially wheat.

According to Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, the average American shockingly gets 67% of their calories from these 3 foods! (1)

If you suspect you are allergic to any foods, keep a log of what you eat and how you feel afterward.

You might be surprised to see clear patterns develop rather quickly. Cut out any questionable food for at least a week and notice if you start thinking more clearly.

Eating real food will keep you away from food additives that mess with your brain like MSG and artificial sweeteners.

Both artificial sweeteners and MSG are known neurotoxins that can cause brain fog and other brain-related symptom including headaches, mood swings, dizziness, anxiety, and depression.

Check out our discussion of brain foods and how they give your brain the nutrition it needs to function well.

Cause #2 — When Lack of Sleep Is the Problem

63 million Americans complain of sleeping difficulties. If you have brain fog, it’s likely you’re one of them.

Your brain needs sleep. Sleep is critical to the way your brain works in both the short and the long-term.

Lack of quality sleep will impair your memory, creativity, judgment, and attention.

While you sleep, cerebral fluid rushes in, “power washing” your brain, clearing it of debris.

You consolidate memories while you sleep. Lack of sleep affects your ability to remember what you learned the previous day.

Every day you lose brain cells, but every night you have the opportunity to create new brain cells … provided you are getting enough high-quality uninterrupted sleep.

If you have ongoing problems with sleep, just overcoming insomnia is a potential brain fog cure.

Cause #3 — When Stress Is the Problem

Stress puts you at greater risk for every major disease you hope you never get … including dreaded brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Prolonged stress leads to anxiety, depression, poor decision making, insomnia, and memory loss.

Stress can literally cause your brain to shrink and that’s as harmful as it sounds.

Getting the sleep you need and eating a brain-healthy diet will help diminish stress. Two more things you can do are exercise and meditate.

Exercise

Physical exercise increases endorphins and delivers more glucose and oxygen to the brain.

Recent research shows that physical exercise may be the single most important thing you can do for your brain.

You don’t need to exercise strenuously to give your brain small energy boosts throughout the day.

Walking is one of the best brain exercises to clear your mind.

Too much sitting is bad for your brain and your overall health.

But Dr. Joan Vernikos, a former NASA physician, discovered the simplest exercise ever. Apparently, the act of standing up is more effective than walking to counteract the ill effects of sitting.

Your brain needs new kinds of challenging stimulation regularly to work as it should.

Meditation

Over 20 million Americans meditate regularly.

The US Marines use meditation to help troops deal with stressful situations they face on the job. “It’s like doing pushups for the brain,” one general says.

Corporate executives at General Mills, Target, Google, Apple, Nike, HBO, Procter & Gamble, and Aetna Insurance use it to maximize their brain power.

Meditation can make you happier, smarter, and more resilient regarding life’s ups and downs.

Regular meditators experience improved focus and concentration, greater creativity, stress reduction, and better sleep.

Research shows it can actually decrease your biological age by 12 years!

If the drug companies could bottle the benefits of meditation they’d be ecstatic. It would be their new billion dollar pill.

However, meditation the traditional way can take years to yield its full health benefits.

What About Nutritional Supplements?

Maybe you are already doing what you can — eating and sleeping better, exercising, and meditating — but your thinking is still fuzzy.

Then you might want to take a look at what supplements could do to help.

Here are the top supplements to consider:

The Most Common Vitamin Deficiency — B12

If your memory is poor or you’re in a constant state of brain fog, you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

This is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the US with an estimated 40% of adults being deficient.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly since it can lead to a wide spectrum of mental disorders.

Two particularly high risk groups are seniors — who often have poor absorption — and vegetarians since B12 is found only in animal products.

The best quality forms of vitamin B12 are methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin.

Vitamin D — the Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D can lift your mood, banish brain fog and depression, improve memory, and increase problem-solving ability.

Anywhere from 40% to 90% of US adults are vitamin D deficient and over 1 billion people are deficient worldwide.

Sun exposure is the best source, but few people who live in North America and much of Europe can realistically get the sun they need year round.

Vitamin D is rarely found in food, so most people need to supplement.

Take a Multivitamin

The Harvard School of Public Health recommends that all adults take a multivitamin supplement as insurance to fill any nutritional gaps.

Studies have shown that taking a multivitamin alone can improve your memory and overall brain function.

Omega-3 EFA

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are found in high concentrations in the brain. They are crucial to memory and overall brain health and function, yet are widely lacking in our diet.

The best dietary sources are wild-caught salmon and grass-fed meat. If these aren’t a regular part of your diet, consider taking an omega-3 supplement.

Particularly when brain fog is a problem, choose one with a high concentration of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). This is a major component of brain cells that is most beneficial for your brain.

http://bebrainfit.com/lifestyle/drains/stop-brain-fog-know-the-causes-symptoms-and-solutions/


1. Challenge Your Brain

Before you get into the fancy techniques, focus on challenging your mind in new ways every day.  Take a new route to work, learn a new language, read a challenging book, or start a new project.  Most entrepreneurs don’t have a problem with this, but many people go through their day without any kind of mental stimulation.  Studies have shown that people who continually challenge their brains with even the smallest tasks live longer and retain their brain function until the very end. Keep your curiosity engaged and ask yourself, “why?” in exactly the way a 3 year old would.

2. Dual N-Back Training

Now we’re getting into the cool stuff.

This software program consists of 20 minute computer lessons designed to challenge every part of your brain necessary to boost your IQ.  Dual N-Back Training was the focus of our article titled “How To Add 2.75 IQ Points Per Hour of Training.”  A person I coach increased his IQ 18 points, and I increased mine 12 points with this method alone.  Considering all the other techniques I’ve used over the years prior to Dual N-Back training, that’s a massive increase.

Dual N-Back Training improves memory, problem solving, imagination, and REM sleep.  There are some open source versions of Dual N-Back Training such as Brain Workshop that you can download for free.

It takes about a month of daily exercise. Your brain won’t like it at first – you will get bored and frustrated and probably have strange dreams. But when you’re done, you won’t know how you functioned with only half the working memory you just gained. It’s that strong, like a RAM upgrade for your brain.

3. Nutraceuticals

These are nutrients that have a specific medicinal or pharmacological effect.  Nutraceuticals are usually compounds made by the body or plant based.  They’re more natural than other drugs and are good for beginners who are apprehensive at the thought of taking a “drug.”

These are all  effective brain enhancers that can be purchased for relatively cheap.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyle-L-carnitine (ALC) crosses the blood-brain barrier where it acts as a powerful antioxidant.  It acts on both acetylcholine and dopamine function.  ALC is neuroprotective and works as a powerful cognitive enhancer.  While most studies have been done on rodents, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest it’s effectiveness in humans.  Some other interesting benefits are better sperm motility and as a treatment for heart dysfunction. It supercharges your mitochondria which helps your entire system, not just your body.

Krill Oil (EPA/DHA)

I discussed the omega-3’s back in Step 2, so I won’t go into great detail here.  These two omega-3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain function and development.  They can improve memory, executive thought processes, and are neuroprotective.  However, the need for these fats is low, about 350mg a day if you have an optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats from your diet.  It’s important to supplement especially if you eat omega-6 oils (nuts and seed oils). I prefer krill oil to fish oil.

Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil

MCT oil turns on your body’s fat burning mode and helps your brain to run more efficiently. It is one of my favorite ways to have more energy, both in my brain and my body. A physician, Dr. Mary Newport, recently used MCT from coconut oil to reverse her husband’s early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Listen to the podcast or read the transcript for free here. When you start using MCT oil, start slowly to allow your body to get used to this much energy this quickly.

Upgraded Coffee 

Coffee isn’t just caffeine, but caffeine by itself can give you a massive boost in brain power.  Caffeine can improve short term memory, alertness, and cognitive function.

A good dose is around 20mg per hour.  If you’re taking a big test, you can take one large hit.  Studies have shown caffeine can be almost as effective as Modafinil, another supplement I’m about to tell you about.  A cup of coffee supplies 95-200 mg of caffeine. Studies have shown caffeine mainly improves your ability to perform less demanding work like simple math problems and organization, may improve mood and has little effect on things like systems thinking and other complicated stuff.

However, if you brew them properly, Upgraded Coffee beans contains two potent brain anti-inflammatory agents, cafestrol and kawehol, which can boost cognitive performance differently than caffeine, especially if you have inflammation in your body. Most coffee has a chemical residue left over from the fermentation process, and this residue (called mycotoxin) has a negative impact on brain function.

Prepared with butter and MCT, Bulletproof Coffee is my favorite adaptogenic herb and my top rated smart “nutraceutical.” I literally have this every day.

4. Smart Drugs (nootropics)

Aniracetam

Nootropics from the “racetam” family are some of the most trusted and widely used. I rely on Aniracetam because it’s fat soluble, fastest acting, and has effects on memory I/O, creativity, and stress. The “racetam” family of nootropics is known for improving mitochondrial function and oxygen in the brain.

Most of the research has been done on people with neurological problems (with amazing results), but there is plenty of good evidence to support it’s use in healthy individuals.  A double blind placebo controlled trial showed the oldest racetam, piracetam, improved verbal memory in healthy college students.

I’ve used piracetam and aniracetam for years, but I like the next smart drug even more.

Modafinil (Provigil)

This is one of the smart drugs closest to my heart, err, brain.  I’ve used this for years for everything from studying at Wharton to working on a start-up that sold for $600 million dollars.  I’ve recommended it to countless friends with massive results, and you may have seen me on ABC Nightline or CNN talking about using it for executive performance. Modafinil improves memory and mood, reduces impulsive decision making, increases your resistance to fatigue, and even improves brain function during sleep debt.  I’m more inclined to believe people suffer from Modafinil deficiency, rather than it being a supplement. It doesn’t work for everyone, but if it works for you, you’ll love it.

Huperzine A

Huperzine A is an alkaloid found in the plant moss Huperzia serrota.  This plant has been used medicinally for headaches, swelling, fever, and blood disorders by the Chinese for centuries.   It enhances memory, increases nerve growth, and protects against Alzheimer’s.  It also increases REM sleep. But beware; it raises acetylcholine levels, which is helpful in 2/3 of people, but harmful in those who are choline dominant (like me). Watch out for a clenching jaw or headaches – if you get those, stop taking it, and double up on Aniracetam until the symptoms go away. (the racetams lower choline, which is a good thing if you have too much!)

Upgraded Aging

Upgraded Aging Formula contains stabilized oxaloacetate, which is a part of the kreb’s cycle that powers your cells’ energy production. It has hugely positive effects on blood sugar control and mimics caloric restriction, but the real win for your brain is that it protects brain cells from excess glutamate. High levels of glutamate are neurodestructive – and you get some every time you eat restaurant food, because restaurants hide MSG in lots of dishes (legally) because people who eat MSG almost always order more drinks and dessert to counteract the blood sugar plunge from the MSG. Sneaky but legal. Upgraded Aging has other metabolic effects around blood sugar too.

5. Sleep

Improving your sleep is one of the best ways to boost your brain power.  Without enough REM sleep, you increase neurodegeneration and decrease your ability to perform on a day to day basis.

I wrote about ways to improve your sleep in Step 5.

6. Creatine

Just when you thought the only similarity between body builders and nerds was their secret obsession with World of Warcraft – it turns out they also take some of the same supplements.  Creatine helps you lift more weight, both mentally and physically.  Your brain uses creatine to perform synapses, and studies have shown that it improves your brain function, especially in vegetarians who are almost guaranteed to be creatine deficient.  The study referenced above used 5 grams per day, which is a good starting place for improving brain function.

Increasing your brain power is not just something for executives and nerds – it’s for anyone with a brain.  Imagine if you almost never forgot things.  Imagine managing more tasks than you ever dreamed possible without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.  No more forgetting where you put your keys or leaving behind papers for work.

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/upgrade-your-brain/

Bulletproof Diet on a budget

Standard

Grass-fed Butter
Kerrygold is usually the cheapest grass-fed butter available. It sells for far less than butter from a local farm market most of the time. You can find it at even mainstream grocery stores too. A half pound of Kerrygold sells for over $4.99 at some stores, especially gourmet stores or some Whole Foods. To save a lot of money, take a walk up the street and find the market near you that sells those same half pound packages for under $3. You’ll find Kerrygold for prices like $2.79 hiding in conventional grocery stores like Safeway. Most Trader Joe’s nationally sell it for $2.79.

Grass-fed Beef
Buy ground beef instead of steak to save money. Also buying in bulk is the key here. Spend more to spend less–most local grass-fed farms will give you a buck or two off per pound for ordering 50 lb. or more of ground grass-fed beef at once. And ordering from Alderspring Ranch will save you even more.

Produce
What needs to be organic and what doesn’t? Heavily sprayed produce: apples, cantaloupe (Mexican), carrots, celery, cherries, cucumbers, grapes (imported), green and red bell peppers, green beans, kale, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, spinach, and strawberries. It’s a good idea to spend the extra money on organic for these.

But it’s pretty safe to save money and go conventional on asparagus, avocado, bananas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, couliflower, eggplant, grapes (from the U.S.), kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, plums, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelon. Avocados are pretty much the safest conventionally-produced food on the market today. Some of the produce on this list is not too Bulletproof, like the fruits (sugar) or the nightshades (lectins), but everything’s listed here for reference. Be certain, however, that any non-organic produce you buy is not GMO.

Cold-smoked wild pacific smoked sockeye salmon
For some reason this product is often either $13-14 or $7-8 for the same exact same 8 oz. pack depending on brand and store. Find a store that sells it for $7-8.

Eggs
Are cheap enough already, don’t try to skimp on eggs. Find a local farm and pay them the $4-6/dozen for quality organic free-range pastured eggs.

Water
Drink bottled water (bottled in glass is best) but when you have the money, an under-sink RO system for $200-300 will save money in the end.

Key Supplements

  • Vitamin D-3 cholecalciferol – $15 for 250 ct. 5000 IU lasts a couple months at least
  • Magnesium chelate comes out to about $15 per month if you’re taking 4-6 capsules a day.
  • Lugol’s iodine $15 will last a couple years.
  • MCT oil – $33/mo but well worth the fast, convenient energy and brain fuel.
  • Collagen for $44 per month if possible (edit: 2/7/2013: Upgraded Collagen coming soon!). Your body won’t get these aminos in many other places.

The last tip is do Bulletproof Fasting by drinking Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast. No matter where you buy it, Bulletproof-quality Coffee isn’t going to be as cheap as Costco. The savings comes in when you add butter and MCT to it, and make it your entire (or at least most of) your breakfast. (Plus you save on healthcare costs later by not consuming toxins every day in your morning drink…)

Not consuming other foods every morning is a huge savings here, and yet your body is totally happy with the grass-fed butter and MCT energy while you get the added benefits of autophagy with Bulletproof Fasting. Total cost is around 40-50 cents for the coffee + an ounce MCT for $1 + big slice Kerrygold for around 40 to 50 cents. A $2 breakfast that puts you in performance mode, not bad. If you don’t like coffee you can do the same thing with chai, but beware mycotoxins with that as well. If you feel dizzy or tired after it, it’s got mold.

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/the-bulletproof-diet-budget-version/

Additions to Bulletproof coffee/tea

Standard

Why Fat Helps You Absorb More Nutrients

Blending nutrients into your coffee (or really any beverage) with healthy fats is classical biohacking pure and simple. You’re taking something healthy and wrapping it in small drops of fat (created during blending) called micelles, which increase the absorption of the nutrients. This principle is what helps antioxidants in vegetables absorb better when consumed alongside some fat. We’re talking lipid droplet chemistry here, and you can feel the difference (plus get some awesome flavor combinations).

Without further ado, here are the top 15 Bulletproof Coffee hacks (and a bonus #16 hack too!):

1. L-Theanine

L-Theanine (100 mg) is a popular supplement that works synergistically with caffeine. It’s an amino acid naturally found in tea that increases alpha brain waves. It has been shown to mitigate negative effects from caffeine, including damaged sleep quality and anxiety, while boosting the positive effects. You can also take it in a capsule in the morning along with your coffee.[i] But why not blend it in? It won’t change the taste, but it changes how you feel.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is the popular yellow spice used mainly in Indian cuisine. Turmeric contains a powerful compound called curcumin, which has profound anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant. Adding it to your coffee will boost the total amount of antioxidants, but will diminish the coffee flavor.[ii] If you don’t like coffee, but want to drink it for the antioxidant polyphenols, turmeric erases the coffee taste. Turmeric doesn’t absorb well without fat anyway.

3. Ginger

Ginger is rich in gingerols, and has been used for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-nausea effects. Like turmeric, ginger will diminish some of the coffee flavor.[iii] Mix this stuff with turmeric, and you’ll taste NO coffee (but what kind of masochist would do that???), and get a powerful anti-inflammatory herbal blend.

4. Grape Seed Extract

Grape Seed Extract has an astringent, tannin flavor that’s not bitter (depending on the brand). It also has positive effects with blood cholesterol and inflammation.[iv] A pure grape seed extract can add amazing flavor notes to coffee.

5. Upgraded Collagen

Upgraded Collagen is a great addition to Bulletproof Coffee as less inflammatory protein source high in the amino acid glycine. It aids healthy tissue repair while maintaining healthy levels of inflammation and revitalizing your skin.[v] It also stands up well to the heat of coffee, which is not true of quality whey protein.

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